Stray Bullets: Lakers vs. Dallas 2/24

  • Forget the box score.  Last night was one of those games that a peek at the numbers will tell you absolutely nothing about how the game actually played out.   At least, not completely.  The box score will tell you that Dirk and Jason Terry had great games.  That's true.  It will tell you Kobe had an off night.  Kind of true.  It might tell you that Andrew Bynum and Pau were shooting decently and deserved more shots over Kobe.  That would be completely untrue.  Pau and 'Drew struggled.  Why?  Brendan Haywood was the real star last night.
  • Brendan Haywood troubled our big guys most of the night.  He was fighting for rebounds.  Fighting for position.  Finger-tipping rebounds away from Pau and Andrew.  He even scored some.  He played well.  Everyone will obviously look at Caron as the big catch in the trade, but it's Haywood that provides the biggest piece to the puzzle against the Lakers.  He was able to bother our bigs without help from Erick Dampier, whom was out injured.  That should not happen.
  • Bynum is a Black Hole.
  • Again, Bynum is killing the offense.  He started out 4-4 FGA in the 1st Q.  Yay.  That's always good and bad.  It was good, because the Lakers jumped out to a lead.  It's bad because it only encourages to show his "Black Hole" tendencies.  I mean, he isn't even thinking about passing.  He wants to get the ball, hold it for a few years, face up, then force shots over a guy just as big as him and a help defender.  What's worse is the other team knows he isn't passing.  That takes away cuts and allowed Dallas' defense to get ready to rebound.  When he wasn't forcing terrible shots, he was traveling or getting called for offensive fouls. 
  • The bulk of Andrew Bynum's Deep Space Nine play came in the 4th Q.  That's when Dallas applied the most pressure knowing the Lakers might get a little gassed due to the fact that LA was playing the 2nd game of a back-to-back roadie.
  • Everyone is paying attention to how the Lakers look once Kobe returned, but the change started with Drew's first game back vs. the Celtics. 

    The Celtics play good defense, so it's not really a game you can gauge.  Then Kobe returned, so all eyes focus on him.  But it's Bynum affecting the offense.  We will not get better offensively with Bynum.  So, he has to make his defense and rebounding stand out.  That's his real value.  He rebounded well last night, but gave quite a few possessions back.
  • But....I actually tweeted that I hoped Andrew Bynum got into foul trouble in the 3rd Q.  So he could sit on the bench and LO could bring fluidity.
  • The defense was active last night.  But like Coach Wooden said,"Don't mistake activity for achievement." 

    It's great to see the defense rotating and helping out.  Although, it's not so great when helping out means leaving Jason Kidd and Jason Terry wide open to kill you from deep.  This happened often, as evidenced by Jet's 30 and Kidd's four treys.

    I don't know why the Lakers felt the need to help so much.  It's not like they were getting killed in the post.  The Mavs back court can shoot.  Last time I checked, 3 > 2.
  • Last night was one of those games that people label Pau a wimp.  He just looked passive.  Haywood's activity seemed to bother Pau big time.  He didn't rebound well, he juggled a few of them he should have had.  Dropped passed he should have caught.  He didn't make Dallas pay when they doubled Kobe with the ball.  Usually Kobe will lure them out, then swing it to Pau, then Pau will make the right pass or score.  He couldn't take full advantage last night.  His reaction and willingness seemed slow. 
  • Dallas had too many 2nd chance opportunities.  Not all of those 2nd chance points were Pau's or Drew's fault.  There had to be 4-5 rebounds that magically ended up in a Dallas guard's hand.  Almost all of those rebounds ended in a momentum swinging bucket.
  • The Lakers didn't lose this game because Kobe was 9-23 FGA.  It's too easy to just look at shot attempts and to think Kobe was trying to take over and was off.  Yes, he started out missing - he was 0-5 in the 1st Q - but he finished up 9-18 after that.  Including going 7-11 in the 2nd and 3rd Q's. Those 1st quarter misses weren't the isolation pull-up 20 ft. variety either.  Except for one 18 footer, they were all within 14 feet.  The kind of shots we typically makes with ease.  The type of shot he was nailing in his stay in the post earlier in the season and Tuesday night against the Grizz.  He was adamant about driving to the hole or getting a shot in the paint.  Not settling for jumpers.  Dallas couldn't stop Kobe from getting the shot he wanted to take.  This is the Kobe I prefer.  Except for the 1st Q, he was pretty good last night.
  • When Jason Terry is going off, Dallas gives the Lakers real trouble.  Dirk they can survive.  It's a lot tougher when Jet having a great game.  It will be especially harder in the future if the Lakers can't ignore Dallas' post players like in the past.
  • The defense on Dirk was decent.  LO contested fairly well, but hey, Dirk's a great player.  Mark Jackson would tell you that great offense is just better than good defense.  We should know.  We watch Kobe night in and out.
  • Fisher. 3-13 FGA.  Why he's taking 13 shots is beyond me.  Unless he starts out like 5-7, I don't get it.  When he's bricking, it just tells the defense to clamp down and harass the bigs.
  •  Maybe lethargy played a role, but those excuses should only be used by young or bad teams.  The Lakers are neither.
  • Ron converted at least 3-4 lay-ups.  The Lakers can't waste nights when he's actually making bunnies.  He should have shot more.  He only had one shot attempt in the 2nd Half (a 3 pt. miss in the 4th).  He was 5-7 before that, and Dallas couldn't handle him inside.
  • I thought the Lakers semi-2nd Unit, with LO, Pau, Ron, Shannon and Fish pushed the tempo well.  They ran on just about every rebound and kept the Mavs on their heels.  The pace favored the Lakers, but maybe it took some steam out of them towards the end.  The Lakers didn't fight through the fatigue hard enough.
  • LO has been hitting some timely 3's lately.  He was also aggressively taking it to the basket.  He was the best Laker on the floor last night.  We all know he can be up and down.  I just hope that this good run lasts (at least through the Denver game.)
  • Just time to suck it up and make Philly pay, then get ready for the Nuggets.  It's a huge game.  Anyone who might tell you it's just another game, or regurgitate cliches about it being just another regular season game, doesn't understand momentum or "swagger" (sorry, best word).  There's a vast difference between feeling you can beat a team and knowing you can beat a team.  LA learned those lessons last year en route to the 'Chip.  Now?  Teams are gunning hard for the Lakers.  They need to show the rest of the NBA that it ain't happening.  Maintain that edge.  We've only seen the true potential of this team in spurts.  It's time to start putting this thing together. 
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