14-1 and oh so fun!
The Lakers welcomed the New Jersey soon to be Brooklyn Nets in town as they continued their homestand and continued to polish their sparkling 11-1 record. A close game turned into another blow out for the Lakers as they took control of a 70-66 game in the 3rd. After a dismal defensive effort against the Kings as they allowed more dribble penetration then Dennis Rodman on Carmen Elektra, the Lakers went back to basics on the defensive end against the Nets. Pau Gasol used and abused the opposing Nets defenders as he poured in 26 points and 8 rebounds and sat out the 4th. Andrew Bynum put in 15 points but was plagued with foul trouble. The Bench Mob was big again as Jordan Farmar led the way with 18 points along with Lamar Odom with 13. Kobe had a night to forget as he went 5-17 for only 12 points but as the Lakers have shown all year they are no longer a one trick pony as the rest of the team was able to pick up for Kobe's ineffectiveness. For the Nets, Devin Harris who was acquired last year from Dallas in the deal that sent Jason Kidd to them, had a solid game scoring 21 points and dishing out 6 assists, Rookie Brooks Lopez put in a solid effort with 17 points and 10 rebounds. The Lakers bench outscored the Nets reserves 56-19 as they routed the Nets 120-93.
Yi Jianlian with a 3 point make in last nights game is now 23-57 from beyond the arc for his career, ...The Lakers are 7-6 vs the Nets since they met in the Finals back in 2002.
Vince Carter on the Lakers bench...“Their bench was tremendous,” Carter said. “I thought their second unit was the difference. If you do not match their energy and play your `A’ game, you will not beat this team—especially here.”
Mavericks at Lakers
After a slow start for the Mavs, they came into the match riding a 5 game winning streak including a road victory over the Houston Rockets. They also came into the game without Josh Howard who was also side-lined the previous 4 games. The game took a franatic pace with both teams holding double digit leads. The Mavs overcame an early Lakers 10 point lead to take their own double digit lead and went into the half leading the Lakers 57-51. They build the lead to as much as 13 points midway into the 3rd quarter before the Lakers kicked into high gear and overtook the game. Another solid defensive effort in the second half helped the Lakers overcome the deficit and en route to a 114-107 victory. Kobe bounced back after a poor performance against the Nets as he had 35 points on 14-26 shooting. Derek Fisher also had a good shooting night contributing with 19 points on 8-14 shooting. Andy Bynum had another solid game with 18 points and 10 rebounds despite playing with some pain from a bone spur in his right foot. Trevor Ariza was a spark off the bench and fueled the rally with 15 points. For the Mavs Jason Terry led the way with 29 points, Dirk had 19 and Jason Kidd finished with 12 points, 11 assists and 8 rebounds.
The Lakers recorded just 8 fouls against the Mavs, the fewest by the franchise since 1960-61 season.
Lamar Odom on the Lakers play: "Some games you're going to get beat," he said. "Like against Detroit, we didn't play well enough and they took advantage of us not playing well enough and, boom, beat us. So, if we come out flat, other teams should try to take advantage of it and stomp us out. If they don't. ... Boom."....smacking his fist into his palm...Boom! Outta here!
Raptors at Lakers
Lakers looked to get even fatter Sunday night and it wasnt from the Thanksgiving turkey, looking to end the month of November with a league best 14-1 record. The Raptors were in town and whenever the Raptors are in town one can only think back to Kobe's 81 a couple years back. The game started off with the same trend the others did, a relatively close game turning into yet another lopsided victory. The Lakers looked to take advantage of the Raptors as they played without Jermaine O'Neal by utilizing Andrew Bynum often. Bynum responded matching his best output of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Kobe also had an effecient night with 23 points and matched his assist high of the season with 7. Pau Gasol was key with 24 points and Trevor Ariza off the bench put in 14 points. The Raptors were lead by Anthony Parker who had 19 points including 4-6 from downtown and Jose Calderon who had 12 points and a12 assists. The Lakers held Kobe's Olympian teammate in check with only 12 points on 4-13 shooting. A 6 point games turned into a 19 point Lakers lead in the 4th as they were able to rest Kobe and the starters for the rest of the game, the Lakers went on to win the game by a final of 112-99.
Kobe fell 15 points shy of becoming the fastest player to reach 22,000 career points breaking Wilt Chamberlains record.
Phil on Kobe's missed record, "Somebody put in the paper that Kobe needed 38 points tonight to be the youngest player to ever reach that particular thing. I mean, that was like putting a carrot in front of a donkey," Jackson said about an hour before tipoff. "That could really mess up the game for us tonight.".,,,Carrots! Yuck!
The reason for the Lakers tenacious defense this season can be directly attributed to Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis convincing Phil to run more zone oriented defenses to push the ball to one side. The results although inconsistent but dramatically improved has been the Lakers new found emphasis on team defense. This has also resulted in teams taking low percentage shots and nothing easy inside, this has also lead the way for the Lakers to gamble more as far as intercepting the passing lanes resulting in more steals and the Lakers are the best in the league in that category averaging 10.4 steals per game.
Unlike Boston who threw a parade for their defensive guru, assistant coach Tom Thibodeau who got significant credit for his defensive philosophy in containing the Lakers in the Finals, Coach Rambis did his under the radar in a workmans type of approach. Per Phil, "We didn't want to announce it and make a big deal about it like Boston did with their guy," Jackson said. "But Kurt is real good at this and he's willing."....gloves are off man, lets see who's defense can hold the other!
If you've noticed, Kobe's overall numbers have been down but thats not because of declining talent, its been because of a great supporting cast who has shined brighter then Kobe's star himself. Kobe's minutes have decreased significantly from 38.9 minutes to 33.3 minutes a game this season.
"We're a deep team," Lamar Odom said. "I think he knows that. Kobe is a tough competitor. He's going to compete. We all know that he's going to try and score. If he's off, of course we're going to pick up the slack."
Phil on Guns
Phil Jackson in the wake of the Plaxico Buress gun incident who is pretty vocal against guns didnt have to worry too much on making his players more aware of gun..."I haven't talked about it in the last couple of years," he said. "The NBA has stepped up and talked about it. Their (security) department has talked about it with the players. They certainly got a lesson this weekend that ought to make them alert."
Only guns I have to worry about are these disguised as my arms!
Lamar on a new game
After being asked about his points per game this season and his overall production given its a contract year..."The game is called basketball, not shoot," Odom said. "You can play a complete basketball game without shooting a lot of shots. There aren't too many guys that can do it, I just happen to be one of them."
Hitting the Road
The Lakers will hit their first eastern road swing of the year starting tonight. The Lakers look to keep the same philosophy on the road, Lamar Odom, "(Going on the road) won't be different for us. We'll come out and do the same thing, try and play a defensive game at first, make teams uncomfortable and try to wear them down."
"The tempo of the game changes (on the road)," Phil Jackson said. "There is more control and we have to be more concerned about things. We have to be more concerned about controlling the game with fewer turnovers, less fouls and for less opportunities for our opponents to win."
The Bench Mob has been great this season and hopefully can continue their dynamic play on the road. Phil touched on what the bench has to bring playing outside the friendly confines of Staples, "They have to be able to execute in the half-court game," Jackson said. "That's what we're really working with this young group at. Runs are good, transition defense, steals -- all those things. They are exploding the game a little bit with their higher-pace game. But then when that pace is over and they're into that half-court, we have to be able to execute."
The Lakers did finish 27-14 on the road last season, 2nd best in the league behind the Celtics and are currently 5-0.
Week 6 Preview
Tonight starts off a 3 game eastern road swing against those giant killers, the Indiana Pacers, who earlier this season routed the Boston Celtics followed by Elton Brand and the Sixers tomorrow night capping off the back to back. The trip ends with the Wizards in D.C. The Lakers return home to finish off the week vs. the Bucks. The Lakers should win the week but have generally had some let down losses last year with these types of road swings. The Lakers are 2 wins away from matching their best 16 game start ever.