Whatâ€™s up with Luke? Turns out he has tendonitis in his ankle. In a radio interview this morning (one that was a classic example of why it is hard to listen to sports talk radio in LA) he said he was relieved by the diagnosis because it could have been worse.
Donâ€™t expect him back for another week or two.
The Wolves are slumping. The Timberwolves are 3-7 in their last 10 (same as the Lakers) and have lost six of the last seven, and three straight. That includes a loss to the Celtics, the one team the Lakers had little trouble with lately.
Donâ€™t fret for Minnesota. Things are going to turn around there because they have the best GM in all of sports in Kevin McHale. Forbes magazine says so. (Via True Hoop.)
Last meeting. Back in December the Lakers beat the T-Wolves in what may have been my favorite game this season â€” LA went on a 34-5 run in the fourth quarter where all the starters sat and the lineup was Farmar, Sasha, Evans, VladRad and Bynum. As a team the Lakers shot 61.7% (eFG%) and 47.1% from three in that game.
Garnett had 22 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the loss.
Garnett is not slumping. While he has basically nobody around him, KG is still, well, KG. Against the Celtics he had 33, 13 and 10, his third triple-double of the season â€” all in the last month. In the last 10 games he is shooting 50.6% on his way to 23.7 PPG and 13.5 rebounds per game.
Heâ€™s not the LA savior. Iâ€™ll believe KG will ask out of Minnesota when it happens, I wouldnâ€™t hold your breath. But even if it does, there are several teams that can put together as good or better packages than the Lakers. Including teams like Chicago, which meets the standard superstar trade criteria of making sure he goes to the other conference.
What Iâ€™m saying is Iâ€™m not a fan of pinning your hopes on this kind of long shot in general, and this one in particular. Better to focus on what you can do, not count on KG riding in to save the Lakers.
The other T-Wolf to stop. Last meeting with the Lakers, Ricky Davis scored 22 on 9 of 16 shooting. In his last 10 games heâ€™s been shooting 56.7% (eFG%) and 44.2% from three. KG is going to get his, but you canâ€™t let Ricky Davis beat you â€” and close out on him on threes. Heâ€™s a pretty good midrange shooter but better from deep.
Things to look for: If the Lakers play defense like they did against Phoenix they will win handily. If they revert back to the Sacramento game defense, they could lose to Artesia High School.
Donâ€™t turn the ball over â€” the T-Wolves are 27th in the league in creating turnovers and have won just 35% of their games against the 10 teams that turn the ball over the least in the league. That is not the Lakers (they are middle of the pack), but if they can curb the turnover habit for a night it will go a long way toward getting the win.
I’d love to see another big game from the bench tonight. The Lakers are depleted, but the Wolves are thin.
As I said yesterday, Iâ€™m curious about how Smush comes out after his benching at the end of last game. My guess, he comes out gunning. But I hope Iâ€™m wrong. Also, I’m curious to see how Phil deals with him in the lineup, and the front line rotations. Because of the injuries Phil seems to be experimenting again.
Care to expand on this, Kurt?
“(one that was a classic example of why it is hard to listen to sports talk radio in LA)”
I agree with you, I’m just curious what specifically drew that comment and what your general opinion is. It’s been a while since I discussed some of the sports talk clowns I hear on the radio. 1540 is all but unlistenable. Bruno and Willard, Dave Smith, Arnie Spanier. I like Arnie a little bit, but I find him hard to listen to. Tim Brando is ok, though I preferred the 2 Live Stews.
Craig W. says
I caught the last of the Walton interview and understand exactly what Kurt was talking about. The hosts had an adjenda of hyping their own opinions and weren’t really interested in what Luke had to say – other than their topics. It was controversy first and information second. You had to fight to listen to Luke and ignore all the other ‘noise’ on the radio.
Craig W. says
Of course it was FOX SPORTS (AM 570) so what is new? Too bad it is also the Laker station.
I thought Fox Sports was the 11xx station?
ESPN is any different?
1. My thoughts on sports talk radio are more a post than a comment, in that I likely would need more space to really do it justice, but Iâ€™ll try.
TJ Simers essentially hijacked the interview to push on Walton his idea that Kobe basically needs to revert to the old Kobe â€” less passing and more shooting. Walton suggested that playing that way could win a couple more regular season games but would have the team ill prepared to beat the best teams in the playoffs. If the Lakers want to win championships, it canâ€™t be all Kobe all the time, he said.
If that had been the end of it, that would have been fine. But Simers told Walton he didnâ€™t think that was right and that fans would prefer the high-flying antics of Kobe, they wanted to be entertained. This odd conversation never ended until Fred Rogin broke in to end it and go to commercial.
In general, what bugs me about sports talk radio (really all talk radio) is the focus on confrontation as entertainment (or just entertainment without insight). There is no intelligent Laker fan or person who basketball who thinks the best thing for the Lakers is for Kobe to try to score 82 ever game. Itâ€™s stupid to suggest (as Simers did) that the Lakers could play all-Kobe ball in the regular season then switch styles for the playoffs (and no, they didnâ€™t do that last year, if you watched the games you saw that Kobe was sharing the ball and other guys were stepping up the last six weeks of the regular season). But that premise dominated a 10-minute interview that could have had other, reasonable insights and questions.
Simers doesnâ€™t really bother me; heâ€™s parlayed that â€œcurmudgeonâ€ bit into a prime LA Times column and a morning drive time radio show. More power to him, some people clearly like his stuff. I even get why he wants All-Kobe ball, it is more dramatic and that makes his job easier. I just get frustrated sometimes when the shtick drowns out the chance to pass information along to the fans. And right now, shtick rules the LA radio market.
Craig W. says
ESPN is AM 710 and is probably less confrontational. However, they are ESPN so there doesn’t seem to be much analysis. The Sporting News (AM 1540) is also mostly done at a level of ‘scream’. The San Diego station (AM 1090) is, not suprisingly, geared to S.D. local sports. Kurt is right, there isn’t really much intelligent sports talk to choose from. It is the Rush Limbaugh style of journalism.
kwame a. says
biggest problem with sports talk radio is that there is no sports, only talk, and its inane talk about everything but what really matters, x’s and o’s, the on-court/on-field action. Very few shows have been able to truly just talk sports without getting into the Jim Rome “i wanna scream your face off” bit, or the Dan Patrick “i know all the cool people in sports, 3 hr interveiw” bit. Dave Smith with his local show was close, but now on the national level he stinks too. As far as TJ, I stopped reading him a long long time ago, he’s like the kid who sucked at sports and wrote mean stuff about the cool kids, then got older and realized his bit was marketable, I treat him like an annoying 4 year old, I completley ignore him.
Go lakers, tonite, we get to see Kwame on KG, he’s had success before, hope it continues
It’s not how the starters play: it’s what players start.
It’s not players and points; it’s the offense/defense divide, +/-, and minutes.
apparently JJ Adade only gets 3 articles a month nowadays… so TJ is all there is to read. Love how he goes from Kobe the ‘ballhog’ to Kobe the ‘tanker’ to ‘damnit Kobe, just shoot’ with such fluid ease.
I agree, he is best at being the curmudgeon, ruffling feathers and inciting hatemail.
As a regular listener of AM 570… I can agree with you about the Simers show. TJ Simers sucks. But as Kurt said, he has parlayed his point of view to a big time column and a morning talk show so more power to him. But even though I listen to 570 on the way to work, at lunch, and on the way home, I never listen to that crap show Roggin and Simers squared. Don’t get me wrong, Fred Roggin is cool, and he works very hard at his job, but I just can’t stand TJ Simers.
TJ honestly thinks that if Kobe scores 81 a game and we lose every game, everybody will be happier. How can someone who believes this be on the radio and in the paper? This the biggest nonsense I have ever heard.
One morning… when I was actually listening… DL Hughley was on their show and he spent like 10 straight minutes telling TJ he’s just a bitter, jealous old man, and he was standing up for Kobe. That was the best 10 minutes I have heard on that show
Simers (and his daughter because she tries to play the evil Simers role just like her father) is a very disrespectful person. I have heard interviews on their morning show where they just go at their guests with the goal of backing them into a corner and seeing if they stand up for themselves and talk back or just sit there and take it (They KILLED Chris Kaman… I actually felt bad for him)
Its one thing to write columns from the “other point of view” just to cause up a stir, but being blatantly disrespectful to the guests is not cool.
Rome, The Loose Cannons, and PMS (my favorite show on the station) do a very good job of talking about other stuff as well as Lakers. They are funny, charismatic and fun to listen to if you have an hour drive to and from work like I do. But TJ Simers is horrible. BOYCOTT TJ SIMERS!!
Thanks Kurt, I have had this built up anger towards Simers for a while now and I feel better having a place to get it off my chest 🙂
For those who don’t listen to the show, Simers called Kobe a quitter and all sorts of names the first day his show was on the air in a blatant attempt to cause commotion and get listeners. Kobe responded by BOYCOTTING TJ SIMERS and not letting him use his negativity to draw an audience. To this day, KB24 refuses to be on that show.
Fred has enough stature in his field that his career can absorb the hit its taken being paired up with the idiot Simers twins, so I don’t bother listening. The fact that they stopped carrying Mancow’s show was a good thing. The fact that they replaced it with anyone named Simers wasn’t.
I actually listen to Cowherd on ESPN. He’s at least interesting, even when I disagree with him (like when he gets off on one of his “grown-up” rants). I actually prefer not to hear local stuff in the mornings anyway, so my choices are Colin or Bruno, and since I enjoy sports talk and not talk about gambling and porn stars while two hyenas cackle at every dumb joke they think up, I choose Colin.
I’ve lost faith in AM570. Sometimes they ‘over analyze’. Now I just listen to a certain ‘purple and gold radio show’ on the net (look it up yourself).
That would be Smush coming out gunning. But at least he’s hitting them.
(&(^)(*&^)^&)&(*)_(*^*&&$^&%$ Turiaf hurt his back…
How? I’m “watching” the game on GameCast at work.
me too…..all i’ve heard is back spasms
Sorry about the delay I was watching the game in another room…He tweaked it grabbing an off. board and putting it back up while getting fouled..looked like he was in pain and had to be pulled out after the next stop in play and has been in the locker room since…all I’ve heard since that is that he had back spasms and won’t be back in the game
To Kurt and ajg..be happy you aren’t watching this game…
Craig W. says
Phil has a lot of experience and a lot of championships. The Lakers are decimated. However, Phil still had options he didn’t use toward the end of this game and he chose to ‘stand pat’ so the loss has to be placed partly at his door. I don’t think there are any lessons to be learned by the players after this loss.
With a few minutes to go, Phil may have said to himself, “Why play the vets? We’re well ahead. I better prove to Smush that I have full confidence in him by letting him close out this game.”
Result: “the curse of the Smusher” turns around another winning effort!
In fairness to Smush, this is one game where we can’t blame it on him. He played his ass off. He was hustling. His opposing PG didn’t score 30 (granted his opposing PG was Troy “ugly shot” Hudson)
We all just FELL APART. One horrible mistake after another. That was UGLY. Mckie not looking at Cook on that inbounds. Cook not ever knowing the shot clock. Mr.Mo’s horrible inbounds passes. Mr.Mo falling asleep defensively in the 2nd OT. Kwame getting blocked by MARKO JARIC with the game on the line. one word…. UGLY!
Craig W. says
Most all Laker bloggers agree Smush is really a backup PG playing starters minutes for the last two years. Actually he is doing pretty well for himself and will undoubtedly get a reasonable contract this summer. However, we all also know that his play deteriorates when his minutes get above about 25. Therefore, it is on Phil to be sure and rest him, especially if he plans on playing him in the 4th qtr. Phil did a poor job of that in this game and paid the price at the end of regulation and in O.T.
Kwame and Mo were coming off injuries and their play could also be expected by the middle of the 4th qtr.
This was a team – and COACHING – effort to lose this game tonite. Phil must share a large part of the blame because of his substitution patterns and knowledge of the items noted above. It was his job to manage around these things. Instead, these people were overworked by the last 5min of regulation, never mind O.T. No matter what Phil might have wanted, he really should have substituted in the 4th and perhaps in O.T. The results couldn’t have been worse than what happened.
I wonder if Kobe will be suspended again…if you didn’t see he had one of his “Ginobili Elbows” on Marko Jaric..
yeah… like Goo said… Kobe did the EXACT SAME THING to Jaric that he did to Ginobili. Jaric got a bloody nose. I’m afraid that the league kinda has to suspend Kobe for tomorrow. How do they not? They can’t suspend him once and not the second time, they have to be consistent.
And to Craig W., DrRayEye, and everybody else on this site blaming tonights loss on Smush… what does Smush have to do to please you? Does he have to score 50 and not let his man get 1 point? Other than missing a couple of crucial free throws, Smush did nothing wrong. Cut him some slack. And Craig W…. its not the coach’s fault that McKie didn’t look at Cook. Its not the coach’s fault that Cook doesn’t look at the shot clock. Its not the coach’s fault that Mo underthrew an inbounds pass and fell asleep on defense.
As Craig (23) eloquently explained, our complaints are really addressed at decisions by the coaches and management. Smush is a symptom–not the cause. Smush is a glaring enough symptom that his defensive and playmaking misdeeds can be symbolic of the whole team, for sure. But, as you point out, it is unfair to blame everything on the Smusher.
Before this slew of injuries, the Lakers had a substitution pattern in place that sometimes brought out Smush at his best while minimizing his deficiencies. When he started with Kobe, Kwame, Lamar, and Walton, they would somtimes quickly rotate and slow down the results of his high pick and role turnstile defense–allowing Smush to sometimes come back into the picture from behind and pick someone’s pocket. Even with these ideal first team pairings, bad matchups with opponents sometimes exposed Smush’s weaknesses anyway.
When one replaces Kwame with Bynum, Walton with Evans, and Lamar with Cook, Smush’s faux pas defense sticks out and costs the Lakers much more. It calls for minute management and a much more fine toothed sense of substitution patterns.
Toward the end of a game, with the Lakers ahead, it would seem more logical to have a defensively oriented guard who makes few mistakes. Farmar provided such defense, but it was not mistake free. It appeared that Phil had decided to bring in Shammond for the D and steadying influence, roughly splitting playing time with Smush.
Against the Suns a few days ago, there was an incident near the close of the fourth quarter in which Smush was pulled for apparent defensive gaffes in defending Nash (though Phil denied it). Shammond did a great job finishing, and the Lakers closed well.
In this game, Smush played about 42 minutes, and the quality of his game deteriorated with the minutes. It has happened many times before. Smush’s collapse toward the end of a game and a corresponding Laker loss (or near loss) are predictable.
It seems very strange that Phil didn’t either substitute for Smush in the fourth quarter or in the two overtimes.
The Lakers should have won that game TWICE. Bummer. It’s not all on Smush. He did a lot of good things last night. But those missed free throws were key. Other bad things happened, like some miserable in-bounding, and there’s blame to go around. But dammit, I don’t care who you are, you have got to do better than that on clutch crunch-time free throws. You simply cannot miss them at that rate. They call them “free” for a reason. If LeBron gets flak for not making the FTs at the end of the game, as he should, then Smush should get flak for that too.
Smush has to hit FT’s in crunch time. Stay in front of his man. Follow his man around the screen. That would be a start. Getting a steal every once in a while doesn’t mean you’re a good defender.
Smush should not finish games. I’d yank him out with 2 minutes to go each and every time.
Craig W. says
You are right, it is not Phil’s fault the players failed in the individual situations. It never is!
What is Phil’s fault is getting the players so tired – by not substituting earlier in the game – so that they were exhausted just when the most pressure was present. Phil has habits that can be somewhat rigid. Tonite that got us in a lot of trouble.
Cary D says
Why should Kobe be suspended again when LeBron clotheslined Dwyane Wade and got nothing? Bullshit and i am still bitter about it.
Rob L. says
Ask and ye shall receive:
NBA reviews Kobe play in Minnesota
He’s not suspended as of now, but the league will make a decision before the Bucks game.
“Its not the coachâ€™s fault that Cook doesnâ€™t look at the shot clock.”
I agree on all points except this one. The player takes responsibility for knowing how to play the game, including knowing the clock, but coaches need to drill this into their heads. Remember how often this team was called for 8-second violations last year? I think I’ve seen maybe 1 so far this year and it wasn’t because they were bringing the ball up casually, which was so often the case last season. They got that 8-second count drilled into their heads. Same thing with the shot clock.
As long as we’re sharing blame among the usual scapegoats (Smush, Kwame, Cook, et. al.) can Kobe shoulder some of it? I realize he played a good game overall, but why did he have only 3 points on 1-3 shooting on two overtime periods? That seems unacceptable.
Exick, Craig, and DrRayEye,
I understand your points. I agree that if Smush had played less than 42 minutes he might have had some more juice to make those free throws. And if Mo had played less he probably wouldn’t have been so sloppy in the OTs (with his squishy knee). Unfortunately, we are so depleted right now with injuries that we had no one else. That sucks! The Wolves were playing guys like McCants and Foye in the OTs and they hadn’t played too much in regulation so they were fresher than us.
I just felt the need to stand up for Smush so that we don’t just get into the habit of blaming everything on him. So nothing personal 🙂 I just had to stick up for my boy Smush. You guys gotta admit… he was trying REAL hard last night.
And yes I agree that the coach’s should be drilling the point of looking at shot clock into players heads but… its late in the season… he should know by now.
If we had Pippen, we could have just stuck him in there to throw some smart inbounds passes for us with Luke out. Instead, Sasha, Mckie, and Mo had trouble with inbounds passes
Kobe better not be suspended tonight! I go to school in Chicago, and am driving out to Milwaukee for the game (only my 2nd game of the season). The team is already so depleted.
Am I the only person that still doesn’t understand how you can get suspended for a play that is called a foul…not a flagrant, not a technical, just A FOUL! ahhh..
Sorry Matt… you might want to think about not making the drive… well you can if you like watching Sasha Vujacic play
Well….man I just don’t know what to say.
“And yes I agree that the coachâ€™s should be drilling the point of looking at shot clock into players heads butâ€¦ its late in the seasonâ€¦ he should know by now”
He should, no question. And in a dead ball situation, everyone on the team should know there’s 1 second on the clock. Coaches should be screaming it, players should all be telling each other, and they should all be looking at it. Communication is severely lacking it seems. And don’t worry, I defend Smush all the time. Someone has to. Every time the poor guy tries to defend himself, he gives up a layup.