Tag:Lakers
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 26, 2010 11:53 pm
 

Justin Bieber holds Lakers championship ring

Pop-star holds Jackson championship ring, carries on grand tradition of worthy champions.Posted by Matt Moore

A few names. Karl Malone. John Stockton. Antonio McDyess. Steve Nash. Dirk Nowitzki. These are players who have played the game at a ridiculously high level, given themselves in pursuit of a championship. They have never held a championship ring. But you know who has?

This guy.



In an interview before the start of the 2nd quarter on TNT with daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss Jeanie Buss, the well-known personality, Lakers official and girlfriend to Phil Jackson related the story of how as she was carrying Phil's 2009-2010 championship ring off the floor after their ring ceremony, he asked to hold it. That's right. Justin Bieber has held Phil Jackson's championship ring. This is the world you live in.

Hey, it's just jewelry.
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 11:54 am
Edited on: October 22, 2010 11:59 am
 

The happier NBA Ammo moments in pictures

This really isn't meant to be as mean as it comes across. Posted by Matt Moore

Adam Morrison was cut yesterday from Wizards camp, putting more questions out as to whether Ammo's NBA career may be over. A highly touted pick out of Gonzaga, the mustachioed youngster struggled mightily with NBA defenses that were able to defend his shooting prowess with superior athleticism. Eventualy he wound up on the Lakers, and won two rings as a seldom-used bench figure, often in a suit and tie.

After not being re-signed, he made camp with Washington, but couldn't hold on. It's probably a very sad day for Adam Morrison. So to boost his spirits, here are some of the happier moments from Ammo's NBA career, through the camera's eye.











Farewell, old friend, until we meet again down the road.
Posted on: October 15, 2010 9:55 am
 

Shootaround 10.15.10: Good and bad places

Dwight Howard thinks the new rule has its place, Monta Ellis' wife is keeping him in the right place, Andre Blatche needs a new place, and Al Jefferson is getting into a good place, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore

So while the Union's suing and the Celtics are freaking out, Dwight Howard has come out and said that in regards to the new tech rules, "They want us to cut down on talking to the refs, as hard as that may be. We've adjusted to everything else that's put out there. So we'll adjust." That's right. The guy that watches cartoons, does funny voices, and is pretty much known as a big kid, he's the one who's being grown up about this. The world's gone mad. Dwight Howard is in a place where he can have perspective and Kevin Garnett is not. What is happening?

Marvel Comics is teaming up with ESPN and the NBA for a series of promotional spots . Does it bother anyone else how much the league is marketing towards the storyline of LeBron leaving Cleveland? Don't get me wrong, I've been softer on James than others because if you asked me if I wanted to go work somewhere nicer with two of my friends with a greater chance of success, I'd probably do it too. But rubbing Cleveland's nose in it constantly for marketing purposes and playing into their spurned response seems exploitive.

Monta Ellis is in a much better place emotionally and mentally. Why? Dude got married and his wife, a lady cop, has him in line. I can understand where Ellis is coming from, as I'm sure a lot of men can. You have your wilder 20's, jacking up shots and riding mopeds, and then you get married and that stuff gets thrown out. This would be better if she were a segway cop or something. Still, it's good to see Ellis in a better place.

Mike Wells of the Indy Star reports that both Dahntay Jones and Solomon Jones are on the block as the Pacers try and move for a big man.

TruthAboutIt.Net's Kyle Weidie is more concerned with Andre Blatche at the moment than Gilbert Arenas. Blatche boosted his stock immensely last year with some solid play on the blown-up Wizards. But he thinks of himself as a primary scoring threat, not as a complimentary piece, and has big chemistry issues. If they can get him on the market and get a good player to put next to Wall for him, they should move, and quickly.

Alvin Gentry is telling his team that if they want to be succesful this year, they're going to have to be a "GREAT" defensive team . This for a team that had a worse defensive rating than any of Mike D'Antoni's years. Even if you think Amar'e was the problem (and he wasn't), good luck with that, coach.

Sasha Vujacic suffered a concussion in practice and is out indefinitely. Perhaps he was confused on what being "unconscious" from the arc meant.

In case you missed it last night , you need to see John Wall destroying the Bucks in 40 secons. For real.

Mike D'Antoni called Anthony Randolph a "stat magnet. " If only that magnet wasn't similarly charged to that of a "high basketball IQ magnet" because Randolph seems to repel that idea. Many, Knicks fans especailly, hope this is the season that changes. He can be an absolute game-changer when his head's in the right place.

And finally, just a small basketball note. If you caught last night's Jazz game you saw this, but if you didn't, Al Jefferson looked really good. Even with an out-of-shape Deron Williams working with him, Jefferson was hitting from all over the floor and attacking the glass on both sides of the ball. Defensively he's still figuring the system out, but things are looking tremendously good for Utah's new acquisition.


Posted on: October 12, 2010 1:28 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2010 4:22 pm
 

Kobe may not be ready for season opener

Phil Jackson says Lakers star may not be ready for season opener.
Posted by Matt Moore


So far, the talk about Kobe Bryant's knee, still recovering from knee surgery, has been very academic. Sure, he has surgery on it. Yeah, he's only about 60% on it right now. But the discussions haven't actually involved games that count, games that matter. But Phil Jackson is aware that the regular season is only two weeks away. And in dealing with that information has lead him to start wondering if the Finals MVP is going to be ready to go. The LA Times reports that Jackson is "unsure" of how ready Bryant will be when the season starts. This is in addition to the fact that there's no way Andrew  Bynum will be good to go. Bynum has said it may be December before he's back.

Bryant is the obvious more crucial component in all this. The Lakers are a stunningly talented team (which makes you wonder why everyone's so upset with all the talent on the Heat considering Lamar Odom is the Lakers' freaking sixth man), but they're also driven by a very hard iron glove from Bryant offensively. He is the start and end of most Lakers possessions. Without him, the triangle has to evolve into something different, even with Pau Gasol as the low corner and a multitude of wings available to take the third wing's spot. This team should be good enough to roll teams without Bryant, and did so last year. But there's still a level of adjustment, and an even greater one when Bryant returns.

All of this is moot because it's October. Bryant can miss the entire first month of the season, or more, and still have time for the Lakers to get back and claim the top spot in the West. It's really just a matter of how much time they'll have to coast at the end of the year. And with all the injuries and Lamar Odom having played for Team USA in FIBA this summer, Jackson may elect to simply let go of the top spot in the West and simply make the playoffs, then assert themselves. Winning every regular season game is the farthest thing from Jackson's mind. Fifty or better and they should be in, and with Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Odom, Derek Fisher, new additions Matt Barnes and Steve Blake, that number's doable in Jackson's sleep.

The only fear in Jackson's mind has to be if eventually Bryant's body which has been stunningly durable over the past two years will give out. And that's not something Jackson even wants to begin to think about, let alone Kobe. Then again, why worry when Bryant's shown he's willing to work harder, fight harder, do whatever is necessary to succeed?



Posted on: October 11, 2010 9:36 am
Edited on: October 11, 2010 9:36 am
 

Shootaround 10.11.10: Ins and Outs

Turtlenecks are in for SVG, Splitter is out for the Spurs, Ron Artest's second ring is already on its way out, and Ryan Anderson is in gear for the Magic, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


When the NBA announced a rule regarding coaching dress codes, which presumably would outlaw turtlenecks, everyone immediately thought of Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy himself actually said they should name the rule after him. But the Orlando Senitinel went out and discovered that SVG will be able to wear turtlenecks this season due to how the rule works. I don't know whether SVG should be happy or sad about his development.

Greg Oden says he can be an All-Star , when healthy. Honestly, no one doubts that out of Oden. He's tall, a huge advantage in the sport of basketball, and bulky, a big deal in the NBA. But he needs to not say things like this because it only attracts more attention to the fact that he hasn't proven he can stay healthy, or rehab effectively, or that his head's in the right place. He just needs to not talk about it, go out, and do it. Anything else is just going to bring the vultures.

Tiago Splitter continues to miss time with a leg injury . In the myriad of ways that his NBA career could have started, this isn't the worst, but it's up there. Nagging small injuries aren't just obnoxious and painful, they're hard for coaches and players to sympathize with, and call into quiestion a player's toughness. That's what Splitter's facing in preseason with a tough veteran Spurs club.

The Blazers are adding Steven Hill due to their lack of big men, which is awesome, because he's from Branson, Missouri. Hill should instantly be the leader in mini-golf handicaps .

Anthony Mason Jr. son of the former Knick star has been cut from the Heat. Too bad, he showed some flashes in limited time, but that roster's kind of full-up if you haven't noticed.

Ready for a storyline you can bank on this year? Raptor fans are going to go from feeling disdain towards Andrea Bargnani to outright hatred. He's going to get all the blame for the Raps , even while he probably leads the team in scoring. He's overpaid, but that guy needs a fresh start somewhere else more than anything.

The New York Daily News reports that the Bulls are investigating Carlos Boozer's fall to see if he really did injure himself tripping over a bag . Bulls by the Horns says that the investigation is neither surprising nor troubling , just business as usual. It's still not the way the Bulls wanted to start the era of their marquee free agent from the biggest FA summer in history.

Ron Artest is offering his second championship ring to whoever writes the best essay on how to improve the country. In case you're confused, no he has not won that second ring yet. Ron is not lacking for confidence on this team.

Vince Carter is beaming about Ryan Anderson, which is a good sign for the Magic. It really looks like Orlando will be in a position to use him more this season.

This is probably the last season for Antonio McDyess, and might be the last one for Marcus Camby. Bizarre to think of an NBA without those two vets, and sad to think they'll probably wrap up their careers without a ring.

Posted on: October 4, 2010 10:20 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2010 10:47 am
 

Kobe's knee at only 60% right now

Bryant tells reporter knee is only 60% just three weeks from the start of the season.
Posted by Matt Moore


We're not going to waste your time with recapping the first preseason game of the season. Long story short, lots of reserves, not much of starters, and Michael Beasley looked good. What was relevant came for six minutes and then afterwards. That six minutes was the total amount of time Kobe Bryant spent on the floor. More important was what he said afterword, as reported on Twitter by Mike Trudell of Lakers.com .
Kobe said his knee was "extremely, extremely painful during the NBA Finals." Said he feels better, but is at about "60%" tonight.
  60%. Yikes. We're three weeks from the start of the season and the defending Finals MVP, the best player on the defending champions is 60%. That's got to be concerning, until you realize that the Lakers could literallly lose all of their games for the first month, and then still probably make the playoffs. If any team defines "the switch" outside of Boston, it's LA. Bryant was frustrated and disappointed he couldn't play more tonight , especially with the fans chanting for him, but the knee just couldn't go. It's a testament to his dedication that he wanted to play that much in a preseason game... in Europe. But that's what we've seen from Bryant.

For now, we'll hold off concern, even though being just over 50% three weeks out has to put just a few flags up. This is an important season for the Lakers, obviously, but it may be the most important. It's Phil Jackson's final year, Bryant's knees won't last forever, Gasol's getting older, and the competition keeps getting tougher in the West and out. With Andrew Bynum out till December, it looks like we won't be seeing the Lakers full strength for quite some time. I'm sure their fans are fine with that as long as they're still sterling in May.
 
 
 
 
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