Yes....LD2K is totally right about the kid....we all shouldn't playa hate and I'm happy that he just doesn't want to try and score all the time...he has beautiful passing ability and great court awareness. This kid is closer to Magic then he is to Michael.
Moving on....I see Cleveland having a great season. They have all the pieces...their bench kinda drops off, but their starting five is golden and will cause matchup problems due to their height.
Now my favorite part...discussing the Lakers.....for all you biting your nails and trying to think of "what if?" posts...save yourself the time and energy. This team is for real. Shaq is notorious for missing preseason games and you know alot of the veterans want to do away with it. Kobe is instead taking the time to condition so he can start the season okay. I will not be concerned one second if Shaq and Kobe don't play in the preseason, as long as they make it on the court come Oct. 28th.
Malone displayed his frustration yesterday, but deep down he even understands that Shaq and Kobe will be ready. These guys are all vets and have tremendous basketball ability...they will mesh instantly and will know how to play with each other....so everybody needs to chill out...We will be just fine.
Now Malone and Payton were absolutely marvelous this game...especially Malone. I am so impressed with this guy and he's 40....seriously does he even look it. He is an unbelievable passer and I feel him and Shaq will have an even better high post game with each other than Duncan and Robinson had. He had to have made Magic proud with the dimes he was handin out tonight. Gary controlled the flow of the game very well and earlier it seemed like he was forcing those passes, but later he had full control of that game. He almost always looks to run it and we had so many easy buckets off that. Finally we have a running game. These two had great chemistry and it is going to be so beautiful when the dynamic duo get back to playing with the new-old guys.
Now we will have to just wait and watch how they do tonight and then on Sunday. That will mean that they will play 3 games in 4 nights. This will truly show just how much Malone and Payton's age will affect the play of the Lakers in the tail end of back-to-back games. What gave Malone and Payton that extra fire tonight, was no doubt the aura of Staples Center and the LA fans. They greated them with open arms and I was truly begging Phil to take Malone and Payton out int he final seconds so that they can get love from the fans...but for some reason he left in Payton.
The role players were great too and it felt good to see that the fans have already dubbed the next Mad Dog....LUUUUUUUUUUKE...he will be our next energetic wihite boy, and this white boy actually has way better game than Mad Dog. The energy will be hard to match...but the kid is very promising to the Lakers already. With the play I saw today....I'm almost positive that Russell and Sampson will make the final cuts. Pelle didnt even get in and Udoka had like 5 minutes probably. The Laker staff is probably debating from Chenowith or Sampson.....Chenowith had a pretty good game...but he is so foul prone and if Shaq is ever in foul trouble we need a center that can hold his own without fouling so damn much. I pick Sampson over Chenowith any day. Malone also played well at center in limited minutes.
So I guess thats all I have to say tonight....great game and I was very happy with what I saw.