Again, for the fourth straight win, the Lakers get it done without Kobe Bryant. Last night’s game saw the return of Andrew Bynum, who played very well alongside both Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. All five of the Lakers starters finished in double digits, and were led, surprisingly, by Shannon Brown’s career highs in points (27) and rebounds (10).
The Lakers got off to a great start in the first quarter. They were hitting their shots, grabbing offensive rebounds, getting stops and running the offense inside-out against an under sized Warriors team. Both Bynum and Brown finished the quarter in double digits as the Lakers took a 36-24 lead into the second quarter.
Then, as Darius suggested in his preview, the Lakers got a little sloppy, which would eventually lead to 19 turnovers and 26 points off of turnovers for the Warriors. The Lakers won 104-94, but the sloppy play kept this one a lot closer than it should have been.
On the Land O’ Lakers Blog, Brian Kamenetzky wrote about the Lakers sloppy play in the second quarter:
“Kudos to the home team for exceeding the pace set only a quarter earlier, when L.A. gave up the rock three times in barely two minutes between 9:49 and 7:48, part of a six turnover frame leading to 11 points for the Warriors and whittling a 12-point advantage after one down to three at the break. Without a seven-point burst over the final 1:32, it would have been worse, as the Lakers were stuck on 11 points for most of the quarter.
“I think we can all agree it wasn’t the vaunted Warriors defense keeping them down.
“By the end of the third, the Lakers had given the ball up 14 times, exceeding their 13.1 average with 12 minutes still to play. They’d finish with 19, as sloppy and inattentive on this night as they were razor sharp in the three leading to the break. The shot selection was often awful, as the Lakers failed to consistently take advantage of a Warriors team with almost no meaningful size down low. Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Ron Artest combined to shoot 13 of 39.”
Even though it was only the Warriors, no one should be worried about the sloppy play going into Thursday’s game against the Celtics as the Lakers have been known to lower their level of play to the competition, with or without Kobe – and the Celtics have the third highest turnover rate in the league.
Lamar Odom finished with 18 rebounds off of the bench, bringing his season average to 10.0 rpg, ranking him 12th in rebounding average in the NBA. You have to love the way LO has been playing in the four games of Kobe’s absence. He’s had rebound totals of 22, 10, 11 and 18 in the four games, and just a mere five in their last loss against Denver.
Warriors’ rookie, Stephon Curry, had one of the worst nights of his young career. He finished with an 11-10-8 line, but shot only five for 21 and one for 10 from behind the arch. This, following his triple-double against the Clippers in their final game before the All-Star break. Marcus Thompson II of the Oakland Tribune talks about his off night:
Curry had the lion’s share of the spotlight Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers. Under the bright lights of the famed Staples Center, the Warriors’ rookie guard put together one of the most memorable performances of his young career.
Unfortunately for Golden State, it wasn’t the good kind of memorable, as the Warriors lost 104-94. In a game where the Warriors needed his offense, Curry couldn’t flip a quarter off the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco Bay.
Curry took 21 shots and missed 16. He made just 1 of 10 3-pointers, bricking five of his nine misses in the fourth quarter, spoiling the Warriors’ chance at an upset bid.
“A couple of those go down and it’s a different ballgame,” said Curry, who had 36 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds his last game. “I don’t plan on shooting that badly. Ever again.”
Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register had a nice piece on Andrew Bynum and how injuries have, and will continue to limit his growth as a basketball player, citing his reluctance to play with injuries:
“It’s becoming ever clearer that the thing that could truly stunt Bynum’s growth en route to basketball greatness is an inability to overcome what is wrong with his body. That’s why Shannon Brown’s bounce-back from his dunk-contest failures was the stir of the moment, but what happened Tuesday night that ultimately means much more for the Lakers was Bynum playing hurt.
Bynum’s reluctance to play was clear in his hesitant voice coming off the practice court Monday. Asked about the state of his bruised right hip, Bynum quickly went for the negative “didn’t feel that great” answer long before he shared that there was actually “a lot less” pain than heading into the weekend.”
As far as Kobe goes, it appears that we won’t know if Kobe will be playing in Thursday’s game against the Celtics until Kobe knows himself. Phil Jackson said that the decision was, “purely up to him” on whether or not he’d play on Thursday night. If no decision is made by Darius’ afternoon post, we’ll definitely have an update by tomorrow morning.
Last, but not least, it has been reported that Denver Nuggets’ coach George Karl has a neck and throat cancer that is “treatable and curable.” Karl survived prostate cancer back in 2005; our thoughts go out to Karl and his family in hopes that he makes another full recovery.
Joel B. says
In the previous thread Ken had some amazing comments about last nights game and the players.
He said Odom should be playing 40 minutes a night. No he shouldn’t, he should be playing 30, like he is. If we look at Odom’s career stats he’s actually become a better rebounder with Pau and Drew in the game. This is a really interesting fact about Odom, in his 2 seasons that he played 39 and 40 minutes a night with the lakers, he’s average 9 rebounds in both seasons. His is other 3 seasons other than last season and including this season, he’s played 36,37 and 31 min a night had averaged 10 rebounds plus in those seasons. The presence of Pau and Bynum has allowed odom to become a better rebounder per minute played than he’s ever been because he’s almost never boxed out. Lakers fans are so hard on Bynum about his rebounds, he averages 8 and pau averages 11. It’s unlikely that all 3 will average 10 plus. Our front line is average 29 rebounds a game. Thats pretty good.
Speaking of Bynum, Ken said he’s selfish and a one way player by the way he played last night and throughout the season. What game was he watching. Bynum contested and altered shots defensively, was active on the boards( although he didn’t grab many but he did control more and was able to tip them to his teammates). And being selfish on the offensive end the guy took 11 shots. 11 SHOTS. And hit 8 of them. He should’ve had 20 shots. What exactly do we expect from Bynum. I know sometimes his effort wanes, but that goes for bynum, odom and pau. But some how Bynum is the only one that takes heat for it and Pau and Odom are the veterans.
Bynum is not the play making center. He’s a finisher. Since Pau and Odom aren’t conistently aggressive presences in the paint. Somebody has to be. Bynum has gladly filled that role. And done it well and very consistently. He’s shooting 57%. So lets get off the guys back and give him props for playing his role really well.
Odom was a monster on the boards.
Brown was Kobe like on offense.
Farmer was a walking turnover machine.
Morrison is the worst player in Laker history.
Andrew likes to shoot. Nothing more to say.
Sasha is not far behind Van Morrison
Artest is our bully
If Cavs make trade with the Washington Generals or Suns we Laker fans will be sorry. Farmer-Sasha-Morrion -Walton for ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Chownoir (was J) says
It must make it a lot easier to go through life when viewing things exclusively through black and white lenses instead of nuanced shades of grey.
This seemed to be one of those games where it was closer that it should have been because Phil was looking to give the bench warmers some run. As you saw, the lead whittled away quickly when he let Ammo and Sasha get more run than they’ve had all year (maybe trying to showcase them?). Could have ended this game a lot earlier had we stayed w/ the big line-up (and played Bynum more w/ LO – a front court that dominated). Hopefully KB24 is well-rested and ready to go on Thursday, but not sure we need him to rush back anyways.
The more I think about it, the more I’ve come to the conclusion that the Lakers will most likely make a move for a rental SG/SF hybrid player, who has an expiring contract, fills the SF backup spot (due to Luke’s injury), and then comes off the book come off season.
Making a trade to bring in a PG that would play major minutes seems too abrupt and/or difficult to achieve, given the three-headed PG hybrid right now. For better or worse, it seems that the Lakers will just go with what they have at that spot. Ammo is sitting on the bench doing nothing. I know intrinsically, it doesn’t make sense to swap expiring contracts, but there may be some vets on a losing squad that might get the blessing to contribute elsewhere. Also, due to Kobe’s injuries, Artest’s various ailments, and general lack of depth at the SF spot, it seems like a more subtle move to make right now. The SF is usually one of those positions that can be easily filled since there is a plethora of SFs in the league.
Can’t wait until 2/18 comes and goes. That’s when the REAL NBA season starts…
T. Rogers says
1) – You preaching to the choir, bro. I love how people knock Bynum for being a “black hole” on offense when the guy is normally taking about 8 to 9 shots a night. Dude is not the second coming of Moses Malone, but he is not Micheal Olawakandi either. If he can hit 8 out of 11 from close range then what the heck does he need to pass the ball for?
(And yes I know the “black hole” knick name was originally meant as a playful joke. But some posters have taken it and ran with it.)
Also, it will be interesting to see if any real trades go down. All this talk about Jamison and Stoudamire is becoming nerve racking.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Actually… I could have. jk. Drew is our best low post player and our only true Center. I have a feeling all the hate we hear from fans might be due to the fact he still hasn’t regained his athleticism from last years knee injury. He isn’t moving as well so he isn’t the same force on the boards and on the defensive end. But that might have to do with that huge brace he is playing with on his knee. He didn’t start exploding last year till he took that smaller brace off his other knee.
Matt R. says
The big news right now is that apparently Boston and NY are about inches away from finalizing a trade of Eddie House and change to the Knicks for Nate Robinson.
With the trade deadline so close, I hope Darius doesn’t mind my asking: Any thoughts on potentially trying to pry House from the Knicks considering they only want expiring money?
An update on Kobe’s status:
Mike Trudell of http://www.Lakers.com just tweeted that Kobe said that he’s doubtful for tomorrow night’s game against the Celtics. As of right now, it looks like he’s going to be a no go. Kobe’s excited about the team’s play and has faith that they’ll be able to let him continue to rest until he’s fully healthy.
If I hear anything else, I’ll keep you guys updated.
Chris J says
Amen to the many pro-Bynum remarks already posted in this thread. Some fans’ views and expectations of the guy have gone off the deep end.
On that subject, I’m not around the guy so I don’t have the same insight as Ding would since he interacts with the team every day. But from an outsider’s perspective, it seemed harsh to suggest that Bynum is unwilling/less willing to play hurt.
Last we checked, it was Bynum playing on one leg during last season’s playoff run. He could just as easily have said, “I’m not 100 percent” and dressed in a suit. But he went out and tried, not always effectively, which still haunts him to this day among those fans who gripe about how he was manhandled by Howard in the Finals.
Howard’s a big guy; he’s an All-Star and the list of those he’s schooled is a long one. But to say “Bynum sucks” because he couldn’t hold his own while hurt, well, again… some folks’ ideas on No. 17 aren’t based in reality.
Oh, and because Bynum played in the playoffs while hurt, the Lakers won a title. I don’t see them winning it all last year without his presence, even if it wasn’t his best.
I’m one of the people not fully sold on Bynum.
I want to see one complete, injury free season before I make an initial assessment. To me, the king of centers right now is D Howard and I don’t see anybody coming close to equalling his overall package.
Drew has potential, but somehow I just don’t see the same fire in his game. To be clear – I’m not talking about a lack of fire because he is cautious about his injuries. On the contrary, if he is sitting down because he is not 100%, then I have one thing to say to him: Smart move. Basketball is a brutal game on centers and if he wants to have a long and productive career he needs to take those measures.
I agree with comment #3 in that every player and/or situation needs to be looked at with shades of gray.
I’ve said this a hundred times before, but I love Bynum. I think he’s a real talent. I think he’s gotten a bad wrap for things like “work ethic” considering the time and effort he’s put in to come back from his two knee injuries and for his overall offensive game considering his efficiency level and how good he is at the things he’s trying to accomplish when he’s on the court.
However, I also think we can critique Bynum’s game without hating on the young man. His offensive mind set is rather one dimensional as he’s primarily looking to score when he has the ball. There are times when, even if you have a good/decent shot, that you make the extra pass just get your teammates involved. Making that extra pass shows your willingness to share and also gives you more ground to stand on if/when it’s time to say to others that you’re open and you deserve the ball. Passing also inspires team play, which will lead to more touches for you in the long run. These are concepts that I’m sure Bynum will embrace in time, but many fans are impatient and want it all now.
When truly evaluating Bynum’s game, you see that he uses his dribble with little purpose beyond creating a shot for himself. This isn’t necessarily bad because of Bynum’s efficiency. However, when you look at Gasol (or Shaq or Yao) you see players that don’t waste their dribble right away and use the threat of a dribble (and thus an offensive move) to manipulate the defense to get an even better shot or create as shot for a teammate. This is something that Bynum just doesn’t do yet. Like I said, I think he’ll get there, but it would help him immensely if he started grasping these intricacies sooner rather than later. This is one thing that I’m seeing, but there are more.
I don’t think pointing these things out makes me overly critical and I do understand that Bynum is a player that has many strengths to his game and that he plays to them consistently. But, if we’re going to look at ‘Drew as the future of this franchise, there are things he’ll need to do better. And if we’re going to perform at a higher offensive and defensive peak as a team, we’ll need to see some improvements in the more nuanced parts of Bynum’s game.
New post up. Talking Luke Walton:
Been reading this blog for a few years to get all the insight on the Lakers. Most Laker blogs are a little too homerish for me, but this one has an eclectic group of very intelligent, to downright silly. Variety is good. Anyways about last night’s game… It’s easy to see that the Lakers were slow to get it going but I think it may have to do with looking ahead to the Boston game and from a little too much partying during the all star break. I live in the LA area and often see players from the team (I saw Jordan Farmar smoking like a chimney at Shannon Brown’s birthday party, not the green stuff either; very surprising). I believe Shannon will be our starting pg next summer. He has all the tools. I was surprised to heal Phil say that he was the first one in the gym everyday. Think hes taking a page out of mamba’s book eh? Trust me when I say, Farmar is in a contract year and will not repeat the effort he is currently giving. I told all my buddies from work before the season started that Farmar would do well this season – and voila! I hate when players do really well during their contract year *cough* Bynum *cough*. ANyways I look forward to debating and having some stimulating sports conversations!
And please for gods sake…STOP THE LO BASHING!!! Without LO last year we would not have gotten past Denver or even Houston if you think about it!!! Everyone calls Kobe a warrior…(which he is) But tell me the last time Lamar missed a game due to injury. He is the Lakers Backbone!
I am one of Bynum’s big defenders, and I will continue to be so.
He is basically an answered prayer from the dark days of Kwame Brown.
He defends well, including team defense.
He runs the offense as it is designed.
As the 5 his responsibility is to:
1) Establish good low post position.
2) Seal his defender.
3) Receive the entry pass.
If he is able to create a scoring opportunity, he should score.
If he is double teamed, or forced away from the post before the pass arrives, he is to:
1) Pass to the 2 or 4 IF they are a cutter.
2) Pass to the 3 at the short corner IF he is open.
3) Pass out to the 1 on the pinch post.
After passing he is to re-post, or change lane sides and post up there.
Last night Bynum was 8 for 11.
Is anyone really expecting ANY player to shoot better than 72 percent? Additionally he was 5 for 7 from the free throw line.
Call me crazy, but if I have a player shooting 8 for 11 against single defenders I want to get him the ball MORE, not less.
We have a big man post player that shoots a very high percentage, has soft hands, a variety of moves, and HITS HIS FREE THROWS.
You want more than that?
He is only 22.
Kudos to all who commented on Bynum pro and con. This is what I love most about this blog. I may not agree with you all on everything, but I can appreciate your arguments and, sometimes, I can even have my mind changed sometimes – just not today (not yet anyway).
The ONLY real glaring weakness in Bynum’s game is his passing. He simply shoots too often. I think there is a reason for this however. I believe because he is so aggressive (black hole aggresive), that his teammates shy away from giving him too many looks. I like when he averages around 12 shots a game and i believe that is the amount he took last night. I dont know how many times this season I’ve screamed at him to pass the ball to the open cutter or even gasol. But he will learn. He is only 22, and if we want him to be an all time great he has to have that eagerness to shoot.
In answer to your blasting of my thoughts Joel.
I was speaking about Odom now while Kobe is out. He has been the best player on the court the last 4-games. The moment he was out last night GS got close. His plus-minus has been off the charts.
As for andrew when you see LO jumpimg over and through him to get rebounds you understand what I mean.
My 5 year old son loves to play video games for hours because its fun. He hates to do homework because its not fun. This is andrew. Loves to score the ball but hates to rebound, pass or play defense because, its not fun.
If you attend the games and watch Andrew start running down court while on defense instead of hitting the boards like LO you might catch my point.
That is whats called being selfish. Only working hard on the fun things and standing around on the un-fun things.
Got to go now and get my son off the video game.