The Great Space Coaster!
Here’s a little “ditty” from 1981’s kid show I’m sure some of you will remember…
“It’s the Great Space Coaster. Get on board.
On the Great Space Coaster. We’ll explore.
A comet ride of fantasy
To a place where dreams are fast and free
With new friends and new things to see
We’ll spin you through the galaxy
On the Great Space Coaster. Oh-oh-oh.
On the Great Space Coaster. Off we go.
Get on board, step inside, soarin’ on a magic ride.
Roarin’ towards the other side where only rainbows hide.
On the Great Space Coaster (Oh-oh oh)
On the Great Space Coaster (Get on board)
On the Great Space Coaster (Get on board)
On the Great Space Coaster
Off we go!”
Some of you may be wondering why I posted this song to start my pre-game preview. There are some of you, however, who know darn well why I posted this song. To quote the song, the Lakers are, “Soarin’ on a magic ride,” and, “Roarin’ towards the other side where only rainbows hide.” Ladies and not-so-gentlemen, the Lakers are well on their way to bringing the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Laker-land!
That’s right! I said it! The Lakers are on a tear through the NBA defeating teams by an average of 17 points in February and they are having fun doing it. Look at these stats in February:
12 – 1 (we later avenged that one loss to Atlanta), 9 wins in a row, a differential of +13.10, 2nd in PPG (111.10), 2nd in FG %(.499), and on the defensive side the Lakers are in the top 10 for both blocks and steals. As we saw Tuesday, the Lakers need to continue to work on rebounding. Part of that will be fixed with the return of Bynum, but you all get the picture. The Lakers are looking like this year’s New England Patriots.
Except they won’t choke come the championship.
On the other hand we have the “Hapless Heat” (new nickname?), who are an abysmal 10-44 on the season. You know how Phil Jackson wanted to get to 40 wins before 20 losses? Well, looks like the Heat might get 50 losses before 20 wins. That’s bad. You know what’s worse? The Lakes have a history of losing to teams who were struggling. I’m not saying this is going to happen, I’m just saying, Tuesday’s game at home against the Blazers scared me a bit.
The Heat have been averaging over 100 points since Shawn has started playing for them. This doesn’t mean all of a sudden they are contenders, no. I just think they are starting to gel; which is a good thing for them, not so good for the Lakers. The Lakers will have to play these guys hard. If you have been following the Blazers’ last couple of games before their Tuesday night win in Sac-town, you saw them lose very close games against the Nuggets and the Rockets.
As a matter of fact, the last game against the Lakers was close all the way to the end. If the Lakers want to come away with their 10th win, they will have to ride that “Great Space Coaster” right over the Heat.
Man, now that I think about that show, I just realized something;
I hated Baxter.
What the Heat will want to do -
Offense: Team work, in the last 6 games since Marion joined the Heat, Wade has been averaging 28 points per game and 8 assists while Marion is averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds. This team has gotten better. Look for the Heat to use the “dynamic duo” (been used before) to wear down the Lakers’ defense with drives and dishes for outside shots. With all the driving to the lane, we might see Jason Williams and Mark Blount’s game increase as well.
Defense: How do you guard the most intimidating player in basketball? Prevent him from getting the ball. I see the Heat attempting to keep the ball out of Kobe’s hands. The Heat are fast enough and have good enough hands to do that. They are definitely athletic enough. The question still remains, however, who’s going to guard “Plan G”?
What the Lakers will want to do -
Offense: One reason the Lakers had so much trouble against the Blazers on Tuesday was because they moved away from Gasol. During the game I was wondering, “Where’s the pick and roll?” I didn’t see it much. Could be the Blazers were defending that play. Don’t know. What I do know is that the Lakers had better continue passing the ball. Without ball movement, there is no triangle, no triangle = 1 on 5 Kobe-ball. He’s the MVP, let’s keep him facilitating.
Defense: Penetration. The Lakers need to keep both Wade and Marion away from the basket if they expect to rim. Those two players are two of the most athletic slashers and finishers in the game. What do you do against slashers and finishers? Make them jump shooters or make them pass the ball. If the Lakers do that, they have the game.
Projected Starter -
Heat: Jason Williams / Dwyane Wade / Shawn Marion / Udonis Haslem / Mark Blount
Lakers: Derek Fisher / Kobe Bryant / LUUUUKE!!! / Lamar Odom / Pau Gasol
Interesting Match Up -
Shawn Marion vs. Lamar Odom
Dwyane Wade vs. Kobe Bryant
Amber’s Game Prediction: Today when asked who will win the game, Amber just looked at me, tilted her head to the side and said, “Papa, why do you keep asking me that? You know the Lakers will beat the Heat!
Needless to say I let her stay up past her bedtime to watch “Dora the Explorer”. She didn’t get why, but I know you all do. GO LAKERS!!!
Mack’s Game Prediction: After Mark Blount fouls out early in the third from Pau “Da le mas Gasol-ina” Gasol taking him to the hole all night, the camera will cut to Pat Riley just as he is in the middle of a nervous breakdown. Lakers win!
Amber’s Scorecard: 10 – 0
Mack’s Scorecard: 5 – 0
Next 3 Games: @ Portland, vs. Dallas, @ Sacramento
Game Preview Questions for Discussion -
1. 20 points for the first person to tell us who Larry O’Brien was?
2. 50 points for the person who predicts who will foul out first in the game.
Game Time: 7:30 PM Lakers Standard Time
Local Broadcast: Not this time Timmy. Timmah!
National Broadcast: TNT
Radio: KLAC & KWKW