Tag:Lakers
Posted on: February 14, 2011 2:46 pm
 

Kobe misses shootaround with "aches and chills"

Kobe Bryant misses shootaruond with "aches and chills" and is a game-time decision against Bobcats
Posted by Matt Moore

Kobe Bryant missed shootaround Monday with "aches and chills" according to Lakers.com: 

Kobe Bryant missed his team’s Monday morning shootaround in Charlotte with “aches” and “chills,” according to the Lakers’ PR staff, and will be a game-time decision for a 4 p.m. Pacific tip against the Bobcats. 
Phil Jackson said he’ll just have to wait and see how Bryant feels in advance of the game before determining his status. Of course, since he is the same Kobe Bryant who generally plays through everything, many of his teammates expect him to play.
via Bryant Under the Weather in Charlotte « Lakers Blog.

It's yet another piece of rough news in regards to the Lakers facing the Bobcats. the Lakers are 2-4 since 2007-2008 against the 'Cats. In those six games, Bryant has averaged 25 points per game, but has shot just 40%, including a 2-12-shooting, 5-points performance last February that actually netted a win for the Lakers. So maybe Byrant missing the game isn't the absolute worst thing that could happen.

Then again, Bryant will typically play through anything, and trying to keep him off the floor is something that requires a crowbar and several security personnel.  The possibility for a "Flu Game" is what the media will be looking for, even though in general, no one plays well when they feel sick. Because they feel sick. That's what makes Jordan's "Flu Game" so legendary.

The Lakers could use a win tonight, though, after dropping yesterday's game to Orlando. The four game road streak had everyone feeling better about L.A. A two-game downturn would dampen that enthusiasm somewhat, even with the "just missed shots" feel of the Orlando loss and this one possibly without Bryant. The good news is they play Cleveland to end the trip, so that's pretty much an assured win. 
Posted on: December 2, 2010 11:08 am
 

Phil Jackson not exactly "there" for Tomjanovich

Posted by Matt Moore

I have come to the conclusion that Phil Jackson is literally willing to disrespect anyone. You, me, the Pope, the President, your mother, his mother, Abraham Lincoln, Captain America, Jesus Christ, Chuck Norris, anyone. He really just does not care; his first priority is to make sure he maintains his lofty perch at the top.

Maybe the comments were taken out of context. Maybe he was ribbing an old colleague. Maybe it's not as bad as it sounds. But man, it doesn't sound good.

As noted this morning in Shootaround, the Houston Chronicle asked Phil Jackson about Rudy Tomjanovich's nomination for the Hall of Fame:

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said that it was "wonderful" that former Rockets and Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich was nominated for induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Jackson offered a less-than-enthusiastic endorsement.

Asked if he thought Tomjanovich was deserving, Jackson said, "Well see. I'm not on that committee. I like all the coaches to get a chance to go in."Jackson agreed with the argument that the Rockets championships were tainted because Michael Jordan was out of the league for the first of their title seasons and much of the next."Definitely," Jackson said. "Without a doubt. Clearly, if the Bulls were whole, we would have won. Its pretty much registered by now. When Michael played, we won the championship."
via Rockets notes: Hall remarks about Tomjanovich | NBA Basketball | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle .

Couple of things here. Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all time. No one is arguing this. Phil Jackson is either 1a or 1b in terms of greatest coaches in NBA history. No one's really arguing that, it just depends on "a vs. b" if you're in green or purple. This isn't questioning the greatness of the mid-90's Bulls or the legacy of Phil Jackson nor Michael Jordan.

But straight up, this wasn't necessary.

Rudy Tomjanovich coached for 24 years in the NBA as either an assistant or head coach. During that time he established a .559 winning percentage. He had only two losing seasons during that stretch run, a .567 playoff winning percentage in the playoffs, and oh, yes, those two championships, asterisks or no. Tomjanovich went on to coach the Lakers in a disastrous season while Phil took some time off to go dance or meditate or whatever Phil Jackson does when he's not calling timeouts to coach the best players in NBA history.

Tomjanovich stayed on with the Lakers as a consultant and scout,and that's what's so disheartening about this. Tomjanovich worked hard for the Lakers, despite the fact that Kermit Washington, who broke Tomjanovich's face with The Punch, was a Laker at the time. He always held himself with class and success. And whether Jackson likes it or not, Michael Jordan did retire those two seasons, and the Houston Rockets were the best team in the league for those two years. Furthermore, as great as Jordan was, and as likely as a Bulls victory would have been, to overlook the 94-95 Rockets is to ignore a priceless season from Hakeem Olajuwon who was no slouch, and a team rife with shooters, versatility, and stellar defense. Maybe Olajuwon's Rockets wouldn't have beaten Jordan's Bulls. But it would have been one heck of a match.

Beyond the questions here is the fact that Phil Jackson simply didn't have to say that. He had no reason not to simply say "I think it would be tremendous for Rudy to make the Hall. I respect him as a friend and colleague." It's true that we want coaches to be more honest. But being passive-agressive and not extending common courtesy? It just seems a bit out of line. It took more effort for Jackson to waffle on his endorsement, purposefully, than to simply extend a courtesy to a colleague.

But that's Phil Jackson.

Greatest coach on earth.
Posted on: December 1, 2010 11:49 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 11:50 pm
 

Lakers loss leads to ominous stat

Lakers lose fourth in a row, which leads to push-come-to-shove streaks, one of which must end. Posted by Matt Moore



One loss is a laugh-off. Two is an annoyance. Three is concerning. Four? Four losses in a row? That's ominous.

The Los Angeles Lakers lost 109-99 to the Houston Rockets Wednesday night, pardon me, the 5-12-entering Houston Rockets for their fourth consecutive loss. why are four losses, even ones as apoplectic as these, significant whatsoever for a championship-proven team in December?

Because of this, courtesy of Andrew Siciliano of FSN :




So that's pretty ominous. The Lakers aren't struggling because Kobe Bryant's out injured or because Pau Gasol is out injured (though Pau is struggling because of the lack of center depth with Theo Ratliff out and Andrew Bynum Andrew Bynuming). They're struggling because they're having significant lapses at the defensive end (Shane Battier scored 11 straight on them in the final minutes for crying out loud), and on offense, too often a no-longer-29-year-old Kobe Bryant is constantly putting up bad shots. On key possessions Bryant opted for the 40-foot-three-pointer shots instead of using all his knowledge and craft to create easier opportunities, extend the game or work for a quality shot.

The other trend that the 4-game streak omen is up against? Phil Jackson has never failed to complete a 3-peat. Given the fact that LA has five months to get it right, Andrew Bynum returns in a few weeks, and this team could not care less about the regular season and they're still only losing these games by a handful of buckets, we should probably bet on the latter trend holding up.

But it still should be noted that the Lakers right now? They're not very good at all.

Posted on: November 30, 2010 3:35 pm
 

Award-O-Matic MVP 11.30.10: CP3 as MVP

NBA F&R breaks down the MVP candidates after the first month of the season by dissecting the award down to three parts: Most Valuable, Most Important, and Most Oustanding Player. CP3 is in control.
Posted by Matt Moore with contributions from Ben Golliver and Royce Young




Well, we're a month into the season and the context of this year has begun to take shape. While certainly a long way from the finish line, we've already gotten a glimpse of who's playing well, who's playing average, and who ... not so much. And so it is that we begin our monthly look at awards. On a regular basis we'll take you around the award contenders and give you a look at who is in contention for the NBA's major awards by breaking down what they really mean in our Award-O-Matic. Today we start with the MVP.

The problem, as has been elucidated approximately a million times by various media members, is that the MVP is a nebulous, hard to define award. Its name is Most Valuable, but it most often goes to the Most Outstanding Player on a winning team. If your play is other-worldly but your team doesn't win, you have no shot. If you contribute the most to a winning team but your numbers aren't stellar, again, your chances are slim. It takes a combination of three factors: value, performance, and importance to snag the award. As such, we decided to break the award into those three categories, tally them up with the top player getting 3 points, the second 2, the third 1, then summing to see if we could come up with a list.

First up?

Most Valuable Player (To Their Team): Who is most responsible for their team's success? Or, to put it another way, whose team suffers the most without them?


Matt Moore:


1. Dirk Nowitzki: Without him that offense is anemic and it's been his rebounding that's kept them in games at points.
2. Carmelo Anthony: Seriously, Nuggets. Cliff. Teetering. Melo's the only thing keeping the truck from smashing into pieces.
3. Dwight Howard: Get him in foul trouble and the Magic turn into a Mid-Major college team, just wining it from perimeter to perimeter.

Ben Golliver:

1. Chris Paul:
  I like Darren Collison as much as the next guy, but CP3's return from injury to lead New Orleans' absurd hot start, despite an unimpressive supporting cast, reveals exactly how valuable the league's best point guard is.
2. Rajon Rondo Boston would still be good without Rondo, but his game ownership places them on an elite level and makes them the odds on favorite to win the East yet again. 10.6 points, 14.2 assists (what!), 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals through the end of November. Crazy.
3. Kevin Durant The Thunder have had an up-and-down start but imagining this team with Russell Westbrook at the helm by himself, dragging an ineffective Jeff Green along for the ride, would be a recipe for a guaranteed lottery team. KD will get better -- perhaps much better -- over the course of the season, and he's already easily leading the NBA in scoring again.

Royce Young:

1. Chris Paul:   Subtract Paul and what do you have. I can promise you it's not an 8-1 team. It's really as simple as that.
2. Dirk Nowitzki:   The Mavericks are dangerous in every fourth quarter that they're close in. The reason is because Dirk can score in every situation, at any time. He essentially is the Maverick offense.
3. Steve Nash:   Take Nash away and yes, there's Goran Dragic who can dazzle in stretches. But without Nash this Suns team is nothing more than a 35-win club. With Nash, there's potential to push for the playoffs.

Most Important Player: Who is most crucial to their team's success? Ex. Last year I argued that Josh Smith was MIP because when he did Josh Smith-y things, the Hawks were nearly unstoppable, and when he didn't, they were much more beatable.


Matt Moore:

1. Chris Paul:
He does everything and it starts and stops with him. This is even more clearly illustrated by their recent struggles down the stretch where he hasn't been involved.
2. Al Horford: The level of production Horford is creating right now is simply astonishing. More astonishing is how overlooked he is.
3. Pau Gasol: It's him that's carrying the Lakers. Even as Kobe scores all the high points, the most dominant Laker performances this season are from Gasol.

Ben Golliver:


1. Pau Gasol: His virtuoso early season performance has single-handedly made Andrew Bynum an afterthought. What more needs to be said?
2. Deron Williams:   Utah's streak of comebacks begins with Williams' tough-minded leadership and ends with his play-making and shot-making.
3. Dirk Nowitzki:   Another banner start from Dirk singlehandedly puts a Dallas roster loaded with question marks in the playoff mix.

Royce Young:

1. Pau Gasol: Having Gasol as part of the triangle has been like a revelation. He's really what makes the Lakers so darn dangerous.
2. Kevin Garnett:
We saw what an impact his has in regard to the Celtic defense two seasons ago when his knee was injured.
3. Nick Collison:   He's a classic no-stats All-Star. He's only played for a few weeks so far this season for Oklahoma City but his value is immeasurable and impact immediate. He tips rebounds that become extra possessions, takes charges, sets outstanding screens and makes two or three small (but big) plays a game.


Most Outstanding Player: Who has simply wowed you?


Matt Moore:

1. Rajon Rondo: Key plays every time he's on the floor and he makes it look easy, There are a lot of moments where he looks like he's just on a different plane from everyone else.. and he's got three Hall of Famers on his team.
2. Russell Westbrook: Westbrook has managed to take over the game down the stretch. His turnovers are down, assists are up, he's got range and that mid-key pull-up jumper is as deadly as it ever has been. He's been simply phenomenal in half-court and full-court sets.
3. Deron Williams: Three point guards? Yup. Check Deron at the end of the clock with the game on the line. Money. And that's after all the assists, rebounds, key plays and floor leadership. Man's a ninja, no joke.

Ben Golliver:


1. Dwight Howard:
  Lost in the Miami Heat wave, Howard is quietly putting up 22.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks as the defensive and rebounding engine that will make Orlando a title contender for years to come. By the way, Orlando sits atop the Southeast Division -- 3.5 games ahead of the Heat.
2. LeBron James: His numbers are crazy and his highlights are spectacular. It's a wonder he can jump so high and dunk so hard carrying the burden of Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra's corpse on his shoulders.
3. John Wall:   Wall doesn't belong in the MVP discussion -- there are too many holes in his game (jumper, turnovers) and his team is terrible -- but for sheer "outstanding-ness" and "wow factor" he merits inclusion here. His assist numbers have been great and his speed is tops in the league; he's a lot further along the NBA readiness scale than even his biggest fans could have imagined.

Royce Young:

1. Rajon Rondo: He's been nothing but insanely ridiculous. Manages the game perfectly, understand his place within an offense and runs the show beautifully.
2. Kevin Love: When given the time on the floor, he's a legitimate 20-20 threat every single night. How many players can you really say that about?
3. Russell Westbrook: There's a case to be legitimately made for Westbrook as an MVP contender. Kevin Durant is still leading the league in scoring, but Westbrook is what's kept the team winning games. But his play has been just insane this year (23.8 ppg, 8.4 apg, 5.1 rpg) and he's a super-highlight waiting to happen.

Here are the tallies:

Most Valuable Player:
1. Chris Paul (6)
2. Dirk Nowitzki (5)
Tied for 3rd: Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo (2)
Tied for 4th: Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash (1)

Most Important Player:
1. Pau Gasol (7)
2. Chris Paul (3)
Tied for 3rd: Deron Williams, Al Horford, Kevin Garnett (2)
Tied for 4th: Dirk Nowitzki, Nick Collison (1)

Most Outstanding Player :

1. Rajon Rondo (6)
Tied for 2nd: Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard (3)
Tied for 3rd: Kevin Love, LeBron James (2)
Tied for 4th: John Wall, Deron Williams (1)

Top 5 in Totals:
1. Chris Paul: 9
2. Rajon Rondo (8)
3. Pau Gasol (7)
4. Dirk Nowitzki (6)
5. Dwight Howard (4)
Posted on: November 29, 2010 12:40 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 2:43 pm
 

Lamar Odom on fame and life with Khloe

Posted by Matt Moore



Odom is one of the more fascinating stories in the league. A space cadet, a champion, a celebrity, a redeemed semi-bust, and arguably the biggest difference in a Lakers win vs. a Lakers' loss. In an interview we'll share with you this afternoon, Ken Berger talked to Odom about a variety of things including, as in the video above, what it's like going beyond just being a basketball star after his marriage to a Kardashian. Odom has tailed off after an extremely hot start to the season, back to his very-spacy ways, but he'll continue to be the biggest differential between a Lakers win and a loss.

If he's on, the Lakers are almost unstoppable. If he's lost and confused, their defense and offense can seem incomplete. He'll be relied on even more this season with a declining Kobe Bryant and new additions trying to learn the system. Publicly, he's gone from being questioned to being loved. He's kind of become the friendlier version of Ron Artest. Formerly questioned and criticized to lauded as a vital part of a championship team. Just goes to show what being a Laker can do for you.
Posted on: November 24, 2010 10:30 am
 

Kobe's Christmas Grinch Shoes are gross

Posted by Matt Moore

It won't be the first time people alledge that Kobe Bryant has a heart two sizes too small, but it's the first time he'll look the part. Leaked yesterday were Kobe Bryant's "Grinch edition" shoes which he'll be wearing on Christmas Day against the visiting Miami Heat. They are ... ahem ... Grinch-like:




So that would make LeBron little Cindy Lou Who, that's who.

Can we go ahead and get this out of the way? The Lakers are going to kill the Heat on Christmas. Even if the Heat get it together over the next month, there's simply no way they'll be able to deal with the Lakers' size, cohesiveness and overall talent. The Heat's Big 3 are better than the Lakers' Big 3 (as in, take Kobe, Pau, and any of their other five solid star players), but they also haven't learned to play together and the Lakers' Big 2 seem to be a might bit better.

Stealing this win for LA, in LA, is going to be easier than taking candy from ... you know what? Nevermind.

(HT: Sole Collector via The Basketball Jones )
Posted on: November 23, 2010 11:51 pm
 

Bynum's MRI clean, still on for December

Lakers center expected back as soon as December 10th from continuing knee issue.
Posted by Matt Moore

No, no, silly rabbit. The promising young center who perpetually is sidelined by concerning test results is Greg Oden! Andrew Bynum is the one who comes back with a clean bill of health, then gets nicked up and is expected out three weeks and misses an entire paleolithic era.

Anyway, Bynum's MRI came back this afternoon, and good news: it's negative. Which is the bizarre way of the medical field of telling you something good. Great news! It's negative! Nowhere else does this phenomenon occur. Not like my boss is going to come to me and say "Hey, we checked out a review of all your comments and scored them, great news: it's negative!"

Sorry, got off-track. From ESPN :

Lakers spokesman John Black said the exam -- the first on Bynum's knee since before training camp and scheduled in order to compare how the knee looked then versus now -- showed nothing "abnormal" or "unexpected."

That's good. The last time I had an MRI on my knee they found an entire race of beings living inside who considered me an evil wizard and wouldn't stop with the incessant puns and that was really abnormal.

Phil Jackson finally came up with a possible return date for Bynum, saying he could be available for the December 10th game against the Bulls in Chicago. Which means Bynum will actually be available for the February 27th game against the Thunder. If he feels right.
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.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com