From Kevin Ding, OC Register: It was a gray Wednesday in the middle of the country in the middle of November on the second night of a back-to-back set against a nondescript opponent. And the Lakers were great anyway. What can you really prove in an early season mismatch against a fragmented, demoralized Detroit Pistons team? Plenty, plenty. These are occasions when it’s so easy to go through the motions and play down to the level of the competition. Past Lakers teams have done that often, and allow me to flash back to my mid-November column a year ago about how the Lakers started last season:
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Seven years ago, the Lakers were Team Turmoil with all sorts of distractions on a 2003-04 team that still managed to reach the NBA Finals before falling off the cliff against the more united Detroit Pistons. Back in the venue where he suffered his first and worst loss in the championship round, Lakers coach Phil Jackson saw this season’s installment of the Lakers play with impressive pride, community and execution in a 103-90 dismantling of a Detroit team that is having its own morale issues now. “Everything seemed to go right for us,” Jackson said of the team’s fast start. Although Jackson said he has put the 2004 NBA Finals behind him, Kobe Bryant said in his KCAL/9 postgame interview that he is motivated by it every time he returns to The Palace of Auburn Hills.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Take the Lakers’ 103-90 victory Wednesday over Detroit for what it’s worth. A win against a sub-. 500 opponent can be deceiving when measuring any the areas of significance against that backdrop. So even if the Lakers clicked offensively and sharpened up defensively, I hesitate to draw big-picture implications out of it. Nonetheless, this can do wonders from a psychological standpoint after coming off a recent two-game losing streak. The Lakers rebounded in a competitive win Tuesday against Milwaukee and proved they could sustain that energy, albeit against a 4-8 team, the following night. The Lakers’ three-game trip came at the right time because the team hit a little bit of a lull after experiencing early-season success, and it was nice for the team finally to hit the road for an extended period of time. A change of scenery always helps keep things interesting and the fact the Lakers came away with two wins from it thus far shows the team has changed up its focus. We’ll see how that carries over Friday at Minnesota.
Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: If you happened to miss tonight’s game, first: congratulations on finding something better to do. Some of us weren’t so lucky. Second: please don’t misread a modest 13-point margin of victory as a sign that the outcome was ever in question. In front of a sparse and depressed-looking Palace crowd, the Lakers jammed out to an 11-2 lead and built the cushion up to 14 at halftime and 26 in the third period before letting the scrubs run out the clock. The Lakers move their record to 10-2 on the season and 2-0 on the second nights of back-to-backs.
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: I’m not referring to the pride experienced by a player or fan. Sure, it’s a sweet feeling, but similar to what Chris Rock said about taking care of your kids, the Lakers are supposed to dominate the Pistons. They’re very bad, spend more time bickering with their coach than trying to improve and sport the body language of a crew hankering to quit in ten minutes. There are no bragging rights in beating Detroit. But what this contest does offer, other than a theoretical automatic “W,” is the chance for a starter to get hurt by being on the floor too long or having to expend more effort than legitimately necessary. All Lake Show pride aside, the desire to quickly make this a laugher is more pragmatic than emotional. You want a win and everyone exiting the building in one piece. No more. No less.
Patrick Hayes, Piston Powered: So … how about that Jared Sullinger? At least people won’t grasp at straws based on how well the bench played after the Pistons’ second unit combined to shoot 14-for-42 in the team’s 103-90 loss to the Lakers Wednesday. The outcome isn’t a surprise. For the third time this season, the Pistons played a team that is among the league’s elite. For the third time (following losses to Boston and Portland), the Pistons were never in the game. Rip Hamilton was ejected about five minutes into the game, and maybe having an extra taller defensive player to throw at Kobe Bryant would’ve mattered, but it’s doubtful considering how well everyone on the Lakers played and how poorly everyone on the Pistons played. There isn’t much to analyze in the loss. The Pistons didn’t move the ball well. They didn’t defend. And those two things aren’t much different than a lot of games this season, but the difference was the Pistons compounded the problems by not making shots.
Lastly, Rob Mahoney “articulates the significance of the Lakers as a Second Creation story, a rebirth by which all NBA narratives are shaped,” on Voice of the Floor. Check it out here.
Sad to hear about Oden. I truly enjoy competition and was looking forward to years and years’ worth of rivalries with Portland. Makes you sort of “appreciate” Bynum’s “durability,” relatively speaking.
Lakers seem bored right now. Hopefully the upcoming Chicago and Utah games will pique the team’s interest.
all star voting goes online today, we should make a push for Gasol to be a starter. Think he might beat out Duncan, but Nowitzki and Durant will be tough
Chris J says
Somewhere this very moment, Henry Abbott is probably thinking, “How can I write a column blaming Kobe Bryant for Oden’s injury-marred career?”
Not that there’s any merit to the idea; he just likes taking cheap shots at Kobe.
Igor Avidon says
Most writers are talking about how Oden’s injuries are ‘flukey’ and I find that irrational. The dude is injury-prone. His injuries aren’t flukes, his body simply can’t hold up. And Drew is nearing that territory in my opinion. I find it odd how Laker fans are disillusioned with the fact that Drew is an injury-prone player. If the player gets injured constantly, especially in/around the same particular areas, that probably means they are injury prone and not victims of bad luck as most want to believe.
I feel sorry for Oden, but I’m sure he’s got at least a couple of mill in the bank to ease his tears. Having said that, i hope he still has a career in the NBA.
Speaking of Drew, since his return has been postponed until December, I wonder if there is any way this team could work out a deal for Dampier as a backup. From what I have read, it looks like this may be nothing more than a pipe dream, but you never know.
A little late on the post, and by no means am I questioning that last night’s Piston’s team was truly awful, but did anyone else start to question the bench near the end…like seriously. With about 90 seconds left Detroit jacked up a three which would have made it 6 points (I believe, haven’t looked back to check). They missed and we ended up putting one in and finishing it off, but I was a bit upset. The starters were all iced up and I thought there was a 50/50 chance of something bad happening. Not that we could do anything about it, or that I would even be overly upset, but the lack of effort/focus/drive the second unit showed for the last 6 minutes was despicable. I too am one who roots for Sash to get it back, but last night could have been it. I’m not so sure he can handle my vote of confidence anymore.
Just a truly poor last few minutes that left a rather sour taste in my mouth. Bring on ‘Sota so we can close out this challenging 3-game swing.
I don’t remember the specifics but yes there was a point last night where I said to myself whoah if Detroit hits a 3 we have a problem here.
T. Rogers says
4- You are right. Bynum is injury prone. I am not in denial about it. I just hope for 60 good regular season games and a strong playoff run. With that said, he did not have the immediate expectations Oden had. It is really a loss when you think about it. Both Bynum and Oden have the potential to be very good centers. The game could really use more true, back to the basket, power seven footers. Those guys just can’t stay healthy.
Not to knock Dwight Howard, but he would be judged very differently if he was going up against the likes of David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, and a young Shaquille O’neal night in and night out.
Darius Soriano says
A new post is up. You can take this talk of Bynum and Oden there becuase it will definitely fit right in.
Anybody who comes down awkwardly on Lamar Odom’s foot, or has Kobe Bryant crashing into their knees at a crazy angle….is… uh… by your definitions… going to be injury prone. Moreso by their 285 lb weight class. These injuries are not necessarily rooted in his physiology, but have their roots in mechanisms that caused the injury. Yes, he’s been out a lot. Yes, it’s around the same areas, but let’s not forget the mechanisms that caused the injuries. We’d all be injury prone if Kobe Bean came down on our knee like that. Sure, I think Bynum is flirting on the line of being injury-prone, but I don’t think you can conclusively say he has crossed it yet. The fact that he is a s-l-o-w healer does not help his case any. If he continues to break down like my Audi does (on its own! meaning without mechanisms to cause damage!), then sure… but it seems 50% of his injuries were caused by mechanisms other than faulty parts.
The Dude Abides says
@6. Darius and I commented in a previous post about that very thing. IMO, it was almost entirely one person on our bench doing the damage, some guy who looks like he’s wearing a bow in his hair.