The Lakers have re-upped Bryant so it’s pointless to debate the merits of the deal. The club may have over-paid for the player that Bryant is at this point in his career, but you have to admire their interest in rewarding their superstar for what he’s done for the franchise. In a difficult Western Conference it’s difficult to see the Lakers competing for one of the final playoff spots. Los Angeles currently sits at 12th in the west, in a solid group of teams that includes Denver, Minnesota, New Orleans and Memphis. The Dallas and Phoenix greatly improved the already competitive west has become even tougher. With the Lakers playoff chances dim does it make sense to sit Bryant the entire regular season?Actually getting the famously competitive Bryant to sit out the season is a challenge in itself, but the idea of sitting Bryant does make some sense. Without Bryant the Lakers were surprisingly competitive due to the roster decisions they made in the offseason. An entire year off would give Bryant the ability to truly recover, both from the knee injury and the Achilles. There is no indication that the two injuries are related but Bryant has now suffered two major injuries on the same leg in the past eight months. A fully recovered Bryant, even if he’s diminished athletically, will allow the Lakers to achieve the max value out of his two-year extension. During the remainder of the regular season the club can take a long look at some of the younger players (Wes Johnson, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar) that have helped ignite them this season. The combination of a potential lottery big and any value the club can get for Pau Gasol in a potential trade will give the Lakers even more versatility next season.
The Lakers fan base can tolerate a subpar season to build for the future. A fully recovered Bryant and a solid draft pick can do wonders for the franchise as they move into next season. Meanwhile let’s sit back and enjoy this year’s team, who though far less talented are a lot more entertaining than last year’s Dwight Howard centered club. By:Chris Michaels.
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The first game for Portland in 2014 comes on January 2 against the Charlotte Bobcats. The Blazers should start the New Year with a victory. The Philadelphia 76ers are their next opponent, again at home.
After a game on the road against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, January 7, the Blazers return at home to play three straight at the Moda Center. They start on January 8 in a game against the Orlando Magic, three days later they host the Boston Celtics and then they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Portland then goes on a four-game road trip, which starts on Friday, January 17 at San Antonio. A day later they meet the Dallas Mavericks and on January 20 they play against the Houston Rockets. The road trip ends with a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Tuesday, January 21.
Then The Blazers host the Denver Nuggets and the Minnesota Timberwolves, before playing against the Golden State Warriors on the road, on January 26.
Memphis and Toronto will be visiting Portland to play against the Blazers. Neither of those two opponents should be underestimated, despite their slow start in the season.Another four-game road trip is next for the Blazers, with the first game being scheduled for February 3 against the Washington Wizards. On February 5 the Blazers play against the New York Knicks in the Madison Square Garden. The Indiana Pacers are their next opponent, in what will be a really tough and interesting game. The Pacers and the Blazers are arguably the two hottest teams this season. The four-game road trip ends in Minnesota on February 8.
The Blazers then play two difficult games, the first one on February 11 against the Thunder and one day later against the Clippers. Then they play three straight at home, versus the Spurs, the Utah Jazz and the Wolves.
On February 25 the Blazers travel to Denver to play against the Nuggets again and then they return at home to play four straight at the Moda Center. The Brooklyn Nets, the Nuggets, the Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks will be their opponents.
A five-game road trip then is scheduled for the Blazers. It starts with a game against the Dallas Mavericks on March 7. Houston, Memphis and San Antonio are the next stops for Portland before their road-trip ends on March 14 in New Orleans.
On Sunday, March 16, the Golden State Warriors come to Portland to take on the Blazers. Then the Blazers host the Milwaukee Bucks and the Washington Wizards.
Another five-game road trip follows, with Charlotte being the first stop. Miami, Orlando, Atlanta and Chicago follow. The last game for March comes on Sunday, March 30 against the Grizzlies at the Moda Center.The Blazers will face the Lakers on April 1, then they will host the Suns, the Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings. Utah is their next stop before the team returns to Portland to host the last two games of the regular season, against the Warriors on April 13 and against the Clips on April 16.
My prediction is the Trail Blazers are for real and will end up winning the Western Conference when all is said and done! Now beating the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals is a whole different ball of wax.By:Chris Michaels.
Here’s a look at what to expect when Miami visits the Lakers on Christmas Day:
Expect to pay an arm and leg for Lakers Vs Heat Tickets on Christmas Day. Prices for Lakers Tickets on Christmas Day against the World Champion Miami Heat can run roughly two and a half times the average game. A 300 level “get in the door” ticket usually will cost about $90 per ticket but for the Lakers Vs Heat they can run $215 per ticket. A 200 level for the Lakers Vs 76ers is about $168 per ticket but the same section (207) for the Heat is about $566.00 per ticket. Dead Center section 111 row B for an average game can run $625.00 per ticket and for the Lakers Vs Heat it is about $1750-$2000 per ticket. If prices are to steep and after your done opening presents you can always go down to the Staples Center to checkout LA Live and the crowd around the Venue then hop into our office next to the Staples Center and see if there is last minute tickets available at a cheaper price.Lebron James is really, really, really good: With Lebron James ascending to levels that few have reached, fellow stars Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh have taken a back seat to the Heat superstar. James is shooting just under 60% and 41% from behind the three point line. Under the leadership of Erik Spoelstra, James has refined his game to maximum efficiency, shooting from select spots on the floor, while maximizing his unique passing skills and vision. Considering how well he’s played the last two seasons it’s hard to fathom that James continues to get better as a player. Dywane Wade, who nearly singlehandedly won an NBA title in 2005, has dealt with chronic knee pain over the past three seasons and has to play in spurts, typically missing back-to-back games and playing fewer minutes this season. Bosh has carved out a secondary role that emphasizes his unique ability to extend the floor as a shooting big man, helping make the Heat ball-movement offense work.
The Lakers are a lot more fun to watch: Last year’s debacle, where the Lakers barely made the playoffs after being touted as a title contender coming into the season, was a failure on multiple fronts. Beyond the underachievement of the team was the fact that Los Angeles just wasn’t fun to watch. The Lakers offense was stagnant and plodding due to their lack of youth and multiple players (like Gasol) playing out of position. This year’s club may not be as talented but they’re a lot younger and a lot more fun to watch. Mitch Kupchak has done a good job infusing life into the lineup on a limited budget.
Miami has built a solid core: General Manager Pat Riley has smartly built a veteran core around James, Wade and Bosh through smart moves and veterans taking reduced contracts. Shane Battier is versatile defender often found guarding power forwards while providing grit on the boards and hitting the open three point shot. Ray Allen, perhaps the greatest three point shooter in league history, hit one of the biggest clutch shots in league history last season to send game six of the NBA finals to overtime. The ageless Allen helps extend the floor as one of eight legitimate Heat three-point shooting threats. The Heat shoots just under 39% as a team from behind the three point line.
The surprising evolution of Michael Beasley: Perhaps the most interesting Heat acquisition is Michael Beasley, the former second overall pick who fizzled out in Minnesota and Phoenix. Beasley is a talented scorer who may have found a home during his second stint with Miami. He has an impressive PER of 22.1 while averaging 11.4 points per game in just 17 minutes played. Beasley is shooting a lights out 55% from the field and 50% from behind the three point line.
Kobe the Distributor: During his re-insertion into the lineup Bryant has often taken a secondary role, more of a classical “point-forward”, looking to make the extra pass. As he gets comfortable athletically his shot volume should increase and he should once again be the go-to guy down the stretch. Bryant hasn’t quite found the rhythm yet, but his minutes and offensive contribution is increasing.Any Kobe Bryant and Lebron James matchup is a big deal with this year’s game being perhaps more anticipated than in years past. The STAPLES Center crowd and the national television audience should eagerly tune in to see how Bryant, coming off a potentially career ending injury, can match up with the reigning champions. Expect a great deal of energy from the Lakers, especially from their athletic youngsters like Wesley Johnson and Nick Young. With Pau Gasol the Lakers will have an advantage over the smallish Heat interior and will need to exploit the big Spaniard’s advantage in the post to offset the difficult Heat “small-ball” attack. Look for a spirited effort from the Lakers, especially Bryant, as they play in front of a national television audience. By:Chris Michaels
1. The Return of Kobe Bryant: A week ago the Lakers locked up there superstar for two more years giving Lakers fans peace of mind that one of the franchises greatest players will play his entire career in Los Angeles. The two year contract extension will ensure the presence of Bryant as the Lakers complete this transition period. How effective Bryant will be on the court is still to be determined, but his legendary work ethic and intensity should have a positive effect on this year’s Lakers team. Young players such as Nick Young and Wesley Johnson should benefit from the return of Bryant, both from the presence of Bryant on the court and the example he sets in going about his business. Most importantly the presence of Bryant will give the Lakers a deadly option at the end of games. Los Angeles has been in most every game they’ve played of late but have lost some close due to fourth quarter fades. The presence of Bryant should give the Lakers the fourth quarter edge he’s provided throughout his legendary career.
2. They are fun to watch: By all accounts last season’s Lakers team simply wasn’t enjoyable to watch. With nearly a full season and an offseason to instill his system the Mike D’Antoni style is taking shape. General Manager Mitch Kupchak has done a fine job injecting life into the roster with limited resources. This year’s club is one of the more entertaining teams in the Western Conference. Nick Young gives them instant offense off the bench and has thrived in D’Antoni’s system. Former fourth overall pick Wesley Johnson is showing signs of the talent that made him such a high draft pick and provided major energy and athleticism on both ends of the court. Jordan Farmar is out for a month due to injury, but prior to getting hurt gave the Lakers excellent minutes off the bench.
3. Pau Gasol is Free: Playing Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard on the floor last season just didn’t work. The presence of Howard often made Gasol play in spots on the floor where he just wasn’t as effective or confident. With Howard in Houston, Gasol is no longer playing out of position and the 33-year-old veteran is back in the post and after a slow start is picking up his play. The absence of Howard has also allowed Jordan Hill to flourish. The former first round draft pick is playing the best basketball of his career and doing many of the things the Lakers envisioned from Howard. Hill’s constant hustle and grittiness has given the Lakers a positive companion to Gasol. The Lakers will get Chris Kaman back from injury this week, adding another big body and veteran post player back into the rotation. The trio of Gasol, Hill and Kaman gives the Lakers solid depth at a position where many of the contenders are lacking.
4. Mike D’Antoni: After much criticism last season the Lakers head coach has had a year to institute his system and the Lakers are showing very positive signs. As his time in Phoenix demonstrated D’Antoni often does his best job when expectations are low, as they were heading into this season. Whether the D’Antoni system can ever produce a title is debatable, but there’s no question that it is effective at times when he has the right mix of players. The potential X factor for Los Angeles is when and if Steve Nash can be effective again. Nash became an MVP in Phoenix under D’Antoni and he’s uniquely qualified to run the system. Steve Blake has done a great job in Nash’s absence but the potential return of their veteran point guard can be a huge factor in their ability to compete in the Western Conference as the season moves forward.
Of course the big criticism of any D’Antoni team is their inability to play defense. The Lakers are generally more athletic across the board this season but are still struggling defensively, ranked 27th in the league in points allowed. Granted their free-wheeling style contributes to defensive struggles but they’ll need to shore up the defensive unit as they get into the heart of the playoff race. Bryant, once a great defender, has struggled defensively in recent years and will likely struggle more due to the fact he’s coming off of injury.
5. They’ll be fresh down the stretch: The Lakers legitimately go eleven deep on their roster with Gasol leading the Lakers in minutes per game at just over 30. Los Angeles may not have a starting unit that can contend with Portland, the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs but their strong depth will benefit them greatly in a long and arduous NBA season. This depth will also allow the Lakers to slowly work in Kobe Bryant when he returns, as well as Steve Nash if and when he finally comes back from his latest time off due to injury. As the season turns into the final third the Lakers, specifically their veteran players, should have legs that are fresher than many of the teams they’ll be competing against. Add in D’Antoni’s aggressive style and the Lakers should have many a fourth quarter edge on teams toward the end of the season. The increased minutes from the bench players should also build the confidence and comfort of many of the young players. As the Lakers near playoff time their rotation will surely tighten up, but the head coach will have a deep potential bench to rely on moving forward.
The West Elite: (San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors)
The veteran San Antonio Spurs picked up where they left off and are off to a fast start to begin the season. They’re well coached, experienced and deep and should contend for the top record in the NBA all season. If Tim Duncan and Tony Parker can stay healthy the Spurs are the favorites for a return trip to the finals. The Oklahoma City Thunder welcomed back Russell Westbrook early and their star point guard seems to be the same explosive player he was before his meniscus tear. The Thunder is 5-1 on the season with their lone loss versus the Minnesota Timberwolves. The presence of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook guarantees 55 to 60 wins—how that translates into the postseason is the big question. The Thunder still misses that extra scorer that James Harden once provided. The Los Angeles Clippers are still adjusting to the coaching style of Doc Rivers, but have a deep lineup and bench and an elite point guard in Chris Paul.
The Next in Line: (Minnesota, Memphis, Dallas, Houston)
The Minnesota Timberwolves are finally healthy and displaying the potential that many predicted when Ricky Rubio arrived in the United States. In Rubio, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic the Wolves have one of the best trios in basketball and an elite Head Coach in Rick Adelman. The Wolves acquisition of Kevin Martin, who thrived under Adelman in Sacramento, has given the club the strong perimeter shooting two guard they missed. Look for the Wolves to challenge the 50 win mark and reach the playoffs for the first time under Love. Memphis switched Head Coaches, with Dave Joerger taking over for Lionel Hollins. They’ve struggled initially in the transition but still feature the same big and physical lineup that’s worked for them the past three seasons. Marc Gasol is one of the league’s best centers and he forms perhaps the best center/power forward combination in basketball with Zach Randolph. The Dallas Mavericks, who missed the playoffs last season, have rebuilt to make another run. The newly minted backcourt of Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon is working so far, giving Dirk Nowitzki the guard play he hasn’t had since the Mavs title run. The key for Dallas, like San Antonio, is the health of their veteran players. Over in Houston the Rockets have the potential to be in the elite group, but have struggled defensively so far this season. Dwight Howard is showing many of the same inconsistencies he displayed in Los Angeles last season and he’s not yet providing the interior defensive presence the Rockets desperately need. Houston can score points on anybody; the big question is whether or not they can defend like an NBA title contender. Right now the jury is still out.
On the Upswing: (Portland)
The Blazers are off to a fast start (5-2), although only one victory is over a legit playoff contender (San Antonio). That being said the Blazers look to be a club that can occupy the playoff position(s) that the Lakers and/or Denver may be vacating. LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the premier power forwards in the game, while Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum are consistently improving their game. The Blazers have been efficient, reducing turnovers, and are second in the conference in field goal attempts per game. Their +4.0 scoring margin is good for 5th in the conference.
Bubble Teams: (Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans)
Putting the Lakers in the bubble team category may be a stretch. Their success hinges on how close to .500 they are when Kobe Bryant returns. Los Angeles has improved their overall depth and the youth of their roster, but still lacks the quality depth of most playoff contenders. It’s questionable whether or not Steve Nash has anything left in the tank as he battles persistent injuries. If Nash can’t provide the minutes the Lakers need they may plummet down the standings. The Pelicans are an interesting club. They’ve had some good victories this season as well as some bad performances. They’ve injected some talent into their roster but it’s still not clear how the backcourt trio of Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, Jrue Holliday will co-exist due to their high ball usage rate. Inside though the Pelicans have the emerging Anthony Davis who’s quickly becoming the superstar many predicted. Davis alone could be the difference maker that vaults the Pelicans into playoff contention.
The Pretenders: (Sacramento, Denver)
The Sacramento Kings have a talented roster that once again looks like a bunch of spare parts. DeMarcus Cousins is one of the most talented big men in the game, putting together a solid season. His checkered past though makes it hard to rely on him day in and day out. Ben McLemore has great potential but he’s young and finding his place in the NBA. The Kings have nice depth inside and some solid role players, but due to the consistent roster overhaul it’s been hard for them to find consistency. They’ll be a lottery team again. Denver, a Western Conference power last season is off to a slow start in the post-George Karl era. Losing several key roster components, like Andre Iguodola, Corey Brewer and Kosta Koufus has disrupted their rotation. They still have Ty Lawson to lead the team but the recent injury to Javale McGee is another blow to their depth. Denver has a significant home court advantage at Pepsi Center that could make them a fringe playoff contender, but it’s hard to see them making much of a run.
Andrew Wiggins Contenders: (Utah)
The Jazz are the NBA’s worst right now. With Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson playing for other teams the Jazz are relying on the young of Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter to provide the bulk of the scoring. The trio has potential but they’re young and overmatched against the rest of the Western Conference. Utah is solidly positioned to get a high lottery pick with the ability to add a significant piece next June.
Today the 1-1 Atlanta Hawks come to the Staples Center to face the struggling 1-2 Los Angeles Lakers. If your looking for a deal on tickets today’s Hawks Vs Lakers Game here is some discount codes you can use to save on today’s game! You can purchase Lakers Tickets Now!
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The NBA regular season starts on October 29th, 2013 and millions of diehard fans are looking forward to this season. The biggest game of opening night is the Chicago Bulls traveling to South Beach to take on the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat. Most experts and fans feel as if both of these teams are going to be very good. Per the usual, teams like the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to make a run at the playoffs but some will want to know what team or teams are going to surprise in the 2013-14 season.
Portland Trail Blazers
In the last few years the Portland Trail Blazers have struggled to put together a good team. Last year they had the rookie of the year, Damian Lillard and this year they are hoping to put some pieces around this amazing point guard. The major concern for the Trail Blazers is their youth. Young NBA teams can take some time to develop as they have not played a large number of games together. Once these young athletes get to know each other’s style of play the sky could be the limit for Portland. There is only one player on the team that is over the age of 30 and the season is grueling.
As I mentioned in a previous article on Barry’s Tickets, a young NBA team has a distinct advantage in the second half of the season. The question is, can the Blazers win enough games in the first half of the season so that the second half actually means something? If the Trail Blazers can get to the All Star game in contention for the playoffs they should be able to make a decent run in the second half of the season. Having fresh legs will make a world of difference this season.
The NBA has become a point guard dominated league. In the 70s, 80s and and 90s NBA teams wanted a center that could dominate the paint. Shaq was a force as he helped the Lakers win multiple titles. Many experts feel as if Kobe has never been the same player without Shaq in the middle. When Kobe has a great season it is often when there is a presence at the center position for the Los Angeles Lakers. That said, many teams have accepted that a point guard is now much more important than a center. The big men get hurt easier and they don’t have the ball in their hands nearly as much as they used to. I am truly shocked that more NBA teams do not draft a prolific point guard with their top pick. One team that went out and got a point guard in the 2013 NBA Draft is the Utah Jazz.
Trey Burke was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves but was traded to Utah. In my opinion, this was a great move for the Utah Jazz as a point guard can completely change a team; much quicker than a center or a big man. After watching Trey Burke play for the Michigan Wolverines last year I can say that he will make a huge difference for a team in the NBA. He lead his Michigan team to the Final Four and he has a floor presence unlike most athletes his age. I do not feel as if Trey Burke will be a high scorer in the NBA but he will be able to get his team in the correct offense. I think Trey Burke will be a similar player to Chris Paul. There is no way that we can predict he will be as good as Chris Paul but even if he is half as good he will drastically improve the Utah Jazz.
New Orleans Pelicans
Most people know of this team as the New Orleans Hornets but they have changed their name to the Pelicans for this season. That might be a little bit of foreshadowing for the season that is coming. If you look at the roster it is littered with college basketball stars. Names like Austin Rivers, Jeff Withey, Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday immediately catch the eye of anyone that enjoys the college game. As we all know, you cannot put an NBA team together with just college basketball superstars. While many college players will go on to have great NBA careers there are some college stars that simply do not fit the mold of an average NBA player. Height, weight, wingspan and overall athletic ability are often much more important than college stats.
If the Pelicans can find a true point guard to run the show this could be one of the most improved teams in the NBA. The Pelicans were downright bad in the last two years as they won 21 and 27 games respectively. With this being the case it is not going to take that much to improve. After shipping Chris Paul to the west coast this team has struggled to find its identity. As mentioned with the previous two teams, a point guard is now very important in the NBA. In fact, I would say that a point guard is more important than a center or a power forward. When I was growing up the power forward and shooting guard positions were essential as these were the positions in which most points were generated. Points come from everywhere on the court in the current state of the NBA. With the hand checking rule changing the way defense is played it is no longer difficult for teams to score 100 points.
A point guard is needed to distribute the ball and get the offense going. With the Pelicans being a young team one would think they are going to try to get up and down the court. This makes it even more important to have a solid point guard that does not turn the ball over. Finding that great point guard can be difficult which is why some teams cannot seem to turn the corner and make the playoffs. Some in New Orleans have wondered if it is going to end up being the curse of Chris Paul. There is little argument to be made that Chris Paul gave New Orleans their best years of basketball. They have yet to come close to that quality of basketball since they let him go to the Los Angeles Clippers. Speaking of the Clippers.
Los Angeles Clippers
It is hard to say that the Clippers are going to be a surprise team as they are already one of the best teams in the west. I think this is the season they can make some huge strides towards getting to the NBA Finals. Now that Blake Griffin and Chris Paul have played with each other for a few seasons they should be able to get off to a quick start. If the Clippers can get off to a start that is above .600 in the first 25 or 30 games they have a chance to win the Western Conference.
Most experts are predicting the Oklahoma City Thunder to win the west but there is an opening for the Clippers. What is quite unique about 2013 is the fact that coming into the season it is accepted that the Clippers are the best team in Los Angeles. It has been a very long time since this was even considered by the fans and the experts. Anyone that has watched NBA basketball for the last four decades knows that Los Angeles is dominated by the Lakers. If Kobe Bryant is not 100% healthy this year the Lakes are going to struggle just to make the playoffs. There are even rumors that they might go out and get Carmelo Anthony. If this happens we know there is truly trouble in paradise.
What to Expect in 2013-14
This is going to be a very exciting year for professional basketball. LeBron James and the Miami Heat are getting older so they are vulnerable. Dwayne Wade has had all kinds of injury problems. It would not be surprising to see him sit out several games this year just because of health issues. If the Heat run into any injury problems that leaves the door open for some younger teams to grab the best record in the NBA. I think it is safe to say that the 1990s Bulls team has nothing to worry about when it comes to the all time best record of 72-10. The only way a team will come close to that type of record is a team that has enough young players to make it through the entire season without injuries.
I don’t think we will see the Heat make it to the All Star break without injuries. Keep an eye on some of the younger teams as they may surprise you in the upcoming season. As mentioned in this article, point guards are going to rule the league this year so take noticed of the teams that have a true leader at the point guard position.
The Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors played their last game outside of the USA. In a game that took place in Shanghai, China, the Los Angeles Lakers got smashed by the Warriors with a game ending with a score 115-89. The game went out of reach after the half, when the Warriors, led by Klay Thompson got really aggressive and put the game out of reach. The Lakers and Warriors will meet up again on Nov 22nd at the LA Staples Center!
Thompson showed for yet another time why Golden State is considered as a team the best-shooting backcourt in the league. Although his fellow sharpshooter, Stephen Curry stayed low, going 3 for 12 from the field, Thompson hit the target five times in six attempts from three-point range. He finished with 25 points leading all scorers. David Lee was also aggressive adding 16 points for Golden State with 16, while Kent Bazemore and Draymond Green scored 14 each coming off the bench. The newcomer star forward, Andre Iguodala had just four points but added 14 assists.
Golden State went on a 25-6 run late in the third to seal the victory, while the Los Angeles Lakers seemed to be lacking energy, especially after the halftime break. Unfortunately, Golden State saw their center Andrew Bogut experiencing back spasms early. He exited the game early in the first quarter and did not return. The Australian big man is already in contract negotiations with the team. The Warriors want to include some terms in the new contract that will secure the team from potential health issues Bogut might experience. Bogut appeared in just 32 games last season with Golden State.
The Lakers were happy to see their leader, Kobe Bryant, participating in the team’s warm-up before the game for the first time after he went down with a torn Achilles injury. The Mamba stated a few days before that he could be playing if it was postseason. Nevertheless, he will most probably sit during the Lakers’ season opener. Bryant joined the Lakers’ bench in the last quarter of the game, forcing the crowd in Shanghai to react with a big applause.
Gasol was the leading scorer for Los Angeles. He ended up scoring 16 points and also grabbed seven rebounds. However, all other Lakers players finished with single points. LA found themselves behind by as many as 30 points. They also got outrebounded 46 to 36. The Head Coach of the team, Mike D’Antoni downplayed the loss, stating that it all comes down to the regular season and more specifically the playoffs.
Klay Thompson on the other hand commented that it’s always good to beat the Lakers. Gasol pointed out that, as obvious, there is still much more work left for the Lakers. Especially now that Bryant is not available, the Lakers have to gather themselves up if they want to make a solid beginning in the season.
Yao Ming, a Shanghai native watched the game courtside. The former NBA superstar received a cheer from the crowd.
The recent news from Carmelo Anthony are not the best possible for New York Knicks fans. In fact, they could trigger some worries for the Knicks organization. Superstar Carmelo Anthony recently stated that he would like test free-agency next season this summer.
The megastar forward is will have the option to opt-out of his contract after the end of the upcoming season. At the moment, the rumor mill about his next team-destination is revolving and the discussions got even more intense after his recent statements. A potential signing with the Los Angeles Lakers was and still is in the center of the discussions. There is also a dream scenario that would bring Melo together with LeBron James in the City of Angeles. This would form a dynasty in LA and as long as Kobe Bryant will be able to play, he would act as the linking bond between the two eras. This of course is a scenario every Lakers fan can dream with but is not so easy to come to reality. On the contrary, the possibilities Carmelo leaves New York shouldn’t be neglected.
Certainly Anthony still remains focused on winning a championship with the Knicks this season. During the 2013-2014 campaign and the course of the Knicks team will certainly play a role in Carmelo’s future with New York. A tempting contract could of course assist in his re-signing, but it’s not the first and last thing the 29-year old forward is thinking of. If he decides to opt-out there still many chances he doesn’t leave New York. How?
Well, that’s exactly what happened with J.R. Smith this summer, when he opted out his contract only to re-sign a better contract with the Knicks a few weeks later. Carmelo might follow the same way to secure a maximum length on his contract. At least for now, New York’s fans should not be alerted.
The Knicks do stand good odds for the championship season. The team has to finally try and be effective in the playoffs, unlike all the previous years. They have the talent to support such a course. Certainly, they will need to get the most out of each player and that’s a grey point.
Can Amar’e Stoudemire stay healthy this season? Will he be able to play big minutes and retain a high level of performance? Or will be battle through injuries once again? What about J.R. Smith? Will he get back to his superb performance of the previous season after the injury?
Those concerns are really major for Mike Woodson and the Knicks this season. The answers of those questions will be played in the courts of the NBA this season and could be a determining factor to whether Melo stays or not.
The 2014 summer free-agency will definitely one of the most interesting of the past years as some of the biggest superstars will hit the free-agency and there is no clear indication about what their future will be. The moves from other star players could also affect Anthony’s decision. Until, then the main focus for him and the Knicks is the upcoming season.
The Miami Heat are ready to write history in yet another sector of the NBA. After their recent win against the Detroit Pistons, they have now extended their winning streak at 25 in a row. The NBA’s record for the longest winning streak throughout its history is still held by the Los Angeles Lakers.
LA managed to win in 33 consecutive games during the 1971-72 season, when Wilt Chamberlain was in the team’s roster. This is also the longest streak of any American sports team. The Lakers closed out that season after winning a total of 69 games and went on to be crowned as NBA Champions, marking that season one of the mostsuccessful ones amongst any professional team in the history of sports.
The Miami Heat can challenge this record right now and also ink their names in the golden pages of the NBA’s history book. If they continue to prevail and win one game after another, they can be remembered as one of the best teams to ever participate in the league. Up to now, when we talked about the NBA, the best teams and players to every play in the league, the first ones that came in our minds were the Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan, the Lakers with Chamberlain, Magic and Abdul-Jabbar and the Celtics with Larry Bird. Now the Heat have a great chance to protagonist in that list, too and LeBron James can be considered as one of the greatest to every play the game.
14 games are left in their schedule till the end of the regular season and they are also considered as the team with the easiest schedule until the playoffs. They will have to win another 8 games to match with the ‘71-’72 Lakers and that last game would be against the Philadelphia Sixers. In-between they will have to roll past the San Antonio Spurs and also the New York Knicks, two games that could possibly end their superb streak. Nevertheless, the Heat, led by the Big Three, have proved that they can literally win any team, even the Spurs or the Thunder.
Of course, Miami will need not only the winning-streak record but also this year’s Championship and maybe the following year’s, too, in order to verge the glory of the legendary teams of the Chicago Bulls or the Los Angeles Lakers. Those teams used to dominate the league throughout the years. At present they do have what it takes to reach this top-tier level. What will be needed from now is duration. Since LeBron and Bosh landed to Miami to join D-Wade, Miami recorded a great course, with one Finals appearance, one Championship and counting. The question from now on will be if they can stay healthy, retain their core under the new CBA that penalizes teams with high payroll and continue to perform the way they’ve been this season. If they succeed in these, then not only can they surpass the Lakers’ winning-streak record but they can also be remembered as a dynasty in the NBA for many years to come.
Miami Heat Vs Lakers Tickets are always available for their upcoming games. Next time they will face each other would be in the 2013 NBA Finals!
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