Wednesday, February 2, 2011
THERE'S GONNA BE A SHOWDOWN
Yesterday’s post ended with a wish for the Lakers to find their soul. The game wasn't all that epic but a satisfying win nonetheless. It was the first OT of the season, bumpy at times, miscues and silly turnovers but the effort was there - an inside/out game with Gasol and Odom combining for 46 points and 36 boards. Earlier in the day Mitch said he’d consider a trade. An almost unheard of admission for a famously cagey GM. Maybe he meant it, more likely it was sword rattling, but it seemed to get the players' attention.
Kobe spoke with Pau before the game about being more of a black swan than a white one and it’s actually a very sly suggestion. He’s not asking the Spaniard to be a banger, an enforcer, a lion or a bear, but simply a darker shade of pale; malevolent as opposed to thuggish. It’s a distinction that probably appeals to Gasol - I’ve always felt that a dark ribbon is embedded somewhere within his psyche. Just as long as this isn’t some Johnny Weir swan sleeve duality thing.
Here come the warm Spurs, fresh off a rare loss (Portland) and they won’t be happy about it - Duncan will be watching Pau like a bug-eyed viper, ready to pull the chair out if he tries a Pas de Deux. The Spurs won by 15 the last time they were here, Duncan didn’t have a good night but everyone else in white did, constant attack mode through their new fastbreak offense - the point, shooting guard and small forward positions are basically interchangeable. Add 17 points and 15 rebounds from starting center DeJuan Blair and 10 points from fearless rookie George Hill and the game was over, long before it was over.
Andrew Bynum says he wants to play, having sat out the Houston game with a left knee bone-bruise. Phil Jackson is hopeful, the preferred plan would be to go with a mismatch on Blair - conventional wisdom has always held that you can’t teach height. Then again, you can’t teach six-foot-seven of relentless steamroller either. If Bynum can’t go, Gasol will slide to the 5 and Odom will make his 33rd start of the season. Kobe will look to facilitate early (11 dimes against Houston) and assassinate late.
In other news today, Ron Artest does and does not want to be Mitch Kupchak’s trade toy. This type of thing often has a galvanizing effect, 24 hours will tell. It’s an interesting time. The Spurs bring purpose and stability. The Lakers bring the Black Swan. Hello darkness, my old friend.