In the eight games Pau Gasol sat out resting knee tendonitis, the Lakers went 3-5 and looked sloppy most of the time — their defensive rotations sagged to the point of nonexistent and on offense no Gasol (and Steve Nash) meant the ball more in Kobe Bryant’s hands. Which meant more Kobe Bryant shots.
We’ll see how much that changes when Pau Gasol returns to the lineup Tuesday night. As was expected, Mike D’Antoni made it official on Tuesday at shootaround, according to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell.
While there are plenty of questions about how well Gasol fits in D’Antonni’s system — he is not a classic stretch four by any means — it was impossible to judge with pre-rest Gasol. His knees were making him a step slow, he was missing bunnies at the rim all the time and you almost never saw multiple efforts out of him on a play.
If his knees are back, then we can see how Gasol fits the system. The Lakers clearly missed his passing, his length and defense inside and his rebounding. He’s also an unselfish player and the Lakers could use that balance on the floor.
The Lakers play Tuesday against the Bobcats, then are off until a Saturday game in Golden State, allowing time for Gasol to recover. Then the Lakers play the Knicks on Christmas day in a nationally televised game.
The Lakers may have Nash back for those last two games as well, he is targeting a Saturday return.
New York Knicks C Joakim Noah has an awkward jumper and free throw technique, there’s no denying that. His two-handed, horizontal approach to shooting a basketball is ripe for criticism.
DeMarcus Cousins thinks so, at least.
During a game between the Sacramento Kings and the Knicks, Cousins decided to give Noah a little tongue-in-cheek trolling about his form.
Looks about right.
The 1980s were back in Cleveland Friday night. Well, not completely, Bernie Kosar wasn’t leading the Browns to contention (although man, could they use him now).
No, the ’80s were back in the form of the throwback orange Cavaliers uniforms. And to complete the theme, the Cavaliers players dressed up and Rick-rolled the intro video — they did the complete “classic” Rick Astley hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” And it was awesome.
The Cavaliers won the game 114-84 over the Heat behind 28 from Kevin Love, but that was secondary to the intro video.
Second-year forward Sam Dekker is finding a comfort zone in the Mike D’Antoni offense in Houston. Healthy this season, he is coming off the bench for 18 minutes a night, and his game where he is quick and can also hit the three is fitting perfectly with Houston’s system, leading him to 6.7 points a game.
Also, he can run the floor. And finish.
As Enes Kanter found out when he hustled, got back in transition defense, and wasn’t going to stop Dekker from getting to the rim.
That’s a quality dunk.
The Rockets went on to win the game 102-99, despite Russell Westbrook‘s seventh-straight triple-double.
LeBron James has been climbing the NBA’s All-time scoring list fast the past couple years, passing Hakeem Olajuwon last season to move into the top 10.
Friday night LeBron passed another legend, Elvin Hayes, who spent the prime of his career with the Washington Bullets and was an NBA champion, six-time All-NBA and 12-time All-Star from the late 1960s through the early 1980s.
LeBron passed Hayes with a vintage LeBron bucket, bringing the ball up in transition, then just using his quickness and strength to power to the rim.
LeBron’s not done, he should pass Moses Malone in the next week or so. Here is the NBA’s All-time scoring Top 10. (As a side note, if you count ABA scoring in the mix LeBron is 11th because Julius Erving and Dan Issel both pass him. For now.)
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 38387
2. Karl Malone 36928
3. Kobe Bryant 33643
4. Michael Jordan 32292
5. Wilt Chamberlain 31419
6. Dirk Nowitzki 29552
7. Shaquille O’Neal 28596
8. Moses Malone 27409
9. LeBron James 27315
10. Elvin Hayes 27313