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Lakers enter post All-Star break hoping health isn't an issue

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It was a factor that kept Lakers guard Kobe Bryant out of the last three games as well as the NBA All-Star game on Sunday. It was the main goal Lakers forward Pau Gasol wanted to ensure of the All-Star showcase. And it was the reason  Lakers Coach Phil Jackson was glad most of the team had some time off during All-Star weekend. The variable that's consistent in all three cases involve the team's want for good health.

Bryant's sore left ankle has kept him out of the lineup while the Lakers put together a three-game winning streak before the break, sparking debate on whether the team can maintain its high sense of urgency upon his return, which could be as early as Tuesday against Golden State. 

Gasol is 15 games removed from a left hamstring injury that sidelined him for six games in early January, not too long after missing the season's first 11 games because of a sore right hamstring. Since his return, however, Gasol recently acknowledged his legs have felt heavy, and he had hoped to regain his energy during the break, even though he played 20 minutes in the All-Star game for a 13-point performance.

And then there's Jackson, who has overseen a lineup that's also featured several other players falling to the injury bug at some point this season. Despite the Lakers Western Conference best 41-13 record, Jackson and his players acknowledge the team could be playing better. Part of the reason points to the Lakers' injuries, a factor they should have been able to absorb better given their depth of talented players. The Lakers have shown glimpses of doing that, the most recent example being their three-game winning streak despite playing without Bryant as well as missing center Andrew Bynum (sore right hip) for the second half last week against Portland and the remaining two games before the break. Bynum isn't  sure when he'll return and suggested he may receive a cortisone shot sometime this week.

Though Bryant and Bynum will soon phase back into the lineup, the rest of the Lakers hope they have moved beyond their earlier injuries. In addition to Gasol's hamstring issues, Ron Artest's plantar fasciitis contributed to inconsistency on defense and his Christmas night concussion further delayed his mastery of the triangle offense. Bryant's nearly nine-week fractured right index finger led to a poor shooting month in January. Bynum's sinus asthma and knee issues contributed to a December slump (as well as his struggles in sharing the front court with Gasol). There was Lamar Odom's intestinal-flu symptoms, sprain to his right index finger and sore right foot in the last month, all setbacks he ultimately played through. And then there were injuries to reserves Sasha Vujacic (right hamstring) and Luke Walton (pinched nerve in lower back), setbacks not exactly significant but nonetheless brought more fragility to a team that lacked continuity because of moving parts in the lineup.

The 28-game stretch, no doubt, will present more challenges since the games will bear greater significance as playoff seedings become more solidified. Bryant and Bynum are still recovering from their respective injuries, but we'll find out soon enough if the All-Star break truly helped the team improve its health. The team's continuity will no doubt hinge on that factor.

--Mark Medina

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

Photo: West All-Stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol watch the start of the game Sunday. Bryant didn't play because of a sprained left ankle. Credit: Eric Gay/Associated Press.

 
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Good morning!

Don't you mean "three-game WINNING streak"??? :)

Did you mean they put together a three game WINNING streak before the break? You said losing streak in the beginning of this post.

"Bryant's sore left ankle has kept him out of the lineup while the Lakers put together a three-game losing streak before the break,..."

MM,

Umm, three-game losing streak?

3 game losing streak before the break....guess that what everyone expected anyhow..lol MM you need a proof read....

btw MM like I said in the previous post..where's a post about best of the decade..or am i speaking to soon??

"Bryant's sore left ankle has kept him out of the lineup while the Lakers put together a three-game losing streak before the break, sparking debate on whether the team can maintain its high sense of urgency upon his return, which could be as early as Tuesday against Golden State."

Don't you mean three game WINNING streak? :)

MM - see above - "the Lakers put together a 3 game LOSING streak"????????????

WTH????????????? Did you even WATCH the games?????????????

LOL!!!!! You're still recovering from post-Shakira withdrawals, right?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh - and welcome back Sister Mary Elephant. Long time no see!

Guys not sure what happened there, but i changed it.

MM

Hmmm. Did anyone besides me stick around through all of the self-congratulatory comments post NBA All Star Game to hear the 'pundits' announce the FANS' choice for NBA 'Player of the Decade?' After all of their hoopla, when it was revealed the winner, by a HUGE percentage, was Kobe . . . EACH of the 'experts' went to no little effort to express their amazement, then continued, to reveal their own personal choices for the honor . . . none of which went to Bryant. That's okay. We fans know . . .DON'T we? Congratulations to Kobe Bryant FOR being the NBA's 'Player of the Decade!'

CONGRATULATIONS KOBE BEAN BRYANT!!!!!!!!

PLAYER OF THE DECADE!!!!!!!!!!


WELL DESERVED, BLACK MAMBA, WELL DESERVED!!!!!!!


I think we'll end with a 60-22 record at least, or may be better??

We have 28 games pending, and I am sure we should be able to finish with a 19-9 record (which is bad compared to a 41-13 start, but the road ahead has more tougher games) We have road games against Atlanta, Orlando, San Antonio, Dallas, Phoenix and Denver - winning against these is going to be tougher.

However, if we managed to win few of these road games, then we can still get closer to last season's 65-17 record with may be 62-20 or 63-19 record.

A 60-22 should put us in the #1 seed in the West, though it might not be enough for the best record in the league (And again, it was the same last year, and we all know the results)

All that our guys have to do now is step up their games to a new level and play with intensity.

That last paragraph of the post by MM hit the nail on the head.

I hope everyone is getting healthy and is refreshed by this break. I also hope that everyone here is having a good day so far!

justanothermambafan,

"CONGRATULATIONS KOBE BEAN BRYANT!!!!!!!!


PLAYER OF THE DECADE!!!!!!!!!!"

Absolutely. Methinks we need a bandwagon.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

CONTINUE the GAMES!

It's good to wake up a fan of the new look Lakers.

All Star parade at rest, 100K watchin' basketball musta been somethin' to see, or not, depending on where you were seated.

Obviously, everyone knows had Kobe greatest of decade Bryant played, West wins... as inconsequential as that may be in our grand scheme of things. But...

Amare in Cleveland is wrong and another in a long string of obvious NBA plots to get Lebronze a ring. We played slow, injured Kobe ball against them but come June, we'd kill 'em with speed and agility. Amare would give them the option of playing both ways more effectively. Not good on paper. We don't play on paper.

What's up with Kerr? Thought he was on our side after the Shaq deal.

Here is my hope:

The Lakers played their best basketball all season the last three games before the All-Star break.

Kobe and Andrew aren't stupid. Quite the opposite. They both want to win.

My HOPE is that after the break, Kobe and Andrew will come back much healthier and commit themselves (as do the rest of the team--it's a two-way streak) to play Triangle/Lakers/team ball/lots of movement, BUT with the TREMENDOUS infusion of talent in the form of the best player in basketball (Kobe) and a top three Western Conference center (Andrew Bynum).

And we just start devastating opponents.

Devastating.

That's my hope.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

"Bynum isn't sure when he'll return and suggested he may receive a cortisone shot sometime this week."

I think M2 buried the lede when this sentence was relegated to the end of the 4th paragraph. Why, oh why, has AB17 not taken the valuable cortisone shot, yet? Why has he not had the fluid drained? Those of us who've had cortisone shots will tell you, they put you on a glide track to relief you can't obtain otherwise. Sometimes there can be side-effects, but they can be managed. Even after Drew receives the shot, it could be a matter of several days to two weeks before he'll have unrestricted movement.

Andrew has gotten a free ride on all this because of all the attention directed at Kobe. But unless I'm missing something, Drew's superstar salary requires a superstar's commitment to being on the court with his team. Please, somebody, tell me what I'm missing in terms of this perceived lack of commitment.

If one is afraid of becoming injured on the job, become a receptionist and greet people with a smile all day. One shouldn't become a professional athlete.

Andrew, make up your mind.

The Lakers need a healthy Beast at center for the journey ahead. If Andrew doesn't want to fill that role, the Lakers need to find somebody who does in advance of Thursday's trading deadline.

Good Morning Charles...Good Morning Everyone...

well now the warm up for the play offs begin....historically the time when Phil Jackson teams seem to focus a lot more and gear up for April...hopefully we saw a glimps of what the direction this team is going in the last three games....

I thought Pau played and showed well in the game last night...

should be an interesting few days until the trade deadline...I think Dallas got a little better...will (or rather can) the Lakers make a move? Bynum for Durant is my vote or so....that's about the only trade inviolving Bynum I would do without much thinking...

"...He got toe-jam football..."

"Well how about this, sir: 'Bum Biters'? No...not really..I don't suppose you have any general surveys of English Church architecture?"

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

GO LAKERS !!!

Wes,

In your links on the previous thread for the Blazers trade with Bulls and Lakers, you included a 1st rd pick for Bulls. I guess that is the 1st rd pick of the Blazers not the Lakers.

I hope that goes thru before Thursday, it strengthens the PG without sacrificing anything. Lakers also saved some luxury taxes for this year. However, some bloggers here would not love that because it threatens their 1st love (and first love never, never die. LMAO!)

Hey guys a new post is up. Rick, the reason why I just sort of mentioned the possibility that Bynum would get a cortisone shot in passing was because it was already reported. Before the Jazz game last week, Brad Turner posted a note on this blog about this. I had also linked to that item in other posts after the item.

Thanks though for the critical eye. It's always good to have that.

--MM

the LAKERS will have a great 2nd half. they will finish strong going into the playoffs. if the cavs get amare they will have a great line up and really good bench. even if the cavs get amare... so what!?! the LAKERS have pau, odom, artest, kid bynomite and of course number 81 himself the mumba. we are looking at a very great finals this year. GO LAKERS!!!

If Kirk Hinrich becomes a Laker, here is the line in the 2nd half

Fisher/Hinrich/Farmar
Kobe/Brown
Artest/Walton
Pau/Lamar/ Josh
Bynum/Pau/Mbenga

When the Lakers win the Championship in June huh! PJ will still coach for '11, Fisher might retire and become an assistant coach replacing Rambis and Farmar might be resigned if his price is reasonable not more than 4M for 2 years only.

In another scenario, Lakers are over run in the West by either Denver and Mavs or lose in the Finals against Cavs or Celts or Magic, beware of the angry mob!!! Surely, PJ is out of LA. All players will be expendable except the player of the decade and Gasol. The old man is not afraid to dump everyone because he's not used to paying $112M on players + $12M on coach to have mediocre performance (refer to 2004 meltdown.)

Congrats to the Mamba for Player of the Decade!

Floyd,
"Bynum for Durant is my vote or so....that's about the only trade inviolving Bynum I would do without much thinking..."

I like Kevin Durant... a lot!!! I would do that trade in a heartbeat!

Hey Laker Fans,

STOP complaining about injuries -- it's part of the game. Every team has them not just your precious LAKERS.

Now the the Clippers have some real legit. complaints: losing the # 1 draft choice before he even played 1 NBA game.

And what about that corrupt deal that David Stern approved -- P. Gasol to your Lakers. And I don't want to hear that Bynum & Gasol get in one anothers way down in the low post. They can both hit 15-17 jumpers.

And I must admit that Kobe is the best most talented player ion the NBA. His game is finesse while Lebron's is just brute force when he drives in the lane.

Anti Laker hater (Clipper & NY Knick fan)

And I must admit that Kobe is the best most talented player ion the NBA. His game is finesse while Lebron's is just brute force when he drives in the lane.

Anti Laker hater (Clipper & NY Knick fan)

Posted by: John Stanton | February 15, 2010 at 11:15 AM
_________

Jealousy is an underrated quality, isn't it? We love you trolls who come here - it just adds to our amusement.

Anti Laker hater (Clipper & NY Knick fan)

Posted by: John Stanton | February 15, 2010 at 11:15 AM

So you're against the things known as "Laker Haters"? That's good to know, but your post might seem otherwise.

Perhaps you will use better punctuation next time you go trolling here. That will help you to avoid ambiguities.


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