Posted on: January 6, 2009 1:34 pm

Championship Longevity - What it takes!

We all know defense is the key to winning a championship, this would be relevant in almost every major organized sport.  But does it stop there?  This is an answer to a very obvious question that it takes more then just a strong defense to win championship(s) in the NBA.  The premise of the game is to ultimately outscore your opponent and defense doesnt always help out in that category.  Notice I said championship(s), not just talking about a one hit wonder but contenders that can remain relevant throughout the years and put themselves in a position to compete for a title every year.  Offensive versatility is sometimes overlooked when describing a powerhouse and is overlooked because the significance of being a defensive orientated team seems to get most of the credit.

Take for example the powerhouses of the past who won multiple championships like the 80's Showtime Lakers, the Detroit Bad Boys, the 90's Bulls or even as recent as the Poppa Spurs or the Kobe/Shaq Lakers.  The Detroit Bad Boys were known for their physical play but they also had 2 standout scorers in Dumars and Thomas that were lights out from the perimter and could penetrate and create.  The 90's Bulls had one of the greatest scorers in the game and an all time top 50 player who could be known as Mr. Versatility.  The Gregg Poppa Spurs started with the Twin Towers of Robinson and Duncan and later featured one of the best guards in the game and one of the best international scorers in the game.  The common theme these teams shared were that they were also great defensive teams but often times their versatility on offense was overshadowed by the defensive prowess (maybe with the exception of the Bulls who featured MJ)

In regards to the Lakers, defense wasnt always the calling card for them but versatility was their brand in the 80's.  The Showtime style of play was difficult to defend especially given the type of players they had to run that offense but yet at the same time they were flexible enough to incorporate a half court game setting up Kareem and using his attributes.  Those Lakers also played good enough defense to get key stops when needed.  The 80's Showtime Lakers won 5 titles.  The Kobe/Shaq Lakers were a decent defensive team but was no defensive juggernaut either, in fact till this day even with change in personel the high pick and roll and perimeter defense has been their biggest weakness.  They would get burned by speedy gaurds on almost every possession.  Again the versartility of that Lakers team helped counter some of this, Shaq was an imovable force down low and Kobe was a prolific playmaker.  They also had sharp shooters and great versatile bench players that knew their roles.  The Kobe/Shaq Lakers won 3 titles.  Fast forward to this new Lakers era, although their defeciencies on defense have been highly publicized going back to last year's Finals, and is way over-blown.  Although they may play inconsistent defense, its not that they dont know how to play defense and know how and when to get stops.  The offensive versatility of this Lakers team allows them to have more then just a fighting chance against any defensive powerhouse.  Last year was not the best example to follow because they played without 2 key contributors in Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza.  The Lakers have more weapons all healthy at the same time that have to be accounted for at the same time, very similar to the 80's Lakers when you could'nt just keep your eye on Magic.  This Lakers team has had criticisms similar to the past Lakers team but those teams combined for 8 titles.  So its not always the sole reliance on defense that can earn championships.

The true essence of a dominant team is how many ways they can beat you and defense should be one of those weapons in their arsenal and not just the only deciding one.  Whether its out-running and out-gunning your opponents or its locking them down, a great team has to be able to adjust to any style, its like picking your poison.  In no way am I trying to downplay the importance of solid defensive play but just bringing to the fore-front that it takes more then that to have longevity and relevancy as a champion. 

Category: NBA
Posted on: December 22, 2008 3:26 pm

Lakers Week 8 Recap

Welcome to Heartbreak Hotel!

Knicks at Lakers

Whether its pure boredom or complacency, the Lakers coming into the Knicks game have been the most criticized 20-3 team to date.  With the Knicks rogue offense in town under former Suns coach Mike D'Antoni who if you recall last season was told by Phil Jackson to park his keester after calling a timeout right after he had called a timeout in an early meeting with the Suns last year.  The stars were out tonight with all the New York transplants in LA buying courtside seats but the most unusual was an actually member of the Knicks buying a seat also.  Disgruntled Stephon Marbury was there, but the Lakers were without Pau Gasol who came down with strep throat virus and a number of Laker players playing under the weather.  A flu bitten Lamar Odom would get the start but the Knicks were the ones that got off to a great start.  Hitting 11 3 pointers in the first half and scoring 65 points in 2 quarters, the Kinicks amped Lakers fans to boo their team off the floor as they built a 15 point lead.   After putting up no fight what so ever in the first half, the Lakers intenisty and defense picked up in the second half as they erased a 15 point Knicks lead and cooled off their hot shooting.  With a 116-114 lead, Laker fans let out a sigh of relief when Chris Duhon missed a desperation half court shot.  Nate Robinson for the Knicks was impressive as he scored 33 points, David Lee and Quentin Richardson each put in 18 points.  For the Lakers it was Kobe leading the way with 28, Lamar Odom in his first start of the season had a solid 17 points and 12 rebounds while Trevor Ariza off the bench scored 13.

Game Quotes

Stephon Marbury on "earning" his paycheck, “I didn’t create this, this is all their doing,” he said of his status as a non-player with the Knicks despite being under contract. “I’m still earning my check by doing nothing. I’m staying in shape. My mind-set is to enjoy my life.”

Phil on the Lakers losing a little bit of their edge, "This team, they've lost that spark, and so that's what's missing, and people see it,"

Lamar on the flu bug, “Luke (Walton) was sick, Trevor and Josh (Powell), Pau. … Like kindergarten,”

Lakers at Miami

The Lakers set off for their first real big test of the season.  A 4 game road trip with a back to back in Florida with 4 games in 5 days.  First up was Miami and the rejuvenated Dwayne Wade.  With the a few of the Lakers nursing the flu, the Lakers hoped to get better in a hurry vs. a struggling Miami team that had lost 3 in a row.  But as we all know, teams get up for the Lakers but it was the Lakers who never got rolling.  In a lackadasical game the Lakers commited 21 turnovers.  Miami's defense and the Lakers poor play would not bode well but regardless the Lakers somehow found a way to make it close and ended up with the ball trailing 89-87.  Kobe's last second shot to send it to overtime went pratically halfway in and rattled out as the Heat pulled off the upset holding the Lakers to their lowest point total of the season.  Dwayne Wade as usual lead the way for Miami with 35 points including clutch buckets down the stretch and a couple of key blocks, Shawn Marion had 12 points and DaequanCook off the bench for Miami had 14 including 4-6 from 3 point land.  The Lakers were lead by Kobe who had 28, Pau and D. Fish put in 13 points each and Jordan Farmar off the bench had 14.

Game Note

Jordan Farmar left the game after tweaking his knee after a steal for a layup.  He did not play the Orlando game is his status is uncertian at the moment.

Game Quotes

Kobe on the last second shot, It felt good," Bryant said. "It had a little rattling action and I thought it was going to fall. It just didn't happen."

Udonis Haslem on Kobe's shot, "If you can get half a point for a bucket, he would have gotten half a point,"

Dwayne Wade after Kobe's miss got down to one knee and breathed a sigh of relief, “I knew it had a good chance of going in,” Wade said. “And how’d you all like my pose?”

Lakers at Orlando

Not having much time to hold their heads down about the heartbreaker in Miami, the Lakers went to work against Orlando the very next night.  Things started off promising for the Lakers as they got off to a lead and held it until the dreaded 2nd half.  The Lakers went into the half with a 58-49 lead and seemingly were starting to get back into the groove of things.  The 3rd quarter saw Orlando get back right into the mix of things as they outscored the Lakers by 10 points to get back in the game.  In the closing moments of the game the Lakers would check back into Heartbreak Hotel.  With Orlando leading by 1 point, Kobe drove to the basket to find a wide open Sasha Vujacic camped out on the edge to hit what could have possibly been the game winning basket.  And much like the night before the Lakers were cursed again with the ball going in and out which eventually lead to the Lakers losing back to back for the first time this season,  Dwight Howard although was plagued with foul trouble put in 18 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals and blocks, Derek Fisher clone Jameer Nelson had a stand out game scoring 27 points and Rashard Lewis contributed 22.  For the Lakers it was a dissapointing finish to otherwise an outstanding game by Kobe who had 41 points and Derek Fisher who had 27 but not much contribution elsewhere.

Game Quotes

Sasha on the last shot, "Those are the shots that I live for," Vujacic said. "When I saw it come out, I was just shocked. It is just painful."

Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy on defending Kobe, "ESPN magazine did a story about how to defend LeBron James,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy joked. “I don’t think anybody is coming to me for that gig about defending Kobe. We better keep winning games, so I can stay employed.”

Phil on the cruelities playing on the road, “Those things are going to happen when you’re on the road,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “Those shots are more friendly at home, I guess.”

Phil on the team reverting back to old ways, "I was yelling at the guys, they kept giving the ball back to Kobe after he'd hit somebody in an open situation," Coach Phil Jackson said. "He was dead-legged out there and really gave us a great effort for three quarters, but that fourth quarter, he was tired."

Lakers looking like the Run "N" Gun Suns

And thats not exactly a compliment.  The Lakers blew another lead in Orlando letting them back in the game which eventually lead to the loss.  Lamar Odom was quick to notice that the Lakers are falling into a bad habit of giving teams confidence they can come back on them similar to the D'Antoni Suns, "It's just like when we used to play against Phoenix two seasons ago," Odom said. "We always felt like, 'Oh, we're going to get back in the game. They are playing an offensive style of basketball.' I think that's how teams right now might be looking at us. We're not making it hard enough for teams, as far as around the basket, as far as our defense. At the beginning of the year, maybe the first seven or eight or 10 games, we had teams that quit. It was like, 'This is too hard. We know we can't stop them. And they're making it hard for us on defense.  Now, I feel like teams feel like we're going to let them back in the game"

Couldnt agree with Lamar more, although its understandable that its tough to keep up that pace and intensity for the entire game, the Lakers are easing up at the most crucial moments of the games.  Lamar also had a great point about playing styles on the road compared to home, "You can't make it an offensive game on the road," Odom said. "That's not directed toward any one person on our team or any one individual. That's just how we've been approaching the game lately, I think, as a unit. We've been playing an offensive game or an offensive way of basketball."

The Lakers are currently allowing 98 points per game which is ranked 16 in the middle of the pack.

Week 9 Preview

Pau Gasol makes his return to where it all began for him in Memphis Tuesday night.  Coming off 2 back to back heartbreaking losses, the Lakers look to avoid a 3 game losing streak.  With Boston on the horizon Christmas day, the last game of the road trip is no gimme with the Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets who have been playing as well as anyone in the West. 





Category: NBA
Tags: Lakers
Posted on: December 17, 2008 3:42 pm

Lakers Week 7 Recap

My apologies for not getting this to you guys earlier in the week, I've had some Internet issues here at work and been busy at home painting the new pad!

Lakers at Kings

The Lakers should have known this was going to be a trap game considering their inconsistencies on defense and how the Kings played the Lakers the first time around.  Coming into the matchup the Kings were losers of 8 in a row but with Lakers in town and a struggling team hungry for a win had upset written all over it.  The Kings again without Kevin Martin jumped on the Lakers early in the first building a double digit lead only to see the Lakers come back and take a small lead midway in the second quarter.  They lead by 5 at the half and after 3 quarters had a 7 point lead going into the dreaded 4th quarter which has been a boil in the butt for the Lakers.  On que the Lakers played a horrific 4th as the Kings couldnt miss as the Kings build a 110-92 lead.  Francisco Garcia and John Salmons lead the way with 21, all 5 starters for the Kings were in double figures and Bobby Jackson off the bench who seemingly always has a career game against the Lakers contributed 15.  The Kings completed the upset snapping their skid en route to a 113-101 victory.  Kobe had 28, Gasol with 25 and Lamar off the bench put in 11 but not much else from the others. 

Game Quotes

There was a projected 5,000 Lakers fans in the sold out crowd at Arco, a far cry from the golden days of the Kings, even Kobe noticed, "I just couldn’t get in a rhythm,” said Bryant, who scored 28 points. “I probably missed the cowbells, just the cowbells and the food poisoning. … The place has changed a lot. Even last year, we came in and there were a lot of Lakers fans.”

Lamar on playing Westchester High, err the Kings, "You've got to respect your opponent to win games consistently, We came in here thinking we were going to win. We've got to come out with a lot of energy and play the right way the whole game. If we don't, then we could lose to Westchester High School."...Note: Trevor Ariza was not ammused by this comment, he went to Westchester High.

John Salmons on the victory, “It’s probably our biggest win of the season, especially at home, since we’ve been struggling,” Salmons said. “Hopefully we can grow from this. This was one of those games that could turn your whole season around. We could look back at tonight’s game a year from now and say, ‘The Lakers game was the turning point of this season.”....Apparantly not, the Kings recently fired head coach Reggie Theus a week after.

Suns at Lakers

The Lakers returned home to finish off their back to back with a familiar face.  The Phoenix Suns were in town but the long anticipated return of Shaquile O'Neal to Staples in a Suns jersey was put on hold as he had to travel back home to attend the funeral of his grandmother.  The Suns would also be short-handed without the services of Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and Sean Singletary as they were traded prior to the game.  Phil tweaked the Lakers lineup a bit and replaced Vlad Rad with seldomly used Luke Walton to spark things up a bit.  The short-handed Suns gave the Lakers all they could handle as they took a 76-74 lead in the 3rd after a 19-6 run and kept it relatively close until Kobe and company were able to distance themselves in the 4th.  Kobe who primarly defended Steve Nash held him to just 7 points on 2-12 shooting.  Matt Barnes had a season high with 25 points, Grant Hill had 23 and Amarie Stoudamire had 21 pts and 11 boards but was inneffective down the stretch.  For the Lakers, Pau Gasol outplayed STAT with 28 points on 11-14 shooting, Andrew Bynum put in 17 pts and 11 boards, Kobe had 18 points and Sasha Vujacic finally came out of his slumber with 15 pts on 3-4 shooting from beyond the arc.  The Lakers won the game 115-110.

Game Notes

Prior to the games the Phoenix Suns traded Boris Diaw, Raja Bell and Sean Singletary to the Charlotte Bobcats for Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley and a 2nd round pick.

Game Quotes

Phil addressing the media about the Lakers struggles, "Maybe I'll put it on tape and just run it right here on the podium so you guys don't have to ask me questions anymore,"

Kobe on the short handed Suns, “That’s what always happens when a team has eight players, nine players,” Bryant said. “They always come out with a lot of energy. We did a good job down the stretch"

Vlad Rad on getting benched, "I'm not really happy with it, but obviously that's coach's decision," he said of the demotion. "I'm happy for Luke. I'm friends with Luke, so as much as it's hard for me, on the other hand, I'm really happy he's going to get a chance to play and hopefully he'll play better than I did."...Luke Walton had 8 points, 6 assists and 2 steals.

Kings at Lakers

The Lakers came into this contest to avenge their previous loss to the Kings.  The Lakers came out ready for the Kings as they quickly built a big lead but saw that  dissapear by halftime.  The 3rd quarter saw the Lakers defense hold the Kings to only 20 points and the Lakers ahead by 12.  The 4th quarter as it has been a trend was about lapses in defense which has plagued the Lakers of late.  The Lakers saw their 92-77 lead dissapear in a hurry as the Kings got it to within 3 points but timely baskets by Derek Fisher and an emphatice dunk by Kobe put the Lakers up for good.  John Salmons did his best to keep the Kings in the game with 26 points, Beno Udrich had 17 and Francisco Garcia had 13 points.  For the Lakers Kobe lead the way with one of his better shooting nights with 32 and Pau Gasol had 18 pts and 11 rebounds. 

Game Notes

In the closing seconds of the game, the Kings were held to 99 points and with the entire Staple crowd chanting "We Want Tacos", Spencer Hawes drained a 3 ball to kill any hopes of the fans getting their tacos...Hawes has moved up to public enemy # 1 amongst Lakers fans.

Game Quotes

John Salmons on Kobe and the rematch, “The whole world knew that he was going to come out ready for this game,” Salmons said. “So it is what it is—he is Kobe.”

Phil on giving up too many points in the 4th, "The thing that bothers us is the 30-point fourth quarters," Jackson said after the Lakers gave up 31. "Now you know the teams. Now you know what they do. Now's the time to squeeze it down to 18, 20 points a quarter in the fourth quarter and slow that down. We're not doing that well."...Come on Phil, if it wasnt for Hawes dagger 3 we would have only allowed 28 points!

T-Wolves at Lakers

Nothing like playing the 2nd worst team in the league to get things back on track for the Lakers.  The T-Wolves came into the contest sporting a new head coach.  Kevin McHale who was the GM for the Wolves relieved Randy Wittman of his coaching duties and took it upon himself to direct the mess he created via the Kevin Garnett trade last year.  The Lakers didnt play a stellar game but played solid defense in the first half of the game allowing only 37 points.  The Wolves were no match for the Lakers as the Lakers were in cruise control throughout the entire game.  If this game breakdown sounds boring, its because the game was just as boring.  None the less, the Lakers did improve their defensive play with a 98-86 victory.  Kobe had 26, Pau Gasol had 18 and Andrew Bynum had 14 and both Gasol and Bynum blocked 3 shots each.  Al Jefferson who is the biggest bright spot for Minnesota lead them with 20 points, Graig Smith had 18 and Rashard McCants had 12 off the bench.  Former Bruin Kevin Love grabbed 10 boards but had a kwamish night scoring with only 2 points on 1-5 shooting.

Game Quotes

Phil called the win over Minny "logy"

logy - lacking physical or mental energy or vitality; sluggish; dull; lethargic.

Lamar Odom on finally holding a lead, "This is the time that Pau and Kobe should be putting their ice on [their knees]," he said. "We can't hold a lead. These guys have to come back in the game and can't get a rest. That's awful."

Phil on possibly playing down to their competition, Could be," Jackson said. "It's a challenge. We'll see if these guys meet the challenge, if we can get them ready for those games. Right now it doesn't seem like our quickness or our execution or our speed is there that I like."

Tex's Triangle

"Sometimes it looks more like an obtuse triangle," Winter said.  As if the Lakers didnt have enough problems defensively, now the offense has become simply offensive.  Tex eludes to the ball staying at one spot and not enough movement without the ball, "The ball stops, often times when the ball is in Kobe's hand," Winter said about Kobe Bryant. "That's fine, as long as it's an isolation situation that he can take advantage of. But the other players have to play without that basketball and stay spaced and make themselves available."  The biggest benficiary of the Triangle has been Pau Gasol according to Tex, "Pau is a smart basketball player," Winter said. "He has a good basketball IQ. He knows how to get himself open in the spots and I think the offense is really good for him. Now I think the thing we need to have is have [ Andrew] Bynum get back to playing like he did last year. And he will. He'll come around. That's the encouraging thing about it. The discouraging thing is we'd like to have it happen sooner than later.

Looking ahead to the Celtics

In between now and Christmas Day, the Lakers will play their toughest stretch of games after the Knicks with a 4 game road trip that which sees the Lakers play 3 times if 4 days.  The Celtics will come off a 3 game homestand.  Phil wonders if there is any advantage, "We get back at 2 o'clock or 3 o'clock in the morning, and to have practice on the 24th is almost unfair after four games in five days," he said. "Preparing for the game is even difficult for us. Obviously, we have something to draw from last June, but that's . . . six months out."  Well no excuses now Phil, both teams are on a collision course this year to reunite in the Finals again and the first shot will send a message.

Lakers moving to 710 AM ESPN

After 30 years on 570 AM KLAC, the Lakers next season will move to 710 AM ESPN Radio.  Jeanie Buss said the move was made due in part to the ESPN brand and the move to L.A. Live will be beneficial for Lakers fans as well as the organization.  Lakers radio play-by-play announcer Spero Dedes and color commentator Mychal Thompson will also make the move...does this mean this will finally mark the end of the "Loose Cannons", this also means we'll get a bigger dosage of Steve "Hater" Hartman...not liking this move at all!  Oh well long live Vic "The Brick" Jacobs!

Week 8 Preview

The Lakers end their homestand as the take on the Mike D'Antoni and the New York Knicks and will head east...well south first for a Florida  2 step on Friday and Saturday, as they get the Heat and the Magic back to back.







Category: NBA
Tags: Lakers
Posted on: December 8, 2008 3:57 pm

Lakers Week 6 Recap!

Dam Troy Murphy!

Lakers at Pacers

The Lakers hit the road against the Pacers kicking off a 3 game eastern road trip, 3 games in 4 nights after getting fat off some home cooking.  The Pacers came in not having much to hang their hats on on the season  but did notch an impressive victory over the defending Champs and did stay close with eastern contender Orlando until losing in overtime to them.  The Lakers made it a habit of disposing mediocre teams but this night would be one to forget.  A relatively close game was blown open by the Lakers by the end of the 3rd as they went on their patented 17-0 run to take a 101-86 lead going into the 4th.  The lead was built to 19 points and thats when the Lakers hit the forgot to hit the snooze button.  Danny Granger who had 32 and public enemy #1 Troy Murphy put in 16 points along with 17 rebounds slowly dissected the Lakers defense who had more holes then swiss cheese, led the Pacers all the way back to set up an unforgettable finish.  With bench struggling and the lead dissapearing Phil put back his entire starting lineup the last 6 minutes of the game to try to preserve a Laker victory but momentum was on the Pacers bench.  On the last play of the game with the Lakers up 117-116, Marquis Daniels drove baseline to the basket to miss a a reverse layup but Troy Murphy closed in quickly over the out-stretched hands of the Lakers defense to tip in the game winner as it danced around the rim seemingly forever and finally dropped in with no time remaining as the David slayed another Goliath.  Kobe led the way for the Lakers with 28, Gasol contributed 20 and Trevor Ariza off the bench was spectacular with 13 and 3 steals.

Game Note:

Kobe finally became the second youngest player to score 22,000 points in his career after falling 15 points short against Toronto, he scored 16 in the first half vs. Indy to break it.

Game Quotes:

Danny Granger on the game winner: “That’s purely unbelievable,” Granger said. “Troy is a monster on the boards. He gobbles up so many rebounds, and I’m glad he got it because I couldn’t get to it.”

Every dog has his day!

Lakers at 76ers

After suffering their 2nd loss of the season and their first road loss, the Lakers didnt have much time to sit around and cry about it.  They looked to get back on track against Elton Brand and the dissapointing 76ers.  It also marked a homecoming for Kobe Bryant and what a show he put on.  The game started off with a couple of runs as Philly built a double digit lead only to have the Lakers answer back with a run of their own in the first quarter.  Vlad Rad got the Lakers started early with 11 quick points.  From that point on, the Lakers had complete control of the game as Kobe razzled and dazzled the home crowd with some spectacular moves.  He put in a game high 32 points and a sizzling 12-20 for the game.  The Staples Centers, Pau and Andy Bynum contributed as Pau had 22 points and Bynum 18 points but only 3 rebounds.  For the Sixers Andre Miller was a thorn on the Lakers side as he had 26 points and Andre Iguodala who put in 19.  Elton Brand struggled through the whole as the Lakers defense keyed in on him, he had only 3 points on 1-7 shooting.  The Lakers again build a 18 point lead to watch it trickle down to just 7 with under 3 minutes left to play, but Kobe answered that run with a dagger shot as he crossed over A.I. and nailed a perimeter jumper to put the game away to chants of MVP from a significant amount of Lakers fans in the crowd..the Lakers came out victorious and got back to their winning ways with a 114-102 win.

Game Quotes:

When asked about the Lakers recent defensive struggles, Phil in Phil fashion indirectly called out the team with, "We are what we are, I guess," he said. "A good offensive team."

Also when asked about his thoughts on Andrew Bynum's 3 rebounds in the contest, Phil respnded, "Some of the guards outrebounded Andrew tonight,"

And Andrew responded, "I might have gotten some [rebounds] the last six minutes, again," said Bynum, who left for good with 5:34 to play and the Lakers ahead, 99-88. "You never know until the fat lady sings and he sings for me a lot."

Lakers at Wizards

There was no better time to get back to improving that defense that has been lackadasical the last couple of games then against a 3-13 team as the Lakers played their 3rd game in 4 nights against former Laker Caron Butler and the Chicago Zephers or better known as the Washington Wizards.  The Lakers started off to a quick 11 point lead as Pau Gasol & Andrew Bynum was invloved early and often.  Kobe Bryant made the play of the night when he passed the ball to himself off the backboard and dished it out to Gasol for the assist.  Gasol finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Bynum put in a season high with 19 points and grabbed 10 boards also.  Vlad Rad put in 14 points on 5-8 shooting and Jordan Farmar off the bench contributed with 11.  For the Wizards who sported their throwback Zephers uni's were led by Caron Butler who had 26, Antwan Jamison who had 15 and former USC star Nick Young who had 13 and a couple of key 3 pointers along with Andray Blatche who had 18 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.  The Lakers build another huge lead up to 20 points only to hang on and win at the last second.  Hanging on to a 1 point lead Kobe hit one of 2 freethrows with 12 seconds left to give the Lakers a 106-104 lead.  Lakers nation let out a sigh of relief when Caron Butler's 3 point attempt to win the game fell short at the buzzer as the Lakers hung on.

Game Quotes

Phil Jackson assessing himself,  “Poor coaching,” he said. “That’s what it was tonight. Putting too much trust and faith in a younger group—a second unit. They just can’t hold it on the road. They can’t withstand the fury or the intensity of the fourth quarter. I’m going to have to change it up a little bit.”

D. Fish on sub-par defensive play of late, "The great defensive teams are not only the ones that are great on on-ball defense, but it's really those four guys behind the guy guarding the ball that make the difference," Fisher said. "We're still improving in that area."

Caron Butler chatting with Kobe in the closing seconds, “I was messing with him,” said Butler, Bryant’s teammate for one season in Los Angeles. “I went and walked up to him and said, ‘Man, give me one.”’

Caron on going for the win rather then play for overtime, “Nah, you know, I thought I took it just in time, because—clean look, and if it went in, game was over. You didn’t want it to be one of those situations in which the shot goes in, you’ve got a second left, and the best closer in basketball is at the other end, you know, asking for the ball,” Butler said. “So it was like one of those situations—you want the time to run out and hit the shot and run to the locker room with your hands up.”

Bucks at Lakers

The Lakers ended the week returning home to face another less then average eastern conference team.  Hopeful the Lakers defense would put out a better showing, the Bucks were the perfect sacrifical lamb.  A sloppy first half saw both teams being held to under 40% shooting but saw the Lakers with a 12 point lead at the half.  The 3rd quarter saw the Lakers take control as usual as their offense improved while the Bucks still couldnt find the basket.  Despite the Lakers shooting woes, Derek Fisher was outstanding with 19 points on 7-10 shooting, Kobe had 20 points and 8 assists and Any Bynum had 14 points and 14 rebounds.  For the Bucks their bench contributed most of their offensive scoring led by for UCLA stand out Luc Richard Mbah a Mute who had 14 points, Charlie Villanueva had 12 and Joe Alexander who had 15 points.  Kobe and the Lakers defense held Bucks star Michael Redd to only 2 points on 1-6 shooting.  The true test for the Lakers was what they would do with a big lead going into the 4th which at one point reached to 27 points.  Although the Lakers did let the lead dwindle down to 12 it was different from previous games as they was no danger for loosing this lead.  In garbage time Sun Yue made his debut with a clean sta-line of 4 points, 4 fouls in 5 minutes!

Game Quotes:

Phil after the Lakers struggles offensively, "Tex (Winters) is foaming at the mouth down there in the coaches' office right now," Jackson said. "He wanted his money back at halftime. Now he wants to make sure that we take the triangle offense out of any connection with him."

D-Fish on why the Lakers are blowing...

Leads that is...Despite going 3-1 this week the Lakers left very little desired for as far as their defensive efforts and tendencies to ease off are concerned.  He reflected back to Game 4 of the Finals last year after the Lakers blew a 24 point lead, "That was a window of opportunity to be champions, to take that series to 2-2 with the fifth game on our home court," Fisher said. "We did the same thing that we're starting to do now -- allow teams to get back into a game by executing poorly on offense, turning the ball over, taking poor shots and becoming porous on defense. I just wanted to kind of remind us that if we want to get back to that point, we have to correct this now."

This is the point that I have been trying to make, the Lakers can't allow themselvs to form bad habits.  Game 4 last year was a pivotal turning point in the series.  Despite the 17-2 mark, the Lakers have to hold themselves to a higher standard because of what Boston is doing right now also.  There is no doubt in my mind that Lakers and Celtics will meet in the finals again, the question is who will be better prepared.  Its good to take care of bad habits early then let this become a tendency or a trend.

Lamar to lead Bench Mob

After the erratic play of the bench of late on the recent road trip and last night against  Milwaukee, Phil has asked Lamar Odom to step into the role of Paul Revere to the Minutemen.  Phil is concerned that the younger bench players are going in looking to polish up on their statline and not play within the scope of the game. 

"I've asked Lamar to take a bigger leadership role," the Lakers coach said Sunday. "I kind of called him out on it, pointed out to him in the second half of the game the other night about his leadership on the floor [Friday against Washington].

"I know he's got some wild guys out there with him at times and it's hard. . . . It's tough for me, let alone Lamar.  We've had guys that come in and at times are looking to either pad their scoring average or try to play the up-tempo game when it's not the right time," Jackson said. "On the road, they've got to learn how to slow it down and exercise the options the offense gives . . . instead of just doing it off their speed and quickness and dribbling acumen."

Lakers coaches downplay the possibility of 70 wins

Doesnt seem like the coaching staff has any expectations for the Lakers to eclipse the Chicago Bulls 72-10 mark set back in 1996.  Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons who was a part of the Lakers 1972 team which initially set the single season win total record at 69 wins and was a coach on the Bulls team that broke it stated, "The team, as we sit right now, it's not mature enough to win that amount of games," Cleamons said emphatically. "It's about talent on one hand, but it's about maturity on the other hand. The team that won 72, that team had been together." Phil also seems to think the Lakers wont reach 70 due to travel as they will play 13 games in the eastern time zone although the 71-72 team played 22 games.

I suspect the reason for the pessimism is to keep the team grounded and not to try to set too many high goals so they can focus on better preparing for the stretch run and the playoffs, more focused on what they need to do.  I just wonder it comes to fruition would the coaches let the guys go after the record?

Former Laker Arrested

Corie Blount was arrested and charged with felony drug possession after authorities caught him picking up a package of marijuana.  They later confiscated  total of 29 pounds of marijuana, a 1996 Mercedes Benz, a 2004 Cadillac Escalade, a 2000 Chevrolet Sububan, three guns and $29,500 in cash.  Blount was a volunteer coach this season at Cincinnati State and earned a degree this year in criminal justice.  Define Irony?

Week 7 Preview

The Lakers hit the road tomorrow as they take on the lowly Sacramento Queens (it always feels good saying that), the Kings are 5-16 and have lost 8 in a row but you know the cow bells and red necks will be out in full force.  The Lakers return home the following night to face the Phoenix Suns as Shaq makes his return to Staples Center for the first time in almost 2 years and on a Western Conference team.  we get to see the Queens again on Friday night and end the week at home vs. Minnesota with new head coach Kevin McHale or better known as Kevin McFail.




Category: NBA
Tags: Lakers
Posted on: December 2, 2008 3:52 pm

LAkers Week 5 Recap

14-1 and oh so fun!

Nets at Lakers

The Lakers welcomed the New Jersey soon to be Brooklyn Nets in town as they continued their homestand and continued to polish their sparkling 11-1 record.  A close game turned into another blow out for the Lakers as they took control of a 70-66 game in the 3rd.  After a dismal defensive effort against the Kings as they allowed more dribble penetration then Dennis Rodman on Carmen Elektra, the Lakers went back to basics on the defensive end against the Nets.  Pau Gasol used and abused the opposing Nets defenders as he poured in 26 points and 8 rebounds and sat out the 4th.  Andrew Bynum put in 15 points but was plagued with foul trouble.  The Bench Mob was big again as Jordan Farmar led the way with 18 points along with Lamar Odom with 13.  Kobe had a night to forget as he went 5-17 for only 12 points but as the Lakers have shown all year they are no longer a one trick pony as the rest of the team was able to pick up for Kobe's ineffectiveness.  For the Nets, Devin Harris who was acquired last year from Dallas in the deal that sent Jason Kidd to them, had a solid game scoring 21 points and dishing out 6 assists, Rookie Brooks Lopez put in a solid effort with 17 points and 10 rebounds.  The Lakers bench outscored the Nets reserves 56-19 as they routed the Nets 120-93.

Game Notes:

Yi Jianlian with a 3 point make in last nights game is now 23-57 from beyond the arc for his career, ...The Lakers are 7-6 vs the Nets since they met in the Finals back in 2002.

Game Quotes:

Vince Carter on the Lakers bench...“Their bench was tremendous,” Carter said. “I thought their second unit was the difference. If you do not match their energy and play your `A’ game, you will not beat this team—especially here.”

Mavericks at Lakers

After a slow start for the Mavs, they came into the match riding a 5 game winning streak including a road victory over the Houston Rockets.  They also came into the game without Josh Howard who was also side-lined the previous 4 games.  The game took a franatic pace with both teams holding double digit leads.  The Mavs overcame an early Lakers 10 point lead to take their own double digit lead and went into the half leading the Lakers 57-51.  They build the lead to as much as 13 points midway into the 3rd quarter before the Lakers kicked into high gear and overtook the game.  Another solid defensive effort in the second half helped the Lakers overcome the deficit and en route to a 114-107 victory.  Kobe bounced back after a poor performance against the Nets as he had 35 points on 14-26 shooting.  Derek Fisher also had a good shooting night contributing with 19 points on 8-14 shooting.  Andy Bynum had another solid game with 18 points and 10 rebounds despite playing with some pain from a bone spur in his right foot.  Trevor Ariza was a spark off the bench and fueled the rally with 15 points.  For the Mavs Jason Terry led the way with 29 points, Dirk had 19 and Jason Kidd finished with 12 points, 11 assists and 8 rebounds. 

Game Notes:

The Lakers recorded just 8 fouls against the Mavs, the fewest by the franchise since 1960-61 season. 

Game Quotes:

Lamar Odom on the Lakers play: "Some games you're going to get beat," he said. "Like against Detroit, we didn't play well enough and they took advantage of us not playing well enough and, boom, beat us. So, if we come out flat, other teams should try to take advantage of it and stomp us out. If they don't. ... Boom."....smacking his fist into his palm...Boom! Outta here!

Raptors at Lakers

Lakers looked to get even fatter Sunday night and it wasnt from the Thanksgiving turkey, looking to end the month of November with a league best 14-1 record.  The Raptors were in town and whenever the Raptors are in town one can only think back to Kobe's 81 a couple years back.  The game started off with the same trend the others did, a relatively close game turning into yet another lopsided victory.  The Lakers looked to take advantage of the Raptors as they played without Jermaine O'Neal by utilizing Andrew Bynum often.  Bynum responded matching his best output of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds.  Kobe also had an effecient night with 23 points and matched his assist high of the season with 7.  Pau Gasol was key with 24 points and Trevor Ariza off the bench put in 14 points.  The Raptors were lead by Anthony Parker who had 19 points including 4-6 from downtown and Jose Calderon who had 12 points and a12 assists.  The Lakers held Kobe's Olympian teammate in check with only 12 points on 4-13 shooting.  A 6 point games turned into a 19 point Lakers lead in the 4th as they were able to rest Kobe and the starters for the rest of the game, the Lakers went on to win the game by a final of 112-99.

Game Notes

Kobe fell 15 points shy of becoming the fastest player to reach 22,000 career points breaking Wilt Chamberlains record.

Game Quotes:

Phil on Kobe's missed record, "Somebody put in the paper that Kobe needed 38 points tonight to be the youngest player to ever reach that particular thing. I mean, that was like putting a carrot in front of a donkey," Jackson said about an hour before tipoff. "That could really mess up the game for us tonight.".,,,Carrots! Yuck!

Thank Rambis

The reason for the Lakers tenacious defense this season can be directly attributed to Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis convincing Phil to run more zone oriented defenses to push the ball to one side.  The results although inconsistent but dramatically improved has been the Lakers new found emphasis on team defense.  This has also resulted in teams taking low percentage shots and nothing easy inside, this has also lead the way for the Lakers to gamble more as far as intercepting the passing lanes resulting in more steals and the Lakers are the best in the league in that category averaging 10.4 steals per game.

Unlike Boston who threw a parade for their defensive guru, assistant coach Tom Thibodeau who got significant credit for his defensive philosophy in containing the Lakers in the Finals, Coach Rambis did his under the radar in a workmans type of approach.  Per Phil, "We didn't want to announce it and make a big deal about it like Boston did with their guy," Jackson said. "But Kurt is real good at this and he's willing."....gloves are off man, lets see who's defense can hold the other!

Kobe who?

If you've noticed, Kobe's overall numbers have been down but thats not because of declining talent, its been because of a great supporting cast who has shined brighter then Kobe's star himself.  Kobe's minutes have decreased significantly from 38.9 minutes to 33.3 minutes a game this season. 

"We're a deep team,"  Lamar Odom said. "I think he knows that. Kobe is a tough competitor. He's going to compete. We all know that he's going to try and score. If he's off, of course we're going to pick up the slack."

Gone are the days of Smush Parker, Kwame Brown and Brian Cook!  Sigh!!

Phil on Guns

Phil Jackson in the wake of the Plaxico Buress gun incident who is pretty vocal against guns didnt have to worry too much on making his players more aware of gun..."I haven't talked about it in the last couple of years," he said. "The NBA has stepped up and talked about it. Their (security) department has talked about it with the players. They certainly got a lesson this weekend that ought to make them alert."

Only guns I have to worry about are these disguised as my arms!

Lamar on a new game

After being asked about his points per game this season and his overall production given its a contract year..."The game is called basketball, not shoot," Odom said. "You can play a complete basketball game without shooting a lot of shots. There aren't too many guys that can do it, I just happen to be one of them."

Hitting the Road

The Lakers will hit their first eastern road swing of the year starting tonight.  The Lakers look to keep the same philosophy on the road, Lamar Odom, "(Going on the road) won't be different for us. We'll come out and do the same thing, try and play a defensive game at first, make teams uncomfortable and try to wear them down."

"The tempo of the game changes (on the road)," Phil Jackson said. "There is more control and we have to be more concerned about things. We have to be more concerned about controlling the game with fewer turnovers, less fouls and for less opportunities for our opponents to win."

The Bench Mob has been great this season and hopefully can continue their dynamic play on the road.  Phil touched on what the bench has to bring playing outside the friendly confines of Staples, "They have to be able to execute in the half-court game," Jackson said. "That's what we're really working with this young group at. Runs are good, transition defense, steals -- all those things. They are exploding the game a little bit with their higher-pace game. But then when that pace is over and they're into that half-court, we have to be able to execute."

The Lakers did finish 27-14 on the road last season, 2nd best in the league behind the Celtics and are currently 5-0.

Week 6 Preview

Tonight starts off a 3 game eastern road swing against those giant killers, the Indiana Pacers, who earlier this season routed the Boston Celtics followed by Elton Brand and the Sixers tomorrow night capping off the back to back.  The trip ends with the Wizards in D.C.  The Lakers return home to finish off the week vs. the Bucks.  The Lakers should win the week but have generally had some let down losses last year with these types of road swings.  The Lakers are 2 wins away from matching their best 16 game start ever.




Category: NBA
Tags: Lakers
Posted on: November 24, 2008 4:09 pm

Lakers Week 4 Recap

Can we please replay the Detroit game??? 4 weeks in and the Lakers sitting pretty at 11-1...

Bulls at Lakers

After suffering their first loss of the season the Lakers looked to get back to their winning ways with stand out rookie Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls in town.  Pau Gasol got involved early and often as the Spaniard scored 16 of his game high 34 points in the first quarter alone.  The Lakers pounded the ball inside as Andrew Bynum showed his best outing of the season with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks as the Lakers built a 20 plus point lead.  Ben Gordon in a losing effort also put in 23 points.  Kobe added 21 points along with Lamar Odom who had 10 and Jordan Farmar with 12.  The Lakers played stellar defense for intervals of the game but were not consistent enough to keep the Bulls under 100 points and get the Staples crowd free tacos.  The Lakers had 11 blocks in the game and held the Bulls to 43% shooting but were out-rebounded 48-43.  Despite a couple of runs by the Bulls fueled by rookie sensation Derrick Rose who added 25 points and 9 assists coupled with some defensive lapses by the Lakers, the Bulls couldnt overcome as the Lakers won the game 116-109.  Next up for the Lakers was a Pacific Division showdown in Phoenix.

Game Quotes:

Sasha Vujacic and Trevor Ariza got into a heated exchange during the game but cooler heads prevailed, both stated it was no big deal, just 2 competitive players being...competitive.  Trevor was asked who his favorite teammate was and Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw interjected with an emphatic "Sasha", Trevor smiled and agreed...The Machine is also my favorite but who is his BFF?


Lakers at Suns

There is really no need to hype up any Lakers vs. Suns matchups but former Laker Shaq made some news in the week building up to the game by stating he would be open to a possible return to the Lakers after he is done in Phoenix to a Sacramento Bee reporter.  Umm thanks but no thanks...The game itself would be yet another real test as the Lakers sought out to make a statement.  The Lakers turned what was a close game for about a quarter and a half into a laugher yet again against yet again another supposed Western elite.  The star of the game turned out to be Space Cadet Vlad Rad himself as he was finally able to get on track draining some back breaking 3's to help sustain a double digit Laker lead in the second half of the game.  The Lakers bench was also was stellar as usual as they outscored the Phoenix bench (who played w/o Leanardo Barbosa as was back home after the loss of his mother)  42-30.  Lamar Odom led the charge off the bench with 13 points and 9 rebounds, Kobe added 24 but game hero Vlad Rad had 15 points going 5-5 from beyond the arc.  For the Suns Amarie Stoudamire led them with 21 points, Shaq put in a respectable 15 points and 9 rebounds but the Lakers defense held Steve Nash to just 8 points on 3-9 shooting.  The Lakers cruised to a 105-92 victory.

Game Quotes:

Kobe played very little in the 4th quarter as the Lakers were well ahead, he touched on his minutes:

“I was telling Luke (Walton) about 10 minutes ago that this might be the first season I average 31 minutes because we’ve been blowing people out,” Bryant said. “I’ve been sitting the whole fourth quarter. That’s pretty amazing.”.....Black Mamba shall be well rested when the playoffs roll around.

Shaq on running into the Bryant family at a restaurant..."If I see him and his family in a restaurant, it's, 'Hello Mr. Bryant, hello Ms. Bryant, hello little babies . . . ' " O'Neal said....he ended with "I Like Babies, Get in Mah Belly!"...jk although it wouldnt shock me! 

Nuggets at Lakers

After another victory vs. a West contender, the Lakers set back home on the back end of a back to back to welcome the new look Denver Nuggets who were 7-1 since acquiring Chauncey Billups from Detroit in exchange for Allen Iverson.  This one would surely be a test...at least thats what it was supposed to be.  The Nuggets proved to be no match for the Lakers as the Lakers jumped on them early and often.  By halftime the Lakers built a 20 point lead and led 67-47.  Kobe led the way with his best shooting performance of the season with 29 points going 12-18.  Andy Bynum put in 13pts and 13 rebounds and even seldomly used Josh Powell came in and contributed with 3 block shots.  The Nuggets chipped away at the Lakers lead but could never get over the hump, Chauncey Billups put in 15 points but the Lakers played stimy defense againts Carmelo Anthony and held him to just 10 points on 5-19 shooting.  J.R Smith added 18 points off the bench for Denver but the Lakers rolled again, 104-90.

Chauncey on the Lakers and the loss...

"We're still playing good. We just had a tough night," Billups said. "That team is a really, really good team. . . . We just had a rough night. We're not going to let this one game stop what we've got going. We've got to wash that loss off in the shower and keep it moving."...Try telling that to the Clippers, imagine how much soap they have gone through this season already.

Kings at Lakers

After solid wins over the Suns and the Nuggets on back to back nights, the Kings should'nt have been much trouble for the Lakers...but this is why you play the game...although not the same rivalry it once was, its still the Queens and its still fun beating them.  Playing without leading scorer Kevin Martin, the Kings hoped to derail the Lakers train. The Lakers though forgot to play defense against the Kings, again they had an early lead but a 21-6 run fueled by Bobby Jackson who ended with 15 points cut the Lakers lead to just 4 points.  The Lakers lack of defense was overshadowed by a brilliant offensive game for the Lakers.  The Kings couldnt continue the run as the Lakers put a fork in them with a 118-110 victory.  The Lakers committed 18 TO's that led to 30 points for the Suns.  The Lakers offense though had 8 players in double figures including all the starters.  Kobe was Kobe matching his jersey number to the total of points he had.  Andy Bynum had a solid game with 15 points and 10 rebounds, Lamar Odom off the bench had 14 points on 7-9 shooting.  The Kings were lead by John Salmons who had 24, Bobby Brown (who wasnt humping around) off the bench contributed with 21 points.

Game Quotes:

Kobe on the Lakers lack luster win:

“I’m not happy with this win. We could have played much more solid defensively,” Bryant said. “They did a good job getting out in transition. So from that aspect, we might have been a little worn down.”....I'm chalking this up 3 games in 4 nights.

Phil rememebering the Queens days:

"I just saw Rick Fox and it immediately flashed in my mind," Jackson said, referencing Fox's notorious fight with Kings guard Doug Christie on the floor and then in the tunnel during a preseason game. "It's Sacramento and there's Rick."

After being poked in the eye in the prior game, Vlad Rad sported orange tinted goggles, he paid omage to Kurt Rambis:

I'm going with the throwback Kurt Rambis look tonight," Radmanovic joked. "Superman is back for tonight." ...When I saw those, I thought Vlad Rad was about to hit the slopes again!

Random Thoughts with Shaq

Let by-gones be by-gones I guess, Shaq did some smooching prior to the Phoenix game touching on his comments about Phil (saying they were taken out of context) being the main culprit for not easing tension between Kobe and Shaq to his thoughts on the Lakers.  In regards to Phil,  "On the record, Phil has always done right by me and we had a pretty good relationship," O'Neal continued. "We won (three consecutive) championships. It would be idiotic of me to say something bad about him."  But that obviously didnt stop Shaq before, I guess its that easy to ridicule and bad mouth a former coach, teammate, team and city and then brush it off as a joke...oh thats just Shaq being Shaq!

Phil did actually agree though that Shaq may have been misquoted, "I had no doubt that [article] was something out of context, or whatever," Jackson said. "We had a great time. We had a great run for four years, five years." 

Phil touched on what could have been,  "It was purely an economic situation with our owner," Jackson said. "It wasn't about personalities. He voiced some speculation about a (lower) salary, which Shaq eventually accepted in Miami. I think if he had done that in L.A., he probably would still be there. ... I think the owner had every intention of restructuring Shaq's contract and keeping Kobe"  I guess we'll never know! 

Shaq also touched on his former team a bit praising them...on his thoughts on Kobe as a player now and the Lakers overall:

"They are the best team," O'Neal said. "They are 9-1. They are playing pretty good. Kobe is playing excellent ball, keeping everybody involved. He's got a lot of shooters around. They are a very dangerous team. . . . They are probably the best team in the West right now."
He was also asked if thats how he wished Kobe would have played when they were togerther, "He's playing excellent ball," O'Neal said. "I can't say anything bad about him now."

On Andrew Bynum:

He does what he's supposed to do," O'Neal said. "He catches it, keeps it up high and throws it down. He's bigger, a lot stronger. He's not really the first, second or third option. He just gets lobs, gets rebounds. He does what he's supposed to do as a 7-footer."

Okay, its nice to hear all these great things Shaq has said about the Lakers for a change but why does this seem like an future audition to get back into the good graces of the Lakers.  But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, if Kobe can reform then so can Shaq, I just hope he is sincere in this.  Players or for that matter people in general can mature after they come to the realization of their mistakes, dont know if Shaq has reached this point yet but he's on the right track.  I guess what I'm waiting for is also an admission or an acknowledgement that maybe he also along with Kobe and Phil had a little something to do with the break-up. Sure its all fun and dandy for him looking back at it but those were some tense times and it jeopradized the Lakers chances of being an immortal dynasty and it screwed us fans out of bragging rights till the end of our lifetime...Well whats done is done, and I hope that Shaq can finally move on now and us Lakers fans are grateful to him for helping us win those 3 titles but at the same time we are spiteful to him for screwing us out of 3 more possible titles.  The question has been asked if Lakers fans would welcome him back, out of respect for the big fella the only thing of Shaq's that I want to welcome back is his jersey hanging on the walls of Staples alongside the other Laker greats, thats how I would like to remember him and not for the player he is now.

Week 5 Preview

Week 5 will mark the end of our current home-stand with 3 more games.  New Jersey is next on the menu Tuesday night followed by the Mavs on ESPN the day after Thanksgiving and ends Sunday with a matchup against Chris Bosh and the Raptors.  Week 6 kicks off a 3 game east coast road swing, so this week will be a chance to shine up the record a bit although I expect the Mavs and Raptors to give us some competition.






Category: NBA
Tags: Lakers
Posted on: November 17, 2008 3:06 pm

Lakers Week 3 Recap

Well looks like we have to settle for 81-1!

Lakers at Dallas

Coming off thier first real test of the season where the Lakers pounded the Houston Rockets, Week 3 kicked off a back to back starting in Dallas.  Again the Lakers got off to a slow start and again the Lakers ended strong down the stretch.  For 3 quarters the Lakers trailed the Mavericks and by double digits at one point.  Jason Terry kicked off the first half with 17 points as the Mavs scored 60 points in the first half to take a 6 point lead.  The Lakers then kicked it into high gear fueled by Trevor Ariza who had his best showing of the year and of course the 4th quarter meant Kobe time.  Kobe scored 9 of his 27 and led the Lakers to a 106-99 victory as the Lakers only allowed only 39 points in the second half and held Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki to 5-17 shooting for only 14 points.  Dirk's ineffectiveness was due in large part to Pau Gasol who added 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Lakers improved to 6-0.  After the game Kobe was asked how Pau did in comparison to one of the top players in the world in Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe responded "Well last time I checked Pau Gasol is also one the top players in the world"  Heres to the Spaniard!

Game Quote: 

After an emphatic block by Trevor Ariza on Jerry Stackhouse: Said Ariza: "I hate when people score on me. I had to figure out a way to not foul him and not let him score, so I guess I just blocked it."...when all else fails just block the shot!

Breaking News: Federal regulators have charged Mavs owner Mark Cuban with insider trading for allegedly using confidential information on a stock sale to avoid more than $750,000 in losses.


Lakers at Hornets

The Lakers came into the 2nd night of a back to back against the Hornets hoping to remain the only undefeated team in the NBA as the Hawks were handed their first loss on a buzzer beater by Paul Pierce and the Celtics earlier that night.  It didnt look like an easy task as they faced off against another potential threat to the Lakers Western Conference championship crown.  Chris Paul and company were set to make a statement against the Lakers but instead it was the Lakers who put an exclamation mark on a statement of their own.  The trend was reversed a bit as the Lakers jumped on the Hornets from the initial tip.  Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant who had 20 points each got the Lakers started off early as the Lakers jumped to establish a lead as big as 23 points.  But Chris Paul fueled a furious comeback as he continued to make history by scoring over 20 points and dishing out over 10 assists for the 7th straight game as he ended the game with 30 pts and 13 assists.  Late in the 4th the Hornets cut the Lakers lead to just 3 points but a dagger 3 pointer by the Black Mamba on James Posey helped seal another victory for the Lakers.  Andrew Bynum also had a terrific game as he had 4 blocks in the game.  The Lakers improved to 7-0.

Game Note:

For as big of a matchup as this was, it baffles me that this was not on any national televised schedule.  ESPN instead elected to show the Blazers at Miami...NBA needs a flex TV schedule

Game Quotes:

Kobe after draining a game clinching 3 pointer on former Celtics foe James Posey: "I just wanted to shoot it in his face," Bryant said of the late 3-pointer. "I knew I was due."....take that Posey!

Phil on the how the Lakers finished down the stretch: "We sucked the joy out of a good victory,"....can't argue with him there.

The Lakers hung to win this game and Phil wasn't too thrilled with Kobe's performance in the 4th beides the dagger shot : "He was doing too much at the end of the ball game," Jackson said. "We should have had him off ball a few times so it wasn't always him on ball. But he came through with the big shot that kind of clinched it."

Pistons at Lakers

The Lakers came into Friday nights contest as the only remaining undefeated team in the league but Allen Iverson & company wasn't impressed.  The game also marked the return of our prodical son Kwame "Hands" Brown as he started the game for the Pistons.  This game turned out to be the revenge of Kwame.  Kwame notched a double double against his former team as he scored 10 points and grabbed 10 boards and played stellar defense helping the Pistons hand the Lakers their first loss of the year.  Allen Iverson also had a great game with 25 points as he looks to have integrated nicely into the Pistons lineup.  Rasheed Wallace also had a tremendous game as he also contributed with 25 points also and went 4-9 from beyond the arc.  It also didnt help that the Lakers picked this game to have one of their worst shooting games of the year as they only shot 42%.  Kobe put in 29 and Pau had 15 points but the Lakers couldnt get over the hump as the Pistons lead throughout the game and closed the door on the Lakers first loss of the season.

Game Quote:

Kwame Brown was booed often, but afterward he smiled and said, “They booed me when I was here.”...some things never change ey Kwame!

Game Note:

Kobe Bryant passed Larry Bird (21,791 points) for 23rd on the all-time scoring list, and then again in the fourth quarter when he passed Gary Payton (21,813 points) for 22nd.

Allen Iverson aslo made history as he passed Elgin Baylor (23,149 points) for 19th on the all-time list.

Blame Phil for the split of the dynasty

At least according to our favorite current resident of Phoenix, AZ.  It seems like no matter what the Lakers and Shaquille O'Neal will never be at peace.  The Big Shaqtus told the Sacramento Bee (for reasons I can't explain) that Phil Jackson could have intervened and brought the Shaq Kobe feud to an end but never did so. 

"I think it was all designed by Phil," he said. "Because, if you think about it, Phil never called us into the office and said, `Both of you, shut the (heck) up.' Never did that in four years. He knew that when I read something, I was going to get upset. And he knew Kobe was going to always come out and play hard.

"So I think it was all done by design."

How bout taking accountability for your own actions?  Since when does another grown man have to tell other grown men (Kobe and Shaq) to cut it out, this isnt middle school.  My take on it was that both Kobe and Shaq knew what kind of damage they were doing but both because of their inflated ego's weren't willing to back off.  You cant blame Phil on this one Shaq.  While Phil could have done something about it, he wouldnt have to if both Kobe and Shaq could have taken the mature approach and come to an understanding that this is bigger then them.

"Now that I look back on it, that (stuff) was kind of fun," he said. "It really was. It was kind of fun. `What did he say, what did he say?' I tell people if we would have had a reality show, we'd have had the No. 1 reality show in the world. ''

Well Shaq, I'm glad you thought this was all fun cause it cost us 3 years of rebuilding when we could have been winning championships.  Shaq also stated that he wouldn't rule out a possible return to the Lakers when he is a free agent in 2010...while I wouldnt completely shoot this down right away, lets see if Lakers fans would be so welcoming to you the second time around, this could be a plug for your next reality drama!

Byron Scott, a Laker again?

When asked if he would ever consider coming back home if the Lakers head coaching job was ever available, Lord Byron responded, "I'm going to be honest, yeah, I thought about it a lot," Scott said. "That's home for me. That's an organization that will be embedded in my heart for the rest of my life."  While Byron praised his current employer he didnt rule out the possibility to return back to the franchise that he gave so much too and which returned the favor.  "I love the situation I'm in now," Scott said. "I love this team . . . so I don't see myself leaving those guys any time soon...But I can't think of a more perfect job for me than this Hornet job that I have here," Scott said. "But my next choice would obviously be back home."

Hey Dr. Buss, I hope you're listening...if Phil ever calls if quits we know we have a worthy replacement for him.

Bynum to unleash the beast

Andrew Bynum dissapointed at his offensive performance so far has vowed to be more aggressive.  Although he has been an obvious presence of defense, Andrew so far has been dissapointed in his offensive output only averaging 9.9 points per game.  Look for the kid to do a little bit more offensively.  I have to say, the more I read and hear about Andrew, the more impressed I am with him.  To acknowledge this and to take the initiative to do something about it just shows that he is constantly willing to improve himself and you have to respect that aout this kid.

"I really haven't been attacking, so I'm going to start attacking on the block," Bynum said. "Over all the games, I really haven't scored much on the block play." "I'm just not being aggressive," Bynum said. "I think I need to go out there and be aggressive and assert myself on the block. I don't think I've even scored with a post move yet this season."

Phil also has to give Andrew some freedom to operate a little and get him his chances, look for the beast to quench his hunger!

Injury Updates:

Derek Fisher didn't participate in part of Sunday's practice because of injured ribs he suffered during Friday night's game against the Detroit Pistons. Vladimir Radmanovic suffered a left thigh contusion at the end of practice Sunday. His status is more uncertain.  Look for Trevor Ariza to get  the starting nod if Vlad Rad is unable to go.  Sasha Vujacic, who has a sprained right ankle, practiced Sunday...this lingering injury kept him out most of the pre-season but should be okay for the coming week.

Week 4 Preview

The Lakers look to get back to their winning ways on Tuesday as they welcome Rookie of the Year candidate Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls to Staples.  The Lakers then travel to Phoenix on Thursday to face division foes the Phoenix Suns for the first time this season (no worries I will have the Smack Talk Thread ready).  Friday the Lakers return home to face a revamped Denver Nuggets team with Chauncey Billups and end the week on Sunday with a matchup with the Sacramento Kings.






Category: NBA
Tags: Lakers
Posted on: November 10, 2008 3:31 pm

Lakers Week 2 Recap

Not much changed from Week 1 to week 2 except for our win-loss record.  A slow week but that didnt stop the Lakers from completely annihilating their competition:

Clippers at Lakers

Bent on not to repeat the slaughter that was opening night for the Clippers, they actually hung with the Lakers strive for strive until the Lakers finally decided to show up.  A close game going into the last 6 minutes of the game ended up being a double digit victory for the home team.  The Lakers shot terribly throughout the game but a 22-0 run similar to the 17-0 run in the first meeting sealead which was eventually an 18 point victory for the Lakers.  Kobe led the scoring with 27, Andy Bynum held down the interior grabbing 17 boards and 4 blocks.  Lamar Odom had his best showing of the early season with 15 points and 9 rebounds off the bench.  The Clippers really didnt help themselves as their key players were in foul trouble throughout the game.  Marcus Camby added 4 blocks of his own and Al Thornton led the Clippers with 22 points.  Mike Dunleavy was so impressed that he stated the Lakers should run the table in the West this season...fun fact for you, Mike Dunleavy was once the head coach of the Lakers, thanks Mike check is in the mail!

Rockets at Lakers

After the Lakers disposal of inferior teams, they would face their first real test of the young season with the Houston Rockets in town.  Ron Ron and company got off to a great start leading by 12 points at the end of the first and built a lead up to as much as 16.  The Lakers finally shook the rust off (not having played a game in 3 days) and went to work on the Rockets tying the game in late in the 2nd quarter and eventually taking a small lead into halftime.  A couple of Carl Landry elbows to Pau Gasol's jaw awoke the Spaniard as he was instrumental in the comeback.  And as usual, The Bench Mob was out causing havoc again.  The Lakers started to seperate themselves in the 3rd quarter building up a 7 point lead and in the 4th as it has now become a trend with the Lakers, applied more pressure to the Rockets neck and choked the life out of them outscoring them by 22 points and closing the book on another lopsided victory.  The Lakers posted 10 blooks and held another opponent to less then 40% shooting.  The Lakers defense was stimy again as Kobe and company shut down Tracy "Mr. Glass" McGrady to only 3 points on 1-11 shooting and Artest to 8 points on 2-11 shooting.  Kobe led the way again with 23 points, Gasol had 20 points and 15 rebounds and Jordan "Paul Revere"  (Minute Men, get it?) Farmar led The Bench Mob with 16 points and 6 assists.  Were'nt the Rockets supposed to be the team that was going to dethrone us..I know, I know may a little to early...Houston, you have a problem!


We havent heard from our fear-less leader in a while but that doesnt mean the old playboy isnt paying attention.  Dr. Jerry Buss much like most of us are at peace now after a tumultous off-season prior to the 07-08 season with Kobe venting and trade rumors.  Well what a difference a year makes!  The king of the castle touched on a number of issues.  First priority for Dr. Buss is to retain both Kobe and Phil.  Dr. Buss touched on Europe courting Kobe and stated "They have fewer games, smaller arenas and cheaper tickets and very little television," Buss said. "I can't see it, but there are people who are wealthy enough in the world that could make astronomical offers, and I certainly couldn't compete with that. But quite honestly, I just don't think that's a real threat."  Lets hope not!

As for the being over the cap and luxury taxes, Dr. Buss is also prepared to do whatever it takes to keep a championship caliber team in tact:  "We have to do what we have to do," he said. "I certainly don't like to pay the luxury tax, but if that's what it takes to win, then we're going to pay it."

We have all had discussions about the Lakers possibly beating the Bulls all-time single season record of 72-10, how does Dr. Buss feel about it..."I think the West has improved so much that something like that would be very difficult," Buss said. "I thought that we could come close to 60 wins." A short pause followed with "I'd be happy with 73, though." Once a winner always a winner

Interesting to note Dr. Buss main motiviation for buying the Lakers back in 1979, was it to own a storied franchise, to collect the millions in revenue they Lakers produce, to get all of Hugh Hefners women??? Well heres your answer:

"One of the biggest reasons I bought the Lakers was to beat the Celtics, If you were a Laker fan prior to my ownership, and you sat there and watched the Celtics whip us so many times, and how close we came -- one shot in one particular series -- you just got it into your soul that you couldn't stand the Celtics anymore."

Spoken like a true Laker!

Lets Get Physical, Physical!

Have you noticed when teams try to get physical with the Lakers, it almost always back-fires on them.  Last night both Ron Artest and Carl Landry tried to rough up Kobe and Gasol, only motivating them more.  Its amazing that people out there have this soft tag on the Lakers which I still dont understand.  Last year, the first time all season I heard the soft label was during the Finals against Boston.  Being a "soft team" is different from being an "under-manned team" which is what the Lakers were in the Finals last year, you cant be a soft team and win the toughest Western Conference race ever.

Well I certainly hope more teams will strategize with this misconception in mind.  That will set them up for a rude awakening.   The more physical teams get the more motivated the Lakers look, plus that only spells foul trouble for the opposition.  Sometimes I think the best thng that could have happened to the Lakers was that thrashing Boston gave us in Game 6, you can only talk smack and bully for so long until the other guy decides to do something about it.  Heres to the other guy!

No rolling of the McDyess

Antonion McDyess who was recently traded to the Nuggets may be available for the Lakers once the Nuggets buy out his contract but the Lakers aren't really interested.  Phil's take: "He's a good guy," Jackson said. "He's a good player and he's experienced. But right now in our situation, other than just watching what's happening, there's no interest that I can call right now."


After Joey Crawford was cut earlier this season, the Los Angeles Defenders of the NBADL drafted the kid to play for them.  The Lakers are also planning to allocate Sun Yue who has been inactive for the first few games to the D-League also.  It worked out great for Jordan Farmar!

Week 3 Preview

This upcoming week will be a whole lot different from last week.  The week kicks off with a back to back on the road with the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday and New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday.  The week ends with the new look Detroit Pistons and Allen Iverson in town.  Some tough oppenents this week, then again wasn't Houston supposed to be tough?




Category: NBA
Tags: Lakers
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