Very interesting games on the docket to watch tonight, as we wait another day for the LAkers to take the court. Does home court hold sway in the Hornets/Spurs series?
• I am obligated to start this post off with a “Kobe will play” note, which I think we all expected anyway. The only real question is just how good his back feels come Wednesday night, and that is where having one more day off between games really helps. As Matt said at Fanhouse, 75% of Kobe is too much for Brewer.
• We’ve talked a lot about the refs in this series and how games are called, but to me an overlooked aspect of this is how teams adjust to the tone of the refs that night, or don’t. In the first two games, Utah adjusted to the tighter called games poorly; in Utah the Lakers adjusted slightly better but not fantasitcally. Next game, in LA, expect it to be called tighter and Jazz players to get in foul trouble early, unless this time they actually do adjust. Whatever the tone is the Lakers players (particularly Pau and Lamar) need to accept and adjust quickly to it.
• Speaking of the other two Lakers stars, in the comments yesterday DTC had some good stuff about how the Jazz are dealing with Gasol and Lamar in the post:
I noticed one defensive strategy in particular. Because Pau and Lamar are absolutely killer from the middle of the key, they are now sending a guard from the top side immediately – Pau always catches looking to make a move, and the guard, essentially coming from a blind side, surprises him, either stripping the ball or at least disrupting him enough for the defense to recover. For some reason the Lakers have not adjusted to this well.
Basically, Pau especially needs to hold on to the ball tighter and be ready for the little 2nd defender. More than that, he needs to look for the open shooter. Everytime the Jazz sends a guard down, Fish, Farmar or Sasha is wide open. That pass to one of them needs to be fast, and crisp. The guards also need to position themselves better to maximize spacing. But more than that, they need to start hitting their shots, period, or the Jazz will continue the tactic.
• I think the best line about Jordan Farmar’s struggles comes from one of the OG people around here, Dan Reines: “Am i the only one who remembers that choker Kobe Bryant heaving up four straight airballs against the Jazz? Whatever became of him?”
• Attention Statheads: Most of you probably know about this already, but I want to get a link up. It’s called The People’s Statistic. With most of your big-picture statistical metrics (PER, for example), all stats are not created equal. Meaning, an offensive rebound is worth more than a defensive rebound, a steal and an assist do not count for the same amount. People have put a lot of time and thought into how much what is worth. What this site is doing is opening that up to a vote of the people. It’s an interesting exersize worth checking out.
• Headline about the Dodgers that amused me yesterday (seen on the Dodgers news box on my iGoogle home page), from our fine friends at the AP: “Jones Struggles In 1st Season With Dodgers.” That’s funny, he struggled in his last season with the Braves. Coincidence?