No, that’s not Snoop Dogg’s next single, that’s the Lakers Nation after Wednesday’s six-point victory over the newly “free-throw-crippled” Phoenix Suns. Today I was looking back at the highlights of that game. It was great to see that the Lakers had control of the contest for most of it. When Phoenix was manufacturing a run, our Kobe would shoot a trey or Gasol would drive to the rim; effectively killing it. It was truly, an awesome game.
My day, however, hit a road block. It all started while thinking about the play where Bell threw the ball to Shaquille in the paint and he turned and saw our lone defender in front of him: D.J. Mbenga. D.J. got immediately “posterized” like many of the players before him. Thinking about that brought me to this point…
We need Bynum back!
The latest I’ve heard is that he’ll be back late March (GRRR!) I swear March can’t come fast enough. Trevor Ariza still has 8 (Eight!) weeks to go. I guess Lamar’s feet are lethal weapons now. I’ve read a bunch of you guys write that when we get Ariza and Bynum back, we will be unstoppable. I have to agree except for one thing. What is that going to mean for our man LUUUUKE?
As some of you know, we are a pretty deep team, especially at the small forward position. Here is the question, when Bynum comes back and Lamar moves to the 3, where are Luke, Vlad and Ariza going to get there minutes? Well, if we need a shooter; we have Vlad “Rad.” If we need defense and slashing; we have Ariza. Lamar can do everything that Luke can do with better post moves, shooting, slashing, and rebounding. This is a problem guys and although I don’t want Luke to go, I think he just got placed in the Javaris Crittenton boat; good player but not enough playing time.
I just hope that the Lakers win a championship for him before they decide to let him go.
As you can see, I was feeling a bit melancholy today. Then I had this neat little idea. I decided to go to a Clipper fan site to see what they were saying over there. I want to show you guys a little something I call contrast. Check out the titles of some of their threads…
1. Clippers always on the outside looking IN.
2. Its official, I am very disappointed in the CLIPS.
3. 3…2…1 Trade deadline has come and gone.
And my personal favorite…
4. I hate to say it but I want my team to lose!
Oh my, after reading those, my spirits once again soared with the eagles and I got excited again about our team. The Lakers are going to use the Clippers to wipe that red, white, and blue logo off of the court my friends. This is a time to be excited, kids! We have the best team in the West. Maybe even the entire NBA. It took me going to the Clippers site to realize that Mitch Kupchak and Dr. Buss really care about the Lakers.
And while “other” teams seem to not want to take the necessary risks to bring a championship to L.A., there is a team that is willing to take the risks. Don’t get me wrong, the Clippers are still a good team and when Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston come back, they are going to be even better.
But for now, the Lakers need to show the world that they can defeat the not-as-good teams effectively. Let’s get hyped up Lakers fans, our team still needs to make a statement tonight. For the last two seasons, they have split season series with the Clips, but this year, we need to pull away.
So without further ado…
What the Clippers will want to do -
Offense: Score one point. The Clippers are 27th in the league averaging a horrible 94.29 a game while allowing their opponents 98.58 a game. I’m not a genius (Yes, I am), but when you on average allow more points than you make, you are not going to win many games. Without Elton Brand in the line up, I don’t see that happening tonight.
Tonight I see Kaman going hard to the rim. If he does that, I’m afraid we might see Gasol sit in foul trouble. Which means undersized and the “overhearted” power forward Ronny “don’t call me Roney” Turiaf will have to man up against him. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing that.
Defense: Like every other team, stop Kobe. But wait, then who’s going to stop “Plan G” (Gasol)? The Clippers are going to have to play Gasol tough. He’s a quick finesse guy. So cut off his lanes, put Kaman’s hairy self in the way, and let them get tangled up. I have no idea how to stop Kobe. If I did, I would be coaching. But just like M.J. said when asked how he would play himself defensively if he had to, “I would turn me into a jump shooter.”
What the Lakers will want to do -
Offense: Dominate. The Lakers need to show that they can beat the bad teams, just like they did in Atlanta. The Lakers have traditionally been the team that pulls out the hard win in the final seconds but gives up the easy game to the worst team. This is one of the first years where they have been defeating the lesser teams. So look for them to establish their dominance early, then sit their starters and see if Coby Karl and pull off another Harold “Baby Jordan” Miner dunk at the end.
Defense: Look for the Lakers to practice rotating to the outside man better. It has been a known fact that the Lakers hate rotating to the wing on kick outs. That is one reason Phoenix kept defeating them in the playoffs. It’s also one reason the Lakers won Wednesday. In these last couple of playoffs the Suns would always cause the Lakers to close in on the driving guard, then kick out to the wide open shooter to kill them on the three point line. With the three point shooting PF Tim Thomas (another guy who killed the Lakers last postseason), Quinton Ross, Cuttino Mobley, and Corey Maggette, the Lakers will need to rotate quickly and often.
Potential Starters -
Clippers: Sam Cassell / Quinton Ross / Corey Maggette / Tim Thomas / Chris Kaman
Lakers: Derek Fisher / Kobe Bryant / Vlad “Rad” / Lamar Odom / Pau Gasol
Jack Nicholson vs. Billy Crystal
Diane Cannon vs. Penny Marshall (I heard Diane “Two Cannons” Cannon has a mean sky hook but Penny “lights out’ Marshall has a good left hook)
Amber’s Game Prediction: Lakers! Today she asked me, “Papi, why do the Lakers always win?”
I love you too, Amber!
Mack’s Game Prediction: Chris Kaman will grab all 30 rebounds for the Clippers but then he will attempt to dribble the ball and lose it out of bounds – Lakers win!
Next 3 games: @ Sonics, vs. Portland, vs. Miami
Game Preview Questions for Discussion:
1. Can Gasol score 40 tonight over Chris Kaman?
2. Will P-Jax keep Vlad in the line up when Corey Maggette starts scoring at will over him?
Game Time: 7:30 PM Lakers Standard Time
Local Broadcast: KCAL HD
National Broadcast: NADA. What the deuce! It’s a blank screen! Marge, what the sam-hill is goin’ on with this dad-gum thang?
Radio: KLAC & KWKW