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Lakers' Ron Artest key difference in 95-89 victory over Denver Nuggets

Ron Artest

Holding court with a group of reporters, Lakers forward Ron Artest recently shared how his revamped diet plan is rather simple to follow so long as it's done consistently. He doesn't eat late at night. When he does eat, there's more fruits and vegetables. And he's added late-night runs on the treadmill to his conditioning for good measure.

Even following the simplest diets, often touted among the general public during the New Year, often become difficult simply because the daily minutia often feeds temptations to continue poor habits. It's also easier to break because those diets don't always yield immediate results.

Well, the public saw in the Lakers' 95-89 victory Sunday against the Denver Nuggets the immediate benefits of Artest's revamped diet. Though Denver forward Carmelo Anthony, the team's leading scorer, had a team-high 21 points, Artest held him to seven-for-19 shooting and forced him to commit eight turnovers. More importantly, Artest's play sparked an energy and toughness that sorely lacked in the first half. Artest has his diet to thank, which he says has knocked him down from 268 pounds to 255.

"In the last four games, I held the last five opponents under their average," said Artest, who also scored 17 points. "That’s a rhythm I get. Some people get in shooting rhythms. I get in a defensive rhythm. I think I'm in a rhythm right now defensively. That’s how I'm going to try to do and keep people under their average. I can keep my strength and lose weight so that’s great."

The Lakers sorely needed it, as a contentious first half led to many of the team feeling frustrated, most notably Kobe Bryant, who drew a technical foul and was limited to 14 points overall on three-for-17 shooting. The hushed signal from the Nuggets guard J.R. Smith after a dunk in the first half was the most vivid example of Denver trying to intimidate the Lakers. Smith's recent comments on Twitter, which said "Dont get me wrong kobe is great but not when he play me," didn't upset Mamba, who said, "I don’t take that really seriously. Look at the track record. It was something that was said in jest to be funny about it."

But there was plenty that irked the Lakers. They trailed 52-43 at halftime because Denver went 16 of 23 from the free-throw line, while also committing 13 turnovers. It was obvious the Nuggets followed the conventional game plan against the Lakers, by trying to take advantage of their perceived softness, holding Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum to a combined nine points inside.

The team said the Nuggets made some of those comments of that nature, something Lakers forward Gasol said he tuned out because "I don't listen to things that don't make sense."

"We need to really be the aggressor and challenge people instead of always being challenged," Gasol said. "That’s how I feel. Teams come here. We go on the road and teams try to challenge us. We rely so much on our quality and depth of our team, we’re not aggressive enough. We need to start challenging people and imposing our will."

And with Artest, they got just that. He opened the second with an early steal and layup that closed the lead to 52-49 and finished the quarter with six steals. Meanwhile, the Lakers' defensive intensity picked up, holding Denver to 36% shooting in the third quarter and 26.3% in the fourth. That in effect sparked a Lakers offense that featured Lamar Odom (20 points, 12 rebounds), Bryant dishing out a season-high 12 assists and a 15-7 fourth-quarter run. 

Every time Artest has a standout defensive performance and any offensive progression (or lack thereof), inevitable evaluations pop up on whether the Lakers are better with him or were better with Trevor Ariza. Although this won't stop the prognosis to continue, no performance will fully answer that question until the entire season is over. Case in point, Ariza's reputation with the Lakers was largely built on his defensive contributions in last season's playoffs.

But on Sunday, Artest showed what he could provide, with Bryant saying he "earned his money today" and Lakers Coach Phil Jackson saying he did "a remarkable job on Anthony." And the result was a signature win for the Lakers (45-15), who hold a 5 1/2 game-lead over Denver (39-20). 

Said Artest: "We haven't beaten any good teams this year. This was a big one."

--Mark Medina

Photo: Lakers forward Ron Artest, who harassed Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony into a seven-for-19 shooting performance, slaps the ball away on a drive in the fourth quarter Sunday. Credit: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times.

 
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Said Artest: "We haven't beaten any good teams this year. This was a big one."

Well, I suppose Boston and Orlando aren't good teams...which is telling.

Caliphilosopher,

I think Thriller is setting a high standard for himself and the Lakers, which is good.

I'd rather see a player of Thriller's calliber talk about how they can improve than someone like Carmelo Anthony or J.R. Smith rambling on about how they're unstoppable.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Caliphilosopher
Great to see you brother! I'll be going to a rare Nuggets/Thunder game later this week wearing my BRYANT jersey. I got free tix so I'll represent the Purple & Gold.

Colorado loves our World Champion Lakers!

News: Shaq to have surgery on his thumb, will miss 6-8 weeks (and which means he would be out for the rest of the regular season)

Cleveland tried to play smart by double-crossing other teams, to "trade" and get back Z after 30 days, and see what happened?? Now they neither have Big Fat Daddy or Big Old-Z for the next 1 month.

Is this what they call Karma, right??

Don't know if any of you saw it on espn.com, but Shaq is going to have to have surgery on his thumb. They opened the article about it with

"Shaquille O'Neal's regular season could be over."

I would laugh SOOOOO hard if Ilgauskas signed with some other team and left the Crabaliers without any player over 6-9 for the playoffs.

I thought LO and Ron were great today, and I guess I'm the only one that thought Bynum played OK. He was moving on D, blocked some shots, and specifically remember him picking up Billups on the way to the basket which forced Billups into a turnover: a bad pass that went straight to Kobe.

If this is the new and improved Artest, I liked what I saw. Great D.

The Universe goes on for another day at least.
Kumbaya anyone?

Unbelievable effort by Artest! I'm so glad he is with the Lakers. His dedication to getting better as the season wears on bodes well for the playoff run...

MM,

Good Summary.

Artest's defense was central to the victory today.
His defense on Melo made the Billups mismatch on D. Fish more obvious.

Phil has the stopper for Billups -- Shannon Brown.

Brown defends Billups AND takes his butt to the hoop!

That story about LBJ coming to LALA LAND after the season, well, would be a great move for him, however, I think it would have to involve a sign and trade. I think we'd have to move Drew plus another or so.

Game notes...


Pregame:

One of the biggest games of the season so far. The Nuggets come in to LA at 39-19, while the Lakers currently stand at 44-15 and are starting to show some signs of realizing their potential this year. Denver has beaten the Lakers in their first two meetings this season and the Lakers don’t want to have to deal with the ignominious humiliation of getting swept at home in the regular season series against their top conference competitor, so there’s the motivation for them. The Nuggets are a little more desperate to show that they belong, and that they are contenders and not just pretenders to the Lakers’ throne. Bring it on...

ABC Sunday afternoon game in LA: Mike Breen on play-by-play with Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson on analysis.


First Quarter:

Lakers starting five - Bynum, Gasol, Artest, Bryant, Fisher
Nuggets starting five - Nene, Martin, Anthony, Afflalo, Billups

12:00 - Bynum tips the ball and the Lakers control it, giving them possession to start the first and fourth quarters.

11:48 - The Lakers score their first points on a Pau left-handed hook in the paint off of an entry pass on the right block from Ron up above the elbow. Lakers lead 2-0.

Highlight: Drew swats Billups’ layup attempt out of bounds after missing a short layup of his own at the other end.

Lowlights: Artest harasses Carmelo on the perimeter and knocks the ball away, but Anthony retrieves it and drills a twenty foot jumper from the right wing on the Nuggets first offensive possession.

09:18 - Brown comes in for Fisher, who just picked up his second foul, off of the resultant dead-ball with the Lakers trailing 5-4.

Highlights: Shannon hits a twenty-footer from the left wing immediately after coming into the game. Ron drills a three from the left sideline after he missed a long jumper and Shannon stole the Nuggets’ outlet pass.

Lowlights: Billups hits a long three from the left point over a screen from Martin on Shannon, who then makes another mistake with a weak entry pass to Bynum above the left elbow that is picked off by Nene and taken all the way down the floor for a dunk. Afflalo hits a three from the right wing over Kobe. Pau is stripped in the lane as he turns to make his move to the basket, the Lakers’ fourth turnover.

Interesting factoid: Nene not only leads the Nuggets team in steals but he leads all NBA Cs in steals as well.

06:21 - PJ calls a timeout after Carmelo makes the first of two FTs. After Anthony makes the second FT as well, the Lakers trail 17-10.

Interesting factoids: Breen says that Karl has complained about his team not showing up to play every night against sub-.500 teams. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, that there are actually other teams in the league besides the Lakers that have this problem! The Nuggets shoot more FTs than any other team in the NBA, more than 31 a game.

Highlight: Kobe makes a layup on a knifing drive that started from the right wing after just about every Laker touched the ball on the offensive possession, nice teamwork!

Lowlight: Shannon throws the ball out of bounds from the point coming out of the timeout, trying to hit Kobe with a pass on the right wing.

05:24 - Odom in for Bynum between FTs by Nene after Drew fouled him driving to the hoop. Lakers trail 18-12, even after Nene misses both FTs for an unofficial turnover and Ron steps in front of the shooter in the lane to grab the line-drive rebound.

Highlights: Ron gets a steal on a pass to Carmelo on the left wing and takes the ball all the way down the floor for a layup. Pau draws the second foul on Martin hauling down a defensive rebound in the paint. LO is double-teamed on the right block and kicks it out to Ron for a sideline three. Pau gets a left-handed tip-in put-back off of a Kobe miss from the right wing.

Lowlights: Smith hits an uncontested right sideline three over an uninspired attempt to close-out from LO. Technical foul on Kobe, his eleventh of the season, as LO tries to feed him an entry pass under the hoop from the top of the key, but Smith climbs over his back and tips the ball away for a turnover although the replay clearly showed Smith hooking Kobe with his off hand as well.

Ron’s line: 8 points with 2 three-pointers to lead the Lakers in scoring early on.

01:13 - Timeout with the Lakers still trailing 26-21 after Billups makes the technical FT.

Lowlights: Billups hits another uncontested three as Pau and Shannon get confused on coverage off of a pick-and-roll. The Lakers are looking pretty sloppy on both offense and defense as the quarter draws to a close. The Nuggets have shot 13 FTs in the quarter.

00:00.0 - Lakers get thoroughly outplayed in the first quarter and end up behind, 29-21.


Second Quarter:

Lakers lineup - Bynum, Odom, Kobe, Brown, Farmar
Nuggets lineup - Anderson, Graham, Anthony, Smith, Lawson

Highlight: LO knocks the ball away from Carmelo on the defensive right baseline for a Nuggets turnover but the Lakers fail to score on the subsequent offensive possession.

10:58 - Lakers first points of the quarter on two FTs by Kobe after he missed his initial FG attempt from the left elbow but was then fed and fouled cutting down the lane as Shannon got the offensive rebound. Lakers still trail 29-23.

Lowlights: Kobe tries a full-court outlet pass to Jordan but the ball sails over his head and out of bounds for the Lakers’ eighth turnover of the game. Anthony hits a jumper over a Kobe-LO double-team on the right wing. Three-second violation on Drew as the Lakers are hesitant in running their offense and he’s caught trying to establish rebounding position.

09:35 - Nuggets timeout with the Lakers trailing by ten, 33-23.

Substitution: Fisher in for Bryant out of the timeout.

Highlights: Drew gets his first hoop after rebounding his own miss and taking the ball to the rim. Shannon finishes a break with a dunk off of feed from Jordan in the lane. Farmar starts the offensive possession with an entry pass into Drew, who kicks it back out to Fish on the left point, who swings the ball over to Shannon on the right point, who passes back to Farmar who hits a right sideline three, beautiful ball movement! LO takes the ball down the lane for an easy layup.

Lowlights: Defensive three-second violation as both LO and Drew are caught guarding the lane, and Afflolo makes the FT. Lawson is running roughshod over the Laker perimeter defense, penetrating at will and either getting fouled or dishing off underneath.

05:53 - Timeout as Shannon swipes at the ball and fouls Afflolo on the left wing with the Lakers trailing 42-32.

Substitutions: Gasol in for Odom, Bryant in for Brown and Fisher in for Farmar out of the timeout.

Highlight: Ron hits a three on the left wing off of a kick-out from Kobe after he drives the lane on an isolation play and finds no room to shoot for the third consecutive possession.

Lowlights: Pau has the ball knocked out of his hands above the left elbow and as he is screaming at the refs the Nugget race down on a break for an easy layup, the eleventh Laker turnover of the half. Nene makes a layup over Drew and gets fouled on the left block after a bullet of a cross-court entry pass.

04:39 - Powell replaces Bynum, who now has three fouls, as Nene misses the FT and the Lakers still trail by double-digits, 46-35.

Highlight: Ron drives down the lane and drops off a pass to Josh on the right block from where he drops in a short jumper.

Lowlights: Nuggets get three shots on one offensive possession and it ends with Pau fouling Martin driving to the hoop, but luckily he misses both FTs for another unofficial turnover. Nene gets a pass on the right block off of Nugget penetration into the lane, muscles inside Pau to the hoop and makes a layup as he gets fouled, Pau’s third. Nene has 10 points and 5 rebounds so far in the half.

03:15 - Mbenga replaces Pau as Nene once again misses the and-one FT and a lane violation is called against the Nuggets with the Lakers trailing 48-37. The turnover battle is not going the Lakers way as they have 11 so far to the Nuggets 7. Luckily for the Lakers, the Nuggets are only 14-21 on FTs.

Highlight: Josh gets another bucket underneath as Kobe hits him with a pass after playing off of a DJ screen on the left wing.

Lowlight: Lakers incur a shot clock violation after fumbling the ball all acround the court until it winds up in Kobe’s hands in the left corner with not enough time left to shoot, for turnover number twelve.

02:11 - Timeout with the Lakers trailing 48-39.

Kobe’s line: 4 points on 1-5 FGs.

01:58 - Odom in for Mbenga after he fouls Nene, who this time converts both FTs for a 50-39 Nuggets lead.

Highlights: LO makes a layup off of a touch pass from Josh in the lane after an entry pass from Kobe on the left wing. Josh gets a dunk off an inbound pass from Ron to him right under the basket.

Lowlights: Kobe gets the ball poked out of his hands at the top of the key for another Lakers turnover, which leads to a Smith dunk at the other end. On the next offensive possession Kobe throws an errant bounce pass towards Josh cutting through the lane but it ends up going out of bounds for yet another turnover.

00:00.0 - Smith misses a forty foot heave at the buzzer to end the half with the Lakers behind 52-43. As bad as they’ve played, the Lakers only lost the second quarter by one point.


Halftime:

The Lakers have turned the ball over an unacceptable 14 times in the first half, resulting in 20 Denver points, while getting to the FT line only 4 times, far short of the Nuggets 23 trips to the charity stripe. What’s surprising is that Kobe’s had such a poor half after Smith called him out earlier in the week on his twitter feed. He must still be hurting and I can only hope that Kobe stays within himself in the second half and doesn’t try to do too much at once. The Nuggets shot only 40% on FGs, giving a good indication of how poorly the Lakers have been running their offense since they are still behind, and while they have received 8 turnovers from the Nuggets they have only managed to convert those into 7 points.

Kobe’s line: 4 points on 1-5 FGs, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 turnovers.


Third Quarter:

Lakers lineup - Bynum, Gasol, Artest, Bryant, Fisher
Nuggets lineup - Nene, Martin, Anthony, Afflalo, Billups

10:56 - Lakers first points of the quarter as Kobe hits Drew with a mid-post entry pass from the right point and he backs Nene across the lane and towards the basket before putting in a left handed layup off the glass. Lakers trail 53-45.

Highlights: Artest dribbles inside the three-point line on the left wing and gets the ball into Drew on the block, from where he first goes right then comes back to his left and misses a short jumper but gets his own rebound and drops it in from directly under the hoop for his sixth point of the game. Ron steals the ball on the defensive perimeter and it ends up in Kobe’s hands before he lobs it back down the court to a streaking Artest for a layup.

09:50 - Nuggets timeout with their lead cut to three, 52-49, as the Lakers score the first six points of the second half and the crowd is finally starting to get into it.

Highlights: Ron ties up Carmelo as he drives down the right side of the lane and tries to take a shot up for a jump ball, but Artest ends up tipping the ball out of bounds before the Lakers get a stop on a defensive rebound by Drew. Fish drops in a rainbow three from the left point to cut the Nugget lead to a single point. Drew blocks Billups’ shot on the perimeter at the right wing.

Lowlights: Afflolo misses an uncontested three from the left corner but Martin gets the put back under the basket for the Nuggets first basket of the second half. Another offensive three-second violation on the Lakers as Kobe drives into the lane and attempts to kick it out to Fish instead of putting up a shot. Anthony gets three shots at the hoop from within five feet and finally puts the last one in on a tip over Pau at the front of the rim. Drew is called for defensive three seconds and Billups makes the FT. Nene knocks the ball from Kobe on a double-team and Afflolo takes it back down for a layup as Kobe waves his arms to the refs in complaint. Afflolo hits a three from the left wing to finish off a 10-0 run after the Lakers had cut their lead to one.

05:22 - Timeout with the Lakers behind, 64-53.

Substitutions: Odom in for Bynum coming out of the timeout.

Highlights: Fish hits a three from the point coming out of the timeout. Ron steals the ball from Carmelo on the perimeter, before shooting an air-ball on a three point attempt from the left point at the other end. Kobe blocks a three on a closeout and LO draws a foul on Nene under the basket at the other end and makes both FTs. Ron has held Anthony to 6-18 on FGs so far. Fish strips Billups as he crosses midcourt and streaks down the right side for a breakaway layup to put the Lakers back within two.

Lowlights: Aflolo blocks two Laker shots on what started out as a three on one break and ends up with a Laker traveling violation on Odom after the subsequent inbounds play. Martin lays in the ball from under the basket on an entry pass from Anderson. Martin goes around Pau on the block to put in a left-handed layup.

Ron’s line: 14 points, 4 rebounds and 5 steals.
Kobe’s line: 4 points on 1-9 FGs, 5 rebounds and 6 assists.

00:50.8 - Farmar comes in for Fisher as Pau makes 1-2 FTs after being fouled by Anderson on the left block. Lakers trail 70-66.

00:17.2 - Powell comes in for Gasol as LO makes 1-2 FTs, giving the Lakers 12 trips to the line in the third quarter alone, indicating a new found aggressiveness on offense. Lakers trail 70-67.

00:00.0 - Lakers force the Nuggets seventh turnover of the quarter under the hoop as time expires in the period with the Lakers trailing 70-67. Mark Jackson says that he’s never seen Artest play better defense and it’s kind of hard to argue with him after watching Ron work over Carmelo. The Lakers finally won a quarter, taking the third 27-18.

Kobe’s line: 6 points on 1-9 FGs and 5 rebounds.


Fourth Quarter:

Lakers lineup - Gasol, Odom, Artest, Bryant, Farmar
Nuggets lineup - Anderson, Martin, Anthony, Smith, Billups

11:45 - Lakers first points of the quarter as LO knocks down a three from the left corner to tie the game up at 70-70.

LO’s line: 14 points on 5-8 FGs.

Highlights: Kobe weaves his way into the lane and drops the ball off to Pau, who dunks off the left block. Nuggets down to 39% on FGs for the game. LO hits a leaning bank shot from just outside the right mid-post to give the Lakers their first lead of the game since the opening minutes.

09:32 - Timeout Nuggets as Pau drops in a left-handed jump-hook from the middle of the lane, capping a 6-0 Lakers run to put them up by four. Lakers lead 76-72.

Highlight: Kobe may be 1-10 on FGs but he’s racking up the assists and the rest of team is shooting 55%.

Lowlight: Farmar allows Carter to blow by him on the right wing for an easy layup.

08:34 - Brown in for Artest on a dead-ball. Lakers lead 78-74.

Highlight: Kobe drops in a tear-drop from the right block and LO gets a block under the basket on the other end, which leads to a fast break and Farmar streaks straight down the lane for a layup as he is fouled, but he misses the FT. LO is cleaning up on the defensive glass. Kobe picks off a bad pass from Nene on the perimeter.

07:11 - PJ calls timeout with the Lakers lead at eight, 82-74.

Kobe’s line: 8 points on 2-11 FGs, 5 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.

Substitutions: Artest in for Bryant coming out of the timeout.

Highlight: Lakers have 15 steals in the game so far, Ron has six of those and LO has 4.

Lowlight: Afflolo hits a three from the right corner on an assist from Billups off the wing.

05:51 - Bryant comes back in for Farmar as Nene draws a foul on LO driving to the basket off a pass on the left block, and makes both FTs to cut the Laker lead to 82-79.

Highlight: Kobe backs in Afflolo, who has 5 fouls, on the right block and banks it a short reverse turnaround jumper over him.

Lowlights: Fish fouls Billups on a three-point shot and he makes all three FTs to tie the game up. On the next trip down, Billups nails another three from the left point. Pau misses a short jumper from right in front of the basket before getting his follow-up blocked by Martin.

04:40 - Bynum in for Gasol on a dead-ball. Lakers once again trail, 85-84.

Highlights: Kobe dumps the ball in to LO in the lane from the right wing and he makes a jump hook. Kobe makes a crosscourt pass to Ron in the left corner and he drills a three to put the Lakers back up on top. The Lakers have only four turnovers in the second half while the Nuggets have nine, but they still have more for the game 18-17. Billups plays off of Nene on a pick-and-roll and gets a step on Fish driving towards the basket, but Drew takes him on and beats him down to the block, forcing him to throw a wild cross-court pass that is intercepted by Kobe who takes it all the way down to the other end before getting fouled on a layup attempt.

Lowlight: Billups hits a long two from the right wing over Fish, for his eighth point of the fourth quarter.

LO’s line: 20 points, 10 rebounds and 4 steals.
Pau’s line: 13 points on 5-13 FGs and 12 rebounds.

03:03 - Gasol comes back in for Bynum as Kobe makes both FTs to give the Lakers a 91-89 lead.

Highlight: Kobe passes the ball from the right wing into Pau at the elbow from where he drives diagonally across the lane and lays the ball in from the left block. Ron draws an offensive foul on Carmelo resulting in his disqualification with six on the next Nuggets possession.

02:13 - Timeout with the Lakers leading 93-89.

Highlight: Pau blocks Afflalo’s jumper from the right wing and the Lakers continue to frustrate the Nuggets on the defensive end, despite losing more offensive rebounds than they should.

Lowlights: Kobe’s forcing some shots and he continues to miss jumpers during critical possessions in the last few minutes, but at least he’s making his FTs when he gets fouled.

00:12.7 - Timeout after Kobe makes two FTs and the Lakers lead is at 95-89.

Kobe’s line: 13 points on 3-17 FGs and 0-2 from three.

00:00.0 - No scoring in the final twelve seconds and the Lakers win, 95-89.


Postgame:

The Lakers won the fourth quarter 28-19 which gave them both quarters in the second half after they lost both in the first. An impressive come from behind victory, as Breen said as the game came to a close. They were outrebounded by the Nuggets 54-52 as the teams tied with 12 on the offensive end, but they did have 22 assists for the second straight game. Amazingly, despite a horrible first half the Lakers won the turnover battle, ending up with “only” 18 to the Nuggets 20. The Lakers shut down the Nuggets in the second half with tight defense on the perimeter, resulting in Denver shooting only 36% on FGs and 28% on threes, while the Lakers made half of their 16 threes, a very good performance from downtown. The Lakers continued their defensive dominance this season, leading the league in OPPP and shutting down the Nuggets when it counted in this one.

I’d have to vote for Artest as the player of the game as his defense on Anthony made all the difference in the outcome and also inspired the rest of the team to buckle down as well...

Ron’s line: 17 points on 4-7 from three and 6 steals.
LO’s line: 20 points on 8-13 FGs, 12 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 turnovers.
Pau’s line: 15 points on 6-14 FGs and 3-6 FTs and 13 rebounds (6 offensive).
Kobe’s line: 14 points on 3-17 FGs, 12 assists and 5 turnovers.

MAMBA24, I think somewhere in Los Angeles there should a Lakers Hall of Fame and you should be the currator. Posted by: Jon K.


Jon K - I second that emotion. And - by the way - thanks for getting to that lucky barstool with time to spare!

Another putrid game from fisher. Dumb fouls and getting toasted by Billips this time. Who's going to light him up the next game? The only thing good about his game tonight was that he only took 5 shots. Kupchak should be able to acquire another player because fish worth only 1/2 a player. PJ is lucky he has a squad that can make up for fisher's deficiencies. Fisher was good and he did a lot for LA, God bless him, but he needs to be a backup now.

This game showed EXACTLY why the Lakers made this 'trade' for Artest. I really liked Ariza, I felt he was a very nice fit to the Lakers and his unselfishness, speed, perimeter shooting and defense were very nice compliments. Artest is every bit as good as Ariza in those departments, if not better (OK, everything except speed) but also adds a TOUGHNESS that Ariza just didn't possess. Watching Artest MANHANDLE the physical, strong Carmelo Anthony was beautiful. He totally nullified any influence Carmelo had in the game.

Gasol I'm sure 'got the message' Phil sent by sitting him for a few minutes around the 4-minute mark. He came in and was more aggressive. The Lakers out-muscled the Nuggs, threw them off their game. The Lakers literally ripped this victory from them, much like two players battling for a rebound. The Lakers weren't going to lose, it was an ugly game, but BEAUTIFUL for the WAY they won it, matching the Nuggs toughness and physicality.

Oh, forgot to mention, nice home game Celtics against the Nets, heck they ONLY beat you by 8! At least you kept it close, and gee, the Net's aren't as bad as their 5-52 record, right? I mean, they could easily have 7 or 8 wins this season if they weren't so unlucky! Let me help you out and remind you guys to order a few extra wheelchairs, you guys will probably be needing them wheeling all your old-timers off the court by the time the playoffs roll around...

Good game...Good defense...
I think Lakers will be better from today onward...they play more on team and more on intensity...
If they can finish 13-2 in March...it will be superb...

Go Go & Go...Great Lakers...

Until Nuggets prove it in the playoffs, they're just another trash talking team incapable of winning when it counts. Tired of hearing about them. George Karl coached teams have NEVER beaten Phil Jackson coached teams and that will NEVER change. Funny how Karl, Sloan and Poppovich have NEVER figured it out. Maybe they should contact Larry Brown and Doc Rivers since they're the only coaches to defeat PJ and the Lakers in a title series(D'Antoni and the Suns don't count since they were playing a Lakers team featuring Kobe and D-Leaguers, Smush and Kwame).

The only Nugget of any value is Chauncey Billups, period. Melo hasn't and couldn't do anything until Billups arrived and I don't need to say anything about the rest of Nuggets. You know a team has serious ego trips when their bench players talk smack. They boast and act like they're confident, but it's a front to hide that they're an inferior team.

Bottom line is the championship still goes through LA until proven otherwise. Funny how only D-Wade has won a title from the vaunted 2003 draft class and he's done it with less talent than what both LeBron and Melo have around them now. Sure Wade had Shaq and Payton, but Shaq and Payton were already past their primes. Right now that means that Wade is better than both LeBron and Melo when he has equal talent around him. Hard to debate since he has a title and finals MVP to prove it.

This is the best chance for all these teams that have retooled and revamped their rosters(Dallas, Denver, SA, Cleveland, Boston, Orlando and Atlanta)to dethrone LA because if they don't, it will be disheartening and some may even blow it up next year. Should the Lakers repeat, I see them making some tweaks in the roster next season to keep us strong for many more years to come. That's scary!!! We'll definitely workout our PG situation and we'll move an expiring contract as well for another piece. It will also solidify the genius of Kupchak for not making a desperate move just because other teams did it.

I believe in our team and I believe that their best basketball is yet to be played!!! Go Lakers!!!

"GAME BALL TO ZAIRA & JUSTANOTHERMAMBAFAN FOR
THEIR UNFLAGGING BELIEF THROUGHT THE GAME."

-Mamba24

Great win - HAPPY !! HAPPY !! HAPPY !!

The posts have been appropriately celebratory. But I want to tell you my story. I had a hard time getting a link for the game. By the time I got on, I had read many of the live blog comments. From the sound of them I thought we were down by 15 points in the fourth.

The comments were not just about a poor play or two, they were about the fundamental ability of this team. They were about trades and why we were hopeless. People were disrespecting many players and the team as a whole.

Imagine my surprise when I got a good link and found it was the second quarter and we were down by only 9 points! My link was bad and I took an old man nap. When I returned it was the fourth and we were three points behind.

When we took the lead, the comments looked like all of the comments on the post game blog. "Artest will take us to the championship." "We beat them with Kobe having a bad night." "Odom what a stud."

If the Lakers players were as fickle as some of the live bloggers, if they only thought the team had hope when they had a lead, we would be dead. Toughness involves belief. It is fine to criticize a play or our play for a day, but the despair over our potential, as a championship team, sucks!! I don't want to live blog when it becomes so fricken negative.

During the game, Mamba24 asked, "Who are we?" He gave the response of "We are the Fricken Lakers!" The reason he has to give Zaira the game ball is because she was one of the few to not turn into a troll the second we were behind. Others should learn from this. Others should have purple and gold pride!

Mamba24, thanks for keepin' the banner high AND

GOOOooOOOO LAKERS GOOoooOOOOOOOOO !!!!!!!!

JustanotherMambaFan,

Sorry I forgot to put your name in the final paragraph of my previous post. You also kept the faith!! No one will ever accuse you of being a Troll. Caliphilospher and others either.

GOOOooOOOOO LAKERS !!!

Well it looks like Kobe has another false "Kobe Stopper" right where he wants him.
Only Kobe could have thought to miss just about every shot attempt today.
Pure Genius
Who can stop His Unstoppableness?

Finally, a dominant game by RonRon! I've been waiting all year for a performance like this from Thriller and I'm glad it happened tonight. Bynum was invisible again tonight in a game where he was desperately needed. Fish did pretty well against Billups with the exception of ducking under too many screens.
Lebron to the Lakers? Impossible since they won't have enough money to pay him. I think they are pretty close to the salary cap already for next season.

James katt
"Pau Gasol had a usual 15 points /14 rebound game. But he had so many problems in his game. He was pushed around by the smaller 6'8" Kenyon Martin of all things. He missed so many shots that should have been DUNKS. He even missed half of his free throws. Come on, Pau. This was a crappy game from you."

K.Martin 3-11 9 rebounds 6 pts
Gasol 6-14 14 rebounds 15 pts
Maybe you prefer K.Martin in your team.

Pau is not comfortable in aggressive games but he always fight and almost always beats its opponent. Kenyon Martin is smaller 6'8" but he plays outside the rules many times.

I liked kobe today, he play for the team. Fisher play consistent game.
I love Odom and Ron. Spectacular to see these guys play today.
I do not forget J.Powel, he play only 4:56 minutos and add 6 pts in only three shots.

'Melo got robbed on that last foul. But, we'll take it. Also, I don't hear anyone criticizing 'Melo for slapping at Ron's hand when he had five fouls. If that had happened to Kobe, EVERYONE would have blamed Kobe, and only PJ would have blamed the refs.

The Nuggets are playing well when they are being unappreciated. I wonder how they'll finish the season now that they are finally getting the respect they claim they need. Now, teams will be sending advanced scouts just to pick at their weaknesses.

If 'Melo wants to be in the same discussion as Kobe, then he's gotta be willing to take the blame for such a dumb foul, even if he was robbed on the play. I don't know if he is really ready to be a true marquee player.

Could you imagine if Kobe had done exactly the same thing? Fouled out at a critical point in the game? We, in this very blog, would have crucified him. When you have five fouls, you put your hands down. You keep your elbows in. You don't swing through. Etc., etc., etc.

That call was so huge, both teams seemed to not recover from it. Only two more points were scored total for the rest of the game (2+ minutes). It stunned both squads.

What would the Nuggets record be if they were playing against the very best of every team they played every night? They already trail the Lakers by 5.5 games. Do they think they would still be in second place under those circumstances?

There are only four teams in the West that get the best game from every opponent every single night. Utah, Dallas, and San Antonio are the other three. The Nuggets? Not so much.

Well, that is going to change.

How are they going to respond?

Tweeting silly stuff isn't going to get it done, though. You don't win playoff series over the internet.

--FEARless

No one is talking about Kobe's play - and we should be.

The dude's finger is still broken and the rest of his body ain't in all that great shape. 3-of-17 for the Mamba? Give me a break.

Shaq is smart - the Cavs have such a lead now he can close down his season and be at full strength for the playoffs. KB24 needs to do something similar. If he didn't even suit up til his finger was 100%, he'd be the Mamba of old again. So what if we lose a few games - we're still the #1 West seed unless we lose 5 more than Denver does - which is highly unlikely.

Kobe is proud - but as the old Bible says - pride goeth before a fall. We will NOT win another championship if he stays banged up like he is and plays at 60-70% in May. Kobe - give it a rest. Trust your teammates. Come back in a few weeks at FULL strength in FULL health and lead us to the promised land!

Ron Artest eill be the MVP of the Finals.


Kobe and Brown should take the lead of Artest defense. Fish should spend time in the bench. The Lakers frontline, Bynum, Gasol and Odom needs to get more assists from Kobe. Lakers are unbeatable in this manner.


Kobe if he put his focus on facilitating and defending and just let the offense come to him, Lakers are going to be great.


Kobe has very talented teammates, he should realize this and take advantage of his passing skills and knowledge of the triangle to give easy shots for his teammates. Kobe needs to start enjoying this and reall open his heart to making his teammates succeed more than him statistically including heroic shots.


Without Kobe 5 dominant games. The way to win a championship.


With Kobe 4 ugly games. The way to loose in an NBA fInals.


With a Kobe not focusing in his stats, his ego, his status, instead playing defense, and using his passing skills, Lakers are dominantly scary great. But without Kobe, Lakers can still win championships.


The game tonight was almost except for the Lakers starting backcourt of Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher.


I like the way PJ pulled out Gasol in last 5 mintues of the ball game, only to put him back the last three minutes.


He told Gasol stop being soft without a word said. Gasol came back strong to finish the game.


Good work PJ.


Maybe, Phil can do this to KOBE as well.

DumpFish,

What game did you watch today? Fish was more than adaquate. He made several game preserving/changing defensive plays, and dropped in a few points to boot. He wasn't stellar, but this isn't the playoffs, either. But he did mitigate the contributions of Billups. Which is all we need.

Chauncey didn't look like the fourth best PG in the league today. Not with his fourth quarter disappearing act. I wonder who was responsible for that? That wouldn't have been the guy guarding him, would it?

I don't know if you noticed, but it took BOTH RonRon and Kobe to keep 'Melo down. Fish had to hold down Chauncey all by himself. He did pretty good. Fish did enough.

--FEARless

i dont know if this has been posted, but i noticed that JR smith is actually wearing kobe Vs

http://tiny.cc/w03nh

yup those are kobe Vs

Aztronut,

Wonderful recap. Beautiful. I missed the first quarter and the start of the third (Honey Do List). Reading your recap filled in the blanks. Like, I missed Fish fouling Billups on a three. Also, you correctly pointed out all of Drew's defensive triumphs, that other, negative, bloggers have seemed to overlook in their obsessiveness with looking at points scored.

Your recap correctly focuses on what won this game for the Lakers; their defense.

Keep them coming. You efforts are not wasted here.

--FEARless

heres ronnie T rocking them too

http://tiny.cc/6bIMo

Let us balance the scale. When someone says Kobe's liabilities, let us balance it with Kobe's assets.

Yes, he made only 3 field goals out of 17 attempts. Kobe's two fingers are busted and still playing. Shaq's thumb was injured on company time so he takes surgery at company time as well. Kobe's ankle are sore still playing, his fellow Olympians like Chris Bosh, CP3, Dwayne Wade have declared injured, Paula Pierce is ineligible.

Kobe went into free throw line 8 for 8 at the closing minutes.

People here kept on saying he's ball hog yet made 12 assists which equivalent to 24 pts. That is the importance of Kobe in attracting double teamed that frees his teammates.

In Kobe we trust, his assets are way, way, way beyond his liabilities wherein his net worth is what makes the Lakers, the team to beat in 2010.

Mahatma Gandhi said:
“Faith... Must be enforced by reason...When faith becomes blind it dies.”

Staples 24,

Exactly which games are you watching? The Lakers without Kobe had 3 dominant games, one very good win, and one disheartening loss that was the result of poor late-game execution. The trend you speak of started two games BEFORE Kobe came back. How is he responsible for their lackluster play when he isn't even on the court?

Now, I'm not going to blame effort for this trend as some less enlightened do. It is simple; the first three games of Kobe's absence teams assumed the Lakers would be soft and therefore did not do their due diligence and got burned. The last couple of teams figured it out and scouted the Lakers appropriately and figured out their weaknesses, to which the Lakers without Kobe didn't really adjust that well.

Pay better attention to the games, dude. If it were not for Kobe, the Lakers would have suffered their first three-game loosing streak since acquiring Pau. His wining shot breaking up three consecutive poor defensive outings for the Lakers, the first of which was against the Celtics in the last game he didn't play.

I just don't get how you can blame a trend on Kobe that preexisted him? Is he telekinetic? Can he influence the malaise of his team from the sidelines? Please explain. This is the first time in five games that the Lakers have played with that same defensive fire we've come accustomed to. And, he was an integral part of that fire.

Staples 24, there is no way that the Lakers can win a championship with any less Kobe than the Mamba. Scouting and preparation are staples of post-season play. In those cases, only with your best player beating the scouting report can you win. The Lakers, of course, have that best guy in the business at doing that. That's why he has four rings, and all the guys you may think are better than he have zero.

--FEARless

"Billups plays off of Nene on a pick-and-roll and gets a step on Fish driving towards the basket, but Drew takes him on and beats him down to the block, forcing him to throw a wild cross-court pass that is intercepted by Kobe who takes it all the way down to the other end before getting fouled on a layup attempt." (aztronut)

Nice summary as always aztro. Although everyone has biases not everyone has an agenda. What's nice about your summaries is that they come off as objective IMHO. This play in particular was one that I had referred to in an earlier post though I didn't describe it quite as eloquently as you did. I thought it was one of the key plays in the quarter though it went unnoticed by a lot of people. I'm not saying Drew had a great game, but in a lot of games he has plays like this that are ignored by his detractors.

Another thing I meant to mention to you earlier is that I couldn't agree with you more about respect being the default position. I too have thought about this idea lately. I thought your paragraph on this subject was poignant.

Get a free onetouch glucose meter at http://bit.ly/dzRTGS


Shaq being out only increases the chances (which is already close to 100%) Big Z returns to the Cavs. He'll be the starting center. However, if Z decides to go elsewhere, the Cavs will have a tough time in the playoffs with no player taller than 6 9.

You know what? The two guys who get the most unearned criticism on this blog are Kobe and Fish.

There is only one player in the entire league playing better than Kobe. There is only one team playing better than the Lakers, and there are currently no PG's more successful and doing that one thing every game that his team needs to keep the team on the path to a victory.

Chauncey Billups isn't as successful at rousing his troops as Fisher is at rousing his. Fish is a true leader of men. His leadership shows in some fashion in almost every single game he plays. His team mates listen to him and trust his wisdom implicitly and completely. Without hesitation. There is no other player in the entire NBA who garners that level of respect from his team mates and other players as well.

Neither Brown nor Farmar have that. They may never get that either. That much is unknown.

And I mean 100% trust in what this man says. Without hesitation.

Leadership isn't based on anything physical. It is all mental. Fish has not lost any steps on the mental side of the game. Then, you add to that his uncanny "clutchness". He is not anywhere as flashy, but his every bit as clutch. On a nightly basis, we see Fish make that one play, that singular play, that most directly leads to the opportunity for play that will ultimately win the game. It is like he's always making the assist to the assist to the play that wins the game (whether that ultimate play is by Kobe usually, or by him, or by someone else).

Case and point, the Thuggets needed a bucket to reestablish themselves as the new contender on the block and what does Fish do? Old man Fish who's been "tourched" by Billups the whole game? He strips Billups of the ball in the back court gets the steal, then goes in for a layup and beats the lurking Kenyon Martin to the hoop for an important momentum shifting score.

If the Thuggets would have scored on that particular possession, they would have gained the confidence in their own resilience which may have staved off their eventual panic that ultimately led to the loss.

The Thuggets view of the game will undoubtedly be that every time it seemed like they were going to run away from the Lakers would somehow make some big play just to get back in the game. Fish was one of those plays.

Fish is ALWAYS one of those plays. I know why PJ continues to put him in. You let success be your guide. The Lakers continue to win with him in.

The criticism of Kobe? That, I just don't get.

--FEARless

Staples 24:

"But without Kobe, Lakers can still win championships." - If you really mean this, then I would say you're delusional.

If the Coaches/GMs of all the teams in the league vote for this, I am sure that "We can win a ring w/o Kobe" will not get even a single vote.

So many folks have told here that our three wins w/o Kobe was because teams had not adjusted to defend a Kobe-less Lakers. Once teams slightly adjusted, even the no-defense warriors looked like the Detroit bad boys in their D, and we managed to escape with a W!!

If you're so much against Kobe, then dont you think you should change Staples24 to Q23, just stating...

Mark G,

"I guess I'm the only one that thought Bynum played OK. He was moving on D, blocked some shots, and specifically remember him picking up Billups on the way to the basket which forced Billups into a turnover: a bad pass that went straight to Kobe."

I've got you covered dude, I put that play in my game summary highlights before I saw your post, which was just now. I didn't want to read any of this blog until I finished watching the US v Canada gold medal hockey game 'cause I've seen folks on here give away the endings of other events without a spoiler alert warning, which I think is a little petty...

Anyway, I thought Drew's defense on that play, covering for Fish on a Nugget pick-and-roll, was the Lakers' defensive play of the game. Of course, Artest had a bunch of great defensive plays and Drew only had a few, but that one play where he beat Billups back to the block was freakin' awesome! I'm glad that you noticed it too, I bow to honor your wonderous powers of observation.

Wow, Staples 24, you probably named yourself that not for Kobe's number, but in reference for the amount of ignorant comments you make in your posts.

FEARless already one-punch KO'd you flat on the canvas, I'm just here to haul your carcass off the mat, lug you outside and toss ya into the gutter in the alley out back.

"Ron Artest eill be the MVP of the Finals."
-- OK, hope you're right

"Kobe and Brown should take the lead of Artest defense."
-- no problem there, however you DO realize that Kobe is a 9x all-defensive team member, 7 of them on the first team (where he should finish again this season)

"Fish should spend time in the bench."
-- Frankly, Farmar showed today why he isn't starting, he played some matador defense and wasn't a factor save for a breakaway layup set up by a Kobe steal and a 3-ptr. We ALL recognize that PG is the Laker weakness.

"The Lakers frontline, Bynum, Gasol and Odom needs to get more assists from Kobe. Lakers are unbeatable in this manner."
-- So, what game WERE you watching today? Kobe was very unselfish and set them up all game!

"Kobe if he put his focus on facilitating and defending and just let the offense come to him, Lakers are going to be great."
-- They are GOING to be great? GOING TO? Kobe I thought was full-on in 'facilitator' mode today, I'm SURE his finger is more of a factor in affecting his shot, he won't let it on since he's such a competitor and won't let the opposition have a weakness to attack him with, but I'm POSITIVE that it IS affecting him. The warrior he is, he battles on through it without making excuses.

"Kobe has very talented teammates, he should realize this and take advantage of his passing skills and knowledge of the triangle to give easy shots for his teammates."
-- Again, what game were you watching? Does Kobe need to spoon-feed them also? Odom came to play today, so did Artest. Kobe was doing his best to get them open shots, they gotta knock them down though!

"Kobe needs to start enjoying this and reall open his heart to making his teammates succeed more than him statistically including heroic shots."
-- Oh, you mean those game-winning shots? The big shots that he calmly takes, and usually makes? The ones no one else seems to want to take? The shots that usually are MISSED by his teammates, except for instances over the years that he's been doubled and dished off to a wide open shooter, who wouldn't be wide open without Kobe demanding so much defensive attention in the first place? Here is a player that has hit 5 end of game shots THIS YEAR and will probably go down as the GREATEST CLUTCH SHOOTER IN NBA HISTORY, and you want him to "open his heart" to let his teammates feel better? C'mon, you have to be joking, right? This is RIDICULOUS!

"Without Kobe 5 dominant games. The way to win a championship."
--When even a LAKER PLAYER says Kobe should be sitting in a uniform, ready to come in "like Mariano Rivera" just to take a last-second shot, do you really believe the team feels like you do? That they DON'T NEED KOBE to win a championship? C'MON! Yes, the three games before the All-Star break were nice to see, the two after it were more representative of what the Lakers would look without Kobe - they'd be a playoff team, but it's KOBE THAT MAKES THEM A CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM!

"With Kobe 4 ugly games. The way to loose in an NBA fInals."
-- Good lord, you're an idiot. Most of the tough playoff series are WON by PLAYING UGLY! You aren't playing the Clippers of the world in the playoffs, you have to SCRAP, CLAW AND MUSCLE YOUR WAY TO WINS! Today was EXACTLY the type of game you'll probably be seeing in the playoffs, high-intensity, physical, grinding type game. A game in which Kobe goes 3-for-17 AND THEY STILL WIN! A game in which Kobe's shot left him and he still orchestrates a GREAT TEAM WIN and all you can say is this is the way to "loose" an NBA Finals? Good lord, perhaps you have "loosed" your brain!

"With a Kobe not focusing in his stats, his ego, his status, instead playing defense, and using his passing skills, Lakers are dominantly scary great. But without Kobe, Lakers can still win championships."
-- I don't have to say anything, you are proving how ignorant you are by that statement.

"The game tonight was almost except for the Lakers starting backcourt of Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher."
-- I have no idea what the heck you are trying to say, but I'm SURE it's another ignorant comment. You Staples 24 are probably the MOST ignorant of all people who post here! Congratulations for making a complete dork out of yourself!

Mark G,

Just got down to your latest comment, or the latest in the instantiation of the comments that I am currently reading. I guess I should read them all through first and then reply, which is what I usually do, but that first one got me so amped up that I just couldn’t go on without a response...

“Nice summary as always aztro...What's nice about your summaries is that they come off as objective IMHO.”

Thanks a bunch, I’m always striving for objectivity which is often difficult to achieve but worth the journey regardless...

On Drew’s defense (redux)...

“This play in particular was one that I had referred to in an earlier post...I thought it was one of the key plays in the quarter though it went unnoticed by a lot of people. I'm not saying Drew had a great game, but in a lot of games he has plays like this that are ignored by his detractors.”

I couldn’t agree with you more...so many folks around here like to throw about the outrageous claim that Drew stops playing defense if he doesn’t get touches, and I think this game provided a definitive counter-example to that particular piece of slander. Of course his offensive numbers weren’t that bad given that he played limited minutes, but I thought that he made several outstanding defensive plays and was steady throughout on that end of the floor.

That play in the fourth quarter on Billups came at a very critical point in the game and gave PJ a big return on his investment, since he pulled Pau for just a couple of minutes and had Drew come in to make that very timely defensive stop. He's got an uncanny knack for doing the right things at the right times with his players.

“Another thing I meant to mention to you earlier is that I couldn't agree with you more about respect being the default position. I too have thought about this idea lately.”

Thank you again, that’s a principle that I always try and keep very close to my heart.

FEARless,

“Wonderful recap. Beautiful. I missed the first quarter and the start of the third...Reading your recap filled in the blanks...Also, you correctly pointed out all of Drew's defensive triumphs, that other, negative, bloggers have seemed to overlook in their obsessiveness with looking at points scored...Your recap correctly focuses on what won this game for the Lakers; their defense...Keep them coming. You efforts are not wasted here.”

Wow, can I use that on my resume? Thanks a ton dude, that’s a monster of a compliment, even coming from a master of the art such as yourself.

I’m ecstatic that I’m not the only one who noticed that Drew made some big defensive plays in that game, even though he was only fair to middlin’ on the offensive end. It’s kind of ironic that many of the same folks who claim he’s a one dimensional player don’t ever seem to pay attention to defensive play themselves...did I say kind of ironic? I meant to say that it literally drools with irony!

These folks are constantly harping on the Lakers poor team defense without any apparent recognition that they are the top defensive team in the league, at least in terms of OPPP and several other important defensive metrics. Perhaps this will serve to begin the breakdown of some of those slanderous myths about Drew’s defense that are so venomously propagated around here.

Interesting factoid: The Lakers are 4-0 this year in games in which Kobe has shot under 25% FGs...

Not that this means anything, the sample size is obviously to small for any significant conclusions to be drawn from it, but it is very interesting. At least Arte Johnson and I think so, but then I'm just guessing with Arte because that's just what he always used to say when he was alive...

>>> Phil has the stopper for Billups -- Shannon Brown.
>>>
>>>Brown defends Billups AND takes his butt to the hoop!

Not even close. Brown was no better at containing Chauncey than Fish was.

In the end, they even tried Kobe on Billups, and he did a bit better job.

Denver just does that double screen for him at the top of the arc, and if you go underneath, as both Fish and Brown did, there's no way you get back to him in time to challenge his shot, so he gets wide open 3's.

>>>That story about LBJ coming to LALA LAND after the season, well, would be
>>> a great move for him, however, I think it would have to involve a sign and
>>>trade. I think we'd have to move Drew plus another or so.

If that was the case, then Buh-bye, socks.

I think even Jimmy Buss would trade Bynum off to get LeBron.

But I think the whole concept is just empty daydraming by some reporter. There's no way LeBron and his huge ego would come be Robin to Kobe's Batman.

CyberCosmiX,

>>>>Oh, forgot to mention, nice home game Celtics against the Nets, heck they
>>>>ONLY beat you by 8!

Much as I hate the Celtics, baiting them is now officially passe.

I mean, it's not like it's any challenge to bait them anymore. It's like mocking the Clippers or the Timberwolves.

Staples 24:

"But without Kobe, Lakers can still win championships."

MONUMENTAL FAIL!!!!

You must be new to this "championship thing"

No superstar = No championship.

Learn it. Repeat it. Live it.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Dork? Did someone actually call someone else a Dork? Have these edge of your seat wins snapped our minds back to Jr. High?

Just askin'...

Oh, and for those that covet LBJ coming to the Lakers. Did we Laker fans not learn the lesson of having too many egos after having Rice, Malone (though he was a true team warrior), and Payton? Yeah, we got a ring with Rice, but there was Drama. We got close with Malone and Payton, and the team exploded afterward. Naw, let the East keep "Stearn's Superstar".

JR

We don't need no stinkin' Refs to win...'cause this is THRILLER's...hee hee...THRILL-ER's house...sorry,couldn't resist.

Hope this dispels all the doubt about Ron-Ron's worth to the team, and LO definitely stepped up against the Fakettes.

Now perhaps all you worrywarts can breath a little easier, at least until the next loss.(lol)


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