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Dwight Howard and Lakers seem ready for playoff challenge

Dwight Howard

Is Dwight Howard ready to compete for a championship?

Despite the loss to the Phoenix Suns, there’s barely a single Lakers fan that can be disappointed by the team’s performance turnaround after the NBA All-Star break. Apart from Kobe, who has been most consistent player of the team throughout this season, Dwight Howard has also managed to improve his game on both ends of the floor. He has been a huge factor that allowed the LA Lakers to save this season.

It’s no secret that both the fans and the team’s officials in the City of Angels were disappointed by the performance of D-12 during the first half of the season. You can blame his adjustment period or the fact that he was coming off a severe back injury. One thing is for sure: Howard was not the dominant player in the block the Lakers expected him to be.

However, he drastically changed his pace both on the defensive end and of offense. Especially on defense, the impact of the three-time Defensive Player of the Year has been big no matter the opponent. When he is not denying shots he is most likely to change them and that’s of course if the opponents find the courage to even attack the Lakers’ paint. This became more noticeable due to the constant and long lasting injuries of his teammate big man, Pau Gasol. D-12 had to step up and take more responsibilities on both ends of the court.
Offensively, Howard has also improved his performance. He is driving stronger to the basket after the pick-and-rolls and he is more efficient when he catches the ball close to the hoop. During the last 10 games, Howard is averaging 17.4 Points per Game on 48% shooting from the field and meantime grabbing a bit over 15 rebounds. He also has almost 3 blocks per game.

Howard’s performance boost comes along with a general improvement to the Lakers as a whole. LA is now showing that the original purpose of this team was to be successful in the post-season. Of course the Lakers didn’t target to finish 8th in the West when the season started. Nevertheless, when Steve Nash and Howard took their talents to LA to join Kobe and Gasol, there was just to one goal, to win another Championship. This team is in a win-now situation. This was the case even at the very beginning of the season and this continues to be their focus. Judging from the aging roster, one could say that this might actually be the last chance for this team to change a ring.

The Lakers have responded well to their first task, to pick up the pace, find ways to win and enter the Playoffs. Nothing’s 100% certain yet, but the fans can be optimistic. The next challenge for them is to put their names as an eligible Championship Contender. In a way they have achieved that, too. They went from a team scratched off the Championship puzzle, to a strong presence in the West. They will now have to fulfill the fans’ expectations.

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Vicente Fernández Los Angeles Concert Discount

Vicente Fernández Los Angeles Concert Discount

Vicente Fernández Los Angeles Concert Discount

Get $25.00 OFF any order of two or more BV “Best Value” tickets to see Grammy winner, Vicente Fernandez in Los Angeles.

Vicente Fernández is playing this month which might be the last time he preforms in Los Angeles ever.

USE CODE: “Chente25″ at checkout

Vicente Fernandez Los Staples Center Tickets.

Vicente Fernandez Gibson Amphitheatre Tickets.

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Barry’s Tickets Discount Codes for 2013 Save now on Tickets

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Dwight Howard finally reminds of Superman of old

Dwight Howard

Is Dwight Howard ready to compete for a championship?

It’s been almost seven months since the blockbuster trade that brought Dwight Howard to LA, to join forces with Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. No one can say that this trade was worked out well for the Lakers up to now. However, during the last weeks the team has really picked up its performance and Howard is no exception. He finally shows what a dominant player he can be, a beast down the block.

In recent win of the Lakers over Howard’s former team, the Orlando Magic, he scored 39 points and also grabbed 16 and denied 3 shots. An amazing stat he had was his 39 free-throw attempts, of which he managed to get 25 to go in. This tied the NBA record for most free-throw attempts in a game. Since the start of the season, lots of teams have followed a weird –yet successful- tactics against the 6’11” center. They intentionally fouled him when the Lakers had possession, even if Howard didn’t have the ball and tried to score a basket. That led him to missed free-throws.Nevertheless, Howard proved during the last game that he can handle such situation and he punished the Magic.

Possibly the most essential fact is that Howard is finally healthy. He entered the season not at his full strength, after passing through a serious back problem that could be proved to be even more severe. The surgery he underwent last spring and his time off the courts made him lose his pace.

After the All-Star break, D-12 started showing some urgency, as the rest of the team did. In fact it was time they all did. His numbers show the truth, 17.6 points per game, almost 15 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. It’s like he is a different player and it’s way more than just stats.

With the constant and long-lasting injuries of Pau Gasol, he had to step up and take more responsibilities, both offensively and on defense. He now seems to have accepted his role as a defensive wall in the paint and as top option on the offensive end, together with Kobe. The Lakers will definitely need him at his best as they progress through their schedule. Especially in the Playoffs, Howard can be an ace hidden in the sleeve for them. There is arguably no player currently in the NBA that can defend him in the post on a consistent basis. If he catches the ball close to the basket, it’s really possible that he’ll score or get fouled, or both. That’s the Dwight Howard the league got to know, during his first years in Orlando and that’s who the Lakers’ fans expected to see after the trade.

The number one priority now should be health for Howard. As he stated, he feels great with his body and admitted he has started finding his rhythm. Coach Mike D’Antoniagreed, saying that he sees the improvement in his condition and performance day by day. At last, as Dwight is the Superman we expected him to be.

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Jerry Buss should get a statue at STAPLES Center

Jerry Buss Staples Center Statue

Lakers Owner Jerry Buss should get a statue at Staples Center

So it has been two weeks since Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away and still there has been little mention of him getting the next statue at the Los Angeles Staples Center. Jerry Bus was eighty when he died and he left behind him a remarkable life story. He was such a brilliant mind that he finished his college degree in just over two years; nearly half the time. Jerry Bus first bought the Los Angeles Lakers and the L.A. Kings in 1979. What transpired next were an incredible run of the Lakers in the 1980’s that led to ten NBA Championship wins. Jerry Buss was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on April 5, 2010. Amongst the Los Angeles Lakers Jerry Bus took over the Los Angeles Women’s NBA Team, the Los Angeles Sparks. His ingenuity in sports established some of the strongest franchises in Los Angeles. He was a brilliant businessman even before his entry into sports. Jerry Bus had a Masters in Science and a P.H.D. in Chemistry by the time he was twenty-four. He worked for the Bureau of Mines as a chemist and then for the aerospace industry. He event taught at USC in the chemistry department. Following his teaching Jerry Bus made significant money in real estate before investing that his sports endeavors. If any non-athlete icon in sports deserves a statue at the Los Angeles Staples Center, it would be Jerry Bus. He fathered six children, all of whom worked for the Lakers at one point or another. He was fighting cancer since 2012 and passed away of kidney failure on February 18, 2013. This brilliant sports catalyst and philanthropist should definitely be getting his own statue at the Staples Center. He practically founded it! Seeing as how L.A.’s two biggest teams play there because of the decisions of Jerry Buss and he helped downtown Los Angles become what it is, Jerry Buss should have the next Staples Center Statue dedicated to him!

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Kevin Garnett reportedly turned down the approach from Chris Paul and the LA Clippers

It would have been a blockbuster deal that could have put the Los Angeles Clippers in an immediate Championship position. Kevin Garnett’s movement from the Boston Celtics to the Los Angeles Clippers would have shaken up the entire league and would have changed the balances between the best teams. The thing is that this deal never happened.

KG expressed his loyalty to the Celtics numerous times. He stated that he lives green and that he will die green. There could have been no way the Clippers made this huge acquisition, or was there a chance?

According to many reports, Clippers’ superstar Chris Paul made a strong push for this trade to happen. He spoke to Garnett prior to the trade deadline and urged him to join forces with him and Blake Griffin at Los Angeles. His addition to the team would mean that the Clippers would have one of the best combinations of point-guard and frontcourt in the league. KG’s great mid and long range shot would set Griffin free and open lanes for his game close to the basket and the penetrations of several of his teammates. The Big Ticket has a great presence as a mental leader and would help lifting the entire team during crunch time and at crucial games against difficult opponents duringthe Playoffs. However, Garnett chose to remain with the Celtics and his loyalty means a lot to his team and all the fans at Boston, who saw their team been hit with serious injuries and player losses. Of course the no-trade clause that Garnett has on his contract played a huge role during this trade talk. He justified long before the trade deadline that the only case he would even think departing from Boston would be if Paul Pierce also left the team. Danny Ainge never made it happen.

The fact is that many of the teams that sit on the top seedsboth in the West and in the East were afraid of this deal to happen. Having three superstars in a roster with so many great role players and one of the best second units in the league would have made the Clippers really tough to take down. We might never really know how hard did the Celtics management team pushed for this trade and if Garnett was about to use his no-trade clause. However, if Ainge was really determined to start the rebuilding processin Boston, he would have sent also Paul Pierce to another team – Brooklyn was one of the possible destinations- and together with the exchanges for KG, the Celtics would have started forming a brand new team with potential.

Both teams now will have to look forward and continue fighting for a good run with their current roster. The Celtics are happy to have Garnett on their roster and the Clippers can be confident that with their current formation they are able to make this season the best of their franchise history.

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Chris Paul your 2013 All Star Game MVP

Chris Paul LA Clippers

Chris Paul LA Clippers

It was another great experience for the spectators in Houston and all the fans watching a home. The 2013 All Star game has now come to an end and left the best memories behind. The Western All Stars shined during the game, with Durant and Chris Paul leading the way to a 138-143 win. The Oklahoma Thunder forward became the first player in history to score 30 points or more in three consecutive NBA All-Star games and Chris Paul, with 20 points and 15 assists won the MVP award. It was another great success for the superstar Clipper who is having one of the best seasons in his career and has put his name a strong candidate for the regular season MVP award.

The weekend started greatly with rising stars challenge when we saw a game that had nothing to be jealous of the All Star game. The fans had the chance to enjoy some great moments with devastating dunks and great performances from the future NBA stars. Terrence Ross won the Slam Dunk contest with some acrobatic moves and Kyrie Irving was named this year’s 3-point Champion.

For once again, this All-Star game it was a time for celebrations, having fun and enjoying basketball. It was also the time to see weird things happen, like Howard making threes and LeBron getting rejected twice by Kobe Bryant. We also saw some great dunks and alley hoops, most times uncontested because after all, it’s the All Star game. For the Eastern All-Stars, Carmelo Anthony finished with 26 points and Dwyane Wade with 21. LeBron had 19 but shot just 7-18 from the field, after shooting an almost unreal over 60% for his last 6 games before the game.

As usual, a ton of celebrities added more shine to the game. Chris Tucker, Drake, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and Jay-Z together with his wife and singer Beyoncé were amongst the spectators. Alicia Keys, Ne-Yo and John Legend all performed during the game to make the atmosphere even more enjoying for all the people watching. After the game’s first quarter former Houston star and 7 footer 6 center Yao Ming was honored.
The All Star break always gives a chance for relaxation and fun for the players and coaching staff. However, with the second half of the season started, the teams now will have to regroup and focus on their goals, because things tend to get tougher and more serious as we approach the playoffs.

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Chris Michaels I live in Los Angeles, CA and work as an Chief Wisdom Officer
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