All season, the only real chance that Lakers fans got to see what Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum looked like playing at the same time was on NBA 2K11. Because Phil Jackson almost never ran that lineup out there — 2:30 for the entire season. Total.
But with the season on the line — down 0-2 to the Dallas Mavericks heading into Game 3 Friday night — and Ron Artest out suspended, Jackson is going to his literally big three.
Lamar Odom said he would be starting for Artest (beside Gasol and Bynum), although Jackson declined to be specific, according to Lakers.com. This is Phil Jackson, what actually happens when the ball goes up may have no resemblance to what was said pregame. But as of now it looks like Odom starts, not Matt Barnes or Shannon Brown as had been expected.
This does some interesting things to the matchups.
It gives the Lakers options in dealing with Dirk Nowitzki, who has been the best player in this series. Odom has had more success as a defender on him than Gasol.
On offense, this moves Kobe to more of a wing attack position, where bringing help defenders could be harder, notes Darius from Forum Blue & Gold. Kobe has gotten just one shot at the rim in two games, this could give him more room to attack (if his ankle can support it). It also pretty much forces Dallas to guard Kobe with Kidd.
Look for Dallas to counter with Peja Stojakovic early — force Odom to come out and defend him at the arc, spreading the floor.
This is going to be one fascinating game.
Phil Jackson needs to find a spark, because his team has lacked one for two games now.
So you can throw the conventional wisdom that Matt Barnes will step in and start for the suspended Ron Artest out the window — Shannon Brown may be getting the start, Kevin Ding reports at the Orange County Register. Brown would be the two guard, Kobe Bryant would slide to the three spot.
Frankly, both Barnes and Brown have been inconsistent with shots and been less than impressive on defense. Both are going to get their chance, one of them has to step up. That or Luke Walton… yea, better count on Brown or Barnes if you’re a Lakers fan.
Some Lakers fans are calling for the Lakers to go with more of a tall lineup that has Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom playing at once. Don’t expect it. Phil Jackson barely tried this during the season (only a handful of minutes all season), if he breaks it out now it’s more a sign of desperation than thoughtful strategy.
As was expected, the NBA has suspended Lakers forward Ron Artest for Game 3 of the Lakers series against Dallas.
The reason was Artest smacked J.J. Barea across the face with his forearm near the end of the Lakers Game 2 loss. It was deserved. Watch the video at this link if you haven’t seen it, but this is fitting.
It also leaves the Lakers in a bind — it means more play for the Lakers bench, and so far this series the Lakers bench has stunk up the joint. In Game 2 the Lakers bench provided 12 points on 6-of-23 shooting, as many turnovers as assists plus some bad defense. To be fair, in Game 1 Lamar Odom came off the bench and was solid, but Barnes, Steve Blake and Shannon Brown were not.
Look for Barnes to get the start, but that means Dallas can shift the longer Shawn Marion on to Kobe Bryant, leaving Jason Kidd on Barnes. It’s all not good for a Lakers team with some real issues this series down 2-0 (having lost both games at home).
I have not gone back and officially checked the NBA rulebook today, but I’m fairly convinced that clotheslining an opponent is illegal. Right up there with throwing an elbow while jumping off the top turnbuckle and hitting him over the head with a metal folding chair. All fine moves when the WWE referee is distracted, but illegal in basketball.
That is why Ron Artest will get a one-game suspension in Game 3. In the closing moments of the Lakers Game 2 loss to the Mavericks, Artest clotheslined J.J. Barea. He was instantly ejected, as he should have been. Follow this link to the video, if you haven’t seen it.
After the game, even Lakers coach Phil Jackson was resigned to the inevitable.
“It’s uncalled for,” he said in a moment of honesty. “It’s a good chance he’ll be suspended. But I hope not.”
This creates a problem for a Lakers team that has a lot of problems right now (including trust issues, apparently). No Artest means likely Matt Barnes gets the start. But that allows Mavs coach Rick Carlisle to cover Kobe Bryant (who will want to take over Game 3) with the longer and more effective Shawn Marion because Jason Kidd can be put on Barnes. Artest could post up Kidd, making that a dangerous matchup for Dallas. (Kidd also has done a good job on Kobe.)