Archive for the ‘Lakers’ Category

Dangit, Utah, You Let Me Down

May 5, 2008

I said you wouldn’t let this happen:

9:13 4-7 LAL Pau Gasol made Slam Dunk, Assist Derek Fisher
8:15 6-11 LAL Pau Gasol made Layup, Assist Derek Fisher
6:03 28-41 LAL Pau Gasol made Slam Dunk, Assist Kobe Bryant
8:14 49-66 LAL Pau Gasol made Layup, Assist Derek Fisher
2:13 64-73 LAL Pau Gasol made Layup, Assist Kobe Bryant
1:53 89-96 LAL Pau Gasol made Tip-in
1:36 90-98 LAL Pau Gasol made Layup, Assist Kobe Bryant
46.0 90-101 LAL Pau Gasol made Finger-roll Layup, Assist Kobe Bryant

I know it’s easier said than done, but make Kobe and Fisher finish in the lane! Better yet, make Pau work out of the post!

For the Record

May 2, 2008

I feel like I’m the only one among my Spurs-fans friends worried about this series with New Orleans. S.A. hangs their hat on defense but they struggle to match up with Chris Paul and David West. That’s why you have Bowen pulling that B.S. where he kneed Paul for no reason — a classic Bowen move when he’s a step slow. And David West’s numbers in four regular season games aren’t a fluke: 23 ppg on 58% shooting. Like another quick, face-up PF, Brandon Bass, West gives Duncan fits.

All that said, Pop will have something up his sleeve, and the Hornets somehow have to account for Ginobili. Should be good, but I think it’ll go longer than a lot of my friends expect.

POSTSCRIPT: For what it’s worth, I also think Utah beats the Lakers just because they’ll make Gasol post up one on one, where he’s terrible. No one seems to notice it, but whenever he has to work in the post on his own, he scores on like one out of every four possessions. No way Utah ever allows him to get uncontested dunks like Denver did.

God, Derek Fisher Sucks

March 25, 2008

Last night referee Bob Delaney ruined an incredible game between the Warriors and Lakers with a phantom offensive foul, which he was goaded into by a Derek Fisher flop. In case you missed it: Warriors down 2 with the ball, sideline out of bounds, 4 seconds left in OT. During the out-of-bounds play, Fisher trips, falls down, and drags Monta Ellis to the ground with him, and somehow Delaney — overcome by the spirit of Joey Crawford — jumps in and whistles Monta for the foul. Game Lakers. Longer recap here, video here.

There’s not much more to say about the call, infuriating as it was, other than “Fuck the Lakers and fuck the refs” (fans’ reaction) or “It is what it is, I don’t want to get fined” (players’ and coaches’ refrain). What is hard to figure here is why Derek Fisher’s bullshit always gets a pass. The guy’s been the league’s premier flopper dating back to the Kobe-Shaq era, and no one ever says a thing about it, except Don Nelson: “I don’t know why [Delaney] would call something like that,” he said after the game. “Especially [for] a flopper. Usually they just ignore all that stuff.”

Which is why it’s so baffling that Fisher keeps getting these calls — from impossible-to-believe stuff like this to letting him get away with more sliding charges than Duke UCLA. That a ref could ever see Fisher fall to the ground and give him the benefit of the doubt is simply hard to believe. It’s actually gotten to the point where Fisher wasn’t even trying to sell it and got the call — he was quoted after the game saying the take-down should have been a no-call.

Why? Seriously, why? It’s not like his coattail-riding game is a joy to watch. Is it because he’s known as a decent guy off the court? Is it just because he’s on the Lakers and ABC is fully aroused by the hype? Is Stern calling this in like the 2006 Finals? What’s going on here? The refs aren’t dumb, they rewatch the games, they know how often he’s duped them. WHY? Screw it, I said it:

West Coast bias.

The MVP Algorithm

March 21, 2008

The other night Reid and I found a pretty cool sports bar here in SF with League Pass and got into the standard MVP discussion with the bartender: Lebron, Kobe, or Paul. We all know the arguments for and against, and they’re all both valid and yet still unconvincing. So wouldn’t the voting have to come down to what happens down the stretch? Something like this:

IF Lakers win the West

THEN Kobe = MVP

ELSEIF Hornets win the West

THEN Paul = MVP

ELSEIF The Lakers hang close enough to justify Kobe’s career-achievement award

THEN Kobe = MVP

ELSEIF Both N.O. and L.A. fade down the stretch

THEN Lebron and his ridiculous 31-8-7.5-1.8-1 stat line = MVP

Seems about right. Tracy McGrady left out of the discussion intentionally. The bartender was a die-hard from Houston and he didn’t even bring it up. Screw the Rockets, their offense is bunk.

Sunday Observations

March 2, 2008

From Cavs-Bulls:

  1. Not in the box score: Delonte West makes the Cavs almost fun to watch. I don’t know if it makes them a better team yet, but it’s so nice to watch him push the ball and keep Mike Brown from calling a Lebron isolation every. single. play.
  2. In the box score: I normally can’t stand the prose stylings of Kelly “Cats and Kittens” Dwyer, but he’s dead on (and mercifully to the point) with this post calling out Bulls coach Jim Boylan. Boylan insists on giving minutes to an ineffective Drew Gooden, usually at the expense of Tyrus Thomas, with no justification. Gooden’s numbers after four games: 38.5% shooting, 0.5 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 27 minutes a game. And for this he’s been promoted. He’s been solid on the glass, but today I watched him give up a crucial offensive rebound at the end of the game that effectively killed any hope Chicago had.
  3. Meanwhile, Thomas’ per-minute numbers are almost identical, except he’s shot better — the result of more easy buckets and alley-oops — and racked up way more defensive stats. Anyone watching the game can see Thomas’s ceiling is higher, not just in the long-term, but also in his ability to impact games now. And, no, I’m not bitter because I’ve been waiting for Tyrus’s fantasy breakout since drafting him this year.

Lakers-Mavs:

  1. I know I shouldn’t expect thoughtful commentary from the likes of Stewart Scott, but even Michael Wilbon was disappointing during halftime of this game. With the Lakers clinging to a three-point lead, even after the Mavs shot terribly for about 15 straight minutes, all the commentators could talk about was how the Lakers were on a roll. “14-2 since they got Gasol!” they said. “What’s to stop them from rolling right into the finals?” Scott asked. Effin’ c’mon. Meanwhile, we’re told that the Mavs just don’t “look like” a great team anymore. Talk about drawing conclusions from the slimmest of evidence.
  2. Sure enough, Dallas scored the first seven points of the second half. Looks like it’ll be two good teams battling it out from here on.
  3. Contrary to an earlier assumption of ours, I’ve hardly seen Gasol working out of the high post this game. In fact, he looks to me like he’s getting almost all his buckets off dunks in the exact same role that Bynum filled in the offense — weakside alley-oops, slipping screens, running the break… I’m still waiting to see how they’ll integrate both.
  4. When Gasol goes one-on-one with a pretty good post defender like Dampier, he looks terrible. I think he’s about 1-6 — make it 1-7 just now — in isolations in the first 30 minutes of this game.
  5. Brandon Bass is a legitimately great role player, and Devean George legitimately blows.
  6. After the buzzer: that was a hell of a game. While I’m not writing the Lakers’ finals ticket by any means, they’re like Cleveland west — with Kobe on the court, they’ve always got a shot.

Warriors-Blazers:

  1. Watched this game from the nosebleeds, and it was typical, glorious Warriors madness.
  2. The bad news: Baron Davis runs, and plays defense, like a guy nursing a bad back.
  3. The good news: Davis was deferring to Monta down the stretch to initiate the offense, and the youngin’ looks totally comfortable in that role.
  4. Between Monta (age 22), Biedrins (21), and the surprising Brandan Wright (20), who looks better with every game in the starting lineup, the Warriors have one hell of core to build around next decade.
  5. A friendly tip for the concession crew: Don’t put a woman who just had back surgery on one of four booths serving the free hot dogs and cokes this game — and don’t let her take a break with no one to replace her and a line 20 deep, when it already took Amanda 25 infuriating minutes to get through her line.
  6. The Blazers hit a ton of jumpers, with guys all up and down the roster chipping in. Oden could post Tim Duncan-like assist numbers next year on kick-outs.

Go Ahead and Crown Their Asses

February 29, 2008

A little perspective on how schedules contribute to long winning streaks. Opponents with winning records are in bold.

Houston Rockets, 13 games, Jan. 29 – present:

  1. Warriors
  2. @Pacers
  3. @Bucks
  4. @T-Wolves
  5. Cavs
  6. Hawks
  7. Blazers
  8. Kings
  9. @Cavs
  10. Heat
  11. @Hornets
  12. Bulls
  13. Wizards

L.A. Lakers, 10 games, Feb. 8 – present:

  1. @Magic
  2. @Heat
  3. @Bobcats
  4. @T-Wolves
  5. Hawks
  6. @Suns (Shaq’s first game)
  7. Clippers
  8. @Sonics
  9. Blazers
  10. Heat

Portland Trailblazers, 13 games, Dec. 3 – Dec. 30

  1. @Grizz
  2. Heat
  3. Bucks
  4. @Jazz
  5. Warriors
  6. Jazz
  7. @Nuggets
  8. Hornets
  9. Raptors
  10. Nuggets
  11. Sonics
  12. T-Wolves
  13. Sixers

Since the Pau Gasol trade I’ve heard the Lakers offense referred to as a “juggernaut” at least half a dozen times and some commentators call them the team to beat. Even skeptics like Reid — who, like me, is hardly inclined to give the Rockets’ boring-ass game any cred — said the other day he was starting to bump them into the upper echelon of title contenders before Yao went down. And yet the most impressive of any of those streaks is the Blazers’. They’ve gone 12-16 since it ended.

This isn’t to say that the Lakers aren’t very good or that the Rockets weren’t playing significantly better, but I’ll wait to decide until I see both teams face some better comp.

UPDATE: Not that this proves anything definitively, but sure enough, last night the short-handed Rockets beat a decimated Grizzlies team while the Lakers lost in Portland.