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A beatdown so thorough, AK had 12/5, and I had four blocks

Soda_popinski The popcorn guy chipped in with 10, Jack yanked down a couple boards, and that cute Laker Girl (you know, the brunette) managed a triple-double in only 14 minutes of play. 

Okay, maybe none of those things actually happened, but given how completely the Lakers dominated the Jazz in their 123-109 win Friday night at Staples (it wasn't nearly that close), it's not hard to stretch the imagination far enough to accommodate any of the aforementioned scenarios.  (Maybe not the part where I block four shots, since that's my yearly quota in pickup ball, but seriously, folks...) Before getting a touch loose in the final 12 minutes, The Lakers laid the wood down on Utah like I used to punish Soda Popinski in Punch Out! on my Nintendo.  Up by 15 after one quarter, 27 at the half, 32 after three, all part of a smorgasbord of purple and gold contributions.  Six players in double figures.  34 assists to go along with 43 field goals.  54.4% from the floor against a fourth-quarter-boosted 45.6% for Utah.  All of these numbers would have been more lopsided had garbage time not started so early. 

I should have known something like this was coming, given that it was carne asada night in the media room.  Good, delicious karma.   

Click below for the breakdown:

The Good, With a Disclaimer: There were too many things that went well to mention all of them at length.  We're talking about one of the best games the Lakers have played in years, so if I leave something out, don't get worked up. With that in mind...

  • Sharing is Caring: Putting aside for a moment that it's easier to rack up assists playing at home, the level to which the Lakers moved the ball, especially early, was stunning.  They scraped off cuts, moved off screens, and got the rock moving faster than Utah could react.  Kobe notched six in the first quarter, L.O. four as L.A. piled up 13 dimes on 15 buckets.  In the second, the purple and gold had eight helps on 11 field goals.  In the third, nine on 12, including four more from D-Fish.  Of course, to make passes effective, guys have to be moving, and the Lakers did a great job staying active, cutting, and making themselves available. 
  • Bringing the Ball to the Hoop: L.A. was able to build their lead because the offense was constantly moving towards the Utah basket.  Lamar Odom set an early tone, pushing the ball at the rack, and the Lakers established Andrew Bynum down low with a few of what are now becoming patented lobs around the rim.  But beyond the fact that the penetration, whether in the post or from the perimeter via L.O., Kobe, or Trevor Ariza, gave the Lakers outstanding spacing on the floor, and set them up for easy looks all over the floor.  Inside, outside, from the McDonald's stand in the lower concourse.  Everywhere.  That helps explain why they were shooting nearly 60% before garbage time officially began to start the fourth.
  • Defense: You don't win friends with salad (points to those who pick up that reference) and you don't build a 32 point lead after three without playing some D.  And through the first 36 minutes, at least, L.A. showed plenty of it.  The Lakers held Utah to 40% from the floor and blocked eight shots (with five different players registering swats). They never let Utah get on the sort of run that would bring them back into the game. 
  • Individual Performances: It's hard to single out one guy, so here's a rundown of what I liked:  Kobe Bryant (31/4/7, 11-18 from the floor in only 29:26 of play).  Dude was flat out dominant while on the floor, finishing his night with a +20.  He distributed early, recording six dimes in the first quarter while drilling three of four from downtown.  It was the sort of game where everything came so easily, you could almost miss how well he played until you took a look at the box.  Almost.  Lamar Odom (17/8/7, two blocks, and a team high +26 in 29:51).  L.O. was a big part of the team's strong start, as he was extremely aggressive coming out of the blocks.  He ran the break well, got the ball inside, and influenced the game in all the ways he's capable of doing.  Trevor Ariza (12/5/4, two steals, one block): PJ joked after the game that he told Luke he could be "Wally Pipped," and while it's too early to declare Ariza perma-starter (it really depends on how Jackson wants to construct his lineup), it's not to early to see the effect he can have on this team going forward.  He provides a defensive energy and athleticism that the Lakers previously lacked, and is certainly a capable finisher around the rim.  There are moments where he seems like he's all over the court. Kwame Brown (7/5, two blocks in 17:16).  Given how long he was on the shelf, I thought Kwame made some very positive contributions to the game.  He was active defensively, seemed able to move well, and on the other end, while he wasn't exactly looking for his shot- he admitted after the game he was probably getting rid of the ball during offensive sets too quickly- Kwame stayed involved.  Having him back will be a very positive influence on the team.  Beyond the depth Kwame provides at center, his presence lets Ronny play more PF, where he's much better off (eight points, three blocks, four boards in almost 11 minutes), and down the road will provide flexibility for Jackson in terms of where he deploys L.O, how he uses Ariza, Walton, etc.  Depth and options are very good things. 
  • Carne Asada.  Did I mention how tasty it was?  Kudos, too, for the choice of two salsas, plus the guac. 

The Bad:

  • The Refs: Good lord, they were bad.  Fortunately, it didn't matter.
  • The Fourth Quarter:  Honestly, this doesn't bother me all that much.  There's a reason it's called "garbage time."  Generally, the quality of play just isn't all that good.  Sometimes, that means the reserves look great, sometimes it means they look terrible. Tonight, it was the latter.  The Lakers were outscored 35-17, shot 35.7%, turned the ball over seven times (three from Jordan Farmar) and were generally crushed in any meaningful comparison to their Jazz counterparts.  But, as I said, when you enter the fourth up by 32, sometimes this sort of thing will happen.
  • Vlad Radmanovic: Am I the only one who thinks his early season momentum has officially slipped away?  Even tossing out his wretched fourth quarter (remember, I don't put too much stock in garbage time) he was a complete non-factor over the other nine minutes he spent on the court, a trend growing increasingly more common these days.  Our favorite Martian seems to have returned to orbit. 
  • Sasha Vujacic:  More specifically, Sasha Vujacic's left ankle.  He turned it early in the fourth, and will be evaluated tomorrow.  He told AK after the game that it didn't feel all that great. 

Audio:  Not surprisingly, there was much talk of Sunday's game against Boston.  Good stuff from Jackson, Kwame, and Kobe, particularly 24 talking about team D, and Ariza. 

BK

There's some audio with Kwame above, but I stuck around a few minutes longer and got some extra thoughts.  Like BK, I thought #54's return was pretty good, especially considering he hadn't played since November 18th.  He moved very well, both in terms of quickness and fluidity, and his timing was much better than I expected.  When I shared that sentiment with Kwame, I got the impression the performance might have been smoother than he anticipated as well.  In the meantime, his ankle is sporting the biggest brace on God's green.  Upon first glance, you'd think he was wearing an ankle monitor.  But if it keeps that fragile foot-to-shin connector in place, I'm all for Kwame sporting the "house arrest" look.  His return adds some seriously needed frontcourt depth (and options, especially when it comes to Ronny Turiaf's usage in the rotation).

Kwame, on the game against the Celtics tomorrow
"It's gonna be a tough game, but it's a very winnable game, if we just come out and play the way we're supposed to play.  Limit our turnovers and just play hard.  Make it a dog fight.  They have three great scorers, but there's only one ball.  If we go out and do what we're supposed to do, we match up pretty well with them in size.  We should be okay.

On the team being better defensively this season
"It starts with the leadership.  Instead of one guy being a vocal leader, now we have two or three guys.  We got Derek Fisher, who's been great at the point guard spot.  At his age, the things that he's still capable of doing are amazing.  And the point guard we had last year in Smush (Parker), no knock on him but he didn't talk much.  Now we got a vocal leader at the point guard spot and that's where it starts.  He's given some feedback on what he'd like in the screen and roll defense and where he wants you to be and how he can help you if you get switched off and that goes a long way.  If you were playing at the park, guys talk at the park, guys talk at the park all the time.  And then sometimes when we come out here, we don't like to talk."

(I noted later to Kwame the irony of a playground/park legend like Smush being so quiet on the court.  He just smiled and shrugged, like "Yeah, what are you gonna do?")

On how the game ended up such a blowout
"It started with our defense.  We've been scoring enough points to beat everybody, but when we play defense the way we played, getting our hands on balls.  Myself, Fish, everybody being active, we're going to be a tough team to beat."

On how he evaluates the night after such a long absence.  Does he go by his rhythm out there, how his body felt
"I'm looking to not have any slippage on defense.  Whether I'm coming off the bench or whether (Phil Jackson) decides to start me, to be the anchor.  Get your hands on balls.  Clog up the lane.  Just run the floor.  Offense will come.  Like I said, I'm not even 100% and it was very simple to get those little tip backs. 

On how it felt simpler stepping back after a long injury absence this season than the same situation last year
"It's simpler, because Kobe's in such a mode that he trusts all of his teammates right now and guys have been proving all year long that they're gonna catch and finish the ball.  So he's giving guys opportunities to catch and finish the ball.  And he wants to give you the ball.  He wants you to get going because it all looks good.  He's gonna get his points, regardless.

-AK

 
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Well, well, well, we finally have a team to get excited about. Seems like it has been quite a while. We need to play well against the Celtics so that there is no doubt in our minds that, should we meet our hated rivals in the finals (seemingly more likely now than in the offseason), we can and will take home the championship. I loved the rivalry between Bird/McHale and Magic/Kareem back in the 80's. My mom used to laugh because my favorite cereal was Lucky Charms but I removed all the shamrocks. I would love to see a rekindling of the Lakers/Celtics rivalry for the next 3-5 years. I might even get me an old box of Lucky Charms to celebrate, collect all the shamrocks, and flush em' down the toilet.

Go Lakers and kick the crap out of Boston!!!

GREAT GAME!!! GREAT STUFSS

How good it is if I could have watched the game?!
Just bring those TACOS here at my house in GA!!!
please...
Atlanta is a good team too, they can win some games.
An EAST contender alright, at least a second round playoffs exit, my observation!

Do you believe in miracles?

We'll find out Sunday.

Go Lakers

Haha, classic. Loved that old school Punch Out game. Bring on the Celts!

Here we stand at the crossroads. In one direction is the future, in the other, the past. Which road will the Lakers take? Forget what's happened before, focus on the moment. It will take everything you got to get over this hill. Good luck. Leave it all on the floor.

Lakers just looked dominant. I hope they're really that good. I know its a struggling Jazz team but damn. It wasn't even close. League Pass is fantastic; I live in OKC, grew up in Cali and been a Laker fan since the 80s. Hope we do better against Boston on Sunday than the previous meeting. Key is Lakers role players for this game. Ariza, Bynum, Odom need to be real solid like tonight for a chance vs this Boston team. Its going to be good. Go Lakers!

I love are chances against Boston,remeber that is their second game on a back to back folk's, I guarantee we finish off tired Celtic`s.

If we throw in a draft pick can we find someone to take Vlad for nothing...?

Let's kick Celtic ass...!

AK/BK,

is there any questions that exploring PJ's comments on the 2nd/3rd unit output during the garbage time?

thanks

"you don't win friends with salad" is from the Simpsons, the episode "Lisa The Vegetarian"!!

White mamba 24,

I don't think the Lakers will win against Boston, but I expect them to win five of the next seven games.

ok i found this online...might help to hate the celtics more than i already do...nevermind that can't be possible.

November 23, 2007

http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/articles/2007/11/23/new_generation_embraces_rivalry/


Depending on where your loyalty lies, you'd either call it the Celtics-Lakers Rivalry or the Lakers-Celtics Rivalry.

more stories like thisNo two NBA teams have won more championships than the Celtics and Lakers with 16 and 14, respectively. Historians can vividly recall Red Auerbach enjoying his victory cigar after winning NBA Finals over the Lakers six times in the 1960s. No longtime fan of either franchise can forget the storied battles between Bob Cousy and Jerry West. During the 1980s, there were the bitter games led by the Celtics' Larry Bird and the Lakers' Magic Johnson.

Hey, this rivalry was so intense that a video game was even made with that as a theme.

While the NBA's most storied rivalry has lost some intensity since Bird and Magic unlaced their Converses, the hate between the franchises will never die. Tonight at TD Banknorth Garden, there will be a new chapter added as the Celtics' new star trio faces Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

"I hated those [expletives]," Bryant said, smiling, to reporters in Milwaukee Wednesday night. "I couldn't stand them, man. Are you kidding me? Bird. McHale. Ainge. Ainge was like a little pest, man. I couldn't stand the guy.

"But you grow older and you understand that it's just beautiful basketball. As a kid, you just don't like them. But then, as you get older, you understand the beauty and the rivalry and the sense of appreciation that you have for it."

Said Celtics forward Kevin Garnett: "This is my first of, hopefully, many. If you don't know about the Lakers-Celtics history, then you really don't know basketball. I'm looking forward to it and I'm going to enjoy it. I'm going to embrace it. I'm going to try not to get too hyped about it. I'm very much aware of it. The titles . . . and the endless battles."

Two key ingredients to a great rivalry are great players and great records. Such hasn't been the case for both teams at the same time in recent years.

But today's Celtics enter tonight's game with a star trio of Paul Pierce and newcomers Garnett and Ray Allen. Boston (9-1) also owns the Eastern Conference's best winning percentage at .900. The hot Lakers (7-4) have arguably the NBA's top player in Bryant, who is averaging 26.9 points per game, and a coach, Phil Jackson, who has roamed the sidelines during three Lakers championships.

"Definitely, when you talk about the Lakers, you talk about Kobe," said Pierce, who grew up in Los Angeles as a Lakers fan. "We just have to control him. He's capable of having huge nights. We have to limit the other guys. He's playing well this year. The Lakers are playing well. They're kind of on a
Said Bryant: "They have a lot of talent. They have a lot of firepower. It's a matchup nightmare, I'm sure, for all the coaches."

more stories like thisLuckily for the Celtics, the game will be played with Garnett suiting up for Boston instead of the Lakers.

The Lakers were among the teams that made a run at acquiring Garnett from Minnesota during the offseason. An NBA source recently told The Boston Globe that the Lakers dangled the likes of forward Lamar Odom and young, budding center Andrew Bynum for Garnett, but couldn't land a draft pick to sweeten the deal. Instead, the Celtics acquired Garnett July 31 for five players and two draft picks. Jackson found it ironic that Kevin McHale, the Wolves' vice president of basketball operations, traded Garnett to the Celtics.

"Red came out of the grave and got Kevin to make the trade the right way and they're back on top," Jackson said.

Adding to the intrigue of the Lakers' only regular-season visit to Boston is all the drama surrounding Bryant. The nine-time NBA All-Star asked for a trade during the offseason and expressed disappointment with the direction of the franchise as the season started. Lakers owner Jerry Buss has expressed being open to dealing the four-time All-NBA first-team selection.

But when asked recently by reporters in San Antonio if the Lakers' early-season winning has changed his desire to leave, Bryant said: "It's got nothing to do with that. We don't even address it. We let our business people handle the business side of it and one thing I understand now more than ever is that this is a business.

"I wish it was always about basketball, but that's not always the case. I kind of let my business partners take care of that. I'm here to focus on basketball, and that's it."

Tonight's edition of Celtics vs. Lakers or Lakers vs. Celtics will certainly bring excitement back to the storied rivalry. But until both teams play against each other in the Finals again, the rivalry probably won't be quite what it used to be.

"To get back to that, that means that we're playing at a championship level," Bryant said.


You heard it here first:

The Lakers will be 8-6 in January, 11-4 February, 8-7 March, and 5-3 in April. The Lakers, thus, will finish 20 games above .500 and a record of 51-31. A 50 game winning season is very respectable, but everything matters at the end.

Bynum plays, we win by a little.

Kwame plays, we win by a LOT!

That was my Mike T impersonation.

But seriously, Bynum + Kwame is a pretty nice one-two combo, one that Little Mac would be proud to use.

If the Jazz were Soda Popinksi, does that make the Celtics Bald Bull, because they're next, or are they Mike Tyson?

Good Game. Limit that Garnett, Kwame!!

"And the point guard we had last year in Smush (Parker), no knock on him but he didn't talk much. Now we got a vocal leader at the point guard spot and that's where it starts. " -Kwame Brown

Thats really funny. I was reading the latest DUB Magazine where Smush was talking about his Smushcalade and he said that he, Odom, and Kwame were all tight (talk about the reason why we sucked the last year). But now Smush is gone and its weird to hear Kwame diss him like that. Perhaps Smush was that much of a cancer to the team. Sounds like Kwame and Odom are really buying into things this year.


Another observation is that Kobe is playing like MJ. Kobe is not just the best scorer right now in the game, but hes playing very much in the offense. All of us who in the summer were complaining about Kobe's game...well here it is. We know Kobe is great and the best player in the game. But even if he passes the ball or whatever, he still will rack his points and it makes his teammates better.

Kobe also has a killer look right ever since the G.S and Cavs stretch where he got hurt and blew the Warriors game, and then missed the game winning three and got outplayed by LeBron. As much as he says that he doesnt care about that stuff...you know thats what drives him. Kobe went to New York because he knows thats a big stage. Then the Christmas game that was on national tv and he showed everybody how he's still lethal. Then tonight its just a carry-over. I am pretty sure that against Boston he's going to show for another 35 points because its another big stage.

As far as Boston, we need to play D, and the substituions. I have a feeling that Phil Jackson will decide to coach the Lakers tomorrow through rough patches (calling timeouts) because you know he loves to stick it to Red Auerbach.

Im disappointed that we still have obvious injuries on our team still. Sasha hurts an ankle, and Radmanavic is still not right, probably because of his wrist injuries. But the good news is that they are not vital right now. Kwame coming to play C, moves Turiaf to PF replacing Vlad at that position. Next, Ariza fills in at SF for Luke so we dont miss him right now either. As far as Sasha is concerned, Kobe is playing 40 minutes and against Boston I could see him playing 40-45 minutes. Of course we need everyone healthy for that long and weary road trip, but for tomorow we will survive.

Go Lakers!!

3rd in the Western Conference

You don't win friends with salad!!!! The Simpsons! Episode when Lisa turns into a vegetarian. Bart and Homer start a two man conga line singing "you don't win friends with salad." Classic.

What can I say? Great game! Look forward to Celtics and then we can really see how far this team has come. Have to measure ourselves against the best and Celts are the best record wise. But we will see who is better at game end. Hey JC got some minutes.

I watched the game from Orlando, NBA league pass is the greatest. Anyways, it gives me something to be proud off. It feels good when I go to work and I say "Hey! Did you see my Lakers beat up on..." Sweet. These Lakers are special.

hey...im sick of laker fans going to the games and sitting there NOT appreciating their team. GET UP YOU A-HOLES and CHEER FOR OUR TEAM. OTHER AREANAS GO CRAZY...AND WE HAVE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FRANCHISE IN ALL OF SPORTS. LETS SHOW BOSTON THAT WE ARE SOME SCARY ASS FANS.

Hey Mike T.,

Your boy looked pretty good out there considering. I was somewhat surprised. I hope he can repeat the effort on Sunday.

AK/BK,

Hmm, maybe I'm just in a good mood cuz of another laker win but seems to me like you guys are stepping up you game as well, turning into contenders as well ... nice work BK on tracking down Kwame for those extra nuggets, and pointing out to him that smush was a playground legend was just shy of genious ....

on that particular issue I think smush was just never quite confident/sure that he belonged in the league, he was too busy worrying about his future in the league instead of just enjoying the opportunity to have kobe as his running mate in the park ... imagine if instead of having a frown on his face when nash made him look silly he'd simply smile and say "don't worry kobe's gonna dunk on your boi next play" ... I hope he gets his act right eventually, at the end of the day I think he can be a good role player in the league

Wonderful game! That game was officilly over after the 1st quarter. The "Curse Me Kilts" will be a tough game..but they have 3 guys that have to stay on the floor at all time. They may be tired after tonights game. I don't believe Utah will allow 2 upsets back to back...so D-Will will have a redemption game

AK/BK
I bet yall can't name all the characters from Mike Tysons Punch out?
1. Glass joe
2. Sodapopinski
3. ????
dang that's al I remember..haaha

Sunday looms large as a good test for our young team. When the Lakers share and get contributions from everybody, they look unstoppable. Kobe led the way tonight....he game out of the gate like his pants were on fire and the rest of the team ran with him. If the Lakers can get guys like Kwame, Vlad and Ronny T. playing at a consistently high level, then they are going tough for anyone to beat.

This year feels a lot different than last year's fast start. Last year, the Lakers' success was based on Kobe's scoring and the surprising play of several members of the team. Luke got off to a fast start and was leading the league in 3 pt. shooting for a while.

This year's team has a lot more power and much better defense. Last year they were hoping for threes, this year they're attacking the rim on a regular basis and actually stopping teams at key moments. This team has a lot of possibilities. GO LAKERS!!!

A great win by the next great dynasty in Laker history. Some observations the morning after:

1) This game showed why KWAME MUST (and will) STAY. It confirmed that when Bynum has to sit because of foul trouble, we need a mobile, big body to both anchor the triangle and body out the other team's big body. And Kwame, despite being in terrible shape, (Jeez, I thought he was going to drown in his own sweat)...delivered. We need that. Phil knows it. And so Kwame must stay. And all you "Kwame must go" yappers on this board can go the the fenced section of this blog where AK/BK keep the chihuahuas to guard against the spambots.

2) The defense was definitely "sponge worthy" (Seinfeld episode 154). Definitely championship class. We completely blanketed everything the Jazz tried. Most importantly, we showed we can stop a great, quick guard like Deron Williams (6 pts, 4 to's!). Man, how many years has it been since we could do that? Mike T is going to have to file a revised report (next month?) on how our D now puts us into Finals contention.

3) Kobe is on fire. I only fear spontaneous combustion might erupt on court as he torches the Celtics. The thing that's really impressive is how aggressive he's been on defense. It has definitely rubbed off on the rest of the team. Great case of leading by example.

4) Ariza, Ariza, Ariza. I'm not repeating myself, I'm describing how many of him look like they're on court at one time. Does this guy anticipate and move at the speed of light, or what? He's like Pippen on speed.

Showtime!!!

The Ariza deal is starting to look like one of the best ones the Lakers have made in years.

Guys I'm still stupified that Boston is the NBA's best team. How do you trade your whole team for two guys and be this good. The Lakers got Malone and Patton with Shaq, Kobe and Fisher. That team was loaded and we were not as dominant as Boston is. I guess i just hate Boston and don't want to see them dominate and am still ticked that Garnet did not come here. GO LAKERS !!!!!

What do you guys think about trading Mihm and Vlade for another scorer? I think we have such a good ballance now that Mihm and another player is expendible. Who can we get for those two? I'm sure a team out there would love a Center and a 3 point specialist. We're just one solid player away from being an elite team again. I feel were close. Bynum, Odom, Kobe, Fish and ? to go along with our bench would make us Tilte Contenders.

Your Thoughts?

CrzyFan

AK, BK,

Kwame comes across as an articulate young man - do you get that impression when you talk to him? I find that amusing keeping in mind the cake-throwing, "kitty" image that most people have of him (think 7 foot Rowan Atkinson)

Also, Deron doesn't look too good anymore. Is he injured? Or did the Giri episode demoralize him (and the team)?

I just finished watching the game, and WHAT A GREAT GAME!!! (Even if it was in chinese xD )

KOBE FOR MVP!!!! Mamba24, please put me on the bandwagon.

Props to all the starters. 26 ast to only 6 to? Outstanding ball movement.

Me and my brother kinda laughed at times but it's nice to have KWAME back. Go Kwame!

Go Lakers!!!

It's just a different team now. Veteran leadership, guys supporting each other, the emergence of Andrew - just a different team, playing on a different level. Great job to utterly demolish Utah, and I like our chances at home against a very good Celtic team. Go Lakers!

AK, BK,

Kwame comes across as an articulate young man - do you get that impression when you talk to him? I find that amusing keeping in mind the cake-throwing, "kitty" image that most people have of him (think 7 foot Rowan Atkinson)

Also, Deron doesn't look too good anymore. Is he injured? Or did the Giri episode demoralize him (and the team)?

Our Lakers at full strength will be tough to beat. Celtics three losses were against the Magic and Cavs on the road and at Boston against the Pistons. As long as the Lakers stay focused, play with defensive intensity, we'll be fine. The matchups against the Celtics are interesting depending on who PJ starts. If he goes with the same lineup, it will be Ariza/Pierce, LO/KG, Bynum/Perkins, Kobe/Allen and Fisher/Rondo(it could be different if PJ decides to start Turiaf at PF which would make it Turiaf/KG and LO/Pierce).

We can't turn it over a lot and we must defend the three point line because the C's have been bombing from there. I think we match up well with the Celtics and that we can beat them. We would be on a 12 game win streak like the Blazers were it not for last minute collapses at GS and Cleveland, but we'll 10 out 12 any day. Go Lakers!!!

What is more, these days the Lake Show is executing and getting to the hoop (props to my bro LO). Distributing the ball, getting to the hoop, and amassing contributions from all are pivotal Sunday, as they are set up to stomp the Celtics just like they did a few decades earlier!

HOLY FREAKING CRAP.

All I can say is, if Kwame Brown plays like THAT on a consistent basis, he's welcome on my team. Not an overpowering stat night (the blocks were nice, though), but a nice, hustling effort. I was genuinely happy to see him come back and not have an ounce of rust on him - on the contrary, he had one of his BETTER games of the past couple of years. Props to the Kwam - here's hoping for many more like that one.

This is Kobe's MVP year, no doubt about it. No way Garnett takes it with two other future HOFers on his team.

I LOVE Lamar's play the last few games - quiet, unassming, always threatening the triple-double, always upper teens in points. As a second option you're left wanting a little more, as a third option you're reveling in the abundance. What a difference one step down the totem pole of expectations makes.

Drew - what can you say about the guy?? I think the biggest compliment he's gotten so far is that his teammates are now trying to feed him lobs up above the JumboTron - as if to say, "man, I thought you HAD that one!" If they have that much confidence in him, he must be firing on all cylinders.

I am SOOOOOOO excited that the Show is clicking this well just in time to host the Celtics. I was so depressed at our showing against them in Boston - I never really felt like we had a chance in that game. Here's hoping we give back, just like we gave back to the (J)Azz.

Anyone else fairly sure that Mike T's going to claim this victory was all because of Kwame? I'll give him this - I think Kwame had a part in it, just like everyone else on this team. Keep it up, and we just might be hoisting something come June that doesn't have a margarita in it.

I've been saying how good this team could be for the last two years. I think they have finally got to the point where you can say they have a legitimate shot at a title this year. Let's just stay healthy and keep playing as a team with confidence.

This season has been really fun to watch. We have been watching this team fall apart and rebuild over the last several years. It's been hard but well worth it.

Props to the Purple and Gold from J-town Pennsylvania

By the way, put me down for predicting that Boston is going to have trouble in Utah tonight, and possibly lose to them. Sloan's style of play (particularly on defense) is going to give the Celts problems. Boozer will hang close to KG, and Deron Williams is going to run Ray Allen ragged at both ends of the court.

Personally, I want the Celts to win against Utah tonight, because I want to see us torch them Sunday. And Phil, please wear your Victory Bow Tie.

Roshan V, Davey Jonez,

Well played on the "You don't win friends with salad" challenge. Kudos.

AK

You don't win friends with Salad! You don't win friends with Salad!

~ Lisa the Vegetarian episode

Hariyahu-

I've written a few times that, at least in my experience, there's never been a bigger gap between what I expected to find in an athlete and my actual experience with that athlete than Kwame Brown. I'm not talking about in-game performance, but all the off court stuff. Given the manner in which he floundered in Washington, I expected to meet a guy who was immature, petulant, and frankly, kinda dumb. In a lot of ways, your stereotypical selfish athlete. Instead, I found Kwame to be very engaging, bright, well spoken, and thoughtful. On a personal level, he's one of my favorite guys on the team. There are plenty of things I don't like about his game, and there are things about his makeup that I think have kept him from being the basketball player people would like him to be, but as a person? He's great. You won't meet many guys who are nicer than him. On that level, I don't have anything negative to say about him.

BK

Excellant post game report, top notch.

In fact, "AK/BK were absolutely giddy" And what got them to this state of euphoria?

Good and well played team basketball. With a sprinkling of a nice media buffet.

We slaughtered the Jazz.
Next victim : The Celtics

Let's do it Lakers. Prove you are worthy to take the Ring.

Is it me, or is Joel Myers a TOTAL stat monkey? He keeps track of people's stats and rattles them off, watching the monitors for the other games going on... it's like he's some fantasy hoops junkie. You can tell he pisses off Stu sometimes with that crap, but Stu is too classy to straight call him out, and instead just makes a joke and moves on. I have a huge fantasy that Stu just gets fed up one night and strangles Joel with his mic cord. That would be the single most downloaded YouTube clip in history.

I'm also totally fed up with commentators who are frustrated coaches. The think they have to chime in on the strategy of the game, rather than just sticking to the play-by-play. Guess what, doofus - if you knew better than Phil Jackson what they should be doing, then you'd be making 12 million a year to coach the Lakers, and he'd be calling the game. Reminds me of the revolving-door TNT broadcast staff - Has any of those dudes coached a team that actually DID anything? The only one of them that had any success at all was Hubie Brown (Kwame's illegitimate father), and even he didn't get out of the first round. Steve Kerr shows up in Phoenix and they go into the tank... when are people going to learn, if you want to hire someone who knows about coaching and/or basketball in general, DON'T go to TNT. Imagine if the Chuckster got a gig coaching some team? That would be the most hilarious, entertaining two weeks of modern history.

Can we officially nickname Critter "The Cigar"?? When he comes out, you know it's in the refrigerator...

Hariyahu,

"Kwame comes across as an articulate young man - do you get that impression when you talk to him? I find that amusing keeping in mind the cake-throwing, "kitty" image that most people have of him (think 7 foot Rowan Atkinson)."

That's a good assessment, actually. Kwame's pretty bright and well spoken, as well as one of the funnier Lakers. As his confidence has grown on the court, so has it with the media, which is a plus for us, since he's often a good interview. Very nice guy, too.

Like BK, Kwame's bad stint/press in Washington, combined with the fact that he hadn't gone to college, led me to expect a much more surly, less articulate player when he arrived in L.A. Thankfully, that couldn't have been further from the case.

AK

"because I want to see us torch them Sunday. And Phil, please wear your Victory Bow Tie."
- Corner J

Let's see, PJ passes Red on Sunday for most regular season wins. How about a nice victory cigar to add to that. You know, like Red used to smoke. Nice touch, don't you think?

BK:

I think you may have outdone yourself with the obscure pop-culture references this time. All I can say is: "Okay, pork belly prices have been dropping all morning, which means that everybody is waiting for it to hit rock bottom, so they can buy low. Which means that the people who own the pork belly contracts are saying, 'Hey, we're losing all our damn money, and Christmas is around the corner, and I ain't gonna have no money to buy my son the G.I. Joe with the kung-fu grip! And my wife ain't gonna f... my wife ain't gonna make love to me if I got no money!' So they're panicking right now, they're screaming 'SELL! SELL!' to get out before the price keeps dropping. They're panicking out there right now, I can feel it." Oh, and "Kudos, my man." I guess that was two things that I can say.

SBPimp,

"This is Kobe's MVP year, no doubt about it. No way Garnett takes it with two other future HOFers on his team."

No doubt. Should our Lakers finish in the top four of the Western Conference, Kobe should be MVP. I've said the same thing on here before that while the Celtics are off to a great start and Garnett is leading that team, he has two All-Stars playing alongside him in Pierce and Allen. Kobe on the other hand is leading the third youngest team in the league behind Portland and Seattle, and is the only All-Star on our team. Leave it to the so called experts and writers to find a way to deny him and award it to Garnett even if the Lakers finish in the top three in the West.

How about the Heat? I guess Wade is starting to experience what Kobe and LeBron went through in trying to carry a team on his back except he has an aging and declining Shaq making the load much heavier. Is the Eastern Conference really that bad that pundits are still saying the Heat at 8-22 have a chance to make the playoffs?!!! Seriously, on tv, in articles I've read, I keep hearing that the Heat need to turn it around soon or they can't afford to fall much deeper if they want to make the playoffs. They also say things like "don't ever count out the Heat because they have Shaq and Wade" and "any time you have a Shaq and Wade..." At 8-22, and a tough schedule still ahead, I say the Heat are done, stick a fork in them. As great as Wade is, I just don't see it happening. I could be wrong because the East is so weak with the exception of Boston, Detroit and Orlando. Wade scored 48 pts last night against the Magic in Miami and they still lost in overtime. I remember a 58 pt game by Kobe last year against Charlotte that we lost in double OT. The difference this year is that we may not need Kobe to do that this year to win, although he's capable of blowing up for 50 or 60 in any game. That's the luxury we have at least so far, is we have more balance and when needed, Kobe can still detonate and take over. Go Lakers!!!

The key to beating Boston is, of course, team defense! Then, total team participation on offense as they've done recently. And perhaps almost as important (are you listening Kobi?) is for Kobi to resist going mano a mano with allen.
This tendency of Kobi's has really hurt team performance so often when we play a team that has a big time scorer. I do believe that oppossing teams use this as a strategy against the Lakers. Challenge Kobi to a duel, sure, he'll likely win the two man competition, but the Lakers will lose.
Coach Jackson, put Ariza on Allen, not Kobi. I don't care what Kobi says about his defensive skills. Kobi will pick up fouls and turn the game into a scoring competition, ruining that great chemistry that they've exhibited against the Suns and Jazz.

SB Pimp:

Yeah, I don't like Joel at all. And I hear you about the coaches. But, how'd you like the Christmas game with Van Gundy, Jackson, and Breen? I thought they were pretty damn good. Van Gundy and Jackson kept on joking around, and Breen was awesome at getting the talk back on the game. "Seriousely, but who doesn't have Ice Cubes 'It Was a Good Day' on their iPod?" JVG was a lot funnier than I thought he'd be. They need to have that trio call more games.

Soda Popinski?

They looked more like Glass Joe last night.

Taliq,

"on that particular issue I think smush was just never quite confident/sure that he belonged in the league, he was too busy worrying about his future in the league instead of just enjoying the opportunity to have kobe as his running mate in the park ... imagine if instead of having a frown on his face when nash made him look silly he'd simply smile and say "don't worry kobe's gonna dunk on your boi next play" ... I hope he gets his act right eventually, at the end of the day I think he can be a good role player in the league."

There's likely some truth to that, although Smush often seemed to think he's a better player than he actually is, which complicates those insecurities even further. I don't think Smush is a bad dude, but he's definitely very immature and prone to sulking, which makes his life considerably harder than need be. I agree that he's capable of carving out a career in the league as a role player, but only if he doesn't get in his own way, which is often a real struggle for him. I've talked to people who played with him in Cleveland a few years before the Lakers and he apparently had issues then as well. Judging by the fact that he recently was lifted of "exile" status in Miami, one could make an argument that a pattern is in the works. haha

AK

BK,

Great tag line and an excellent write-up.

AK,

Nice interview. You actually make Kwame sound intelligent.

Michael Teniente is going to go crazy after all this game and your write-ups (especially your's BK). It should be an interesting read.

Beat Boston!

GO LAKERS!

Glass Joe
Von "Wafer" Kaiser
"Detroit" Piston Honda
Don "Nelson" Flamenco
"Sac town" King Hippo
Great Tiger
Bald "Scott Skiles-less" Bull
Soda Popinski
Mr. Sandman
Super Macho Man

1) Conspiracy Theory: Michael Teniente IS KWAME BROWN! "Michael Teniente" is just his nom du pen!

2) It will be so fricken sweet if Phil Jackson surpasses Red Auerbach's record by beating the Celtics in L.A. Red Auerbach will screech from his shadowy grave of brimestone and treacle!

Beat Boston!

GO LAKERS!

CELTICS-LAKERS PREVIEW

This game has all the hype of the Patriots-Giants showdown at the Meadowlands on Saturday. Can the newly scrappy Lakers beat the most dominant team in the NBA? Can Kobe & Company beat the 3 Amigos?

Motivation is the key. On Friday night, the Lakers came out with energy and determination to beat a team that humiliated them in the last contest, and disrespected beloved team mate Derek Fisher. Two blow-outs, two different outcomes. On Sunday, the Lakers must find the same kind of motivation. One possibility is to give PJ the tie-breaking victory over nemesis Red Auerbach.

If Jackson is looking to serve Bill Belichick style humble pie to the players, he need not look any further than the bench mob. Its dismal performance Friday night dissipated much of the joy of the first half blowout. But serving humble pie to the bench mob won't be enough. Their minutes will be extremely limited on Sunday, especially since the Lakers don't have another game until Friday.

A small slice of humble pie might be the Lakers' season record at home on Sunday nights. You'd almost think that those bright white uniforms blinded the players from the need to give it their all.

It would be a mistake for the Lakers to count on the Celtics being out of gas at the end of a long road trip, even on the second night of back-to-backs. The Celts will come into Staples knowing that the Lakers are gunning for them, and will draw on everything in their reservoir.
It would also be a mistake for the Lakers to think they could rest on their laurels from Friday night and simply count on momentum from Friday to carry them through.

There's only so much humble pie that PJ can serve. The players must serve it to themselves. Sunday night is a character test for this team. As Kobe has suggested, each player must have the desire within to constantly improve and play better every single game. The Lakers must elevate their game even higher than the level they played at on Friday night. Little short of flawless execution of the game plan will achieve a victory over the Celtics. The more humble pie they consume before the game, the less they will be force-fed afterward.

Go Lakers!

Jon K-

Thanks. Although they played so well, finding things to say after it was done was like shooting fish in a barrel. Pretty hard to miss. Regarding Kwame, Mike T. and I actually share the belief that Kwame plays an important role on the team. A healthy Kwame brings another look to the Lakers and allows more flexibility in the rotation. It changes how they can deploy people in the frontcourt, for the better. Plus, he's their best one on one defender in the post, and can have an impact on a game in a different way than Andrew does. Not necessarily better, but different.

Where Mike and I (and just about everyone else on the planet, really) disagree is on exactly how good Kwame is, and how large his impact is. But while he's overpaid, for sure, those who think Kwame is useless are also mistaken.


BK

Never,

You're wrong. I fully expect the Lakers to beat the Celtics, because they are playing well right now, they will have extra incentive to avenge their loss in Boston, they're at home, and the Celtics will be coming into this game plying their 4th game in 5 night, the last game of 2 back to backs. PLus the fact, that Utah will most likely be looking to bounce back after getting embarrased the night before. It will be a tough game for Boston. Utah will be aggressive, especially with Rondo sitting. Honestly, I think Phil will pressure whoever is bringing the ball up whenever Rondo isn't in the game. The Celtics were exposed by the Pistons whenever someone other than Rondo did bring the ball up. They had KG coming to set high screens about 1-2 feet beyond the 3 pt. line, just to free Posey, House or whoever had the ball. That is not a good sign for the Celtics. The Lakers bench will outplay the WEAK Boston bench. Kobe will play Allen, Ariza can play Pierce, Kendrick Perkins will NOT have a career night again, and Kwame will actually be of some good use this game (I'll let Mike T. explain exactly how.....). I think this might be a good game to try a big line up with Bynum, Kwame, and LO on the floor at the same time, with Kobe and Fish. The Celtics are good, but not as good as their record appears to be. They have benefitted from a weak schedule, and beat the Lakers during a 7 game stretch that the Lakers were not playing well, going 2-5.

G1

Gotta agree - that iPod comment was amazing. He's right, though - one of the funniest moments of my life was being in Saks Fifth, hearing "It Was A Good Day" ringtone, and turning around and seeing a 50 year-old white woman answer her phone. She didn't even have to use her A-K.

Mark Jackson is aight, but he has a bit of that former player syndrome as an announcer - you know, reminding people every minute that he used to be a player in the league. I think dudes get past that after a few years. I will say this about Mark Jackson - he legitimately gives Kobe his props, probably because he got schooled by him in the finals.

I probably respect JVG the most out of all of them, because he's obviously the best coach of the lot and because he followed Chuck's advice and "cleaned up the top." Although personally I think it made him look weirder, like a too-perfect computer animation version of a bald dude, rather than the lovably unkempt, Woody Allen-esque New York bald dude. It took a lot of class for JVG not to run up to Barkley and gnaw on his ankle like he did to 'Zo back in the day. Speaking of 'Zo, did anyone else squirt a few when he limped off the court? That was high tragedy, man - like watching Julius Caesar get stabbed in front of the Forum.

Nice Trading Places reference, G1 - you are the pop reference master.

AK, BK

You are right about the officiating - it stunk. They sure didn't like Andrew. One call that stood out, was when Boozer threw an obvious elbow into Drew, then another, followed by jumping into him. Boozer goes to the free throw line, and Bynum gets another foul. Ridiculous.

Others that stood out. The tackle of Sasha which caused his sprained ankle, right in full view of the ref - no call. The failure to reset the 24 sec clock after the ball obviously hit the rim, resulting in a Laker turnover. Anyway, we won and that's what counts.

Roger

generic one,

That crew was o.k. In the beginning, the sideline reporter (Van Gundy?) kept make snide little comments trying to be funny. But they were zingers that were actually disrespectful to certain HOF.

Of course as the game went on, the momentum changed and so did the flavor of the comments. You know how it is. Trash the team that's losing and if the they start coming back you talk good about them and totally ignore the fact that you were trashing them when they were down.

SBPIMP,


Still want to trade Kwame????


For who???


Who do we need????


Please tell me again..


A bunch a reasons why the Lakers will slaughter the Celtics this Sunday.

Our frontline will neutralize the Celtics line. (Kwame said it, not me)

Kobe (Defensive player of year) will cover Allen and stuff him. 'Not personal Allen, justa business)

Trevor Ariza will live in Paul Pearce's Jersey (Sorry Luke, but Ariza, Ariza, is like having the Road Runner 'Beep, Beep' his opponents, to your slow coyote legs)

Fisher (the Professor) will take Rondo to school.

The Mob (at home) will come to play and run the Celts ragged.

Don't underestimate the power of a back to back. Would you want to fly into LA in the middle of the night, and then play the Lakers hungry to prove to themselves and the world they are for real?

What a back to back means to the Celtics.

Shots don't fall so easily.
Transition D suffers
Offensive Rebs are harder to come by as game progresses
Players reach rather than move feet, leading to foul trouble (KG will be in foul trouble the whole game)

What a back to back means to the Lakers.

Wide open looks
Our inside alley oop game will be spectacular
Lakers confidence will grow
When we do miss, we will control offensive glass
We will go to the line alot

Celtics will put up a good fight early. Lakers take control in 2nd, and finish off Celtics in 3rd.
Or it goes down to the wire and we win on a last shot by Derek Fisher.

Here' your chance Lakers to prove you are worthy to take the Ring.

Ok, unlike Mike T, who was wishing an injury on Bynum, I'm wishing health on Kwame Brown.
I want him to stay healthy and play every game all they way into June. As the K brothers pointed
out, having him as a backup center moves Ronny T back to PF, gives Lamar more minutes at SF,
and means that Bynum can leave the floor and we still have someone out there who can hold
their ground against big C's and PF's (Mihm certainly hasn't shown that this year, and generally
neither has Turiaf).

Mike T is going to give Kwame more credit than he deserves for it, but just watch. The Lakers
are about to go on a run where they will blow all the pundits out of the water. The ones who
predicted that the Lakers wouldn't make the playoffs at the start of the season will be predicting
a Celtics-Lakers finals by the end of January.

At this point I honestly think they have the talent, depth, and balance to get to the finals. It
will require composure and good coaching and everybody staying healthy, but I think it might
be possible.

Two stat updates. After that thrashing of the Jazz last night, the Lakers now have the 4th
highest point differential in the NBA. And in Hollinger's Playoff Predictor stats - the Lakers
are now the highest ranked team in the west, with a 48.3% chance of making it to the
western conference finals and a 4.8% chance of winning it all.

Furthermore, It predicts that the Lakers will win 54 games. Hollinger's stat machine is nearly
on the 55 win bandwagon!!! Jump on board! There's room for everyone!!!!!

After the Celtics go down on Sunday, it all begins.

Nemaia,

Other than Shaq, D-Wade is playing terrible ball. watch the Heat play, and you see him completlely ignoring teammates, dribbling through 2 guys, all around the court, looking to drive. He seems to either not know, or not willing to work with out the ball, alwyas trying to draw a foul call, rather than work the ball around. It's terrible. The Heat seem to have NO offense. Just D-wade running around. They still have their Championship core. why are they this bad? Pat Riley has lost his touch. Yu know what's funny, Kobe would get roasted if that were him.

Long Time Laker Fan -

I was reading threads from yesterday and saw your's about the 15th slot, mentioning Lance Alfred, Elton Brown, Rod Benson and Jelani McCoy. I agree, it would be nice to have a little more depth at the position and would also toss Dale Davis into the mix. I'm not sure why the FO hasn't signed somebody to a minimum pro-rated deal except for the obvious - keeping the slot open for a trade that would have us taking back more players than dealing out. At this point though, I'm not so sure I want us trading away ANY of our guys - I'd rather just fill the open slot.

Wiz,

Ouch. I though you were talking about Kobe when you were describing how Wade's been playing.

Haha....I forgot to change my name from a comment yeaterday....

Wizard of OZ was me, wondahbap......

Long Time Laker Fan

Next time don't suggest anythign about Kwame becuase you don't knowwhat you are talking about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Trade him for what and for who?????????????????????????

We need Kwame just as much as we need Drew this year.

The two headed monster is in full effect.

Let's Go LAke Show!!!!!!!!!!!

Long Time Laker Fan


Like I said the entire last year. Smush is the reason for the 2 bad season. Now that we have Fisher, everybody on our team looks better. Including Kwame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Kwame
Kwame
Kwame
Kwame
Kwame


Let's Go Lake Show


Mel,

While Kobe has been known at times to take it upon himself a little too much. He's never played like D-Wade is playing. Having to do most of the work, and TRYING to do all the work are 2 different things. Kobe never played like that with Shaq, and while his scoring may have kept other cold, his problem was taking ome shots he shouldn't at times, not running around like a chicken with his head cut off, traveling and waiting for a foul call. And through it all (Kobe's "supposed" selfishness), he had above .500 teams, in a tough Western Conference. The Heat are the worst in the East, if not the League. Even half of Shaq should be enough to at least be .500, if Wade is the superstar the NBA would have us to belive (remember all the Jordan talk???), or if Pat Riley were the coach he used to be (how much he sold his soul, and is paying for it now.....!!! Ricky Davis ?? What? Couldn't get J.R. Smith?) Pat's just waiting for some reason to come along to give him anoher reason to sit out until or unless Shaq can come out of it, and the Heat can get back into the playoff picture.

That was a great game, and I think now we have proof that there is such a thing as karma and that it is indeed a b*tch.

Who wants to go out and buy Laker stickers to put on our cars?

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3172562

I wonder if Gira knew that "moving forward" was code for "moving out"

Kwame Hater List:
Charles, Long Time Laker Fan, Laker Lover, and Bynum FAN


Kwame Stats


7pts 5rebs 2 blocks 1 steal
3-4 from the field
17mins


Bynum stats

10pts 9rebs 1block
5-11 from the field
26 min


Please leave Kwame's name out of your mouths if it is going to be negative!!!!

wondahop,

I didn't see the game, but I think Shaq sat out. Now Wade knows how Kobe felt the last two years. Not so fun.

If Wade indeed was trying too much or not sharing the ball it makes you scratch your head. Like you said, if it was Kobe you'd hear about how he's a ballhog, and he's selfish. With Wade, he's heroic and carrying the team on his back.

The way that the media hates on Kobe makes me like LeBron and Wade less. They prop them up, but stomp on Kobe.

I gotta say this, Kobe must have a large reserve of character because his whole career has been filled with character building experiences.

If you haven't had a chance to hear the Kobe interview with Dan Patrick it's at the KLAC site. He definitely eats some humble pie.

The Celtics are a good team off to a nice start but I'm not sold on them being some super power great championship team. Look at their schedule so far. They've played a bunch of weak & average teams and the few good teams they've played and beat have been at home. Give them credit for beating teams that suck but we should be fine defending our home court and we have way more depth than they do. The big three aren't exactly spring chickens so let's see what happens as the season wears on. Rondo is no Nash and Perkins is nothing special in the middle and their bench is shallow. If they play great and drain threes they have a shot but on a 4 in 5 night schedule their legs should be weary. Showtime will run them off the court. I like the way we match up:
Fish vs Rondo...+Lakers (no contest)
Kobe vs Allen...+Lakers (Mamba kills everyone)
Ariza vs Pierce...+Celts (Advantage but Ariza's athleticism may slow PP down)
LO vs KG...+Celt (pretty close statistically)
Drew vs Perkins...+Lakers ( throw it down big man)
Bench Mob vs Scrubs...+Lakers

Go Lakers

i'll second the notion of NBA league pass being a god-send to those lakers fan that cannot get lakers game regularly. =)

a very nice and complete game last night. it was good to see kwame up to his old butterfingers routine near the basket. other than that, however, kwame did play a very decent game considering his time away from the court. i agree with the opinion that kwame plays an important role for the team, expanding their depth and creating more options for the coaching staff.

again, the key for this team is to stay as injury free as possible in order for the group to continue it's progression towards a more fluid and battle-tested team. this game showed the fans their potential. if the lakers can keep consistently playing like this game, the future bodes extremely well.

i'm anxious now to see how the team will fare against the top title-contending teams like the celtics, the spurs (when healthy), the pistons, and the mavs on a consistent basis.

go lakers!

BK,

I agree. However, the issues I have with Kwame are:

1) He's overpaid.
2) I'd sure rather have Caron Butler on this team instead of Kwame.
3) For a guy who's built like Colossus from the X-Men, he sure does get hurt a lot and bounce back slowly from injury.
4) Despite his excellent and improving defense, his offense has not notably improved in (what?) three years. It would be nice if he could multitask slightly in terms of development.
5) Still does not receive the ball well nor pass well, despite knowing his teammates.
6) Has the body and quickness to play power forward, but has not developed at that position, despite the fact that if he could play power forward, it would be a tremendous benefit to the team.
7) Can't make his freethrows. That always drives me nuts when I see that in a player. 90% of the people on this blog can make our freethrows and we spend all day lurching in front of a computer monitor.

In short, Kwame is definitely a benefit to this team. There should be no question about that. A healthy, active Kwame the Swami makes the Lakers a better team.

It's just difficult to not be disappointed by the "fact" that if he was able to realize just 35-40% more of his unrealized potential, I believe the Lakers would be an unquestionably elite team. Maybe best in the West.

He's not doing that and it's frustrating.

Beat Boston!

GO LAKERS!

Zakee,

Agreed.

REASONS FOR LAKERS IMPROVEMENT IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE:

1) Departure of (the cancer) Smush Parker and his replacement by (I hope his jersey gets retired someday) Derek Fisher.
2) Impressively improved play of Andrew Bynum
3) Matured, balanced play of Kobe Bryant and his greater trust of his teammates on the court.
4) Improved team play of our bench, including individual improvement of players like Farmar and Vuljcic.
5) Phil's expansion of the Triange offense to allow the Lakers to run more.
6) Improved perimeter/team defense.

GO LAKERS!

LTLF-

i agree. i am praying for all the player's health and continued proper winning attitude.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

it's good to have Kwame back. with him we are scary deep.

let's see how they play tomorrow. i'd love to see a beatdown of boston. as always, we owe them......

AK, BK,

Thanks for the responses. I think I already know the answer to this, but do you mind asking Brown "WTF were you thinking when you threw that cake?!!!"
:)

Corner J,
LOL! As a whole, these last 12 games have been "sponge-worthy."

AK/BK,

Now that MikeT has attained somewhat of a celebrity status, and you guys seem like you've developed a good relationship with Kwame, maybe sometime in the near future you could ask Kwame in one of your interviews what Kwame thinks of MikeT and his Kwame evangelism? Since Kwame does seem like an a pretty intelligent and thoughtful guy, he might have read this blog and might have some great insights.

What a great game! I stole the party mood when the attendees forgot the chit-chat and just glued onTV watching the marauding Lakers. It is a replica of Showtime At Its Best. They did it twice against premier teams with a complete line up i.e. Phoenix on Christmas Day and Utah on the Innocents Day or Kwazaa day, they just devastated Boozer, Kirilenco and Williams and Okur into submission, these guys missed Fesengco who was sent to NBDL. Are the Lakers ready for the tea party for Sunday? I think they are but it's always nice to be humble to our visitors who have a new look. I have only one wish, let us make KG regret his decision of stealing a ring through an East Coast team. He has chosen the most hated of them all, the proud Celtics, there is animosity even in their graves between Chick Hearns and Johnny Most, between Red Auerbach and Breda Kolff. This is a multi generational feud, the great Schism between the East and the West. Therefore I say: "No, no, no, KG there's no place like home where the weather is always nice and easy, no need of multiple layers to keep you warm, the Laker fans are just warmer."

Kwame, what can we say? He looks good and pretty handsome too with his new hairdo. If he dons a suit, he could replace Denzel Washington as a leading man. Well, right now he suits well as a replacement of Bynum. lol! In terms of energy, Bynum is the electric plug and Kwame is the spare battery. haha! Did you notice Odom became a right hand slasher too when he removed that fake star on his head? Ariza is just CONTAGIOUS, suddenly all Lakers want to go to the hoop, they used to be perimeter brick layers, now they're all labor to attack the rim as if they're targetting their mother in law. They noticed the cheers erupt when bynum alley hoops and when ariza slashes, aha! that must be a good feeling, so everyone wants to do their thing, even Vlad wants to good to the hoop rather than settle for his usual rainbow shot.

I think we are ready for the big dance....let us invite a couple of clinging vines like Mihm and Walton on the bench and the rookies: Crit and Karl then we have a complete arsenal when we attend the Western Conference Prom in May.

In the West, watch for the resurgence of the Blazers, they just won 12-in-a-row. There seems to be magic with young legs, they could leap higher, run faster, see better, muscles are firmer and nobody has an athritic toe and cracking hip in carrying excess fats. haha!

K Brothers,

I second Guity's request.

Beat Boston!

GO LAKERS!

Edwin Gueco

That was very well written, insightful and cleverly funny piece.

"they're all labor to attack the rim as if they're targetting their mother in law."
I love my Mother in law, but that was very funny.

Wizard of Oz,

"Other than Shaq, D-Wade is playing terrible ball. watch the Heat play, and you see him completlely ignoring teammates, dribbling through 2 guys, all around the court, looking to drive. He seems to either not know, or not willing to work with out the ball, alwyas trying to draw a foul call, rather than work the ball around. It's terrible. The Heat seem to have NO offense. Just D-wade running around. They still have their Championship core. why are they this bad? Pat Riley has lost his touch. Yu know what's funny, Kobe would get roasted if that were him."

Posted by: The Wizard of OZ

Great point regarding Wade's play. I agree also that while people(especially the media and analysts and experts)talk up Wade and say how great he is and that he's doing so much for his team to get better, Kobe would be crucified if he were playing like that. He would be called selfish and accused of caring only for his individual stats. Wade actually leads the league in turnovers which means that he's trying to do too much on his own.

As far as the Kwame/Andrew debate on here, lets put it to rest fellow bloggers. The majority of people on here have agreed that Kwame is needed to make our team deeper and stronger. The problem on here are the few that give Andrew little or no credit for the Lakers current success. Sure, there are people who are also on the opposite end of the spectrum who bash Kwame, but for the most part people on here have stated all along that we need both Kwame and Andrew. Kwame said it himself that we have a good problem in that we have two centers who can start and that it doesn't matter if he starts or comes off the bench. Fact is we need to cheer both Kwame and Andrew because they're Lakers and they're helping our team win.

Hey Wiz. How about granting us a ring?

Mel,

I'm as big a Kobe supporter as there is, but right now, he should be eating some humble pie, and yes, this experience will be the ultimate builder in his character and legacy, because he put it on the line. Whether or not he was right or wrong, he went about it the wrong way. Sometimes I wonder if he has competent handlers or if he is just that stubborn, because the only end result was him taking a PR hit. Did most fans agree that Laker management has taken some mis-steps? Yes, and I think that Kobe's main issue had more to do with the Fo, rather than complete lack of faith in his team. But he put himself in a corner he didn't to be in, and all the while, seemingly looking like the selfish brat some critics paint him to be. Especially a player so focused on his legacy, why would he continue to endanger that? Kobe winning a Championship elsewhere is only half as good, if at all, as winning it in LA. They traded Shaq, kept Kobe, and no matter whose fault, it all falls on Kobe. So when Shaq won another, o the team he was SENT to, Kobe can ONLY win one with the team that KEPT him. He has to win in LA. His legacy depends on it. His frustrations clouded his judgement. The Lakers know this. They won the game of leverage. It's a battle of public perception. Shaq wins one with his new team that has an elite guard, LeBron goes to the Finals with a mediocre supporting cast, Tim Duncan wins a 4th title. All of these things reflect the NEED for Kobe to fulfill his Championship desires, but he handled it poorly. I don't think that Kobe didn't think this team had potential, I think his pride was hurt. His ego wounded. Feeling the pressure he puts on himself, and from the viewing public, it stated that it was he that wanted Shaq gone (when it was at least mutual at best), and not only that, but the team refused to trade their new brash young center. A decision made by who? The owner's son. An unmovable power to be, who was making his mark, and drawing his line in the sand. Kobe's pride was wounded. Here he could make the greatest organization keep him over Shaq (whether or not it was inevitable that they wouldn't have extended him or not), and now he's made to wait out a 19 year old center , with a "hint" of potential. His legacy depending on an unproven, yet untradeable commodity? But Kobe shot himself in the foot, by going public, loud and clear. Giving his critics ammunition. So now that the Lakers are playing great, it's Kobe who looks wrong, it's Kobe who has to eat the humble pie. But, he must now realize, there never was any other options for him. He HAS to win in LA. He has to do it with these guys. He has to do it, he has to will this team. It's his. He has to own it. He has to beat the odds. It's the only way for him to fulfill his legacy, and he knows this. So while he must still have utter contempt for the Laker organization, he has to ride this out. Winning will cure all. I believe that. Public perception will change as long as the media has this nice story to play out every game (I have th NBA Package, and am TIRED of every other team's announcer re-hashing the summer trade me soap opera every away game). Does the NBA realize theat they are pumping up every player and angle but the one who gives them the best chance to fill seats and turn on the NBA. This man has as many haters (due to the Shaq fiasco, the rape trial, the trade demand ) as fans and STILL leads the West in All-Star votes. More popular than Lebron, or Dwayne Wade, or T-Mac, or whoever else. So, let him eat pie all the way to the Finals. It looks like it taste good so far.

Props to Mitch Kupchak for creating this Lakers Team. He now looks like a genius - no longer in the dog house. The Lakers are now a championship contending team because of him.

Bynum and Kwame make a great center tandem, which will anchor the Lakers for years. Bynum will become a monster center - better than Dwight Howard - once he builds up his legs.

Ariza is a fantasic acquisition. I believe he's going to be Kobe's Scottie Pippen.

Luke Walton will be great as the backup, and leader of the second team.

Lamar Odom can be fantastic if he can be always aggressive as he was last night. He was a big reason the Lakers killed Utah. But please, Lamar, attack the hoop and forget the 3's.

Derek Fisher is another huge win for Mitch. He has stabilized the Lakers with his leadership. It's amazing how a single player like him can influence the emotions of the team and help mature the younger players.

Jordan Farmar is a fantastic draft. I love his aggressive and competitive attitude. It keeps the second team competitive and gives the Lakers a huge lift in attitude when he is on the court. Crit is a great pick up. But I don't yet see him having the same attitude that Jordan has. Until he does, he is not a good a player as Jordan.

Keeping Kobe, of course, under duress, while waiting for the team to mature may be one of Mitch's greatest decisions

Nemaia,

I was the Wiz. I granted Kwame a heart last night, and he looks like he might use it, and Mike. T a brain, and he hasn't posted yet today (probably waiting a few games for a big I TOLD YOU so post.....an oddly enough, I would love for him to be able to....about Kwame, not Bynuim, by the way). So, maybe I can grant that ring. We'll wait. For now, I'll grant the Pacific Division, and 56 wins.

Thanks AN1, we're inspired when we win, we forgot the whining, the doubting and also the trading.

Zakee,

>>>Still want to trade Kwame????
>>>For who???

Honestly, I'm overjoyed that Kwame was able to play and he played well.

That's one game in a row that Kwame has stayed healthy. Now if he (and mostly
everyone else) could stay healthy for about 70 more games in a row, the Lakers would be
in great shape.

If he goes down to another injury before the trade deadline, the Lakers need to do something.
Either a trade, or bring in a big from the NBDL or elsewhere to fill Kwame's shoes if he can't.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not wishing for that like Mike T wishes for injury to Bynum. I
WAN'T Kwame to be healthy and succeed. I also wanted Brian Cook to have improved his
defense. It just didn't always turn out that way, so the Lakers traded him for someone who
WOULD play defense.

Wondahbap,

"I was the Wiz. I granted Kwame a heart last night, and he looks like he might use it, and Mike. T a brain, and he hasn't posted yet today (probably waiting a few games for a big I TOLD YOU so post.....an oddly enough, I would love for him to be able to....about Kwame, not Bynuim, by the way). So, maybe I can grant that ring. We'll wait. For now, I'll grant the Pacific Division, and 56 wins."

Posted by: wondahbap (Wizard of OZ) | December 29, 2007 at 11:58 AM

LOL. I'll take the Pacific Division for starters and then on to bigger, better things!!! One more title and PJ will be Lord of the Rings!!! Thanks for giving Vitti the tape for Kwame's knee and the brace for his ankle. Go Lakers!!!

Woudabap (Wizzard of Oz),

I think this is the same team Kobe is still Kobe and Odom does what LO used to do, Vlad, Chris, Sasha, Kwame and Walton are still couch potatoes. The Lakers were just energized when Cook was removed and replaced by Ariza; when the pouting Smush was replaced by an imprenable wall (willing to put his body in front of Boozer and Amare) confront rather than evade, that's Fisher, when bynum forgets the fouling and concentrates on dunking; when Farmar started to run like Forrest Gump, suddenly the freezin' potatoes became active and volunteered to be microwaved. PJ replaced that slow motion triangle with the running triangle. He imposed penalties during practices that if they missed free throws, they run the court several times as punishment. So now we see results, we applaud on Kupchalk's most talked about magic wand of doing nothing and I told you so, we ask Jimbo to run for Presidency as independent, of course without Kobe we have no chance of competing with marqee teams, Kobe is still the money, the capital & when the tough gets going, there is an ace on our sleeves that can be pulled out and make those dizzying spins that qualifies him to be a good candidate for MVP. However, choosing a MVP is very subjective, if writers like Simers, Heisler and Plaschke will only vote what they hate most, then Kobe has a chance of winning.

The Suns feel us breathing down their necks and they're hearing footsteps!!! Lets make KG regret not coming to LA(I think that Boston will falter as Dallas did a year ago)and Grant Hill for not even glancing our direction(PJ said Grant never returned a call that was made when he was a free agent in the offseason). Go Lakers!!!

Zakee- You dont decide who gets ripped- last season you ripped Smush all year- now its Kwames turn and of course booster boy is always my whipping boy.

Other than Kwame being over-rated defensively my problem is what he represents to the development of Bynum who is the future forthe lakers. Do you really expect the cake thrower to be back with the Lakers next year? And 9 rings has a love affair with playing Kwame you just watch- its the same with Luke. There is no logic to playing Kwame and Luke over Bynum and Ariza but I wouldnt be surprised in 9 rings did.

Lets see how it plays out.

Zakee,

You're a total tool. Maybe if you use a few more punctuation marks, your points will come across more clearly - what do you think? Maybe it's time we ramp it up to fifteen exclamation points after everything, rather than the paltry twelve you've been averaging?

I said it before, and I'll say it now - if Kwame plays like he did last night on a consistent basis, I will be happy to have him as a part of this team. I have no problem with Kwame as a person - in fact, from what I've read from AK and BK, his personality makes me have less of a problem with him. But the fact remains that this team is poised to win a championship, and if we can transform someone who isn't contributing consistently into someone who is, there shouldn't be any argument whatsoever about pulling the trigger. We could get a true quality guy for Kwame's salary, but it's completely useless to us if we wait past the trade deadline.

I still say his salary is more valuable to us than the contribution he has demonstrated in the past. If we choose to give him another chance, we will be taking a risk. Better to trade him while his value is high for a sure thing than to wait for him to develop.

Of course, we could take the chance on him and he could work out - which will be great, and which I will cheer for if it happens. That doesn't affect the logic of the argument, though - any more than one good game at the end of the December does.

Then again, appreciating that fact would require intelligence and sophistication, neither of which you have ever demonstrated, so chances are I'd be better off trying to explain myself to a brick wall. I'm sure you'll prove me right on this by posting something with lots of punctuation marks and all in caps - it's all you, dude.

The only thing that the majority of this Laker team is missing is deep playoff experience. Only Kobe, Fish and the coaching staff have risen to the top of their profession and hoisted the trophy. This Laker team has balance and depth and other necessary ingredients for a long playoff run. There isn't a team in the conference, or the entire league for that matter, that they should be afraid of. They can beat them all on any given night. Whether they can sustain that in seven game series remain to be seen. The test will come in the playoffs. They've come a long way in a short time, but there is a long way to go to the top. 2008....RETURN TO GLORY!!! GO LAKERS!!

Zakee,

>>>Next time don't suggest anythign about Kwame becuase you don't knowwhat you
>>>are talking about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Uh. I Know that the Lakers had as good a record to this point last season. And I know that
Kwame went down for 41 games, and between that and other injuries, it turned the Lakers
from a top-4-in-the-west team to a barely-made-the-playoffs team. And I know that Kwame
has already missed more than half of the games this season.

And I AGREE WITH YOU that the Lakers need someone in case Bynum gets in foul trouble,
as he did last night. And it's fortunate that Kwame made it back and was able to play. If
he hadn't, then it would have been Turiaf or Mihm guarding Boozer, and we both know how
that would have likely turned out. Let's hope that Kwame can stay healthy and play through
the rest of the season and another fo-fo-fo-fo beyond that.

>>>Trade him for what and for who?????????????????????????

I've reposted the trade scenarios enough times. If I had absolute knowledge that Kwame
could stay healthy, then I wouldn't have any desire to trade him.

Check my post from a thread yesterday - I made some suggestions for keeping Kwame but
bringing in a big from the NBDL in case Kwame goes down to injury again.

>>>We need Kwame just as much as we need Drew this year.

No, not as much as we need Drew. If Drew had gone down for the number of games
Kwame did, our record would likely be closer to 10-19 than 19-10. But we do need a big
player who can defend, and since Kwame is already familiar with the triangle, he's the
best option as long as he can stay healthy.

Go Kwame.
Go Lakers.

Mel....

Thanks for the heads up on that interview of Kobe's with Dan Patrick. Kobe seems relaxed and focused and also imparted a true sense of belief in this team. Game knows game and Kobe can see that this team has a real chance if all goes well and the pieces fall into place.

I think Kwame did great but the fact remains he is injury prone as well as his other faults. That said I think we should keep Kwame for backup if he is willing to take a paycut. If not then the blogger who asked trade Kwame for who????, I say straight up for JO. If I think more on it I could probably add a few names. Kwame is supposed to be playing lights out since this is his contract year. One game does not make a contract year. I hope he keeps the intensity up and we can keep him for less money.

As far as Luke is concerned I think he is a valuable role player on the team . He should stick to his strenghs which is passing or penetrating on weak side when our bigs are double teamed. Like he did at end of last year. He should not try dribble penetration in traffic as it usually results in t/o.

Practice 3's and dribble penetration in practice and off season and limit or play within his game.

I like the blend of young and vets on both teams starters and subs. This allows youth to grow and excel and vets to stabilize and teach younger guys.

Kobe, Fish, Odom vets, and Bynum Ariza youth as starting youth.

Same for 2nd team, fill in yourselves, but you get my point.

 
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