Tag:Pau Gasol
Posted on: November 17, 2010 6:54 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:51 pm
 

Andrew Bynum has 'no idea' when he'll return

Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum has "no idea" when he will return to the court after having surgery on his knee. Posted by Ben Golliver andrew-bynum-knee

Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum has yet to take the court for the defending champions this season, as he continues to work his back from summer knee surgery.  Bynum's rehabilitation has been filled with twists and turns. He has been criticized for waiting until after soccer's World Cup to undergo the surgery. He's also dealt with whispers about how hard he's working to get back, but that seems par for the course in the NBA whenever fans and media grow impatient with a player's extended rehabilitation.  Lakers.com has posted a transcript of a brief interview with Bynum, however, that might raise the eyebrows and heart rates of Lakers fans just a touch.  In the interview, conducted Wednesday evening, Bynum says he has "no idea" when he will be back on the court, that he's really only doing "straight line" running during his workouts, that he has yet to move laterally in game-like situations, and that he's not sure he will be practicing with his teammates by Thanksgiving. Bynum concludes by saying that his slow progress shouldn't be a major cause for concern.
I’m not real concerned with it, just trying to get healthy and get back. My big thing is to be in the best shape that I can be when I get out there so nothing else happens. I don’t want to have a set back or regress.
A go-to comment for NBA coaches and general mangers when a player is in a situation like this is: "as long as he's back for the playoffs, we'll be OK." Most of the time, that's just lip service, and the team simply doesn't want to add additional pressure to a player that's going through a painful physical process of rehabilitation. Given how well the Lakers have started the season, and how well Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom have held down the post in Bynum's absence, there is no good reason to rush Bynum back. The Lakers, unlike so many other teams, honestly don't need their injured big man until the playoffs. Sure, everyone involved would like Bynum healthy, and he would be an asset, but the risk/reward balance of rushing him back when the Lakers are playing so well without him is totally out of wack.  While the Theo Ratliff knee surgery leaves the Lakers temporarily short-handed in front, that will be a blip in the radar come the post-season. Managing Bynum's health is all about the long-term play. Forget Thanksgiving. If he's not back by Valentine's Day, then it's time to get concerned. 
Posted on: November 8, 2010 9:50 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:33 pm
 

Game Changer 11.8.10: Lakers keep rolling

The Lakers are the class of the NBA, Boston's bench holds down the Oklahoma City Thunder, Pau Gasol goes triple-double thanks to some slick passing and Marco Belinelli hits from way downtown. Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: LAKERS REMAIN UNDEFEATED

After looking bored against the Toronto Raptors on Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers put on their Sunday best to demolish the Portland Trail Blazers 121-96 at Staples. The game was over almost before it started, with the Lakers dominating virtually every facet of the game and breaking out some Showtime stunts as they coasted home during the second half. The scariest thing about Sunday night's win for the rest of the league is that it featured an ineffective and inefficient game from Kobe Bryant. Bryant was just 3-11 for 12 points in 25 minutes, but it hardly mattered, as the Lakers pounded the offensive glass (14 offensive rebounds) and got bucket after bucket at point blank range. Pau Gasol was sensational, slapping together a triple-double and operating at will from everywhere on the court. His interior passing was extraordinary at times, as the Lakers offense displayed great rhythm en route to their seventh straight victory to open the season. As impressive as the Lakers starters were -- and they were very impressive, with Ron Artest turning Portland all star Brandon Roy into a non-factor and Lamar Odom going off for a double-double -- the Lakers bench was equally solid. Point guard Steve Blake capped a solid evening for the second unit when he threw a transition alley oop off the glass after picking Blazers guard Wesley Matthews at the top of the key. Shannon Brown seemingly couldn't miss when open, Matt Barnes roughed up Rudy Fernandez and Derrick Caracter provided energy. Even without injured center Andrew Bynum, the Lakers are getting solid contributions from nine players deep, and the production drop off from the first unit to the second unit has been less noticeable than just about any other team in the league. Blake's addition is particularly key, as his ability to integrate quickly into the triangle offense makes the backcourt transition from first unit to reserves virtually seamless. It's starting to feel like the Lakers, by virtue of their unmatched chemistry, simply have a two year head start on the rest of the league (except Boston). The passing, the timing, the ball movement, the team defense, the group-first commitment is something that takes time -- perhaps more than a single season -- to get exactly right. The Lakers have all of that right now, in spades.  The rest of the league, including the new-look Heat, are simply playing catch-up right now.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES:

Pau Gasol:20 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals on 9-13 shooting. A triple double for LA's Spaniard in a runaway win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Honorable mention to...
Steve Nash: 19 points, 15 assists, five rebounds, 7-11 shooting. He's still got it, as the Suns top the Hawks in Atlanta on Sunday. Joe Johnson: 34 points, seven rebounds, six assists, on 15-27 shooting in 44 minutes. Huge night in a losing effort.

Al Horford: 30 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks on 13-16 shooting in 42 minutes. Even huger night in a losing effort.
Evan Turner: 14 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, 6-11 shooting in 35 minutes. Turner, starting in place of an injured Andre Iguodala, notched a double-double in a Sunday road win for Philly over the New York Knicks

DON'T MISS:

BOSTON BENCH HOLDS DOWN OKC:

Posted by Royce Young.

Holding leads as big as 22, the Celtics appeared to have the Thunder completely under control Sunday night. Oklahoma City was turning the ball over at a rapid rate, couldn't score and couldn't stop anybody. The game was on the verge of getting out of hand, if it wasn't already.

The deep Celtic bench was in charge of holding the lead, but Russell Westbrook sparked his club to a quick 9-0 run and then Kevin Durant got into the mix as well, keying another 13-2 spurt to finish the third quarter. The Thunder held the Celtics without a field goal for the last four minutes of the third and cut the lead to nine heading into the fourth. OKC wasn't done either. James Harden knocked down a 3 to start the fourth and just like that, OKC had Boston's lead to six with an entire quarter to go.

 

That's where Doc Rivers did something interesting. He didn't call timeout. And he didn't put his starters back in. Instead, he trusted his bench.

It's a luxury Rivers has the very few other coaches do. A bench that can be relied upon to hold leads, spell starters and in some cases, handle business all on their own. A lineup of Nate Robinson, Marquis Daniels, Semih Erden, Glen Davis and starter Ray Allen, saw the Celtics' lead dwindle, but they were also the ones that restored it. After OKC cut it to six, Glen Davis hit back-to-back jumpshots to push the lead to 10, starting a 13-4 run that basically ended the game early.

Rivers eventually went back to his starting five with 4:30 left in the game, but truthfully, he could've used his bench to close out the Thunder. It was possibly more a function of the bench guys needing a break and the starters stepped in to spell them. Ironic, indeed.

The Boston bench is really what won the game for the Celtics too. In terms of starting scoring, the Thunder won 71-59. But the Celtics second group outscored OKC 33-12. It was pretty evenly distributed with Robinson and  Erden scoring nine, Davis eight and Daniels seven. And most importantly, they upheld the Celtic way playing terrific defense and keeping the Thunder out of the game.

Boston's depth is truly a weapon and something general manager Danny Ainge has wisely added to this team. With the age of the starters and the fact some games will be missed due to injuries or other things, the Celtics have the option to defer to a second unit that can not only stay competitive, but can win. 

WHIMSY:

Fresh out of jail, rapper Lil Wayne showed up courtside as the New Orleans Hornets hosted the Miami Heat on Friday night. lil-wayne

HERO OF THE NIGHT:

On Saturday night, the New Orleans Hornets topped the Milwaukee Bucks 87-81 thanks in part to a super long distance bomb by Hornets forward Marco Belinelli to close the first half.

ONE FINAL THOUGHT:

Via HoopsHype : Through Sunday's games, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom are combining for 64.5 ppg, 27.6 rpg and 12.9 apg. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are combining for 59.2 ppg, 16.5 rpg and 13.2 apg.
Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 1:38 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2010 1:49 pm
 

Bynum will start when he gets back

Posted by Matt Moore

Andrew Bynum should be back soon. No, really. Quit looking at us like that. He's seriously on track this time. It's different this time! Honest!

Anyway, the question is, with Lamar Odom playing lights out, and the Lakers, you know, destroying everything in their path, Will Bynum start when he returns? Well, it would interrupt chemistry, and Odom's definitely earned the minutes, and you don't fix it if it's not broken, so naturally yes! He will start when he gets back. From ESPNLA :
"We like what we see from these five guys [in the starting lineup]; however, there are extenuating circumstances with Drew," Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said. "He has a knee that [puts him] in a situation [where] he's got to get himself prepped before a ballgame. He wears a brace because of it and, as a consequence, once he's warmed up you hate to have a guy sit down for 15 minutes and cool off and have to start all over again."
So thanks for everything, Lamar, but we kind of need Bynum to keep that knee warmed up for the ten to fifteen minutes he's available.

I'm kidding, of course, it's a reasonable approach, and besides, Odom's never chafed at coming off the bench. This team is deep enough, they could have a gigantic asteroid smash through their chemistry and still beat most opponents by 15. That's how good this Lakers team is. And when Bynum gets back, they'll be even better.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 9:17 am
Edited on: November 4, 2010 9:17 am
 

Shootaround 11.14.10: Post-Halloween Scary

Posted by Matt Moore

  • Richard Jefferson hit four deep corner threes last night to help the Spurs bury the Suns (again). NBA Playbook breaks down one of them . Next time your team hoists another contested mid-wing three, ask yourself why it is that the best teams work for high percentage areas for high percentage shots and bad ones don't. 
  • Doug Collins left in the second half of the Sixers first win against the Pacers with vertigo symptoms. Collins' concussion was some scary stuff.
  • It would be remarkably easy to find only negatives to talk about in the Pacers' loss to the Sixers (the Sixers first win) by a comfortable margin. But 8 Points 9 Seconds points out that a big difference in this year versus last is that last night, no Pacer showed up his teammates . Bad teams turn to good teams when things like that start happening. It's early, so things can still go south, but it's a good sign. Losing well can at least be a building block for a young team, as long as it doesn't happen too often.

Posted on: October 27, 2010 10:53 am
Edited on: October 27, 2010 1:16 pm
 

The Game Changer 10.27.10

Blake the hero, Ray Allen the alone, and Steve Nash is a sad panda in  the debut of the Game Changer.
Posted by Matt Moore


Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: Celtics Down Heat 88-80


We've already told you about what the Heat did wrong in frames . But if we look back at the Celtics' 88-80 win over the Heat, we need to examine the real cause for the first of what will likely be many downfalls for this Heat team as they figure out how to play together: the Celtics' excellence in execution. Boston brought their A-Game last night, and their comfort with one another was evident from the get-go. That was most evident when we look back at the game flow of rotations and see that Boston ran off a 7-0 run with Nate Robinson, Marquis Daniels, Paul Pierce, Glen Davis, and Jermaine O'Neal. That's a astarter and four backups running off seven on a rotation for the Heat that featured Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, and for a solid minute and a half, LeBron James as well. Another thing to take note of is that Ray Allen wound up with a -2 for the night in plus/minus. Now, that's largely because he was on the floor for the Heat's big run in the second half, and the Celtics wouldn't have won without his clutch threes. but if we're looking at how Boston was succesful, it was with big lineups that bruised Miami inside and worked their way to the line.

Boston's defense was everywhere and threw in a few more wrinkles. Typically the Boston defense rotates to challenge the pick and roll high, at the elbow or mid-post. But the Celtics, knowing James is too fast to attack at that point, chose to put the stop on James right at the rim, leading to two misses and a charge. And it wasn't just James that found a hard time at the rim. Boston collapsed in on any attempt by the Heat to get point inside. And how did Miami respond? The Heat took 50 jumpers to Boston's 38. Pretty much, Boston attacked the Heat in high efficiency areas and forced them to take low-percentage shots. And the Heat just kind of... went with it. And instead of recognizing that approach wasn't working, they just shot more contested jumpers.

On offense? Boston did what it does. Rondo's distribution, being able to drive and kick, and skip-rotate to open jumpers on the far side of the floor, set the tone for the Celtics. When you've got the kinds of weapons the Celtics do, and the Heat were supposed to have, and a distributor, things get much easier. Glen Davis was huge for the C's, with 13 points and 5 rebounds on 6 of 7 shooting. The Drunken Seal was simply hitting from everywhere, including his patented falling reverse. The Heat? They had no one of that ilk, and it showed.

The Heat's defense actually wasn't terrible, until right about when their offense showed up. They started to hit shots, then started allowing Boston to trade buckets. If it wasn't for Boston's turnovers, the gap could have been much bigger. Want the biggest indication of how out of whack Boston made Miami? The team that was supposed to get out and run constantly in order to help their super-talented athletes be themselves, had fewer transition attempts than Boston, 10 for the Heat to 12 for the C's.  Boston does a great job of attacking just long enough on the rebound, even if they've already lost the board, to prevent th break. There are no outlet passes. You're just happy to have the ball.

Problem for the Heat? They didn't have anything they could do with it once they got it.

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:

Luis Scola: 18 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers, 7-18 shooting, +7 plus/minus

FRAMED FAILURE:


Hey, look Miami. It's okay. You have a lot to learn together. You need to work on so much to get in your rhythm. And Boston just hit a bunch of tough shots. I mean, what could you have done? Outside of, you know, not allowing Ray Allen to be wide freaking open :












Soundbyte Mania:

Steve Nash after the game on where the Suns are and how things are looking after their loss to the Blazers last night 106-92. Via Ben Golliver.



HERO OF THE DAY:


The Lakers needed something big. Steve Blake delivered from downtown. This is what happens when you're a member of the Lakers. Then, Blake goes to the other end and gets the key stop on Aaron Brooks, who decided to try and force something up even though he's not big enough to ride Space Mountain.




Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.

Posted on: October 27, 2010 1:55 am
Edited on: October 27, 2010 2:38 am
 

Lakers' poise overcomes Rockets' hard work

Lakers overcome tough contest by Rockets thanks to Shannon Brown as Kobe struggles from the field.
Posted by Matt Moore

The Rockets worked hard. They hustled. They shot well. They drove, and dished. They gave up offensive boards, but they worked on defense. They forced Kobe Bryant into a hard night. They gave everything they had for three quarters.

And it only took one quarter for the Lakers to show why they're the champs. After the Rockets led by as many as 15 in the second half, the Lakers made a furious comeback behind an explosive performance from Shannon Brown, then iced it with a Steve Blake three with less than twenty seconds to go. Brown went ballistic in the third with a barrage of threes and finished with 16 points. With one last possesion and less than ten seconds, Steve Blake made a terrific defensive stop on Aaron Brooks under the basket and the Lakers walked out with a 112-110 win.

Take a look at Shannon Brown's shot chart from our CBSSports.com GameTracker :



The Rockets had solid performances from Kevin Martin in the loss, with 26 points. Aaron Brooks, outside of that last possession, was also brilliant with 24 points and 9 assists. The key for the Rockets? Turnovers. 19 turnovers to LA's 11.

Yao Ming was held to his 24-minute limit, fouling out in the 24th minute, exactly. That's one way to get the most for your minutes. Yao was great early, fighting off Pau Gasol and grabbing rebounds, but Lamar Odom decided to show for LA, and when that happens, they're impossible to stop. 14 points, 10 rebounds for the Space Cadet, and a 112-110 win for the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant was 8 of 20 from the field for 27 points, but did have 5 rebounds and 7 assists. More on #24 in tomorrow's GameChanger.


Posted on: October 25, 2010 5:19 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2010 7:23 pm
 

The Laker Manifesto

This is the way your season ends. This is the way your season ends. This is the way your season ends. Not with a burn, but in gold. Posted by Matt Moore



You see that?

That's theirs. It was theirs last year. It's theirs this year -- tomorrow night, actually . And unless Boston figures a way to play better and stay healthy, or the Triad is actually as good as advertised , then it'll be theirs again this year. They are that good. They are that strong, that experienced, that focused and that deep. But most of all? They're that good.

And here's how it will happen.

This locker room, from all indications, is not unlike your typical successful business office. It's not a monkey bars meet-up like Oklahoma City, nor is it some sort of Reservoir Dogs luncheon like what I experienced in the Heat locker room. It's just like a succesful office. Guys hang around the water cooler, yucking it up about Monday Night Football or the obnoxious dude down the hall. There's a comfortable familiarity, everyone knows each other and Christmas parties are a blast. Everyone gets along, outside of the Slovenian dude who keeps blasting Drake at high volume on Fridays and can't figure out how to work the printer. Someone brings doughnuts, the kitchen's usually pretty clean, everyone pulls their weight, and the chatter about Glee is both in-depth and hilarious.

And everyone's afraid for their jobs except the two guys with corner offices.

There's a level of excellence demanded of this team, and it starts and stops with Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant. That mindset -- the professional, hyper-achieving without sacrificing the mind concept -- is what permeates. It makes the team disciplined and proficient, and it makes most of its players terrified of the day when they slip up in front of the bosses. You will not fail, because Bryant and Jackson will not allow you to fail.

The Triangle really isn't the right fit for most of this team. That's not only pretty certain, it's painfully obvious. Shannon Brown, when released from the shackles, looks like a dynamic, powerful, well-intentioned guard. Within its confines, he's like an ADD kid trying to sit through The English Patient . Lamar Odom? Everything he does is largely outside of the triangular box, filling in the gaps and playing loose within the margins. The only players that really benefit from the system are Kobe, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher. Phil Jackson does too, of course. Because Jackson doesn't have to spend the time running out variation upon variation. It exists upon itself and all he has to do is teach it right. This isn't because he's lazy, far from it. It allows him to work on what is most important. Getting their minds and souls in the best place to compete. Sometimes that means kicking the dog down the stairs and to New Jersey to play backup point guard. And sometimes that means questioning the player in the press in order to get him to have the best run of his career, like Ron Artest. It's a balance that allows for focus.

Are there questions? Sure.

Starting and ending with Bryant's knee. It's not 100%, not close to it. But the man won a title with nine fingers and 1.5 knees. So I wouldn't let your breath out when he has the ball, kiddos. If there's one thing Bryant's shown, it's that he adapts. Constantly. Growing a post-game, grinding out the mid-range jumper, bombing from downtown. He'll do what the team needs, what he needs. There's no quit in Mamba, but there is a gigantic set of fangs.

Also, this team coasts. For days and weeks. Long stretches when they simply could not care less. Lazy passes, weak defense, a lack of hustle that would put Jerome James to shame. They know they don't have to care, and they don't. To the point where it's entirely possible they won't have the top seed in the West, depending on whether the team stays healthy. But they'll be there, and that's all they need.

The team relies on an absurd level of talent. While people scoff, cough and vomit towards the Triad in Miami, the Lakers employ two Hall-of-Famers, three quality starters (at least for the two weeks Fisher is awesome per year), a talented, if oft-injured, legitimate center in a league that doesn't feature many. Matt Barnes and Steve Blake, starters on other teams, are the seventh and eighth men on this one. It's a team loaded for any opportunity and its personnel fits its needs. Blake can spot up and run the offense (to the degree the Triangle needs running from the point). Barnes plays defense and will basically be a poor man's Odom. And the starting unit is so loaded, it doesn't matter.

Gasol may shoulder more of the load this year, and that's fine, since many considered him the best big in the league last year. That fadeaway touch jumper from the mid-block? You can't stop it. Usually, the only thing keeping Gasol from posting huge numbers is his comrade in arms taking jumpers.

And Kobe will shoot. That's who he is and his ego won't let him do anything else. He'll fire until there are no more bullets left. Then he'll throw the gun. No other player so often garners condemnation for his shot selection, then completely backs it up by nailing the game winner. He'll put his team in a position to lose by firing off-balance J after off-balance J, then hit the running game winner and come off smelling like roses. He played horribly in Game 7 of the Finals and still came off the hero. Because for all the misses, he's still the guy you want shooting and still the guy that can drop 50 if things go his way.

Fisher is a massive liability at both ends of the floor ... until he's not. Bynum is a half-player that cannot be relied on to make the tough play ... until he does. And no player better symbolizes the kind of transformation wearing the yellow and purple can have on you more than Ron Artest. From Crazy Pills to mental health spokesman, gunner without a conscience to brilliant complementary player, from loose cannon to lovable winner. This is what L.A. can do for you, what Staples Center and Lawrence Tanter can do for you, what the gold of a championship team can do for you.

And it will do it again.

Get excited about Miami's superstar power. Get riled up about Boston's defense, or the seemingly endless wave of up-and-comers. But know this.

Tomorrow night, the reigning champions will receive their rings, the second of three they intend to get. They have the pieces, they have the board, they have the plan, they have the manifesto, they have the leaders.

Now all they need is the game.


Posted on: October 22, 2010 11:52 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 11:53 pm
 

Pacific Division preview: Who's second best?

Posted by Royce Young



Read Ken Berger's full Pacific Division preview

One Burning Question: Who's the second best player in the Pacific?

I read something interesting by a columnist in Los Angeles earlier in the week. To summarize, basically he said Blake Griffin was the second best player in LA. Not "going to be" or "at some point will be." Nope. Right now, Griffin is one slot behind Kobe Bryant. So if Griffin is the second best player in LA, could he be the second best in the entire division?

(To refresh in case you don't have the depth charts in front of you, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Steve Nash, Baron Davis, Stephen Curry, David Lee, Monta Ellis and Tyreke Evans all play in the Pacific.)

I love Blake Griffin. Love everything about him. I'm an Oklahoman, went to the University of Oklahoma when Blake was there and even played little league baseball with his brother Taylor. I'm a total Blake Griffin homer. But second best in LA or the entire Pacific Divison? No. I mean, no. No way.

But the thing is, this is an open question. Griffin isn't in that slot, though I certainly think he'll be able to lay claim to that and probably in the near future, will be able to say he's the top dog in the town. But behind Kobe, figuring out who would be No. 2 isn't easy. Gasol has a great case. So does Steve Nash who has two MVP trophies. Then there's Tyreke Evans who is absolutely ridiculous. In terms of pure, young basketball talent, you're going to find plenty in the Pacific.

Since I'm asking the question, I'll give you my answer: Pau Gasol. But that's an incredibly close call with Evans. In fact, give me 10 minutes and I might change my mind. Nash is great, but not what he once was. Stephen Curry could be that guy, but he's not there yet. Baron Davis certainly looks like it some nights, but on others you wonder if he's even the second best player on his own team.

At the end of the season, this question might have a clearer answer. Heck, it could easily be Blake Griffin. In fact, I feel like the odds are pretty good there because Griffin is an absolutely insane basketball talent. But now? You've got to go with what you know and right now, we now that Pau Gasol is pretty stinking fantastic.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com