The Starting Five
Fisher, Kobe, Odom, Vlad, and Bynum started for LA. Fisher had an incredibly efficient game, with 11 points on 5 attempts, 3 assists, no TO. Kobe was insane, with 32 points, 6 boards, 4 assists in just 30 minutes. Odom had a quiet first half, played zero D, but finished with 10-7-3. Vlad continued to light it up offensively. 11 points, 7 boards in 18 minutes. And Andrew Bynum, 17 points, 10 boards, 4 blocks with his best game of the season, I think.
The Pine Riders
Unbelievable! Farmar (18 points), Sasha (12 points), Walton (11-5-4) all joined the starting five in double digits. Mihm (9 points) just missed. Some spectacular offensive performances, including Karl's first two points in the NBA, JC getting some rare PT.
What did I like?
The Lakers run a second inferior team off the court, scoring 30+ in each quarter. The first unit got some rest, the second unit got some valuable PT, and the third stringers even got to show up a bit. Not to mention the subtraction of Cook and Mo Evans for Trevor Ariza. That's a nice lift in the wing slot.
What did I dislike?
Horrible defensive performance. 114 points will get you killed most games. And it's not as if it was all garbage time, as Indiana put up 35 in the first quarter and added 28 in the second. While Indiana shot just 41%, the Lakers allowed 18 offensive rebounds, let the Pacers dictate the pace too often, and played sloppy ball in the second half.
Hard to complain about a 7-3 start. The Lakers are scoring in bunches, nearly everyone is playing well right now, and the starters are able to stay rested while the bench grows in experience. Nice to see.Los Angeles is trending toward 57 wins right now.
The Lakers (6-3)
The Pacer (4-6)
1. Continue to pressure O'Neal
2. Watch the threes
3. Get the bigs going
1. Pressure JO
Jermaine O'Neal is taking jumpers on nearly 3/4 of his shot attempts. He shoots only 31% on such attempts. LA should be happy to allow him to shoot the jumper, but must not allow him to get inside. Bynum has the bulk and athleticism to keep O'Neal out there. When AB is out of the game, Mihm could be abused.
2. Watch the 3s
Indiana has a second unit that can light it up on threes. LA must be careful when guys like Walton, Vlad, and Cook are on the floor. Giving a guy too much space at the arc is a huge mistake. While the team is shooting 36% on threes, there are three players shooting at least 40% from beyond the arc and Indiana averages taking 23 threes per game.
3. Feed the bigs
Without Kwame, LA needs to rely upon a stout defensive performance from some players who are not typically defensive-minded. While Turiaf is an exception, he may not play. Either way, LA must work the ball inside so the bigs can get their offensive games going. This, in turn, will keep them active on the defensive side of things.