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A pre-playoffs practice jam named "Saturdays"

Roller skating would be better, but ours is an imperfect world. Delasoul-isdead

What we're left with is Saturday's practice in El Segundo a day ahead of LA's playoff opener against the Jazz at Staples.  One of the great ironies of sports coverage is that as games become a whole lot more important, there's actually a lot less interesting stuff coming from these sorts of media confabs.  Everyone- players, coaches, dudes with recorders and cameras, the dude who drives the Metro train that runs by the practice facility- knows what needs to be done and how the Lakers can do it.  Now it's just a matter of going out and doing it. 

There was a little news to discuss, addressed both by Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant in today's vids.  Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune reports that the chances of Mehmet Okur suiting up for the Jazz Sunday seem, to use a favorite adjective of Jerry Sloan from earlier in the week, bleak.  CJ Miles, however, should be ready to go. 

I did ask Derek Fisher, though, about why the playoffs get more physical, and what exactly that means.  You hear the word "physical" tossed out so much around this time of year that sometimes it loses a little meaning.  Maybe the point seems obvious to some, but I thought Fisher's answer was interesting:

"I don't think the game is called differently per se, but I think there's a tendency to have the natural flow of the game take place and not have- in particular I guess because more people are watching our (meaning the NBA as a whole) games- to not have it be a free throw shooting contest as opposed to a basketball game.  But I think the biggest part of it is that things start to slow down in terms of the schedule, so you see guys physically able to do more.  They're playing as hard as they always do, but are able to play harder for longer because they play (every other day, or every two or three) days. 

So you're seeing guys, for the most part, at their best.  Guys with ankle injuries are now better, guys that have had sore knees now have four or five days to get prepared to play.  So guys are quicker off the ball, they're stronger in the post.  So I think that's where the higher sense of physical play comes from.  It's not like guys all of a sudden say, "Okay, I'm going to start running faster!  I'm going to start jumping higher!"  I think it's a combination of those things."

Add in the natural intensity that helps focus players at this time of year, pushing to give just... a... little... more, and there you go.

VIDEO:

Bryant, on his team's preparations for the series.  Very businesslike, to say the least, and certainly surprised that the Lakers are opening against Utah.  "At the start of the season if you had told me this would be a 1/8 matchup, I'd probably have looked at you like you were crazy. But the NBA works out like that sometimes, because you have so many matchups and you never know what can happen." 

Jackson on, among other things, Utah's loss of Okur.  "They're decidedly smaller (defensively), but Collins is a sound defensive player who replaces him.  But (Okur's) three point shooting, he's really relied on to stretch the defense and open up the court for them.  (Losing Okur) didn't diminish much of Deron Williams' penetration in the last game, though.  He came through the middle anyway.  It does make their centers have to pull out and play very attentive defense at the three point line, which opens up the lane for the guards." 

(Note: As you can see, this vid processed without... vid. Just audio. Use your imagination, I guess.)

Lamar Odom (same problem as PJ...):

Fisher:

BK

 
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Oh baby I am READY for the game tomorrow!

Saw the last minutes of BOS v CHI and loved that Boston lost. I don't expect them to lose the next game but if they do I can see where they might go out first round. I bet they're freaking out, just a little bit.

I'm countin' the hours!

I LOVE LA!

Hey guys!!!

Is it Sunday yet???

Weeners lost HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

That said, I hope it's us and them for the Finals. I would love to see me a green beatdown on our floor. I'd love to see that. I'd pay money to see that (if I had enough lol)!

Bootah - bring it on - we ain't scared of no Jazzercizers!

Is it Sunday yet????

GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!

Portland and Orlando are a concern. Why? Because they've actually beaten us. This ain't that complicated. Cleveland's basketball team knows they can't beat us because they tried and couldn't. They know what their fans don't.

Hollinger had us favored last year but we hadn't competed with Boston all year and stayed true to form with the help of a few calls and injuries.

fo, fo, fo, fo. Gooooo Lake Show

Derrick Freakin Rose...

The playoffs is where you earn respect...

And now I know, undoubtedly D-Rose's career potential isnt good, All-Star, great...

nahhhh...

It's top 5-10 PG of all time... He has 12 years to make his case, but WHAT A CASE to start!

He's the marbury + iverson combined without the selfishness.,..

I love it.

is it sunday yet?

If any of you are worried about John Hollinger's analysis or how most of the pundits are picking Cleveland to win the championship...

http://tinyurl.com/5kmqvs

Last year, all but one of the ESPN guys (including Hollinger) picked the Lakers to win it all.

Statistics don't win games. Teams win games.

Warren T, you're not a Laker fan. You never know who's going
to win the games until they are played. But a true FAN believes
that his team's strengths will be enough to overcome the other
team's strengths. You believe in the Cavs' strengths more than
the Lakers'. Therefore, you are a Cavs fan, not a Lakers fan.

I watched the Boston-Chicago game and loved it, especially since Boston lost. Rose is so cool and confident it is scary, even while playing on someone else's home court. I wish him well. On the other hand, the Cav and Piston game was sickening. To hear the announcers slobber and fawn all over Lebron was enough to make me get up and go do my grocery shopping. Good grief already. I've pretty much made up my mind I don't want to see any Cav games unless they are being humiliated by the Lakers.

Kobe and the Biggies…

Talk all you want about the Celtics Big Three of Garnett, Pierce, and Allen or the Spurs Big Three of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobli, but the real BIG Three are the Lakers tall and long trio of Bynum, Gasol, and Odom. They are the premiere front court trio in the league and give the Lakers the luxury of manning the center and power forward positions with All-Star level players for 48 minutes of every game, dominating opponents on the boards and in the paint. No other team can match the Lakers front court now that Drew is healthy.

With Bynum, Gasol, and Odom, the Lakers have three front court players who are capable of averaging double-doubles in points and rebounding. Bynum and Gasol have been so dominant at times that they became the first Lakers players other than Kobe to win the NBA Western Conference Player of the Week award since Shaq was traded. And the week that Pau won the award, his main competition was Lamar Odom. Additionally, all three players know how to play with their back to the basket and are excellent passers who know how to hit the open man when doubled. They make the Lakers a power team.

The Lakers Biggies are the real reason why the Lakers are favored to win the NBA title this year. They give the Lakers the ultimate compliment to MVP Kobe Bryant’s superb guard play and make the Lakers unbeatable. In the past, teams could defend Kobe and not really worry about getting killed by the rest of the Lakers players. Now the pendulum has swung 180 degrees and the Lakers don’t even need Kobe to be a big scorer to win ball games. Instead, he can actually focus on defense and playmaking and closing games.

You have to give Mitch Kupchak some real credit for knowing exactly what kind of team the Lakers needed to build around Kobe to return to championship level. Watching this team get put together has been watching a basketball genius at work. And it is not limited to drafting Drew and trading for Pau. It also includes drafting Sasha, Luke, and Jordan, the deals for Trevor and Shannon, and even the long shots taken on Sun and Morrison, all results indicative of a well-prepared and well-executed front office vision and strategy. Mitch has put together a juggernaut of a team in an amazingly short period of time under tremendous pressure. He should be a lock for NBA Executive of the Year.

Listening and watching Spero’s interview with Phil and Mitch, you just had to love the intelligence and character displayed by both the interviewer and interviewees. I really like Spero and hope at some point that he will take also take over the television announcing so that the Lakers could finally return to Chick Hern style simulcasts. The answers from Phil and Mitch painted a dramatically different picture of how well the Lakers franchise is run than the parody of miscommunication surrounding the Kobe turmoil two summers ago. Best of all, the Lakers front office seems committed to keeping this team together. Look for the Lakers to re-sign Odom, Ariza, and Brown to new contracts this summer.

Kobe and the Biggies give the Lakers the best inside-outside game in the NBA. With Drew back and rounding into form, the Lakers are on the verge of becoming as dominant a team as Phil’s Three-Peat Lakers or championship Bulls teams. For two years, we have all been waiting for this moment, when we had all three big men healthy and ready to rumble. Tomorrow the fruition of a dreams will begin to come true. I seriously believe that the Lakers can sweep the playoffs 16-0 and become the first champion to finish undefeated. That would be the perfect way to launch the Next Great Lakers Dynasty.

JMNSHBO!
DNFTT!

Tom

Tom:

Well said. However, Sasha and Farmar need to get back at the level of play displayed last year. The last month or so, Farmar and Trever's game had been mediocre at best. Shannon has displaced Farmar as Fisher' backup at the PG position. I don't think he would be back next year.

I like your idea of 16-0 but will take 16-5. 4-0 against Utah. 4-2 against Portland. 4-1 against the Nuggets and 4-2 against the Cav. Too bad that the troll won't make it to the Finals this year. I hate Celtics but want our team to revenge the bitter loss against them last year.

I think that MK should be Exec of the Year....besides.....who else made moves this year to compete with that?

John Paxson, i would say for bringing the Bulls back by drafting Rose and making trades during the year.....but that is a DISTANT second.

Then i would say Donnie Walsh....for finally buying out/getting rid of Marbury

and then the Magic GM for trading for Skip to My Lou (Rafer Alston) because after Nelson went down for the year, i thought the Magic were done, but that trade kept them in the elite in the east.

But we all know MK will get it, because of a combination for moves and deals made this year and last year (even though the award should represent this season) but Ainge did deserve GM last year because he brought in Allen and KG and the hardware.

and hopefully that award doesnt go to his head because he has a pretty hectic offseason to deal with after this year.

Wow. It's been 6 years since Portland last made the playoffs. 6 long years. Welcome back to the big leagues, Portland.

I guess that just shows how spoiled we are as Laker fans. Missing the playoffs for one year is torture for us. Can you imagine missing the playoffs for 6 years in a row?

I can't see how any team in the West will compete with the Lakers with a healthy Drew. Everyone talks about how scary Portland is, but I just don't see it. They may have beat us a few times in the regular season, but the playoffs are entirely different. Portland is nowhere as good as Boston was last year, and any team has to be that good to have at least a chance to beat us this year.

I expect to demoralize Portland, and then play Dallas in the Western Conference finals. Dallas is playing very well, and is in the favorable bracket.

i hope the lakers meet the cavs and win because i'm sick of the media love for bron....


Since there's nothin much to talk about till game time, Mitch K deserves a few lines.

He's performed epic feats right before our eyes over the last 4 years really. This year the move to get Shannon Brown flew so low under the radar even the talking heads missed it.

He may not get EOY. He did his job so well these last few years, major 09 surgery wasn't required. Award or not, the Laker roster stacked top to bottom with complimentary pieces of a
championship is a Mitch K work of art. It's art created under the pressure of the most demanding fan base in the association. He's filled the Logo's shoes and those were
giant shoes. It's been a magic act, no pun intended. Kudos and apologies are required from us all.

broandon roy trained by PP. bring in the wheelchair

I remember someone on here said that the reason Drew Gooden chose to go to the Spurs is because he would possibly start or get more playing time there than he would with the Lakers. It looks like Gooden is hardly getting any time off the bench and along with Grant Hill made a dumb choice by hitching their hopes to win a title with fading teams. Grant Hill wouldn't return any calls made to him by the Lakers when he was a FA and Gooden elected to go to the Spurs. Maybe some of these other FA's will look to the Lakers if they want a shot at the title.

Derrick Rose is going to be a great player in this league. He's a bright player and is fearless. It's funny to hear all the analysts on ESPN and ABC backpedal(especially Jalen Rose who sounded like a broken record with the whole Celtic pride thing and that with KG out it would be their rallying cry)after the Bulls beat the Celtics in Boston.

Right now Houston is playing the Blazers very smart by utilizing Yao and running the offense through him. As long as Artest and the other Rockets don't just settle for jump shots they'll be fine.

This is where the Lakers need to capitalize also. Use their size advantage and work it inside out Lakers tend to fall in love too much with perimeter shots when they have two 7 footers that shoot high percentage shots and can dominate the paint. I predict that Bynum will be the breakout player for the Lakers in these playoffs.

Ray Allen was 1-12 today and Pierce choked at the line and the analysts were still trying to make excuses for them. What was crazy was how Doc Rivers responded to questions regarding KG. Now we'll really see how great Pierce and Allen are without KG.

Now that the second season is here, I truly hope that the lakers have learned some lessons on the way such as not letting teams have cheap points by leaving 3 point shooters wide open which has killed the lakers all year. Kobe has to lead by example and guard his man and not put his teammates in a position to have to leave thier man to guard his man who usually lights it up by hitting open shots. Kobe can't afford to wait to score. He is the team leader and needs to make good decisions with the ball. Kobe should be looking to score the ball if he has the shot and kick it to an open teammate if he doesn't. Kobe needs to coach his team on the floor and keep them aware of game situations such as driving the lane and drawing fouls if the other team is in the penalty. The lakers need to follow Kobe's lead and be ready to shoot the ball when he gives it to them in a scoring position. The lakers have to recognize and work the Gasol and Odom mismatches. Kobe is the key because after all, this is his legacy we are talking about and haters are already talking about if Kobe doesn't win it this year, he never will, and it proves he can't do it without Shaq and how Lebron will then be the best player in the league. What a bunch of jokes but this will really prove if Kobe is a real leader or not. It is his championship to win or lose, he now has to lead his team and go get it....

Let's Go Lakeshow!!

I wonder how the Portland announcers are calling this but kicking the Rocket are laying on portland. They are definately blaming the refs. I hope Houston blows them out and take the series...

Stop all the scary Portland talk already. They won't even get past Houston.
Playoffs are when experience counts the most. How many playoffs did it take for even Michael Jordan to win it all?
Portland will be the Lakers' main competition in the next few years barring any injuries to major players. But this year, Portland is just auditioning.
Now if McGrady was playing with Artest and Yao, then Houston would have been the only tough competition for Lakers this year.

To be honest with everyone, when I think about what is going to happen over the next couple months, my heart burns.

I literally feel a buzzing in my chest.

This is a special year and we need to win this. We need to give everything.

This is a special year.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!

The blazers are gettin whacked by houston

When talking about MK, let's also not forget that he brought Fish back into the fold... and at a critical juncture.

Houston kicked the hell out of the Blazers in Portland tonight!!! Everyone and I mean everyone was talking up the Blazers. Ha!!! What a load of crap!!! Sure, it's still early, but the Blazers were really buying into all the hype that they were getting. It goes to show that you shouldn't talk and act up unless you've actually done something in the playoffs. Houston may be just more hungrier to get out of the first round.

By the way, Rudy Fernandez was never really hurt and he still sucks. He's strictly a gunner which is why he got the rookie three point record.

Blazers are getting SCHOOLED by Rockets right now. Laker fans shouldn't worry about Portland yet.
3 out of 4 home upsets today. Lakers need to concentrate on Jazz first.

Love it that Houston just beat down Portland on the Blazers home court! How come the Lakers have so much trouble with them since we swept the Rockets? Guess it's the playoffs.

Can't wait for tomorrow's game! Go Lakers and play some great defense!!! I want to see the Lakers dominate and make a statement!!!

Playoffs Day 1 is in the books:

Any day that Boston loses is a good day.

The Failblazers get humiliated in R.I.P. City.

When you get into the playoffs, MATCH-UPS MATTER and you learn that there isn't a clear pecking order of teams simply being better than each other.

I couldn't sell the extra seat I bought in sec 102 row B (right behind the Utah bench). A sign of the times that I can't even sell that seat at face value. So that's where I'll be tomorrow screaming my head off for the Lakers.

Portland lost lmfao... i thought they were good at their homecourt? bunch of chokers

Bostons fans don't want to hear this: Choke on the 1st game w/o Kevin Garnett. Doc Rivers is tired of answering questions: " Is KG playing?"

Where is 131-32? Is Kevin Garnett playing on Monday? on a Wednesday? on a Friday? Where is KG when the fans needed him? Paula missing the free throw and Ray A. was only 1for 12....choke! laughing the loudest

Is the Celtics mystique over? Just one year and hibernate again for the next 20 years. Will the Celtics raise the white flag? Will KG be present at the demise ? huh!

LakerTom -

Love our Big Three no doubt about it, but the Spurs' Big Three (now the Big Two) has been around for ages. I'm not ready to concede this "Big Three" thing to ANYONE but them. OUR Big Three should be called something else.

Does anybody buy the jordan farmar "foot injury" story? Seems to me that they are making a fake excuse to not let his sorry play jeopordize the playoff run...

The portland fans did not understand that when they say you need experience in the playoffs that it really means you need experience in the playoffs. So they get blowen out by the rockets at the rosegarden. Dang that was so fun to see.

great day when celtics loose and portland lose at home by almost 30

Korey,

Agreed on Rose. He's cooler than a cucumber. He's outer space cool. I saw his interview after that game. That was really something. It's like he doesn't have any adrenaline at all.


Vman,

Mitch K has made great moves that last 1 1/2 years. Prior to that there were some pretty awful ones for a much greater length of time. I don't owe him any apology at all. I said he made horrible moves that seriously damaged the team at the time and he did. I respected good draft picks like Turiaf and Mo Evans.

He's grown into his job nicely, but that still doesn't change the past. I never said he was a horrible GM, only judged his actions at the time.

GM of the year? Sounds very reasonable to me.

portland losing made my night!!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAAHAHAH where are all the portland fans?!

In addition to Mitch for EOY, PJ for coach of the year...2nd best record without Bynum, 4-0 against Boston and Cleveland....well, that's why he won't...cuz the Crabs are the league's darlings...they would give it to Mike Brown before PJ...look, 2 years in a row of super performance in addition to 9 previous successful years...when are they ever going to give in...the Lakers are not exactly an easy group of guys to handle, they are not the Trailblazers of old, but you have Kobe, the triangle, meshing new players into the triangle, players with contracts, and a bunch more....the only thing is he doesn't do it in Milwaukee, he does it in Los Angeles, the most beautiful basketball city in North America...
...great comment earlier about Kobe should consider adjusting his game to Killer Scorer to organizer, coach on the floor...would extend his career...the team has enough talent to win with him scoring less, it's been shown, even though some of those games were 4th quarter DNP-CD's....
...I fear if no championship this year a sorta breakup of the team, a re-org...that would be the wrong move, the core of the team could be readjusted to the younger guys, with Kobe and Fish as a bonus....

Lakersth, damn...wish I was in LA...I'd buy that ticket from you for sure!!!

Derek Rose is a true baller..He just plays the game the right way, does what he wants to on the court, he has the tools to be one of the great ones -- wish he were a LAKER but I can still appreciate from afar.......Man, dude got that bomb-ass composure...

BTW, Tyrus Thomas' game is evolving as well.

As for all this Portland talk, I am not thinkin bout them or the CAVs, the Lakers have to handle their own B.I. and everything else will take care of itself.....We still got work to do people! Let's not get it twisted.

"As for all this Portland talk, I am not thinkin bout them or the CAVs, the Lakers have to handle their own B.I. and everything else will take care of itself.....We still got work to do people! Let's not get it twisted.

Posted by: lakersrydeordie | April 19, 2009 at 07:45 AM"

EXACTLY....everyone, do not think of the final's matchup vs the cavs....think of 4, 4, 4, 4....16 wins to the promised land. ...and I believe that this championship would be equal to say Magic's 5, but a tad short of MJ's 6...for KB24...because of the time gap between the championships, the growth of the boy to the man he is today...the game as it is today...maybe the victims (Cav's....a pretty darn good team)...I hope for this one, one more under PJ, then one more under the next coach within the next 5 years and I would say Kobe is up there with MJ....

As for a name for the Lakers attack squad "The Big Three"...how about just sticking with the "Lakers", and be a team so strong that the mention of your team name turns the opponents stomach....it's a dynamic environment, there are injuries, ups and downs of players, trades, shuffling of lineups, but in the end it is the LAKERS who will do be the most feared team out there, players able to play multiple positions, the triangle having no traditonal positions anyway...what we will need is a 1....Shannon and Farmar can almost hold their own (I mentoned it first they were drafted a pick apart, me too much time to look up stuff), but if Sun Yue can develop, he can throw a whole nother wrinkle into the mix. I hope he does, I want to see the league waiting to whomp on the young looking "rookie", but I want him to play the game as an orchestrator. His grasp of the English language is fine, he needs to grasp the NBA language, and he needs to get that aggressiveness, which will entail an entire year of being called for fouls (ala Sasha), hate to say it but to succeed he may have to become Splke Speigel (lookit up...Cowboy Bebop....movie maybe coming....Keanu Reeves...bad choice, a tad too old). Sun may have to dye his hair Laker purple and get tattoos that put Birdman to shame...but whatever it takes I want this guy to be one of the main components of the Laker "Machi...".I mean the Laker dynasty...and may his greatness be such that in the future they refer to his time as "The Sun Dynasty".....(Mbenga...beat him up, then lock him in a gym for 4 months....give him a ball, tapes of Magic, Bird, Pistol, MJ/Pippen....and remember to feed him...)


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