The Lakers have traveled to Houston for a game tonight against their past, the past horror of the Ego Man, Deee-Wight Howard, who has mesmerized the feeble-brained into thinking he’s a real star baskerballer, resurrected from a year in hell to a championship path in Houston. That is, of course, the perfect joke for the guy I used to call the Laughing Man. He is still that, but his continual expressions of unparalleled egotism, last seen in his DEMAND for the arrest of a Clippers’ fan who accidently dropped a basketball on him from the stands, has required the change in names.
The casual fan sees Houston off to a nice start, and heard the headlines when the Ego Man began the season with 26 boards in the opener. However, for the season, he is now averaging 14.6 per game, and only 11.8 per game since the opener. He is also averaging 17.4 points per game in Houston. Back home in LA, the Lakers are seeing excellent play at
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|center from Pau Gasol and tremendous contributions in scant minutes from the new big guy, Chris Kaman, who will be a starter tonight (and hopefully, into the future).
Pau, who burdened by the disingenuous presence of the Ego Man next to him last season, produced only 13.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game last season, while playing an average of 34 minutes. So far this season, in only 27 minutes per game, his number have risen to 14.6 points and 10.4 boards. In a mere 16.4 minutes per game, Kaman has delivered 9 points per game and 5.6 boards, while
shooting 61%. So, the NEW Lakers’ centers have combined for 23.6 points and 16 rebounds, infinitely better than the numbers produced by the Ego Man.
Up front, with Gasol, Kaman, Jordan Hill, and a slew of talented 3-4-type guys, the Lakers will be fine. How successful the team is over the next few weeks will be determined by who is playing in the backcourt. The Lakers cannot win consistently with the ailing and almost dead Steve Nash continuing to play 23 minutes per game, and with Steve Blake continuing
yet to hit a single shot in the team’s five games from between five and 19 feet from the basket. Overall, he is shooting 30%, and his primary running mate, Nash, is at an even worse 28%, and 6.5 points in 24 minutes per game. Yet, the two get the primary minutes.
The one guard who can pass, shoot, and defend, is Jordan Farmar, and he needs to get much more playing time. He is shooting 43% and scoring 10.2 per game (along with a team leading five assists per game and 3.5 rebounds) in only 22 minutes on the court each game.
D’Antoni has made a couple of good moves in recent days, first making Xavier Henry a starter over the useless nick young at small forward, and then putting Kaman in as a starter tonight. He needs to make similar moves in the backcourt. Nash should still be the starter at point guard, for now, but he needs to play less minutes, and Jodie Meeks needs more time at shooting guard. The first guy off the bench and the guy who gets the most minutes in the backcourt, needs to be Farmar.