Tuesday, November 25, 2008
We've had a few weeks to digest all the comings and goings around the league, so it's prediction time, but that'll be another post. Time to find out Who's Not Honoring Me Now -- I'd guess that numnut Marty Burns, but no, Marc Stein is this week's designated Hater.
(1) - Sagarin
(1) - Hollinger/ESPN
(2) - Stein/ESPN
(1) - Burns/SI
(1) - Ball Don't Lie/Yahoo
(1) - Murphy/Covers
So, the Celtics have lost at INDIANA and at home DENVER -- two teams that will struggle to make the playoffs, and the Lakers layed an egg at home to a hot-shooting and certain contender Detroit team. Somehow, that was enough for Stein to put the Lakers at #2.
Meanwhile, the Sagarin index has the Lakers with a larger point lead over the #2 spot (Cavs) than the homecourt advantage factor, meaning the Lakers should be favored in any game, home or away.
Pretty easy schedule so far, and nothing daunting coming on the schedule, so mainly the Lakers just need to stay focused, especially on defense. Here's something not-at-all surprising: The Lakers are 4-3 at home against the spread (yawn, we're up 18, let's relax, stop playing D, and let Sasha jack up some shots), and 4-1 ATS on the road. So color me worried that we'll see a setback in one of these next 3 home games (Nets, Mavericks, Raptors).
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
"The new rules in the NBA game that have been adopted in the last what four or five years - I think Shaquille [O'Neal] called then the 'Shaq rules to stop me from scoring'. Those rules have changed our game," said Jackson before the Lakers' home opener against the Portland Trail Blazers. "Now you can load up a side and you can do things that change the game. Last year we experimented with it at times but we didn't whole-heartedly adapt what other team's have been taking advantage of with the new rules situation."
Others have dissected the SOS D better than I can, but what I'll add is that a new challenge offers the side benefit of engrossing the players and elevates playing D. Derek Fisher, Vlad, Gasol and others are, as individual players, below average on D, so spending a lot of time getting them prepared can only help. "The thing that we want to do is be a great defensive team consistently. Offensively we believe we can score with anybody," said Bryant. "Defensively is where we really want to make our mark on the season."
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Now, Sarah Palin:
Sarah Palin's Wasilla High School girls basketball team was considered a Cinderella story when it won the 1982 Alaska state championship. "But we had been second in the state the year before," remembered Heyde Hackel, one of Palin's teammates, "so we never thought of ourselves as Cinderella." Considering the kind of girls we're talking about, athletes who ran stack plays and traveled Alaska in buses and airplanes and always qualified for the state tournament, that seems pretty obvious. Of all the things they were used to in sports, being underestimated wasn't one of them.
"I can't imagine where I'd be without the opportunities provided to me in sports. Sports taught me that gender isn't an issue; in fact, when people talk about me being the first female governor, I'm a little absent from that discussion, because I've never thought of gender as an issue. In sports, you learn self-discipline, healthy competition, to be gracious in victory and defeat, and the importance of being part of a team and understanding what part you play on that team. You all work together to reach a goal, and I think all of those factors come into play in my role as governor."
Palin didn't play basketball exclusively, said two of her Wasilla High teammates interviewed for this column. She ran the hurdles and relays on the track team, which Palin's father coached. She was a setter on the junior high volleyball team. She ran cross country and played softball in a summer league.
But basketball brought the most success, and Palin was a force on the court, said Hackel, Wasilla's 6-2 center. "She might not have showed up in the stats as far as rebounds and scoring, but that's because she was known for her defense and assists and real unselfish team play."
Even in junior high, the girls talked basketball and dreamed of glory days to come, said Jackie Conn, who shared backcourt duties with Palin.
"Back in eighth grade, Sarah and I were talking to a teacher during lunch hour and saying our 11th- and 12-grade years would be our best," Conn said. "The state championship was a highlight, but so was the time we spent together on the long bus rides or the airplane trips to some of our games. We had a lot of time together. But it was great because we were good friends and teammates. It was just a bunch of good girls having fun together playing sports."
Sunday, August 24, 2008
PG - Derek Fisher
SG - Kobe Bryant
SF - Lamar Odom
PF - Pau Gasol
C - Andrew Bynum
6 - Jordan Farmar
7 - Sasha Vujacic
8 - Trevor Ariza
9 - Vladamir Radmanovic
10- Luke Walton
11- Chris Mihm
12- Sun Yue
13- Josh Powell
14- Joe Crawford
15- Coby Karl
16- Dwayne Mitchell
I'd be worried about size off the bench if anyone else in the West had enough to make it an issue. I wonder how much Mihm will play... will he get Turiaf's minutes, or will Josh Powell step into that role?
What will we get out of Sun Yue this year? Will Coby even be on the roster come October? Will Ariza come back to play significant minutes off the bench? Will Luke stop sucking? Will Bynum start to decline after he turns old enough to drink legally a few days before the season opens?
And, let me get Sony started. What about Phil? Has the game passed him by? Is he watching tapes from the finals and realizing that perhaps a good team defensive scheme will be important this year?
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Shaq continues to prove, every day in every way, that trading him was the right thing to do. Maybe we should've gotten more, but you can't fault the concept. Congrats Suns, he's your problem now. With Wade back healthy, it's a tossup between the Heat and Suns as to who will win more games next year.
NBA star Shaquille O'Neal has been ordered to steer clear of an Atlanta-area woman who took out a restraining order Thursday.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks granted Alexis Miller's request Thursday after reviewing her allegations that the basketball player stalked her, threatened her with bodily harm and made harassing phone calls in which he breathed heavily into the phone before hanging up.
The court affidavit quotes an e-mail from O'Neal as saying, "I dnt no who the [expletive] u think u dealin wit u will neva be heard from one phone call is I gotta make now try me. Sho me."
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Assorted TV commentators keep opining that the Olympics are all about the brotherhood of man, rather than national ambition or patriotism. But don't tell that to the fanatically nationalist Chinese -- or to Kobe Bryant, the NBA star who is playing with Team USA in Beijing.
In an interview Friday on NBC, the world's most famous basketball player told Chris Collinsworth how he got "goosebumps" when he received his Olympics uniform. "I actually just looked at it for a while. I just held it there and I laid it across my bed and I just stared at it for a few minutes; just because as a kid growing up this is the ultimate, ultimate in basketball." The Los Angeles Laker went on to call the U.S. "the greatest country in the world. It has given us so many great opportunities, and it's just a sense of pride that you have; that you say, 'You know what? Our country is the best.'"
Mr. Collinsworth seemed either startled or impressed by such sentiment, and asked, "Is that a cool thing to say in this day and age? That you love your country, and that you're fighting for the red, white and blue? It seems sort of like a day gone by."
To which Mr. Bryant replied: "No, it's a cool thing for me to say. I feel great about it, and I'm not ashamed to say it. I mean, this is a tremendous honor."
Cynics will claim that this is merely about marketing, with Mr. Bryant hoping to use the Games to burnish his public image. On the other hand, he and his rich teammates on the basketball squad are giving up their offseason to play for nothing save possible medals. Mr. Bryant has also been an enthusiastic spectator for other U.S. Olympians, waving the Stars and Stripes at various events.
To the kind of Americans who consider themselves primarily "citizens of the world," nationalism at the Olympics is déclassé, even embarrassing. We're with Kobe.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
- Bulls fans chanting for Kobe
- Lakers wearing short-shorts
- Smush Parker losing an NBA spot over a $12 parking fee
- Webber returing to the Warriors ("I was actually upset he was taking minutes from Austin Croshere.")
/ "We all get heavier as we get older because there's a lot more information in our heads." - Vlade Divac
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I've been the Lamar fanboy since he was a Clipper. I love his game, but if Bynum and Gasol play the big man tandem, I have to believe the piece missing is the lock down swingman, introducing William "Ron Ron" Artest. Between Bill and Kobe they could cause more chaos than Heath Ledger's Joker (*spoiler*). Ron can also pour in some buckets, and you'd have to think Kobe would be even MORE inspired facing one of the best defenders during practice. I frigging LOVE Lamar, but since we should have expectations of repeating as WC Chmamps it would be silly to not consider adding the elements to beat a team like the Celtics. Still, I would be happy standing pat and seeing how this team functions with Drew at C and everyone else playing their natural position. But what makes me feel like a change will come is that Artest fills the most obvious gap, and Phil Jackson has proven he can manage even more eccentric personalities.
My heart says keep LO. My head says if we can get Artest and a vet like Kenny Thomas then it makes too much sense addressing our weak links.
Also,side note...Turiaf is no longer a Laker after getting overpaid by the Warriors. He's going to be a fan favorite up here and I'm glad he got paid. I'll miss the dude. His spirit will always keep him a L4L.
When do the Olympics start?
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Jackson's response: "Derek went off a little bit this year on a -- moment in which he has exercised his leadership and talked in generalities about the variety of -- you, know, when you have kids, you know, you may have one kid that you raise this way, another kid that you may have to raise a different way. Then he looked at a group of guys -- even when you have dogs and you have a pitbull and you may have this -- somebody may have a lap dog, you raise them differently because he realized this group of kids were too young to relate to having kids.
"So eventually we got our own group of dogs," Jackson continued, and there was more, but sorry, Miss South Carolina, your time is up.
Monday, May 26, 2008
In other news, did you know?
A) Kevin Johnson (former Cal Bear, former Sun, owner of one of the greatest playoff dunks of all time) is running for mayor of Sacramento
B) He's close -- down 7 points with 29% undecided
C) He'd be closer if not for rumors of some RKellyish behavior
Saturday, May 24, 2008
They swallowed the whistles, and let two teams, and two incredibly well coached teams duke it out.
You could almost smell the offensive and defensive counters between Jax and Pop. It came down to execution and the depth of the Lakes just seemed to suffocate the Spurs whenever they attempted a deep breath. Kobe played his role to perfection, but there were just some obvious moments where Phil threw in triangle nuances that either got Odom into the paint about 3 ft. from the basket or some other play capitalizing a role players strength. It just continually clicked.
Side note: Ginobli has been given every excuse in the book...his ankle...his shooting hand's fingernail....ehem...since when do the champs make excuses (about finger nails). I recall Kobe has only 4 fingers on his shooting hand, and had been playing this way for months.
With the Spurs I can only assume game 3 will be disconnected and unique. It will be there for the Lakers, but you have to beat the champs to be the champs. I have faith in our
resolve, belief, and consistency. And our depth, especially with the recent Ariza siting!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
- Chris Paul going coast to coast just makes a defense helpless. Why didn't he press the action like that in the middle of the quarter? Did Jennaro Pargo put NO on its back and carry them or did he lose the game by hogging the ball? I was shocked that so many Spurs role players came up big on the road, that doesn't happen much.
- Accuscore says that if the Spurs and Lakers played 10,000 games, the Lakers would win 6,330. The average score would be Lakers 101.5 Spurs 96.6. The Spurs would blow out the Lakers 17.4% of the time and be blown out 39% of the time.
- Accuscore forecasts Kobe to average 33pts on 43% shooting and 13 FTs a game, plust 7 assists and 7 Rebounds. Jordan Farmar will score 4.2 pts per game.
- Do you realize that N.O. and the Spurs each scored exactly 645 points in the series? That's a close series.
- How does CP generate gaudy assits numbers? Generous scoring (2d item): ""West received the ball from Paul at the right free throw line extended at the 4:40 mark. West pump faked Oberto off of his feet, took four dribbles, made a spin move into the paint, came to a jump stop, did an up and under move and then shot a jump hook." Assist.
I love this Spurs - Laker series for its excitement. But I am very afraid that San Antonio is better. Their D takes away preferred offensive sets well. We'll see if Gasol can comfortably settle into the high post and initiate the triangle. San Antonio also defends against the three very well.
On the other hand, the Spurs will carve up the Lakers D. Who guards Duncan, Lamar or Gasol? Straight up and get in foul trouble? Or send double teams, scrambling after the Spurs passing around well spaced shooters with their slow rotation. Then its up to the Spur three point shooters or Manu and Parker to drive against the Lakers rotating D for baskets at the rim. And with the D chasing the ball and drivers, it gives Duncan and Thomas opportunities to rebound. The Lakers best defense is to score 110 points.
Our best hope is context: the Spurs played 2 tough series (Parker looks worn out) and must open at Staples less than 48 hours after walking off the court. The Lakers can blow them out in Game 1, squeak by in Game 2 and then they won't lose 4 out of 5 like New Orleans. If the Lakers lose one of the first two, I think the Spurs find their sea legs and get on course for the finals.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
***Spoiler Alert --- View link first ***
Things wrong with that photo (w/ help from Deadspin comments)
1. The tie over the t-shirt over the black collared dress shirt. Classy!
2. The doll, it's wearing a mask. This leads me to believe the guy brought in a blowup man doll and a mask. Not sexy.
3. The guy on the left conducting his own porn shoot. When guys with dolls go wild!
4. They are not in Colorado.
5. How fucking hard is it to Spell Kobe!?!? It took him two tries.
6. The photo is obviously doctored. The left side of the photo including Kobe contains a Laker fan, an Asian, and a Black guy. Clearly not in Utah.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Anyway: on the lighter side of the news, there's this.
Mike D'Antoni, new coach of the Knicks. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!!
He. He he. (phew) (catches breath)
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!!!
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Man, don't you miss Nick "1-2-3-Cancun" Van Exel, Samaki Walker, Kwame Brown, Caron Butler, Kareem Rush, Von Wafer, Devean George, Smush Parker? Low IQ, chuck & duck basketball was a Staples Center, er, staple.
At least we have Vlad "WTF" Radmonovich to remind us.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
This is two years too late, but finally Kobe is getting his props. Do you think people are noticing that 2-time MVP Steve Nash is a defensive liability? And certainly the NBA was a little stung when Dirk had to come back from vacation to receive his MVP trophy (named after some jew lawyer, go figure; no offense -- some of my best friends are jews and lawyers).
So it's about time. Lebron and CP3 are great, and deserve to be all-NBA, but will either of them be within sniffing distance of All-NBA Defense 1st Team? To be fair to Paul, he deserves it more than Nash did two years ago, but now he'll have to bide his time because this is the first of three in the next four years (ala Magic) for Kobe. He's 29, and the prime of an NBA career is 28-32. The rest of the West should be scared.
I think if we'd set some pre-season goals, they'd have looked like this:
1) Keep Kobe a Laker (check)
2) Improve the backcourt (check)
3) Sign or trade for some championship-caliber talent (check)
4) Win 46 games (check)
5) Make the playoffs (check)
6) Make it past the first round (check)
1) Win the Pacific Division (check)
2) Unload Kwame for something more valuable than a bacon-wrapped hotdog (check)
3) Get home-court advantage in the 1st round (check)
4) Win the #1 seed in the Western Conference (check)
5) Kobe MVP (check)
6) Make it past the 2nd Round (incomplete)
7) Win the Western Conference (incomplete)
8) 2008 NBA Champions (incomplete)
9) Kobe All-NBA 1st Team (incomplete)
10)Kobe All-NBA Defense (incomplete)
11)Bynum Most Improved (nope)
12)Phil Coach Of The Year (nope)
If I were the Lakers manager, I'd say they deserve a promotion and a big raise. Work well with others, can-do attitude, exhibit leadership skills, etc.
But now I have a big assignment for you: go beat the Jazz in 5 games. You're the MVP Kobe, go get it done.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Apparently DeShawn Stevenson feels the needs to be the Roddy Rowdy Piper to Lebron's Hulkamania. This is going to work out well...in his dreams. Since 99% of all Wizards fans are pleading with DeShizzle to STFU and stop poking a lion (or whispering to a bear, same analogy, same result), it would be hard for one to believe you could alienate the 1% of the fans left. done and done.
Turns out Karl Malone really loves kids...no...I mean it...He REALLY loves kids. yuk.
And guess who David Stern loves...The Celtics of course. I'm not really upset that the hullabaloo between the Celtics and Hawks didn't wind up in suspensions. But I did find it funny that our fearless leader decided to not use his stern (yup, i said it) judgment in handing out penalties. Players did move toward the action reminiscent of last years Suns, and KG definitely did shove a ref. I guess the Celtics bloated egos getting popped was punishment enough. After all, you have to feel bad getting punked by a guy named Zaza (this one's for the real fans out there!).
Spring break is over next week, and on a serious note we can use this time to heal. I don't believe in the "getting rusty with too much rest" theory. I'm happy if the Jazz/Rockets go 7 and we have time to work on our game plan(s). I'm sure we'll use our well deserved time wisely. I'm really hoping for the Celtics/Lakers finals. I can't wait to see Jeebus Shuttleworth pout his way to a ringless exit, after all he is a sensative guy.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
The Good Guys played much better defense, but frankly didn't shoot all that well, especially from the free throw line. That could've been a 30+ point win.
So, since I'm a jerk, I like to go see what the good folks posting on the Denver Post website have to say:
"this team is a "F" joke...your playoffs lives are at stake and this is how you respond especially @ home...I will not be staying up late here on the east coast watching this ******* on monday"
"Still all four MC, GK, Carmelo, and AC need to be put in a sack and thrown off the bridge."
"okay, here's the upside. if LA sweeps, 100% guaranteed that George Karl gets fired."
and my favorite: "Just goes to prove that a surplus of tats does not a basketball team make."
Oh, the tears of unfathomable sadness, mmm, yummy!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
"I love our team here," Bryant said. "I love what we're doing here. We have a great relationship, we have great chemistry. We have all the pieces in here to make a run for a long time. I've always wanted to be here, but I just felt like I was in a position where I didn't really have a choice," Bryant said of the tumult last year. "They wanted to go in an opposite direction. My legs aren't as young as they used to be. But I love the weather, I love my '63 drop-top Impala. I love the 405 and I love my guys."
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I don't think any of us expected the #1 seed, but here we are. Someone send flowers to Ron Artest and JR Smith. Or, scratch JR, we'll deliver those in person in the first round. And then a HUGE win on Sunday; I know they didn't have Ginobili, but that second half was a paddlin' like the Spurs took out the school canoe.
Best of all, we got the exact playoff matchup across the board that I was hoping for. Have you seen the bottom half of the bracket? That very easily could've been us playing the Suns first round, Spurs second round. Now? Nuggets->Jazz->Spurs->Celtics, The Laker Championship Ladder. A tall task, but not impossible by any stretch.
So what do you think about these matchups? Let's ignore the East for the first two rounds, although the Wizards-Cavs series should be watchable.
THE KOBE BRACKET
Lakers (1) vs. Nuggets (8)
Frankly the Lakers should sweep, but the Nuggets shoot their way into one win, and the Lakers throw one away on one of those 4-for-17 Kobe nights where no one picks up the slack. Gotta gotta gotta win the first two at home. Game 1 Sunday at Noon. No jinx, Lakers 4-2.
Jazz (4) vs. Rockets (5)
Rockets have home court advantage. They also have someone named Carl Landry getting significant minutes. I'm selfishly rooting for the Rockets, but only if I don't have to watch them play. I do like Deron Williams, but I'll get to enjoy him driving right around Fish for six or so games next round. Jazz 4-1.
THE MANU BRACKET
Hornets (2) vs. Mavs (7)
Did the Lakers do the Hornets a favor in a way by showing them 'playoff intensity' the other day? If that helps them not be shell-shocked in game 1, they win the series. If the blow game 1 to a fired up Mavs team, Mavs win the series. Which, Mavs 4-2.
Spurs (3) vs. Suns (6)
Yee-ha. This oughta be fun. Will Horry be healthy enough to clothesline Steve Nash? I fucking hope so. These teams hate each other, which probably means the Suns will play like bitches and lose when a flop isn't called at some critical moment. ESPN and I certainly wouldn't mind the Lakers getting the Suns in the West finals, but, Spurs 4-3.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
I do declare, that was quite a lovely evening of basketball.
First, I get home in time to see the Suns game out of reach early in the 4th, which meant that a win by the Lakers would clinch the Division. Nooooiice.
Second, as I'm getting ready to leave, Sony calls and convinces me to watch that hilarious hockey check by VladRad on Tyson Chandler. Great to see him fired up, but the adrenaline didn't seem to do much for his outside shot.
Third, I played a very entertaining 3 hours of basketball down in the Mont. With 16 guys we played rotating winners/losers court 4-on-4, and my team never lost despite having a 10-year-old as our fourth. There is some pretty decent talent there mind you -- mostly in the 21-29 age group, including a few guys that play on the Ohlone college squad. In the fifth game the one loudmouth hick in a gym full of otherwise classy, no-argue players, rolls his ankle untouched on some ridiculous fading 3-point turnaround jumper. It wasn't too bad, but he threw a hissy fit and basically challenged my teammate to a fight, claiming he was pushed. The best part: the remaining 15 of us all told him to go home an not come back. Oh yeah, then we ran full with subs and my team won a 20-min. timed game by 2. Nooooiice.
Was there something else? Oh yeah, Fourth: I get home well after midnight, sore but satisfied (no homo), and get to watch that great Laker win over the Big Easy CP3s. Someone 'ruined' the outcome for me, so that 3rd quarter only stung a little. But a salve was at hand: that dunk (above) by Kobe was incredible -- the slo-mo really does it justice. And speaking of justice, that clinches the division and moves the Lakers to the #2 spot and a potential 1st-round match-up with our bitches the Mavs. What do you think, Stu? Nooooiice.
So did the MVP race just turn back in our favor? I'm still not buying it. If the players or coaches or GMs voted, Kobe would win in a landslide. And yes I know that a couple LA Times 'informal poll of voters' has him winning, but the 'journalists' that vote are lard-ass haters extraordinaire (this not an opinion, but a verifiable fact). And as we've seen in the difference in Obama vote totals in open caucuses vs. balloting, there is something about the privacy of a voting booth that clarifies the mind and allows the voter to proceed with complete irrationality and unfettered bias. Also, most of the writers are white, and white people do love assists.
Never mind that CP3 is sort of a defensive liability -- sure he gets some nice steals, but so does Baron Davis, and so did Smush Parker. Can anyone seriously watch last night's game and think, wow those two superstars really battled it out? You mean Kobe and Pargo? And since stats can't tell the whole story, it should come down to the intangibles of Leadership, Indomitable Will, and, I don't know, how about Which Player Strikes The Most Fear Into The Hearts Of His Opponents? (Answer: Kobe, Kobe, Kobe. And KG second.)
If it comes down to this "who is most valuable to his team" nonsense, I might have to go with Lebron James. That Cavs team wouldn't win 20 games without Lebron. But is anyone worried about them on the playoffs? Or the Hornets? It is to laugh. There are three and only three contenders for the championship right now: Celtics, Spurs, and Your Los Angeles Lakers. You feel that fear? It's because we're close.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
The problem is, that you need a stout defense to dig out of these 10-15 point deficits they keep giving up to Charlotte, Memphis, Portland and other elite teams. But they don’t get any defense from their 3 starters and comebacks are regularly stopped by a couple wide open threes, offensive rebounds, or uncontested lay-ups. The problem is compounded because the Lakers routinely have a warm milk and turkey pre-game meal and fail to do anything in the first quarter.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
#3 - Sagarin/usatoday.com
#5 - Schuhmann/nba.com
#7 - Crouse/cbs.com
#4 - dime magazine
#4 - Hollinger/espn.com
#4 - Steyn/espn.com
#3 - Burns/si.com
#5 - Murphy/covers.com
#6 - Ludden/yahoo
#5 - Pincus/hoopsworld.com
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Bynum or no, the Lakers start playing a little better D for an entire game, and this team is a serious contender. The Mavs couldn't miss a shot, and yet were only up 10 at the half. You knew that would make the nervous, and sure enough... anyone else notice that Josh Howard starts to seem inconsequential in crunch time?
Do we really care if we face Dallas or Houston? I'd rather have either of them than the Nuggets right now.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
So I flip over to TNT to catch the end of the Rockets winning streak, and during the post-game highlights of the Suns-Blazers game they show Shaq shaking hands with Paul Allen. Charles Barkley says something about Allen having a lot of money, and Ernie Johnson says, well, Shaq has a little too. Thus prompting this gem from Charles:
"Are you kidding me? If Paul Allen woke up with Shaq money, he'd kill himself."
Monday, March 17, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
"I told them, basically, we're not going to beat any of those teams if we play like we played the last two or three games," Coach Phil Jackson said.
Word, Phil. This is the last, best chance to prove what this team is all about: 4 games on the road against NO, Houston, Dallas, and Utah. The way the Lakers are playing defense right now, 2-2 would be a godsend.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
2. He's doing a movie about Sonny Vaccaro starring James Gandolfini.
3. He did a movie about how tough it was growing up in the hood.
4. His buddy Cash Warren, who he met at elite, $22,000 a year, Crossroads High in hoody Santa Monica, and Jessica Alba are doing great and Cash will make a great father. He had no comment on his other classmates from the hood, Gwenyth Paltrow, Sean Astin, Jack Black, etc.
5. Kobe is the man and when he has twins, he's going to name them Kobe and Bryant.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
I have been checking Sagarin regularly - the Lakers and Pistons have been swapping 2/3 back and forth by hundredths of a point, appropriately.
#3 - Sagarin/usatoday.com
#1 - Schuhmann/nba.com
#3 - Crouse/cbs.com
#1 - dime magazine
#1 - Hollinger/espn.com
#1 - Steyn/espn.com
#3 - Burns/si.com
#1 - Murphy/covers.com
#1 - Ludden/yahoo
#1 - Pincus/hoopsworld.com
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
I love his interior passing, his high-post adeptness, his finishing and shooting; I love watching Kwame rack up DNPs with Memphis. But good lord, he plays defense like his guy has Marburg hemorrhagic fever and rebounds like the sole requirement is tallness. Really.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
4. Jazz (at)
To me, that looks tailor-made for the Lakers reaching the conference finals, while the bottom half is a brutal slugfest. Just shows how important positioning will be down the stretch.
Missing from the picture is the Denver "Two All-Star Starters" Nuggets. At 33-22 they would be 4th in the East (where Philly is holding down the 8th spot at 25-32). Maybe the NBA should go to a full 16-team reseed? Could be interesting:
First round is a LOT more compelling, that's for sure. And you still get the much hoped for Lakers-Celtics final.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
It was in every way a Big Win: clinched the season series 3-1, tied for first in the Pacific, ruined Shaq's debut. We also got Kobe torching all-NBA-defense prodigy Raja Bell (who was also rung up by a vicious Shaq elbow... have you ever been struck by lightning? It hurts), plus Pau facing up Shaq on the high post and calmly shooting jumpers over him. Oh yeah, and involve Shaq in high pick-and-rolls: where have we heard that before?
Also Lamar in a very comfortable rhythm, Sasha starting to get his game mojo working, VladRad playing with smarts(!), Bynum starting some light running... I have so much love to give, I just don't know where to put it.
So, "at" Clippers tonight, in an odd scheduling quirk that I'm not sure I've ever seen before: back-to-back home games for the Clippers. I thought that was never done? I guess, this is something that happens. Here's hoping they are fat and happy after beating the Jazz soundly last night. Then again as Samuel noted, the Lakes are getting to that level where it's all about them -- doesn't matter who the opponent is or what their game plan might be, oh you're gonna give me that cherry pie sweet mama baby.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Most surprisingly he says Nash is past his prime and has started his decline. Not sure I've seen the decline yet. His passing and shooting have been as good as ever and you can't decline defensively when you started out with nothing.
I also don't get all the talk about Shaq making Amare better. This isn't just coming from Sir Charles, I've seen it from multiple sources. How is a guy who never played much D and was a mediocre rebounder for his athletic ability teach these skills? Are they going to sit around and watch tapes of Dennis Rodman together? With the money that Shaq's getting paid it's an absolute cop-out if he himself doesn't perform. Instead of having Amare get better, why not just make up for his deficencies by bringing in a player who fulfils the roles of defense and rebounding...like say Shawn Marion?
I'm sure he'll be fired up on Wednesday, so the Lakers should make sure to play uptempo. When I saw the Warriors pick up the pace on the new look Suns last week they definitely looked a step behind without the Matrix. We can also play Hack-a-Shaq & Hack-a-Mare since neither can shoot unguarded from 12ft.
Monday, February 18, 2008
- The Rookie game was not as exciting this year. Normally zero defense leads to a lot of interesting dunk attempts, but this time it was Boobie Gibson launching 20 3-pointers. I was booing, not Boo-bie-ing. At least Farmar was aggressive and played with energy.
- An interesting reason why the Sophomores always win: at this point most rookies are exhausted because they haven't learned yet how to run the full marathon of an NBA season. Play this game early in the year and it would be a lot closer.
- Last year's rookies who didn't make the sophomore cut: Randy Foye, Adam Morrison, Marcus Williams. New sophomores who took their spots: LaMarcus Aldridge, Ronnie Brewer, Rajan Rondo. Enjoy your reflected glory, Rondo, because if you were on a bad team no one would know your name. And Adam Morrison... why does that name sound familiar? Is he in the NBA?
- This just in: Shooting Stars is still poorly designed (spend half your time shooting 5 shots and the rest shooting a half-court shot), and still a complete waste of time.
- The better event was the half-court shooting contests at the end of the practice sessions. J-Kidd hit three in 60 seconds shooting one-handed underhand lobs. I have no idea why Sheed didn't participate, because my money would be on him. I was also surprised that Kobe didn't insist on participating left-handed.
- The best moment from the practice sessions was overhearing Laker4Life Byron Scott tell Kobe, "You're stealing my glory!" because he finally gets to coach his "main man" but instead he pulls up injured. Obviously Byron was Kobe's mentor way back when, and you can feel the love. We need to make sure this guy is coaching the Lakers post-Phil.
- The 3-point contest is so boring that thankfully Charles and Kenny talked about something else entirely during most of it.
- My favorite dunk was Howard's 1st in the finals: block off the backboard with his left to create a follow up dunk with his right. But then again, I couldn't stop smiling during replays of the Birthday Cake dunk. Howard's first dunk is right up there... his head was behind the backboard! That ain't right.
- It's early, so I haven't read any news articles about the game yet. I hope someone points out how utterly retarded those uniforms were. I mean, whose brilliant idea was it to have different colors front and back to begin with, let alone having the East back and the West front almost identical? As guys move around you see three different colors on the court... or during a fast break you might only see one. What the hell?!?
- Only somewhat on display, much less restrained than I expected: the presentation of New Orleans as a city of hapless victims whose continuing problems are a direct result of the greed, racism, and selfishness of the rest of America. Hey, Bob from Cheyenne, why do you hate black people so much that you don't come down here and spend your time and money rebuilding these people's houses? Or demanding that the Feds spend your money doing so on your behalf? What do you mean other areas were hit much harder by Katrina and seem to be rebuilding just fine?
- I thought it was pretty funny that Reggie Miller advocated Ray Allen as the clear MVP... do nothing all game then hit some key 3s late. Sounds like Reggie ball. They gave it to the right guy (Lebron) instead -- who by the way absolutely demolished Amare on the game-clinching drive and dunk.
- No Kobe, no win. Simple as that. Take heed Team USA -- we better hope he's available for the Olympics.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
A) Utterly wrecked by a Kobe crossover?
B) Utterly embarrassed by a Coby swat?
'A' is seen by a lot more people through numerous replays on national TV, but 'B' must give you a serious bout of existential angst -- make you think twice about your choice of careers. This is also known as "Weiss's Syndrome."
Someone posted a very nice highlight video from the Minny game. "A" above is at 2:55 or so, "B" is at the 3:37 mark:
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Gasol is, according to Jerry West (who should know) a high I.Q. basketball player. He sets picks, he rolls, he traps his man behind him in the post, he takes easy 10’ jumpers and, most of all, he dives to the rim whenever he can. Kobe & Lamar look for him around the basket and he’s always there. I saw a lot of that yesterday- he just dives to the rim and Kobe and Lamar find him. Good chemistry with those three (paging Derek Fisher……).
But Okafor was pushing Gasol around like a rag doll yesterday around the rim and in the post. He’ll need Andruw and Lamar’s help against good big men.
Its been a while since I’ve been this excited about the playoffs, just to see what they can do. A lot of this is on Jackson, too. Gasol is not his kind of player, but Jax needs to make it work.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Wade needs to get Kobe in his 5 so he can get some advice on life after Shaq.
Still a month out for Bynum, but I like the way the kid is thinking. I can't wait to see how this team looks healthy, but I hope we don't rush him back for this playoff run. Our window is just opening and I'd like to ensure we're a healthy in the long term. After all, this is our center for the next decade.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
"What they did in Memphis is beyond comprehension," said Popovich. "There should be a trade committee that can scratch all trades that make no sense. I just wish I had been on a trade committee that oversees NBA trades. I'd like to elect myself to that committee. I would have voted no to the L.A. trade."
When told that Wallace had challenged executives to criticize the deal publicly, Popovich replied, "Well, there you go. I'm on the record."
Man I love Gregg Popovich (agape not eros, so stop right there). He is always good for a speaking-his-mind quote, and he's usually right. If I wasn't a Laker fan, I'd be pissed at that trade too. See: Garnett to Boston for a box of spare parts.
- At Miami on Sunday, with the debut of Maid Marion
- Back-to-back at Charlotte on Monday, against a team that Isn't Very Good
- At Minnesota on Wednesday, an enigma team that shouldn't be taken lightly
Then All-Star weekend where Kobe is in the
So About Last Night: how about 36 for Kobe and 30 for Pau? I could get used to that. Pau is picking up the triangle faster than anyone I've ever seen, and is thriving in the pinch post, making some nifty passes. You see what he does to inferior talent, like abusing Adonal "He's So Well Spoken" Foyle. Once Bynum comes back and Pau is playing PFs, watch the fuck out.
One thing I really like about road games is hearing the road announcers. Not just because Joel Myers makes me want to puncture my eardrums, but to get a different perspective. Last night was classic: huge homers who couldn't believe a single foul call against the Magic. Howard picked up his 5th via a two-hand-check on a driving Kobe, and even after the replay they were acting like that was ticky-tack. On the plus side, my favorite so far is Steve Smith doing color in Atlanta: good player insight, funny... he should get picked up for national games.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
The knee-jerk reaction: lolwtf the suns just shot themselves in the foot.
The let it sink in reaction: Did they just trade their best defender for a slower, older, more beat up, less rebounding, can't defend the pick and roll player? Yup, they did. What am I missing?
The reaction from the reactions: I know something must be right in Laker land when Suns fans abandon their fandom as they watch their team "give up" the identity that made them lovable and nearly brought them a championship.
The I read too many hack sports writers today reaction: Does this really give the Suns a great shot at a title? Does Shaq really have one more push to bring this team to the finish line? Wait a second, this is the first time I've seen "He won't stop the fast break since he can be taking the ball out of bounds" line. Is that really a plus?
The I think I've got it now reaction: Kerr is the boss, D'Antoni is on the way out. The locker room chemistry must have been so bad that they needed Shaq to contribute to the reasons they hate Kobe. Good luck with that, don't you know everyone has a Kobe-man-crush!
and your reaction?
Monday, February 4, 2008
He just beats them up for what they don't do (play D, rebound), screws with their minutes and wrecks their confidence. If he doesn't change his way with Gasol, you're going to see a shell of the former player, a guy struggling to find flow in 20 minutes of action.
Plus, while Bynum had a great 20 games there, it helped that he was an afterthought for opponents. He got points off junk plays. Now he's getting a rep, and will become a point of emphasis for the good teams, especially in the playoffs, and he may not overcome all that newfound attention. That's why guys backslide all the time in this league, they can't take on determined, focused opposition.
By the way, "Easy Tiger" does not mean what I think it means anymore
Friday, February 1, 2008
Ladies and Gentleman, let me introduce your 2008 Championship Lakers:
PG - Derek Fisher
SG - Kobe Bryant
SF - Lamar Odom
PF - Pau Gasol
C - Andrew Bynum
B - Jordan Farmar
B - Luke Walton
B - Trevor Ariza
B - Ronny Turiaf
B - Vlad Radmanovic
B - Sasha Vujacic
B - Chris Mihm
B - Coby Karl
I do find it amusing that part of the trade was the rights to Gasol The Younger, so Memphis keeps their Gasol quotient the same. This is a banner day in more ways than one.
Plus, 2009 is more of the same... most everyone is under contract.
[Morning update: After looking into this deal further, I realized there is one additional winner: Aaron McKie! Because the Lakers didn't renounce their rights to him, they were able to sign him for the veteran minimum and include him in the trade to make the dollars match.
He was working as an unpaid assistant for Philly, so he has to resign, accept a paycheck for $750K, get then waived by Memphis before he can get back to coaching. Not a bad day's work.]
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Anyway, certainly no time to panic. I think if you had asked any of us on October 30th if we'd take a 27-14 first half of the season, we'd have said Yes Please. How about a first half MVP? Yes Please. Right now we're solidly in that elite top tier, with the Spurs, Celtics, Suns, Hornets, Pistons, and Mavs. Not too shabby.
I figure a top tier team should be favored in every home game, period, and favored on the road against any team not in the top tier. That would lead to a 72-10 season, so getting upset every fourth or fifth game would lead to wins in the mid-50s -- right where the Lakers are tracking.
Here's how the season has broken down vs. this 72-win ideal:
Nov....(12-3)...(9-6)....Losses: NO, @MIL, NJ, @UTA; Wins: @PHO
Dec....(14-0)..(10-4)....Losses: ORL, @GS, @CLE, BOS
Jan....(8-3)....(8-3).... Losses: PHO; Wins: @NO
Only three of those losses really stand out in my mind: Houston, @Milwaukee, and New Jersey. Lucky shot, couldn't miss, and one rotten egg. Again, not too shabby.
After a home game against Cleveland tomorrow, the Lakers play 10 road games in a row leading into the all-star break. That's 1 top team (DET), 3 B-teams (TOR, WAS, ORL), and a ton of mediocre teams (NY, NJ, ATL, MIA, CHA, MIN). An ideal 9-1 record mitigated by 2-3 "upsets"... 6-4 would be reasonable. Is 7-3 too much to ask in their current injured state?
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I always liked Sedale, and not just because he once punched Danny Ainge in the face (sadly, not as a Laker). I can still hear Stu: "Sedale looooves going to his left to shoot." What is he up to nowadays?
About 14. Kids. By an unknown number of mothers. One son -- Sedale Threatt, Jr. -- is a college quarterback with pro potential but doesn't really know his father. I read somewhere that he had 7 or so kids just since moving to Australia several years back, where he has played a little pro-ish ball and currently he coaches at an And1 camp. Apparently Sedale Sr. is still partying like he's in his 20s, when he was known in Lakerland for enjoying a nice time out on the town with a special lady friend or two.
Good on you, mate... er, except for the whole being an absent father thing.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I only care because this is former Laker Promiser and Deliverer of Back-to-Back Championships Pat Riley's longest losing streak ever. Look what they've done to my brain, ma! (They picked it like a chicken bone and I'm-ah just about to go insane, mama.)
The Heat are hovering around #28 in most of the rankings, and you hear a lot of comments about injuries, losing Kapono and Posey (!?), etc., but really you have to go back to the original trade for Shaq. The cost/benefit was clear: a 2-3 year window to win a championship or two, followed by having to carry an aging, injury-prone, and increasingly irrelevant center on their roster eating up cap space and making any rebuilding process nearly impossible. To quote Airplane!: "They bought their ticket, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash."
This is the same dilemma the Lakers had, and they chose plan (ko-)B. And how's that working out for them? Currently the youngest (and, uh... heaviest?) of the elite teams.
Knicks @ Heat tonight... set your tivos to stun.
[Evening Update: Make it 13. The Heat score only 15 in the 4th, can't contain Lil' Nate, and Shaq goes for a Kwame-esque 10 & 5 with 5 TOs.]
Friday, January 18, 2008
Then there was Kwame. Kwame, Kwame, Kwmae.
- In a Sports Illustrated poll of 242 NBA players, Kwame Brown received the most votes for the question, "Which player gets the least out of the most talent?" Brown received 17% of the votes, followed by Clippers forward Tim Thomas (10%), New York center Eddy Curry (7%), New Jersey guard-forward Vince Carter (6%) and Memphis center Darko Milicic (5%).
- Abdul-Jabbar, now a Lakers special assistant coach, was asked if he was able to convey to Brown the fundamentals of playing center."It's hard to get through to him," said Abdul-Jabbar, who passed off the question to Jackson.
- Said the coach: "I've called him a knucklehead from time to time. You've got to lead him to water, then force him to drink."
- Added Jackson: "I've told him, 'When Kobe shoots, you've got to go get the rebound.'
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Then again, the Lakers are FIRST IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE as of today by a half game over SA, Dallas, Phoenix.
Meanwhile, Meija the Hater writes his rankings comments all about the Lakers and how this injury will hurt their "elite" status, while leaving them at #6 below New Orleans and others (despite a better record and, let's see, an embarrassingly lopsided win in NO last week.)
Good news is, the Suns lost to the CLIPPERS last night (Walton: "You mean Clipper legend Brian Skinner?!?"), so the Lakers are in 1st all be their lonesome in the Pacific.
#3 - Sagarin/usatoday.com
#1 - Schuhmann/nba.com
#6 - Meija/cbssportsline.com
#1 - dime magazine
#3 - Hollinger/espn.com
#4 - Steyn/espn.com
#5 - Burns/si.com
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Lamar looked lost and useless against Seattle. He is always late on rotations.
Lots of Ronny and Kwame is going to make me, Jackson and Kobe sick. LA Times:
In an update provided by a team source, Chris Mihm is at least two weeks from returning, if not longer, from a sore right Achilles tendon.
Thus, the Lakers are sifting through the free-agent bin and coming up with such names as Chris Webber, P.J. Brown and DJ Mbenga.
The Lakers were intrigued by Webber a year ago and have been in contact with his representatives. They think he fits the mold of a triangle-offense player -- good passer, good jump shot -- but are concerned about his physical condition.
Webber, who will be 35 in March, has not played since last season. He averaged 11.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 29.9 minutes in 61 games with Philadelphia and Detroit, but did not re-sign with the Pistons after their playoff run.
He has been contacted by other unspecified teams and will make up his mind this week, his agent said.
"We've talked to the Lakers organization several times prior to Andrew's unfortunate injury," said Webber's agent, Aaron Goodwin. "Obviously, they're a much better team with Andrew playing than they are without him. I think [Webber] will make a decision where he's going to play this week."
Unlike last season, a starting spot is not a prerequisite for Webber, Goodwin said.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Stu: Kwame has got to put that dunk down. The foul didn't effect the shot and when you're putting down a two hand dunk, you've got to finish it.
Norm Nixon: But Stu, he got hit in the eye, he was rubbing his eye.
Stu: He was rubbing his eye because he missed the dunk. He should've dunked it and then he wouldn't have to rub his eye.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
You may remember me from such Laker moments as The 2000 Championship Season, and Getting Traded for Horace Grant:
Former Miami Heat star Glen Rice was charged Friday with felony battery after Miami-Dade police said he beat a man he found hiding in his estranged wife's bedroom closet.
Rice went to Christina Rice's home near Coral Gables Friday afternoon, demanding to know the identity of the man she was with and asking why the man was in her house, according to a police report. Glen Rice then quickly found Alberto Perez, 37, hiding in the closet, police said.
Perez called 911 about 1:30 p.m. after Glen Rice hit him several times on the head and Perez was able to run out of the house, police said. Perez's facial injuries, mainly a laceration on his forehead, required nine stitches, according to the report.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
And the bench came in and held and/or extended the lead, rather than being sloppy with passes(Farmar) or forcing shots (Kwame). Leaving Kobe or Lamar in with that unit really helps.
Big, big win. All the more amazing that the game was basically over halfway through the 1st quarter. As Chris Paul said, "I don't think it was so much of what we didn't do as what they did well."