Heir’z Corner: Lakers Make Raptors Look Prehistoric
Even though it was only a preseason game, this game had at least a little interest surrounding it: seeing how well our two big men matched up against Bosh and JO. But in the end, Dumbo flew away with the best performance.
Vlad Rad- Vlad played like crap tonight. Maybe he was constipated; maybe he’s having relationship problems, whatever. I like that he’s embraced the role of certified 3-bomb shooter to relieve the stress off our 3 headed monster, but he overdid it tonight. He should keep in mind that he’s playing for himself also and that the defense respects his outside shot, so pump fakes can open things up if he knows when and how to use them. Tonight he rushed and ended up taking a lot of bad shots that were contested. If he plans on starting he’ll have to learn to make the game easier for himself. His energy has impressed me during the preseason so far, though. Final stat line: 5 points, 2-7 from the field, 1-6 from downtown, 19 minutes.
Bynum/Gasol- Slowly but surely, they’re finding a way to work together. More than once Pau has had good recognition at the top of the key when he’s gotten doubled and found Bynum underneath the basket uncontested. I would’ve liked to have seen Pau a little more aggressive on the offensive end since Bynum wasn’t really into it, but our style of play as a team can make that difficult if you don’t have the mindset of a Kobe Bryant. Tonight Bynum showed that he still has a long way to go before he becomes the same player he was last season, though. He’s had a hard time of staying aware of what’s happening on the perimeter once he’s in the post, and as a result guards take the ball away from him rather easily. Even when that doesn’t happen and it’s just him making a basic one on one move in the post, he’s not moving fast enough. It’s almost like he’s allowing the defense to dictate where he’s going, as opposed to him being the one in control (no homo). His hands aren’t as good as they used to be, either. He’s there for the rebounds but doesn’t get them. You love the effort, but at his size he should be above and beyond everybody else when he’s in the air. The problem is that even when he does manage to get it, he doesn’t have any control and just loses grasp of it. Maybe he’s just not fully comfortable out there yet, but I definitely understand where Phil was coming from when he said the effort isn’t there in Andrew’s play. Final stat line: Bynum- 9 points, 3-7 from the field, 4 rebounds. Gasol- 7 points, 7 rebounds, 2-4 from the field.
KB24- He played a near perfect game tonight (I can’t call it perfect since I wasn’t completely focused while I watched….haha). He’s continued his stellar play on the defensive end, making it difficult for the big man at the top of the key when they run screen roll. He’s gotten a lot of steals just from blindsiding. It’s also interesting to see our other perimeter players do the same thing, whether they’re learning from watching Kobe or it’s something the coaching staff is starting to enforce. Highlight reel plays, smart shots, team-leading defense, just KB24 being KB24. Final stat line: 13 points, 5-7 from the field, 6 assists, and 4 steals.
Fish- Fish will have to play a little smarter and less franticly (yes, I made that word up) when he’s out there with Bynum and Gasol. He can’t rush passes on the break with 3 defenders around a player like Bynum in the post and expect him to catch it cleanly. His D could be a little better as well, but I’m more worried about his jump shot. He seemed hesitant to me and that’s something we can’t afford to have with the defense keying in on Gasol, Kobe, and Bynum. Final stat line: 9 points, 3-6 from the field, 1-2 from 3.
Bench- My hat goes off to Farmar tonight for turning it around after a rough start. When you have a unit around you that plays well and you standout the most, that says a lot about your performance. The bench turned it up in the 4th and blew the game open after our starters couldn’t carry their strong play over into the second half. The trend switched. In the first half the starters played great and the bench couldn’t get on track, then in the second half the bench cleaned up the mess the starters left in the 3rd quarter. Our defense was clicking on all cylinders as well.
Final Thought- Enjoyable game tonight, seems like we’re really starting to mesh well as a team and things will only get better once we add Sasha to the mix. My only wish from Phil is to play Yue and DJ more. Mihm had a couple of highlights in the 4th quarter, but overall his performance wasn’t that strong. I think DJ is more intimidating to guards than Mihm is, the only problem is that you’re basically trading offense for defense. Mihm can be somewhat useful when his mid range game is in order, so I guess it just comes down to who’s playing the best at the moment and what we need. As each game passes, we’re starting to click more and more.