Tag Archives: Los Angeles Lakers

Rent In Lob City Actually Higher Then LA For The First Time

Lob City LA Clippers

Lob City

Which came first the Sport or the Team? You love basketball and you love the Lakers, Clippers, Bulls, Thunder or whoever but which was your first love? So which came first your love of basketball the game itself or the love of a team that got you into the sport basketball?

For years now I have offered friends, family, strangers Clippers Tickets as an inexpensive way to watch a pro basketball game even if for years they were treated like a junior college team play against one of the other NBA’s finest and for years I always got the same response “umm do you have any free Lakers Tickets”? If the Lakers were playing the Bucks and the Clippers were playing the Michael Jordon, Lebron, Kevin Durante and maybe the Lord himself 99 out of 100 friends and family would still take the Lakers. So it has to be about the TEAM itself right and not about the love of the game.

Los Angeles Clippers

Chris Deandre Blake

The truth is that history in sports has its own gravity, its special weight. No matter if a team is struggling during a season, like the Los Angeles Lakers are, the name of the franchise and its history in the league are enough to keep the team’s value at high levels. Nonetheless, this season we are witnessing a radical change in the balance between the two LA teams.

In fact, the Los Angeles Clippers can be characterized as the better product for the city of LA at the moment. They are the ones selling more, they are the ones that almost any fan in LA but also around the globe wants to watch. On the contrary, the Lakers are dead last in the West, they are playing awful basketball, they are lacking their superstar, Kobe Bryant and if we had to characterize them with one word, that one would be “decomposed”.

Blake Griffin LA Clippers Super Star

Griffin

It’s no secret that the Clippers are one of the most spectacular teams in the NBA, if not the most spectacular one. With Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan conquering the air and with Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford adding to the Clips’ stardom, Doc Rivers’s group is one of the hottest teams around the league. After their recent acquisitions, the Clippers are now considered to be one of the two strongest favorites for the title in the West, together with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

On the contrary, Lakers fans have all the rights to feel disappointed with their product. It’s not just about their awful record and not just about the fact that Kobe Bryant has missed all but six games this season. The Lakers seem like they have no plan, neither for this season nor for the next one. Lacking a bunch of draft picks over the next couple of years, the team is forced to carry the burden of the contract of the 40-year old Steve Nash, who is doubtful to ever be able to play the game again.

Chris Paul & Blake Griffin

CP3 & Griffin

All the above translate into a change in the “product value” for each team. On the one hand, the Clips are on the rise. On the other hand, a legendary team like the Lakers is tanking badly. Taking a look at the pricing of the tickets of each team in a game against the same opponent, the difference is obvious. The

Although face value of Lakers tickets is significantly higher then that of the Clippers the retail value has always reflected the same pricing until this year the Clippers retail Ticket prices for a game like Clippers Vs Thunder Tickets are just passed double the price of Lakers Vs Thunder Tickets. This is pretty much the first time in the history of the Clippers that their retail prices are higher then the Lakers.

Clippers Lakers Vs Thunder Ticket Prices Staples

Clippers Lakers Vs Thunder Ticket Prices

Are you a Clippers Fan? Lakers Fan? Just a lover of the game of basketball? I would love to hear your thoughts about the possible changing of the guard in the city of angels.

Chris Michaels

Lakers Face Durant and Howard This Week

Lakers Tickets Courtside

Lakers Bulls

With Steve Nash and Steve Blake in the fold things might be looking up, at least a little bit, for the Los Angeles Lakers. Nash and Blake returned to the Lakers lineup on Tuesday night in Minnesota, with Nash making his season debut. The depleted Lakers ended up losing Tuesday night at the hands of the Timberwolves, but then went on to win two in a row on the road before losing at home Sunday versus the Chicago Bulls.

Week Recap: Even with the return of Nash and Blake the Lakers continue to be the most snake bit team in the NBA when it comes to losing players. The return of their two point guards coincided with the loss of Nick Young and Jodie Meeks to injury. Wednesday’s night win in Cleveland saw Robert Sacre of the Lakers stay in the game after fouling out, a rarely seen NBA rule, due to the fact the Lakers had just five players left. After already losing Nick Young to injury and Jordan Farmar to leg cramps the Lakers were down to five players after Chris Kaman fouled out. Even with a depleted roster the Lakers hit a season-high 18 three-point shots to defeat the Cavaliers and former Head Coach Mike Brown. Los Angeles continued their winning ways Friday night with a fourteen point defeat of the Philadelphia 76ers behind 19 points from Steve Nash on his 40th birthday. Steve Blake contributed 14 points and 8 assists in the victory. Even without Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol the return of Nash and Blake is a welcome sight for Lakers fans. The Lakers returned home Sunday to face a competitive Chicago Bulls team, losing a tough one, 92-86. Chicago ran out to a nineteen point lead and the Lakers rallied back but couldn’t close the gap in the end, losing despite a season-high 27 points from Chris Kaman. Unfortunately for the Lakers they may have lost Steve Nash again for a short period of time. Nash knocked knees with Kirk Hinrich in the third quarter, causing his knee to flare up once again. He’ll be evaluated and may miss a couple of games.

Lakers Tickets Staples Center

Staples Center

The Week Ahead: The Lakers have a big home stretch coming up with five games at STAPLES Center over the next two weeks, including two with key Western Conference contenders. Los Angeles kicks off the week Tuesday night when they host the Utah Jazz. The Jazz are coming off of an impressive home victory over the Miami Heat. Thursday night Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder make a visit to STAPLES Center, giving Lakers fans a chance to see the NBA’s leading MVP candidate in action. Following the All Star Break the Lakers return home next week when they face off versus the Houston Rockets in a game that many Lakers fans have had circled on the calendar since last summer. Wednesday will mark the return of former Lakers center Dwight Howard to STAPLES Center. The gifted big man, who had an up and down season in LA last year, has teamed with James Harden to put the Rockets in the fourth playoff position in the west. Lakers Vs Rockets tickets start at just $48 per ticket. The Lakers wrap up the following week by hosting the Boston Celtics on Friday and the New Jersey Nets on Sunday. With five games including four playoff contenders it will be a big ten days of basketball for Lakers fans. Chris Michaels.

Barry’s Ticket Service is an Official Partner of the Los Angeles Clippers and offers Clippers Tickets for all home and away games.

Barry’s Tickets is located just caddy-corner from the LA Staples Center:
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(213)749-0057

Can the Lakers Lure Love?

Kevin Love trade

Love

It’s obvious that the Los Angeles Lakers are actively searching for ways to improve the bad situation the team is currently experiencing. Whilst a bunch of rumors are heard and lots of names are thrown on the table, the most realistic target for the team at the moment is Kevin Love. Let’s see how the Lakers can lure him to LA during the summer of 2015. Only then will Love be able to opt out of his contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

First of all, the Los Angeles Lakers will have to prove they can retain a solid course even with all the misfortunes that are occurring. A bunch of star-injuries made the Lakers struggle last season and with Kobe sidelined for the biggest chunk of this season, things don’t look better. But in order for a star like Love, or any other star of that caliber, to be willing to come to LA, the team will need to prove it can actually be competitive. Whilst it might not contend for a championship, LA needs to at least retain a playoff-course, so that Love is actually willing to jump in.

Lakers lure Kevin Love

Lakers Love

The Los Angeles Lakers should also stay pat during the free-agency of the upcoming summer. LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony might be available but they will most probably not be coming to the City of Angels. Both of them were longshots in the first place. Luol Deng is now in Cleveland and he might as well stay there. When the Lakers agreed to extend Kobe, they also placed the team in a position that it won’t have much financial flexibility. If Love comes in the summer of 2015, this seems like a perfect timing.

The Lakers should also consider performing small adjusting moves. That means they should not be chasing superstars like LeBron or Melo, but they should try their best to land quality and emerging players. Lance Stephenson is a very good target, Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young are two more. Even Deng could be considered as a candidate, considering that he won’t be asking for a fortune to come to LA.
The good news for the Los Angeles Lakers is that they might see Love coming to LA way before the summer of 2015. Because then, the Minnesota Timberwolves will risk losing him for nothing in exchange. We’ve seen that happening several times in the recent history of the league. That’s why Mitch Kupchak could act quickly and start the discussions with the Wolves. Minnesota wouldn’t be nothing but smart to perform a trade around Love sooner than later.

Kevin Love LA Lakers

Kevin Love

But even if the Timberwolves won’t trade Kevin Love sooner than the summer of 2015, the Lakers shouldn’t be worried. It’s true that the team will most probably go through two more tough seasons. But after that and through a quick rebuild, the Lakers will be able to chase yet another superstar, given that Love will have come to LA. The Lakers have always been a team that lured superstars and they should have little trouble doing it again soon.

The Lakers Vs Timberwolves tickets for their Staples Center matchups are available now with no service fees at Barry’s Ticket Service. Chris Michaels

Barry’s Tickets is located just caddy-corner from the LA Staples Center:
1020 S. Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA 90015
(across from the Staples Center inside the Luxe City Center)
Open 7 days a week, 10am – 9pm, for pickups.
(213)749-0057
Published by Barry’s Ticket Service.

Kobe and Blake both 2014 NBA All Star Game Starters

Kobe Bryant Blake Giffin

Kobe and Blake

Kobe Bryant played just six games in the 2013-2014 season and his performance reminded little of the dominant superstar we all know the Black Mamba is. Nonetheless, this didn’t stop NBA fans from voting him as a starter for the 2014 All-Star game.

This will be Kobe’s 16th appearance in an All-Star game. Of course, it’s still uncertain if Kobe will be able to play. The 35-year old megastar is still rehabbing from his knee injury and the latest word from the Los Angeles Lakers states that he will be re-evaluated over the next few days.

Stephen Curry from the Golden State Warriors earned his spot in the All-Star game this season. In fact, there was much criticism around the league because of his non-selection last year. The 25-year old sharpshooter has been recording a terrific season up to now, showing us more of the same lethal scoring abilities, especially from long range. Actually, Curry is averaging career-highs in points per game, with 23.5 and assists with 9.2. This will be his first All-Star appearance.

Blake Griffin LA Clippers

Griffin

Blake Griffin will make his fourth straight All-Star appearance and this time he will be a starter. Griffin has really taken the Los Angeles Clippers on his shoulders this season due to the shoulder injury of Chris Paul. Griffin has been playing fantastically as of lately. He is averaging 22.6 points and 10 rebounds per game this season for the Clips, while his also shooting 52.4 percent from the floor.

Kevin Durant will of course be a starter for the Western All-Stars. His performance has skyrocketed this season, especially since Russell Westbrook went down with an injury. Durant is leading the league in scoring with 31 points per game. His buddy, Russell Westbrook will not participate in the All-Star game.

Kevin Love will complete the starting lineup for the Western All-Stars. This will be the first time Love will be starting in an All-Star game. He is the league-leader in double-doubles and he managed to steal the starting position from Dwight Howard. The fact that Dwight Howard will not start in this All-Star game was a big surprise.

The Eastern All-Stars will have a weird starting lineup, as none of the frontcourt players normally plays a position above the small forward. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will both start for the Eastern All-Stars. LeBron’s selection comes as no surprise. He still is the best player in the world. Wade on the other hand is experiencing some injury issues as of lately but he should be ready to go for the All-Star game.

Paul George will also be a starter and that was widely expected around the NBA. George is continuing to improve his performance and he is putting up superstar-like performances.

Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving complete the starting five for the Eastern All-Stars. This will be Irving’s second straight All-Star appearance and his first start. Melo will start for the sixth time in an All-Star Game. By:

You can watch Kobe Bryant and Blake Griffin square off on March 6th at the Staples Center when the Lakers take on the Clippers in the next round of Battle of LA. Chris Michaels

Should Steve Nash Call It A Career?

Should Steve Nash Retire

Steve Nash

Steve Nash will have to eventually face reality. The Canadian point guard is currently the oldest player in the league. He is turning 40 in February and his overall production has been going south the last couple of seasons. In fact, he never was able to play as he used to since he joined forces with Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard in the City of Angels. Due to a series of injuries Nash wasn’t really able to be the dominant player he once was during this Phoenix Suns era. Now, after all the drama the Lakers and Nash have gone through, it might be the right time for him to consider retirement.

After appearing in just six games into the season, Nash went down with an injury on November 10, in game where the Lakers played against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Ever since, Nash has been struggling to find his health and return on the courts. Due to a series of setbacks still remains sidelined and he is expected to be out for about one more month. The next time Nash will be re-evaluated and maybe gets the clearance to return to action is somewhere around February. Nonetheless, maybe it’s not wise for him to wait that long. He should consider taking the decision to retire sooner than later.

Nash’s production has fallen significantly over the course of the last couple of seasons. The Canadian point guard is a career 49.0 percent shooter from the field and also 42.8 percent from three-point territory. In his 17-year career he averaged 14.3 point per contest, 8.5 assists and 3.0 boards.

Should Steve Nash retire

Retire?

Last season, he appeared in just 50 games and he put up 12.7 points to go along with 6.7 dimes and also 2.8 boards per game. Except for the change in his production, Mike D’Antoni assigned Nash with a role he wasn’t accustomed to play. He didn’t have many ball-handling responsibilities. He didn’t setup the team.

Kobe was the main facilitator of the team, while Nash became spot up shooter.
As Steve Nash recently stated, his target currently is to get back healthy and help his team move forward. He wants to be able to contribute. Nonetheless, is this the best decision he has to take?

Of course, it would be great for both Nash and the Lakers if he somehow managed to get his game back to the All-Star level he retained a few years back. Nonetheless, this doesn’t seem likely. So the best option for him at the moment seems to be to call it a career, hang his shoes and go on with his off-NBA life.
It’s much better for him if all the fans remembered him as one of the best point guards to ever play in the league. Nash certainly ranks amongst the top 10 point guards of all time. But at present, the only thing he does is he damages his fame, the way NBA fans remember of him.

All things come to an end. Nash’s career has obviously reached its dawn. It’s time for him to acknowledge it and take action.By:Chris Michaels.

Discount Code For Lakers Tickets

Lakers Tickets Discount

You can save on Lakers Tickets in 2014 by using our Discount Code LAKE2014 at checkout! Barry’s Tickets has no service fees on ANY tickets!

Barry’s Tickets is located just caddy-corner from the LA Staples Center:
1020 S. Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA 90015
(across from the Staples Center inside the Luxe City Center)
Open 7 days a week, 10am – 9pm, for pickups.
(213)749-0057
Published by Barry’s Ticket Service.

Allen Iverson USA Jersey Giveaway

Allen Iverson

AI

Tonight the 8-21 Philadelphia 76ers come to the Staples Center to face the 13-17 Los Angeles Lakers and in honor of the retired Allen Iverson’s 2001 NBA Finals performance where he scored 48 points in his only NBA Finals Victory we are giving away an Allen Iverson USA White Jersey size 52.

Here’s how it works:
To Enter just hashtag #AI2001 via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Google+ (G+1) on the left side social icons (max 2 per each social network) or comment below. On Dec 30th, 2014 a random drawing will be held where one winner shall receive a Allen Iverson USA Jersey and four other contestants will receive $25.00 in Barry’s Bucks which can be used for Concert, Sports or Theater Tickets on www.BARRYSTICKETS.com.

Allen Iverson Jersey

Iverson Jersey

The 76ers are just 2-10 against the Lakers at the Staples Center. Tonight the Lakers might be without Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman but are looking to snap a four game skid. Lakers Tickets for tonight’s game as well as all other Lakers Games at the Staples Center can be purchased with no service fees at Barry’s Tickets.

Barry’s Ticket Service is located caddy-corner from the LA Staples Center at:
1020 S. Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA 90015
(across from the Staples Center inside the Luxe City Center)
Open 7 days a week, 10am – 9pm, for pickups.
(213)749-0057

Follow Barry’s Tickets on Google+ for special discounts, giveaways and much more.

We are giving away ONE JERSEY
By:Chris Michaels.

Congrats To Mike Johansen Who Won The Allen Iverson Jersey!

Winner of AI Jersey!

Winner of AI Jersey!

The Lakers Without Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant LA Lakers

Kobe

The six-month wait for Kobe Bryant to return from his Achilles injury was short-lived. The Lakers superstar was slowly working his way back into shape before injury struck again a week ago Tuesday versus the Memphis Grizzlies. Bryant’s knee injury was suffered in the third quarter. The optimism the Lakers saw in Bryant’s improved play has he rounded into form was quickly scuttled once again. Bryant’s fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in the same leg he suffered his Achilles tear has put Bryant on the shelf for an additional six weeks that will carry through into the All Star break. The injury has made many question the wisdom of Bryant returning at all this season. The Lakers superstar reiterated his determination to play again this season, which he will likely do. The latest injury, although clearly not season ending, has once again made many question the Lakers decision to extend Bryant for two additional seasons beyond this year.

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?

Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant

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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Trail Blazers Offseason

Can The Trail Blazers Continue In 2014

Portland Trail Blazers

Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers are the biggest surprise in the NBA this season. Some analysts could have predicted a good course for them in 2013-2014 but even the most optimistic fan wouldn’t expect a 23-5 start and the first seed in the conference. The Blazers look to continue their hot streak in 2014. Let’s break down their schedule.

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.

Damian Lillard Blazers

Damian Lillard

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 Trail 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.

Trail Blazers in 2014

2014 Blazers

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.

Purchase Trail Blazers tickets today!

By:Chris Michaels.

Lakers Heat Christmas Day What To Expect

Kobe Lebron Christmas

Kobe Lebron

Over the past week the Los Angeles Lakers have slowly integrated Kobe Bryant back into the lineup, after his six-month absence due to a torn Achilles. Los Angeles is 2-4 since the return of Bryant, but is coming off of a solid road victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Lakers will have three more games to tune up for their big Christmas Day game versus the Miami Heat. Due to their incredible success under Kobe Bryant the Lakers have been a regular participant on Christmas Day for years with many memorable games. This year will be no exception when the Lakers welcome in Lebron James and the two-time defending NBA Champion Miami Heat into STAPLES Center. Much maligned after his exit from Cleveland, James has taken his already incredible game to an even higher level this season, operating at an offensive efficiency that few players in league history have ever achieved.

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.

King James Lebron

King James

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.

Lakers Miami Tickets

Lakers Miami

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

Five Reasons To Be Optimistic About The Lakers

Kobe Bryant Returns

Kobe

A little over a month into the 2013-2014 NBA season there’s a general feeling off positivity among the Lakers fan base. This year’s Lakers club clearly isn’t a title contender but they’re also not the outright disaster that many predicted. With Kobe Bryant rumored to be making his season debut Friday night versus the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, things are looking up. Here are five reasons for optimism among the Lakers fan base.

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.

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