Friday, February 08, 2008

Lakers D: Maybe a Problem After All

Amidst all of the Paul Gasol hoopla, a few people have wondered how this will affect the Lakers defensively, especially when Bynum gets back. After all, Gasol isn't a great defender and his insertion into the lineup will create a few matchup problems with Pau chasing around athletic power forwards (like Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Harrington, David West, and others) and Lamar Odom being forced to guard small forwards. Plus, it takes Trevor Ariza off the floor, who is L.A.'s premier defensive specialist.

Anyway, I mention this because I just got done watching the Orlando Magic hang 44 points on L.A. in the first quarter of tonight's game. They did it without making a free throw or garnering a steal. It was just drive and kick and feeding the post to the tune of 18-for-24 shooting (including 8-of-11 on mostly wide open threes) and 14 assists.

Yikes.

[Update: L.A. shook off that rough first quarter and wound up winning 117-113 behind 36 from Kobe and 30 from Gasol. The only issue I really saw was the inability to close out on shooters (Fisher is short, Kobe prefers to leak out, Odom is a step delayed) and an imbalance in FGA's. Kobe was 11-for-26 while Gasol was 12-for-15 and Odom 5-for-5. When your two bigs are 17-for-20, you'd like to see them get more shots. I guess Kobe was in full "prove to everyone what I can do" mode after the twin sub-double digit performances. I will probably be accused of being a Kobe Hater for saying this, but the Lakers' Achilles Heel is Kobe's insistance on playing a contrived brand of basketball. He and Gilbert Arenas both fall victim to a unique brand of self awareness that leads them to respond to the media in a premeditated and unnatural way. They just need to play basketball.]

2 comments:

Jack Wang said...

I'm a little late on this comment, but boy, you really hate Kobe.

Jack Wang said...

The Suns may have played right into the Lakers' hands by trading for Shaq. With Pau and Bynum, the Lakers are huge and theoretically should improve defensively, but their biggest weakness could be guarding the perimeter. Replacing Marion, a fast 3-point shooting threat at the with Stoudemire and moving Shaq to center, the Suns could have just forced themselves to play the Lakers' game.

Stop hating Kobe.