Tag Archives: Los Angeles Lakers

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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Kobe stating that the media manufactured the Lakers drama

Media brought on Lakers Drama

Kobe Bryant & The Media Drama

When Kobe Bryant makes statements, press talks or tweets the world is watching. Are his statements always true and correct? That question is a little tricky. The latest news that Kobe gave us is that according to his point of view the media have actually manufactured the drama over the team.

We’ve seen many times Kobe making comments regarding his teammates and his team, trying to motivate them to play harder or even through pain and even making some suggestions. This time though, he tried to underplay the fact that the general picture the Lakers have shown us up to this point of the season is not convincing. Talking about the comments he made on Dwight Howard and about the need for urgency from his team, he said that his comments about Howard were misinterpreted. Additionally he said that he only tried to motivate his teammate and the rest of the story was in fact manufactured by the media.

Trying to push your teammates so that the team rolls up and finds its pace is one thing. However, to call the Lakers drama manufactured this season might be a little too much. It’s an awkward moment for the franchise and with if they don’t manage to enter the playoffs with this roster, then the drama would become real and for good. Surely this is the last thing the Lakers have to think about. Now it’s time for focus and hard work, so that the team gets some wins. However, handling the media and solving a problem internally is what great teams do. There’s no need to avoid looking failure in the eye and there’s also no need to put the blame on a single player or coach. Teams win as a whole and teams fail as a whole. That’s the way sports work and that’s how the NBA works, too.

The Lakers need Kobe to be the leader. He has to stand up for his team now that it’s a difficult time. It’s great to see him not giving up – that’s certainly not the way he is- and try to force his teammates and especially Howard, Gasol and Nash to show some urgency. That’s how Kobe has used to be during his 17 years in LA. However, finding the appropriate way to fire up the rest of the team is important. Controversies and mutual press statements are not the solution to the problem.

Dont miss the next “Battle For LA” When the Clippers and Lakers face off at the Staples Center on Feb 14th!


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Yes there are Gluten free restaurants near STAPLES Center

Nokia Theater Staples Center

Nokia Theater Staples Center

If you’re heading down to the Staples Center for an event, there are a number of incredible restaurants that you can choose to eat from beforehand. If you happen to have a preference towards Gluten-free foods, you’re in luck because Los Angeles is proud to have a number of restaurants that specialize in Gluten-free food. The following three restaurants are examples of restaurants who offer a Gluten-free menu, so check them out today!

The Shojin Restaurant

The Shojin Restaurant Downtown

1. Shojin
333 S. Alameda St. Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 617-0305
www.theshojin.com

The Shojin is about 10 minutes from the Staples Center Nokia Theater Get Directions

Shojin is located on the third floor of the Little Tokyo Shopping Center in Downtown Los Angeles. The mall is located on Alameda St. between 3rd and 4th street. The restaurant offers 3 hours of free parking, so enjoy your time at the meal. Shojin’s mission is to “provide the most flavorful and naturally preserved meals using organic and natural foods with NO chemical seasonings and harmful additives.” As you can see, they take pride in providing patrons with the most natural food possible. They specialize in vegan, macrobiotic, Gluten free, organic and natural foods. For one of the best Los Angeles Gluten-free restaurants, Shojin organic and natural sushi is a fine choice.

Lucifers Pizza

Lucifers – Damned Good Pizza

2. Lucifers – Damned Good Pizza
1958 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323)906-8603
www.luciferspizza.com

Lucifers Pizza is about 15 minutes Staples Center Nokia Theater Get Directions

Lucifers’ Damned Good Pizza is one of the few pizza joints around town that offer gluten-free crusts on all of their pies. With extremely reasonable prices for the high quality pizza, Lucifers is a must stop for bread loving Celiacs. They deliver Monday to Thursday from 5pm-10pm and Friday to Sunday from 12pm-10pm. Join the RIP club and receive free pizzas as well as a member swipe card after your buy your first 10 circles. Lucifers has been rated one of the top pizza places in Los Angeles by LAWeekly as well as a number of other publications, so come see what the fuss is about and enjoy some of the best Los Angeles Gluten-free pizza!

The Yard House Restaurant

The Yard House

3. YARD HOUSE LOS ANGELES
800 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213)745-9273
The Yard House

The Yard House is seconds away from the Staples Center Get Directions

The Yard House Los Angeles is one of the prime places to hit before any Staples Center event. They have a “Gluten-sensative” menu that includes a variety of delicious dishes from Grilled Artichoke and Spicy Tuna roll to Seared Ahi Steak and a Cuban Roast Pork Dip. Truly a treat for those of without the ability to process flour, the Yard House Los Angeles is a favorite of locals and tourists alike, and it will set the night of right for diners with any special dietary needs!

Los Angeles Staples Center Gluten-free Restaurants do exist, just check out the great venues above and put your food concerns to rest!


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The Los Angeles Lakers are not trading Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard

Is Dwight Howard ready to compete for a championship?

The latest news that came from the Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is that the team is not intended to seek for a trade for big man superstar Dwight Howard. Despite his injuries and his below expectations performance, Howard is still a longshot for the Lakers. He is believed to be the next star to supersede Kobe Bryant, when his career is over and the Lakers are very confident that the 6-11” center will resign with them this summer.

It’s no secret that Howard will have a bunch of teams that are going to give a go to land him, like Houston, Dallas Mavericks and perhaps even the Brooklyn through a trade. Those teams have chased Howard last summer, too, when he decided to take his talents to LA to join Kobe and Nash. Although he has kept his mouth closed and diplomatically avoided any true answer regarding his intentions this off-season, it’s widely believed in Lakers circles that he his remain with the team and they have some strong facts that support their beliefs.

First of all, the team can offer him more money than any other team can. It might sound odd, but the new CBA gives a huge advantage to the Lakers in the aspects of keeping Howard. That’s because they are able to offer him 5-year deal with a maximum salary of about $23.5 million and in the same time a 7.5 yearly increase rate. That means that each other team could totally offer him $30 million less, so a big a plus for LA in this point.

Also, having Kobe Bryant on your roster can only push another start to sign with you and in this case it will be to remain with the team. Despite the difficulties, chemistry and bonding will eventually come for the team and that’s when Dwight will be more willing to stay. Up to now, this season might have been an unsuccessful one for the Lakers, but when things turn around and Howard gets to see that they are capable of chasing a championship, he will be urged to remain to LA. There’s nothing more convincing for an NBA player than a ring, at least for most of them. Howard has clearly shown that he desperately wants to play for a contender and the Lakers are that team. After all it’s one of the reasons he left the Orlando Magic.

There are also secondary reasons that strengthen the team’s belief that Howard will stay and those might be the big market that Los Angeles is, with the star shine of Hollywood and the glamorous lifestyle and also the chance to work and with the Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul Jabbar. These only add up to the already strong motives that Howard has in order to stay for the team. So not seeking a trade for Howard is definitely the best choice for the team right now.

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Is Dwight Howard ready to compete for a championship?

Dwight Howard

Is Dwight Howard ready to compete for a championship?

How serious is Dwight Howard about fighting for a championship? How much does he want it? These might be a tricky question to answer but it might hide some of the team’s problems this season. After a fiasco ejection at Sunday’s game against the Toronto Raptors, many critics started again to talk about Dwight Howard and his commitment to making this team run for another title. In fact many of them stated that the 7-time All-Star might just not be ready yet to compete for a ring at the highest level. He might lack focus. You see, with so much talent in the NBA and so many teams really playing at their best, it takes more than just talent and star power to be a champion. It also takes sacrifices, method and commitment. That’s where Howard might not be 100% focused.

Well, even if his second technical that led to his ejection at the game against the Raptors was underserving, it surely is embarrassing and misleading for the whole team to lose its starting center with just 17 minutes in the game, for any reason. It just breaks the consistency of the team and the momentum of the game. It just doesn’t feel right. Plus Howard really seems like having fun now that he is in LA. All the flashing lights are on him, he lives next to Hollywood and is being watched every home game from Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler and other movie starts. Of course he has every right to enjoy that and pride himself for his success, but he has to make success come to him. You could say that even Lebron and Wade have stopped being so playful and showoffs after their first year in Miami –when they lost the NBA finals to the Dallas Mavericks- and have become stricter and focused on their goal, another ring. Can Howard do the same?
He surely has the physical abilities and the skills to take the Lakers to another level. But I am sure we would all want him to concentrate on helping us win games and at least get to the playoffs. I don’t know if it will take a catastrophe season for us to understand that we won’t be gifted any playoff spot or any wins just because we are the Lakers. We might not even have so many stars in our roster next season. One thing is for sure. To be successful in the NBA, you need to give your heart and soul to the game. You need to love the game. And Dwight needs to understand this and make it an everyday lesson.

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Breaking down Kobe’s defense

Kobe Bryant Defense

Kobe Bryant Defense

Much criticism has fallen on the shoulders of Kobe Bryant lately regarding his individual defensive performance. Of course, the whole Lakers team is circled by clouds regarding the general team picture and this season’s record. After lots of statements from other players, coaches and journalists, Kobe may have proven the best way that he is still capable of playing NBA All-Defensive Team-like defense.

You can question many things about Lakers’ defensive system. You can easily say that Howard is not the inside presence the team needs or that Mike D’Antoni is not utilizing the whole roster the best way possible. But to say that Kobe is not playing good D? Well, ask Brandon Jennings or Kyrie Irving about that. During the last games of the Lakers, Kobe was assigned to guard two of the most lethal point guards in the league and of course the best players of each team. How did he do? He held Irving to just 15 points on 7-15 shooting from the field. He is averaging 23.6 points per game on almost 46% shooting. Two days later, Jennings finished with just 12 points on 4-14 shooting while being guarded by Kobe. His numbers this season are 18.3 Points per game and 40% from the field. But it’s not just that.

Defense is way more than individual effort in basketball. Every team needs a good defensive tactics and a well understanding of how the system works in order to play effectively. This requires a firm setup from the coaching staff and a good execution from the players. Of course Coach Mike D’Antoni isn’t known for his superior defensive systems. But you can’t either blame Kobe for the team’s run this season. In fact, Kobe might be the only player who is playing like a true superstar and leader, as he is supposed to do, on both ends of the court. Yes he might have started to age and yes NBA requires all good players to be good athletes in order to compete. However Kobe has certainly not entered the stage of his career when he can’t compete any more at the highest level. This was made clear especially after the statements of both Irving and Jennings, who had the chance to taste a bit of Kobe’s defense the last two games. Both of them pointed out the great defense they faced and also stated that it was a huge factor for the outcome of the game. The Lakers came up winning both of these games.

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Pau Gasol Should he stay or should he go now?

Pau Gasol to trade or not to trade

Pau Gasol to trade or not to trade

Much buzz has been circling the former four-time all- star Pau Gasol about a possible trade this season. The Lakers have been thinking about trading him since the 2011-2012, when our team targeted Chris Paul, but the trade was called off. After that, he stated that this behavior from the team wouldn’t affect his way of play, after all it’s all professional. But he didn’t keep his promise. Where is the Gasol that would win us Championships? He is a 7 footer skilled big man with a firm jump shot and is, or rather was, almost unbeatable close to the rim. And now, he has become a role player that, ok, starts the game but then again he rarely finishes it. How can we have a player of that class not contributing for us? We can’t afford leaving such players at the bench in crunch time.

It may be wiser for teams’ officials to start thinking about trading him. Not only could we acquire one or two valuable members for Pau, but it may also be better for him to start over in a new uniform. What could we get back in a possible trade? Well, half of the teams in the NBA might be willing a lot to get a player like Gasol. Just imagine we get a player like Gasol in return, but this time he also plays like Gasol and not like Valanciunas. Because, unfortunately Pau is playing like him right now. For example imagine we get the young and promising Cousins plus 1-2 other role players. Or Millsap together with Marvin Williams and Raja. Or even Amare (ok this one might not work well neither). But really the possibilities are endless. Even Boston could make a deal with us or the Bulls with Boozer, anyone.

Maybe Pau himself is thinking about the way out, although his press statements moved in the opposite direction. “No, oh, that’s radical. I still believe. I still have faith in what we have. I still have faith that I can be a big part in helping this team succeed. Right now, I’m not being able to do that very often.” Those were his words after our loss against the Clips. I really want to believe in Gasol and even Kobe made comments about him, stating that the he should get more involved on offense. I mean, you can‘t go to Kobe or Dwight on almost every possession and wait for others to get open. Our opponents know that we always do and they lock us down on defense. But if distribute the ball more and more guys contribute on offense, that will not only boost their mentality, but will also break the defense apart, providing help and opening more lanes for Kobe. It’s really basketball fundamentals which coach D’Antoni should inhale to our offensive system.

Whether we trade Pau or not, this situation can’t continue any longer. We simply can’t continue to struggle and fight to sustain a 0.500 record. Either trade him or utilize him better. We have to make radical steps forward. Look towards the future dear Lakers’ managers.

By: Mike Rollings on the Lakers beat for Barrys Ticket Service.

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Are the Clippers really the best team in Los Angeles?

Clippers Vs Lakers Staples Center

Clippers Vs Lakers Staples Center

Which team can claim itself for being the best in Los Angeles? Is it perhaps the legendary Lakers of Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard or is their era coming to an end and they have already been dethroned from the young and energetic Clippers?

I think that whoever had a doubt this season about the above questions, got his answers for good after yesterday’s Clips domination on the floor. You don’t need to be a stats specialist to understand that the power and dynamics of the Clips is way beyond our city rivals. It’s been too long since we could celebrate a win against the Lakers. They were always a championship team with some great players always on their roster and of course Coach Phil Jackson doing his magic orchestrating the way of play. But from this season on things are about to change. We have made some huge steps forward and we are in a position right now that we can claim our team being the best in the city.

Of course they got Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard and also Steve Nash, not to mention their role players. However the Clipps still got the advantage here. I mean look at their aging roster. How many years do they have left? Can Kobe continue his acrobatics after he turns 35? And how about Nash, will he still be playing at 39? I don’t think they can even reach us and I also don’t think that they will be in a better position in the near future. Not when we have two monsters in the team, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Paul made Kobe look old and slow once again, as he stated some days ago. In the meantime, Griffin put on a show last night scoring 24 points against a team with arguably the best front quart in the league. Not only did he smash the key and made some huge plays against Gasol and Howard, but if you watched the whole game, you could clearly see the difference between the energy level and the effort from our players against the Lakers.

A close look at the stats, can unveil a great difference between the two teams. We average 101.5 PPG while holding our opponents to 93.2. The Lakers are near to us scoring points, 102.8, but take a look at their defense; they allow 100.5 PPG. That’s a big difference maker for a team’s winning record. Plus, the Lakers rely too much on Kobe and Howard. Kobe scores almost 30% of the points his entire team does every game. He, together with Howard, combine to reach almost 50%. In contrary, we are a well balanced team, so even if one of our stars is having an off-game, we have many other guys who can step up and lead the team towards victories. Just look at Jamal Crawford’s stats. He’s averaging almost the same points as Paul does and also Matt Barnes. He came as a mediocre role player and has provided some huge minutes for us up to now.

It’s the second time the Clips got past the Lakers this season; first one came on November 2nd, while Mike Brown was still coaching them. Despite almost 2 months have passed since and we really can’t wait to meet them again, because after all it’s not only about winning the Lakers but also winning the Battle for LA.

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The Los Angeles Lakers fall to the Philadelphia Sixers 103-99

LA Lakers

The Lakers tried really hard to start the 2013 with a win against the Sixers on the first day of the year, but finally couldn’t capitalize thus losing by four in a close game. It was a game that was decided and won by Philadelphia thanks to the energy and the relentless effort they showed in the last minutes of the game. Kobe Bryant, who led Los Angeles with 36 points, commented on the lack of energy from his team down the stretch saying: “We didn’t look past them. I mean, you just saw an old team. I don’t know how else to put it. We’re just slow, and they’re a team that’s younger with fresher legs and played with more energy. We were just stuck in the mud. And as individuals, we all have to figure out how to get ourselves ready each and every game to have a high-level game. That’s a big thing when you’re starting to age. It’s tough, and it takes a lot of commitment.”

Philadelphia held a 5 point lead with 1:30 remaining in the fourth quarter and it was then when Kobe hit a clutch three pointer to spark his team and get the momentum towards LA’s side. But Spencer Haws made a huge 21-footer to put his team up by four. Steve Nash and Metta World Piece missed on consecutive three pointer and the Lakers couldn’t come through to win this one. Jrue Holiday put the icing on the cake with an easy dunk after catching the whole Lakers’ defense on sleep, with just 24” to go.

Jrue Holiday reached an impressive performance going 10-19 from the field to finish with 26 points and also 10 assists. In some points of the game he made Steve Nash, who was guarding him, look like helpless. Evan Turner also added a double double, 22 points and 13 rebounds that helped his team start off the year with a victory. “He’s playing with tremendous confidence. He’s a well-conditioned athlete and you have to be to play at the level he plays every night.” said Sixers Coach Doug Collins.

With this loss, the Lakers fell again under the psychological border of 0.500 with a 15-16 record. It’s been their worst start of the season since 2002-2003 when they went 12-19, the year after they had won the title. They shot a season low 13.6 from three point range, just 3-22. LA just couldn’t utilize its strength down low, with Howard finishing with just 7 points and Gasol going 2-12 from the field to end up with 12.

The Lakers have a huge rivalry game ahead, Friday night against the LA Clippers. They then play the last game of this first week of the yearagainst the Denver Nuggets, Sunday night at the Staples Center. The Sixers will continue their road trip and head to Phoenix to face the Suns on Wednesday.