Golden State Warriors (3-2) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (1-4)
Do the Lakers even have a plan at this point? Today, the Lakers fired Mike Brown after the team's disappointing start to the season.
Is the 1-4 start really Brown's fault? No, probably not. The Lakers got the stars to headline the marquee but did not have the depth to make it stick. Not to mention the unfortunate injury to Steve Nash and Dwight Howard still recovering from his back injury.
Mike Brown tried installing some Princeton Offense elements to spread the floor and give Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash space to operate off the dribble and off the ball. The results have been mixed. But the Lakers offense is not the problem. Los Angeles is seventh in the league in offensive rating.
The problem is on defense where the Lakers give up 107.6 defensive rating, good for 25th in the league. That is perhaps where Brown really failed. Brown was billed as a defensive coach and he has struggled to get this team to play defense.
Again, part of that is the construction of the roster. Howard is not 100 percent and so he cannot clean up the mistakes like he did when he won three defensive player of the year awards. Nash is hurt now too, but he already was not known as a great defender. This team just is not built to be a good defensive team because it lacks good individual defenders and Howard is not quite ready to be the dominant force to ward them all off.
So, a wild day at Staples Center ends with Bernie Bickerstaff coaching against the Warriors. Good luck with that.
Other Storylines to Watch
-Almost immediately the rumor is that the Lakers will reach out and try to re-hire Phil Jackson to take over this team. Dwight Howard reportedly has already put his input in and requested Jackson. And the fit seems natural. However, there is more required. Jackson still has hip problems and the exit two years ago was pretty bitter. It seems unlikely an L.A. reunion will occur.
Tonight's Other Games
Milwaukee Bucks (2-1) vs. Washington Wizards (0-3)
Brandon Jennings has undoubtedly been hungry this year. It is a contrac year for the young point guard and he is fighting off perceptions about his style of play and his capabilities. Through three games, Jennings has impressed with 10.3 assists per game and a league-high 4.0 steals per game along with his usually good scoring numbers.
Brooklyn Nets (1-2) vs. Orlando Magic (2-2)
Deron Williams apparently believes in UFOs. What is not quite so "out there" is the pressure on the Nets right now. The Nets are 1-2 and got blown out in Miami on Wednesday. They have not quite announced their presence at the top of the East. And so each game is a referenda on all the hoopla Brooklyn tried to garner.
Philadelphia 76ers (2-2) vs. Boston Celtics (2-2)
These two teams were projected to be the top two teams in the Atlantic Division at the beginning of the year. Both have gotten off to somewhat rocky starts. One team gets to be over .500 and perhaps right the ship for a day with a win at TD Garden.
Dallas Mavericks (4-1) vs. New York Knicks (3-0)
Jason Kidd left Dallas for New York this offseason, following Tyson Chandler to the Big Apple. Reportedly Mark Cuban was not so happy with Kidd for leaving, even though Kidd said it was ultimately his decision to pursue this opportunity with the Knicks, the NBA's last unbeaten team.
Miami Heat (4-1) vs. Atlanta Hawks (2-1)
Rashard Lewis dunked against the Nets and told his teammates that is it for the rest of the month. The veteran reached his self-imposed (age-imposed?) quota. Good for Atlanta. That is one less thing to worry about. Especially since his shooting is what he was brought in to do and he has a habit of torching Atlanta in the past.
Houston Rockets (2-2) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (3-1)
Anyone looking for a job? The Rockets are seeking to fill an analyst and internship job working with money-baller Daryl Morey as the general manager. So far the Rockets have received 1,100 applications with many of them coming from the world of finance. Who said math didn't pay?
Charlotte Bobcats (1-2) vs. New Orleans Hornets (2-2)
Anthony Davis returns for the Hornets tonight after missing the last week with a concussion and concussion symptoms. That is a welcome sight for New Orleans who have been hit with random injuries this year. Austin Rivers is still out and having this little bit of star power should help fill the New Orleans Arena.
Detroit Pistons (0-5) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (3-2)
The Thunder had a nice win over the Bulls on Thursday night. The game Friday night is special for Oklahoma City because of the unveiling of OKC's new blue alternate jerseys. I think they look better in 2K13 more than in real life. The Pistons may not care that much though. Detroit is coming back from a West Coast trip and have not played well… at all.
Indiana Pacers (2-3) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (3-1)
Roy Hibbert was an All Star last year and might be the best center in the East with Andrew Bynum on the shelf and Dwight Howard out of Orlando. His future certainly looked bright. This year though, Hibbert has really struggled, scoring 8.8 points per game, down from 12.8 last year. He has not taken that leap forward so far. One reason might be the trading of Darren Collison, as Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld suggests. Whatever it is, Hibbert needs to right the ship with Granger out long term.
Cleveland Cavaliers (2-3) vs. Phoenix Suns (2-3)
The Cavaliers will be without Cody Zeller and Anderson Varejao for this game it appears. That should leave Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola licking their lips even with the big guard duo you have to deal with when facing the Cavaliers.
San Antonio Spurs (4-1) vs. Sacramento Kings (2-3)
The league is still ringing a bit over the vicious elbow Thomas Robinson delivered against the Pistons earlier this week. Robinson has since apologized. Rick Mahorn called it dirty. And the league suspended him two games.
Utah Jazz (2-3) vs. Denver Nuggets (2-3)
Jerry Sloan's name has been attached to the Lakers job. No one would know what he wants to do more than the Jazz. A long-time Sloan assistant said Sloan has not talked to anybody. And Jazz forward Paul Millsap said he does not think Sloan would leave for the rival Lakers.