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.
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March 3rd, 2012
Game Preview: Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Staples Center March 04, 2012 12:30pm
On Sunday, March 4 2012, the Miami Heat are scheduled to travel to the Staples Center to take on the LA Lakers. Of course, the first thing that comes to the minds of fans is the fact that LeBron and Bryant will be playing against each other.
LA Lakers felt that way when they had the pleasure of meeting Kobe Bryant, and fans of the Miami Heat felt that way when the team acquired Dwayne Wade. Any time these two teams meet on the court, there is electricity in the air and sparks around the basket.
That leads to an argument that will go on for a long time: Kobe or LeBron? This past weekend, Kobe Bryant took a hit to the face from Dwayne Wade as he went in for a layup. Bryant somehow was able to finish the game and break Michael Jordan’s record for the all-time all-star scoring title. Unfortunately, because of Dwayne Wade, he broke his nose as well. The team doctors are being very careful with Bryant’s status, and have him listed as day-to-day. On top of sustaining nasal fractures, he suffered from a concussion as well. Bryant will undoubtedly be ready to play against the Miami Heat on Sunday. Will the other members of the Lakers be prepared to step up and teach Miami a lesson?
When the Lakers have Kobe Bryant in the lineup, they are automatically considered a dangerous team. Which is why the team should do everything they can to back the all-star up and protect him from hard fouls. Wade said that he apologized for the foul he had on Bryant, but it is still unacceptable to foul someone so hard in a game that means nothing. As a result of Wade’s thoughtless action, Bryant now has to go through a long process of check-ups and examinations in order to get back on the court. As the PTI crew said earlier today, it should be expected that the Lakers will not be welcoming to the Heat on Sunday.
How will the “big three” of the Miami Heat respond to the scrutiny that they are now under? Will Kobe or LeBron have the better game? Will aggressive personalities like Ron Artest retaliate against Wade? Is this the beginning of a more heated rivalry between the two teams? Perhaps this is the surge or spark the Lakers need in order to start winning.
Any game against Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and the Heat is meaningful for the Lakers. This one took on added significance after Wade mugged Kobe Bryant on a drive to the basket during the All-Star Game, causing some serious damage to his noggin.
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February 27th, 2012
Kobe Bryant got the scoring record, Kevin Durant the MVP, and the West got the win – barely.
Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant scored 36 points to lead the Western Conference All-Stars to a 152-149 victory against the Eastern Conference All-Stars in the 2012 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night, earning MVP honors in the process. The game proved to be about as dramatic as one without any lead-changes can be, as the East rallied from a deficit that reached as many as 20 points in the final period to draw to within one point twice in the final two minutes, only to come up short. LeBron James had 36 points, six rebounds, and seven assists for the East, while Miami Heat teammate Dwyane Wade posted a 24-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist triple-double.
James and Deron Williams helped lead the East’s comeback effort as each hit a pair of three-pointers in the final period. Williams ignited the Amway Center crowd by stealing a Durant inbounds pass under the basket and laying the ball in to bring the East to within a point. After forcing a LA Lakers Kobe Bryant miss, the East had a chance to claim its first lead of the game on a fast break, but Wade lost the ball out of bounds on what should have been an easy layup attempt.
And, in a twist that’ll be debated throughout the media in the days ahead, James turned the ball over with two seconds left and his team trailing by two points. Williams’ go-ahead three-point try missed the mark, but New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony made an impressive back-tap to keep the ball alive for the East. James recovered the ball, but fumbled it away before the East could call timeout or get anything going. It was the 19th turnover of the night for the host conference, which was one of the factors that contributed to its defeat: the West scored 30 points off the East’s turnovers.
The game got off to a horrid start, with the East somehow managing to shoot 43.3 percent in the first period of an All-Star Game. The silliness progressed from there, as one might expect, given the low-intensity, low-stakes nature of the event. The West’s 88 first-half points set a new record for All-Star scoring in a half, which is as good an indicator of the quality of play through the first 24 minutes as any.
But in the third quarter, the game turned and all the players on both sides seemed to wake up. James hit three three-pointers in the first three minutes after halftime, helping the East cut the West’s lead from 21 to 12. Wade’s hard foul of a driving Bryant at the 8:48 mark–it drew blood! in an All-Star Game!–signaled the East meant business, and would not be content to let the West continue to pile up the points. Bryant declined to address the media after the game due to a headache he suffered on that foul.
Durant had plenty of help in leading the West to its second consecutive victory. Bryant scored 27, though he shot just 4-of-11 after the first period, while Russell Westbrook scored 21 points in 28 minutes off the bench, giving the East fits with his speed and leaping ability. Kevin Love scored eight of his quiet 17 points in the fourth quarter to help the West hold off the East.
In all, the players rewarded the City of Orlando with an All-Star Game for the ages, despite the low-energy first half. Several records fell: Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the career All-Star scoring list; the East made 14 three-pointers; the teams combined for 301 points; Wade tallied the third triple-double in All-Star history; and Durant and James nearly broke Wilt Chamberlain’s record for single-game All-Star scoring (42 points).
February 23rd, 2012
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
NBA / Western Conference
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Thursday, February 23rd, 2012. 9:30 PM EST
Analysis of the Los Angeles Lakers
Following a difficult stretch where PF Pau Gasol was slumping and the Lakers looked like they might be in a tough situation, star SG Kobe Bryant called a players-only meeting to correct the issues the Lakers were facing and set the tone for the rest of the season. The 20-13 squad listened and won their next two games, including a win on the road over the defending champion Mavericks. The Lakers, perhaps now the hottest team in the land, will have a tough test on the road in OKC however.
Analysis of the Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are what the NBA is all about. Through keen drafting (getting the entire core of their team during the 2007, 2008, and 2009 drafts), and other smart roster moves the Thunder have built a championship-caliber team from the ground up and with little trade help. They’re a small-market team with team-first players (including two time scoring champion SF Kevin Durant) and a win-or-go-home philosophy. There is little doubt that this team, with the NBA’s best record at 26-7, will be a tough team to knock out in May and will at least be difficult to handle during the 2nd half of the year.
Los Angeles Lakers: C Andrew Bynum
The 24-year-old sensation is a first-time All-Star this year and probably the 2nd best center in the league (behind Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic). He has played out of his mind so far in 2012, but will have a difficult test against the stingy defense of centers Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. A night where he can put up his normal numbers against those two is definitely needed for the Lakers to win away from home.
Oklahoma City Thunder: PG Russell Westbrook
Westbrook is the unsung hero of the Thunder. Just 23, Westbrook is a 2-time All-Star and one of the top-5 point guards in the league. He’s often overshadowed by Durant though and is given a lot of flak from fans for losses when, frankly, he doesn’t deserve it. The star is averaging 23 points and a game where he puts up somewhere around 30 against a PG-weak Lakers squad would almost guarantee a Thunder victory.
The Lakers are a decent shot-blocking team (with the combo of Bynum and Gasol you’d expect nothing less), but the Thunder are the best in the country. Averaging a ludicrous 8 blocks each night, the Thunder count on Ibaka to get the majority of these rejections. The Lakers only average 5 blocks, and that 3-block differential could mean a 6-9 point difference in the game favoring the Thunder. With two elite teams like this, those points could mean the game.
The Lakers, while hot, haven’t yet gone up against the Thunder in Oklahoma City yet. There the Thunder have only lost 1 game and the crowd will be there to make sure they don’t make it 2. This matchup is difficult to analyze in that both teams are playing extremely well and both teams are very similar. They have their respective superstars as well as their invaluable role players and the 1 supporting All-Star (Westbrook and Gasol respectively). Ultimately I think this is a coin flip, and I’ll give the edge to the home team.
Prediction = Oklahoma City Thunder: 99 – Los Angeles Lakers: 97
The Lakers return home on February 29th to the Staples Center to face the Minnesota Timberwolves. You can purchase Lakers Vs Timberwolves Tickets now.
February 21st, 2012
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks
NBA / Western Conference
American Airlines Center, Dallas TX
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012. 9:30 PM EST
Analysis of the Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers, currently 19-13 and trailing the Clippers in their division, were a tough team to read in the first half of the season. They started out well, winning 9 of their first 13, before dropping 4 of their next 5. The emergence of C Andrew Bynum has been offset in many respects by the slumping play of PF Pau Gasol. Star SG Kobe Bryant helped set up a players-only meeting this past Monday with the intention of making the 2nd half of the season a much more consistent (and better) effort than the 1st half, and they showed what they were capable of with a convincing win over the Trailblazers later that night.
Analysis of the Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks are a hot team right now, winning 7 of their last 8 with the only loss at an even hotter Knicks team. During that time they’ve taken down the Clippers, 76ers, and Celtics and, following a questionable start to the season, have established themselves as one of the elite squads out West. The Mavs (21-12, second in their division behind the Spurs) have a tough 2nd half of the season to look forward to however and must keep their winning ways going if they want a favorable seed in the playoffs. We stock Dallas Mavericks Tickets for all American Airlines Center games.
Los Angeles Lakers: PF Pau Gasol
The Lakers live and die by Kobe Bryant each night, but without a steady effort from Gasol and Bynum they’d be on the outside looking in playoffs-wise. Gasol will have an especially important game here as he’ll be matched up against Dallas’s star PF Dirk Nowitski. Gasol is averaging a double-double now with 17 points and 11 boards each night, and he’ll have to both match those numbers as well as limit Dirk’s if the Lakers are going to win.
Dallas Mavericks: SG Jason Terry
Terry is a fantastic scorer and is a threat every night to put up 20 or more points if left unguarded. When he’s on the floor he’ll have to try and slow down Kobe, something that is a whole lot easier said than done. A couple big 3-pointers from Terry and a couple big defensive stops on Kobe will be crucial for the Mavs to win on Wednesday.
The Lakers two big men, Gasol and Bynum, anchor the best rebounding team in the league (averaging almost 46 rebounds every night). While the Mavericks are also a decent rebounding squad (pulling down 43, 7th in the league), the Lakers will try and crash the boards as much as they can knowing it’s one of the few areas where the have an advantage. If the Mavs can limit the Lakers’ rebounds they’ll easily secure a win at home.
Kobe Bryant created a few shockwaves this past weekend with some remarks about the rumors the Lakers were considering trading Bynum away. While controversial they also let the aforementioned slumping Gasol know that Bryant had his back, and their play on Monday showed that the Lakers of the past few seasons might be emerging again. While the Mavericks on the road will be an extremely tough test for the Lakers, I think they win it with their newfound team confidence.
Prediction = Los Angeles Lakers: 92 – Dallas Mavericks: 86
The Lakers will play the Mavericks at the Los Angeles Staples Center on April 15th, you can purchase Lakers Vs Mavericks Tickets for that game now.
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.
We stock Clippers Vs Nuggets Tickets for all games at the Staples Center and Pepsi Center.
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.
January 17th, 2012
The Lakers lost out on the Chris Paul sweepstakes due to David Stern’s infamous veto. However, the Lakers are a prime player in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. As a matter of fact, ESPN’ s Ric Bucher has attributed Kobe’s recent barrage of 40 point games as a recruiting measure to convince Dwight Howard that he hasn’t lost his step. However, some questions remain: What will the Laker’s identity be under Mike Brown? Furthermore, can they compensate for the losses of Shannon Brown to free agency and Lamar Odom via trade?
Shannon Brown provided instant offense and depth in the Laker’s backcourt over the past few years. Considering that he did not see the floor when he was originally under Mike Brown in Cleveland,it probably made his decision to seek refuge elsewhere that much easier. Veteran point guard and NBA union representative Derek Fisher continue to share the backcourt with Kobe. Steve Blake is currently on the shelf for 3-4 weeks with an injury to his ribs. Thus, rookie Darius Morris will have a chance to earn his stripe as a fixture in the Lakers backcourt. As it stands, the Lakers have more questions than answers at the PG position.
The loss of Lamar Odom will be far more difficult for the Lakers to replace. Lamar Odom brought size, versatility and weak-side rebounding and could play both the small and power-forward position. There is some upside to the versatility of Josh Mcroberts. However, Jason Kapono and Troy Murphy certainly will not fill that void.
There is a shortage of World Peace. Metta World Peace, that is. Up to this point, Ron Artest has averaged less than 6 points and 2 rebounds. The former Dancing in the Stars contestant needs a pep talk from Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli.
The major strength of this team continues to be the imposing frontcourt duo of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Of course, one has to wonder about the morale and the motivation of Andrew Bynum with the ongoing trade rumors concerning Dwight Howard. Dwight Howard is facing those same questions in Orlando. Considering that Andrew Bynum is injury-prone and that Pau Gasol isn’t getting any younger, I would trade Dwight Howard for both Bynum and Gasol. After all, one rarely hears Dwight Howard’s name on the injured list.
Finally, there’s head coach Mike Brown. Mike Brown is a great defensive mind, but is no offensive genius. In Cleveland, he was not able to set up a potent offensive system around Lebron James. To his defense, he was not given much help by Cavs GM Danny Ferry and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. One can easily have doubts that the Lakers offense will operate with the same efficiency under his tutelage then it did under the Zen-Master.
The common denominator is Kobe Bryant. As long as he continues to play at a high-level and provides the leadership on and off the court, the Lakers will always be considered a contender. There is no question about that.
But there are many questions: The issues at the PG position, the motivation of Bynum, new pieces such as Kapono, Murphy, Mcroberts and new head coach Mike Brown and his effectiveness on the offensive end. I can safely assume he’ll shore up the Lakers D.
Of course, the biggest question is this.
Will Superman land in LA?
December 22nd, 2011
Blake Griffin scored nine of his 30 points in the final 5:18, and the Los Angeles Clippers wrapped up their two-game preseason sweep of the Lakers with a 108-103 victory on Wednesday night.
Kobe Bryant did not dress for the Lakers because of a torn ligament in his right wrist. A MRI revealed the injury, which occurred Monday night when he was sent crashing to the floor by Clippers center DeAndre Jordan on a layup early in the third quarter of a 114-95 loss.
Caron Butler and reserve guard Mo Williams each scored 16 points, and Jordan added 14 for the Clippers, who open their season Christmas night at Golden State. Chris Paul finished with 10 assists and seven points.
Andrew Bynum had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who also begin their schedule on Sunday against Chicago. Reserve Steve Blake had 20 points against his former team.
Bryant is wearing a soft cast on his shooting wrist, and his status for the season opener is up in the air. One thing is certain: The Lakers will start the regular season without Bynum, who had 41 points and 23 rebounds in the two preseason games.
Bynum was suspended without pay for the first five games because of a flagrant foul against Dallas’ J.J. Barea in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Derek Fisher had seven points and eight assists in 24 minutes.
The Clippers, who trailed by as many as 11 points, didn’t take their first lead until Jordan converted an alley-oop pass from Paul on a fast break to put them ahead 59-58 with 8:54 left in the third quarter. By game’s end, they had converted 20 Lakers turnovers into 30 points – while committing only six turnovers themselves.
The Clippers were leading 64-62 when Griffin was shoved to the floor from behind by former Clipper Matt Barnes as he tried to receive a pass from Paul with his back to the basket.
Barnes was assessed a flagrant foul, and the Clippers followed with an 11-0 run that extended their lead to 74-62 with 3:12 minutes left in the third.
The Lakers trailed by 13 early in the fourth before Troy Murphy capped a 14-4 run with a 3-pointer that sliced the margin to 90-87 with 6:07 to play.
But Griffin responded with nine points in a 1:44 span to help put the game out of reach.
With the regular season reduced to 66 games, Staples Center‘s co-tenants will face each other three times instead of the usual four.