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Tag:Andrew Bynum
Posted on: December 1, 2008 10:06 am
 

Raptors - Lakers - A Game in Review

14 – 1. The Lakers are for real. Not that I was a doubter, but that team is so much more than Kobe Bryant and some other guys this season. From Phil Jackson on down, this Lakers team looks focused on winning and has depth at every position on the floor. I knew that Andrew Bynum would have made last year’s final against the Celtics very different, but watching him shut down Chris Bosh at almost every facet of his game shows me how good he is, and how much work the Raptors have left to do to make the playoffs this season. Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, Vladimir Radmanovic added to the starting 5 make this team strong up front and very active at both ends of the floor. But then, you bring in a very talented bench of Trevor Ariza, Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Lamar Odom and Luke Walton who is a very good passer in the low post, and this Lakers team will beat most teams as far as 10 deep most nights. I wonder if the Pistons feel fortunate to have caught them on an off night for their only loss.

The Raptors played hard for 3 quarters until Sam Mitchell surrendered and took his starters out, perhaps wanting the game to be over and looking to the Nuggets on Tuesday, he pulled them early in the 4th as Kobe didn’t play a minute in the 4th again. The Raptors several times pulled this game to within 4 points with solid ball movement and some well taken shots, but then the Lakers would grab a board and turn it into a transition bucket and be up 10 within 3 possessions. Jose Calderon and Derek Fisher went head to head and played hard nosed ball all night. It was good to see him play solid defense against a pretty good guard as he held Derek to 5 points and 4 assists while collecting 12 points and 12 assists himself. Andrea Bargnani, starting in place of still injured Jermaine O’Neal played a very good game on both ends of the floor with 14 points and 11 rebounds, but it was his play on defense that caught my attention. I counted 5 blocks for him though he only has 4 on record, but he was altering shots and rotating well all night. A very good game indeed by Andrea has given me some more to watch as he continues to grow at both ends of the floor. Anthony Parker looked much better last night as well scoring 19 points and not letting Kobe run free. Yes, Kobe scored 24 in 3 quarters, but Anthony actually did a good job making him take tough shots, but he is still Kobe and can make those shots. Parker had a nice rhythm on his stroke and hit a few critical 3’s. Chris Bosh was held in check all night as Andrew Bynum shut down any inside game the Raptors tried to establish forcing him outside where he is not as consistent. Bosh ended up with 12 points but was 4 – 13 on a night where near perfection would have been required for a victory. Yes, we miss Jermaine, but Chris at times looked like he was forcing his game too much and with no real consistent offensive rebounding, those misses usually resulted in transition baskets. The Lakers had 58 points in the paint to the Raptors 32. That, coupled with our poor rebounding game where we were -18 on the glass and – 4 on the offensive glass. That is just too much of an advantage to overcome shooting only 38% from the field.

Over all, the Raptors showed a lot of heart and played very good defense for most of the game. The fact is, this Lakers team is very good at all facets of the game and very deep on the bench. Although the Raptors shot 44% from outside on 11/25 shots, they had no ability to sustain any inside game to help the shooters. With 6 players in double digits, it was a well balanced offense as the ball movement looked great at times and good choices were made by the shooters most of the night. When Chris Bosh is taking that many shots from just inside the arc, you know it has been a long night for him. I hope that Jermaine returns 100% as this team needs to have him inside and Andrea starting on the wing. Jamario Moon and Jason Kapono played well, but I think this team is much better with 3 big front men, and I think Andrea has proven that his game is very close to what was anticipated.

Coming up next are the Chauncey Billups led Denver Nuggets then on to Utah to take on Deron Williams and the Jazz. Let’s hope the team can take this game as a positive learning experience and play better as the week unfurls.

Posted on: November 29, 2008 11:53 am
Edited on: November 30, 2008 11:02 am
 

Raptors - Lakers - A Game Preview

Next up for the Raptors on Sunday are the high-flying Los Angeles Lakers who bring a 13 – 1 record to the Staples Center. The Raptors are starting a short 3 game road trip and look to carry the momentum of two straight victories against the Bobcats and the Hawks to close out a home stand. The other games are against the Chauncey Billups led Nuggets in Denver and then against Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams and the Jazz at in Utah. Sunday night will be a very difficult game against one of the top 2 teams in the league. After a loss to the Pistons, the Lakers have won 6 in a row with wins over the Nuggets, the Mavericks, the Suns, the Kings, the Bulls and the Nets. After the game Sunday, the Lakers start their first road tour of the East with stops at the Pacers, the 76ers, and the Wizards, so they will look to roll on and keep the momentum and the pressure on any team they play right now to stop them.

Probable Lineups:

Lakers:

Kobe Bryant – SG
Derek Fisher – PG
Pau Gasol – PF
Vladimir Radmanovic – SF
Andrew Bynum – PF

Raptors :

Jose Calderon – PG
Anthony Parker – SG
Jermaine O’Neal – C
Andrea Bargnani – SF - With Jeramine declared as playing, i have moved Jamario off the starting 5
Chris Bosh – PF

With Jermaine O’Neal slated to start as of this writing, I think that Jamario Moon will get the start as opposed to Andrea Bargnani as he will be needed more inside to deal with Gasol and Bynum.

As I see this game, unless the Raptors continue the improvements made on defense, they will have a difficult time containing the Lakers starters let alone the solid bench play they get from Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar and Trevor Ariza. Our bench will have to continue their improvement and step up their defensive contributions on the glass and on the wing as Kobe would love to drop another 81 on us, this time at home and not in Toronto. Anthony Parker and Joey Graham will have a long night if they can’t keep a lid on Kobe to some extent and the team defense will be critical as the Lakers bring a very balanced offense to every game. Chris Bosh and Jermaine or Andrea will need to try to out play and contain Bynum and Gasol. If JO plays and is healthy, his presence on the glass will be greatly needed.

I believe that Sam Mitchell is on the right track and the guys seem to be understanding how critical every play can be with so many games coming down to one or two possessions in the past couple of weeks. With Chris Bosh bringing 27.7 points every night right now, the team will look to him to continue his tear being second in scoring behind Dwyane Wade and just ahead of LeBron James right now. The game Sunday will require the bench to approach the 31 points it provided against the Hawks to give them the opportunity to win. I look for a very good game on both sides of the ball and I would love to see the Raptors knock this team off. It can be done, but will require ball control and ball movement on offense, some above average rebounding and a good shooting day by Jason Kapono or Jose Calderon.

Enjoy the game.

 
 
 
 
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