Mavs, Lakers Still Trying To Find Identity
Rick Carlisle and Mike Brown don’t have easy jobs trying to put new pieces together in a limited amount of time while being weighed down by lofty expectations. Both teams are an unlikely 0-2, with the Mavericks having been blown out twice in two days at home.
Putting together a rotation with a good amount of continuity and chemistry is tough, especially with a lot of veterans. Carlisle still must feel that Jason Terry is better served coming off the bench, so Carlisle replaced Vince Carter with Delonte West in the starting lineup. Neither fared well in the first two games, including last night’s 115-93 loss to Denver.
Sean Williams was a bright spot off the bench for Dallas, but they don’t have that interior size yet with Lamar Odom really struggling to find his role with the team. Roddy Beaubois was encouraging in his 15 minutes, and he should get more time in the ever-changing rotation. Dallas will likely need several games to get everything sorted out and become a playoff team.
The Lakers’ struggles in generating offense from big men other than Pau Gasol will be alleviated when Andrew Bynum returns from suspension, placing Josh McRoberts and Troy Murphy in roles they’re better suited for, but Los Angeles will never get good enough point guard production from the players they currently have on their roster. Metta World Peace even ran the point at times in the 100-91 loss at Sacramento.
Derek Fisher did very little against the Kings guards, and Steve Blake and Andrew Goudelock combined to score zero points in 27 minutes on 0-8 shooting. World Peace scored more points and dished out more assists than Fisher, Blake and Goudelock combined in nearly half the minutes played. That’s a gigantic problem for the Lakers.
“We have a lot of games left, a lot of games left,” World Peace said. “Everything is going OK. Everything will be great.”
Unless this team gets a new point guard, things may stay the same in LakerLand.
Thoughts & Theories
-While we’re still on the subject of Lakers-Kings, Sacramento is a fun team to watch. They have energetic bigs in DeMarcus Cousins, Chuck Hayes and J.J. Hickson along with wing scorers like Marcus Thornton, John Salmons and Jimmer Freddette to go with Tyreke Evans and young Isaiah Thomas. Though they need to work on their free throw shooting, the Kings were in top form on Monday night and should be exciting all year.
-Ty Lawson scored 27 points for Denver on Monday night and will develop into at least an above average point guard by season’s end. There’s no doubt about that.
-There were a bunch of surprises in Oakland on Monday night, where Golden State upset Chicago. Derrick Rose was woefully off his game, shooting 4-17, while Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis combined to shoot 17-29 from the field in the 99-91 Warriors win. But what was most surprising was how well Kwame Brown and Ekpe Udoh played against the imposing Bulls front line.
Brown had five points, six boards and four steals and finished with a +21 while Udoh was a +12 in his 13 minutes. If Mark Jackson can get production like that from his bench bigs to go with Curry and Ellis, Golden State is going to be a tough team to contend with on a nightly basis.
-Though Washington surprisingly lost to New Jersey, sans Brook Lopez, at home on Monday night, the Wizards have themselves a really nice piece in Jordan Crawford. Flip Saunders put him in the starting lineup right away and he responded with a 15 point effort on 7-12 shooting.
-Ricky Rubio’s numbers won’t pop out at you in the box score, but he made several really impressive passes and did a solid job in his debut for Minnesota. The TimberWolves stayed with Oklahoma City all the way through and Rubio was happy with the team’s effort.
“I feel comfortable on the court and I feel like I helped the team,” Rubio said. “We didn’t get it in the end, but we have a chance. If we go this way, we can do a lot of good things.”
Rubio finished with six points, six assists, five rebounds and zero turnovers in 26 minutes. Derrick Williams and J.J. Barea also looked good coming off the bench.
-This is hard to do, but Memphis lost its 11th straight season opener, falling to San Antonio 95-82 on Monday.