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Lakers anticipating playing Utah with a depleted lineup

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The picture will become much clearer Wednesday  regarding the Lakers' roster. 

After missing the last two games because of a sprained left ankle, Kobe Bryant will travel with the team for Wednesday's game against Utah, but he remains a game-time decision. Center Andrew Bynum, who missed Monday's game against San Antonio because of a bruised right hip, will also travel with the team, but Coach Phil Jackson doesn't expect him to play. Then there's forward Lamar Odom, who missed Tuesday's practice and received a CAT scan and MRI because of a sore right foot suffered in the Lakers' win against the Spurs. Though the team has listed him as probable, Odom told The Times' Broderick Turner he will play against the Jazz.

Though Jackson has largely left it up to Bryant on whether he'll play Wednesday, Jackson's and Bryant's comments in the past few days definitely indicated that the nature of his ankle injury seemed pretty cut-and-dry.

"I’m not an idiot," Bryant told reporters after the Lakers' win over San Antonio. "I’m not going to just run through a wall to run through a wall. If it’s an injury I feel like I can play through and it happens to heal while I’m playing, then I’ll play. But if it’s a type of injury where it’s going to get worse when I play, I won’t."

In a way, I would imagine that makes it a little bit easier to manage than his fractured right index finger for one huge reason. Bryant's fractured finger didn't necessarily need to be "healthy" for him to be good enough to play. You need healthy legs to run up and down a court. You don't always need a healthy index finger to handle a basketball, there are three other fingers and a thumb on each hand after all. And because of that reality, every time Bryant continued his poor shooting, that inevitably raised more questions from the media on whether his splint was good enough, if he should decrease his shots and if he should sit out all together.

During Bryant's absence, Jackson said it has been "a time for ourselves to back each other up." And because there's no clear cut go-to guy without Bryant in the lineup, Jackson said that "simplifies things" since opposing defenses don't have a consensus on who they're going to double team.

Jackson has taken a largely deferential approach to Bryant's decision on whether to play. But he couldn't help but get this dig in when asked if Bryant should suit up for the All-Star game.

"That's something the league has put such a priority on," Jackson said. "They're trying to draw 150,000 people to a game. It's a big deal. It's a revival meeting."

Lakers forward Pau Gasol agreed with Jackson's assessment that Bryant's absence can alter how defenses lock in on the Lakers. He also acknowledged that Bynum's absence brings a few changes to Gasol's game because he's moved to center, "something that puts me in the post a lot more." Gasol has struggled with his shooting the past two games, going 14 of 34 from the field (41%), but he's been a big director in the offense even when those shots weren't falling.

He didn't think there was any magic formula why Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar exceeded their season averages in both contests, other than "running the triangle" and ensuring constant "ball movement." That's something that Gasol says the team has had a mixed bag in executing. "Sometimes we accomplish it, sometimes we don't," he said.

Because of Gasol's recent complain on getting a lack of touches last week when Bryant surpassed Jerry West as the Lakers' all-time leading scorer, some will read that as an indirect dig at Bryant, saying the team doesn't run the triangle and lacks ball movement when Bryant's directing the offense. I actually think Gasol is just addressing the indisputable reality - there have been games the team has played together and there have been games where they lacked that cohesion.

The Lakers clearly would like Bryant and Bynum in the lineup, but the last two games have vividly illustrated why Odom is so valuable to the team. When Bynum missed the second half against Portland, Odom grabbed a career-high 22 rebounds. Against San Antonio, he often provided glimpses of what Bryant and Bynum provide on a normal basis. He aggressively looked for offensive opportunities from up top and he also worked his way in the post, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds. It's that "versatility" as Fisher puts it as the reason why Odom's clearly stood out when in most cases he prefers playing a secondary role.

Odom's play connects to a larger picture Fisher was painting in that every player in the lineup can provide a spark in their own little way.

-- Mark Medina

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

Photo: Kobe Bryant, left, grimaces in pain after teammate Lamar Odom accidentally steps on his ankle late in the first half of the Lakers' 99-97 victory over Charlotte on Wednesday night at Staples Center. Bryant returned to start the third quarter but lacked his usual quickness. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

 
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The nefarious foot of Lamar Odom strikes again.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

WEIRD STUFF…
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LTLF…Congratulations. You have finally “arrived” now that you have your own personal stalker. Shalin Monk is like a bizarro brother of Ding How from Prattville, Mr. Hyde to Ding How’s Dr. Jeckle loved your “fork” comment. Anyway, what a cast of characters we are! One thing that every Laker fan should agree upon is that we need to be sure when Kobe and Drew return that we keep playing this kind of basketball. In the end, it matters zero who is on the floor. We have to play that kind of basketball. And I am confident we will.
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When you step back and look at how this season has gone and how Phil has handled the situations, I think you can get a capsule view of exactly why he has won 10 championships. Crazy rotations and all the in game stuff don’t really count other than how they add to the season-long process to develop and groom a championship team. That is what we are watching – the master at work with Kobe, Drew, Pau, Ron, Lamar, Derek, Jordan, Shannon. It’s like watching a player throw a half court bounce pass ahead of three defenders to a streaking teammate who only he saw and envisioned passing the three defenders.
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Zaira…Been thinking about your comment that dunking is not in Pau’s DNA. These issues usually end up being about semantics or degree but here is my take on Pau and dunking. First, Pau is a finesse player whose body and game are centered on great footwork, moves, and fakes that take advantage of his quickness, length, and superb skills. No disrespect but I believe that Pau WAS a soft player in Memphis. I believe he learned how to be tough last year on the Lakers playing with Kobe Bryant. And he showed in the playoffs that he was not soft.
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In a way, you are right that dunking and by extension what we are really talking about is playing physical power-oriented basketball is NOT in Pau’s DNA but that does not mean that he cannot compensate for what is not natural, which is what Pau did superbly last night on both offense and defense. Trust me, that was NOT the Pau Gasol that played in Memphis. What Pau did was finish stronger than usual and fight more aggressively and physically than would be normal for him. Because it is NOT in his nature, Pau forgets sometimes like in the Cavs game, and was not mentally ready to finish strong. Now we have seen his adjustment.
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Art…Outstanding post, especially for a newer poster. JK!!!! Seriously, there was nothing I could disagree with in your excellently written exposition. Most of original posters do pat ourselves on the back because, much like Kobe playing injured, we have persevered through the Kwame and Smush days, which should be reason for any Laker fan to feel like they’ve paid their dues and ought to get a thank you once in a while. Like anything, the blog culture is evolving daily as new contributions, ideas, approaches, and issues rise and fall. The only time we object to newbies is when they start trashing things before understanding and experiencing them. In its own inimical way, the blog is like Jim Rome. You have to live it and feel it and see it everyday for a while before you really “get” it. But once you do, WOW!!
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Tom

@ Laker Tom and LTLF

I wouldn't doubt it if Ding How and Shalin was the same person.

I see DFish and Pau ot the right frame of mind and say they miss Kobe and what he brings but the rest of team still have to play no matter what. Great team concept. Glad they are on our team.

Charles,

We are now in a new community dealing with multiple personalities and multiple names. Anybody can post anything under the Sun hideous handle. The sole purpose to divide this blog and sow chaos.

Is it fair to ask M/M to moderate the blog with one name for every email address?

There is nothing wrong on Pau being soft, I think his softness is his secret weapon that alerts the refs to offensive fouls. Pau is a graceful player who can get rebounds and shots of his own without the need of those brute dunks that results to unnecessary injuries. When you read the box scores, Pau accomplishes the same objective perhaps better than the force-driven player.

LO has been beastly lately but i never had a problem wit how he plays cuz even tho kobe's game is what i most emulate lamar's philosphy is more what i exude. i like passing and rebounding and playin defense to shut down the other teams best scorer. but i always feel more comfortable with better scorer's around me then havin to jack all the shots. i only averaged 17-10-7 durring higgh school but i won 3 mvp's and 4 championships. thats why lamar is that ni...dude lol

Charles,

We are now in a new community dealing with multiple personalities and multiple names. Anybody can post anything under the Sun hideous handle. The sole purpose to divide this blog and sow chaos.

Is it fair to ask M/M to moderate the blog with one name for every email address?

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | February 09, 2010 at 07:37 PM

====================
Unfortunately that won't work completely as people can have multiple email addresses.

Nice thought though.

Again, I think Bryant should dress up in Utah and part of the bench but will not play. I know it is hard for Kobe to be sitting in the bench in uniform, it is bad for the shoes. lol! It is a good ploy to keep the Jazz guessing what is he going to do. Jerry Sloan is a cunning coach & will do anything as long as it is clean, to win whether with or without Kobe, there will be slashing, physical game and Jazz will never say surrender in front of their home crowd. That is the trademark of JS as a coach and respected by his peers even though he never won a Championship. Lately, Jazz has been winning 9 consecutive wins after defeating Clippers this evening. On the contrary, it will be a b2b game for them for tomorrow. It is expected that the Lakers will lose a game tomorrow playing on the road against a fierce competitor who has been on rampage. If we win again for the 3rd time without Kobe and Socks that'll be a charm.

Last night, there was a caller who happens to be a foot doctor and said he believes that many NBA players today gets these ankle injuries because of their shoes. He opines that they should bring back the high tops shoes as a fashion because it provides ankle support with greater flexibility and cushioning for all around players who are always on the move. The advantage of the low-top is that they are lighter and allow you to move faster. The disadvantage, however, is that they offer no ankle support. The low tops are not advisable for basketball players at all. He also offered advice to Kobe to rest that ankle injury where blood vessels were damaged which causes pain and inflammation. If there is no surgery being done, the best way is to heal is resting the foot from stress and pressure. In fact, he should always raise it to the level of the heart. (Another way of the same level of the heart is to lie down. You expect Kobe to lie down while watching a Lakers game, no way Jose not his mojo. His heart and brain will be damaged by such treatment. lol)

Greetings Lakeshow Fans,

It's quite clear that most Lakers fans have a take on whether KB24 should sit for a while or not. Here's my take if I may...

KB24, first and foremost, is a 14 YEAR VETERAN that has played a TON of games and minutes...Also, he is not your average 31 year old player.

Calculating his mileage (too many miles to mention), he is probably a modest 35 year old athlete with a lot of dings,bruises, and bumps (no disrespect to those out there who are 35 and older, me included...Ooops, my left knee is starting to tighten up again from all that yardwork (: ).

Folks, the bottom line is that this man has had the hunger and will to win hands down for years, even through nagging and awful injuries as well as in his sleep.

What he has probably learned over the past couple of years is to "pace" his passion and "embrace" patience, unlike previous years when he was so doggone determined to beat teams himself and harp on his teammates effort on the court (although the Bynum lashing was certainly an eye raiser). Age does that to you...

As a result of his maturity as a person and player, we have seen the KB24 evolution come to fruition, as our Lakers claimed the 08-09 NBA crown last year. He not only manged himself mentally last year, but also physically.

Speaking of the mental/physical aspect, KB24 is fully aware of his body in terms of what he "can" and "cannot" do on the court. He played with a messed up pinkie last season and did quite well, a "Championship" and "Finals MVP" well that is...He really GETS it!

The reality in the present,however, is that his teammates (ALL of them) have to step up their own games in the event they have to fill the void KB24 provides on both sides of the floor night in and night out (especially when his body and mind say absolutely NO!).

Based on the last two games, I don't see any reason why the Lakers players should regress moving forward. They have "10 Rings Phil" and a system that is made for winning championships, and is proven. Our team is flat out DANGEROUS and getting there! Just imagine once KB24 gets healthy again...Wow! He is our "ultimate" closer.

BTW, didn't our Lakers look good running pick and rolls up high the other night vs SA? Like I said in earlier posts, this team is too talented not to adjust to other teams' game planning against them, with or without KB24.

It's just a matter of the Lakers getting things moving from now through April, handling business in May, and closing the deal in June...

Fan message to Kobe: KB24, I humbly request that you rest a few games more so that you can get back to your MAMBA self (YES, tonight at Utah). There is nothing like a "healthy" and "focused" KB24 for the stretch run. There is a championship yet to be defended/won. You are the Lakers closer and, YES, leader.

Laker pride through ALL and ANY ADVERSITY!

Peace!

Portland and San Antonio, another win in Utah without Kobe, would be telling a lot how the Lakers are better off playing like a team.


It seems Odom, Gasol and Artest are in its finest when Kobe is not around.


Is the team truly motivated to play, making a statement, a unification team spirited statement, we are better off playing like a team than when KOBE making too many shots?

Is Jerry Buss seeing this?


A decent, solid shooting guard is enough. The Lakers does not need 30 mil a year for three years.


Kobe, hope you are reading this.


This team is already better without Kobe playing the last two games. If he can be replaced by say Brandon Roy or a combination of James Harden and Westbrook for Kobe.

Morning to the crew.

MM, thank you for these interviews and on the specifical, I am agreeing on your take of Pau's words being not at all a dig at Kobe's court interaction, but rather a simply observation of dynamics that are often not completely perfect on different games (natural thing in a long season).

I can also see why PJ hates the ASG (I also really never found it anything more than a cash cow publicity stunt, but we can imagine how the word cash has power to hold people onto, can't we?)

Talkin about that, one friend in LA just sent me through mail this link.
I know TMZ is mostly garbage, but I was in LA when Michael Jackson died and they were the first reporting that so... Gotta share it with you all.

It seems Kobe might be part of the ASG at least outside the field anyway (I think this would be nothing shocking: Vanessa would be right there anyway like she has been in others places, so no need to be nasty hinting at anything gross, right? It's a party hollywood style. In Hollywood you go out in a bikini as evening dress. Everyone knows that):

http://www.tmz.com/2010/02/10/kobe-bryants-all-star-bash-la-lakers-show-magazine/

I would happily see him host that thing and NOT play a second instead of the opposite. Seriously.

I am also hoping he won't play at all tonight and heal furtherly.

---
@Outlaw, thank you there man :) And yep, my significant other is a hot hearted Lakers fan. One of our first bonding were actually exactly the Lakers back in summer 2008 after the Celtic Demise and during the Olympics golden times. I honestly believe only a Lakers devotee could handle my freakiness about them. Really. ;)
And... I try to make him feel like a lucky man everyday. Doing my very best there, guaranteed.

@LakerTom: Sir, as usual is a delight to speak my mind with you. Even in disagreements. Regarding the Pau Dunk File, I certainly agree that againts Memphis and Cavs he played way under his par. I never use the word "soft" to define his play cos it's not really what I see. In Cavs cases, he was unable to provide quick mind reaction (and therefore a more creative play) to Shaq and Varejao's pure animal bashes cos of mainly two factors:
1) his out of focus shape, resulting in a natural slow respodance from the ideas and the performance derived physically from the intuition of mind;
2) the fact all the team was struggling, causing him a reduced optionability on the decision making.

When at least one of those two factors might have been solved, the whole game of Pau and hence the whole game of the Lakers would have changed.

Assuming the second point could always constitute a trouble with Cavs, a more shaped Pau will definitely solve number one point, and this will inject also healing and solving by transposition in the second point enlightened.

Which is why I don't truly mind Cavs, if our players are in shape enough. They have two only styles of play. We have at least 9. There's really no comparison.

Against the Memphis Grizzlies, it was purely and solely a matter of heavy legs. Combined with the best effort Grizzlies have put up in their recent history, and not even only recent, plus the stamina Marc put in there (I love the competitivness of the siblings: I really loved to catch that anyway) against him, I easily explain the downwarding spiral he was at in that game. Not softness, truly. Just unability to put up his best game physically, more than mentally.

I never doubt Pau mentally. He's simply, as we call him here in Europe, a Genius on Court. A Prince. But he needs a decent shape to be what he is. Which is in everyone's competent book (first, other coaches and players, then PJ and Kobe) teh smartest and most skilled PF around. I don't say it. Those say this. I guess it's kinda of un-arguable (but I know many likes to argue that, just proving their poorness actually with it).

About the dunking matter, you can easily see I also agree with you that sure Pau can learn dunking and provide some of it. I actually said it (I maybe elaborated my thought poorly, so it was missed). He can do everything. But thatnot being in his DNA means that he has to be not natural about it, and has to think twice about it. He can perform that, but using more strenght (mentally) that he would in chosing another option in the post. Pau is a monstrous player. Many don't notice that because he makes every choice of play look so natural and flowing it seems easy. It's not. But it's for him cos some quick resultance from the process "idea>positioning>executioning>result" are so fast and surprising one has to assume in him those kind of play are natural. And they are. That's teh skill set one has, or has not. Others, like Shannon for instance, have naturally in their DNA the dunking factor. Things that other can do out of training and heavy practices, are instead easier for hose naturally inclined to that. Like Shannon can learn faster executions of teh triangle, and apply them out of work, so Pau can dunk out of work. But it's about the optionability, and the kinda economic choice about it.

"how much do I spend in terms of focus and concentration for performing something that is not natural?"
The answer is "more than I do inperforming things that are natural".
There it comes the strategy applied on sport: in times when you gotta have dunks and no one can fit there, you may will to spend that more effort (knowing that will be taken off from other situations on court). In times when others can be fit there, or when you think other strategical cjoices may be more fruitful, you don't provide that extra focus for that particular gesture.

It's check and balance.

All those who think coaching a full skilled team as Lakers are is an easy job... think twice.

It's extremely difficult to have to deal with micro problems like these and multiply them for each player, for each skill, for each interaction the guys may have. And this, all set up considering time after time a different opponent.

Tasks like that are completely tricky.

Only a few can deal with that.

Which is why natural bonding within our roaster are a bless and moreover that is why not everybody can fit in the Lakers.

Pau, Lamar and Kobe (and add there Derek) NATURALLY play well with one another. It's like when you feel you click with somebody with no effort. It may happen, or not. Skills matter but are not the only factor, cos lots of skilled players never click with one another and it's not a matter of will. It's natural chemistry that can't be taught.

Again: you can work also on chemistry. But when it's natural, you do effortlessly things that others spend mental and physical resources to work over, diminishing those factors in other aspects of the game. This is it.

So in teh end. I will love to see PAU DUNK MORE. But I will always prefer him providing a dunkin space for Kobe for dunking. That is way more natural for the both of them.

And it's the first option in both's book, regarding those play situation.

;)

Have a great day, Tom and everybody.

Later ;)

kobe bryant is a laker for life. those of you who think the lakers can compete for a championship without kobe are delusional. you think lamar and gasol will hold up under the pressure of a 7 game series?

like kobe said, the only rough and physical team in the western conference is denver. in the east, boston and cavs. hmmmmmm i wonder how gasol has performed against those teams....pretty bad in my opinion.

Does anyone have a reason to why David Stern chose Chris Kaman as an all-star? He plays on a team with a horrible record and in terms of efficiency, I believe he is behind not only Boozer, but also Bynum.

Staples 24; I'm sorry you feel that way. I agree the Lakers would still have a good team changing Roy for Kobe, but it would be a worse team. Besides, don't you want to see Kobe win more rings with the Lakers and retire a Laker like Magic and The Logo? Don't you like Kobe?

Dieselpower

Staples 24 is right, paying Kobe 30 mil a year for the next 3 years doesn't make the team better. Also trading for Kirk Hinrich doesn't make the team better.

Hinrich is too old and it would make the Lakers an old slow team who can't defend young quick guards like Felton, Lawson, Collison, Conely, Jennings, etc.

With Hinrich, next year only Bynum and Brown would be under 30 yrs old among Lakers top 8 players.

Lakers need young active players like Farmar. If Lakers make a trade it should be for a young player. Unfortunately, folks in this blog only suggest trading for 30 somethings or near 30 somethings.

Any folks still say trade for Jason Kidd?

According to posts in this blog JKidd would clinch Lakers championships.

bynum should take the rest of regular season games off so that he can be fresh when playoff time starts. evidence show bynum being beaten to his post on transition even against an old guys.

On Gasol's poor shooting in the last few games, I really wouldn't worry about it. It would be worrisome if Gasol has not been able to get quality shots, but on the contrary, even against Duncan he got GREAT shots, they just didn't go in for some reason. This happens to the best of players, and they never last. Gasol will be shooting 60% again before long

This team is already better without Kobe playing the last two games. If he can be replaced by say Brandon Roy or a combination of James Harden and Westbrook for Kobe.
Posted by: Staples 24 | February 09, 2010 at 11:21 PM

With all due respect Staples 24, there are very few guys that take a team all the way through the playoffs and to a championship. It is one thing to watch talented guys play a game and yet another thing to go to war during the playoffs.

I ask you to reconsider your point. We all watch VERY talented young guys come into the league and excel during the regular season. Brandon Roy is among that group. But when we get deep into the playoffs (round 3 and 4) it is a very different game. Only the best of the best have that something special to not only do well, but to lead and effect a winning outcome.

I have said this a number of times and I will say it yet again. During the 1980's Magic Johnson was injured and missed 8 games. During his absence, the Lakers went on an 8 game winning streak with Cooper at the PG spot. They played AWESOME! There were lots of articles asking/proposing we were better without Magic. And after briefly considering it, we all just laughed (much like we are doing now).

See, the thing is that Kobe really is an awesome player. I think if there is a criticism, it would be that he play within the design of the team. He plays defense a little like a gunslinger and his offense can be dynamic and effective. But in doing what he does, it can confuse or diminish his teamates.

Most of the greats talk about the playoffs as another season. There is another gear they reach. Another part of themselves that is palpable only during complete focus and desire. During the regular season, it just isn't reasonable to expect that someone can play like that all season long. That's why there is so much about "Wait til the playoffs". During this period of time, I believe (and it's reasonable to assume) that Kobe will play with his teamates and within the design of team deployment. It's to his best interest and it simply is what's necessary.

MAYBE, Kobe is one of the few that is calling on his very best every single night. Therefore it would make sense to reason that since he is willing to bring it every night without risking burnout, that he is doing during the regular season what most people will only bring during the playoffs.

All that being said, I still hold that we have something to work out as a group before we hit the playoffs. Incorporating Artest (new) into the starting unit is a big deal. Incorporating Bynum into the starting unit during the regular season (new as an every day starter) is a big deal. What I personally was hoping for was team play and keying on those two and continue working them into the system until they have it down pat. Once that happens.... Kobe can do his magic show and dominate as much as he likes.

In closing, there are VERY few guys that you would want to go to war with. Kobe is one of those guys that with him on your team, most likely you will win!

Why, Phil Jackson, is it up to Kobe if he plays or not? I thought the employer (Buss) made the executive decisions or perhaps the Coach. If Kobe wants to come off the bench or rest is that the Coach's decision?

Again, we see team missing from this decision making process.

GOOOoooOOOO LAKERS TEEEEEEAAAAAMMMMM !!!!

I have actually wondered whether that last post by Staples24 was
acutally Staples24.

re: not paying Kobe. Can we not be foolish about this?

Kobe has an encylopedic knowledge of *ALL* his teammates && the
Triangle offense!

Kobe can guard both LO & Artest. I believe he has done this. Kobe
knows the passing lanes like the back of his hand. Kobe is actually
quicker than all starters on this team.

Kobe is the most VICIOUS sob on the team. At the risk of infuriating any of
our islamic fans, Kobe would declare a JIHAD against the Lakers! He
would leave his footprint upon the face, chest and throat of every single
Laker. If, and it's questionable, that Phil was still the coach of the Lakers
we would finally see emotion out of him. The emotions would be: Disgust &
Consternation.

Not paying Kobe at the "sweet spot" of his basketball career is basketball
suicide.

Jerry Buss would start singing: You dropped a bomb on me!

JohnnyV,

Great post. But, let us dispense with all this "if" stuff. Kobe and crew have already done what it is we ask them to learn to do. We saw it last season. Well, except for Bynum and Ron Ron. Those two will come around, trust me. That is the culture and pressure on this team. Peer pressure on the Lakers leads to championships and greatness.

Zaira,

Make sure you keep your man happy every day! My wife does for me and it makes our situation so much more pleasurable. Because our outlook is otherwise very bleak at the moment.

Also, of course Pau can dunk more and Shannon can find his place in the Triangle better, and Drew can become a better passer. All these things take time, that's all. PJ is a master of managing all these moving parts allowing them to all intersect just at the right time as the playoffs start.

Mark my words, all things will work out and we will be celebrating yet another NBA Championship.

Great post, Zaira.

--FEARless

Charles,

"I wouldn't doubt it if Ding How and Shalin was the same person."

Probably. I think only "Kwaminus of the Golden Calves" is the only one worthy of changing his name periodically. Every other one is just an annoyance.

By the way, whoever is "Shalin" is embarassing his/herself because the proper spelling is "shaolin."

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Staples 24 told it like it is.

Its about Lakers winning now and in the future.

A Kobe trade for Westbrook, Harden and draft pick would not be a bad move.
Young great talent is good look.

Kobe breaking career scoring records could come at the expense of Gasol and Bynum's opportunities. They both have much higher FG% than Kobe. Gasol is out spoken that he wants to play inside out.

Don't talk about Mamba past ... we are talking Mamba future. If its best for the Lakers that Mamba score for another team so be it.

Mamba is NOT the Lakers.
Mamba is NOT Jerry West or Magic Johnson.
Mamba is for Mamba and said he wanted to be traded.

There is a difference between Mamba lovers and Lakers fans.

Lakers fans want rings with or without the Black Mamba.

lakersrydeordie :

See who is talking you can't even discuss in a civilized manner without swearing! Is this all your defense for proving your point!

"Tom Tom -- to hell with you!"

"Tom Tom : I am not a guy for your EFFN information! And I don't know you either as a blogger on here so go to hell already!"

And for sure you are not a girl, because girls do not talk like this except ****ches!

1. I expect tonight to be another confidence builder. Utah is going to be tired after playing the Clippers last night (winning a comeback game as they were down by 10 in the second half always requires more energy) and being in Los Angeles for an extra night (some Jazz probably went out last night, the allure of the L.A. nightlife being too attractive). They're not going to have the spark they need and the Lakers do step up their game against the Jazz as they are a long-time rival.

The Lakers play team ball and we win this one impressively.

2. What's up with people within the Lakers administration asking Phil Jackson to take a pay cut? While I "get it," what the heck is Lakers management doing talking about this IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEASON?!?!? How is that supposed to help the team and the coaching staff? "Oh, by the way, NEXT SEASON we're going to ask you for a pay cut, okay?" What the heck? Wait until the season's over to create unnecessary drama and distractions. Don't do it now. That's just stupid.

If they're somehow trying to play mind games with the Zen Master, well, they're going to get burned.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

All this talk of Pau being soft amuses me. Pau indeed is soft...in the same way that Wayne Gretzky was "soft" (a comment frequently made about him). Soft like a Baryshnikov in a room full of fat rappers wearing pants B.I.G enough to hold a family of five. So now, apparently, it's no longer good enough that Pau tattoos a 21/19 stat line on the foreheads of the opponents, he's also got to lay some moves on them too...get his phi slamma jamma degree. Know what I'm sayin'?

Let's talk about dunking for a moment, since that appears to be what some think will toughen Pau up, earn him the street creds he needs. Last I heard, a dunk still only gets you 2 points. So far at least, David Stern hasn't yet ordered the granting of a 3-pt dunk (or 4 for LeBron). So if Pau slips in a sweet left-handed hook on a spin, or a kiss off the glass from 8 feet, that still gets him the same number of points as a dunk...and he doesn't get hammered in the process. Hey, I'm good with that.

We've got plenty of great dunkers on the team, so for me anyway, it's nice to see at least one Gretzky out there weaving his way among them.

I agree 100% with Staples24.

That is the team I love, one man teams nolonger exist. Give me a one man show team that has won the championship. None!

An observation about Kobe Bryant as a facillitator:

{Begin infuriating diehard Kobe fans}

I'm going to pay closer attention to this in the future, but it seems that as a facillitator Kobe doesn't play chess three or four moves ahead, but only one or two moves ahead.

What I mean by this is that it seems that Kobe makes two kinds of passes:

1. The pass to the guy who is going to score (thus his high assists)

2. The pass to the guy who is going to pass the ball back to Kobe

That's it.

He doesn't seem to set up the guy to set up another guy for the score and the assist. He's just looking to score immediately either through himself or another teammate.

Like I said, I'm going to pay closer attention to this in the future. Perhaps I'm missing something, but that's what it seems like is going on.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Johnny P,

"Why, Phil Jackson, is it up to Kobe if he plays or not?"

1. Kobe is the best player in basketball.

2. Kobe is a competitive lunatic who is not positively modivated by being told directly "You can't do that." That's only going to cause bad blood with Kobe. By "leaving it up to Kobe", it puts Kobe in control, where he is comfortable, and thus makes it easier for him to make a reasonable decision as to what is best for himself and the team.

HIGHLY competitive people are also succeptible to being reactionary. [Jon K. raises hand] When motivating them in a positive way it is important to be cognisant of that fact, otherwise you may get a different result than what you want.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Todd,

"There is a difference between Mamba lovers and Lakers fans."

No, there is not.

Kobe doesn't have to be your favorite Laker, but he is a Laker through and through, thus, as a Laker you have to be a fan of Kobe, otherwise you are rooting against the Heart of the Lakers (or at least the Liver, Brain or Lungs of the Lakers--he certainly is not the appendix of the Lakers. He's a crucial, life-sustaining organ.)

You don't have to love him, but you do have to respect him... as a LAKER.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

CornerJ,

I liked your comparison of Pau to Wayne Gretzky.

I don't think this "soft" discussion would even be as constantly bantered around if Shaq wasn't in the league.

By the way, I think David Stern is presently scouring the rules for a loophole that would allow four point dunk for LeBron James (but only after a crab dribble).

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!


>>>LTLF…Congratulations. You have finally “arrived” now that you have your
>>>own personal stalker.

Well it's about time. And after all the hours I spent stalking LakerTom about Bynum's salary or stalking pfunk about Luke's skill, turnabout is fairplay.

Shalin Monk, I share this wisdom with you: Wise man never play leapfrog with unicorn.

By the way, the Cavs weren't particularly impressive last night, barely beating the Nets in Cleveland in a game that was closer than the score implied.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Stapels24

>>>This team is already better without Kobe playing the last two games. If he
>>>can be replaced by say Brandon Roy or a combination of James Harden and
>>>Westbrook for Kobe.

Ignnt, ignnt, ignnt.

Why don't you replace Pau with Darius Songalia while yer at it

and replace Artest with "big can't" Grant Hill

and replace Bynum with Greg Oden.

This team is NOT better off without Kobe. The Lakers muddled through for a couple of games, one vs a team missing their best player and their best two centers, and the other an aging team who aren't quite as good as they used to be when they won championships.

You're reading entirely the wrong message from these two wins. The message is that without Kobe, the Lakers are still capable of beating the lesser teams in the league, up to about the lowest playoff teams. Without Kobe, teams like Denver, Orlando, Cleveland, and probably Atlanta and Boston would eat them alive in a playoff series.

Jon K,

There IS a difference. Lakers fans root for the Lakers regardless of who takes the last shot Kobe or otherwise.

Mamba lovers believe Mamba should ALWAYS shoot -- even when its to the team detriment. Because for them, Kobe is the team.

Lakers have better chance to win tonite if Kobe DOES NOT play.

Mamba lovers are good with Kobe playing on one ankle going 9-26 and Lakers losing.

As Rasheed Wallace said "Ball don't lie."

>>>like kobe said, the only rough and physical team in the western conference is
>>> denver. in the east, boston and cavs. hmmmmmm i wonder how gasol has
>>>performed against those teams....pretty bad in my opinion.

While Pau has had a couple of bad games vs Cleveland this season, he's been excellent vs Denver (17 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks in the last game) and Boston (11 and 11, held KG to 10 & 9) this season.

So your opinion is only partially on the right track. If the Lakers face Cleveland in the finals, Pau's going to need to toughen up and play some hardball.

Tom

>>>Does anyone have a reason to why David Stern chose Chris Kaman as an
>>>all-star? He plays on a team with a horrible record and in terms of efficiency,
>>>I believe he is behind not only Boozer, but also Bynum.

Not to mention Nene. All three of those players shoot a higher percentage than Kaman, rebound more efficiently than Kaman, and mostly they outplay him in every other measurable statistic (assists, steals, blocks, turnovers, etc).

But Kaman plays more minutes than most of those guys and takes a higher % of his team's shots, so his points are inflated - Kaman is a 20 & 9 guy, of which there are only 3 in the NBA.

I would have picked any of Boozer, Bynum, Nene, or even Baron Davis (since it was a guard being replaced) before I would have picked Kaman.

Stop the presses. Hit the pause button. Wait.

It's understandable that all week the conversation has been about Kobe. He is the franchise. He draws the spotlight like honey draws a bee. If you told Kobe just before tipoff that he had 48 minutes to live, you could safely bet the house, the ranch, and the dog on how he would spend his final moments. That's why we love him.

But what about the so-called future franchise, the Buss family pet. I'm not a doctor and I've not read his medical report. But I'm thinking the Lakers should call a cardiologist to see if he could find the kid's heart. Yes, I'm talking about Andrew. It seems he's unilaterally declared he won't play until after the All-Star break. No protestation, however empty, that he knows his team mates need him and he wishes he could be out there tonight.

Look, we all know the kid doesn't have Kobe's DNA and we shouldn't expect him to. We obviously don't, or the conversation would be different. But maybe it should be.

Numerous posts have been written about how the team is better when Lamar is on the floor with the starters. So, does the Buss family still believe that Andrew is the future of the franchise? Should they? In this new era when the salary cap has become almost as important as a trophy for most teams, is Andrew a good investment? If there's only so much money to go around next year, is keeping Andrew more important than keeping Phil?

What happens after the All-Star break may very well provide the answers to all these questions. We don't have them now and I'm not writing Andrew off. I'm just saying that even though the spotlight is drawn elsewhere, our attention might best be spread around a little bit. Go Lakers!

Todd,

Okay. To clarify my position:

If you are a Lakers fan, you have to also be a fan (on some level) of Kobe Bryant...

HOWEVER!

I agree with you that there are people out there who are Mamba fans, but who are not true Lakers fans because they revere Kobe at the expense of the rest of the Lakers.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Marky Mark,

Why did my post to Laker Tom and Long Time Lakers Fan not get posted?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Guys a new post is up

MM

Thanks for the video MM.


Always love to hear Phil talk - he is so even emotionally over the course of a long season and it is one of his strengths. Phil also leads in a way that puts the players on the floor in charge of their own fate. Like John Wooden, he brings a different approach to coaching from the yellers and the guys who try to control all the action on the floor. They prepare their guys and then let them play. It is so successful, it is surprising it is so rarely copied.


Phil is beloved by me, for one. Bill Plash-keys inability to love Phil should not be generalized to the whole LA population.


Tom Daniels

>>>A Kobe trade for Westbrook, Harden and draft pick would not be a bad move.
>>>Young great talent is good look.

You just don't get it, do you?

There are only ever a handful of truly special players in the league at any one time. Kobe is one of those players. When fully healthy this season, he was the best player in the league. Even playing through injury, he was a top 10 player in the league.

Westbrook will be an okay starter in the NBA, but unless he raises his shooting percentage a bunch, he'll never be an All-Star. AND NO MATTER HOW HARD HE TRIES, HE'LL NEVER EVER EVER EVER BE HALF THE PLAYER THAT KOBE IS. There will be no MVP seasons for Westbrook. There will be no 81 point games. And there will be no championships unless he's riding the coattails of at least TWO other superstars. Durant is one. In fact, adding Kobe to Oklahoma City would immediately make them closer to a championship contender than the Lakers are.

And Harden isn't even guaranteed to ever be a starting quality player.

Trading off one of the top players in the league is a formula for losing.

Ask Milwaukee about trading off Kareem.

Ask Minnesota about trading off KG.

The ONLY time you trade one of those type of players is if you don't have enough talent around them and you don't think you can get enough talent around them while they're in their prime, and you don't mind sucking for a few years while the team rebuilds.

The Lakers ain't rebuilding. They're taking another championship this season, and Kobe will lead them to it. Write it down. In ink.

Jon K - Not sure....I accepted every post that came through the system and I looked back the past day just to make sure I didn't miss any.

Feel free to repost anything. I'll pass it through.

MM

Rick Friedman,

" If you told Kobe just before tipoff that he had 48 minutes to live, you could safely bet the house, the ranch, and the dog on how he would spend his final moments."

Unfortunately, in that instance he'd probably never make it to half-time since an NBA game typically take 2.5 hrs to complete. However, he might well be pleased with the idea of dying right out on the court during the second quarter, and think of the TV ratings that could bring in!

CornerJ,

Against SA, Pau was in Position to dunk the ball, but he chose to finger roll and the ball rimmed out(maybe 3 or 4 times if im not mistaken). Both a dunk and finger roll could get you a AND1, but the ball must go in to do so.

I dont think its a question of toughness, its more determination and focus.

Cya ya on the live chat tonight CJ!

"Shalin Monk, I share this wisdom with you: Wise man never play leapfrog with unicorn."

In the words of our fearless leader.

OUTFREAKIN STANDING!!!LMAO!!!

Thank you!

"By the way, I think David Stern is presently scouring the rules for a loophole that would allow four point dunk for LeBron James (but only after a crab dribble)."
- Jon K

My Bruin/Laker bro, you and I both know that since he's already granted LeBron the 4-step dribble-drive, the 4-pt LBJ dunk can't be far behind.

Jon K.

I am really surprised of your statement, and thoughts:

No, there is not.

"Kobe doesn't have to be your favorite Laker, but he is a Laker through and through, thus, as a Laker you have to be a fan of Kobe, otherwise you are rooting against the Heart of the Lakers (or at least the Liver, Brain or Lungs of the Lakers--he certainly is not the appendix of the Lakers. He's a crucial, life-sustaining organ.)"

If that is the case then, why not the same thing for Shaq? Do you still consider him as Lakers. Team's name is the organization name, players come and go even at the middle of the season! This is exactly why Kobe pushed to trade Shaq, because he wanted that Lakers to be his only, and this is not a teamwork mentality that a teamplayer needs!

I don't know Tom Tom, when people talk about the best teams I usually hear, "The Lakers when so and so was on the team," or "The Jazz when Stockton and Malone were together." The players really do make the team.


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