Well, I'm pretty sure Kobe Bryant misses Vladimir Radmanovic. Luke Walton can be good. Emphasis on "can." And he certainly understands and executes the triangle more effectively than Vlad Rad. But damn, there's no doubt in my mind that Kobe misses Vladi. Luke can't shoot to save his life. Vlad, as shown by his 8-16 from beyond the arc in two games with the Bobcats, most certainly can.
The Lakeshow shot a stinky 5-19 from three last night (mostly behind Kobe's 1-7) but boy hooie could they have used a streaky 3-point shooter.
Luke Walton is frustrating. In the third quarter, Pau Gasol steals the ball and Luke streaks down the court for an open layup. Mehmut Okur (yeah, the super fast guy on the Jazz) closes in on Luke and tries to swipe at the ball and hits Luke's left arm. Luke misses the gimme and one opportunity. He then steps up to the stripe and bricks both freethrows basically turning a for sure and-one into a turnover. On the defensive end, Lakers get the stop with Paul Milsap airballing straight to Kobe. Kobe brings the ball up and chucks up a semi-contested 20 footer (more on his poor shot selection in a second). Luke hustles down and almost has an offensive rebound that is knocked out of his hands by Ronnie Brewer. Luke takes the ball out, gives it to Gasol, gets it back and curls around and then tries to lob a pass to Pau. The ball is stolen. The Jazz fastbreak. Fisher makes a great play to stop C.J. Miles dribble. Miles passes back to Brewer but Luke makes the hustle play of recovering back on defensive and then knocking the ball out of bounds.
Three consecutive series that end with Luke almost making a 3-point play but coming up with nothing, almost getting an offensive rebound, and then almost making a steal.
As for Kobe, I don't know what happened or what's been said to him since Bynum went down, but he's not looking to pass much at all. He's not moving the ball as much anymore and is instead taking a bunch of contested shots. Little ball movement. A lot of one on one. When he's on, it's brilliant. But when he's taking tough shots and they ain't falling? He needs to start working the ball around.
The Lakers played crap defense last night (the Jazz shot 59 percent from the field and scored 113 points) but it was Kobe's poor shot selection that cost the team the game. He took 33 shots, and add to that 4 other attempts that ended in fouls...that's 37 attempts...three times as many as the next closest Laker (Pau and Odom who shot a combined 15-26).
Mr. Bryant...pass the damn ball. What happened?
Mr. Odom, three straight games and three career rebounding nights. If he can keep this production up, he'll grab 50 boards the next time the Lakers play the Jazz during the last regular season game. Ha.
Speaking of the Jazz, Mr. Deron Williams is blazing hot as stated in the last post. He dropped 31 and 11 on the Lakeshow. Amazing how people still think Chris Paul is so much better.