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Caught in the Web: Lakers' Christmas Day redemption against Cleveland Cavaliers

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The Lakers' Christmas Day loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers still remains fresh in their minds. So much so that Lakers forward Pau Gasol wants to prove tonight against Cleveland that "we're the better team."

That's because last month's performance highlighted many disappointments.

There was of course the Staples Center crowd, not used to many losses this season, throwing foam fingers onto the court. There was the Lakers shooting 35.6% from the field. There was the team allowing Cleveland to shoot 54.3%.

Though the Lakers (32-9) rank first in the league in opponent's field goal percentage (43.5%), first in opponent's 3-point percentage (31%) and seventh in points per game allowed (96.4), performances such as the Christmas Day loss led Coach Phil Jackson to hold team meetings last week stressing the necessity to remain disciplined on defense.

"We’ve become a little bit more conscious of it and watch the energy we put out there defensively," Jackson said, "and trying to get back that understanding that defense is really a key to this game."

One person the Lakers won't have to worry about defending is Cavaliers point guard Mo Williams, who torched the Lakers on Christmas Day with a season-high 28 points. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Brian Windhorst reported that Williams will miss an undetermined amount of games after suffering a left shoulder sprain in Tuesday's win against Toronto. The Times Broderick Turner writes that Delonte West will replace Williams in the lineup.

That still leaves the Lakers worried about LeBron James. Though Lakers forward Ron Artest limited James on the perimeter last month, Artest allowed James to score easy baskets through off-ball screens and backdoor cuts, resulting in James netting 26 points on nine of 19 shooting. But Artest said he's looking forward to the rematch against Cleveland (32-11), which slightly trails the Lakers for the league' best record. 

"It’s always fun because he entertains that arena," Artest said of James. "I got to Cleveland before LeBron got there and there was nothing going on. He gets there and it’s all type of clown and circus acts around. I’ve never really been to the circus so it’s fun."

More Lakers links (after the jump)

--Lakers guard Kobe Bryant appears on Sesame Street, which is I guess a unique way of establishing street cred.

--In the latest issue of ESPN the Magazine, NBA reporter Ric Bucher has your latest tidbit on Chris Bosh-Andrew Bynum trade rumors: "Lakers center Andrew Bynum is someone the Raps think would be a good fit because he'd become an anchor inside and provide a physicality Bosh lacks. And it might not be a long shot. A Lakers source says there is a faction inside the organization that would make the deal." Bucher also reported that the Lakers contacted the New Jersey Nets about acquiring guard Devin Harris (insider subscription required).

--With the NBA All-Star starters being announced later today, Sports Illustrated unveils who its writers would have in the lineup. If the SI writers are correct, Bryant would be the lone Lakers representative in the West.

--The "LeBron-or-Kobe topic is inevitable today. Fox Sports' Randy Hill outlines a hypothetical debate between the two stars. Something tells me that having Charles Barkley as a moderator would be good for entertainment purposes. The Plain Dealer's Mike Pettica provides a statistical breakdown between James and Bryant.

--With Mamba 19 points shy of breaking 25,000 career points, ESPN's John Hollinger breaks down whether he can eventually surpass former Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the league's all-time leading scorer (insider subscription required). Bryant is 15th all-time with 24,981 points and Abdul-Jabbar is first with 38,387 points.

--Forum Blue and Gold provides a well analyzed breakdown on the Lakers' "Point Guard Conundrum." They write, "Notice I did not say the Lakers are getting poor production out of Derek Fisher — the production is a problem position wide. Everyone who plays there."

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan has a reader who weirdly has had all the different injuries Mamba has experienced this season.

Tweet of the Day: "Many ask the same question re. if they read the books. The message is in the gving hopefully they will read but if they dont Phil wont stop." -- jeaniEBUSS (Lakers' executive vice president and Jackson's girlfriend Jeanie Buss on Jackson's yearly tradition to distribute books during a long trip).

--Mark Medina

Photo: After getting knocked around by Shaquille O'Neal and the Cavaliers on Christmas, Pau Gasol said he and the Lakers need to be more aggressive in Cleveland on tonight. Credit: Lori Shepler / Associated Press.

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

 
Comments () | Archives (25)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Looks like Mo Williams is out for tonight's game with a shoulder sprain.

LongTimeLakerFan,

Are you saying that Bosh is quicker/more athletic than Bynum?

Are you saying that Bynum is not then end all/beat all?

:)

Well since Mo Williams isn't playing, maybe Fisher shouldn't play tonight either.
That way there's no excuses when we win tonight.

Eh wishfull thinking (Fisher not playing)


THIS has nothing to do with this game but it's blog related and sporting in a way.

3 or 5 threads ago, I've lost count, Jon K mentioned an old emailed death match proposal between he and Mike T. Surreal, and should not go without comment... that's how Laker passion was defined old blog style.

I don't tend to slow down for freeway wrecks, and avoid shouting homeless dudes, but I'd pay for ringside for that one. Mike wanted weapons... adjectives at 20 paces?

Mike could stir it up prison yard style. For those of you that recently jumped in here, it got epic at times.

GO Laker Bloggers!

@ Vman

Posted by: VMan | January 21, 2010 at 01:53 PM

I remember that. I remember Tim4sho trying to bet money against a troll and suggesting banking routing numbers and all. This blog oh my.

I still like the Crittenton/Caron Butler for Sasha/Ammo trade. Salaries match. Dreaming...

Heyyyy AXL ROSE, you are Spaniard from Vigo?????? O.K., I agree with you. Pau can "play this game" but I think that will be "BIG TROUBLE" because bynum´s influence inside The Lakers organisation (remember, Jabbar teacher, Jim Buss, maybe Phil too..... Hmmmmmm, Pau should pay attention AXL estas son tierras movedizas y Pau no es un líder del equipo para estas historias (Kobe, Fisher, quizá....)

all the old blog stuff....that's awesome. It was interesting to watch, but I'm kinda glad that the tone has gotten better or I've gotten a thicker skin.

It seems everyone was at each other's throats (and at Mitch's too) because the Lakers were just off of Shaq, and in essense the world order was flipped on its side. Lakers were eighth seeds with the best player on the planet.

People go to extremes to make points. Wait, that still happens....

"It’s always fun because he entertains that arena," Artest said of James. "I got to Cleveland before LeBron got there and there was nothing going on. He gets there and it’s all type of clown and circus acts around. I’ve never really been to the circus so it’s fun."

That's the funniest ish that I've read all day. :-)

Hi Charles!

Yeah, I'd love to see Tough Juice back with the lake show, but I'm not sure that's going to happen either.

I'll dream with you though.

@ Caliphilosopher

Long time brotha. I'm passing it to the left hand side.

"Music happen to be the food of love
Sounds to really make you rub and scrub"

Charles,

And may I ask how do you plan to play both Artest and Butler after such trade (keep dreaming) each for more than 30 min if game only 48 without overime?

Mo is out, at least part of our problem; I mean dealing with fast ALL-Star PG scoring in volume solved... Well, knowing our D from PG I would not be surprised if Delonte West going to score the same amount as Mo did on Christmas.

Charles,

And may I ask how do you plan to play both Artest and Butler after such trade (keep dreaming) each for more than 30 min if game only 48 without overime?

Posted by: LAL_Fan | January 21, 2010 at 02:56 PM

I dunno know the answer to that, but I'd be happy to have the problem....

Vman,

Mike T would bring weapons, he was able to fool Jon K on that score. Sometimes, he is a big b.s. and if you believe him on face value, you get totally screwed. Firstly, he is a parolee and bringing weapons would put him back to his jail cell; Secondly, Jon K is not prepared for duel on an unknown person nor risk his life and reputation from the standpoint of misplaced punk. That is poker bluff of the best basketball mind ever.

Today, I hope he is Tony Rambis tho' we never got an answer to our query. I love to have a discourse with Mike T., he is a rare breed. If you take this guy seriously, he could haunt you ala' Anthony Hopkins on Silence of the Lambs.

LTLF,

Are u really serious in suggesting a trade for Bynum for D. Williams? Boy, you just lowered your PER to -50 on credibility. How about trading old Kobe for young Durant? LOL!

@ Charles

"It was a cool and lonely breezy afternoon... How does it feel when ya got no food?"

:-)

"Charles,

And may I ask how do you plan to play both Artest and Butler after such trade (keep dreaming) each for more than 30 min if game only 48 without overime?"

Posted by: LAL_Fan | January 21, 2010 at 02:56 PM

I would have Caron off the bench. Crittenton, Brown, Caron, Odom and Bynum/Gasol. Athleticism galore. Or even use him as a trade piece.

Hold on, wait. You waking me up from my dream. Geez. Bad LAL_Fan. Bad LAL_Fan. I'm putting your post on snooze. Ok Jessica Alba and Biel. Keep massaging my feet.

"You could feel it 'cause it was the month of June"

Musical youth wave

LongTimeLakerFan,

Are you saying that Bosh is quicker/more athletic than Bynum?

Are you saying that Bynum is not then end all/beat all?

:)

Posted by: hobbitmage | January 21, 2010 at 01:22 PM
======================

Bosh is everything better than Bynum save for shot blocking.

But Hobbitmage don't we have Pau as a decent shot blocker and DJ Mbenga?

So yes pull the trade. I hate all these "Bynum is a true center" talk when we won a title against a true center in Dwight Howard with Gasol who isn't regarded as a center (even though he should be).

There has been only ONE true center to last win a title and that was Shaq in 06. Perkins doesn't count....Fabricio Oberto for the Spurs??....Ben Wallace an offensively challenged center??....Nazr Mohammad??....last time a true center won as the 1st fiddle was Shaq in 02 and Shaq is MUCH MUCH MUCH better than Bynum.

So put the trigger if Toronto wants Bynum. Better to have a dude who actually has LED compared to a Big mouth whose mouth is bigger than his game.

@ #4

Manong salamat po.

The Outlaw -

Do you mind if I ask where you do/did teach? I don't really know much about literature, and I enjoy science fiction, so I wanted to know if you have a few good authors to recommend to me.

Thanks! :-)

Posted by: Caliphilosopher | January 21, 2010 at 02:24 PM

maybe u should join the "Op-rah Book Club" so u become an intellectual not just a jock! :-)

Guys a new post is up. Mo Williams is expected to miss 4-6 weeks

"maybe u should join the "Op-rah Book Club" so u become an intellectual not just a jock! :-)"

Posted by: the newbie | January 21, 2010 at 03:33 PM

Maybe you should grow up. What about his user name and post's suggest that Caliphilosopher is a jock. Don't call someone a jock and be on their jock.

BLASPHEMY!!!! INFIDELS AND ROGUES must ask for LakerTom's forgiveness!!!

LakerTom are you going to respond and enlighten these ignorant Laker fans?


Bosh is everything better than Bynum save for shot blocking.
But Hobbitmage don't we have Pau as a decent shot blocker and DJ Mbenga?
So yes pull the trade. I hate all these "Bynum is a true center" talk when we won a title against a true center in Dwight Howard with Gasol who isn't regarded as a center (even though he should be).
There has been only ONE true center to last win a title and that was Shaq in 06. Perkins doesn't count....Fabricio Oberto for the Spurs??....Ben Wallace an offensively challenged center??....Nazr Mohammad??....last time a true center won as the 1st fiddle was Shaq in 02 and Shaq is MUCH MUCH MUCH better than Bynum.
So put the trigger if Toronto wants Bynum. Better to have a dude who actually has LED compared to a Big mouth whose mouth is bigger than his game.
Posted by: KB Blitz

Pau Gasol is isn't an All Star. He is to soft. Bynum is a joke if he thinks he is a All Star. I love Fisher and I love my mother but I don't want her in the game playing defense and taking quick three pointers. Farmer or Brown need to take more of Fishers minutes. I have been a Laker fan since the 1970's. Pau Gasol is a soft seven footer missing layups and foul shots at the end of the game was ridiculous. If we play any team with a seven foot center Pau Gasol will punk out. Bynum is a Joke! Kobe needs to get on the block and stop shooting so many jumpers, because the post play against any proven seven footer Gasol and Bynum are no shows when it counts.


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