DONUT 1: I'm Sorry, But He's Still Kind Of A Story ...
This story started with a source tipping off DB.com's Mike Bacsik. Next thing you know, I tweeted it and mentioned it here on DB.com Boards and then on 105.3 The Fan.
And in no time, it was all TMZ'y and all over the place.
Are Odom and Khloe coming to the game? I dunno. Is Kobe giving them his seats? Seems silly. Her family doesn't have to "pay'' in a conventional way. Will Lamar root for the wrong team? Doubtful, as cheering requires an expenditure of energy.
But all silliness aside, there is this, noted with help from David Lord: Odom is still a Mav; "inactive" doesn't change that status. If Mavs fans see him rooting for LA, if the NBA sees him grinning with pleasure at as much as an LA basket, that's an abomination to Mav fans and an abomination to the league.
If a player is getting paid by one team but in voice or action supporting an opposing team, that could constitute some sort of breach of contract. Cuban hasn't bothered to take that avenue. But in the event of something like this, he could. And should.
Furthermore, a breach of contract can lead to some ultimatums on the buyout end of things. The Mavs have some muscle ... As in, "Hey, the deadline is changed to mid-July and the buyout amount is now $0.''
Does money matter to Lamar? Does pride matter to Lamar? Does nothing embarrass him?
We may be about to find out.
DONUT 2: How's Kobe? ...
Not well enough to have gotten Saturday clearance to play today.
The Lakers will have their coach back, Mike Brown having taken off the Denver game to attend to an undisclosed family matter.
"It was one of those instances where it was time to be with the family," Brown said, "and I felt it was the right thing for me to leave."
Brown's family matter is apparently under control. Kobe Bryant's shin, however, remains problematic. Brown said on Saturday that The Drama Queen will likely miss a fifth consecutive game because of a shin sore enough to have him in a walking boot.
Shawn Marion has proven to be as capable a Kobe-Stopper as anyone in the league. But given the importance of this game to the Mavs -- a game that might serve as a 3-6 playoff preview, a game that might allow the Mavs to close on No. 5 Memphis -- Dallas will taken any break it can get. A break. A bruise. Soreness. Whatever.
DONUT 3: When the Mavs come marching home ...
You'll need tickets. ... not only to the final two home games, but to the playoff games as well! The best guy in town is Ryan at MavCowTickets! Personal service personally guaranteed by me!
DONUT 4: Let's get to today's matinee show -- a 2:30 p.m. tip on ABC -- and some of the strategy...
The starting lineups, and NBA scouting info from Kyle Leath ...
F- Metta World Peace
F- Shawn Marion
F- Pau Gasol
F- Dirk Nowitzki
C- Andrew Bynum
C- Brendan Haywood
G- Devin Ebanks
G- Delonte West
G- Ramon Sessions
G- Jason Kidd
DONUT 5: A look at the Lakers Offense ...
• Using a 1-4(UCLA) set now which also gets them into side pick/roll looks as well as staggered pin down screens for Kobe to come off of.
• Gasol like the high-post area. He also will trail and shoot the jumper in transition as well as pick/pop on mid ball screens. And is that who Dirk Nowitzki is supposed to tangle with? A challenge on defense. For both.
• They like to get Gasol isolated on block.
• With Bynum they have a potent post-game both by sets and with offensive rebounding. As you see here, he's developed a series of almost unstoppable moves inside:
• Reputation aside, they do not shoot the 3-point shot for a high percentage.
DONUT 6: A look at the Lakers Defense ...
• They are a very long team that will squeeze the paint and make it tough to get shots inside in the halfcourt. The Mavs must offset that by running. Dallas is averaging 106.3 points per game during this three-game win streak but won't do that here without uptempo.
• LA will gamble (Barnes especially) at times on ball reversals and get out of position.
• This is a team that relies on solid halfcourt defense and the stats bear that out. Mike Brown has them doing a good overall job defending.
• They will show/recover on ball screens and post will let you catch it then defend with their size as an advantage.
DONUT 7: Stat Check ...
• LAL is 3-1 this week without Kobe, including 3 straight.
• You know about the bigs. Bynum, in Kobe's absence, gave LAL 30 points and eight rebounds for that 103-97 win vs. Denver. But other guys tend to jump up. Like Matt Barnes, who had 24/10.
• With a win, the Mavericks climb back to nine games over .500 for the first time since they were 21-12 in February.
• The LA effort that haunts Dallas isn't the early-season 3 made by Derek Fisher. That was fluky. Haunting and challenging is the fact that Mavs bigs struggle to control LA's. Example: just before the A-S Break, Andrew Bynum got 19/14 and Gasol 24/9.
• The Mavericks swept LA in the playoffs last year but have lost the last five regular-season meetings against the Lakers and 13 of the last 16 regular-season meetings overall. Dallas is 0-3 vs. LA this season.
DONUT 8: In addition to watching the Mavs and Lakers at 2:30 ...
Follow the game on Twitter with the Mavs Twitterverse ... The 75-Member Staff! (Oh, and catch me tonight on WB33 News!)
DONUT 9: Settling Standings ...
Odds are, the Lakers will be the No. 3 seed in the West. They own the tiebreaker and a one-game lead over the fourth-place Clippers.
Meanwhile, the Mavs are unlikely to catch No. 5 Memphis but do have the edge over the teams trailing them. That includes a Phoenix team that completely collapsed last night in a blowout loss to the Spurs. Phoenix is now in ninth and three games back of Dallas. ... clearing the path for the Mavs to qualify for the playoffs in one way or another.
DONUT 10: If you like this level of insight into the World Champion Dallas Mavericks ...
DONUT 11: Scout Kyle Leath on How to Beat the Lakers:
• HARD SHELL – Whether with our without Marion, this must be a team effort defensively. Make LA work ball for good shots. They will become impatient.
• PUSH – Supposedly, no Kobe. Certainly, a rested Kidd. Push the ball and get transition points before they can get back and set defense. Kidd can do this in control.
• GLASS HOUSE – If Dallas wins the rebound war -- a difficult thing to do against LA -- Dallas can win the game.
• MISMATCH PATIENCE -- Be patient and find mismatches offensively. They can exist even if/when Kobe plays. They surely exist without him. Lots of expectations for Dallas' bigs in all regards. They need to rebound and outrun the LA bigs. Mahinmi and Wright in particular could be useful here. There are so many things LA's big can do. But some of what BWright can do as a running big are tough to counter:
That's baseline-to-baseline anticipatory ability to hustle to the position of getting a fast-break chance when his starting position is near his own baseline ... and when the turnover comes on his team's defensive perimeter. Dallas cannot outmuscle LA's bigs. But Dallas can do this.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
For Jason Kidd, today is a test of Mavs short-term and long-term philosophy.
Short-term? The ballsy decision to sit him in Portland (a pre-determined rest, all involved swear).
Longer-term? Despite the pre-determined plan, clearly there was no consideration given to letting Kidd play in Portland and then having him sit out in LA, right? That speaks to the magnitude of this game ... and what Kidd means to this club when it's winnin' time.
If you believe in the impact of confidence on outcome, Kidd sitting in Portland during a win probably helped the other fellas. If you believe in same, Kidd helping Dallas win at LA today -- in a likely first-round preview -- probably helps this team when the first round gets here.