Tag:Los Angeles Lakers
Posted on: January 15, 2012 2:40 am
Clippers 102 Lakers 94: Recap | GameTracker
It was impossible watching the Clippers' win over the Lakers Saturday night at Staples who the best player on the floor was. Kobe Bryant dazzled. He hit impossible shot after imposible shot, including a fading three-pointer with a defender taking up 85 percent of his vision and a turnaround mid-range jumper with similar contest. He finished with 42 points on a decently efficienty 14 of 28 shooting, and only had two turnovers.
And yet Chris Paul was the best player on the floor Saturday night, even with him having left before the game was over thanks to a strained hamstring late in the fourth quarter after essentially icing the game with another jumper. He finished with 31 points, 6 assists, and one turnover. But it wasn't the assists or turnovers or efficiency that made Paul the best Saturday night, nor was it the win he walked out with. It was his ability to work within the flow of an offense, to keep his teammates involved while also taking advantage of scoring opportunities with his array of skills. Paul hit some tough shots just as Bryant did, but the timing, causation, and execution were completely different.
Bryant has been on a ridicuous scoring streak, hitting the 40 mark four times in a row. The easy answer is that the Black Mamba is doing enough, he simply isn't getting help. But the only real differences between this team and last year's title contender is the absence of Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown. But the subtle differences have a huge impact, and the same problem that has bugged L.A. for years is once again popping up.
When the Lakers' offense stalls out to any degree, that's when Bryant's hero mode kicks in. And right now he's John McClaine. He's launching cars up into the air at helicopters and bringing down hover jets with trucks while taking out hordes of terrorists. But the problem is that in doing these amazing feats, he essentially removes any possibility of the Lakers' whole becoming greater than the sum of their parts. There is no flow, there is no rhythm. There is simply waiting for Bryant to score in order to try and rebound the miss or get back on defense if he hits. The result means that the Lakers' weak parts look weaker while Bryant looks stronger in comparison.
This isn't entirely about Bryant. This is about Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol's assertiveness, and the shot making of other players. But those elements have to be allowed to thrive and they can't with Bryant testing the limits of what is possible just because he thinks it's hot. And it's not about how many field goals Bryant takes. He can shoot 50 times, if the shot is a result of the Lakers' offense functioning at the level it can and needs to. Instead, however, Bryant is taking perimeter shots, pull-up, contested, with 18 seconds or more on the clock. He's throwing up baseline runner J's over double teams. And he's hitting! But everyone knows that isn't sustainable. Bryant coul be scoring 40 points a night on 15 shots plus fouls, that's how good he is. But instead he operates on this plane.
But maybe the bigger issue is the lack of a real playmaker, like Paul, on the Lakers. For years, that role has been filled by the system. The triangle under Phil Jackson naturally gave the stars on the Lakers the chance to distribute, create, and produce. Now under Mike Brown, the Lakers are struggling for an offensive identity.
The Clippers are the opposite at this point. The may be flawed conceptually, but they are making it work with the pieces they have. The Lakers elected to challenge Paul to score Saturday night, taking away his weapons. He responded by showing them what an efficient shooter he is and burning down their Nets with an array of mid-range jumpers and leaners. The Lakers tried everything, but when they threw doubles and traps at Paul, his teammates had already been involved and were ready to produce. Chauncey Billups with 19, Caron Butler with 13 and even Randy Foye (who was not good overall) with 13. The Clippers have a complete team top to bottom, and that's a huge reason for their wins over Portland, Miami, and the Lakers. They may not be as good, but they are a more complete team.
The Lakers were hurt by rebounds. They were hurt by inexperience. They were hurt by a slow start for Bryant. And they were definitely hurt by the brutal nature of their schedule. But if they want to get back to being a title contender, they have to stop with the sideshow stuff. Watching Kobe Bryant do his damage is amazingly fun to watch, but it's no longer 2006. The only way the Lakers are going forward is if they do it together. If they want a blueprint, all they have to do is take a good long look at little brother.
Posted on: January 15, 2012 1:10 am
Edited on: January 15, 2012 1:15 am
Posted by Ben Golliver
Los Angeles Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul suffered a strained left hamstring during the fourth quarter of a Saturday night game against the Los Angels Lakers.
Paul suffered the injury after hitting a pull-up jumper with a little more than 4 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The jumper gave the Clippers a 95-82 lead but Paul immediately limped off the court. The Clippers broadcast team reported shortly thereafter that Paul suffered a strain left hamstring and would not return. The
Paul watched the remainder of the game from the Clippers bench. He departed with a season-high 33 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 turnover in 39 minutes on 12-22 shooting. Clippers held on to beat the Lakers, 102-94.
Paul is averaging 16.1 points, 8.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game this season.
Here's video of Los Angeles Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul straining his left hamstring during a Saturday night game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Posted on: January 14, 2012 11:23 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 11:25 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver
From... way... down... town... bang.
Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard Darius Morris hit a crazy buzzer-beating three-pointer to close out the first quarter of a Saturday night showdown with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Morris received an inbounds pass with 1.7 seconds left, took one dribble to elude Clippers All-Star guard Chris Paul, and heaved up a one-handed shot as he leaned left in mid-air. The shot went straight in, much to the delight of the Staples Center crowd. The shot cut the Clippers' lead to 31-24 at the end of one quarter.
Morris, 21, was the Lakers' second round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, selected with the No. 41 overall pick out of the University of Michigan.
Here's the video of Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard Darius Morris nailing a 50-foot buzzer-beater against the Clippers.
Posted on: January 14, 2012 2:59 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 3:07 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver
NBA MVP, Olympics Gold Medalist, 5-time title-winner, scoring champion and, now, motivational speaker.
Whoe else but Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant?
In a new Nike ad campaign -- dubbed the "Kobe System" -- Bryant stars as a self-help guru for incredibly successful people who are looking to become even more successful.
In the introductory minute-long spot, Bryant emerges onto a stage in front of an audience which includes the likes of music star Kanye West, NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, United States Men's National Team soccer player Landon Donovan, billionaire Richard Branson, comedian Aziz Ansari and others.
"You're at the top of your games," Bryant says, before addressing the crowd one-by-one. "You've got prestigious awards. You're a Chinese mega-star. You own outer-space. You got here by accident. So what's next? Where do you go from the top. You go over the top."
He then explains his philosophy.
"The Kobe System is about adaptation: attacking fast and strong. How do you know when you're in the Kobe System? Look at your feet. How do you use the system? Listen to me."
With that, Bryant proceeds to dunk a basketball and a highlight reel of his plays rolls.
"The KobeSystem: Success for the Successful is Kobe's winning, results-oriented philosophy on how to adapt to succeed. You're Welcome," the ad's tagline reads.
I guess it's believable, as long as Bryant the guru doesn't pitch divorce-related legal advice.
Here's the video of Kobe Bryant's new "Kobe System" Nike ad via YouTube user NikeBasketball.
Posted on: January 14, 2012 2:17 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 2:23 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver
She is about to get half.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant will likely be on the hook for $75 million or more in a divorce settlement with his wife, Vanessa, because he did not have a prenuptial agreement. The couple announced that they were filing for divorce in December.
The apparent lack of a prenuptial agreement -- coupled with 10 years of marriage -- will likely significantly increase the size of Vanessa Bryant's divorce settlement with Kobe Bryant, legal experts said.The couple has two daughters, ages 8 and 5.
In a prepared statement issued to the media in December, a representative of the Bryant said: "The Bryants have resolved all issues incident to their divorce privately with the assistance of counsel and a Judgment dissolving their marital status will be entered in 2012."
According to Basketball-Reference.com, Bryant has earned more than $196 million in salary during his NBA career. Bryant is on the books for $25 million for the 2011-2012 season, tops in the NBA according to Forbes.com, and has an additional $57 million owed to him in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 combined. SI.com reports that Bryant makes at least $10 million per year in off-court endorsements.
Posted on: January 14, 2012 1:02 am
Edited on: January 14, 2012 1:06 am
Posted by Ben Golliver
Los Angeles Lakers reserve point guard Steve Blake is going to miss some time, after all.
The Lakers announced on Friday that Blake will be out "approximately 3-4 weeks" after suffering a rib cartilage injury during a game against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.
The announcement comes one day after the Lakers issued a press release stating that an MRI had revealed "a costochaondral fracture (fracture of the cartilage that connects the rib to the sternum)" but that Blake was going to be listed as day-to-day, pending a re-evaluation.
Blake played 18 minutes in L.A.'s game against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday and the Lakers said in the release that Blake "re-aggravated" the injury during that game. Blake did not play during the Lakers' Friday night win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Posted on: January 13, 2012 7:17 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 2:19 am
3-on-2 Fast Break is a weekly feature here on Eye on Basketball where our intrepid bloggers tackle two questions, comparing two elements. This week, we focus on Saturday night's showdown at Staples between the Los Angeles Cippers and Los Angeles Lakers. Follow Eye on Basketball on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
1. Let's keep it simple. Which of these two teams wins on Saturday night and why?
Royce Young: Lakers. The Fighting Kobes are in a really good rhythm right now. Kobe is playing great, Andrew Bynum is looking dominant and all the pieces are fitting together. The Clippers kind of put all their eggs into the basket of beating the Heat and while I'm sure they'll be up for the Lakers, they've got to get past that overtime win first. And don't think the Lakers have forgotten everyone getting all excited about the Clips sweeping the two exhibition games at Staples in early December. People were talking about the changing of the guard in L.A., but those games didn't count. This one does.
Ben Golliver: The Lakers have some serious positive momentum going thanks to a four-game winning streak which could become five if they top the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. That the Clippers get two rest days heading into this one while the Lakers are stuck with the back-to-back gives Lob City an edge, but that probably cancels out the revenge factor that the Lakers are feeling after getting wiped up in two highlight-filled preseason games. Chauncey Billups has hit double figures and shot at least 6 free throws in four consecutive games for the Clippers; they will need his production if they are to keep pace with Kobe Bryant and company. Chris Paul finally had his signature game with the Clippers, scoring 27 points and making 11 assists in a Wednesday win over Miami and he gave the Lakers fits in last year's playoffs. I see him doing it again on Saturday to give the Clippers the win.
Matt Moore: The matchups here are enough to make your head spin. All-Star, phenomenal, once-in-a-lifetime guards? Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul. Behemoth young centers with size, strength and defensive ability? Andrew Bynum and DeAndre Jordan. Crafty veterans on the wings? Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, Steve Blake and Matt Barnes against Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, and Mo Williams. Power forwards with huge scoring ability who are almost unguardable? Pau Gasol and Blake Griffin. It's a tight set of matchups. I like the Clippers in this one. We saw what Paul was able to do against the Lakers in the playoffs last year, and they haven't upgraded a defender to guard him yet. On the other end, Pau Gasol doesn't like it when things get physical and the Clippers are in-you-face as they come. Bryant can swing this as he can any game, but I like Lob City to open up and outrun the older Lakers.
2. We know Kobe's going to score, Griffin's going to dunk, CP3 is going to dish, and Pau is going to do Pau things. But what's the big unknown in this game that will end up deciding it?
Royce Young: Points in the paint. Who gets the most easy baskets? Both teams are pretty solid defensively and both teams have players that can fill it up. But jumpshots only carry teams so far, especially late in games. The Lakers have Bynum and Gasol who are paint monsters, while Griffin gets a lot of his easy in transition. Execution will be tough because you know this game will be physical. It's going to come down to the little things like free throws, turnovers and again, easy baskets in the paint. Both teams can defend it well, but who is going to break down the other defense enough to score simple points.
Ben Golliver: The answer to the big unknown question is always Andrew Bynum. He poured in his career-high 42 points against DeAndre Jordan back in 2009 and he's shown spurts of serious offensive productivity in this young season. Given that the game is on the second end of a back-to-back there's no guarantee that Bynum can fully exploit what is an exceedingly difficult match-up for Jordan. The only person who can keep Bynum off the offensive glass in this one is himself. The Clippers are second-to-worst in rebound rate on the young season and Jordan can be bullied with Bynum's width and strength.
Matt Moore: Turnovers. The Lakers have turned the ball over a stunning amount this season up until the past few games, also notably the best games of Bryant's season. The Lakers are last in turnover percentage differential, while the Clippers are top-four in that same category. The Clippers also rank 3rd in transition offense according to Synergy Sports. The Lakers are ninth in transition defense. If the Clippers can get out and run, that's going to put more wear and tear on an older and banged up Lakers team. But if the Lakers get to grind it out, expect the Lakers' superior experience to win the day.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 12:52 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Mike Brown has been a pretty fortunate head coach. Sure, he got fired from his last gig, but he's coached teams that featured LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. So basically, he was set up to do well.
But he's also one of the few people that actually have a good perspective on the differences between the two superstars. Brown coached LeBron for multiple seasons in Cleveland, but Kobe just a handful of games in Los Angeles. Still, he has had a unique look at both players. His early conclusion: They're different. Via the O.C. Register:
It's very easy to read into those comments and make something out of them. But even from just the outside perspective, that's the truth. LeBron has talked about having fun and trying to make basketball a game first. Kobe approaches it like it's his only sustinance and if he doesn't win, he'll die. Maybe that's a difference between the two in terms of Kobe having multiple titles and LeBron having failed twice. Maybe not.
There are things that separate players. Mental makeup, competitive drive, insanity, anger -- whatever. Kobe Bryant is a different animal when it comes to basketball. It makes him a joy to watch and a pain to watch. LeBron is a freak of nature but obviously doesn't have the same mindset as Kobe when it comes to the game. Kobe has no fear of taking 35 shots in a game and then standing in front of the press saying, "Yeah, so what?" after the game. LeBron almost plays to please everyone. Not in a sense that he doesn't have the backbone, but he prefers to play more team ball than take over. It's the best and worst thing about him.
I don't know if you can take Brown's comments as something that says LeBron needs to grow up, but there is something to be said for having fun and something to be said for making basketball life or death. There are things much more important in life than a game, but at the same time, that's sometimes what makes the great ones great. It means everything to them. It almost means too much. There's no time to have fun on the basketball court, only time to win.
But like Brown said, LeBron is young and still has a lot of time to figure things out. Kobe is in an entirely different place career-wise. And it's not like LeBron wouldn't give everything to win. He just wants to have fun while doing it. Nothing really all that wrong with that. People are different, players are different.