As VoR said in the comments, “[there’s] not a lot to take away from the game,” but there was Lamar Odom, especially early on. we’re only three games into the season, but Lamar Odom has impressed as much as anyone in the NBA has thus far. Last night LO was active on the boards, shooting well, passing well and defending well. Odom finished the game with one of his classic lines: 16 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. Even better, he got the Lakers off to a great start — scoring on or assisting on four of the Lakers first five field goals — which the Lakers were able to maintain while strolling to a 107-83 victory.
Furthermore, Pau Gasol — like Odom — is averaging a double-double after his 26-12-4 line against the Warriors. The Lakers made a conscious effort in getting the ball inside early and Pau was able to take full advantage of the Warriors lack of size. Andres Biedrins wasn’t able to handle Gasol one-on-one, and when double teams came, it opened up looks for Kobe and Derek Fisher, who also had a huge game.
We’ve been so used to seeing Kobe’s work on the perimeter open up things for other players, but with Kobe’s knee hindering some of his athleticism, the offense has been running through the post. The inside out game really opened up things for Fish, who finished the night five for six with 14 points. He was able to step into a few shots, and knocked down a couple of those shots off the dribble that weren’t been falling for him on opening night. This is the second night Fish has shot over 50 percent this season, and I do believe that as long as the Lakers work inside out, Fish’s shot is going to continue to look better. He’s proven over and over again that when he’s able to step into his jumper, he’s been able to knock it down. Catching passes from the paint as opposed to catching passes around the perimeter makes a world of difference for a struggling shooter.
Kobe was patient and picked his spots nicely. He forced a couple of unwarranted jumpers, but when hasn’t he? I thought he looked good, had some nice feeds to Gasol, had a beautiful move on Monta Ellis on the low block and grabbed a few offensive rebounds he had no business grabbing. He finished eight for 16 in just 27 minutes and had an eFG% of 53.1 percent. What we saw against Golden State is a more efficient Kobe. He deferred to his teammates when he needed to, but was still available to create end-of-the-shot clock field goal attempts and create open looks for teammates by getting in the lane and dishing. He’s allowed Gasol and Odom to establish themselves in the paint, and posted up when he had smaller defenders on him.
Overall, I enjoyed what I saw from the Lakers. They’re playing well as a group. Phil Jackson experimented with some lineups, and not all of those experiments worked, but you can slowly see all of these parts coming together. The Lakers finally looked like the top five defensive team that they were last season. The game wasn’t close, and it was even worse than what the box score will tell you because of some late, pad stuffing buckets from the Warriors reserves. But the Lakers did a great job on the Warriors in the half court, closed out on shooters and kept them off the free throw line.
They’ll have tomorrow off, and will play their first of a back-to-back on Tuesday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Dude Abides says
Man…we’re already scary and the season is only three games old. From the previous post regarding Dorell Wright, the reason I wanted him for the team was because he’s a Matt Barnes-type player who even played some point forward for Miami last season. In other words, the prototypical PG in the Phil Jackson triangle. Mitch picked up Steve Blake and Matt Barnes instead, and I can’t say I disagree 😀
A young player like Wright (who never played any college ball) might have had trouble adjusting to the triangle offense, as opposed to the seamless manner in which BOTH Blake and Barnes have integrated themselves into the triangle already. I think that factored into Mitch’s reasoning, as well as the fact that the Lakers were already becoming an older, more veteran team with the expected departure of Farmar, Powell, Mbenga, and Morrison this past offseason (and the possible departure of Shannon), and the Ariza-for-Artest swap in the 2009 offseason.
The presence of Barnes still makes possible my fantasy Laker defensive lineup of Kobe, Barnes, and Artest on the perimeter and Drew and Pau on the interior (or Lamar). I wonder if Phil will try that in certain situations this season.
Phillip, great title for this post, Lamar Odom was responsible for the Lakers getting a jump start in the game very early on, and I hope he finally continues to play like we know he can.
“If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” – Thomas A. Edison
Memphis, Sacramento, Toronto…
then we get Portland, which could be our first true test although it’s at home.
If we can keep this level of play, there really isn’t a team that worries me much until X-mas.
Not that the games inbetween are going to be a breeze, but really, the team is playing rather well.
The Dude Abides says
RIP Maurice Lucas 🙁
I want some of whatever Knickers has been smoking.
Count me in.
Why do you continually refer to “lack of size” on the other team when talking about the success of Gasol and Odom?
Gasol 7’0, Biedrins 7’0
Odom 6’11”, Lee 6’10”
Darius Soriano says
While not wanting to speak for Phillip, it’s because those guys aren’t really that big. Biedrins is listed at 7’0″ and Lee at 6’10”, but that’s just not that accurate. Lee is in the 6’8″ range and Biedrins is 6’10”, 6’11”. Not to mention that neither player really plays their height. On the first play of the game, Odom got position on Lee, backed him down, and then shot a simple jump hook right over the top of him as if Lee were a SF.
And size also refers to body type and not just height. Biedrins is even thinner than Pau and Lee is not a bulky player by any means. This means they don’t even have the strength to battle Gasol/Odom for position and push them off their sweet spots. And that goes for Brandon Wright and Gadzurich too.
The Warriors just don’t have that much size and even the guys that they do have don’t use it well.
I’m referring to the team’s collective size. Yes, they have Andris Biedrins and David Lee, but that’s essentially where their size stops. They aren’t big across the board like the Mavericks, Celtics, Blazers (when healthy) or Rockets.
Also, Andris Biedrins is tall, but he isn’t exactly “big”. It’s not often that Pau Gasol outweighs the opposing team’s starting center. Against Warriors’ defenders, Pau can get anything he wants, not only because he’s so skilled at what he does, but he’s just physically bigger than they are. When I talk about a team’s size, I’m not just referring to how tall the team is, but a combination of height, weight and the collective size of the whole team.
T. Rogers says
I love the energy Lamar is bringing. I just don’t want him to burnout before the season is over. Lamar is 30 years old. And he has been playing constantly for the last year. One of my concerns is seeing Lamar hit a wall in the middle of the season. We need Lamar fresh for April, May, and June.
Thinking of the post about Rick Fox’s 20 game increments comes to mind. With Drew out we need Lamar to really bring it in the first 20 games. I would love to see Lamar’s minutes drop during the second and third set of 20 game increments. The last 20 games they will be battling for best record in the league (hopefully) and will need to go all out.
Have to agree with Darius- no way Lee is 6’10”. ESPN lists him at 6’9″, 250, but it also still lists him as a C for some reason and I’ve seen his weight fluctuate all over the place (admittedly this might just be because he’s been packing on bulk since coming into the league). I’m betting he’s more in the 6’8″ range as well, maybe 6’9″ with shoes.
I see Biedrins as a Marcus Camby type – athletic and fantastic cleaning up on the weakside and chasing boards (similar to LO in that he uses length, activity and instinct to chase boards instead of using bulk to stake out good real estate) but lacking the bulk to play good post-up D on big centers (Camby is still better than Biedrins in that regard, though).
Also don’t see many issues with our powder-puff schedule – road trips to Utah and Denver and maybe our home date with Portland seem to be the key games. Here’s hoping the Lakers take care of business.
Hopefully they will continue to run the offense through the post even when Kobe’s knee is 100%. That invariably results in higher percentage shots, including for Kobe.
Phillip Barnett says
Morning Links Are Up:
The Lakers kicked their premier week / weekend off to a great start, (3-0, and clearly showing they are the dominant team on the court). After two big wins against Western Conference Playoff teams and a cake walk against Golden State, there are a few things that we can take away as fact:
1) Kobe is still Kobe: He says his knee is 100%, and as always, I am inclined to believe him. The Big 3 might be playing well with each other down in Miami, but Kobe has proven after this week that even with a new cast of teammates, he continues to be the best scorer, facilitator, and play maker in the league. Even with limited minutes, he looks fresh as he did with a #8 jersey.
2) Everyone is on the same page: No Laker is out to get theirs. Everyone who was signed during the off season came to the Lakers hungry for a ring and ready to sacrifice whatever is necessary to get it. They know that they are coming to a team with the best player, coach, and owner in the league; a triple threat if you ask me. Steve Blake looks like he has a PhD in the triangle offense, Matt Barnes is playing to win, not to score, (confirmed in Golden State), and everyone else is doing their part.
3) Lakers are a team of surgeons, and Phil is the doctor: They play like they are conducting surgery in that each play is conducted with precision and confidence, two necessary qualities you want your surgeon to have while fixing you. They is mainly because everyone trusts one another. Those that stayed with the team this year, (Kobe, LO, Pau, Artest, Bynum, Brown, Mr. Sharipova, LLLUUUKKKEEE, and of course, D-Fish,) trust one another, and have guided the newcomers to fit right into their championship style of play.
Final Question: What more must happen to ensure a championship? This is a team of scattered injuries, (Bynum, Luke, Kobe, etc…) which could affect tight games. Do you limit minutes, or simply don’t fix anything that isn’t broken yet?
>Kobe is still Kobe: He says his knee is 100%, and as always, I am inclined to believe him.
you’d be in the minority on that, then..
Whom do you believe regarding Kobe’s knee injury?
22% KB “I’m 100 percent.”
78% PJ “He’s not 100 percent.”
(Total votes: 4883)