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Lakers get the results even if it isn't pretty in victory over 76ers

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Despite a sluggish start, a Kobe Bryant injury scare and a 76ers comeback, the Lakers still walked out of Wachovia Center in Philadelphia on Friday with a 99-91 victory. The result is the only thing that mattered from this game, no more, no less.

The Lakers (36-11) may have just won their third consecutive contest, a stretch that's yielded improvements in a few statistical categories compared with the 1-2 start on the current eight-game trip. 

Consider the discrepancies between the first three and latter three games in points per contest (102.3, 110.7), field-goal percentage (44.8%, 49.6%) and team defense (101.3, 96.7). Then understand that those trends don't mean much simply because all of the Lakers' opponents -- the Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers and 76ers -- are well below the .500 mark and out of playoff contention. The Lakers' last two games of this trip feature tougher competition with a back-to-back starting Sunday against the Boston Celtics (29-15) followed with the Memphis Grizzlies (25-19).

The Lakers' most recent effort may have featured several lapses, but they quickly found ways to overcome those mistakes.

They shot only 35% from the field in the first quarter, but Ron Artest's 10 points on four-of-five shooting gave the Lakers a 19-18 first-quarter lead. His stat line of 18 points on seven-of-13 shooting was his highest scoring performance all month, after going through a tough January that's featured recovering from a Christmas night concussion, an injured right index finger and, most recently, plantar fasciitis in both of his feet.

Bryant may have only scored two points in the first half, but he finished with a team-high 24 points. This happened even though he collided early in the third quarter with Philadelphia forward and former Clipper Elton Brand, appeared to favor his left knee and limped around the court. Despite rolling his left ankle, Bryant stayed in the game and is now 48 points away from surpassing former Lakers great and general manager Jerry West as the Lakers' all-time leading scorer.

The Lakers' 58-42 third-quarter lead with 10:22 remaining may have been nullified when Philadephia's string of 6-0 and 13-6 runs ultimately cut the lead at the 2:03 mark to 70-67. But Philadelphia went through a four-minute, 35-second stretch in the fourth quarter where they were two of eight from the field, giving the Lakers an 88-80 lead with 3:17 remaining. 

The matchup between Allen Iverson (season-high 23 points) and Bryant may have harkened memories of the 2001 NBA Finals, but the circumstances and play from both teams provided no comparison beyond A.I.'s and Mamba's performances. This regular-season matchup won't have many lasting impressions, nor is there a likelihood the game will have a carry-over effect. The only lasting image for the Lakers will be the victory updated in the standings.

--Mark Medina

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

Photo: Philadelphia forward Andre Iguodala slips past Lakers guard Kobe Bryant on a drive in the second quarter Friday night. Credit: Ron Cortes/McClatchey-Tribune

 
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Well, really AB, I would have just busted Philly with 30/15/5 tonight after the AS snub, but you put up 6/3/1, WOW! Don't get me wrong, I would love to have AB be Kareem instead of Elden, but seems like you are who we thought you were?
And then there's Fish, another WOW, held aging AI to 23 pts and you handed out 2 whole assists as well. FarmarworsethanIthoughthewas didn't help much either. Boy do we need a point guard. Hinrich anyone? I am not convinced we can win a title again with this continued weakness.
If Norlans was thinking of moving CP3 for Parker, what about AB for CP3? We won the title last year and reached the Finals the year before without much help from AB anyway. I think this would be Championship lineup:

PG-Paul
SG-Kobe
C -Gasol
SF-Odom
PF-Artest

Bench-Fish, Brown, Walton, Powell, Farmar, etc.

One quick question MM, can't seem to find or settle on which after-game Blog. You should tell us when and where to go (bet you liked that last part, ha, ha).

Oh, and I mean am I the only one here? Is everyone else talking somewhere else? I feel kinda lonely.

DJ - Hah you can go anywhere you'd like. The two other posts were just quick items from our beat writers, Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner. The post here is the overall game wrap

MM

Thanks my friend, guess everyone else is, ah, well, not here. Yet!

Say, not to bug you too much, but how late do you stay up to run, say this one, PST? This Laker stuff is your life huh? Great life, I would think, but I also know it's tough also. My father ran our community swimming pool and I went every day and all the kids thought that was great. Was, but also kinda boring after years and years of it. It was my (his) baby sitter, ha, ha. Loved him though!

Give Andrew Bynum a break people! Poor Andrew just got ignored and passed over for an All-Star spot. Can't the guy spend the next few games sulking and feeling sorry for himself? Fella needs some peace and quiet time without the pressure to perform to find himself OK? LOL.

Too bad Bynum winds up with just 3 rebounds and six points in 25 min. against Philadelphia. Cannot expect to be an all star with so many sub-par performances. Hope Bynum can do better against the Celtics. Rondo will get 6-9 rebounds and the Celtics will pounce on lazy Laker passes. Celtics are good at stripping the ball and plugging up the lane ith energetic rotations. Being outrebounded by 8 and allowing smaller teams so many offensive rebounds does not bode well for a repeat championship! On the trading front all the Lakers need to do is get a good defensive point guard to handle the likes of Rondo but only give up Morrison & a future draft pick. The bench, including Sasha, is showing signs of improvement and trading 3 or 4 for Heinrick may disrupt the triangle chemistry. Just need the Lakers to play D for 48 min. like the Cavs & Celtics!

Bosh for AB would not be a good trade. If we are prepared to trade AB it would be far better to do so for Chris Paul. He is a high IQ player and would learn the triangle quicker than most and relieve Kobe of ball handling duties. In the PG category he is the best and the Hornets seem willing to part with him for a good long term prospect to build around. AB could well fit their needs. Paul, a superb energetic team player, would guarantee a Laker 3-peat, lengthen Kobe/Pau winning careers and bring showtime back with the best passing team ever assembled.

CP3 will not be a laker....keep on dreamin chief

I just don't get all the hate.

Seriously, look over the post-game posts. 70% of them are negative.

We just won a game on the road and people are complaining.

I literally just don't get it.

I understand constructive criticism. I understand debate. I do not understand people whining, complaining and slinging slander after we just won a game.

It's just insane.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Jon K. -
I thought you would have understood...

It's a coaches job to always point out flaws and things to improve in regardless of the outcome so they can continue to do their best.

As fans, we only care for our team and wish to help by abruptly blurting out things in anger even though we truly mean-

"Good job team, but you could have done a little better by....etc."

It's just that we are not as educated in basketball as the coaches are and therefore make it harder for us on how to explain how we feel about an individual game.

"We just won a game on the road and people are complaining."

Jon....you know pfraud36 will always find a way to blame a bad possession to lay it on Luke Walton so you should expect that.

as for Bynum? As I said before he is VERY polarizing to the Lakers.

Not everyone here holds the same optimism for Andrew Bynum that you and Laker Tom do. Some do get annoyed at the "Bynum the beast thing" when he is averaging less than 15.5ppg and 8.5rpg yet people who share similar views always say when he doesn't have a good game:

*Bynum is only 22 years old (when Kobe at his age was being the co-leader of the Lakers to a 3 peat and Lebron was leading his Cavs to the 2007 finals)

*Bynum got injured in freak accidents (freak or not there are has been WORST cases of injury ala Stoudemire's eye/microfracture to Dale Ellis's automobile accident).

*Bynum is on a team with Kobe and Pau (did being with Lebron and Wade prevent Kobe from being active baseline to baseline in the 08 Olympics?)

*Bynum changes shots/does things that show up on stat sheet (like also getting outhustled for rebounds?)

And other similar excuses Jon. More or less those responses about Andrew Bynum are a "hey why you feed us this crap...this guy sucks" kinda thing. Is it negative? Yes in a way but simply put this is what happens when you try to convince people that Bynum is a legit franchise player and/or put Bynum and Gasol over Kobe.

Gasol? He has proved himself. Bynum? He has been inconsistent. That is not negative Jon. That is fact.

Jon k.

This blog has lost a lot of really good people who once posted here.
Its really hard to even drop by to see whats going on.

Sometimes less is more.

5 posts that make sense are better than 35 that are hate and junk.

What a shame.

AB is NOT going to be the Next Great Lakers Center.... he might/can become a good center.. thats all!!


Even to become a "Good" center, he has to go a long way, and that way is towards the opposition's basket to rebound, not running in the opposite direction to get an easy dunk.. Playing for 25 minutes and getting ONLY three rebounds?? (Its not like he was in foul trouble, thats why he could not hustle on the floor) Dude does not give a damn about playing D. 20/5/3 is not what a great center gives us, a great center should give 20/20/7 or even a good center should give 15/15/4.

Looks like Andrew spent sulking the entire game about the All-Star snub!!

Slander? I mean, I wouldnt call criticism of Bynum or any other player slander, its just opinions.
Anyway, like many others I have mixed feelings on Bynum.
So much trade talk, I wonder, if we had to face him and he put up 30/15 against us as the other teams go to guy, how would we feel then?

You know for darn sure if we trade Bynum to a team where he becomes the #1 option he will come back to haunt us.

I hate to see games he plays like last night, but I dont like the thought of seeing him go somewhere else and then become the player we all hoped he would be here. Kinda like a girlfriend that you dont much want to be with anymore, but you dont want her to be with someone else either.

LT, Jon K, and other Drew supporters, I would like to hear your thoughts on Drews game last night. You guys wont be filled with hate so give us some feedback and your thoughts on his play.
Me, I kinda got that sinking feeling after last nights game (I mean only about Bynum, love that we got the W).

I dont think Bynum is going to be traded. Didnt PJ just say they are very pleased with how he's coming along even although they know he can do better. If the Lakers do make a trade it will be among the bench players for a lesser known player, none of the starters are going anywhere, not this year.

Have we found out where Mutombo is yet, who better to give Drew some defensive training.

Veteran teams that have won championships don't care about their regular season records. These are the dog days. We don't have to peak now. All that matters is being healthy for the playoffs. Saying that, we are still way ahead in the west, our rotation is rounding into form and we are healing up from the injuries. Looks good to me for a defense of the title.

Hello my LakersNation fellows:

I have been away on business for a while and despite lack of opportunity to chat during the live games, I did read all the posts during my absence.

The recent trends discussed in this board continue to be the inconsistent plays of Bynum. Whether he made to the All-Stars team or not, my feeling towards him remains the same. He's a great potential to be one of the top centers in hte NBA one day but at this time, he has not established himself to be chosen as an all star player. He continues to have a bad game where he seems lethargic and lack of energy. His lack of focus on defense is so pronounce to the coaching staff that is why he's not in the game during the last 5-10 minutes. But the talk of trading him for Bosh is nonsense. Bosh is a good player but still, in my opinion, his skills do not address the weakness of team which is at PG position. Farmar does step up his plays on this trip but still made plenty of blunders. I love to have CP3 on our team but I doubt that this trade will happen. The scenarios of trading the useless Sasha and Ammo for Henrich or Martin are better for this team.

Keep the faith guys. It's just January. PJ will get this team ready for the playoff in a few months!!!

Later...

You know, this blog is like real life. And just like in real life, you encounter people who are either mostly upbeat and optimistic or who are mostly downers, whiners, and relentlessly pessimistic types. Everyone's got a choice as to which group they belong to and which one they mostly associate with.

Me, I like being upbeat and optimistic. And I like being around, talking to, and learning from other people like that.

So yeah, I like our chances with Andrew Bynum. And yeah, I both understand and agree with the measured, mainly positive opinions of him by Laker Tom, Jon K., Mamba24, Staples24, and....oh yeah, Phil Jackson. Hey, call us crazy, dope smoking, know-nothings. We're cool with that.

Good morning,

Happy to get the win in Philly. Enormous fun to see Kobe and AI light it up for the fans in the 4th. That's what basketball is all about. These guys are two legends who remember that it's all about the fans.

Andrew Bynum, not so much. 6 points and 3 rebounds in 25 minutes hardly shows determination to make the All-Star team next year. Even James Worthy called him out during the telecast for not sprinting down the floor. The Lakers were out-rebounded by the Sixers 36-44.

I'm a little uncomfortable with Blitz's tone in his post above; whenever we disagree, my bent is to avoid being disagreeable. But his points about Bynum's inconsistencies seem indisputable. Bynum has become so polarizing here on the Blog because of all the excuses that obscure the facts. Blitz is spot-on.

We do Bynum no favors by offering excuses. He, like everybody who gets minutes on Sunday will need to be at their best. Artest and Kobe can translate their successes on Friday to the match-ups in Boston. So can Pau and LO. Our Achilles Heel is likely the match-ups against Rondo. Our point-guard play is not only erratic, it is where our talent is weakest. The Lakers can only be successful on Sunday if Bynum and our other strong assets bring their A-Game. If we get lucky, Fish or Farmar or UPS or Sasha will bring it, too.

To a man, the Lakers all said they looked forward to this road trip as a test of what the team is made of. The debate about the importance of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry is fun but meaningless in that context. The losses in Toronto and Cleveland early in the trip can be forgotten only with a Big Finish in Boston and Memphis. What takes place in the Garden on Sunday will be a defining moment of the first half of the season. What's my point? No excuses will be accepted before, during, or after the game. Go Lakers!

KB Blitz,


You are right on. Drew HAS been inconsistent. He is not a BEAST. He was over hyped here. But the "Drew is a piece of crap" school of thought is just as bankrupt as the "Drew is a BEAST" school.


Phil said it far better than I can when asked about Drew as an All-Star - he likes Drew's play, he's made a lot of progress, and Drew has a long way to go.


This is a smart blog. You and LakerTom and Jon K and Hobbit are among the reasons I read this blog. But the discussion of Drew Bynum here is consistently childish and simplistic. He is neither worthless nor priceless. He is a solid contributor today (look at centers around the league, seriously). He has the potential to be more than that. He has a long ways to go to be at a Dwight Howard level, and he is a better player than Elden and Kwame


Tom Daniels


This was probably covered but very cool to see Ron Art break out a bit. Takin' crunch time shots and reducing Iggy to average all night is a bit more of what we've been expecting from a guy that has carried teams for stretches.

He hasn't been all that he can be yet, but as the vets round into form for the home stretch, hopefully we'll see the Thriller we signed up for.

And P Pierce's house would be a good place to continue his East Coast rampage.

from pe.com

Just as impressive as Bryant's offense was his defense against Iverson, who ignited Philadelphia's rally from 16 down with 15 third-quarter points, including eight straight against Derek Fisher in the midst of the spurt.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Bryant asked to guard Iverson the rest of the game, immediately halting his momentum and limiting him to six points in the final 14 minutes.

"The thing about being a competitor is when you step on the basketball court, in your heart and mind, you always feel like you are the best player out there," Iverson said. "He goes out there night in and night out and plays the same way every night. It's indicative of everything he's accomplished in his career."

CornerJ,

You get *NOTHING* from me! Nada! Rien! *chuckle*

I live in Chicago and find it amusing how Hinrich is viewed as this great PG. And great shooter? Has anyone bothered to look at his FG%.? Farmar's as good a shooter if not better. Don't get me wrong, he would prolly be a nice fit on this team, but relax, he's no savior.

Everyone, including James Worthy, can see what most of us bloggers have been saying for a long time; Andrew Bynum is lazy, unmotivated, and unfocused. He just simply doesn't care. Buss needs to trade Bynum as soon as possible, before other GMs start seeing him for the bust that he is.

I just don't get all the hate.

Seriously, look over the post-game posts. 70% of them are negative.


Posted by: Jon K. | January 30, 2010 at 12:28 AM

Come on Jon K., it's just your garden variety scapegoating. Nothing more.

Nezsem,

I see your point and I can understand the frustration of fans. I'm frustrated. I expect this team to be running like a well-oiled machine. I mean, there were fans (unrealistic fans, I might add) who were talking about beating the 72-10 record of the Bulls.

Still, we can express our frustration like adults, right? Instead of spoiled little children. I get passion. I AM passion. But when people constantly complain when we are on top of the Western Conference, it just makes me doubt the resolve of so-called passionate "fans."

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Tom Daniels,

"But the discussion of Drew Bynum here is consistently childish and simplistic. He is neither worthless nor priceless. He is a solid contributor today (look at centers around the league, seriously). He has the potential to be more than that. He has a long ways to go to be at a Dwight Howard level, and he is a better player than Elden and Kwame"

Thank you. Thank you!

Finally, a voice of sanity.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Art,

"LT, Jon K, and other Drew supporters, I would like to hear your thoughts on Drews game last night. "

I couldn't see the game last night as I had to work in the frozen, potholled urban jungle that is Akron, Ohio.

I did see the box score and it reveals another disturbing statistic which is Andrew Bynum's inconsistency. When the kid has his head in the game, he plays like the next Great Lakers Center. When he doesn't, he plays like a mid-teer, okay center at best.

Obviously there's a problem here. I think the problem has as much to do with Lakers coaching and their offensive priorities as it does have to do with Andrew's lack of focus. I think on some level Andrew naturally wants to play his game a certain way and the Lakers are resisting his natural instincts, which isn't good. It's another sign of Phil's (and Kobe's) ego getting in the way.

At the same time, Andrew needs to grow up a bit and compromise as maturity always includes an ability to compromise when compromise supports the greater good.

I see no reason for despondency. Is this taking longer than I hoped? Yes, but, then again, I'm the kind of guy who hopes the Lakers will go 82-0 each season and win every game by 35 points.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

KB Blitz,

"as for Bynum? As I said before he is VERY polarizing to the Lakers."

Here's the problem: Laker Tom sees the potential of Andrew Bynum and eloquently and passionately lauds the brilliance of Andrew Bynum AS IF HE HAS ALREADY REACHED THAT POTENTIAL.

People read Laker Tom's posts, react against it, and begin screaming like three year olds have a temper tantrum.

Andrew Bynum isn't the problem. The problem is our attitude as fans.

People are being really fricken negative for no darned good reason.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Hello Everyone,

after reading all of these comments, I'm beginning to think all the naysayers for Bynum are probably the same people who, if the blog had existed back then, would have been calling for Kobe's head after those two missed jumpsuit his rookie year against Utah in the playoffs. I just don't get it with all these negative Lakers comments on the blog. It's like we are all fat spoiled Cartmans who want wins everyday and monster games from people everytime. Look, Drews only 22, he has mo even reached his peak, he's barely even scratching it. I'd give him all the time he needs to get ready because, if I remember correctly, he hasn't even completed a full season as a starter for the lakers because by this time the last two years, he was sitting on our bench injured by freak injuries. So please people, let's focus on what we should really be discussing instead of jumping on drew, like this: why is it that we get out of our game plan night after might by hoisting up jump shots instead of passing the ball inside and establish the inside out game like we are supposed to? I mean, we do have 2, I repeat, 2 7 footers!!! Instead we continuosly get cocky and shoot 3s or jumpsuits instead of punishing those in the lane and fouling out opposing teams front lines. This is a team game people, let's punish the team accordingly, not just an individual...

PS: wasn't Tyson Chandler considered a bust with the "Baby Bulls" before going to New Orleans and flourishing? Let us not forget that every laker that's ever been traded always destroys us the next time he comes to town ie Nick "Big baby goo goo eyes" van Exel...just some food for thought.

Sorry for the misspelling, I'm using my iPhone and it auto corrects...

DJ

>>FarmarworsethanIthoughthewas didn't help much either

If all you're looking at is stats like points and assists and stuff, then you could come to that conclusion.

But the Lakers were +12 with Jordan Farmar at the point, while they were -9 with Derek Fisher at the point.

In other words, if Fish would have played all of Farmar's minutes and kept playing like he was playing, the Lakers would have lost by 8 instead of winning by 8.

Cap's Goggles,

"Sorry for the misspelling, I'm using my iPhone and it auto corrects..."

Robots are taking over the world.

I love (sarcasm here) Apple's use of Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques with their products:

IPhone

IPod

The mind interpretts these statements on a certain level similarly to the language of:

I, Cap's Goggles

I, Lakers fan

I, Robot

It connects personal identity with the product to the point where a person's Apple phone is psychologically intrinsically connected with one's sense of self. As such, I'm sure people have near panic attacks when they lose their IPhone.

It's a terribly insidious (and in my opinion nefarious) form of marketing.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Jon K,

you hit the nail right on the head with that one. i usually use my desktop to write comments on the precious blog, but i noticed so much negativity from the Lakers "faithful" out there that i was compelled to use Steve Jobs nefarious little tool....i really really hate that auto correct, but hey, hopefully i got my point across. as always Jon K, keep on preaching the good word....

Great posts.

To the Andrew Bynum Fan Club members: I don't think you get it! Fans are not angry at Bynum because he's not playing like an All Star though it doesn't help that you've been raising expectation of him nor his publicly saying he wants/deserves to be named.

Nor is it because he's had a few bad games with puny stats. Afterall Pau Gasol had a few bad games himself and he's easily forgiven.

No, the reason fans are angry is because there's a perception that Bynum does NOT try hard or hustle. Fans are not mad because a young player doesn't score in double figures but they will be angry for sure if he is 7-ft, 285 lbs. and snare less than five rebounds being an NBA starting center. Players can be forgiven by fans for lack of certain skills or athleticism but nobody likes a lazy slacker.

Certainly not one who has been hyped as the Next Great Laker Center. Certainly not one who has just signed a big fat contract that was based purely on potential and not past accomplishment. Much less when he plays along side the kind of player such as Kobe who is intense and competitive to the EXTREME.

May I suggest that all Laker fans scale back their expectation of AB a bit. The way I see it, the best possible scenario and one that is also much more reasonable is for Bynum to one day be like Chris Kaman or Vlade Divac or maybe even Yao Ming. That is a solid center who can occasional put up spectacular numbers and borderline All Star material.


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