Streak: Lost 1
Last 10: 7-3
The injury to Bynum has thrown the Laker’s fan base into a frenzy. What this proves is how far Bynum has come in his importance to the team. Kobe’s “We’re a championship caliber team with Andrew” comment bares out the feelings of his teammates, as well.
We’ve discussed what the Forum Blue and Gold lining of this situation can be (Kwame finds a groove and plays himself back into shape, Turiaf continues to grow) but the reality is we know that there are struggles ahead. Will staying at .500 be a realistic expectation while Drew is out?
Can Kobe show that he trusts in teammates not named Fisher or Bynum? Look for him to facilitate more tonight. Hope that he looks to facilitate more tonight and doesn’t go for the “Kobe versus the world offense” until the latter stages of the game necessitate it.
The man who is really going to have to shine over this stretch and find his way out of the proverbial woods is… Lamar Odom. His aggressiveness on offense is key. He needs to find his confidence and use this Bynum-less stretch return to the ball he played in the playoffs last year.
But we all know that it’s all about the defensive end of the floor (and rebounds). An effort similar to the Seattle game will not cut it in this contest.
The Lakers hold a 2-0 season edge because of their stingy defense, holding the Suns to under 45% from the floor.
Phoenix coming in: Phoenix has semi-struggled of late. Grant Hill will not play after having his appendix taken out. His calming force has been missed as the Suns have been a .500 team in his absence.
In their previous five games they are 3-2, but coming off a loss to the Clippers in which they scored 90 points and a loss to Utah earlier in the week in which they scored 86. So once again the theme for the day is tempo.
Update: if you haven’t seen it yet, True Hoop has a great Q &A w/ Kurt Rambis and his 80’s mustache. He addresses Bynum, the Triangle, and Kevin McHale’s infamous clothesline.