The Celtics have dominated the Raptors for the last 5.5 years, so you’ll forgive me for an absolutely brutal prediction. I must admit, though, that I was ear-to-ear smiling watching the replay on league pass; witnessing that pit in Garnett’s stomach grow over dropping a game to the Raptors was priceless. Let’s hope lightning strikes twice with the Lakers in town.

Brian Kamenetzky from ESPN Los Angeles, and I had a wicked conversation about the game (the other part):

How do you rate Mike Brown? Was he a good choice for this team, or should the job have gone to Brian Shaw?

Actually, my choice was Rick Adelman. I felt like he was the best bridge between truly bringing in a new voice, but with a system not going so far away from what the roster was constructed to do in a season almost surely going to be without a real training camp. A good blend of continuity and change.

On the other hand, maybe they figured the roster would become something Brown would be more comfortable with, and it probably would have had the Chris Paul trade been allowed by the NBA. As for his performance, I think he’s done reasonably well under almost impossible circumstances. He had no contact with players to install his system, no real training camp for them to practice it (and meanwhile, the roster was changing constantly throughout), and because of a brutal schedule early, no chance to get real reps except in games. They went weeks without a real practice. Plus, the roster has serious limitations.

That said, I don’t think he’s done great work with the rotations. There’s been an awful lot of tinkering, and I get the sense it grates on the guys he’s pulling in and out of the lineup. Certainly there’s been a lack of creativity on the offensive end, as well. All told, it’s hard to be too critical given the context, but he hasn’t won me over, either.

True or False: Trading Odom (as bad as he’s played so far this season) for a trade exception (and not getting any real assets in return) has cost the Lakers the chance to compete for an NBA championship this season, and damaged their future moving forward.

True, true, true, true. There’s no question Odom was due for a dip in production after a career year shooting the ball last season, but I do believe he would have performed better here than in Dallas. But even if he didn’t, the problem isn’t that Odom is gone, per se, but that they didn’t replace him with an actual basketball playing human being. Losing Odom left a massive hole in the rotation. He took with him skill sets and flexibility they didn’t replace, and the team has suffered for it.

As for the future, you can definitely argue the way they moved Odom was a total waste of an asset. Maybe they turn that trade exception into something useful down the road, but at the same time, it’s hard for me to believe they couldn’t have turned Odom himself into that same asset, and meanwhile the exception isn’t as easy to move as the player himself.

What is the plan around getting Howard into a Laker uniform? Given the current make-up of the team, will he be enough to get them back into championship form, or is it more of a lateral move?

It improves them, because Howard is better than Bynum (using the much kicked around Bynum for Howard hypothetical), but I don’t think adding Howard makes them a title contender right away unless they fill the other holes. They’d still be short a point guard or two, and small forward is a wasteland. The bench also wouldn’t improve. Perhaps they could solve some of those problems in a Howard swap, but if they don’t the Lakers would still have a lot of work left to do. They’d have their superstar of the future – nothing to sneeze at – but wouldn’t necessarily become instant title contenders this year.

In the near term, it feels like the Lakers have a choice to make. Try to win now, or do what they can to secure the future. Doing both at the same time is a tall order.

The Lakers are in desperate need of a guard who can take some pressure off of Kobe, and you know, play basketball at an NBA level. Are there any deals in the works that could help address some depth in the front court?

You’ll hear names like Ramon Sessions kicked around, or Jose Calderon. I don’t know how the Lakers acquire this sort of helpful, mid-level player, though. It’s not like they have a lot to offer, and what they do have seems to be reserved for a potential Howard deal (and, in the ultimate Lakers fan fantasy, Howard and Deron Williams). Gilbert Arenas is another name bandied about, but the Lakers clearly aren’t itching to get that done, or he’d already be here. But no question they need someone who can put the ball on the floor and create shots for himself and others. Odom was the second best guy on the team for that, but he was shipped out. We’ll often joke that Pau Gasol is the team’s best point guard, because he passes so well and actually has a pretty nice handle in the open floor.

It’s a joke, of course, but is a lot more true than it should be.

I’m super lazy today, so not doing the full match-ups, but a few things to consider for tonight:

  • The Lakers are playing the last game of a 6 game road trip over the last week-and-a-half. This is especially troubling for them because you can make the case that the Raptors are the deeper of the two teams
  • Before the Lakers played the Knicks on Friday; Kobe was asked about Jeremy Lin, and said this. After “not getting ahead of himself”, Lin dropped 38pts 7ast 4rebs in a win. You can bet he will be wanting to take that aggression out on the Raptors today
  • The Lakers are leading the league in rebounds per game, and posting a 28.3% offensive rebounding rate; Amir, Ed and Gray will need to be engaged and focused from the tip
  • Bayless (and Bargnani) is doubtful for the game. Say what you want about him, but he attacks defenses and forces them to react. With him out, it’s up to DeRozan to repeat his performance against the Celtics; three cheers for consistency!
  • Kobe is averaging 39.3 minutes over the last 10 games; he’s also averaged 40+ for the last three. He has to be tired, I know he’s a world champion, eye of the tiger type guy, but given the early start, there is a real opportunity to come out of the gates blazing. If he hits his second wind early, what can you do?
  • Given all that, the Lakers are 6.5 half point favourites even though they will playing their 6th game in a row on the road at 10am LA time; the smart money has spoken

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27 Responses to “Gameday: Raptors vs Lakers – Feb. 12/12”

  1. Balls of Steel

    That’s just great, Lin lights up the Lakers for 38 and these guys are coming into town super pissed. Can you say Kobe going off for 83 points?

  2. BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    The Lakers with a day of rest since they last played will be a force for the Raptors to deal with unlike the tired Celtics on coming off of an emotional OT loss to the Lakers on Friday the Lakers are big & talented in the paint w/ Bynum & Gasol.

    As well off of their bench the Lakers use veteran TMurphy who can stretch the defense with 3s & McRoberts who is a very athletic back up big man.

    I would hope that the Raptors will keep this game close since Jose doesn’t have to chase around a speedy pg in Fisher or Blake but the Raptors didn’t take advantage of their early Sunday games- especially for a westcoast team, last season.

    I would like to see Kleiza try his tough guy act on World

    I see a 10-13 point Lakers W with Kobe getting 30 as they bring the trouble to the TDot- nobody move nobody get shot! 

    Btw- I like the summary on Odom (Lakers never replaced him) & flipped in onto CB- the problem isn’t that Bosh is gone, per se, but that BC didn’t replace him with an actual basketball playing human being just a TPE who has since retired due to reasons unknown.


    Great questionnaire with B.Kamenetzky, Sam.

    I’m taking Bynum over Howard, all week long.

        • Statement

          I thought you were somebody that was pissed off at me that was using my handle to mock me.

          If that isn’t the case, and you just happen to choose that handle to post, then it’s just a happy coincidence.

          I’ll choose a different handle then.

  4. Statement

    Kobe Bryant

    9-23 shooting, 4 turnovers, 2 rebounds.

    But he made the winning shot.

    Nevermind the 4 or so straight posessions where he was garbage and went 1 on 5 against the raps, thus allowing them back in the game.

    I can just see the media Kobe ballwashing tomorrow.  Makes me mad.

    • mountio

      Trust me, I HATE, and I mean HATE Kobe as much as anyone. BUT – this is where the guys who are focused on PER and efficiency miss the boat.
      There is a BIG difference between getting a put back and playing efficient for the first three quaters and hitting shots, when the whole gym knows a) the ball is going to you and b) you arent passing it. Its what makes great players great and average players average (because they cant do it). Even LBJ hasnt quite figured this out.
      So, yes, Kobe is a ball hog, a brutal team player and shoots an awful percentage. But, when his team needed a key 3 or that shot at the end .. he was there. Gotta give him props for that ..

      • Statement

        “Nevermind the 4 or so straight posessions where he was garbage and went 1 on 5 against the raps, thus allowing them back in the game.”

        You see, if Kobe doesn’t go uber-selfish, then the Raps don’t get back in the game and there is no game winning shot to make.

        The first 2 points of the game are worth the same amount as the last 2 points.

        • mountio

          thinking we must have been watching a different game .. so went to the play by
          play to make sure Im not losing my mind.

          believe Im defending Kobe .. but see below for the facts

          Comes in at
          7:31 (lakers up 3)

          – Makes a 3

          – has a

          – makes a 2

          – misses 4
          twos and a 3

          – hits a 3
          (56 secs)

          – assist on
          Metta WP jumper

          – game

          By my count
          thats 4/9 down the stretch with an assist and a turnover, including two 3s. Not
          too shabby when the whole other team (should be) focused on you.

          And .. yes
          mathematically the first two points are the same as the last two, but getting
          the last two is a hell of a lot harder than getting the first two .. and until
          a team like the raps figure that out.. they have a long way to go.


  5. mountio

    Great game. Best athmosphere at ACC all year by a margin .. very very solid crowd from probably 8 mins from the end.
    A couple of things
    – Why the fuck does Casey automatically go away from zone once there is like 3-4 minutes left? The zone was killing them, we switch to man and Gasol (who LK cant guard) gets a double and finds Bynum for an open dunk. I get it with 20 secs left cause you dont want to leave a shooter .. but otherwise, RIDE THE ZONE. This was just like Utah, where we got a 20 pts deficit playing man, switched to zone, got back in it .. then back to man at the end and gave up easy hoops
    – The last inbounds play is 100% on casey. A) should never have buter throwing it in (he hasnt played all game and he SUCKS) and B) as a coach, you gotta make sure that TO gets called. In the end, we missed the shot with 3.8 left, likely same result if we got the ball with 4.2
    All in all .. a great game. Good effort against a team that actually somewhat showed up (unlike Boston, who was just horrible). Ill take the loss and the entertaining game.
    Oh ya .. big cat was great .. I would have had him in at the end over Gray (although Gray was good too). He works against a few teams .. LAL is one 

  6. 511

    Lot of people watched this one. Thought about Michael Jordan and how hard he was kicking himself for not letting the Calderon trade happen last year. 

    I also wondered … do some of us really want to trade Jose? Hard for me to imagine … 

  7. TheTruth

    Doesn’t this team have anyone better than Butler to inbound the ball ??!! 
    Why should we bring the guy cold off the bench in such curtail moment to inbound the ball ?

    This was the 2nd or 3rd time this season that this happen and I don’t understand why we have to use him !!!


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