All Balls Don’t Bounce

Completely Random Sports Non Sequiturs From A Completely Random Hip Hop Head

Shoot-Out!

Posted by hiphopmama on January 9, 2009

Smells like team spirit, or Jarrett Jack is very short

Smells Like Team Spirit, or Jarrett Jack Is Very Short

Indiana 119, LA Lakers 121

(29-6)

Why is it that we have such a hard time with this Indiana team? Oh yeah, because they score and we can’t defend. We are two of the top five teams in scoring offense, and it showed tonight, with the Lakers surpassing 40 points in the first quarter and both teams passing the century mark with plenty of time left in the fourth.

Shooting was the story of this game, especially the first half. Both teams came out blazing and we emerged from the half with a slim two point lead. We created some distance between us and the Pacers with a solid third quarter when we finally strung a few stops together. Whether it was good defending or bad shooting is up for debate. The Pacers missed a number of shots they would have hit in the first half, but the Lakers also stayed home better defensively and closed out well on shooters to make them think about it a little. Whatever the case, they had a manageable lead in the fourth quarter which evaporated with a couple minutes to play.

This time, though, our superior coaching shone through clear as day, and a number of inexplicable decisions left the Pacers out in the cold. First, the Pacers somehow decided to leave the 6’2″ Jarrett Jack on Kobe Bryant for the entire stretch run of the game, and Kobe took advantage every time, backing the shorter man down and firing over the top. With the game tied – after we allowed Dunleavy a wide open three to knot it up – they had Danny Granger pick up Kobe Bryant on defense. Granger, the Pacers’ best player by far, was sitting on 28 points as well as five fouls, and with the seconds ticking away, he was called for a reach and had to retreat, visibly upset, to the bench. Why they would have their star player guarding the MVP on a game-deciding possession is beyond me, but it worked out well for us. To make matters worse – or better – theythen  stranded Jack in single coverage of Kobe, who ran the clock down, backed down to the outside of the key, and then nailed the easy jumper over the little dude. Okay, maybe it wasn’t really easy, but by Kobe’s standards it was fairly routine, and he had just made the same shot multiple times over the same defense. The final possession was just salt in the wound for Indiana, as Vujacic did a great job face-guarding Dunleavy after he inbounded the ball, preventing Jeff Foster from getting the ball back to him. With just three seconds remaining, Foster looked around helplessly for someone else to dish it to, found no one, and then failed to get a shot off before the clock expired. It was downright dismal, if you weren’t rooting for the Lakers, which is to say that I rather enjoyed it.

Some notes:

  • There is no more clutch player on the planet than Kobe Bryant. I know it’s nothing new or surprising, but it has to be said. Playing against a man nearly half a foot shorter than him just makes his job that much easier. Sorry, Jarrett.
  • Josh Powell made a strong case for more playing time tonight, but I still don’t think he’ll get it once everyone is healthy. He shot well (5-of-7) and always provides the hustle plays, but he is not a go-to guy offensively and cannot get his own shot or open things up for other guys, which is something Lamar does quite capably. We did alright tonight, but it was painfully evident that we lacked an offensive playmaker off the bench when the lineup consisted of Fish, Sasha, Ariza, Powell, and Bynum. We ended up standing around watching Ariza do his thing, which succeeded better than expected – he is sure coming into his own – but I don’t see that as a long-term strategy. Get well soon, LO.
  • Fisher is still playing too many minutes. 41 again tonight after lots of PT in those back-to-back games. I like having him on the floor as much as possible, but I’m worried about how he’ll hold up if he keeps up this pace. Come on back, Jordan. Rehab like a mad man.

Our marathon schedule continues Sunday when we take on the Heat at Staples. They burned us last time when Wade went off and Kobe saw a heartbreaker go halfway down before popping out at the last second. I expect better things on our home court as we are in the midst of some good play even without the full roster. Oh, and the Celtics lost too. So all in all a good Friday.

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4 Responses to “Shoot-Out!”

  1. Miguel said

    Yeah, that’s way too many minutes for Fisher. Does Kobe guard Wade? Do you think it would be worth it for the Lakers to do that? Kobe is an All-NBA defender so I wonder if Phil has tried it.

  2. Josh said

    Excellent.
    I wasn’t able to watch anything past the half … the channels were coming in and out for me, not sure why. But ESPN and all of the FSN rebroadcasts (NBA League Pass) were affected. Kinda sucked, but I had a buddy at the game coincidentally who was able to keep me updated.
    Kobe is clutch. The best, no question. I have to say that Wade and Lebron are right there with him this year … I’ve seen some of the plays they’ve made and some of them are unreal. Even if Kobe doesn’t win the MVP this year again (which we all know he won’t … even if he deserves it), all us Lakers fans know what he’s about and we know that our strength comes from #24 (:

    Thanks for the recap … it’s times like this where Comcast fails me that I know you’ll come through for me

    -josh

  3. hiphopmama said

    The Kobe-Wade match-up is intriguing and I saw it a bit last time, but I don’t expect to see either guard the other much. They’re just too valuable to risk getting in foul trouble. I’d like to see Ariza on D-Wade whenever he’s in the game with Kobe covering as needed. God knows Vlad Rad can’t keep up with him.

    And I’m glad my recaps are good for something. Sucks that you can pay all that money for some easy-to-deliver coverage and it still fails on you. Even the blackouts piss me off, mostly because I’m too dumb to realize they’re coming. Lebron has been much better in the clutch this year (and even last), and Wade has always been a big-moment guy. I doubted Lebron would ever have it in him early in his career (it’s not still “early” for him, is it??) because he didn’t seem to have that killer mentality. To be fair, no one is as ruthless as Kobe, save MJ, and I have a theory that the bigger an a-hole you are, the better a clutch player and overall baller you will be. It takes complete arrogance and narrow-mindedness to work at it and want it enough to come through with such consistency. Then again, Lebron has certainly been drinking the Kool-Aid lately, internalizing all his hype in playing up his potential departure from Cleveland, so maybe it’s transition time for him. I liked him better when he seemed like a decent guy, but if he wants to be the best I guess it’s the road he has to go down.

  4. Diana said

    Best record in the NBA….HEY-O!

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