In our humble opinions, the most entertaining game of the season for the Lakers. Tough opponent, tight game, plenty of interesting subplots and storylines. In the end, the Lakers win 98-91, thanks to a strong fourth quarter, very solid defense, and three players (Kobe Bryant, Shannon Brown, and Lamar Odom) cracking the 20 point barrier.
Among the topics for tonight's show:
A discussion on whether or not the moments Derrick Rose dominated play are a function of his skill, deficiencies in L.A.'s defense, or a combination of the two.
On a night he posted numbers very modest by his standards, Bryant was a dominant figure Tuesday night, particularly in the second half.
Brown. Stop us if you've heard this before... but the guy is having a great year and definitely turning heads.
Once again, the quality of the bench influences how Phil Jackson can deploy his players throughout a game, a luxury only growing larger once Andrew Bynum returns.
By the way, it looks like we're about to bore a hole through your skull with our focus, right? Those are some piercing stares.
More video below, including Kobe, Phil Jackson, and Pau Gasol.
Kobe Bryant talked about Tom Thibodeau's defensive system and how he tries to counter its "anybody but" rule. (For the benefit of the thick, that's shorthand for "anybody but Kobe.") There's also some details about how the interchangeability of positions in the triangle allows a multitude of players to operate out of the high and mid-post over the course of a game.
As noted in "At the Buzzer," the "hockey assist" was quite fruitful for the Lakers. We saw a particularly good display of extra passing during the fourth quarter when newbies Steve Blake and Matt Barnes were on the court. Because they're still learning the ropes, Kobe went out of his way to make sure they were in the right spots to help orchestrate these sequences.
The ball movement inside wasn't nearly as crisp during the first half. Pau Gasol talked about the problems, which center around swinging the rock to create better entries and his own responsibility to get better position down low.
Pau had nothing but good things to say about the Bulls, who've performed much better than some expected with Carlos Boozer on the shelf. As he noted, the team is young, but not necessarily inexperienced, which makes them a dangerous opponent when clicking on all cylinders.
Phil Jackson, first on the incredible speed and quickness of Derek Rose, along with Brown's big night. Again.
Jackson, this time on how changing Kobe's location on the floor helped influence Tuesday's win: