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The Lakers started the season great!

Then the second quarter happened. Then the third quarter happened. The Lakers were outscored by 17 points in those 24 minutes. McGrady heated up and was seemingly impossible to stop. Lakers could only put Kobe on him for so long as T-Mac finished with 30 points. But the real dagger was Battier who hit the game winning three with less than 3 seconds remaining.

The Lakers defense in the first quarter was impressive. Kwame did a number on Yao and Kobe locked up T-Mac. When Kobe, Fisher, and Kwame went to the bench, everything seemed to fall apart. Bynum was getting beat in the middle, Farmar was chasing James all over the court, and no one could slow down McGrady.

Offensively, the Lakers had poor ball movement for most of the game. They did have 18 assists, but many were on broken plays. Kobe’s wrist hurt the Lakers as he missed 19 FGs and 9 FTs. As bad as he played, he still got 45 points and 4 steals, and kept the Lakers in the game.

I like how Kobe attacked the basket, but he needs to find a way to get his big men involved more. Only 3 FG attempts for Kwame in 27 minutes and only 5 for Turiaf in 24 minutes of play. Let’s get to the bests of the night:

Top 3 Laker Performers:

1) Derek Fisher played great. He hustled on D, contested shots, and gave the Lakers physical and consistent play all night long. In 34 minutes, Fish shot 6-9 and had 17 points, 4 steals, and the game tying shot late in the 4th. Welcome back Dfish!

2) Despite Kobe’s poor shooting, Kobe gave it his all. With an injured wrist, there is only so much he can do. Kobe tried to get in the paint as much as he could and shot a career high 27 FTs. Don’t be worried about the percentages. Once Kobe is healthy, they will be normal. Focus on his lock-up defense on McGrady and the hustle he displayed when blocking Bonzi Wells (which got called for a foul). He also had 4 steals.

3) Kwame Brown didn’t have much of a stat line (4 pts, 8 rebs, 1 steal, missed all 4 FT), but he played great defense. I know you are thinking, he gave up 25 and 12 to Yao, but most of Yao’s points came against other Laker defenders. When he was matched up against Kwame, Kwame held his ground and contested just about every shot. Lakers just need to find a way to get him more involved offensively.

Lakers Smush of the Day (Note: STD denotes the Laker that played the poorest):

Brian Cook once again was bad. Not only did he force up two bricks, but he also found a way to turn the ball over, and get matched up on Yao for a play. The result was Yao slowly spinning past him for an effortless and uncontested dunk–assist Brian Cook.

Key play of the game: Fisher knocks the ball in the air. Luke and Bynum (I think) fight for the ball as it goes in the hoop for the Rockets. Tmac was credited with the layup as he was standing at half-court. Take away these two points, and we are in overtime folks!

What to look for next game:
Look for a better game from Kobe. 2 days rest should help his wrist. Kwame should get the start again and will have to do a number on Amare. Game is Fri night @ 7:30 PM.

  • lakerfan81

    Kwame played pretty good D on yao. Bynum did as well (not quite as good as Kwame though). The problem is that Yao is unstoppable from within 10 ft of the basket. He has the sweetest touch from 10 ft that I have ever seen in a big man. I think that if they utilized him properly (i.e in the post) instead of at the top of the key where he looks really uncomfortable he could have gone for 35 or more.

    Bynum looked pretty good off the Bench on defense (better than Ive seen before) he was coming out hard on pick and rolls and blocking the player from getting to the basket. He was very active defending the paint as well. If he keeps this up he may get the starting job by the end of the year.

  • osm0nd

    Kobe’s defense was really impressive. We cannot question whether his heart is in the game because every time we do, he makes us look silly. You can see his desire when he was guarding T-Mac on that last possession and he slammed his hands on the floor as if he was telling McGrady, “Bring it!.”

  • fatty

    I liked our Defensive effort. You can see where this team is going. Fisher set the tone. We were much better than last year at keeping guards out of the paint.
    If Lamar plays, this might have been an easy win for the Lakers. Still should’ve been easy with some FT’s made.

    Steve,
    It was Kwame who fumbled it off Luke. My wife left the room after that play. All she could take.

  • fatty

    Kobe’s effort was impressive. Selfish players only try on offense, he gave his all on in every aspect of the game.
    He led the team in assists, rebounds, steals, and blocked shots.
    If anything was wrong, he was trying too hard on the offensive end. Which led to some TO’s and forced action.

    He answered my question, would he play with heart?
    Kobe had a great game.

  • e-bucher

    it was a good game…we were there and we are missing our second best player…we started and finished strong…we got to work on the middle part of our game…our defense looks like it will improve which is a very good sign…now if we can get rid of all these distractions and focus on the season…

  • RoWyN

    [Comment ID #15813 Will Be Quoted Here]

    This is what Kwame is about. Everyone on the bandwagon of kicking him off the team only sees his small hands and inability to finish explosively on his dunks (again small hands). But if you actually pay attention to his game, he is one of the strongest centers in the league. He also plays excellent one on one defense. His weakness though is he’s too slow when he’s defending from the perimeter. His basketball IQ needs some help too. Overall, if more people realizes what kind of basketball player he is and he isn’t, they should see that he actually is an asset to the team.

    Sidenote (to those proposing we get JO): He freaking owns Jermaine O’Neil.

  • http://myspace.com/lakersdynasty999 Steve Avery

    Finally…some positives from Lakers fans. I was worried you would all rip me for putting Kobe and Kwame as top 3 lakers despite the poor offense. Glad you all know basketball!

    The one thing that got to me was some people say we booed kobe at the game in intros. Marge Hearn did the lineups and we couldn’t really hear her. So when she said kobe, the crowd I thought went “koooooobe” which came out like a lot of booos. So thats just my opinion, but thats what i said when he was introduced. Go Lakers!

  • lakerfan81

    Very interesting read on Kobe and passing from Truehoops

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-28-246/Thinking-Like-Kobe-Bryant-in-Crunch-Time.html

    “To try to get an idea of how Kobe’s seeing his teammates, let’s examine how these passes turned out.

    * Five passes to Luke Walton. Four times it comes back to Bryant, one time Walton gets fouled.
    * Two passes to Jordan Farmar, leading to two missed jumpers by other players.
    * Twice to Ronny Turiaf. One time it comes back, the other time it’s a missed jumper.
    * Once to Maurice Evans, who passes it right back.
    * Once time to Andrew Bynum, who passes it back.
    * Once to Derek Fisher for the game-tying basket.

    After considering how productive Bryant was on his own, and how little came out of his passes, one could make the argument that in his head, most of his teammates were not worth passing to with the game on the line.”

  • http://myspace.com/lakersdynasty999 Steve Avery

    [Comment ID #15826 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I don’t really think it works like that. The Lakers offense has plays it runs where you pass the ball and get it back on handoffs. Most of those were like that. Last night, aside from Kobe and Fish, everyone looked flat on offense. Kobe might have taken too many shots, but i think he needed to last night. Other Lakers need to step up and make plays. Last night they didnt. Thats not Kobes fault. When Lamar comes back, Lakers will do better. Lamar is a perfect complement to kobe. It seems like Luke was the only other Laker who could create for himself.

  • fatty

    One of those passes to Kwame led to a Kwame dunk. Sweet!
    Not listed in Truehoops

  • lakerfan81

    Kobe does not deserve all the blame for taking bad shots or forcing the action. All too often the rest of the Lakers, just passed Kobe the ball and then stood there watching. Sure there were times when Kobe forced the issue when maybe he shouldn’t have but the blame for that goes all around not just on Kobe.

    I don’t think these young guys have enough confidence or the personality to stand up to Kobe and say “WHen you drive and the Defense collapses I am open on the wing all night just give me the ball”. I don’t know I think Kobe needs someone on the team that is more forceful and will demand the ball. Someone reminded me of Steve Kerr telling Jordan that he is open all the time on the wing so just pass the ball to me”. It just seems like when Kobe goes on a scoring spree because the Lakers are struggling no one (including Odom) is forceful enough on the offensive end to get the offense flowing again later on.

  • fatty

    lakerfan81

    You mean like Bynum to Sasha “Pass me the @#$%^&* Ball” thingy? lol

  • lakerfan81

    Something like that. Some confidence would be nice instead of just standing around watching Kobe. Other than Fisher I am not sure any other Laker has the confidence to make big shots or even to attempt them sometimes.

  • mplakers

    you know why the lakers look flat on offense when kobe is not in the game? it’s because they set up the post, bynum actually gets good position(yao on the bench), evans gets the ball and refuses to pass it inside to bynum who has shown he has really improved his moves to the basket. check it out on youtube, count how many times bynum gets good position and they are afraid to pass it to him. it must be a trust issue but, so far he has looked impressive in short bursts. the short bursts are because guys on the team don’t give him the ball when they should and they opt instead to shoot jumpers.

    honestly, he impressed me more than kwame. bynum was on yao during the fourth and yao was a nonfactor. then pj subbed kwame back in…jeez i don’t know why?, when the kid was holding his own, and right away yao hit two hookshots over kwame’s small hands. I THOUGHT IF IT AIN’T BROKE WHY FIX IT???? why did he sub him out? it’s time to start trusting the kid if he is the franchise’s future.

    GIVE HIM THE DAMN BALL AND RUN THE TRIANGLE THROUGH HIM WHEN KOBE IS ON THE BENCH!!!!!

  • Die_Hard_LAKERS_FAN

    Was I the only one watching that game last night? I was at Staples and first off the vibe in there was awful. It was dead quiet as if the whole crowd was waiting for something to happen. Something, anything!
    I thought our D sucked. T-mac was doing anythign he wanted in the second half. B-Cook was as terrible as ever. I mean where did he get the idea he has a post game???? Kwame was OK on D against Yao and Kobe showed a few signs of effort out there.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am a big time Lakers fan but that crap they brought out to the floor last night was a disgrace.

  • foxxy

    [Comment ID #15825 Will Be Quoted Here]YEAH,I WAS AT THE GAME,AND THE BOOS REALLY DIDNT SOUND LIKE BOOS TO ME EITHER…ANYHOW ,THE SO CALLED BOOS LASTED HOW LONG???? 2 MINUTES OR LESS???? PLEASE…LA LOVES KOBE…AND WE SHOULD UNDERSTAND HIS ANGER AND FRUSTATION…HE JUST WANTS TO WIN AND WIN NOW!!!!

  • lakerschamps08