Caught in the Web: Lakers visiting the nation's capital
Some people just aren't cut out for life on the road. That's the words of wisdom shared by Lloyd Christmas in "Dumb & Dumber" moments before driving one-sixth of the way on his cross-country trip in the wrong direction and then later trading his van for a scooter.
The Lakers haven't experienced anything that egregious on the road (at least not yet), but their trip so far has been far from pleasant. Their 106-105 loss Sunday to the Toronto Raptors marked their second road loss in the last three games. In a scene cut from "Home Alone," center Andrew Bynum overslept Saturday, missed the team plane and eventually flew commercial. The Lakers also had 39 pieces of luggage that didn't make it to the hotel in New York.
The East Coast tour continues, today with a White House visit to President Obama. The timing of the Lakers' visit to the nation's capitol a day before their game against the Wizards couldn't come at a more peculiar time. The Lakers are being honored for 2009 NBA title at a time when their play is far from championship caliber.
Though Lakers guard Kobe Bryant says he wasn't sure what he'll say to Obama, Bryant might ask for a bailout considering the team has asked him to bail them out one too many times.
Even before the trip began, the team thought the White House visit would serve as a good break between games.
More Lakers links (after the jump)
--Another Lakers loss yields additional reasons for the team's latest struggles. The Times Helene Elliott observes the Lakers' inconsistency throughout their current trip, a quality the Orange County Register's Kevin Ding attributes to complacency. ESPN Los Angeles' Steve Mason questions the team's defensive intensity and aggressiveness.
--The National Post says the Raptors' victory is a huge stepping stone for the team and Raptors HQ says it's the team's biggest win since it beat the Chicago Bulls during their 72-10 season in 1995-96. Who knew Lakers Coach Phil Jackson would be there to witness both of those wins?
--Jackson apparently has a new theory on what's contributed to Ron Artest's injuries involving plantar fasciitis. It's the shoes. In response, Artest tweeted: "Coach Phil Jackson made a statement that my shoes are the reason my feet were hurting. He has no evidence. I love my shoe company. Peak." Jackson could investigate if the shoe indeed leads to injury, but that would involve playing Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic.
--ESPN's Mark Stein reports that the New Jersey Nets prefer keeping guard Devin Harris through the season, including the NBA draft lottery in May -- before dealing him. Harris had been linked in a recent report as possible trade candidates involving the Lakers.
--Fox Sports' Charley Rosen debates whether Bynum is better than Orlando center Dwight Howard. Howard is ranked higher than Bynum, and it's not because Bynum overslept and missed his flight to Toronto.
--The general public may not be particularly excited about this year's dunk contest, but that doesn't mean Lakers fans aren't. Dime Magazine has a Q&A with Lakers guard Shannon Brown to preview the upcoming competition.
Tweet of the Day: "Just got a good look at the gal holding up the "Kobe: Marry me" sign. He wouldn't want to." -- KevinDing (Orange County Register Lakers reporter Kevin Ding).
Photo: The Lakers will meet President Obama today in honor of the team's 2009 NBA championship. Credit: Chris Carlson / Associated Press.