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Tag:Los Angeles Lakers
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 9:35 am
Edited on: October 27, 2010 10:57 am
 

Shootaround 10.27.10: Celebration

Boston's celebrating knocking down the ringer, the Lakers are celebrating being champs with their faces on rings, and ... Bieber.
Posted by Matt Moore


  • Well, you know, the Boston media's probably being their usual reasonable selves this morning. I mean, who would gloat aftet the first game of the season when everyone's been saying all that matters is what happens in April, May and June? I mean, come on, it's not like last night was really a statement ga....Oh.  From the Boston Globe :
"This was the most hyped and anticipated opening-night game in the league’s 65-year history. Everyone with an interest in the sport of professional basketball wanted to see the mighty Miami Heat, the team with the latest Big Three, the team that was going to re-glamorize the NBA, and never mind the fact we have a two-time defending champion located in the glamour capital of the US of A. 

But if the nation, the world, the uni verse, the galaxy, whatever, tuned in to see the mighty Miami Heat, they were re-introduced to the reality of the Boston Celtics , who have won a championship and have had two legitimate shots at others in the past three years, and who certainly look to be new and improved this season. The mighty Miami Heat could have been given a much easier opening-night foe than the Celtics’ squad that handed them an 88-80 loss to ensure they will not go 82-0."
  • The Lakers did what the Lakers do, come from behind in games where they look lackluster and walk out with a win. They were down big in the first half but stuck around because they did what championship teams do. They held on to their possessions .
  • The Lakers' championship rings have their faces on them. Literally . And part of the ball from Game 7 last year. If the Finals are Lakers-Celtics again, can we have them play with those rings up for grabs?
  • The Orlando Sentinel is laughing at the Heat... for losing to the Celtics... who knocked the Magic out of the playoffs this year. Rivalry priorities. You do not have them.
  • When you face the Suns, you have to be able to withstand runs. And that's what Portland did with their bench .

 

Posted on: October 27, 2010 3:48 am
 

No for real, Justin Bieber wore Phil's ring

Justin Bieber. Championship ring. Wearing. Pray for the world.
Posted by Matt Moore




There are no words.
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 26, 2010 9:57 am
 

Shootaround 10.26.10: And it begins

Posted by Royce Young
  • You guys, the NBA season starts today. How exciting. Just a couple games tonight but they're all wnners. Phoenix vs. Portland, Houston vs. LA and that one team vs. Boston.
  • Kobe Bryant did a radio interview yesterday and hinted that his first retirement might not stick: "Yeah, I mean, you see so many people and so many players do it, but it's tough to say that you won't go through that. Obviously, everybody does go through that. That's the point where you have your family handcuff you to a chair."
  • Greg Oden played some 5-on-5 yesterday but admitted he was a little hesitant: "I was worried, but it was fun ... I got my blood moving, it felt good being out there. Coach basically told me 'Don't try and go full-go'. It wasn't like a full blown practice. I was the weak link out there, but I was still out there."
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: "The Heat's recruiting of stars and Pat Riley's ruthless master plan had nothing on the Magic's tactics. The Magic exhausted themselves clearing salary. They knocked themselves out trying to snag Tim Duncan. Greeting a plane in their hangar with Duncan aboard, they erected a huge banner that read, 'GRANT US TIM,' and offered trays of finger-food. Lon Babby then leaned over to John Gabriel and said, 'Tim doesn't eat cold cuts.' The color drained from Gabe's face as he imagined Duncan passing on the snacks -- and the Magic. They frantically dispatched staffers to retrieve burgers for him. It's just a snapshot into the lengths a team will go to win. Your team. Maybe the Magic and their fans shouldn't be so hard on the Heat."
  • How did Udonis Haslem end back up in Miami? Have a read: "Something that doesn't have a lot of precedent in American sports happened then. Wade called Bosh and asked him to cut $15 million off his salary for Haslem. Wade called James and asked him to do the same. Bosh and James barely knew Haslem. Just a few short conversations here and there. But Wade told them this team needed someone hungry and gritty and unselfish like Haslem, and promised to cut $17 million out of his own contract to make it happen, too."
  • The Lakers kick off a title defense tonight and Darius Soriano of Forum Blue and Gold warns to be patient: "I bring all this up because this season will be filled with peaks and valleys.  Like every other season that we’ve observed as followers of this team, there will be moments where hope is low and where the frustration spawned from suspect results will dominate the mind.  Do not succumb easily to these feelings of doubt.  The NBA title will not be decided on Christmas Day or on the Grammy Road Trip.  These are just steps in the process and must be separated out from the larger goal at hand.  Enjoy the journey and understand, again, that it is a long one.  Championships aren’t won in a single game during the regular season, but over the long haul the lessons learned from the cumulative will prepare the players (and the fans) for the bigger prize."
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.
 
 
 
 
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