Crucifido's Corner

Crucifido's Corner

Postby crucifido on Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:37 pm

Hand in hand with Sky's great analysis and the grading players thread, I thought I'd throw forth my first thoughts of the year for what it's worth.

The End Of The Long Hot Summer

Well Game 1 of the inimitable pre-season is in the books and despite the outcome; there was a ton of positives to take from it - don'tcha think?

A good last second shot game for the first game out of the chute was more than anyone expected. Some good hustle work by the Laker youth and some lazy play by Laker vets, all showing that it indeed was the first game back from possibly the Lakers' longest summer in recent memory.

Losing there at the end was a bummer, but no major deal. What spoke volumes to me was that Crittenton was visibly angry that he let Hudson get that shot off. In an odd way I'm glad Hudson hit that shot in on him. Having something like that happen to him so early on can provide some good inspiration to keep on working on defense.

It's only the pre-season but he showed some fire for winning that I loved to see. I honestly had no idea what kind of player Crittenton was coming into this pre-season, but if he maintains any kind mental acuity he showed last night, Farmar is in for the fight of his life for playing time.

As with all pre-season games, the winning and losing doesn't matter so much as the players trying to shake the rust off and get back into the mode of NBA level competition.

Man was it good to see Radmanovic start draining those shots. It's only one game (pre-season no less), but if he comes close to that kind of stroke during the season, the Laker offense will change dramatically for the better.

They're all still having trouble getting back on D in transition. It still looks to be an Achilles heel of the Laker defense. Again, its only Game 1, but I would hope that Phil and company would be urging all of the Lakers to pay as much attention to running defense as they're trying to pay to running offense this year.

Farmar and Bynum look like totally different players physically. While Bynum still looked a bit lost once the ball got into the middle on offense, he was showing some patience on the block that wasn't even close to being there last year.

Farmar looks like an NBA player. Last year, he seemed tentative and unsure, but in a real short span of time Farmar's confidence seemed to have soared. That can be nothing but healthy for him and the Laker team.

Bryant: C
(C being average I thought Kobe looked mildly disinterested, careless and unsupportive last night, but again its only pre-season, so no big whoop)

Mihm: C
(Good to just see him back on the court, albeit a bit rickety. While his footwork was noticeably off-time, the tenacity on the boards was still there and that will be a big help)

Turiaf: B
(I admit, I have a tough time bagging on Ronny's game in any way. The main thing for Ronny is tempering enthusiasm with control)

Fisher: B
(Another good guy to see back in Laker colors. It felt right having him run the offense and the rest of the team looked calmer from the get go. He still loves going udner those screens though - argh)

Radmanovic: A
(The real question is - was this a fluke or is his shot going to come back to life? If he can throw down 12 - 15 a game, the Lakers are a vastly improved team - offensively)

Critenton: A
(For having all Laker eyes on him, you had to be happy with what you saw. Poise, control and confidence from a rookie is rare. That crossover on Croshere - my, my, my that was just sweet)

Farmar: A
(Great skill and confidence that wasn't there last year. There was a no fear attitude to his game that was fantastic to see surface.)

Bynum: C
(With everyone looking at Bynum expecting some all-star center to immediately emerge, Andrew did O.K.. He still needs to be more forthright in his footwork and rebound positioning, but all in all a decent showing.)

Vujacic: A
(Was that the same player? Taking the ball to the rack and genuinely working every second on the floor was both unexpected and brilliant to see from the Lakers' most baffling player)

Evans: D
(Nothing seemed to be falling and Maurice look distracted on defense. Nothing to freak out about, just definite symptoms of the off-season.)

Cook: F
(He just had a terrible game. There was no life in his step or work on either end. I expect clunky play in the pre-season, but man Cook just looked sleepy.)

Patterson: F
(Manic energy, but no results to speak of. In this one game, he looked like nothing more than typical camp chum.)

Again guys, no big whoop here. If they lost by 50 or won by 30 it matters not. This is nothing more than organized scrimmages to get everyone back in the mindset of playing day to day.

It was obvious that some worked on their game in summer and others were lax in their effort, but in the end its only one game.

I know I can sometimes be an eternal optimist (to my detriment sometimes), but the Lakers look like they could stir up some problems in the West. The comeback was great to see with the young guys. All of it done without a bona fide leader on the floor, no Odom, no Walton, no post defense from Kwame - just hustle and effort. In the end, that has to encouraging to even the most ardent of Laker doubters.

By the way - basketball season's back!!! Sweeeeeeet!!
Last edited by crucifido on Fri Oct 12, 2007 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." - Winston Churchill
User avatar
crucifido
Clublakers Analyst
 
Posts: 4957
Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 10:11 pm
Location: Costa Mesa, California

Postby Satan on Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:46 pm

Good to see the corner back! Great read as usual. :jam2:

What did you think of Java's D?
Peter - "But then Jesus, what religion should our family be?"
Jesus - "Six of one, they're all complete crap."
User avatar
Satan

 
Posts: 20768
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 4:23 pm
Location: Fist in the air in the land of hypocricy.

Postby Critical Beatdown on Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:08 pm

Satan wrote:Good to see the corner back! Great read as usual. :jam2:
...as I enter your mind, decorate and paint my sign...LA Lakers will be 2008-09 NBA Champions!
User avatar
Critical Beatdown

 
Posts: 11101
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 6:04 pm

Postby LkrsOvrMia on Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:10 pm

Critical Beatdown wrote:
Satan wrote:Good to see the corner back! Great read as usual. :jam2:
"Why can't America realize that falling in love with Kobe doesn't mean breaking up with Michael?" Rick Reilly

Bryant, who will be representing Team USA for the first time, told Gasol: "Being that we lost this series, you (guys) have no chance at a gold medal. I ain't goin' 0 for 2, homie."
User avatar
LkrsOvrMia

 
Posts: 3355
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:47 am
Location: "Sittin' on top of the world with my legs hanging free." -Dave Matthews

Postby Combobreaker on Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:28 pm

Javaris, if he played over 30 min a game with exclusively Bynum and Kwame, I predict will have THE best defensive PER of the point guards in the league. People often blame Fish's lack of D on the center for not showing, that's bull. When you say that it takes two , that's exactly what it means, it takes two. It doesn't mean that the point guard should be relieved of all responsibilities.

It's really this simple. If one guy is too short or too slow, then the other guy has to compensate. If a point guard is long, he can take away certain things like the point guard trying to move to his left and rise up for a shot. I can already envision Javaris trying to funnel his man at 8 o'clock with Bynum being ready to contest the shot with his length. IMO, it would take perfect spacing and execution for the opposing team's main pick-and-roll guys to score, that is, unless the other team's center can shoot the three. Right now, I simply do not see a better defensive combination than Bynum/Kwame and Crittenton. And I don't see too many point guards trying to take Crittenton one-on-one, due to his size.

Now the defensive PER can be influenced by how much your point guard is able to put the opposing point guard work or in foul trouble(which is why Nash's defensive PER always looks better than his defense suggests). But I think Javaris has enough offense to do that.
Combobreaker

 
Posts: 1054
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:48 am

Postby Propulsion on Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:35 pm

Great article. Subscribed!
User avatar
Propulsion

 
Posts: 3614
Joined: Sun May 16, 2004 12:20 am
Location: Northridge

Postby Weezy on Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:59 pm

Combobreaker wrote:Javaris, if he played over 30 min a game with exclusively Bynum and Kwame, I predict will have THE best defensive PER of the point guards in the league.


Are you serious with this? :man3: He's played one preseason game, but if you give him 30 mpg he'll have the best defensive PER for a PG in the league? Dont' know about that one, kinda early for that.
User avatar
Weezy
CL Global Moderator
 
Posts: 50866
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 11:14 am
Location: Anaheim, CA

Postby GCMD on Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:11 pm

Too many pieces missing...


No D.
Poor offensive execution...
Key players not ready (LO/Bynum/Luke/Kwame/Mihm)...

Not happy about early reports...
Feel free to ignore anything I say...

Image
User avatar
GCMD

 
Posts: 11124
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:24 pm

Postby Combobreaker on Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:17 pm

Weezy wrote:
Combobreaker wrote:Javaris, if he played over 30 min a game with exclusively Bynum and Kwame, I predict will have THE best defensive PER of the point guards in the league.


Are you serious with this? :man3: He's played one preseason game, but if you give him 30 mpg he'll have the best defensive PER for a PG in the league? Dont' know about that one, kinda early for that.


I probably should have said one of the best, but it wouldn't emphasize my point enough. I'm saying that theoritically, we have the best center/point defensive combination in the league.

Look around the league. The only other point guard known as a good defender is Chauncey, but who's his center, Nazr? Don't make me laugh.
Combobreaker

 
Posts: 1054
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:48 am

Postby Kobe Bryant 8 on Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:29 pm

Combobreaker wrote:
Weezy wrote:
Combobreaker wrote:Javaris, if he played over 30 min a game with exclusively Bynum and Kwame, I predict will have THE best defensive PER of the point guards in the league.


Are you serious with this? :man3: He's played one preseason game, but if you give him 30 mpg he'll have the best defensive PER for a PG in the league? Dont' know about that one, kinda early for that.


I probably should have said one of the best, but it wouldn't emphasize my point enough. I'm saying that theoritically, we have the best center/point defensive combination in the league.

Look around the league. The only other point guard known as a good defender is Chauncey, but who's his center, Nazr? Don't make me laugh.


Jason Kidd? Devin Harris? Rondo?
Image

"Who's got it better than us? NOOOOOO BODY!" - Jim Harbaugh

Hip-Hop Fans: DJ KB8 Presents - Felt 3: The Remixes (Coming Soon)
User avatar
Kobe Bryant 8
CL's Voice of Reason
 
Posts: 21902
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:21 pm

Postby GCMD on Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:34 pm

Kobe Bryant 8 wrote:
Combobreaker wrote:
Weezy wrote:
Combobreaker wrote:Javaris, if he played over 30 min a game with exclusively Bynum and Kwame, I predict will have THE best defensive PER of the point guards in the league.


Are you serious with this? :man3: He's played one preseason game, but if you give him 30 mpg he'll have the best defensive PER for a PG in the league? Dont' know about that one, kinda early for that.


I probably should have said one of the best, but it wouldn't emphasize my point enough. I'm saying that theoritically, we have the best center/point defensive combination in the league.

Look around the league. The only other point guard known as a good defender is Chauncey, but who's his center, Nazr? Don't make me laugh.


Jason Kidd? Devin Harris? Rondo?


Chris Paul?
Kirk Hinrich?
Feel free to ignore anything I say...

Image
User avatar
GCMD

 
Posts: 11124
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:24 pm

Postby Combobreaker on Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:54 pm

Chris Paul gets a lot of steals, but I wouldn't considered him a good defender. Devin Harris and Heinrich play SGs more than PGs, I think. Rondo doesn't have the offense to play full-time.
Combobreaker

 
Posts: 1054
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:48 am

Postby GCMD on Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:02 pm

Combobreaker wrote:Chris Paul gets a lot of steals, but I wouldn't considered him a good defender. Devin Harris and Heinrich play SGs more than PGs, I think. Rondo doesn't have the offense to play full-time.


W-e...
Feel free to ignore anything I say...

Image
User avatar
GCMD

 
Posts: 11124
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:24 pm

Postby Battle Tested20 on Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:21 pm

Critical Beatdown wrote:
Satan wrote:Good to see the corner back! Great read as usual. :jam2:
Image
"I just put my faith in God. Through him we can do all things"
- Kobe Bryant, March 24, 2004
User avatar
Battle Tested20

 
Posts: 11701
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:39 pm
Location: San Diego, CA (SDSU)

Postby LoyalLakerfan44 on Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:00 pm

GCMD wrote:Too many pieces missing...


No D.
Poor offensive execution...
Key players not ready (LO/Bynum/Luke/Kwame/Mihm)...

Not happy about early reports...


I agree pre-season or not the team is doing exactly what they were doing at the end of last season. Zero defense, no anchor in the middle, poor execution of offense with way too many turnovers. The reality is the Lakers are basically the same team with one old face and a new promising rookie. The problems that hampered the Lakers last season will hamper them again this season.
Some say a 50 game win season I say stop smoking that pipe, they will barely win 41 games and that is without any injuries. Bottom line Lakers will suck and all the excuses in Laker forums will turn into more anger and panic.
Kobe sees this Phil sees this but there is nothing they can do except keep going and collect their pay check.
If Phil does not sign a new contract you can bet he knows this team is not worth his efforts. The talent is not there and of course Kobe will not be there.
LoyalLakerfan44

 
Posts: 1295
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2005 7:44 pm

Postby c.Lin on Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:17 pm

Crucifido's Corner is back! One more reason to frequent the boards more. :jam2:
User avatar
c.Lin

 
Posts: 5249
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2004 2:01 pm
Location: South Bay

Postby sam shile on Sat Oct 13, 2007 12:18 am

c.Lin wrote:Crucifido's Corner is back! One more reason to frequent the boards more. :jam2:


I toally agree this guy's game analysis is really good. :bow: He sees alot of the small things that stand out. Keep up the good work bro.
Fan#2 of the "White Mamba" for over a span of 5 games. Go Sasha

Go Lakers.
User avatar
sam shile

 
Posts: 139
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:01 pm

Postby jOeyB7000 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 9:19 pm

sam shile wrote:
c.Lin wrote:Crucifido's Corner is back! One more reason to frequent the boards more. :jam2:


I toally agree this guy's game analysis is really good. :bow: He sees alot of the small things that stand out. Keep up the good work bro.


Cruc's Corner is the shizzzz!! Keep it up Cruc. Even though I'm disappointed that you didn't have a write up for Thursday night's game :mad1: . who do you think you are taking days off :disagree: . lol jk bro. Or maybe I missed it or something.
User avatar
jOeyB7000

 
Posts: 2269
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 3:23 pm
Location: L.A.

Postby crucifido on Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:48 pm

Lakers vs. Rockets (Game 1 10/30/2007)

And Away We Go

After the most tumultuous off-season the Lakers have seen in quite some time, it was good to get back to some actual ball being played.

Coming into the game there was a litany of questions that had no answer. One big question was how the team will behave as a unit when it matters. The guys came out into the first quarter of play with a look of getting down to business. For the majority of that first period it looked as if the weight of everything that happened might actually serve to bind this team.

Off the bat it was good to see Kwame play with some defensive authority in the post. I had my doubts as to whether he should have started, though I know it was exclusively for defensive purposes I thought that starting Bynum would not only get the team off to a more active start but also serve to give Andrew a bit of a kick in the butt to perform sooner rather than later. That aside, it was good to see Kwame play the first quarter with some energy. He excelled at his trap and dip back into the post defense. However, as is the problem with Kwame all too often he was more than absent (both in mind and play) on the offensive end. For Kwame to have a real impact on the game, the strength he plays defense with has to be transferred at least somewhat to the offensive end.

Also in his Staples Center regular season return there was something a bit new from Derek Fisher. Seeing him push the ball into the middle to pout the Rockets on their heels a bit was surprising and welcome. He was driving the ball into the teeth of the D, something that was sorely lacking with last season’s point guard core. That alone was opening up chances for cleaner and quicker rotation on the high post. He was still his vintage step slow on defense. There was too much relying on Kobe to cover up a couple instances slow lateral motion, but overall he handled the spe3ed of Alston with a decent amount of focus. Again, the biggest impact of Fisher on this year’s edition of the Lakers won’t necessarily be his numbers, but rather his state of mind rubbing off on the rest of the guys.

Ronny started this game with the trademark hustle that got him the starting spot. Right from the first scrum down low Ronny was getting immediately into the mix and causing Houston to send an extra man down low to recover what last year would’ve been an easy board. Best of all was Ronny’s contesting each and every shot that was within his reach. There was not a shot one without a hand in the face or some kind of run at a shooter. Take that with the no easy buckets style of physical defense in the post and there are few players on the Laker squad that work with as much vigor as Ronny does. That being said there was some scattered play by Ronny within that first quarter especially. Again, Ronny’s biggest test going forward will be tempering enthusiasm with control.

There was no lock down defense on the perimeter in the first half, but the amount of hustle pressure that was put on the Rockets showed that the Lakers have the conditioning (more importantly the know-how) to make teams move the ball outside of the easy pace teams were before.

With that in mind I’m still baffled that a there is a contingency of people that can’t see the work Luke Walton does out there. One big jump from last year was the help defense Luke was thrown out there. Not only was he helping but his hands were staying active, creating hurried passes and more than a few flubbed catches. Luke was also taking Fisher’s approach on offense. He was probing the inside far more than usual, making the Rockets settle back off the mid-range game. When he was in the key his passing skills and ability to find that open mid-range pass was heightened. More aggressive play with the ball from Luke can take the much ballyhooed initiator role out of the hands of Kobe and others, allowing them to move off the ball in to easier scoring positions.

Andrew gave it decent effort on defense, but I’m not so sold that Andrew should be trapping on the perimeter as much as he was. Particularly when help on the inside is at a minimum when its him and Ronny on the court. Offensively Bynum looked tentative as if he was expecting the foul to be called on him before he even left his feet. That confidence will come with time, but it won’t get started until Andrew asserts himself – on both ends of the court.

What stood out most team wise to me in the first half of play was that the Lakers weren’t getting as instantly down in the mouth when the game started leaning to the Rockets’ favor. If shots were missed they were getting back on defense without the amount of sulking that became all too familiar last season.

Then came the second half…

Not only did the Lakers sink into the hated “only looking for Kobe” mode, they came into the second half with absolutely zero energy. Even if harsh words were said in the locker room at halftime, this team (though young) should know better by now that they cannot waltz into the 3rd quarter with a casual attitude. Most games are won and lost in the 3rd and unfortunately the laziness that plagued this team last season in the 3rd, reared its ugly head yet again.

They fell down and tripped into the pit of not communicating again. That first half was a lot of help defense, pointing out to others where help was needed and talking on both ends. The Rockets when on their run, and suddenly the court got quiet. That simply can’t happen. No matter what you may feel about someone off the court, on the court is about getting the job done. No team can get that job done if all communication slips as much and often as it did this game.

That and the annoying amount of stagnation not only played into the Rockets momentum, but it took any kind of bounce in the Lakers step completely away.
When the Lakers were at their best this game was when they were active on defense. I know shocking huh? When hands were moving and traps were quick and decisive good things happened. The latter half of the 4th quarter will attest to that.

That energy and desire they showed then needs to be there all game. It was fantastic to see Luke, Kobe, Bynum and a couple others finally use the sideline as another defender and jump on picked up dribbles without hesitation. As soon as the Lakers got back into that mindset you could see how easily and quickly that deficit turned into a tie game.

It was almost a storybook type of finish with Derek hitting that shot, but in the end it wasn’t the heartbreaking 3 by Battier that beat the Lakers. It was free throws that lost the game.

On that note, it was obvious from someone as efficient as Kobe is from the line that the shadow of what has happened over the last couple of months is still hanging heavily on the team. As Magic said in the post-game the Lakers need to make a public announcement as to the fate of Kobe and the Lakers’ relationship. This team will continue to play with an unfair gloom over their heads until the issue is resolved either way.

And Kobe, well, big surprise here – he’s still the NBA’s best player – and he’s still a Laker. There was a lot on his mind tonight and like him or not you have got to be in awe of someone that put up a high level performance like that with minimal help and minimal mental peace. I can rip on the multiple ill-advised takes into the teeth of the defense. But it did get the Rockets into the penalty and it did keep the Lakers alive in the game while nobody else chose to step up. Sure, it’d be great to not see Kobe do or feel he has to do that, but it was what it was tonight. With no other option on the court, something had to be done to try and win the day.

One other thing about Kobe, whether you agree with his stance or you side with the Laker organization (it’s sad to even type that kind of division within the Lakers), he’s still a Laker.

Looking for a positive? Well there was big one tonight. Think about it. All of this junk that happened in the summer, no Odom, no Radmanovic, a slew of missed free throws, an absent-minded 3rd quarter and they still only lost by 2 to one of the West’s stronger teams. If they can build on that defensive hustle/help defense and keep pushing the ball into defenses rather than waiting for them to set then push, good things can happen this year.
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." - Winston Churchill
User avatar
crucifido
Clublakers Analyst
 
Posts: 4957
Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 10:11 pm
Location: Costa Mesa, California

Postby BDG on Wed Oct 31, 2007 12:37 pm

The Corner is back. :man1:

Moving this to the Blogs forum. :beer:
Image
Slava laughed at the suggestion his skills might be affected by the down time. "Are you kidding?" he said. "Basketball is like ball. It's all a circle."

BEST VIDEO EVER ... AND AND THE SECOND BEST.
User avatar
BDG
Retired Admin
 
Posts: 40952
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2003 10:45 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Postby BDG on Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:58 pm

Off the bat it was good to see Kwame play with some defensive authority in the post. I had my doubts as to whether he should have started, though I know it was exclusively for defensive purposes I thought that starting Bynum would not only get the team off to a more active start but also serve to give Andrew a bit of a kick in the butt to perform sooner rather than later.
I felt the same way, but I knew we should at least start Kwame for the Rockets game because of how he matches up with Yao.

I wouldn't mind starting Andrew against some less intimidating centers to build his confidence up.

Phil possibly could rotate Kwame and Andrew right now as starters on a game-by-game basis (for matchup purposes). That is, as long as it doesn't make their roles confusing.
Image
Slava laughed at the suggestion his skills might be affected by the down time. "Are you kidding?" he said. "Basketball is like ball. It's all a circle."

BEST VIDEO EVER ... AND AND THE SECOND BEST.
User avatar
BDG
Retired Admin
 
Posts: 40952
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2003 10:45 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Postby crucifido on Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:15 am

Lakers vs. Hornets (Game 4 11/6/2007)

About This 3 Point Thing…

This game was lost predominantly because of 2 things, and it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure ‘em out.

First, I still have no idea, let alone the Lakers who have made it a chronic habit over the last couple of years, don’t stay at home on shooters. In the case of Stojakovic, the guy brings nothing else to the table but shooting. No matter who was guarding him, Luke, Vladi, Kobe, it didn’t matter. For some reason or another he was constantly left alone. I can see the problem of not keeping up with a shooter who has another element to his game, but seriously, if Peja is virtually incapable of doing anything else.

I can see Stojakovic getting off somewhere around 15 points or so, but there is no excuse other than absent-minded defense as to why he came away with 30+ tonight. Argh!! This is one of my big fat frustrations with this team sometimes. They seem to have an aversion to (at least try to) shutting down what one-faceted players do best.

Worse yet the hot shooting of a wide open Stojakovic led to another mammoth reason the Lakers fell flat from the end of the 3rd into the 4th quarter. They decided to get into a shooting contest with him. Shooting has never been on e of the Lakers’ fortes. Its fine if guys like Radmanovic occasionally throws up an open look, or Kobe creates a good chance outside of the line, but there’s no reason to completely abandon what had kept them in the game for the sake of trying to catch up with something they don’t excel at.

It’s a terrible affliction, this three point thing. If there are chances opening up via the offense you run to win games, cool. Other than that there’s no reason to go away from what was looking like a strong inside game in the 2nd and most of the 3rd for a long distance shootout.

The Lakers were crazy successful in this game when the ball was moving and doing most of the foot work for them. When Farmar was probing the middle or pushing the ball into the paint to pull people off of post play it was great. Bynum was once again active in the mid and low post (though his shots weren’t falling due to a touch of the T-Rex arms) . Ronny was filling out space and creating lanes along the side of the key well. Mihm was doing a good job of making room for himself in the low post, yet for some reason all of that hard work got ignored.

Well not some reason, it was the threes that killed the beast tonight. As Chick once said, “Live by the 3 – die by the 3”. Tonight, the Lakers out and out kicked the bucket due to that unhealthy fascination with the bomb.

One other point of interest tonight was the waning paint play by the Lakers. They’ve shown the importance of controlling the paint in the last couple of wins. More importantly, they need to control their own key at all times.

The waltzes down the middle by Paul and the lateral cuts through the key shouldn’t be allowed. In that Utah game there was such stifling defense along the baselines by the Lakers that the Jazz had no choice but to play an inactive post game and push shots up from out of their comfort zone. The Lakers were sporadic at best on defense. The signs of what we saw the last 3 games were there, but they were too spotty to be as effective as they were before.

The turnovers were a problem in that first half but thankfully cleaned up when they came out of the locker room into the 3rd. What made the turnover amount hurt the Lakers less was the interior defense the Lakers showed. They had a good chunk of this game where they made inside play incredibly difficult for the Hornets. If everyone had stayed home on Stojakovic, the inside would’ve continued to have been locked down. However, again, because of the doubling off of shooters, inside play (including those trounces through the middle by Paul) got easier by the minute in the 4th.

I guess it was a good game for people to see just how associated everything on defense can be. When one element of your defense is being fumbled, the rest falls down pretty quickly.

Alright, alright, enough of the bad stuff. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a lot of the good things the Lakers did in this game as well.

Like I said before, Mihm did a real good job of defensive positioning in the paint. There was few to no times when Chris (once he got in there) was pushed out of the block. That kind of leg and foot strength from Chris after that brutal injury of last year was encouraging to see.

I still find myself cringing when Ronny throws up his 12 footer from just outside of the elbow, but slowly, you can see him getting pretty dang confident about it. That can do nothing but good things for not only Ronny’s game, but for any other big man he’s playing with as well. The hustle of course was there again from Ronny tonight. I mean the guy brings 100% every minute he’s on the floor.

Between his clock awareness, quick footwork, intelligent play in the full and half court, developing shot and his confidence in the system, Farmar is rounding out to be a legit point guard. It’s got to make Phil take a second look at his tall guard theory. In only 4 games the apprehensiveness the team (and a lot of fans) showed when he came into the game is disappearing.

Bynum’s size was making Chandler do a second take on his otherwise aggressive rebounding. He’s using his length incredibly well. That’s something that was desperately needed to be improved on from last year, and he’s done just that. The offense comes easy to Andrew, you can see that. The emotion he was showing there was something truly gratifying to watch. Emotion like that comes from being confident in what you’re doing. The slump-shouldered play on both ends is taking a back seat here and there. It’s not entirely gone, but Andrew looks to be getting it.

Kobe’s defense was once again inspiring to watch. This sudden affection and timing on weak side shot blocking is a big help in the middle. He’s hustling amazingly fast from perimeter defense to baseline defense. Swinging over from weak to strong looking for the swat or helping out on the low posts is taking away the foul parade from the Laker bigs. Though his first half was unusually stagnant on offense (which is what seemed to knock him out of his typical rhythm) the defense he was playing was more than making up for it.

Team wise hands are more pass ready this year. There’s less passes flying through everyone’s hands. The high amount of close shots, lay-ups and strong finishes attribute some of their stuff to that readiness for the ball. That readiness is taking direct advantage of Luke’s increasingly good court vision and Kobe’s ability to open up shots for everyone.

Anyway, it was a loss sure, but it wasn’t something that was a fundamentally incurable problem. Stay at home on shooters and don’t get caught up in shooting contests.

Now it’s time not take the Wolves for granted and get healthy on a bad team in Minnesota – a team the Lakers should easily handle.

One last thing – AAAAAAAAAA!!! – o.k. had to get it out of y system.
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." - Winston Churchill
User avatar
crucifido
Clublakers Analyst
 
Posts: 4957
Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 10:11 pm
Location: Costa Mesa, California

Postby Satan on Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:02 pm

Good corner as usual.

I was pulling my hair out every time Peja was left alone... you just knew Paul was going to hit him with a pass in a second or two.

Two of the problems you mentioned are IMO highly related. Bynum's slumping shoulders and the team going away from inside play. There are only so many times the kid can sprint up and down the floor without getting touches before he starts to feel uninvolved. I also think after the long pause in going inside Bynum forced it up a few times where he might normally have passed it back out.
Peter - "But then Jesus, what religion should our family be?"
Jesus - "Six of one, they're all complete crap."
User avatar
Satan

 
Posts: 20768
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 4:23 pm
Location: Fist in the air in the land of hypocricy.

Your Articles

Postby Killer on Sat Nov 10, 2007 12:55 am

Crucifido: experiencing problems reading your articles. Please tell the site designer (or whoever is responsible for posting your articles) that they are cutting off the left side of your article that is linked to the homepage with too many graphics, making the article virtually unreadable, as half the words on the left are blocked out by graphics. Your articles are by far the most concise with accurate analysis and I like to read them, but cannot do so with this new format. Thanks and keep up the good work.
Killer

 
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue May 01, 2007 12:40 am

Postby crucifido on Sat Nov 10, 2007 3:14 am

Lakers vs. Wolves (Game 5 11/9/2007)

Unselfishness Should Be The Trademark OF This Season

If you watch any game with me, or you happen to run through one of my rants here real quick, you’ll know that I absolutely hate playing the lower tier teams of the NBA. I particularly don’t like watching the Lakers play these teams.

The last couple of years have shown all of us that at the very least the Lakers can usually be counted on to play to the level of their competition. Now it’s not like tonight’s game was some anomaly against that, but it was good to see the team pull their selves up off the floor of complacency to finish off a team that should’ve been finished off in the first half.

When you play teams like the Wolves (who most, including myself, will be amongst the league’s worst tams by season’s end) you have got to come into the game looking to put them away early. There are few things more dangerous than letting a bad team get confidence when they play you. Teams like the Wolves are playing for nothing more than development anyway, and that loose style of play can be utterly destructive if you let them get going.

That first quarter had me squirming in my seat muttering to myself to please not let this game be one of the regrettable losses towards the end of the year when every win matters. Luckily though by the time the end of the 2nd quarter rolled around it looked like they realized the game started.

It was great to have another long player in the post with Odom coming back. Honestly, whether you like the guy or not, you have to admit he played pretty well in his season debut. I loved him getting down into the post on half court sets. I saw far more baseline runs from Odom than I have in the past and as always, his rebounding on the offensive end was a much need boost and inspiration. Moving Odom back down to small forward is a sketchy thing sometimes, but in this game there was little damage to be done. It was a fortunate warm-up game for Lamar.

Kobe this game delivered another astounding defensive performance. He all but sealed off any post pass into the mid post, took away cuts through the key from weak to strong or otherwise and once again was an intimidating presence coming off the weak side of the ball for attempted blocks. In this short season you can see drivers already adjusting their dribble for Kobe. What I really liked seeing tonight was the concentrated effort that Kobe (and Lamar as well) were trying to get Andrew involved when they could. There was no apprehension in running the two man game between Kobe and Bynum. I would assume it’s from Kobe beginning to have a little more faith in Andrew’s ability. That can be nothing but positive.

Between Bynum or Mihm filling the lane, Lamar’s length on the blocks and Kobe roving defense from perimeter to baseline, the Lakers are putting together an interesting defensive profile.

Speaking of that, it’s great to see the foul parade for Mihm (and any other Laker center0 come to an end. Derek’s time with Jerry Sloan seemed to have shored up his defense quite a bit5. Although there were still 4 or 5 dives under screens for no apparent reason, Derek’s strength and better than before lateral movement is allowing the Laker big men to not have to play 1 on 3 for half the game.

With Derek and Kobe playing strong (and above all communicative) defense on the perimeter, its allowed everyone to play man to man assignments like they should be played – 1 on 1.

On to Mihm, I can see why Phil is starting him, much as I could with Kwame, but the one thing that was bothering me about Chris’s game tonight was his reversion back to biting on far too many head fakes. He still has the will to try and block every shot, when grounded defense was winning the day with Ronny and Andrew. Aside from that, Chris’s benefits on the offensive end over Kwame are instantly obvious. Not only is he able to handle the ball (let alone actually catch it), he has a small array of moves that tend to pull big men out of the paint. Whether Chris knows it or not, most of his face up and turn offense fades out of the key. It’s not a bad thing per say, it gives others clear passage in the key to get rebound position or get to the passing angles the triangle dictates.

The player of the game for me was without a doubt Turiaf. I don’t think enough can be said about how his game has taken a major leap forward. We all knew the drive was there, but in these 5 games Ronny has shown a propensity for pretty dang strong post defense. His energy and tenacious positioning underneath tonight were key in waking the Lakers up. A couple other Laker front court players can learn one valuable lesson from Ronny. Ronny has been getting early, deep and strong offensive position on nearly every set down the court. There’s no hesitation in him getting to where he has to be. That kind of aggressive movement can help out Bynum, Mihm and Brown as well. All around Turiaf’s game was what kept the Lakers’ heart going when it looked like it might be an inexcusable game.

I know Bynum’s defense is still a work in progress but between Ronny and Bynum being on the floor together I think it gives the Lakers an imposing front court presence. Between Bynum’s strong lower body and Ronny’s energy you can see every team the Lakers have played so far have trouble getting around, by or past either one of them. For me, it’s another case for Bynum starting here and there – if not all the time.

How about that Farmar, huh? Drafting Crittenton could have been the best unintentional draft pick Mitch has ever made. It has obviously pushed Jordan to both expand and control his game. That pass to Andrew in traffic was an incredible thing to see from a second year back-up point guard. There were a couple times tonight when Jordan was letting the Wolves’ guards get by him to his right. He does need to temper his anticipation of a screen with making positive lateral motion with his man. Otherwise, you have to be ultra-impressed with the strides that Farmar’s made in just one year.

Luke, well, it was just another good game from him. The transition to the bench (which by the way, the Lakers’ bench is looking a touch formidable right now) didn’t affect his performance or drive one bit. That’s the kind of guy that you want on your team. Not only was his effort to get into the paint above average tonight, but his activity within post sets and broken plays was strong as strong could be. A little too much over-passing and overzealous passing from time to time, but it’s hard to find too much wrong with Luke’s skill set this season.

What they have to work on for this tough little road trip are the obvious things; free throws and turnovers. The good thing about those gaping faults in the Laker game right now is that they’re not an irreparable affliction. Most of the turnovers are from either ill-advised or forced passes and forced play in the middle. Kobe especially has got to be wary (when the fouls aren’t coming his way) of taking every possession he gets into the teeth of the defense. He plays the whistle a bit too much and often throws up a prayer or throws an irretrievable pass.

Free throws- well just make ‘em – they’re free!

Lastly, going into this trip the Lakers have got to start making adjustments to the hot hand. If someone is going off or better yet when they’re starting a shot streak adjust the defense towards them. Don’t let someone get a career night going before you realize that stopping them might help out a bit.

Alright, it’s off to the Texas 2=step they go. 1-1 would be decent, 2-0 would be great, but 0-2 is unacceptable. Focus, play defense, share the ball and hustle at every turn.
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." - Winston Churchill
User avatar
crucifido
Clublakers Analyst
 
Posts: 4957
Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 10:11 pm
Location: Costa Mesa, California

Next

Return to Lakers Blogs

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron
Advertise Here | Privacy Policy | ©2008 Sculu Sports. Come Strong.