Smush is mad at Phil â€” do you think Phil even notices? Nate Jones has a good post up about Smush not really channeling his energy well, expressing the frustration a lot of us have with him. That frustration extends to Phil, the target of Smushâ€™s scorn. Driving in to work I heard an interview with Phil Jackson where he said (and I paraphrase): â€œWe are reaching the end, what could be the last games of Smush as a Laker if he does not step up.â€ The tone was clear.
(By the way, we knocked TJ Simers around for a crappy interview a few weeks back, so credit to him for a good one with Phil. They touched on his days coaching in the CBA and Peurto Rico, and what he learned along the journey before Chicago.)
No Ray Allen. Maybe the best pure shooter in the game today is sitting out with bone spurs.
That has meant the Rashard Lewis show â€” he is averaging 25 and 7 in the last 10 games. Heâ€™s shooting 53.6% (eFG%) in those games and 38% from beyond the arc. And remember the Lakers had trouble stopping him last meeting, Lewis scored 25, including 6 of 10 from downtown.
Other notes from the last game. Back in November the guard tandem of Like Ridnour (22 points on 9 of 13 shooting) and Earl Watson abused the Laker backcourt.
Plus, the Lakers didnâ€™t take care of the ball, with 22 turnovers.
Kevin Peltonâ€™s preview. One of the brightest hoops writers and statistical minds around runs the Sonics Web site (and does a lot of writing for it). His preview of tonight talks about how the Lakers may have looked better early on than they actually were:
As problematic as the injuries have been, a lot of the difference in the Lakers two very different stretches can be traced simply to whether or not the team has been at the friendly confines of STAPLES. A popular way to account for imbalanced NBA schedules is to take a team’s road wins minus their home losses to find their “+/-.” The graph at left (click to enlarge) shows the Lakers +/- plotted against their record vs. 500. The Lakers never better than +5 by this method, even when they were a lofty 13 games above .500. While they have struggled more than would be expected, the Lakers weren’t playing as well as their record made it appear early in the season.
Pelton also talks about Kobe for MVP, making the case he was probably more deserving last season.
Oh, and he mentions maybe the best reason to attend this game in Seattle if you can: DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad from A Tribe Called Quest spins live postgame in the arena.
What to look for tonight: You tell me. I have no idea what these Lakers will do night to night. But they better slow Lewis or he could put up 50 himself.