December 25th, 2012
After a long period of difficulties the Lakers got back in the victories this last week. Finally resurrection time may have come for LA, who last Thursday was at a tough position with a 9-14 record. 10 days and four wins after, the team has finally broken out of the slump and is happy to welcome Steve Nash back.
Nash, who missed 24 games with a broken leg returned in the starting lineup at Saturday’s match against the surprising Warriors. It has been a really long wait for the two-time MPV but his impact on the team’s playing style was obvious right from the start. He finished with 12 points to go along with many assists. But the truth is that the numbers don’t tell the whole story. The whole style changes on offense with Nash on the floor who does what he knows best, creating plays for his teammates and the Lakers in fact do have some of the greatest finishers in the league in Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard.
The victories started even before Nash’s return. The Lakers survived in late game situations in most of their last wins. First one against the Wizards last Friday when they won 102-96 holding off a 27 point fourth quarter from their opponents. Lakers scored only 19 during the last 12 minutes. Next stop was Philadelphia against the Sixers, when LA broke out and won easily 111-98. Bryant finished had another high scoring game with 34 and Metta World Piece had a career high 16 rebounds to go along with 19 points, quite a performance for him. Then it was a comeback in the last quarter that saved the day for the Lakers, who took 101-100 the Bobcats at a game with a dramatic finale. The Bobcats had the chance to win the game but missed on 3 consecutive tries in the last 10 seconds thus throwing the victory to their opponents. Last game of the week came on Saturday night for the Lakers. It came down to the overtime but the Lakers escaped with a 118-115 win against the Warriors. It was another good game from Kobe Bryant who led all scorers with 34 points and of course noticeable for the night, Steve Nash’s return to the team.
The encouraging fact for Lakers fans is that things may actually get better for the team. Now, with Nash and also Gasol back from injuries, the team may show its real capabilities. Now it’s time for them to prove that the expectations during the off-season, when all the stars met in LA, were not too high. They are just one win behind the psychological border of 0.500 that could trigger a burst of momentum for the Lakers. They will surely need that going in 2013 and as playoff time is approaching. Of course there is a lot of work ahead and the road will not be easy for them.
Next up for the Lakers they play on Christmas day against the New York Knicks at home and then travel to Denver to face the Nuggets. Last game of the year is Friday night in front of the Staples Center crowd against the Portland Trailblazers.
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December 19th, 2012
In a game that came down to the last second, the Lakers proved to be lucky and managed to survive and take the victory by one point. This was the third win in a row for LA and that tied their longest streak of the season, while for the Bobcats it was the 12th straight loss. No matter the opponent though, it was really important for the Lakers to return to wins and hope to gain momentum for the next games.
As usual, Kobe did his thing, scored 30 points on 11-24 shooting, including a couple of acrobatic plus-one layups in traffic. It was the seventh straight with 30 or more for him. . “We’re just moving the ball. I’m being aggressive and looking for opportunities to get a few guys involved.” ,Kobe commented. He lifted his team, which was down by 9 on the break and led it straight to the victory. In fact it was a 28-4 run by them that erased the 18 point deficit of the third quarter. But the Bobcats didn’t surrender and in fact tied the game at 97 with 2:17 left in the game. However, Kobe wouldn’t let this thing go out of his control. He answered with two back to back clutch shots. The former Laker Ramon Sessions completed a three point play in an effort to keep his team in the game but the Bobcats missed on 3 consecutive shots in the last 10”, including a desperation three from Gerald Henderson in the last second that could win the Bobcats the game.
Pau Gasol returned to the lineup after missing eight games finishing with 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Coach Mike D’Antoni only used three of his reserves. Two of them, Metta World Piece who didn’t start this one and Joddie Meeks finished the game with 17 points. Dwight Howard added a smooth double double with 16 points and 18 rebounds and that pretty much was enough for the Lakers to get away with a win. “I’m trying to figure out what’s the best way to play the team. We will keep looking at film, keep revisiting. We have a couple practices and we’ll keep looking at different combinations.” ,said Coach Mike D’Antoni after the game.
For Charlotte, they got a great game out of Kemba Walker who scored 28 and dished 6 assists and also Ramon Sessions had 20 off the bench. The Lakers hit 21 free throws in 27 attempts, many of them in the third quarter and that got them back in the game.
The Lakers take three days off before playing against the Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena and that finishes their games for this week. A tough game against the NBA record leaders New York Knicks follows, Tuesday night. The Charlotte Bobcats will travel to Phoenix to play against the Suns on Wednesday.
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November 11th, 2012
Star center coming off back surgery. CHECK
Former two-time MVP point guard injured two games in. CHECK
A glaring lack of depth forcing the starting unit to play big minutes early on. CHECK
Flashback to this summer after the Howard and Nash trades and it’s hard to believe that six games in Mike Brown’s out and the Lakers are 2-4.
But is it really?
Look beyond the star-power and you have to wonder if Mike Brown isn’t just a convenient scapegoat for a team that may not be as well-constructed as we all thought. Or was Mike Brown simply the wrong coach to begin with? Perhaps he was.
Many point to the Princeton office as a mistake, perhaps rightly so. But were the Lakers issues under Mike Brown offensively related? Take a look at the Hollinger stats and the Lakers sit csolidly at number seven in offensive efficiency, higher ranked than last year. Granted it’s a small sample size but one can make the argument that offense wasn’t really the issue.
Perhaps the problems are much bigger than that.
For Mike Brown’s sake you’d think the Lakers would have at least waited for Steve Nash to return and take a real assessment of the direction of the club. But, that didn’t happen and now they’re in head coach search mode, adding some additional turmoil to the equation. Clearly bringing back the greatest coach in NBA history in Phil Jackson would be a benefit. And, Mike D’Antoni can clearly teach offense and worked perfectly with Steve Nash in Phoenix. Still, head coach aside is this year’s Lakers club really equipped for the long slog through the Western Conference and a likely matchup with the Heat in the finals? For all the star-power there are some real question marks
Defense: It does seem unusual to question the defense of a club that has the top defensive force in the league in Dwight Howard, as well as Metta World Peace and Kobe Bryant. But, there are some real matchup issues that could be pretty evident against top teams. Take the Thunder for example. Who exactly is Steve Nash going to guard? You can put him on Sefalosha, but that forces Kobe Bryant to expend huge energy on the defensive end to guard Russell Westbrook, because Nash clearly can’t. The same holds true of the Heat in an expected finals matchup. The Lakers size is clearly a huge advantage against the Heat small-ball, but if the Heat does go small, with a lineup of James, Bosh, Allen, Battier and Wade you again have to ask the question: who exactly is Steve Nash going to guard?
Does Gasol Really Fit in: You have to wonder if Mitch Kupchak is tossing around any trade ideas for Pau Gasol. A few pundits have speculated on the benefit of perhaps trading Gasol for a player like Ryan Anderson. Anderson would give the Lakers a lot more versatility and a key shooter on the perimeter while providing some relief towards the luxury tax.
The Minutes these guys are playing: The eighty-two game season is a long haul and early on the Lakers vets have been forced to play some real extended minutes. While the Heat’s sudden depth have given them the ability to play their starts relatively light minutes Kobe, World Peace, Howard and Gasol are playing minutes early on that don’t bode well for a long season and an extended playoff run. The sheer amount of game time the stars are getting is directly related to their poor bench. Save the Charlotte Bobcats the Lakers bench may be the worst in basketball. It’s hard to imagine this current roster going head to head in a seven-game battle with a team like San Antonio.
A potential poor playoff seed: With such a veteran roster it’s vital to get a high playoff seed. If the Lakers continue to struggle and don’t receive a top four playoff seed their road to a championship will be that much harder. It’s a lot easier to make a run through the playoffs with home court advantage. It’s a lot harder if it involves being a road team against the likes of San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Still, for all the Lakers question marks they still have the top center in the league one of the greatest point offensive point guards of all time and a top ten all-time player in Kobe Bryant. Their size inside and unique matchup issues will make them a tough out in the postseason. Unlike the Heat, who had time to build their current championship club, the Lakers really don’t have all that much time. If they don’t win this season they’ll head into next year with Bryant and Nash a year older—and the Heat a year wiser.
Lakers face the Sacramento Kings tonight tickets are still available for the game by clicking here.
August 10th, 2012
Dwight Howard Los Angeles Lakers
Four years ago at the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers made what was considered a blockbuster move — they traded a package centered around Marc Gasol (although at the time we thought it was Kwame Brown) for Pau Gasol. Pairing him with Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to three straight finals and two NBA titles.
After tonight, Pau Gasol may be offensive option No. 4 on the Lakers.
To what is certainly the frustration and consternation of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and other owners (nice competitive balance), the Lakers have had the best offseason they have had since 1996 (getting Shaquille O’Neal and drafting Kobe Bryant). The Lakers were able to work trades for both point guard Steve Nash and the most dominant center on the planet today, Dwight Howard.
The Lakers are now the team best positioned to challenge the Miami Heat for the NBA title, they can match up in raw talent. And with real strengths at point guard and center — the two weakest links of the Heat — Los Angeles may well be the best team in the NBA.
Acquiring Dwight Howard is another bold move for the Lakers, just what we’ve come to expect from a franchise that measures success in championship rings.
So Howard is coming off back surgery and might not even be ready to start the season? So what? The Lakers don’t do Novembers. The Lakers do Junes. This is who they are.
Stay Tuned, this could be an amazing season in Los Angeles.
March 24th, 2012
L.A. Lakers 103, Portland 96
Location – Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Officials – #55 Bill Kennedy, #28 Tommy Nunez Jr., #65 Sean Wright
Attendance – 18997
Friday, March 23, 2012 10:30 PM
LAKERS Vs Trail BLAZERS 103, 96: Andrew Bynum collected 28 points and nine rebounds and Ramon Sessions stepped up in the fourth quarter as host Los Angeles kept pace in the Western Conference.
LaMarcus Aldridge recorded 29 points and nine rebounds for the Trail Blazers.
Sessions finished with 20 points and 11 assists and Kobe Bryant struggled to 18 points on 5-of-17 shooting for the Lakers, who stayed within 2 1/2 games of the San Antonio Spurs for the No. 2 spot in the West.
Los Angeles jumped out to a 30-19 lead after the first quarter but never managed to put the slumping Trail Blazers away. Portland fought back to tie it in the second and third quarters but never took the lead.
The Blazers were within a point four times in the fourth quarter, but the Lakers managed to beat them back on each occasion. Sessions scored eight points and handed out six assists in the fourth quarter and had the most important bucket when his 3-pointer extended the lead to 93-89 with 3:06 left.
Sessions, who was making his first start since joining the team at the trade deadline, would set up Matt Barnes for a layup on the next possession to make it a 95-89 gap.
Bryant sealed it from the free throw line in the final minute
GAME NOTEBOOK: Portland has dropped 10 of its last 14 games … Los Angeles dominated the glass, 53-29, led by 16 from Pau Gasol … The Lakers recorded 33 assists on 40 field goals.
We stock Lakers Tickets for all home and away games. You can purchase Grizzlies Vs Lakers Tickets for this Sunday March 25th at the Staples Center.
January 29th, 2012
First meeting of the season. The teams split four games last season, with each winning on their home court.
- November 5th, 2010 in Denver – Denver 111 – Clippers 94
- December 3rd, 2010 in Denver – Denver 109 – Clippers 104
- January 5th, 2011 in Los Angeles – Clippers 106 – Denver 93
- March 5th, 2011 in Los Angeles – Clippers 100 – Denver 94
The Clippers are 10-6 on the season. But of those 16 games, only five of them have been on the road (and one of those was in Los Angeles against the Lakers). Five road games is the fewest of any team in the NBA, and more importantly, the 28 they have yet to play is the most. So there’s that. The fact that the team is 1-4 in those five games is not good, but it’s not a huge concern, given the quality of the opponents in those losses. Unfortunately, that logic doesn’t bode well for tonight, against the 14-5 Nuggets, who are 7-2 in the mile high altitude. There is some good news though. The Clippers should be well rested for this game, coming off two days of rest. There is also reason to believe that the team will be hitting peak form at some point in the near future — they looked great in wins over the Heat and Lakers two weeks ago, before Chris was injured his hamstring. In the two games since his return, Paul has not shot well. Hopefully after a couple of games and two more days of practice, he’s getting the rust off and the team will start firing on all cylinders again. They looked great for a quarter against Memphis on Thursday, but even that was more about hot shooting than super shard execution. So the team’s best basketball is still ahead of them, but hopefully not too far away.
A year ago, the Nuggets starters featured Kenyon Martin, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, and J.R. Smith was the sixth man. Now Anthony is in New York with the New York Knicks, Billups is with the Clippers, Smith is in China and Martin is waiting until February 15th to be a free agent after signing with and then leaving a Chinese team. The Nuggets were built around Anthony for years, and while the made the playoffs in each of the seven seasons he was in Denver, they also lost in the first round in six of those seasons.
Losing streak in Denver. The Clippers haven’t won in Denver in five full seasons. The last time they won a regular season game there was in January of 2006. They also won a playoff game a few months later. But it’s been one empty trip to the Mile High City after another since then.
Hot team. In their last game the Clippers played a Grizzlies team that had won seven of eight coming in. The Nuggets have won six straight and eight of nine. The Clippers just can’t get a break in terms of opponents. Oh, and their next three games after this are against Oklahoma City, at Utah and against these Nuggets again. Sheesh.
Twice in a week. The Clippers and Nuggets face each other twice this week, tonight and then again on Thursday. The Clippers have two games in the interim, the Nuggets just one.
Balance. About that balance: the Denver Nuggets have six players averaging double figures, with the highest being Gallinari at less than 18 a game. In fact, they have 8 players averaging between 8 and 18. Philadelphia has eight players between 9 and 16. Hat tip to citizen d2s4ui1 for catching my mistake there.
Lawson hurting. Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson, their second leading scorer, missed Friday’s win against Toronto with a sprained left ankle. Lawson told Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post that he plans to play tonight.
Billups in Denver. Chauncey Billups will be playing in Denver tonight for the first time since being traded away as part of the Carmelo Anthony deal. Billups is a Colorado native, who played his college ball in Boulder and had wanted to retire as a Nugget. He’ll no doubt receive a very warm welcome upon his return to Denver, where he played four seasons in two different stints. Billups was part of the Denver team that went to the Western Conference finals, they’re deepest playoff run since the mid 80s.
Matchups. It’s hard to figure how the matchups will go tonight. For one thing, you never quite know how George Karl will distribute minutes among the 10 or 11 guys in his rotation. Nene will begin the game defending Blake Griffin, which could give Blake trouble. Caron Butler will need to take the very talented Gallinari as seriously as he would Kobe Bryant. Afflalo is a big guard who will be a handful for Billups, But the key matchup will be Lawson versus Chris Paul. CP3 probably needs to dominate that matchup for the Clippers to win tonight.
Not counting the NBA All Star Game break, they’ll get one more such break the entire remainder of the season, and that one comes in April, between games 63 and 64. Great news for fans who don’t like to wait too long between games. Bad news for tired players and coaches who need time to prep for opponents.
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January 28th, 2012
The year was 2006 and Andre Iguodala threw up a bouncing behind the back reverse dunk during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend Dunk Contest. The dunk was amazing and Iguodala would soon be on the verge of superstardom as Allen Iverson was surely to either be traded soon or retire, as his last days as a Philadelphia 76er waned. However, that night Charles Barkley zeroed in on one particular instance during Iguodala’s dunk: Damon Jones’ bright red coat. Damon Jones? Who is Damon Jones? A career bench player, Jones was never known for anything other than some sharpshooting playing behind starting Point Guards. That is, until Charles Barkley called him out and desensitized NBA Slam Dunk Weekend audiences to the dunks themselves and began a shift in attention away from the dunks and towards the spectacle. Throughout the rest of the night, Barkley would constantly call for the camera to find Damon Jones and his red suit, saying “Please Y’all” repeatedly. In 2006, despite perhaps having the best set of dunks, Iggy would not win the contest. Rather, it was the midget, the 5-foot nothing Nate Robinson who would gradually win over audiences and judges alike by giving them something they hadn’t seen since perhaps Spud Webb in 1986. Granted, Webb and Nate Rob are fantastic dunkers and arguably some of the best athletes in the NBA’s history, but were their dunks more creative and better executed than the others?
In 2007, the Contest had perhaps its last great traditional showdown. Nate Rob returned to defend his title and newcomer Gerald Green came in with a monstrous array of dunks, using minimal props, which were allowed for the first time. Dwight Howard did place a sticker at the top of the backboard and Gerald Green did dunk over a box, but more or less, it was a great performance. Green eventually won and in the process, dunked over the top of Nate Robinson. In 2008, Dwight Howard busted out the Superman red cape and Damon Jones returned with a corduroy blazer and a mow-hawk. Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant loved it as well as Kenny “The Jet” Smith who lost his voice screaming his glee aloud, just like Barkley over the infamous red blazer of Damon Jones. Dwight’s Superman dunk, or, rather, non-dunk, since he never actually dunked the ball but rather threw it into the basket while falling far short of the rim, earned him a second straight 50-point dunk, the max score. Dwight’s tip-to-himself-off-the-backboard dunk was amazing and a game changer, but nobody remembers that dunk. They only remember the cape and the non-dunk.
Nate Robinson returned to glory in 2009 as he jumped over the top of Superman Dwight Howard wearing a green outfit, symbolizing his Krpto-Nate persona and again winning the Contest. The part everyone remembers from 2009? It was when Dwight Howard brought out a 12-foot rim, went into a phone booth, and changed into the Superman outfit. Dwight dunked at 12-feet and then made the crew try to raise the rim even higher, but to no avail. Kryto-Nate and Superman D-Howard again raised the bar for the Dunk Contest spectacle in outrageous form. At the end of the night, Lebron himself put his name into the Contest for 2010. However, it was a broken promise and 2010′s Contest would be won again by Nate Robinson and be called one of the worst Contests in memory. There was no grand spectacle that anyone remembers and Cleveland Cavaliers Lebron James did not enter the Contest, thus beginning his official eclipse of Jordan. Sad times for the emergent spectacle.
The 2011 Contest brought back the shock and awe spectacle that David Stern and the NBA seemingly longed for. JaVale McGee arguably made the most out of the props. First he dunked two balls on two different, separate rims. Then, to raise the bar, his own mother brought him a third ball and he dunked three balls at the same time on the same leap. “Air Congo” Serge Ibaka, a high flying big man like McGee and Orlando Magic Dwight Howard before him, dunked from the free throw line, but Dwight did that in 2010 as a big man, too. Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan did one of the most incredibly difficult dunks of all time with his “funk dunk,” but that, too, was not enough to even sniff the winner’s box. Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin dunked over a KIA car while a gospel choir sang, “I believe I can fly” in the background. The worst part was not Griffin’s over-the-top setup, but the dunk really was not all that great. He did dunk over the car, but it was over the hood, roughly equivalent to the Gerald Green 2007 over-the-box dunk. Immediately afterwards, Charles Barkley called the dunk out and said “it wasn’t the greatest dunk.” Later, it was revealed that some places had prematurely announced that Blake was the winner of the Contest before it even happened. While this cannot be proven, and is likely false, it raises the question: How will the NBA ever top that? Unless the Contest is moved out doors where more props can be used, it might be all downhill from here. As Barkley would say, “Please y’all…”… bring back Damon Jones and make Lebron James enter the Contest if it is going to survive without the use of gradually more infuriating props.
January 26th, 2012
Standing tall outside on the Star Plaza are statues of Los Angeles sports heroes Magic Johnson, Wayne Gretzky, Oscar De La Hoya, Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn, and, most recently, Jerry West, the literal “icon” for the National Basketball Association. Today five major sports teams call the Staples Center home, including the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers of the NBA, the WNBA L.A. Sparks, the NHL’s L.A. Kings, and now the NBA D-League’s L.A. D-Fenders. Previously, before the team’s dissolution, the AFL’s L.A. Avengers played at the Staples Center as well. The Center was constructed in just under a year, from 1998-1999, by the Staples corporation. There was some controversy regarding its founding, as the Los Angeles Times Magazine devoted an entire issue in October of 1999 to the opening of the giant new sports arena. The Times were discovered to be a “founding partner” of the Center in exchange for a hefty profit-share, free advertising, and other goodies. The question was raised: what is the relationship between struggling print-media outlets and advertising sources that lead to “profit-sharing”? 300 workers from the Times itself signed a petition in protest later that year, but little was ever done about it and the issue has nearly been forgotten.
Aside of its controversial founding, the Center has gone on to easily recover the $375 million dollar cost of construction. It has also been discovered that the L.A. Times was one of 12 profit sharing companies involved in the founding. In fact, the Center makes so much money per event that it has been quite a boon for the local community. Almost nightly it can house up to 19,000 fans with an average ticket price of well over $60. The Center recently got exposure in the indie flick Drive starring Ryan Gosling, where, during a heist of some kind, uses traffic from the aftermath of a Clipper game to disguise his getaway. With over 250 events year-round and more than 4 million visitors, the Staples Center is a fixture for the Greater L.A. area.
More recently, the Center has become part of its parent company’s, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), L.A. Live complex. Located in downtown Los Angeles, the Live complex is nearly 6 million square feet of Los Angeles entertainment, including bars, theaters, restaurants, ballrooms, museums, and residences. A big secret to the rest of the country, L.A. Live is currently constructing Farmers Field, an NFL stadium set to bring professional football back to L.A. Since the Staples Center is home to both of Los Angeles’ professional basketball teams, the Lakers and the Clippers, whenever the two teams clash for hometown dominance (a clash that has more than naught ended in a Lakers victory), L.A. erupts. Bringing a competitive NFL team back to L.A. would only serve to stir up even more fanfare for professional sporting events. Combined with the recent promised ascension of the L.A. Clippers as “Lob City” starring Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, Los Angeles’ prized sporting Center will feature prominently on the minds of many sports fans throughout the nation for years to come.