Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Liveblogging -- Hornets @ Lakers, 1st Quarter

Here's my attempt at liveblogging the game last night... I only did the first quarter, because I was getting behind on the game and a bit annoyed at how the Lakers were playing. Third quarter would've been better, but the 4th quarter would've been painful.

:::LAL::: After Chandler is called for stealing the opening tip, the Lakers open with Fisher deep in the post on Paul, where he uglies up two shots and doesn’t score.
:::NOH::: An 18’ fadeaway jumper from West, posting up on Pau, misses badly.
:::LAL:::A crossover by Kobe gets Peja’s attention, leaving VladRad wide open for a 3 that misses short.
:::NOH::: Paul gets a high pick, and after VladRad collapses it’s Peja’s turn to miss a jumper.
:::LAL::: Bynum gets the ball deep in the post, but misses a jump hook in the lane.
:::NOH::: West tries the 18’ jumper over Pau again, and hits it. (2-0)
:::LAL::: Pau gets the ball in the low post on West, and his baseline turnaround jumper somehow catches backboard.
:::NOH::: In semi-transition, Paul misses a 20’ jumper over Fisher.
:::LAL::: A Kobe move draws Paul over, and a Fisher drive and pass gets Bynum two free throws; he hits one. (2-1)
:::NOH::: Two off-ball screens manage to get Butler a leaning, contested shot. He misses.
:::LAL::: Two off-ball screens get Vlad wide open for a handoff from Bynum in the post, but he bricks the resulting layup.
:::NOH::: In transition, Peja (Vlad’s man) hits an open 18’ jumper. (4-1)
:::LAL::: Paul doubles Pau in the low post, giving Fish an open three that he buries. (4-4)
:::NOH::: Butler’s drive on Vlad is blocked by Bynum right to Chandler, who dunks it. (6-4)
:::LAL::: Chandler fouls Bynum, non-shooting. Pau makes a move in the post without the ball, and Paul picks up a steal.
:::NOH::: In transition, West gets a mildly contested 16’ jumper that he misses.
:::LAL::: Fisher passes up a three, and Kobe is left to crossover on Butler and hit a fadeaway 19’ jumper. (6-6)
:::NOH::: Chandler is fouled putting back a missed three by Butler, and somehow makes both free throws. (8-6)
:::LAL::: An off-ball screen gets Pau open for a 13’ fadeaway that he misses.
:::NOH::: Paul gets a high pick from Chandler, and Bynum doesn’t leave the paint so Paul is open from 15’ and converts. (10-6)
:::LAL::: A nice head-fake and drive by Pau leads to a wide open three by Fish. (10-9)
:::NOH::: More Paul/Chandler pick and roll, Fish stays with Paul and Bynum get caught between, and Chandler finishes the alleyoop. (12-9)
:::LAL::: Pau gets it in the post late in the clock, and his jump hook barely catches rim.
:::NOH::: Bynum gets switched onto West, who drives it right at him and hits a 9’ runner. (14-9)
:::LAL::: Bynum makes a nice drop step from the low post, but misses the lefty jump hook from 6’.
:::NOH::: West on Bynum in the post, and he hits a nice 16’ fadeaway. (16-9)
:::LAL::: Kobe gets a high pick and hits a driving shot in the lane. Foul, and one. (16-12)
:::NOH::: Two open shots from Paul pick-and-rolls: a missed 15’ jumper by Butler and a Paul three. (19-12)
:::LAL::: Kobe dances free for a 15’ jumper. (19-14)
:::NOH::: Paul pick-and-roll, Paul floater from 5’. (21-14)
:::LAL::: Kobe faces up from 20’ straightaway, and misses a jumper.
:::NOH::: Chandler bumps Fish on a moving screen and picks up his second foul.
:::LAL::: Odom in, and his offball screen gets Vlad an open 15’ jumper, which he almost makes.
:::NOH::: Paul pick-and-roll with Eli, and Paul hits an 8’ runner. (23-14)
:::LAL::: Eli closes lazily on Odom, then fouls him on a driving layup. Odom makes one, misses one. (23-15)
:::NOH::: Armstrong drives into Gasol and gets an iffy call, then makes one of two FTs. (24-15)
:::LAL::: Paul starts to cheat towards Kobe before he has the ball, and the pass instead to a just-checked-in Sasha leads to corner three, swish. (24-18)
:::NOH::: A defensive three call gives Peja a free throw. Paul shoots over Sasha, easily, from 17’. (27-18)
:::LAL::: Posey fouls Kobe up top, then again after the whistle leading to an odd T; Kobe makes two of the three free throws. (27-20)
:::NOH::: Sasha fouls Paul on a 20’ jumper after scrambling around a high screen. Two made FTs. (29-20)
:::LAL::: Bynum rebounds a Kobe missed jumper, and after the reset Sasha comes off a pick for a 21’ jumper. (29-22)
:::NOH::: Paul pick-and-roll, and Sasha gets called trying to hold the screener, Armstrong. 1-2 FTs. (30-22)
:::LAL::: Lamar gets space from Eli for a 20’ jumper, and he hits it. (30-24)
:::NOH::: Paul/Armstrong pick-and-roll, and Armstrong throws up an awkward runner.
:::LAL::: Lamar 2-for-1 drives on Armstrong and gets bodied, no call and the 13’ runner is short.
:::NOH::: Sasha picks up his third foul cheaply, playing Paul too close up top. Paul hits both FTs. (32-24)
:::LAL::: Lamar drives right at and around Eli and lays it in on the left side. (32-26)
:::NOH::: VladRad clownishly goes into the crowd on a steal attempt, but Peja misses the resulting wide-open, last second 17’ jumper.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Who's Not Honoring Me Now? (i)

OK, let's get this bloggy started right, let's get this bloggy started quickly.

We've had a few weeks to digest all the comings and goings around the league, so it's prediction time, but that'll be another post. Time to find out Who's Not Honoring Me Now -- I'd guess that numnut Marty Burns, but no, Marc Stein is this week's designated Hater.

Laker Rankings:
(1) - Sagarin
(1) - Hollinger/ESPN
(2) - Stein/ESPN
(1) - Burns/SI
(1) - Ball Don't Lie/Yahoo
(1) - Murphy/Covers

So, the Celtics have lost at INDIANA and at home DENVER -- two teams that will struggle to make the playoffs, and the Lakers layed an egg at home to a hot-shooting and certain contender Detroit team. Somehow, that was enough for Stein to put the Lakers at #2.

Meanwhile, the Sagarin index has the Lakers with a larger point lead over the #2 spot (Cavs) than the homecourt advantage factor, meaning the Lakers should be favored in any game, home or away.

Pretty easy schedule so far, and nothing daunting coming on the schedule, so mainly the Lakers just need to stay focused, especially on defense. Here's something not-at-all surprising: The Lakers are 4-3 at home against the spread (yawn, we're up 18, let's relax, stop playing D, and let Sasha jack up some shots), and 4-1 ATS on the road. So color me worried that we'll see a setback in one of these next 3 home games (Nets, Mavericks, Raptors).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Old Dog; New Tricks

The Lakers diagnosed their problem last year (and playing Boston tight in the finals means there wasn't that many problems) and decided it was defense. Good on them.

"The new rules in the NBA game that have been adopted in the last what four or five years - I think Shaquille [O'Neal] called then the 'Shaq rules to stop me from scoring'. Those rules have changed our game," said Jackson before the Lakers' home opener against the Portland Trail Blazers. "Now you can load up a side and you can do things that change the game. Last year we experimented with it at times but we didn't whole-heartedly adapt what other team's have been taking advantage of with the new rules situation."

Others have dissected the SOS D better than I can, but what I'll add is that a new challenge offers the side benefit of engrossing the players and elevates playing D. Derek Fisher, Vlad, Gasol and others are, as individual players, below average on D, so spending a lot of time getting them prepared can only help. "The thing that we want to do is be a great defensive team consistently. Offensively we believe we can score with anybody," said Bryant. "Defensively is where we really want to make our mark on the season."

Friday, October 24, 2008

right vibe ...

sasha and kobe have the right idea

this kobe thing is rubbing off like genital herpes. *ouch*

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Basketball Politics

I've seen footage of Obama and he's not bad. He plays like a 40 year who hasn't played much in the past 10 years, but when he did, he had game. He beat Stuart Scott 1 on 1, for what that's worth.

Now, Sarah Palin:

Sarah Palin's Wasilla High School girls basketball team was considered a Cinderella story when it won the 1982 Alaska state championship. "But we had been second in the state the year before," remembered Heyde Hackel, one of Palin's teammates, "so we never thought of ourselves as Cinderella." Considering the kind of girls we're talking about, athletes who ran stack plays and traveled Alaska in buses and airplanes and always qualified for the state tournament, that seems pretty obvious. Of all the things they were used to in sports, being underestimated wasn't one of them.

"I can't imagine where I'd be without the opportunities provided to me in sports. Sports taught me that gender isn't an issue; in fact, when people talk about me being the first female governor, I'm a little absent from that discussion, because I've never thought of gender as an issue. In sports, you learn self-discipline, healthy competition, to be gracious in victory and defeat, and the importance of being part of a team and understanding what part you play on that team. You all work together to reach a goal, and I think all of those factors come into play in my role as governor."

Palin didn't play basketball exclusively, said two of her Wasilla High teammates interviewed for this column. She ran the hurdles and relays on the track team, which Palin's father coached. She was a setter on the junior high volleyball team. She ran cross country and played softball in a summer league.

But basketball brought the most success, and Palin was a force on the court, said Hackel, Wasilla's 6-2 center. "She might not have showed up in the stats as far as rebounds and scoring, but that's because she was known for her defense and assists and real unselfish team play."
Even in junior high, the girls talked basketball and dreamed of glory days to come, said Jackie Conn, who shared backcourt duties with Palin.

"Back in eighth grade, Sarah and I were talking to a teacher during lunch hour and saying our 11th- and 12-grade years would be our best," Conn said. "The state championship was a highlight, but so was the time we spent together on the long bus rides or the airplane trips to some of our games. We had a lot of time together. But it was great because we were good friends and teammates. It was just a bunch of good girls having fun together playing sports."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Your 2008-09 Los Angeles Lakers

Is it too early to talk about the upcoming season? Now that those pesky Olympics are out of the way, let's project the rotation:

PG - Derek Fisher
SG - Kobe Bryant
SF - Lamar Odom
PF - Pau Gasol
C - Andrew Bynum

6 - Jordan Farmar
7 - Sasha Vujacic
8 - Trevor Ariza
9 - Vladamir Radmanovic
10- Luke Walton
11- Chris Mihm
12- Sun Yue
13- Josh Powell
14- Joe Crawford
15- Coby Karl
16- Dwayne Mitchell

I'd be worried about size off the bench if anyone else in the West had enough to make it an issue. I wonder how much Mihm will play... will he get Turiaf's minutes, or will Josh Powell step into that role?

What will we get out of Sun Yue this year? Will Coby even be on the roster come October? Will Ariza come back to play significant minutes off the bench? Will Luke stop sucking? Will Bynum start to decline after he turns old enough to drink legally a few days before the season opens?

And, let me get Sony started. What about Phil? Has the game passed him by? Is he watching tapes from the finals and realizing that perhaps a good team defensive scheme will be important this year?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Big Restrainee

Phoenix Suns savior Shaquille O'Neal just got served with a restraining order:

NBA star Shaquille O'Neal has been ordered to steer clear of an Atlanta-area woman who took out a restraining order Thursday.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks granted Alexis Miller's request Thursday after reviewing her allegations that the basketball player stalked her, threatened her with bodily harm and made harassing phone calls in which he breathed heavily into the phone before hanging up.


The court affidavit quotes an e-mail from O'Neal as saying, "I dnt no who the [expletive] u think u dealin wit u will neva be heard from one phone call is I gotta make now try me. Sho me."

Shaq continues to prove, every day in every way, that trading him was the right thing to do. Maybe we should've gotten more, but you can't fault the concept. Congrats Suns, he's your problem now. With Wade back healthy, it's a tossup between the Heat and Suns as to who will win more games next year.