TLN’s Game Preview: Lakers vs. Bucks

    Another Keith Olbermann-style Special Comment on Laker Basketball:

    After eighteen games and sixteen victories, the denizens of the Lakers Nation, should be beginning, for all intents and purposes, to hear the sounds of settling.

    After eighteen games and sixteen victories, we should have a firm grasp who this team is and how we should expect them to play on any given night.

    While my rallying cry last season was that this Laker team was ahead of schedule, and my espoused ethos during much of the beginning of this season was that their time had finally come to run rampant over the league, I would be remised if I did not say that while the expectations are not diminished, the events of the last week have sent a rather strong message to this writer.

    With a loss in Indiana and a near miss in Washington, it seems as if the Lakers have gotten a case of the ol’ bighead. The coronets were sounding; the plush red carpet had been rolled out and the regular season was seemingly reduced to a formality.

    And then the stark and salient truth hit: it is December and there are still 64 games to be played in the regular season. And regardless how inevitable success seems, the number one, most important principle of sports still remains: The other team has players and coaches too.

    It is irrelevant and asinine to expect a 30-point blowout every night. It is unfair to place such a heavy burden on a young team to topple the venerable 1996 Chicago Bulls.

    It is too much.

    We, the collective fan base, have gone too far.

    We have forsaken the rollercoaster that is an NBA season in favor of an unbridled “win forever” attitude. And that is not what fandom is predicated on.

    Fandom is not stridently predicting and expecting victory every night. Fandom is being able to recognize weakness, and right now, for the first time in this infant season, the Lakers look weakened. Their defensive intensity that was a hallmark of their early season success has all but evaporated, their super-bench unit has developed a propensity to give up big leads opposed to expanding them, and most importantly, the Laker swagger has seemed to disappear.

    Now, while all of these things have been transpiring it is important to note that the team still finds a way to win, yet, these recent victories have seemed more like an endurance test than a true pronouncement of their will and fortitude.

    Tonight the Lakers face a Milwaukee Bucks team that posses weapons that expose each and every one of their weaknesses. A pixie point guard with speedy speed (Luke Ridnour), an athletic swingman (Richard Jefferson), a three-point marksman (Michael Redd) and bruising, ball-smacking, angry Eastern Conference forwards (Andrew Bogut, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Malik Allen, and etc.).

    The Milwaukee Bucks, though not an Eastern Conference contender, have a multitude of weapons that can stifle the Lakers, especially in this moment of weakness.

    There is also the chance that this temporary malaise ends tonight, and the Lakers regain their defensive anger and the bench relocates that voracity that was the real reason that the Lakers have rolled to a startling sixteen victories in eighteen games.

    AUTHORS NOTE: If you are at STAPLES Center tonight, swing by Section 316 and come say hi! I’ll be right in the front row.

    See you kids there.

    -v_O

    Tipoff: 6:30 PM PST

    Television -

    • Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
    • Milwaukee: FS Wisconsin (Jim Paschke & Jon McGlocklin)

    Radio -

    • Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
    • Milwaukee: WTMJ 620 AM (Ted Davis & Dennis Krause)

    Injuries -

    Lakers: None to report.

    Bucks:

    • Questionable: Charlie Bell (ankle)

    Varsity Challenge:
    (Prize: Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Dave Meyers and Junior Bridgeman)

    According to Rock legend Alice Cooper, Milwaukee is the only major American city to have done what?

    • jamaicans-for-KOBE

      i agree with some aspects of this article..we might hold the lakers too high for a team with so many young players……
      BUT
      we have the best player ever to play the game (don’t argue with me about this) and we have a bunch of talent that only comes by once a decade…
      BOSTON- we have to measure ourselves against them because they broke our hearts in the finals….they are playing as if they have never won a championship- they are playing defense even after the game ends…they never relax….
      NOW
      Lakers- we have a team that is extremely talented but does not play CONSISTENT D…the few minuets of the game that we play do…we make teams look like high school teams.. i think we believe that we are some how destined to win..and so we relax when we are ahead.(how did i come to this?)

      KOBE–we mess around and in the 4th we just throw the ball to him and clear out for him to work a miracle..while he might be the GOAT..he is not always going to save us..because tams (BOSTON)might just give him a four man zone..and we have a problem..no one else wants to step up….

      PJ–is is interesting to me how he uses Rodman….(i’m not a big radman.. fan by the way…) but there are times when the guy is hot and he gets taken out of the game with like 7min to go in the first quarter…we don’t see him again until the beginning of the 3rd…then he just stands around a does not take shots..or take terrible forced shots… and sasha seems to have lost his way a bit…thank god for ARIZA…Odam is too inconsistent..

      Now that my venting/observations have come to an end..the point is that we need to play consistent D and we will be unbeatable..LAKER UNTIL I DIE..
      now lets improve and go win a championship…

      P.S-if the bad play continues on the defensive end..i say we as a nation get our members to write personal letters to the team begin for consistency…it might sound silly..but whatever it takes to win a championship..i’m ready and willing…..PEACE

    • PauKobeBynumOdomDynasty

      I say start ariza and Odom and move Bynum to the bench, with Pau playing Center and LO playing PF

    • Lakers 24 7

      Yea, our defensive intensity is gone, and the bench that used to expand on leads, instead of blowing leads, is gone also.

      Right now, Boston AND the Cavs are playing better than us.

    • Paul

      Our point guards need to stop that dribble penetration and if they can’t stop it, we need help defense and stop letting them get their easy shots.

    • schnide

      elect two socialist mayors! CH-YEAH! SHWING!

    • L.G.Fuad411

      Dave Meyers was my 2nd grade teacher. No joke. I still talk to him. He is still bitter about that Kareem trade…

    • Freshh

      “It’s ironic
      I had the brew she had the chronic,
      the Lakers beat the Supersonics.”

    • kb24bestever

      Lakers 24 7
      Dec 7th, 2008 at 11:19 am
      Yea, our defensive intensity is gone, and the bench that used to expand on leads, instead of blowing leads, is gone also.

      Right now, Boston AND the Cavs are playing better than us.

      Are you kidding me the cavs playing better then us!!!
      you gotta be joking, the celtics might be but the cavs do you see the teams they have played every team they beat its under 500 only dallas, utah, atlanta, denver, and new jersey are over .500 but the only reason they beat the utah was because they had alot of injured playersincluding boozer,williams, and okur. and the 3 teams they lost to are over 500. which are new orleans, boston, and detroit.TAKE A LOOK.

      Tue, Oct 28 @ Boston L 85-90 0-1

      Thu, Oct 30 Charlotte W 96-79 1-1 Sat,

      Nov 1 @ New Orleans L 92-104 1-2 Mon,

      Nov 3 @ Dallas W 100-81 2-2

      Wed, Nov 5 Chicago W 107-93 3-2

      Fri, Nov 7 Indiana W 111-107 4-2

      Sat, Nov 8 @ Chicago W 106-97 5-2 Tue,

      Nov 11 Milwaukee W 99-93 6-2

      Thu, Nov 13 Denver W 110-99 7-2 M. Williams 24

      Sat, Nov 15 Utah W 105-93 8-2

      Tue, Nov 18 @ New Jersey W 106-82 9-2

      Wed, Nov 19 @ Detroit L 89-96 9-3

      Sat, Nov 22 Atlanta W 110-96 10-3

      Tue, Nov 25 @ NY Knicks W 119-101 11-3

      Wed, Nov 26 Oklahoma City W 117-82 12-3

      Fri, Nov 28 Golden State W 112-97 13-3

      Sat, Nov 29 @ Milwaukee W 97-85 14-3

      Wed, Dec 3 NY Knicks W 118-82 15-3

      Fri, Dec 5 Indiana W 97-73 16-3 Sat,

      Dec 6 @ Charlotte W 94-74 17-3

    • Andrew Rafner

      [Comment ID #56265 Will Be Quoted Here]

      milwaukee, or mi-le-wau-khe, as the natives call it, means the good land.

      winner winner

    • http://www.swishtheball.net ben lee

      [Comment ID #56261 Will Be Quoted Here]
      only against boston, because lamar can guard KG

      Lamar is quicker than KG
      KG is taller than Lamar but Lamar has a higher standing reach

    • BringDFishBack

      How you could say such a thing about the bench is beyond me. Against Indiana, they built up a big lead and then let it slip away only to be yanked from the game early. What a great way for PJ to show that he has a lot of confidence in them. Who didn’t see it coming in one of the next games? The bench is a VERY young group. Farmar 22, Sasha 24, Ariza 23, and Bynum 21. Young guys thrive on confidence, which PJ failed to install in them by yanking them early. The bench giving up leads hasn’t become routine, its been 2 games. The defense is the real problem. In their first 7 games they gave up less than 100 points. They’ve only been able to do that in 4 of the 11 after that. Sure they’ve still been winning, because they have a great offense. But clearly that won’t give them a ring. Kobe gambles for steals too much and is lazy on defense. The help defense and rotation that was there in the beginning isn’t there anymore. They are not rebounding efficiently, because everyone expects the bigs to get them all. They need to step up defensively and on the boards.

    • iskerfan567

      [Comment ID #56276 Will Be Quoted Here]

      didn’t you mess Milwuakee up in the Sim League at the forum

    • LAKERNATION

      [Comment ID #56269 Will Be Quoted Here]

      Dude that song is so sick man. Ice cube-it was a good day. Man I put that part on on my Ipod everytime we beat the sonics las season. So i played it 4 times because we sweped them. And now i can’t anymore because their is no more sonics.

    • sketch

      [Comment ID #56279 Will Be Quoted Here]

      yo b-smooth…nice to see you finally droppin your opinion!