Records: Lakers 49-18 (1st in the West), Kings 23-44 (13th in West, 26 games behind Lakers)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 109.0 (10th in NBA), Kings 105.9 (20th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.7 (5th in NBA), Kings 110.0 (25th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Kings: Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih, Donte Greene, Carl Landry, Spencer Hawes
The Lakers Coming in: The Lakers are two for two in their mini road trip against Pacific Division foes and tonight they try to make it a trifecta. After a closer than expected game last night against the Warriors in Oakland, the Lakers look to take it to the kids in the Capital tonight in Sacramento. Not much has changed for the Lakers in recent weeks. They understand the urgency of needing to round into playoff form, but are having trouble putting together a complete game against many opponents. That’s led to some tight battles of late and those battles can be looked at a few different ways. On one hand, the Lakers need to play better. An undermanned Warriors team has no business having a shot at tying the game in the final seconds with a good look from three. On the other hand, the Lakers are finding improvements in certain parts of their game (their offense is improving; they sported an offensive rating 0f 123 last night) and they’re finding ways to win games against teams that are hungry to beat the world champs. In a way, this Lakers team is just now learning what repeating as a champion is like and that means taking every teams’ best shot every night. Just as Fisher, Kobe, and Phil couldn’t teach this team what it actually took to win a title the first time, they also can’t properly instill what it will take to repeat. These are processes that are learned and the steps need to be taken in order to find that path. There are improvements that are still needed, though. Lets see if they make some of the necessary tweaks to their game tonight.
The Kings Coming in: Sacramento is an interesting team of late. Though they have a poor record on the season, they’ve been playing some pretty decent ball recently. Five wins in their last ten may not seem that great, but it’s a healthy improvement to what has been going on with the Kings this season. What is the reason for the turnaround, you ask? A chest bump (there’s obviously more to it than that, so check out the link). Oh yeah, and they also have some pretty good young players and are building a real team that is balanced.
The list of good young players on the Kings starts with the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award, one Tyreke Evans. Basically, this kid is a beast. Coming out of Memphis there were questions about Evans’ ability to run an NBA offense and whether or not he is really a point guard. After seeing some assist stats, I think those concerns should be put to rest. Personally, I think he can play whatever position he wants and do it well – PG/SG/SF, just give him the ball. He is in the mold of a Dwyane Wade; a player that is almost unguardable off the dribble, especially for opposing PG’s that don’t have the size or strength to deal with him. To better illustrate this, Evans is getting 8 shots a game at the rim (or almost two more shots at the rim than Lebron) and he’s converting those shots at a 60% clip. This young man is a monster off the dribble and at finishing in the paint. But the young talent doesn’t stop with Evans. The Kings also have Donte Greene (acquired from Houston as part of the Artest trade), Jason Thompson, Spencer Hawes, and Omri Casspi. Add to that core of players the recently acquired (from Houston again) Carl Landry in the Kevin Martin trade and you have a nice young roster of some hard nosed players that bring their hard hats with them to the court.
Kings Blogs: The Kings have some fantastic bloggers that chronicle the daily goings of this team. Visit Cowbell Kingdom (where Zach Harper is doing great things) and Sactown Royalty (where I visit often if only to get the latest piece of work from Tom “Ghostface” Ziller).
Keys to game: The Kings have a roster that actually matches up quite well with the Lakers. While they’re a bit undersized at PF (Landry and backup Jason Thompson are not the biggest guys) they will make up for it in fight and hustle. Add to that a legit 7 footer in Hawes, enough size in the back court, and athleticism on the wings and you’ve got a real up and coming team that will cause the league problems if they can put it all together.
All that said, the Lakers should stick with their normal offensive plan and attack the Kings inside out. While Hawes has size, he’s not a banger and Andrew should be able to take him down to the block and score buckets while also drawing fouls. Gasol should also be able to use his height advantage to create good looks for himself on offense against both Landry and Thompson. As for Kobe, he’ll either be guarded by Udrih or Evans, two players that don’t have the skill or savvy to stay with him for long. I expect to see a lot of post up Kobe tonight, especially on the weakside where he either forces the Kings to double team or gets an easy look from 10 feet and in.
Sacramento is also a good team to run some P&R against, especially the SG/C pick and roll when Bynum is in the game. Hawes is not a fleet footed player and Kobe should be able to turn the corner against him. I’d prefer that this set be run within the scope of the offense (like at the elbow off the dribble hand off) or on the secondary break on a drag screen, but I do think this is a play that Sacto will have trouble stopping as Kobe can either take the ball himself or throw the lob to the diving Bynum (who will be going after the ball against undersized help defenders). Other than this play, the Lakers should run their sets and take care of the ball. As I mentioned earlier the Kings are young team. Young players have fresh legs and want to get out into the open court. The Lakers must take care of the ball tonight to avoid run outs from Evans, Green, Landry, and Casspi.
On defense, this is a game where packing the paint is the number one goal. As stated earlier, Evans’ prime objective is to get to the rim and to look for his own shot. He is a willing passer, but I’d much rather give up some open jumpshots to the likes of Donte Greene, Udrih, and Francisco Garcia than watch Evans have a big night and get the crowd into the game with spectacular finishes. The other key will be slowing down the P&R with Udrih and Hawes. Over the years, Udrih has been a thorn in the side of the Lakers as he uses his southpaw craftiness to create angles to the basket that befuddles the Lakers’ defense. You add a good jumpshooting big in Hawes to this combination and you’ve got the type of duo running the P&R that the Lakers have had problems with for several straight seasons. We need to hedge hard on Udrih, help the helper so Hawes doesn’t get wide open looks, and then rotate around the rest of the perimeter. I said earlier that I’d rather give up open jumpshots than layups, but the Kings do have enough shooting to hurt us if they can measure shots without a defender closing down on them.
Also as alluded to earlier, the Kings want to get out and run. They play at the 6th fastest pace in the leauge and have good depth (you can add Nocioni and Dorsey and May to their group of bench players that get minutes on this team) and so they are not averse to making substitutions and continuing to push the pace. And with the Lakers coming off a late night, high possession game last night in Oakland, the Lakers will need to be aware of what the Kings want to do on offense and hustle back on D and create a wall in the paint so Evans can’t get going.
Where you can watch: 7:00pm start time out West on KCAL, also on ESPN Radio 710am.
today’s one-liner: the Kings are a better team than the warriors; and it’s the second game of a BTB for the Ls.
C.A. Clark says
Sorry for going back a few posts, but I just caught the response to SSR’s Derek Fisher post. As the author of that piece, I just wanted to say that it was never my intention to scapegoat Fisher for the Lakers poor PG play. In re-reading my language, I can understand how that impression came across, so I wanted to clarify my intentions. Any mention I made of Fisher “hurting the team” was strictly made in the “value over replacement” sense (i.e. replace Fisher with an average player, how much would it help/harm the team?). Sadly, it would seem the Lakers don’t have even an average PG waiting in the wings, and so there is very real possibility that Fisher is our best option starting, despite all the problems that I laid out.
What Darius wrote after my piece was a wonderful and natural progression of the conversation, taking my specific post about Fisher and turning it into an analysis of the Lakers PG position as a whole. It provided the context to the team that my post never intended to have.
All I was trying to do with my post is argue against the prevailing opinion that Fisher is horrendous on defense and so-so on offense, when in fact he’s bad (but not horrendous) on defense, and bad on offense, probably in equal measure. In all the Fisher conversations that I see, a majority of the talk centers around his defensive effect (unfairly so, in my opinion), and very few talk about his effect on the offense.
Obviously, I wouldn’t have taken the time to post this if I didn’t care about and respect the opinions of the FB&G readership. There’s definitely a strong mutual respect between sites, and I loved Darius’ follow up. Keep up the good work.
81 Witness says
Good summary! You hit the nail on the nose. I think it is also important to make sure the bigs don’t chase too far out on the screen and roll to give up easy buckets like last night.
I also think the Lakers need to encourage the other wings to put the ball on the floor, specifically Nocioni and Casspi. Don’t let these guys kill ya from the outside. They don’t handle the ball well and are prone to forcing plays.
I just ran into Dr. Vitti this afternoon (I live in Suckramento). He seemed in good spirits.
MICHAEL ZARABI says
what happened to warren?
Tonight’s game as well as the next two games are exactly the type of games that worry me the most because our Laker team tends to fall asleep on the defensive end too much with these depleted teams. This worries me b/c with only a 3 game lead over Dallas and several nasty matchups left in the season, we may need home court advantage to make a good run at the title.
Tonight’s game is a MUST win for the Lakers not because of the pressure, but because this team should NOT have an excuse to lose this game. Period.
They need to watch the role players, and not get obsessed with Evans. Don’t let Udrich, Caspi, et al, get hot. Hawes always gets up to play against Bynum. If you hold those guys down the Kings will have a hard time finding enough points to win the game.
>what happened to warren?
1) he doesn’t get a chance to personally reply first unless there’s an early post (late for him).
b) the record for his surrogates has been something like 6-5 of late; not good.
chris h says
81 witness, you hit a nail on the head, nails don’t have noses 😉
reminds me of my old boss who had a girlfriend who always got her sayings messed up, 2 of my fav’s –
– you’re walking on thin water buddy!
-we’ll jump off that bridge when we get to it.
I felt that Darius’s point about Fisher as a floor general was particularly salient. There’s something that I “feel” watching Fisher compared to Farmar and Brown, that he is in command of the offense, that he is making the proper reads, especially in the half court. And since we are primarily a half court offense, that is where he deviates from the replacements. Brown is just terrible, as there is a sense that he doesn’t know what he’s doing with the rock. Maybe a quick wind-up and poorly set jump shot, or maybe a bail-out pass to another teammate. Farmar’s only a little better, but he still seriously over dribbles. Fisher doesn’t overdribble, and I feel like that is important in the grand scheme of the offense, stats be damned.
I just want to thank C.A. for coming by and commenting. His post really did get me thinking about our PG’s in a new light and it did inspire me to dig deeper about what was really going on with that group as a whole (whereas his points were strictly looking at Fisher’s offense vs. his defensive impact on the Lakers). I thought C.A.’s post was well done so, again, I thank him for his coming by and for his good work over at SSR.
I love how our rank in defensive efficiency plummeted after last night’s game.
Did anyone else read Kobe’s lips when he was on the bench 4th quarter last night against the Dubs. After Curry did that up fake with the ball on Shannon and banked in the shot. I could swear Kobe leaned over and said that Motherf@#$er nice, refering to Curry. I couldnt see who Kobe was talking to, but I rewound that part 10 times and it looked like thats what he said.
Im not a great lip reader, but I would love for anyone who still has the game recorded to go back and see if thats what he said.
OT… but here’s a great article about Brandon Roy that has some quotes from him and Kobe about things he has learned from Kobe recently.
The Dude Abides says
One thing I’ve noticed about Fish recently is that he seems to be making fewer clueless forays to the rim in traffic. When he takes five to eight shots per game, he hurts the offense a lot less. From my layman’s viewpoint, he also appears to be significantly better at feeding the post than Jordy is. And of course my great-grandmother is better at feeding the post than Shannon is, and she died in 1968.
Dude – You’re not wrong about Shannon. It’s not just the angle of passing into the post that he doesn’t seem to grasp, it’s the entire concept! Entry passing is probably the area where I’ve most noticed the lack of Luke, although Ron seems to have his moments with it.
Hoping to see some good execution today!
The biggest problem with Fis, Jordy and shannon is none of them have contracts for next year.
Not going to get big offers if all they do is pass into the post. The GMs love the long ball.
Another words its their future first and the team 2nd.
We are now in the portion of the season that Phil thinks of as “tune-up” time.
We will see fewer strange rotations, and more inside out play.
We will see a few stranger defensive match-ups, where Phil is readying players for mismatch assignments to prepare for the ebb and flow of foul calls in the playoffs.
Tonight should be fun to watch.
Good to see Andrew all over the offensive glass early in the game.
Bynum doin work!
Bynum has 4 dunks so far and 9 of the Lakers first 11 points!
Memo to Fisher:
You can’t shoot!
Why does Spencer Hawes always play so well against the Lakers?
Bynum is just BEASTING right now….LOL
Please play Andrew 40 minutes tonight Phil. He is earning it. Can get 40 points if you leave him in.
Does anyone know what’s up with Ron’s left hand? That’s a large bandage.
Anybody have a link for your San Diego brethren?
Loving the way Bynum is helping set up the offense with his movement and passing. – even more than his scoring
Kobe driving to the basket every posession
well we know we can do the first quarter, so what about the second
three(3) things to like in the first:
1) nice defense
b) 7 offensive boards
iii) 1 turnover!!!
I think I saw that Ellis shot from last night still wondering around the rim.
Now we get to watch the Farmar Brown Barnyard Tour…
Great 1st quarter. Farmar and Brown are not running the offense to start the 2nd. But hey, nice block Shanwow.
Wake up Phil! Get Brown and ammo out out out.
well this is familiar, jordan and shannon killing the offense
Boy do Lakers have a BAD BENCH
How did Pau’s shot go from nonexistent to scorching? There was no transition period it seems?
from another time zone:
“maybe our bench really is that bad”
The lakers sure can make big leads dissapear very fast
maybe this is why Fisher starts and plays in the crunch time…
what is phil upto? I cant believe i miss fish
Bynum has been sitting long enough.
iS PHIL SLEEPING? Farmer and Brown are just playing like Z leagers.
Our bench guards continue to try and force the issue rather than let the game come to them. I said this before, but we run a read and react system, so why try to predetermine what you’re going to run? Let the defense “dictate” where to go with the ball because there are a myriad of options from every set. This is what frustrates fans…we know that Fisher isn’t fantastic by any means, but look at his backups.
This is the kind of thing that drives me crazy as a fan.
Why would you go away from what is working?
I simply don’t understand. The Lakers need to be boring, methodical, focused killers.
Go inside. Go inside. Go inside.
They cannot stop us inside the paint. Why not keep doing that?
Your right Fisher is a all-star compared to Brown and Farmer. They get worse the more they play
Phil is not sleeping,he is just giving those guys a chance , they are just throwing it away. They went inside only after our lead was erased.
bench, Fisher, Artest: 0-10 – but it’s spread around!
Has anyone got a number for how many times Kobe’s had his shot blocked today? It seems like a large amount looking at the GameCast…
Yahoo!Sports box score says 0.
OK if Phil is not sleeping then have someone remind him Sasha is on the team.
Can’t be worse then others off bench.
Correct me if i’m wrong, but weren’t the Golden state and sac games supposed to build our momentum?
I find that surprising, with ESPN having a few entries that read “Spencer Hawes blocks Kobe Bryant’s layup” or similar.
And the Suns just dropped 79 POINTS in the half on Minnesota.
It surprised me as well, but the Yahoo box score and ESPN box score both say no blocked shots. I’ll keep an eye on it, they might add them later.
three(5) things to hate about the second:
1) the bench
3) the bench
5) the bench
You forgot to mention the free throw shooting…
Actually, the entire Laker team has been shooting poorly from the free throw line lately. Something’s going on.
Kobe’s shot is really off. All his points on drives. Finger must be hurting him/
I think it’s his legs rather than his finger that is hampering Kobe’s jumper. Every shot is even more of a line drive than normal and every miss is short off the front rim. He did play 40 minutes last night in a high possession, up and down game.
the guys serisouly need some shooting practice, 3 point ft percentage has been absolutely terrible the last month
Makes sense. He was beaten bad several times on defense also last night.
wish we could rest him for playoffs.
Wait, I’m confused… if Kobe’s legs are tired, isn’t driving more work than a perimeter jumper?
Another “sloppy second”.
The bench can’t play any worse than they did the first half. I just hope at least somebody from the bench will play well or at least make one shot.
>Yahoo box score and ESPN box score both say no blocked shots
I didn’t think they showed shots blocked (in that way), i always thought that the BLK column was the number of shots blocked *by* that player – or are you looking at something else?
Bynum and Gasol 13-16
That’s why Gasol has (correctly) been saying that they don’t move the ball enough and play inside-out enough.
This is not the first time that our backup guards play their own game and this is why Derek is starting and finishing games.Even if those shots are falling it is not what our team needs from them.You just can’t have Pau and Lamar running up and down the floor 4 straight possessions without touching the ball.They are doing the exact opposite from what is required of them.Guards in our system are supposed to stabilise the offense.
The other thing I am puzzled with is why is Phil not playing Sasha before them or even play him at all.Even Ammo saw play time tonight and Sasha isn’t worht any?
The first step isn’t something that’s lost with tired legs. And then with a running start his explosion off the bounce is still good. But those turn around jumpers where he’s stationary or those stop on a dime pull ups off the dribble he needs to gather with little momentum. It’s those second types of “jumps” when combined with having to shoot a jump shot that will suffer from the tired legs.
64. a lot of bynums points came from kobe penetrating and creating offensive rebounds
It shows both blocks, and blocked shot attempts. I might have looked in the wrong column. If I did, Kobe has had 4 of his shots blocked.
EDIT: went back to double-check and I was definitely looking in the wrong column. Hawes blocked four Kobe shots.
Ah! It’s about working with momentum, vs working against it or having to create it. My inner hockey fan understands. Thanks for clarifying 🙂
ok, the espn b.s. I’m looking at shows only BLKs
64) SUbtract those makes and attempts from Bynum, and he and Gasol still shoot better than Kobe.
shannon brown has been playing so poorly these days
The Lakers constantly run the play where Kobe/Artest throw a pass into Pau/LO and then Kobe/Artest cut and then post really close to the basket under Pau/LO’s high post. What if they flip positions since Pau/LO are talented passers and could start off on the wing?wouldn’t it be more affective if they were the ones that would end up with the ball under the basket? Thoughts?…
only 4 turnovers so far tonight, big positive
Lakers just had a sequence of 3 very good offensive sets after Kobe and Fisher went to the bench.
The first had Gasol on the block in good position, spun baseline and finished over Nocioni.
The second led to a wide open Sasha jumper from 20 feet, coming off the down screen from Artest in the pinch post, classic triangle.
The last had Shannon Brown score off the dive from the top of the key, receiving the pass from Gasol in the post.
Three absolutely perfect offensive possessions in a row. And notice that the common theme was the ball going into the post.
The lone mistake in that period was Artest taking a ridiculous fading twisting turnaround jumper. We could’ve gotten a much better shot than that.
Interesting lineup to start the 4th.
cant argue that sasha has a beautiful stroke
Sasha’s part of a nice +/- unit right here.
GET A HELMET!
Didn’t know it was garbage time yet, but with Shannon throwing it down like that, it must be.
ShanWOW throwing it down with authority
Man, I know plus-minus doesn’t tell the whole story, but Morrison is a -10 with 2:33 played. Granted, Jackson threw him in with Farmar/Brown (already a weak defensive backcourt) so it was a given they’d be eaten alive, but getting outscored by TEN in less than three minutes is pretty bad.
Is everyone happy? I turn on the game after coming back from the gym and the first play i see is Pau’s no look pass to Shannon…
I was a lot happier 10 minutes ago when it looked like we were on our way to a laugher. We’ve let em close a little.
Just turned the game on.
Can someone explain why Bynum isn’t playing? It seems from the comments and the box score he was playing pretty well to start off the game.
Kobe’s free throw stroke doesn’t look normal to me.
Kings going with the Hack-a-Kobe strategy.
When was the last time we were able to rest our starters at the end of the game?
I love Kobe, but you don’t like seeing 30 points on 40 total FGA+FTA.
i hope pau keeps it goin with his jumper
Pau’s unstoppable if he can hit those FT/elbow jumpers.
Fisher making a nice entry pass…why can’t Farmar and ShanWow do that more consistently?!!!!
Sasha got burn tonight, at the 1, 2, and 3.
Farmar, not so much.
Did Ammo get run? (I’m watching Lost)
Kobe was one rebound away from he, Bynum, and Gasol having 20/10 games. Nice balance from those three.
I know, I know… but it was a good game. 🙂
I love the Taco Truck
Andreas G. says
Drew and Pau were a combined 21 for 28 with 24 boards – it’s hard to top that.
Looking at the box score (and only on the box score so this judgment is not based on anything I’ve seen), but there doesn’t seem to be a balance on shots. Can someone who’s been watching tell me how Kobe’s shots came about? Are they within the offense or are some just out of control?
Kobe started out 0 for something. 0 for 4 or 0 for 5, something like that. After that, he went on a neat little string where he was semi-forcing but still getting results. You look up and then wow, that was just 12 shots in the 1st quarter.
His shot attempts from that point on were standard Kobe, he just spotted himself some extra ones early on.
I know we’re all looking forward to the playoffs already but I hope that the Lakers can trade Farmar and Brown this off season. They both will not be our future pg. Farmar wants to be a star somewhere and Brown basically is good for his hops and some exciting highlights. We need a pg who can defend, run the offense, and make a reliable outside shot.
With the way Lamar, Bynum, and Gasol are playing and take into account that Lamar is shooting very well from the outside recently we need to start discussing a lineup consisting of our best 5 players. We saw how well Kobe defended one of the quicker and explosive PG’s in the NBA last night in Monta Ellis. We even saw Lamar lock down Corey Maggette at SF. Its a criminal that Phil hasn’t seen what this lineup can do even once this season. Its a shame either Gasol, Odom, or Bynum have to sit out the last 5 minutes of the game. And its just pathetic we have to watch one ingredient of our “PG poop club sandwich” (thats a Bill Simmons original) close out games. Why lord? Whyyyyyy?
im more and more convinced that farmar and brown shouldnt play together, if were ever gonna get to rest our starters then its our next 2 games, minnesota who just let the suns score 150 and the wizards who have lost 9 in a row
The Dude Abides says
Shannon was much better in the 4th quarter when he played within the framework of the triangle offense. He and Jordan need to be saved from themselves.
And Phil? Why are you giving Ammo any burn at all? He is horrible at team defense, terrible at closing out on shooters, and slow getting back in transition. Maybe this is Phil’s way of getting Sasha to play better. Get Sasha so steamed up from having to watch Ammo get first burn and totally stink up the arena, that he enters the game in the fourth quarter and plays extremely well. He was always around the ball on defense. I think he needs to see more time at PG as well, as long as Jordy’s wrist or hand is still hurting.
This proves 3 thing tonight to me.
In spite of bad shooting and defense, Fisher is are only point guard.
also its time for sasha to get Brown and Farmer minutes.
He is ready.
Kobe’s legs are tired, hence the missed free throws and airballs and blocks.
Aaron, our “best five players” being KB, Bynum, Gasol, Artest, and LO (one assumes).
I don’t think that works for any extended minutes. turnover city, what with Kobe’s current ball-handling problems. (as I mentioned earlier, LO gets stripped by quick guards that pressure the ball.)
Game wrap is up.
The Dude Abides says
91. Ammo played about 2 1/2 minutes in the first half and was part of Sacramento’s three-pronged attack (along with Jordan and Shannon) in the 2nd quarter when the Kings went from down eleven to go up by three. The three Sacramento secret weapons forced up a slew of bad shots, let their men penetrate, didn’t close out on any shooters, and continuously tried to force one-on-three or two-on-four fast breaks.
Unfortunately for the Kings, Phil kept Jordan and Ammo on the bench for the entire second half, and gave Sasha a lot of minutes (Sasha played well).
Saying that the Kobe/Artest/Odom/Gasol/Bynum lineup can’t work because Kobe’s ballhandling has been suspect lately implies that Fisher/Brown/Farmar/Sasha are handling the ball extensively in the current lineup.
It’s a lineup that may merit consideration in the playoffs, due to a slower game pace. The real problem though is exploiting the matchup we create which wouldn’t mean Kobe taking a PG into the paint, but would involve Artest attacking JR Smith, Anthony Parker, Jason Terry, Vince Carter, etc. Does Artest have an advantage there? Yes. Do I want to watch Artest as the scoring prong of the triangle? No.
you’ve still got to have someone that can bring the ball up against pressure. so, who is that in your lineup? Golden State stripped Lamar twice the other night before he was relieved of this duty.
103 and 107,
Lamar is already bringing up the ball every time he is in the game… so nothing will change.