12/10/2004 10:56:00 AM|||Kurt|||No reason for the headline, other than a chance to quote The Cure. What follows is an assortment of thoughts on a Friday morning: * I know it's early, but for the record: At 10-8, the Lakers are ninth in the Western Conference right now, one game back of the Clippers and Nuggets. * Among the numerous problems the Lakers have in the half-court offense, have you noticed that at the first sign of trouble, the rest of the Lakers freeze and give the ball to Kobe. "Here you go, take the ball, six seconds to go on the 24, good luck!" I think that's one of the reasons Kobe's shooting percentage has fallen so far this season and currently sits at 39.7%. (Using eFG% -- to better account for the three point attempts -- it improves to 44.2%.) * A question being asked (by the insightful Joel Meyers, for one) is if Kobe should shoot more when he penetrates off the dribble. Right now, after he beats his man and if the defense collapses on him, he kicks the ball out for a 20-24 foot jumper from someone. Would Kobe -- and the Lakers -- be better served not driving all the way to the basket and instead pulling up for an 8- to 10-foot jumper? * What the Kobe and the Lakers should not do -- and they do it a lot, especially in crunch time -- is not penetrate and settle the long jumper with a man in their face. * Kobe has had double-digit assists the past two games, but he also has 8 turnovers per game in the contests. * Did you notice that Vlade didn't play against Phoenix? Admittedly Stoudemire and the rest of the Suns are far more athletic than Vlade, so we're not talking a lot of minutes here, but wouldn't he have been useful for a few minutes as a sub? * I have to say I really enjoy watching Phoenix play -- they rarely run a set offense (I'd guess less than 40% of the time), instead letting Steve Nash push the ball and create. They are as close to playground as you can get in the NBA. It reminds me of the fun play you saw in the 1980s (when the Lakers ran, but other teams, such as Golden State, outran even them). * That said, I agree with Icaros in the comments from yesterday -- I don't think Phoenix's style will work in the post-season. They may be a top-four seed, but they will be ripe for a first-round upset. * The Lakers had success against Phoenix inside -- Chris Mihm was 8 of 12 for 18 points and Lamar Odom was 9 of 14 for 19 points. As they did in the first game between these two -- and my observations say they do a lot this season -- when the going got tight the Lakers went away from this strategy. * So far this season, Kobe drawing a foul on 17.3% of his shot attempts. * Kobe is fourth in the league in minutes played. * Who is leading the Lakers terms of shooting percentage? Chris Mihm at 53.7%. Being close to the basket helps. * While Tony Bobbit was signed after the Rush trade, he was sent to the IR. Sasha Vujacic is off of it and may get a few minutes at the point. I'm curious to see a little more of him in a game situation. * For what it's worth, the Lakers are 8-9-1 against the Vegas line this season (according to Covers.com) and 8-9 to the under. ---------------- According to Hoops World, while the Lakers took Tony Bobbit back they also took a look at at a three-point specialist point guard and former Celtic Greg Minor. Minor may stay on the watch list if there is a need to bring in another point (due to injury, trade, whatever). Why do I care? If it happens, Minor would be the only player in the NBA from Cal State Northridge, my alma mater. For those that don't know him, Minor made the questionable move of leaving after his junior season in 1999 to enter the draft. Shockingly, he wasn’t drafted. Since then he spent several years as a project on the Celtics bench then has gone to the minor leagues. No, I don't think he's better than Bobbit -- but he's a Matador so I've got his back.|||110270499728515669|||It's Friday, I'm in Love