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Lakers lack consensus on magnitude of eight-game trip

Lakers travel

Whether the Lakers were just playing semantics, didn't exactly coordinate on sound-bite discipline or actually disagreed on these issues is debatable.

Yet, players such as Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Derek Fisher as well as Coach Phil Jackson had varying perspectives on what the team's eight-game trip actually means.

That included whether these road games, which begin tonight at Cleveland, are more significant than the rest of the Lakers' remaining 41 games. (For those not near a Lakers schedule, the road games also include stops in New York (Jan. 22), Toronto (Jan. 24), Washington (Jan. 26), Indiana (Jan. 27), Philadelphia (Jan. 29), Boston (Jan. 31) and Memphis (Feb. 1). 

"When you’re on top, you always have a point to prove and statements to make," Gasol said of the team, which has a league-leading 32-9 record. "Otherwise, they can be made the other way around. We definitely want to go and be aggressive and prove to ourselves that we’re the best team out there."

Said Fisher: "I don't see it as something that will define our season."

The disagreement also spread to whether team bonding -- a variable often enhanced during trips -- is necessary for success.

"I’m looking forward to being on the road with the guys for that long amount of time and catching up and going through adversity together on the road," Artest said. "It’s going to be great."

"I’ve been on teams that didn't bond for anything and still won," said Bryant, who more than likely was referring to Shaq. "Last year is the closest team I’ve ever been on, and we won. There’s different ways to skin a cat. Ultimately, you just have to get it done in between the lines."

And then there was the subject of whether the travel itself poses an additional challenge.

"You never know, traveling in the winter time," Jackson said. "You never know what’s going to happen. You end up in a bus trip or have delayed flights or have a plane has to be de-iced and you don’t get in until 4 in the morning. Those are always things that are problematic in these types of trips."

"It’s not like we’re necessarily out there struggling," Bryant said. "We get room service. We have maids to clean your room. It’s not like we’re suffering out there. We’re playing a game in a different environment, that’s all."

Hey, at least the Lakers all agree on what's the most important part of the trip.

Said Fisher: "You go to win every game."

-- Mark Medina

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

Photo: The Lakers' chartered plane receives a firefighters' welcome at LAX the morning after the team beat the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of last year's NBA Finals to clinch the league championship. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (29)

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MM - are you on speed???? You really need to slow down. You'll burn yourself out sometime during this road trip if you don't and where will WE be come playoff time?? Huh??? You think about that??? This is NOT just about you, ya know.

REPOST:

Just to discuss a little bit more on the Bynum topic:

Regarding Bynum: I think we are getting an Andrew Bogut/Chris Kaman style of player right now and we need him with a Joakim Noah/Marcus Camby workhorse attitude badly (he already has more post moves both of them combined but less vision of his role on the team right now than Carter in Orlando).
Great inside players know how to manage roles (Robinson with Duncan , Rasheed with Big Ben, Garnett with Perkins). We'll see if Bynum is wise enough to walk the walk and focus on being the beast, cause if he want to be the dancer instead of Pau ..... bad news

Morning Fam,

Apparently Mo Williams is out with a shoulder sprain. I really wish we would play the Cavs full strength but tonight's game should be good. Best to alll of you guys.

If Bone Head Baby Bynum gets abused again by Shaq and the rest of the Cleveland, forget about getting Bosh, Boozer would be a great addition!

Mamba - Thanks for looking out for my health. lol not on speed so don't worry. Just trying to provide you guys Lakers coverage, ya know?
MM

Hey everybody,

Just wanted to stop by and say hello to all my regular buds. I'm looking forward to this 8-game test for the Lakers. It's the perfect time to bond and get ready for the All-Star break and the latter half of the season. Looking forward to watching early games here on the East Coast for a change too.

Unfortunately, this year I won't be able to go to the game when they come into Boston. I've gone every year but law school tuition is kicking my butt this year and I just can't afford it. Good seats are going for over $1k...just can't do it so I'm soooooo upset about it.

Hope the Lakers come out tonight and play super hard against a very motivated Cavs team. Of the 8 road games, I would be happy even if we came back with a 2-6 record as long as the two wins are against Cleveland and Boston :-)Also looking forward to what Kobe might do in NYC tomorrow night too.

GO LAKERS!

justanothermambafan,

you wrote: Hobbit & Nez - I'm just not feeling "trade" at this time. Bosh may be a good player, but I still believe Andrew's upside is bigger and will be for longer. WHO wouldn't want Bynum right now?? Seriously. We are the envy of the league. And regarding Nate, COME ON. The guy is walking cancer with a big mouth. He may have talent, but WE have talent. I'd rather have "teachable talent" than "big-mouth talent" every time.

my response:

1. I don't have a problem keeping Bynum as long as he works.

2. Why do you believe Bynum's upside is bigger & will be for longer?

Seriously.

Bosh is 3 years older, which means he's relatively young. Bosh is more
athletic. Bosh works harder.

Bynum has three advantages over Bosh.

1. He's taller.
2. He's heavier.
3. He's had Kareem for a teacher.

Re: Bynum being heavier. Gasol has had more success playing Dwight
than Bynum has. That *seems* to indicate that size is less of an issue
and hustle is more of an issue. That would give the nod to Bosh. I
hypothesize that Bosh would learn more from Kareem in 1 year than
Bynum has in 5.

re: wanting Bynum right now. So you're saying that I should want a player
who pouted/tanked December because Pau was stealing his thunder? Maybe,
you're saying that I should want a player who only does well when he's not
facing large, good opponents? I should want a center who is not a good
rebounder? [ i.e. he doesn't fight for rebounds. ]

re: Bynum having upside for longer. I repeat. There is a 3 year difference
b/n the two. Also, if you look at the great centers in the NBA ... With the
exception of Shaq they seem to have an endomorphic build [ slender ] vs. a
metomorphic [ bulky ]. That would indicate that Bosh will have a longer/
better career. Obviously, this is pure speculation on my part and should be
taken with a bucket full of salt. [ FYI, Wilt was an inch taller and 10 lbs.
lighter. ]

guys, please provide links for tomorrow's game against the cavs..PLEASE

Hey Blogmates:

Kelly Dwyer just wrote an article on yahoo sports in which he called LBJ the "greatest player in the game" and "clearly the MVP" I blog on yahoo as well and thought you all would appreciate my response quoted below:

"I'd take Kobe's heart even with a broken finger over Lebronze's antics any day. And so would virtually every coach in the NBA. LeBronze is a showoff with zero heart and more importantly zero rings. Kobe is undeniably the best clutch player in the game since MJ with an unbending passion to win, the skills to back it up, plus four rings (and counting) to prove it."

Should be a great game tonight. Clearly the Mamba is not at 100% but his heart and leadership plus the shills of Pau, Drew, Ron-Ron and Shannon Brown (!) should help us put an end to the myth that Cleveland is a better team and LBJ should be MVP. I can't wait - Go Lakers!


THE TALE OF SASHA OLOWOKANDI

Once upon a time there was a slovenian playing for the Lakers .
He was shooting for three years with the Lakers uniform under 35% from the field without any defensive attitude at all.
But suddenly ........... CONTRACT YEAR.
He started to shoot 3's like a machine gun, 45% from the field, and became a beloved annoying perimiter defender.
Our hero helped our team to get to the finals, and he was rewarded with a 5 M$ per year (3 years) extension .... we have resigend our future Slovenian Michael Cooper.
But Mr. Sasha had another plan. He wanted to be like Mike Olowandi, Jerome James, and the Almighty Mr. Dampier, so he has played the 2 most shameful seasons a Laker has played with this uniform since Saint Kwame Brown (R.I.P.).
Everybody now wants to trade him ... but we should know better because next year .... ¡¡ CONTRACT YEAR !! and the slovenian machine gun will be back for good, "playing hard as he always does" , "getting more involved" and "just having fun out there" ... shooting over 40% from the field and annoying every SG in the league.

And when that happen , Mr. Kupchack should tell him Thank You, Good Bye and Good Luck !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ohh great! Mo Williams is not available, so, if the Lakers win, here come the excuses:

http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/Cleveland-Cavaliers-Mo-Williams-out-with-shoulder-sprain-012110

hobbitimage,
"That would indicate that Bosh will have a longer/better career."

Particularly when you take Bynum's history of injuries into consideration.

@JAMF, Don't me wrong, I agree with you it's not a "must win," but I think it's more important than the Celts game at this point. Celts do just not look like they'll make it out of the East. Even people like Bill Simmons are saying Celts are doubtful.
Why isn't it a must game? With Kobe this beat up, a loss for the Lakers wouldn't really mean that much, but from the Cavs point of view, it would cement whatever confidence they gained from the Christmas Game/Fiasco.

@phred, I don't know if you saw this earlier, and I know it wasn't the main point of your post, but bro, you didn't really laud the MSM for its' news coverage did you?

@ Axl Rose

"THE TALE OF SASHA OLOWOKANDI"

I laughed from the title alone. Funny post. What do you think about Velvet Revolver?

An interesting article about Farmar from Kevin Ding.

http://tinyurl.com/yd37f7g

Rick,

Yes, we got a million visits and that is the reason why M/M should be introducing threads every two hours, why not change every hour so that we can generate another half million more.

It is not the quantity but more of the quality.

The poll question generated 40 posts overnight and only if it was updated at 9;30 pm, perhaps it could have been more. The new threads this morning were not really news but recycled news. Too many threads in the morning kills the enthusiasm of everyone to post, not even Mamba24 could catch up with his roll call because of the horse race of threads. Are we competing with LOL of the Kbros? And when do we stop competing and start leading? LAT should set the standard not copy or apply the "me-too theory" - you produce more threads and I will produce more.

During the time of Jack Murray, did he ever compete with Scott Ostler's articles and other sports journalist of his tme? How about Chick, was he intimidated by Musburger, Tom Heishman and Bill Russell combined of the networks and copy their telecast? did he imitate the diction and phasing of Howard Cossel? No, he just went on with his own style, improved it and made it to 3,000 broadcasts consecutively. Today, their competitors remember what they did here but no one could duplicate it.

It is like watching Clippers-Bulls basketball last night...speed, speed but no quality of shots, at certain point it becomes boring to watch to-and-fro movements similar to the wiper of your car.

MM, overall you're doing a great job on this blog and on the game chats. I think the issue on the frequency and sheer number of blogs is that with so many of them, we can't maintain any continuity of thread discussions. One specific issue I've got is that several threads seem to be duplicative. For example, the last four threads are basically about the same thing: the 8-game road trip, and different aspects of it. One thread should have covered this, especially since we know we're getting the game thread and game chat later today.

We know you're hustling to do the best job you can in feeding us with interesting topics and angles. My advice: stay with no more than 2 threads a day (morning and late afternoon), unless you hav a "breaking news" type of item...like "Sasha gets traded for Lebron James!"

Overall, great job, MM.

Wow, Mo Williams out is a big deal. Didn't he torch us on X-Mas Day?

Reasons why lakers will win tonight:

1. Gift giving is over, they're more focus on the game
2. Bynum, Farmar & Shannon plus the new Luke improved their games in '10, they have been immersed lately of winning attitude and taking care of the role of the ailing starters
3. Laker's revenge. got back at the Mavs, Rockets, Clips, Nuggets....Cleveland is one of the team that will receive the angst of Lakers revenge, next is SA
4. The No. 1 team impression is at stake, Lakers are leading in the standing and yet just No. 2 in perception. Yes, because lakers were not yet tested on the road.

Lakers will win tonight maybe more than 10 points.


CHARLES

Velvet Revolver : Good but not great. No a big fan of Scott Weiland.
Not that Chinese Democracy is better than both albums those guys did but .... The original GNR band was something else, man, and I hope someday they'll tour again together (Don't mind at all if just for the big paycheck).

Edwin and Corner J,

Well this is probably not the best timing, but there is a post coming up in a few minutes. Jeanie Buss released on her Twitter page the books Phil is distributing.

Anyway, I forwarded your responses to management. We definitely don't want you guys to feel like the conversation comes to a halt. So I apologize on that front.

I think with discussions with management, we all thought it'd be a good idea to have multiple posts. Quality always overtrumps quantity, but we had thought having smaller posts would make it easier for the every day reader to read. It can be overwhelming for some to read one large post rather than multiple smaller ones.

I apologize Edwin if you feel today's posts were "recycyled" so to speak. My approach was this: yesterday I had video interviews of Phil and players giving general preview of the upcoming road trip. For this morning I wanted to approach the story from a different angle with the first post looking specifically into the trip last season and what trends the Lakers can use into their trip this season. The second post dealt with the fact that the team lacked consensus on what the overal magnitude of the trip actually entails. Obviously these posts all deal with a similar subject matter - road trip - but I wanted to address each one from a different angle if that makes sense.

I'm always open for feedback so let's keep the convo going.
MM

hobbitimage,
"That would indicate that Bosh will have a longer/better career."

Particularly when you take Bynum's history of injuries into consideration.

Posted by: exhelodrvr | January 21, 2010 at 09:39 AM

although I think history doesn't indicate propensity for injury.

I think its more important to note that he's knock kneed, has larger hips than usual. He certainly is abnormally shaped, and that is more indicative of the probability of injury.

Its more important that the Lakers don't have an overreliance on bynum. Having Pau and Lamar certainly help in that regard.

MM - well... you're welcome. It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it!!

Hobbit - the reason I believe Bynum's upside is bigger and longer is because he's not as developed as Bosh. With Chris you already know what you're going to get. With Socks he is still learning how to play. Remember - he doesn't really have that much B-ball experience. Plus it seems he's just starting to round back into pre-injury shape - both physically and (maybe more importantly) mentally. For these reasons I believe sticking with Socks is the smarter decision for this team.


MarkG - totally agree.

If the Lakers do make a move before the deadline, they will try to do so by moving out Sasha Vujacic and his $5.5 million salary in 2010-11, although they surely know that Adam Morrison’s $5.3 million expiring contract is the one teams would take. Attempts to move Luke Walton (who has nearly $17 million over three years left on his contract after this season) have gone nowhere. - ESPN Mark Stein

Perhaps, there is more truth to this assessment than Bo for By. However, what we laud here as high IQ player, in the league itself there are no takers and no believers to tha claim. I don't mind the 30M contract but the spread to 5 years was a mistake. If Mitch made it 30M in two years, then it could been over in '09 and not subjected to luxury taxes in '10. Is Sasha & Ammo not enough to get Devin Harris on the trade machine? Why include our high IQ, Luuuke, the Laker forever player? I said it before luke's bust will be preserved at Getty Museum through the nth of time. lol!

When Bosh was mentioned as possibility of becoming a Laker, there is sudden resurgence of energy from Bynum. Now it is Harris trade in the horizon, do we expect any surge on our PG's, I foresee a lot of improvements on that aspect. The truth is, no player wants to leave the Lakers, not even Kobe. It is hard to say goodbye to good life and happy living so they are motivated to work harder once their job is on the trading block.

Mark Medina,

I realize that we are barking at the wrong tree. Most of the time, we call your attention to what's going on the blog but you have superiors and executive board to please based revenue/cost analysis. As a result you become the shock absorber of playing the middle man between LAT, poster market and the ticks market. As you can see from this thread, we didn't talk much about the 8 game consensus but more on the news in general. The posters posted their own thread to start discussions. You don't need to apologize because your blog is doing well. You are doing a great job. Don't imitate Farmar by overdoing it, suddenly it leads to T/O. lol!

Edwin - Hah fair take. I definitely am a rookie joining an all-star cast so I would expect to commit a few T/Os. I'm not going to complain for the lack of minutes though lol
MM


EDWIN GECO

Sasha and Adam contracts enough to get Devin Harris on the Trade Machine.
Sasha and Adam contracts impossible to get Devin Harris on the Real World.
Adam contract + Farmar + Brown .... maybe
However D.Harris doesn't shoot 3's at all and serenades the ball too much.
I think we need a 6' stopper (not a scorer) to play 18 m and chase pg's like a dobermann ¿ Remember Tyronne Lou over Iverson in 01?
Let's say KYLE LOWRY or EARL WATSON

"It’s not like we’re necessarily out there struggling," Bryant said. "We get room service. We have maids to clean your room. It’s not like we’re suffering out there. We’re playing a game in a different environment, that’s all."

Said Fisher: "You go to win every game."

How much do I love these two?

Even though I realistically think we will go 5-3 on this road trip, I also trust my guys that they are out to wn it all.

I am actually unhappy if Mo Williams is out.
And I don't even think this could be a true advantage for us. Without him Cavs will adjust even more on charging LeBron, making him swhirl all over the floor and potentially cause turmoil in our adjustaments.
Plus this will pump Cavs.

We are in a no win situation also there: if we would end winning, I can already hear the sirenes of LeBronzeLand whining due to Mo's absence.

Give me a break.

I hope to see blood thirst on the floor tonight.
If we play well, and Cavs play well, we win. We're just better than them.

I will wake up in time for the game. Until then, have fun Fam ;)

#4,
"although I think history doesn't indicate propensity for injury.

I think its more important to note that he's knock kneed, has larger hips than usual."

I think it does with joint injuries. Supposedly the physical characteristics you noted made him more susceptible to the types of injuries he has had. (And remember to include his senior year in HS)


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