Behind Enemy Lines: Los Angeles Lakers

The Hornets will attempt not to get down by 30 points to the L.A. Lakers tonight... for the fourth straight time. I'll say it now- if we are trailing by 20+ in the 3rd quarter, I officially give up all faith in Byron Scott's ability to adapt as a coach. The Lakers routinely school us by showing hard on Chris Paul on screen and rolls, allowing one of Odom/Gasol/Bynum to help from the weakside on all plays, and by taking away the angles to three point shooters via the long arms of Kobe and Ariza. How do you beat that? Move! Have Butler cut to the hoop, Stojakovic cut across the lane, David West move from the weak to strong side. Seriously, I don't care if guys are crashing into each other. I don't care if Mo-Pete belly flops into Sool running across the lane. I will be mad if we lose this game the way we lost the last three- guys standing around, watching Chris Paul be bottled up, doing absolutely nothing. Followed by desperation post ups to David West. Followed by Devin Brown launching 27 footers.

The Lakers are a good team. They are a better team than us. I won't be mad if we lose this game. I will be mad if we lose it the same way.

And that ends that rant. On to a quick Q&A with the great Lakers blog LA Ball Talk. Only three questions this time, but you can refer back to our last two Q&A's with Forum Blue and Gold as well. The answers after the jump:

At the Hive: I saw a rumor floating around a couple weeks back with Tyron Lue coming back to the Lakers. Do you think L.A. needs to add a point until Farmar returns, or can the team get by with Vujacic running the position?

LA Ball Talk: I saw the rumor also. Apparently a trade was under consideration to send Chris Mihm to Milwuakee for Lue. I wasn't to sure about the deal when it first came out, but I figured that since Mihm doesn't see very much game time either way, it can't possibly hurt to have another guy thats familiar with the triangle. If it happens, fine, if it doesn't, thats fine too. Since Farmar has gone down and Vujacic has taken over, the Lakers haven't lost (the game against Orlando doesn't count because Vujacic wasn't really running the point that game much). Most people forget that Sasha is naturally a point guard. He has great court vision and he generally makes good decisions. His sharpshooting however has made most people believe that he is a shooting guard or even a small forward. I like the idea of Sasha running the point and I think that this is his opportunity to prove how capable he truly is.

@tH: In my mind, Andrew Bynum's taken a step back so far this season from the awesome 35 games he played last year. Shooting much worse, offensive rebound and defense rebound rates down, passing down, turnover rate slightly up... is he not fully back yet?


LA Ball Talk: First of all, I think people are making a much bigger deal about this when the Lakers have the best record in the league. Secondly, Andrew definitely isn't putting up the numbers like he did last season, but there are two reasons for this. The first reason is that he is young, immature, and has proven to have a subpar work ethic (not something we didn't expect to see). The second reason, and more important one, is that last season there wasn't another seven footer clogging up the paint. The season is only 32 games in with another 50 remaining in the regular season. The Gasol-Bynum duo is beginning to look better and better and I'm sure it will only continue to improve. I'm ok with not seeing big statlines from Andrew as long as he's playing hard and the Lakers are winning. Final note on this topic, in the Lakers five losses, Andrew Bynum has had 0 blocked shots in 4 of them. So remember, if Bynum gets a block, Lakers are probably going to come away with a victory.

 @tH: When Farmar comes back healthy, what do you anticipate will be the rotation (starters and bench) for the Lakers? It looks like there's been a fair bit of movement recently with Walton replacing Radman around 10 games ago and Ariza starting the last game.

LA Ball Talk: Farmar's return will most likely just put things back to where they were before he went out. 20 games into the season, Phil Jackson swapped Luke Walton for Vladimir Radmanovic in the starting lineup. Last game, since Luke is on the injured list for about two weeks, the Lakers started Ariza. The result was another victory, but the game didn't start off quite right for them being down by 9 early in the first quarter. I have a feeling Phil will go back to Radman to start, at least while Luke is gone, but when the team is healthy again, Farmar will be coming off the bench and Radman will be getting more playing time over Luke once again.

Also, something to keep in mind, the Lakers still only have 14 players on their roster. If it so happens that a veteran gets bought out of their contract at some point, I would look for the Lakers to be definite players in the sweepstakes to acquire him.

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