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1 down, 81 to go

It was Giant Bling Night at Staples Center as the Lakers raised a banner and received their championship rings. All the pomp and circumstance made for a great pregame celebration (check out the photo gallery here), but as Phil Jackson reminded his players the other day, the purple and gold still had a game to Lakers Championship Banner play, a tough thing to do on ring night. Nothing spoils the fun like losing an opener. Well, the Lakers got the message, getting 33 points from Kobe Bryant and 26/13 from Andrew Bynum and using a strong fourth quarter push en route to a 99-92 win over the Clippers Tuesday night at Staples.

With Pau Gasol on the sidelines, his hamstring hamstrung, the Lakers also benefited from a very strong night for Lamar Odom (16/13/5, plus some war wounds), and while Ron Artest struggled from the floor, as we noted in last night's wrap there were encouraging signs on that front as well. He certainly enjoyed the evening. The box score reveals LAL's dominance in the post, reflected mostly in a free throw imbalance as the Clippers struggled to defend the Lakers near the bucket. 

More from around the web on last night's win:

JA Adande, ESPN.com:

"...The sharp teams figure out that if they can keep it close, then a five-minute burst of quality play at a strategic time is all it takes to win against most teams. The Bulls in the early 1990s knew that. So did the Lakers in the '80s. Apparently, this group in gold realizes it, as well. That's exactly what they did at the start of the fourth quarter; Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom did the bulk of the work as the Lakers turned a one-point lead into a 10-point advantage in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter.

"I felt like we had control," Bryant said. "Even when it was a one-point game, I still felt like we had control..."

Johnny Ludden, Yahoo! Sports:

"...In the rugged West, that’s a stretch. But Bynum gives the Lakers reason to dream. Already, he looks both leaner and faster. After taking a month off to backpack around Europe, he spent much of the remainder of the summer working on strengthening his lower body. In previous years, Bynum weighed close to 290 pounds at the start of camp. This year he checked in at 272. Lakers coach Phil Jackson isn’t quite ready to declare that Bynum has regained the level of dominance he showed just before he injured his knee at the end of January. In the five games prior to the injury, Bynum averaged 26.2 points and 13.8 rebounds. Kobe Bryant also is quick to caution that “with him, focus is always key.” But Jackson and Bryant do have a better idea of what their 7-foot center is capable of delivering. With Pau Gasol sitting out Tuesday’s game with a hamstring strain, the Lakers repeatedly found Bynum around the rim..."

Kevin Ding, OC Register:Ron Artest on the floor

"...The Lakers have officially signed Chuck Person, an Artest confidante and the one escorting him off the Detroit court in 2004 while trying to protect Artest's head from tossed debris, as a special assistant for the entirety of the season. Person is the security blanket, but if you needed further proof of the Lakers' trust in Artest, they handed him the public-address microphone to offer a pregame greeting to the fans. And his first words were telling as far as what he feels now that he's here: "L.A., big city of dreams …" Artest wasn't sharp on offense, hurt as much as anyone by the lack of flow in a triangle missing smooth-operating Pau Gasol because of his sore hamstring. But Artest's commitment to and skill in passing was evident, and he showed more aggressiveness in grabbing post position away from teammates when appropriate. Defensively, Artest easily met Jackson's challenge to throw a sack over Clippers small forward Al Thornton and set a tone..."

Ramona Shelburne, Daily News:

"...Some years, it took several months for those Lakers to summon the sense of urgency they'd need for another playoff run. "Oh yeah, we battled it," said former Laker Rick Fox, who won titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002 and was on hand for Tuesday's ceremony. "That third year (2002) we really battled it. Then the fourth year, we were uhhhhh ... and we just couldn't stay healthy. "The fifth year, when we added Gary (Payton) and Karl (Malone), that was the aligning of a lot of talented people, and it would've been great for one night, for an All-Star Game, but what we found out, as we know, it only looked great on paper." So what advice, if any, can Fox give to this year's team? "For those that are wearing a ring for the first time, it will be hard," Fox said. "Because when you're young, you think it can happen every year. It doesn't."

Bill Plaschke, LAT:

"...A couple of the current players are new, the championship ring is bigger -- think dinner plate -- but the Lakers' experience seemingly never changes, the world's most trendy fan base once again happily stuck in time. "As we look forward, we're always about the past," said Tim Harris, the Lakers' vice president in charge of such things. "We wanted tonight to be a reminder of what this franchise is. We are not just the 2009 championship team. We are everything that came before that." This is why the Lakers work. This is why the Lakers win. "Our current players can look up and see our past, understand what we are about, see where they could be going," said Harris. "We think that's important." This is the vision of owner Jerry Buss, who stayed virtually hidden in his luxury suite Tuesday because it is not about him..."

Other news and notes:

    -George Karl doesn't think Coby Karl should lose his roster spot if the Cavs sign Antonio Daniels.
    -Tony Gaffney is off to Isreal. He signed a contract in August with an exit clause if he was to make the NBA, so it was a good situation for sure. Gaffney was never going to be without a job.
    -The Grizzlies may be courting the Cap.
    -The Celtics and Rajon Rondo are still hoping to get an extension ironed out before Saturday's deadline.
    -'Sheed says the Cavs are still very vulnerable to the pick and roll.
    -More on Magic and Isiah.
    -Want to buy LO's old house in Manhattan Beach?

BK

(Photos: Lakers Championship Banner Unveiled, Ron Artest, credit Wally Skalij, LAT)

 
Comments () | Archives (39)

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more thoughts or so, seemingly...

said it once or twice, will say it again and again:

AS ALWAYS, AS EVER, YET ANOTHER GREAT DAY (AND CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON) TO BE A LAKER FAN !!!

GO LAKERS !!!

BK it looks like you and AK are working on a three peat and getting your third Blogging title. Threads just keep on getting better! SO...What do you think you will call your dynasty. And sorry but dont think you will get off that easy I have to say it...OUT FREAKIN STANDING!!

Finally, Artest found a home and a family that will recognize his talents and importance to the team. He was not really a bad person but just misunderstood with bad companies too. Last night, his ego was guarded and often go with the flow, sometimes too much respect to other Laker players like Kobe and Bynum, he would rather pass the ball than initiate an offense. As the season grow older, Artest will assert his major role with the Lakers, Bynum will score more because of the presence of Artest and Kobe on the floor.

The hiring of Chuck Person paved way to the exit of Kareem. Lakers protected their investment on Artest and let loose Drew on his own. However, I still believe Kareem could offer a lot of basketball strategies if given the opportunity of becoming an assistant Coach, he was under Wooden, Costello and Riley; played with Big O and Magic. I'm sure Kareem could inject some creativity on Farmar, Brown, Fisher as they feed the ball inside to Gasol and Bynum.

If the Lakers are aiming for perfection whether it 20-1 or 34 consecutive wins, Kobe cannot do it alone in carrying the load for the team. The bench has to help and secure the lead. We need team effort, a quota system for point production, for rebounds and most important aspect of the game is defense. It doesn't begin and end with Artest alone while his teammates give it away. The five players on the floor should be moving in synchronized fashion like a clock precision of the hour, minute and second hands moving with precision to dictate the time and tempo in every game. The added flair may occur just for entertainment but still the focus in the end should be win at all times.

That was definitely the toughest team we will face this year. 82-0!!!

All in all this was an 7-8 on the scale of 10 game, first team look that, but bench was a little off. This will probably change when Gasol comes back, putting Lamar or Ron with the kids will help. It's looks like Sasha and Jordan still aren't looking for each other, they better cool it Shannon and Morrisson can take over in a heart beat. Luke looks like luke and Mbenga is ok but shooting a little to much, he might look to pass it one more open player.

Have a great day all

Good read. All these talks about Artest and really it's summed up best by Kobe: so what? On the court...dude is a totally different guy. Case and point:

"'I know they took care of their bodies this summer,' Artest said Monday. 'That was the main thing: to see how hungry people would come back to get that second one. And you could tell guys are hungry.'

For his part, Artest just completed his first NBA training camp in 11 years without missing a practice or a game. The only guy who won't be getting a ring Tuesday night came in determined to get his work done."

What's not to love. It's the beginning of a new dy-nasty ladies and gentlemen. Let's own it!

Now for the defense... lol.

Can we lay off the 20-1 predictions/hype/whatever? As long as we beat Orlando in our Finals rematch in June, the rest doesn't matter.

This game really highlighted everything that Pau brings to the floor. Like Kobe said though, even despite some really terrible stretches of basketball it never seemed like the Lakers lost control of the game.

Hey Faith, I still have your picture from the Coliseum celebration with Vic The Brick in my phone. Do you have a copy?

Yes, sure happy that the NBA and the Lakers are back again! Even though the summer was shorter than for other NBA teams, it sure seemed like a long break for us Laker fans!

Hey, that link (under "Other news") that's supposed to be about Sun Yue is about some other Chinese basketball player, also named Sun (Zhe).

Good Morning Everyone...

Good win last night...Point guard is still an issue...Kobe,Odom and Artest seemed very intense..Bynum played better..

Around the league...Boston looked good...Whenever the Cavs turned the ball over,the speed that Boston was able to get down the court really exposed the Cavs..At one point when Shaq and Big Z played at the same time,it was like watching ice melt and move at the same time...Ray Allen looked sharp....

Greg Oden....He plays good D but i cant help but think this guy is related to Kwame...2 points and 12 rebounds against a team with a 6,9 center...Ariza looked better..

The Wizards are a team that could scare some people..Gilbert,Foye,Butler,Blache,Miller and Jamison still to come back..They made the Mavs look 100 years old...

So Antoine Walker is completely broke after earning $11o million. I just don't get why someone would want to fund an entourage of 70 people for a decade. Was the guy that stupid?

I just don't understand this desire to fund an entourage of parasites. Take care of your immediate (like wife, kids, parents) family and usually take care of the bill when you go out to eat with your friends. That's it.

Paying for high school friends to hang out with you for a decade? That's just plain stupid.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Edwin Guerco,

"He was not really a bad person but just misunderstood with bad companies too."

Just to throw in a little Bio-Chrono here... Thriller's Bio-Chrono reading (like that of Lamar Odom's and Andrew Bynum's) is incredibly mentally-orientated. The whole reason that humans are intellectual creatues is because we social animals. So, people who are mentally-orientated are also highly socially-orientated people in that they are highly stimulated by and influencd by their social environment.

Simply put, surround them with negative, selfish people, and it will have a highly negative impact upon their personal decision-making. Surround them with positive, supportive, socially-sophisticated people, and it will have a VERY POSITIVE impact upon their personal decision-making.

So, hopefully Ron has finally found positive ground to thrive within. Growing up in the hood surrounded by negative, often ammoral, people was not a positive experience for him. He needs to be around people who are more optimistic with stronger moral boundaries.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Faith,

Nice to see you on the blog again.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Faith,

you said it--DEFENSE !

can I add proficient free throwing as well?

GO LAKERS !!!

Faith!!
Heyy!!
Good to see you keeping the boys honest on defense :)

I feel with Artest and Kobe on the perimeter and Bynum, Gasol and/or Odom backing them up, we have a chance to be truly special on the defensive end of the court. Now if we could package AmMo and someone else to get Hinrich as the PG.....a man can dream, can't he??

Watching last night's game, I had a revelation:

You always hear people saying that playing with a dominant big man is great for shooters because as players double the center, the shooter is wide open. Well, the reverse is happening with the Lakers! Because we have such dominant wing players (Kobe, Artest), Bynum is free to roam for alley-oops or solid post position. That's because a team typically uses two defenders for dominant centers. One guards the center straight up, and the other comes to help if the center gets superior post position. Because Kobe and Artest are both waiting on top, with Odom a decent outside threat (not as a shooter, but as a driver), that second guy isn't there to help cover Bynum, and he gets easy points.

It's beautiful to watch, but it's still just the Clippers, and still just the first game of the season. I'd love to see this trend continue, but it's a sweet wrinkle to our offense.

We're the Lakers, we do it with CLASS!

Scott

BK,

Outstanding post, as usual. The roundup of comments is very helpful, and saves me from going to all those sites on my own (which I normally do AFTER this blog, of course).

But don't you mean 1 down, 97 to go? (assuming we don't lose any playoff games, of course).

We're the Lakers, with do it with CLASS!

Scott

The link about Sun Yue is about a different Sun. C'mon how can you get an NBA Champion confused with another player who's not even in the NBA?

utzworld/justanothermambafan,

I just don't get why people do not understand the maxim "Starve the Troll".

1. Scourge the Troll.

2. Starve the Troll.

People who "troll" and insult people on blogs they do not agree with are inherently irrational people whose fragile egoes gain (personal) validity by stoking the negative emotions and defensiveness of people whom they do not agree with. THAT is their joy.

Don't give it to them.

Starve the Troll.

Doing otherwise is fruitless. As utzworld stated, "Only a fool argues with a fool."

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

To All My Laker Fam,

Great win and ring ceremony last night!!! I'm just so excited about the season starting because I've been so caught up with the natural disater that ravaged my people in Samoa. It's nice to have a wonderful diversion such as our Lakers to get the mind off of the turmoil for a bit.

This will be another exciting season for the purple and gold. Go Lakers!!!

I'm just now getting a chance to peruse today's threads. Glad to see that everybody's in such a positive mood. I enjoyed the game as well, but I do have just a little bone to pick - not with the starters but with Mbenga and Powell who I normally have praise for. I thought it was a little telling that the best player in the game today, Kobe, was taking it to the basket for the high percentage shots while our backup big guys were jacking up jump shots. What was that all about? Third quarter, they gave up our lead... getting increasingly out of sync as they approached the end of the period. Way to represent the triple post, guys. Tex, sitting there and waiting to get his ring. I doubt he was real happy about what he was seeing.

Okay, vent over. Glad for the win. Kobe, Bynum, Artest, Odom, all awesome. Nice trapping defenses too.

Can we lay off the 20-1 predictions/hype/whatever? As long as we beat Orlando in our Finals rematch in June, the rest doesn't matter.

Posted by: utzworld - THE BANNER HOLDER | October 28, 2009 at 12:06 PM

QFT...

The Magic seem better put together than Cleveland's 'throw it on a wall and see if it sticks' strategy for building a team.

Surprisingly, Vince Carter looks much better on a team where he doesn't have to be the main scorer. That's a good, athletic, and young team. Don't be surprised if you see Dwight Howard as a candidate for MVP. I expect that they'll be in the Eastern Conference finals again against the Celtics or the Cavs.

On my lunchbreak so I'll make this quick AGAIN:

lakers had a comfortable lead in the 2nd qtr and as soon as LUKE checks in clips go on an 8-0 run and the lead our starters worked so hard for is evaporated.

Was this not so painfully obvious to everyone else watching?? Why is everyone so hush hush and not a single word of this today??

Its not just the fact clippers outplayed us with luke on the floor. You could suddenly see a change of energy and expression in their faces. They saw luke AND THE SMELLED BLOOD AND WENT FOR THE KILL... It was like someone flipped the switch.. The clips not only attacked but did so with a lot more intensity and aggression. NOT A COINCIDENCE FOLK. You will notice this almost everytime where the opposing head coach goes right after luke esp with teams that have athletic 3s (like 9 out of 10 teams)

Pau needs to come back not only because of what he brings but also because without LO it was no flow in the second unit, and DJ shoting 3 times in the row? Was he a best shooter on the floor at this time? Or he just have to shoot because he got ball like with 1sec on the clock? Farmar trying to be creative, sometimes too much. No need to passes, just run our ofense. Someone needs to get Ron to start working on his FTs. He will get plenty of those with his post game, now he needs to make them

When I said about Farmar I meant no ned for fancy passes, just run our offense

On my lunchbreak so I'll make this quick AGAIN:

lakers had a comfortable lead in the 2nd qtr and as soon as LUKE checks in clips go on an 8-0 run and the lead our starters worked so hard for is evaporated.

Was this not so painfully obvious to everyone else watching?? Why is everyone so hush hush and not a single word of this today?

Its not just the fact clippers outplayed us with luke on the floor. You could suddenly see a change of energy and expression in their faces. They saw luke AND THE SMELLED BLOOD AND WENT FOR THE KILL... It was like someone flipped the switch.. The clips not only attacked but did so with a lot more intensity and aggression. NOT A COINCIDENCE FOLK. You will notice this almost everytime where the opposing head coach goes right after luke esp with teams that have athletic 3s (like 9 out of 10 teams)

Piggybacking Jon K:

I had to learn the hard way - with the sinister & morbid direction that my "battles" with 131-92 & Balloon Guy deteriorated towards over the past 2 weeks - that the more you antagonize the haters, the more foolish YOU look. They WANT us to take the bait and waste our time & energy going back and forth with them.

Is it worth it? Especially in light of last night's pre-game ceremonies?

Someone's got to take the high road. And as keepers of the NBA flame and reigning dwellers of the mountaintop, that's our responsibility. Let us walk in the pride and dignity that befits the definition of CHAMPIONS.

Ignore the troll, indeed.

Besides, we've got to prepare for our Orlando rematch in June anyway.

Hey KBros,

Israel is spelled as such. You have the "a" and "e" transposed.

Sloppy game last night, with the exception of Drew and the Kobester.

The first step on a long road.

Jonk

Totally agree with ur take on artests bio-chrono. Conversely, I also think someone of lamars bio-chrono will thrive by having an artest next to him.

Maybe knowing he's got a strong physical will backdown to nobody teammate on his side has made him mentally stronger. You can tell he's totally different this year with a lot.. He's much looser out there and that explains the surges in 3 pointers and even his driving bankshots are falling. He was even picking fights with the birdman in preseason.... LOL

I think lamar might be off to one of his best seasons with artest. Something tells me we may never see the old houdini gone for weeks at a time lamar ever again

I love Boston, but their sports fans are obnoxious, deluded, arrogant, bitter, and classless.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Posted by: Jon K. | October 28, 2009 at 01:03 PM

Yet - no sanctions!! Double-standard? This is personally offensive to me - a 47 yr resident of MA, and therefore, lifelong Boston sports fan - who happens to live out here now!! Isn't this some kind of policy violation??

People who "troll" and insult people on blogs they do not agree with are inherently irrational people whose fragile egoes gain (personal) validity by stoking the negative emotions and defensiveness of people whom they do not agree with. THAT is their joy. - Jon K

Hello Mr. Pot, I'm Mr. Kettle and I'm calling you black!!

My buddies and I have gone to 10-20 games a year for a long time, and sat in the Club the last couple years. This year we’re lucky enough to sit really close to the floor. Sitting that close is obviously great for a number of reasons, but the best is you can really pick up the players’ emotions.

Ron Ron was intensely focused. You could see that he hasn't found an optimal spot in the offense yet but he took what it gave him and had a solid night. Most importantly, the first team's offensive flow didn't suffer and that's a great start. I'm sure he will find his offense as he becomes more familiar with the triangle in the coming weeks.

Andrew showed a lot of energy and was very aggressive going to the glass against the Caveman, who is one big dude and not as clumsy as he looks. It’s great to see Andrew battling in the paint and using that great foot work Kareem taught him. If he keeps it up and stays healthy he could be one of the keys to our repeat championship.

But the thing that really jumped out at us was Lamar. He seems to be in a very good place emotionally. He was neither overly aggressive nor overly complimentary. He seemed to have great self confidence and he owned his place on the floor. He did not hesitate to take the shot when the ball swung around to him. He passed when it was appropriate, and he went to the glass when he had a mismatch. Could it be that the new contract and wife have given him the inner peace he needs to go out and be the great player we know he can be every night?

I know that this was just one game. But I’m hopeful. We all know that if Lamar can keep it at last night’s level all year we are going to be very tough for anyone to beat.

Bring on the Celtics! Lakers dominate in 2010!

I agree with the general comments that the bench blew esp when they were in by themselves, but hopefully they just miss LO.
Kenny Smith said it, and he's right, barring injury, no one is stopping these Lakers from a repeat.
Drew played well, but I'm still worried about his hops. To me it doesn't look like he has the same lift. Is he going to get that lift back?

Jon K,
"So Antoine Walker is completely broke after earning $11o million."

Unfortunately, that's pretty typical for pro athletes. Between lavish lifestyles, bad investments, and the yes men they support, something like 60% are bankrupt within a few years of retiring.

I Didn't like the bench tonight. The bench needs to do better this year. We had a 15 point lead and the starters went to rest and the bench lost the lead down to 1. Then the starters came back in and got things under control. We need the bench to keep or or extend the lead when the starters are on the floor. If this keeps up I say give other players a chance. I want to have that bench mob back.

Also I want to see Morrison this year. he looks to have a good 3 point shot.

1lalkrs

A delightful celebration last night. Really nice to see all the great players from the Lakers' past join in the celebration. Classy.

Too bad Blake Griffin was injured and could not play - the endless Clippers' injury curse. What's with (2 points) B. Davis?

Good to see Bynum getting a load of minutes, and playing at a high level.

Celtics continue to look sharp. R. Wallace can still play some defense when he wants to do so.

Those 'Crash the Party" bitter Trolls need to take a week off. Lighten up fellows.

Go Lakers!!

I think the lakers will have a great season this year due to the depth of there line up & bench, also i think they will have many accomplishments individually and as team,
GO LAKERS!!!

I have been on this blog for the last two years and "still have those balloons" sounds like a little kid. it's pretty amusing.


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