Odds and ends!
- Per HoopData, Los Angeles currently boasts the league's second best offense and eighth best defense. Actually, they're really good at pretty much everything anybody cares about.
- After a bit of a slide, the Lakers have won three straight, all on the road. Like the Clippers, the Lakers are on a big (in their case, just seven games to the Clips' eleven) road trip because of those Gramophone awards this weekend.
Wassup with the Lakers?
C.A. Clark of Silver Screen and Roll:
The Lakers enter tonight's game on their season's biggest wave of momentum since November. Back then, the Lakers looked every bit the juggernaut that you would expect a two time defending champion to be, even if the type of juggernaut was different than expected. They won games with an offense that was on pace to be the most prolific in the history of the league, by a healthy margin. But they couldn't keep that torrid pace, and because the team's defense has fallen off from last season, the losses piled up in a hurry, some of them very embarassing.
Last night's win over the Boston Celtics was cathartic in many ways for the team. It was their first victory over the teams that have better records than they do, the first road victory against an elite team, and a strong response to the beatdown the Celtics threw down in Staples Center last week. Pau Gasol has been playing at the level that saw him labeled an early season MVP candidate for the past week, after spending two months looking like he had mono, and Kobe Bryant is enjoying his most efficient season in years.
I'm not sure how the Lakers will react to the big win. They might use it to continue to build momentum, in which case, the Knicks will be the unfortunate recipients of two strong Laker efforts this season, or the Lakers might take their foot off the gas because they found out what they needed to know in revving the engine up to full blast. Though I'd prefer the former, the latter is the more likely possibility.
Know the opponent!
#5 Steve Blake: Every group of 30+ year-old friends includes "that guy who doesn't shut the fuck up about his iPad". On the Lakers, that would be Steve.
#24 Kobe Bryant: Last night, when inviting Kobe over for our usual "Community" and white wine, I made a simple request that he bring a corkscrew. Sure enough, he forgot, and I had to shelve this lovely bottle of Riesling I'd bought just for the occasion. Kobe Bryant is NOT clutch.
#45 Derrick Caracter: Derrick sleeps in a plank pose.
#3 Devin Ebanks: Devin loves beading and he's more than willing to take requests. Hit him up before the weekend and he'll happily bead you an anklet to give your girl for Valentine's Day.
#16 Pau Gasol: "Gasol's Syndrome", a congenital abnormality characterized by the excretion of saliva through the sweat glands, has yet to be described by the medical community. It's only a matter of time.
#7 Lamar Odom: When Lamar and his wife Khloe have children, they intend to uphold the Kardashian tradition of alliterative naming. Their three sons will be named Otto, Oscar, and Orpheus Odom.
Coach's Corner! with Dan D'Antoni, Knicks assistant coach and Zachary, California Sea Lion.
Dan: The Lakers have quite a bit of size, so our defenders, particularly in smaller lineups, are going to have to scramble and jump passing lanes to force turnovers.
Zachary: ART! ART! ART! ART! ART! ART! ART! ART! ART!
Dan: Well, no, but I do think rebounding is going to be an issue. Gasol, Odom, and Bynum got way too many second chances last time.
Zachary:: ART! ART! ART! ART!
Dan: Well, we're hoping that the addition of Timofey Mozgov into the starting lineup will help on that front.
Zachary: ART! ART! ART! ART! ART! ART!
Dan: I honestly have no idea what you're talking about.
Zachary: ART! ART! ART! ART!
Dan: Do you even watch basketball?
Zachary: ART! ART!
Dan: I mean, that one time I hooked you up with a ticket to a game you spent the whole time texting.
Zachary: ART! ART! ART! ART! ART! ART! ART! ART!
Dan: You know, you're kind of an asshole.
Wilson Chandler is unimpressed by your highlights!
Hey Wilson, did you see that Kobe Bryant passed Hakeem Olajuwon on the all-time scoring list the other day?
Pretty amazing, right?
Ronnyoke! starring Ronny Turiaf
Ronny don't rush that ankle/
Mozgov will do just fine/
Ronny we'll beat the Lakers/
One-twenty-seven to one-oh-nine/
One-twenty-seven to one-oh-niiiii-eeee-iiiine
Here is a picture of the oppposing coach!
And now you know your Lakers. Game's at 8, y'all.