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Lakers starting to become wary of the Denver Nuggets


It doesn't take rocket science to figure out why Lakers forward Lamar Odom would change his view on the Denver Nuggets.

The Lakers had little trouble with the Nuggets, sweeping them in the first round of the 2008 NBA playoffs. Though Denver gave them a challenge early in last season's Western Conference finals, the Lakers coasted toward the latter part of the six-game series. The Nuggets' two victories against the Lakers this season changed that complexion, however. And with the Lakers (44-15) holding only a four-and-a-half-game lead for first in the Western Conference over Denver (39-19), Odom acknowledged Sunday's matinee matchup is a "huge game for us."

"Both teams probably have the same mental state as far as looking forward to really beating them because they beat us," he said after practice Saturday. "That’s how it was before when we played those guys. I think they were looking forward to playing us and beating us because we took care of them. We sort of saw it as one more game. But they changed that by beating our butts pretty good."

Odom's contention is pretty much on point. In the Nuggets' 105-79 victory on Nov. 13, Denver took advantage of a Lakers team that was coming off a back-to-back. Denver changed a two-point halftime lead into a 87-64 advantage after going on a 29-8 run to end the third quarter. It was the lowest number of points the Nuggets allowed in a quarter all season, and it led to the Lakers' worst half of the organization's history. In a 126-113 victory earlier this month, the Nuggets had no problem despite playing without Carmelo Anthony (sprained left ankle). But guard Chauncey Billups picked up the slack with a career-high 39 points, including four consecutive three pointers. 

But even with Billups' presence and the return of Anthony, who is third in the league in scoring at 29 points per game, Jackson said he's more concerned with Denver's bench. That unit features Chris "Birdman" Anderson and Ty Lawson, who are ranked the team's third and fourth most effective players. Then there's reserve guard J.R. Smith, who scored 16 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter in the last meeting against the Lakers and recently had a few choice words about Kobe Bryant on his Twitter account. The Lakers, meanwhile, are without reserves Sasha Vujacic (right shoulder) and Luke Walton (pinched nerve in lower back), and Jackson said he wasn't completely sure when they'd return.

Add in the fact that Denver is 12-3 against marquee teams, such as the Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic, and Jackson suddenly doesn't want to worry if his team will get up for this game. But he still remains uncertain whether Denver would make the Western Conference finals ("Who knows. Dallas is playing well. Utah is playing great"). 

Jackson is sure of one thing, though. He has a solution for sports fans conflicted on whether they should tune into the Team USA-Canada gold-medal hockey game or the Lakers-Nuggets matchup.

Said Jackson: "There’s so many timeouts in an NBA basketball game that you can go watch that hockey game many, many minutes. Just check out between timeouts."

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Point guard Chauncey Billups and the Denver Nuggets are trying to close the gap on forward Lamar Odom and the Lakers in the race for best record in the Western Conference. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times.

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The Lakers this year have been playing LACKADAISICALLY. They play as if they have no fire. They play as if they have no balls. They defer to Kobe so much that they just stand around. They are playing defense SO POORLY. They are playing without FIRE.

This has been very FRUSTRATING.

For a team that is suppose to be better than last year's Championship TEAM, it has been playing so much worse.

Here are some problems:

1. Pau is obviously weaker than last year - when he worked all summer in the weight room to gain muscle. He is much more easily pushed around by other forwards and centers. Pau is soft again.

2. Lamar Odom is so inconsistent. He is playing like a fat cat. He is playing without aggression. He is playing without leadership. His defense is worse. Perhaps marriage to a Kardashian and a new contract and having won a championship have slowed him down.

4. Andrew is as immature as always. He has to be more consistent. He has to be faster in reading and reacting on defense. Perhaps a fat contract has made him slower.

5. Ron Artest has gotten too big and slow. It shows in the lack of lift he has. He can't even dunk anymore - which is so sad to see. He is a downgrade so far in the trade with Houston - unfortunately. Hopefully his new fish and vegetables diet - a great diet - will help him lose 25 pounds of weight so he can be at his best fighting weight.

6. Derek Fisher lacks concentration. Whatever it is, he is missing more shots than last year. This allows his man to leave him and guard Kobe. Unfortunately, the kids are too inconsistent to take more minutes from him, nor start.

7. The WHOLE TEAM is lacking in concentration, desire, mental energy, cohesiveness. It shows against the better teams. I was so disappointed they lost against Dallas, Denver, Boston, and Cleveland. The Lakers routinely beat these teams last year. The fact that they are losing regularly to them does not bode well for this year's championship.

The problems this Lakers team has ARE MENTAL for the most part. It is as if they LACK THE WILL to win a championship. They are not walking the walk. They are not showing through action the will to win.

Unfortunately, the regular season usually shows what the outcome will be for the championship.

And this current crew are not getting things done.

It is NOT all Ron's fault. It is not the coach's fault.

It is the TEAM's fault.

I wish they had the intensity and will of those great Bull's teams. They, as a group, are far more mature than this Lakers team. They, as a group, are far more competitive and driven than this Lakers team.

I hope the Lakers can pull their act together.

Currently, they are not acting like champions at all.

They are acting like fat cats. And it shows in their results.

Currently, the Lakers are highly vulnerable to Denver and Dallas - teams, who should not be able to compete with them. But the Lakers' LACKADAISICAL play predicts the losses will continue.


This game tomorrow is the game of the year.

I still predict that our Lakers won't get out of the west. I believe it will be a Nuggets/Orlando Finals, with Orlando taking it in 6 games (yes, Charlotte will take out the Cavs in the biggest upset since Denver and Muntumbo did their thing circa 1994).

Like it or not, the Nuggets are the better team. After Kobe and Carmelo cancel each other out, no Laker beats the Nuggets in their positions. They're better at point, small forward, center, power forward. They have better rebounders, better defenders, and better outside shooters. The only way that we come out of the West is if another team beats Denver in the playoffs, which is very unlikely.

My prediction? Kobe will have a big game. Fisher will struggle, so he'll have his typical game. Pau will cower and wilt like a tulip, and then flutter away into his happy place. Bynum will be out-hustled and get into foul trouble. Lamar will be a non-factor. Lakers lose by double digits. Only way Denver loses tomorrow is if they have an off game.

With that said, if the Lakers win tomorrow (and that's a huge if), there may be a small hint of hope come playoff time. Otherwise...forget it.

Nuggets are not a threat at all if the Lakers that we know will play the way we expect from their individual talents. There is nothing new in the Nuggets except Ty Lawford who is 2nd team PG. I think Mavericks are the No. 2 team with the addition of Butler, Stevenson and Haywood.

However, if they show up on Sunday like the team that played in Memphis, Dallas and against the Sixers, well it would be another close loss. I'm not a rah rah guy but just an avid fan. Our brand of fandom is selfish, expect excellence since they are representing LA and purple and gold. We are not fanatics or lakerholics who would cheer a mediocre player and would hide his faults for the sake of fandom, even if you witness out there no heart and no brain, that's just being very un-Lakerliked to be identified with a pathetic performance. If you want to be a cheerleader go to Cleveland or to Orlando they never won any championship so being No. 1 during the season is really a great deal. It is really hard to please die hard, stubborn and battle tested baby boomers because we have been there before and we know what it takes to get a "repeat". If this type of LA fans embrace a team, rest assured it is a quality team that could make noise during the playoffs romping 12-0 in the WCF. If they're the type of W-L-W- W-L, the Elden Campbell type of Centers or Cedric Ceballos "chest thumping declaring that he's a 'chise player - we're a good team bec. we are the Lakers"....oh yeah, who are you kidding? u are only an ordinary contender.

Aloha Troy,

Exactly where are you getting your information from? Denver better rebounders? Lakers are 2nd in the league in rebounds, Denver is 18th. Better defenders? Lakers are 8th in points allowed, Denver is 22nd. Lakers are 2nd in overall defensive rating in the league to Boston. And individual matchups? Pau has owned KMart since coming to the Lakers. Pau was hurt the 1st game but the last game he had 17 ponts and 17 boards to Kmarts 11 and 12. Andrew usually does well against Nene as well. The last game they both had foul issues and played to a standstill but the 1st game Andrew had 19 and 15 to Nene's 13 and 6. The Nuggets have us at the point and SF. Of course we have Kobe and I will take Pau and Andrew any day over Kmart and Nene. Lamar is better then anyone that comes off their bench, I would also take Lamar over Kmart or Nene as well. Where they have is the rest of the bench is stronger then ours. That is really where we need to step up before the playoff. Also look for Ron to have a better game against Carmelo this time. He was fighting the foot thing last time. Carmelo will still get his but not as many or as easily.



please send a message to gasol and bynum to tide up their "pampers" and keep them dry. maybe that will do it. is it garry vitti in charge or PJ?

This is without a doubt a statement game. What was done versus the Nuggets in the past does not matter. The here and now does. The Lakers need a close-out game mentality for this one. This game will tell us everything we need to know about our team and how they feel about defending their crown.

Here's some interesting statistics:

Points per 100 possessions (offensive ratings)...LA Lakers

1994-1995: 11th
1995-1996: 4th
1996-1997: 9th
1997-1998: 2nd
1998-1999: 2nd
1999-2000: 5th (won title)
2000-2001: 2nd (wont title)
2001-2002: 2nd (won title)
2002-2003: 4th
2003-2004: 6th
2004-2005: 7th (missed playoffs)
2005-2006: 8th
2006-2007: 7th
2007-2008: 3rd
2008-2009: 3rd (won title)
2009-2010: 10th (as of Feb. 26th)

Offensive Rating: 108.8 (9th of 30) ▪ Defensive Rating: 102.0 (1st of 30)

Compared to 08-09:

Offensive Rating: 112.8 (3rd of 30) ▪ Defensive Rating: 104.7 (6th of 30)

Net Gain/loss: -1.3

Despite Defense going up the Lakers offense is so so out of synch this season.

Possible factors:

Integration of Ron Artest in the offense?
Trying to spoon feed Bynum to be a contributor than a liability and getting the offense out of synch?
Lakers lacking killer instinct?
Artest not living up to the stopper against Lebron/Anthony?
Bynum not living up to defensive potential?
Kobe shooting finger?

To be honest the Lakers should have lost more games if it weren't for late game heroics of Kobe Bryant.

6. Derek Fisher lacks concentration. Whatever it is, he is missing more shots than last year.
Derek is the President of the Players Association. Could the pressures of the forthcoming CBA negotiations be affecting his concentration?

The Thuggets are for real.

We will win, anyway.


Tomorrow is the day...

Tomorrow we'll show to the NBA who is the better team.

Tomorrow will be forever.

Tomorrow I'll be there with wife & kid, all wearing purple & gold.

Now seriously, we just need to figure out a way to stop the 3-point shots from Bylups. If we stop him, Melo will be easy for Ron, Bynum/Gasol can get Nene and our bench needs to get some points coz their bench gets it.

Then go home and celebrate another victory!

C'MON GUYS, we NEED this game.


"Tomorrow we'll show to the NBA who is the BEST team."

sometimes I get excited...

The last games against the Sixers I thought I was watching WNBA....for tomorrows game it defends what Laker team will show up..Will it be the defending Champs or the pathetic Chumps.....Are coaches can be traded??? The Zen master should use his wisdom how to beat the Nuggets...if he continues to be a hard headed, stubborn ass then the Laker will lose.....I have no doubt that our team can still beat the Nuggets for they have the material to do it....their bench is more productive than ours for the last 2 games that would be one of the key factor for tomorrows game. I am looking forward for the next seasons line up by the about:
KOBE, Rajah Bell, Artest, Pau and Bosh.....or Kobe, Hinrich, Artest, Pau and Bosh.....gone are Fisher, Farmar, Ammo.....Luke and Sasha will wait for their lack until the trade deadline....DJ and Powell still negotiable...and of course we still have Lamar....just thinking by the way....


Don't cloud the issue with facts.


Yeah, they're wearing too tight lately like short-short, got to loosen a little bit.

Tomorrow, Bynum will do the hurricane. lol!

March 2010 Schedule

4 Home games
11 Road games
3 set of back2backs
Finishing with a 5 game roadie

Tue 02 vs Indiana
Thu 04 @ Miami
Fri 05 @ Charlotte
Sun 07 @ Orlando
Tue 09 vs Toronto
Fri 12 @ Phoenix
Mon 15 @ Golden State
Tue 16 @ Sacramento
Fri 19 vs Minnesota
Sun 21 vs Washington
Wed 24 @ San Antonio
Fri 26 @ Oklahoma City
Sat 27 @ Houston
Mon 29 @ New Orleans
Wed 31 @ Atlanta

This is why you conserve energy and hopefully where you build team chemistry.

Magic Phil
Funny, we've been waiting for that to happen all season, especially on christmas day but we all know what's happened since. I'm tired of waiting for this team to show up. Will tomorrow FINALLY be the day? I hope so....


"forget it"?? Ok, we'll forget you, please close the door while you go!!

you said "They're better at point, small forward, center, power forward"

PG they're way ahead of us, agreed (Fisher << Billups).

- However, do you mean Nene is a better C than Bynum (I am a critic for his attitude, but I still say AB is better than Nene).
- Our starting PF , Pau Gasol worse than Kenyon Martin??
- Our starting SF is Artest, and Carmelo Anthony is better than Artest.
- Their starting SG is Affalo, our is a guy called Kobe, and I dont need to say who is better.
So Denver are ahead of us, may be in 2-of-5 positions, and we're way ahead of Nuggets in the other 3-of-5.

Why is tomorrow's game the game of the year?? So, if we lose tomorrow, then do we say we wont play any further games, and let our folks have an early Fishing trip?? Or, if we win tomorrow, it means we dont have to win Game-7 of the finals (when we're in it)?? They'll grant us the Game-7 of Finals because we won tomorrow's game??

You come to Lakers' blog, predict we will suck tomorrow and lose by double digits, and call yourself a Laker fan?? If you want to predict losses, then this is not the place for you.

The game we won against Griz, despite we fell behind late in 4th qtr, I saw few folks in Live Chat were so positive, and guess what, we WON!!

You are so hopeless, and you're predicting we'll lose even before the game has started?? Or are you a BSPN guy?? Go and utter such a word in Celtics' blog, they'll roast you alive. We're decent enough to reply in words :)

Remember Dallas Mavericks in 2006-2007?? Guys had an ultimate record (67-15), and everyone felt they're going to blow away the opponents. You know what happened after that - they got beaten down to dust by the Warriors. So dude, never try to say "Denver is unbeatable", because they "look" unbeatable in your eyes!!

You dont want to support Lakers and spell doom, please - find another team to support.


First, you're reading way too much into my statement.

Second -
Snide question to follow:

What, Stephan can say: "This is my 1st time ever in this Lakers' blog, and boy - its so appalling!!...If you like and appreciate him (LBJ) so much, then leave the blog now, and come here may be if he joins Lakers...Staples 24, Tom Tom, Jim Joyce, think twice whether do you belong here, and then do the needful!!" and I'm trying to set standards because I say that I find his/her statements appalling?

It's a blog. I'm sure that I'll find many other things appalling in the moment...big deal! But how would you feel if someone walked up, rang your doorbell and told you that you have an ugly child? (yes, it sounds like something out of Monty Python) That's how his/her opening statement felt on this end.


This post is probably one or the funniest I have ever seen and it doesn't even come from a local. Lock this one up along with the Lamar Anthem, 2 classics.

I'm not sure if we're allowed to quote directly from another blog, but this from Dexter Fishmore (is that a real name?) from Silver Screen and Roll had me in stitches:
"Of course, the most daunting challenge the Sixers face tonight is how to contain Derek Fisher's intangibles. Do you double-team his leadership? If so, you risk letting his veteran moxie take you out of the game. Like all Laker opponents, Philly can't take comfort from Fish's poor shooting. Missing wide-ass open jumpers doesn't matter in Fish's universe. They just make his contributions that much less tangible, and that much harder to defend against. Letting him brick shots just plays into his leader-y hands!

Poor, poor Jrue Holiday. He may be 15 years younger than Fish, but his so-called "skills" and "athletic ability" and "five functioning sense" will not avail him. Sure, he might force his ancient counterpart to shoot 4 for 15, but only a fool would look at those misses and think Fisher hasn't dominated the contest. His contributions don't show up in the box score, after all. They're not even perceptible to human eyes! Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider have studied Fish's game and concluded that not even at the subatomic level can his excellence be explained.

It's just part of the ineffable beauty of the universe, like a lover's kiss or the laughter of a newborn child. I feel silly even trying to put it into words. This crude system of letters and numbers mankind has created.... it's simply inadequate when it comes to Derek Fisher. May he forgive us all."

Posted by: LakerinBC

Additional laughter from Mike G-man who apparently didn't realize it was "tongue in cheek"

To: All those spelling doomsday for Lakers because we have lost to Nuggets twice.

If you remember last season, we LOST both games to Orlando Magic in the regular season... But, as far as I remember, when the Finals started, it was 0 - Magic, 0 - Lakers, not Magic -2 , Lakers - 0. And you all know what happened in the next 5 games (We won 4-1).

So, the regular season games mean NOTHING!! Be confident and hope win guys, no point in being pessimistic. Imagine its your brother/son is a Laker starter, would you still wish we lose by double digits and get doomed??

Be positive, we're playing a bit lethargic, but they know they can play well, and they'll surely improve. We calling they're doomed changes nothing, expect build the pain and bitterness in ourselves!!

You people are going to look extremely stupid in the coming months.

Seriously, can the mal-contents here find another hobby for a while? Every year around this time, LA fans quibble about "toughness" as they cite a litany of meaningless statistics. OMG THE LAKERS ARE -1.3 IN OFFENSIVE/DEFENSIVE RATING! THE SKY IS FALLING!

The fact is that a team which plays better defense will inevitable suffer a dropoff in offensive output. It's as natural as gravity. You prevent the other team from scoring, and your offensive aggressiveness will undoubtedly drop a bit. Couple that with Kobe's injuries, and you've already accounted for the dropoff in offensive output relative to last year. In Ron Artest, you've got a big guy who allows you to play a much slower game, a low-octane game as Phil put it. In contrast, with Ariza, you had a quick, young, and lanky swingman who gave you the three (but no post game) and a few more steals that led to some easy points. I fully expect Ron Artest to step up his game in the playoffs; he's a good example of what Kendrick Perkins would call a "bored" veteran looking forward to the playoff, methinks. Expect the Celtics ain't bored, they're just old, and Ron Artest hasn't shown us his best game yet.

Like last year, it takes a career night from the likes of JR Smith and Chauncey Billups to earn a "W" against a fully healthy Lakers squad. That hasn't changed, nor will it ever until the Dallas Mavericks prove otherwise. The Nuggets are not even our biggest concern in the West anymore.

Art -FL Laker Fan,

I’ve been thinking long and hard about how to respond to your reply, because I really think that you’ve taken what I was trying to say off on a quite divergent tangent path. Or as you put it...

“Maybe you didn't mean to imply that but that's what I saw, but it doesn't matter whether or not that's what you meant because it's what I mean to say.’

I’ll try and consider those points you are trying to make that confuse me a bit one at a time...

“Those who accept good enough for themselves but want perfection from others may not be that way towards all people in all situations.”

Of course I never meant to imply any such universal condition, meaning the one you are arguing against, and if you interpreted it that way then perhaps that is an indication that I didn’t make myself as clear as I should have.

“I see what you are implying, that if people are ok with just good enough for themselves why expect perfection from the athletes they admire or root for?”

That’s real close to my intended meaning but I was not trying to restrict the concept to just fans and athletes, but rather to interpersonal interactions in general, and commentary on this blog in particular.

“Athletes are no different than actors playing in a theater or a movie, or singers/bands putting on a concert. They need to be able to bring their best every show.”

“Need” is a very strong word here IMO, perhaps “should” would be better? After all, athletes and performers are people and I think that we all should accept that people are not perfect. We all have our faults and inconsistencies, and who knows why we are better people on some days than on others? I don’t think that we know ourselves most of the time, and I mean that in the most general way possible...and sorry but I have no idea who Sugarland is...

“I have no sympathy whatsoever for any NBA player who can't give 100% every single game. When they don't play their best with high energy they are letting down their fans and the fans have every right to criticize lack of effort. We pay to see them at their best, not on cruise control. It isn't just the fans at the game who support them.”

Here’s where you really start to diverge from what I was attempting to discuss. Did you have any specific players in mind when you wrote this one up, because I don’t think it’s quite so easy to tell when athletes are putting out a maximum effort and when they are not. Once again, they are people and thus not perfect, and everyone is different in the manner in which they exert themselves. Some make things look effortless and still perform at the highest level, while others may be completely frantic with activity and yet not be doing what they are supposed to, or worse yet be completely incompetent. It’s really about controlled effort, which is something that is usually very difficult to discern. Please don’t confuse activity with accomplishment.

I suppose that’s why it is all usually bundled under the moniker of “intangibles” and I’m constantly amazed by the number of folks who think they understand this nebulous concept better than everyone else. If it was so comprehensible do you think it would be called intangible? Perhaps intractable would work equally well and discourage more people from pretending that they’ve got it all figured out.

The point I was trying to make using Jerry Kramer as an example, is that here’s a HOF lineman playing for the greatest coach in history on the greatest football team in history and he’s not only struggling with motivational issues but he’s constantly wondering why he’s still playing the game. Yet not only does he perform at the highest level, despite his love-hate relationship with Lombardi, but goes on to be an integral part of the only football team ever to win three consecutive titles. At the end of it all he retires, as does Lombardi only to return to coaching a year later and die of cancer shortly after that, a fascinating story.

These are not simple people and they do not lend themselves to cursory amateur-psychological evaluations of any substance. I just don’t believe that you can observe someone from a distance, and with such detachment, perform in a sport, or a concert or stage play for that matter, and somehow discern what is in their “heart” or what is motivating them and what their level of focus and effort are. If you could do this accurately you would be a very valuable commodity indeed and could name just about any price for your services, and as a result you probably wouldn’t be wasting your time here on this blog reading my blather...


We don't want to drive the heretics away. Troy's faith has been shaken by uninspired play and shaky wins, but the fans here expect perfection and 20 point wins every game. They expect the defense to hold teams under 70 ppg. Perhaps he is too young to remember the years when the Lakers lost more than two games in a row and still took the West. Faith will be restored as the Lakers find their rhythm. It won't be a cake walk, but it will be a team win on Sunday.

Questions for the blog -
How valuable would Ariza be with a damaged hip flexor? They said it was strained, but I recall my strained hip flexor taking a couple of months to heal enough to ride (bicycle) hard.

Has anyone heard how Fish's daughter is doing? I know that my work was affected even when my daughter began to recover from her medical problems. Add union duties...


Mabuhay fellow LAL fans!

I have a feeling that we will have a blow-out game against Denver. By that, I mean, Lakers crushing the Thuggets. Why? Because JR Smith made an "oh-my-god-what-was-I-thinking" comment about Kobe on his twitter account. Remember how Kobe crushed Kmart during the 2008 playoffs because he was trash talking Mamba all the time? Kobe loves these challenges.

Also, this Lakers team has shown that it can play whenever they have to(referring to last years playoff series against the Rockets), which led to Mamba realizing that this team is Bipolar.

2 is enough.

My prediction for the game:
- Mamba will have a very good an all-around game( close to : 30pts, 10 rebs, 7 assts)/ most of his points will come from whenever JR Smith is guarding him
- Artest will hold down Anthony to 20 points below
- Pau and Drew will have a good game
- LO will haul down 15 or more rebounds
- although, Billups will still get his points

LA by 10 or more over the Thuggets.



"But how would you feel if someone walked up, rang your doorbell and told you that you have an ugly child? (yes, it sounds like something out of Monty Python) That's how his/her opening statement felt on this end."

I can't help but think that you're taking this all too personally. I'll admit to you that I also cringed at some of the language that was used in those commentaries, but I support the right for him to speak his mind just as I support that right for everyone else on this blog. The principle is more important than anyone's potentially hurt feelings, even yours, or my own.

Listen, I understand how you feel, up to a point somewhere short of insulting people's children but that's just what we have to deal with around here. It's the price we pay for whatever enjoyment we get out of it and everyone just has to do the cost-benefit analysis for themselves. Personally, I don't like to see folks on here threaten violence against others but it happens and if the moderators accept it then I have no choice but to turn a blind eye, so I do.

Here's what I recommend, if you find someone's tones or words offensive around here then make a note of their user name and don't read their stuff, and don't respond to their stuff either if you do happen to read it, unless you're prepared to deal with the fallout. I was trying to help the guy out because I figured he would get attacked for what he said and I didn't want him to be run out of town before we could see a more representative sample of his work, at least.

This is not something that I would normally do but I kind of got caught up in the idea that we were both criticizing the haters around here concurrently while they were on the rampage, and that he probably didn't understand at the time what he was getting himself into. I just hate to see newcomers besieged before they can get their bearings. I can see by your subsequent interactions with him that you have moderated your stance, or maybe you just don't really have any children?

Whatever the case may be I thank you for your reasoned and civil response and wish you the best of luck.


Thank you for that, I enjoyed reading your commentary and agree with most of what you had to say. I only hope that we can perhaps contest some of those threes from Billups and Smith this time around, as shots are always more difficult to make when someone is actually trying to block them.

Wow. Oh my goodness. Bill Plaschke has finally taken a bite from the sweet side of the apple and written something nice. I can't believe it. That Canada story is great, Bill, you old lug. I also love Canada, and I'm hoping for a camping trip in the Canadian Rockies this summer.

I'm sad to see these games go.


One last listen to the official Olympic theme song:

I think I have never enjoyed an Olympics as much as I have this one. So much good will, so much good art, good music, good performances, good people, etc, etc...

And Colin Cowherd from ESPN, please stop criticizing Canada for not being "aggressive" like the States. I think Colin is judging Canada like you would a guy, when it should be appreciated for it's beauty.

And to toast these great games one last time, the top 25 movie monsters of all time accordng to you tube:


Lakers will be fine tomorrow...even a tough game...with a tough team...
I believe this team can win and beat Denver...

Even tomorrow loss,'s ok...
I will be nervous if their last 10 games of this season is out of rhythm...

Hope everybody is healthy by the play-off time...including Sasha...

Go go GL, the Great Lakers...

Stephen, et al;

It's the most important game of the year because to get to the Finals, we have to get out of the West. Denver almost beat us last year, and they soundly beat us twice this year. If we lose AGAIN at home to them, then not only will they have the confidence, but the precedence, to feel they can take us out in the playoffs.

All this talk of going against Lebron will be mute if we don't win the West, and as of right now, the Nuggets have proven that they are the better team. Whether or not we can take that title back, I don't know. But in our season's series, not only have they beat us 2 games to 0, but they have beaten the key east coast teams that we have not been able to beat.

Put all this together, and I'm sound with my conclusion that the Nuggets are the better team. Of course, I want my Lakers to win, but I won't bury my head in the ground and stick pom poms in my butt like some of the cheerleaders on this blog. I'm a proud realist, and a prouder Laker fan.

I think the Lakers simply don't want to show all their cards to Denver during the regular season. The postseason is always COMPLETELY different than the regular season and the truth is only a handful of teams have really figured out how to play deep into the playoffs. To make it to the finals you have to win that first game in a seven game series (or at minimum 1 out of 2). That means if you got an ace up your sleeve then you show it game 1 and in that close out game. Does this mean teams don't try hard those other games, no. But the lakers might pound the ball inside to throw other teams off with their game plan. Then at the last minute LO does something totally different, Ariza does something that makes you go wow!

I guess what I'm saying is don't panic, win or lose tonight. The C's lost to the Nets at home yesterday and the fans are already calling for Doc's resignation. It's madness, especially since Paul (I fallen and I can't get up- gotcha, yes I can) Pierce hasn't been playing. Lakers Nuggets today in the big picture actually means very little. Psychologically for the Nuggets its huge. To the Lakers, it just gives them some stuff to go over in the video room. Ultimately the best team wins in a seven game series and with Chauncey being a year older, good luck in May buddy. That hammy will act up again. Truth be told, I wish this season was on DVR and I could fast foward a bit, let's start the playoffs already! I was in the front row at the Colesium for last year,s parade and I'll be there again this year, with my purple and gold brothers and sisters. Hoo-rah!

I just don’t believe that you can observe someone from a distance, and with such detachment, perform in a sport, or a concert or stage play for that matter, and somehow discern what is in their “heart” or what is motivating them and what their level of focus and effort are. If you could do this accurately you would be a very valuable commodity indeed and could name just about any price for your services, and as a result you probably wouldn’t be wasting your time here on this blog reading my blather...
Posted by: aztronut | February 28, 2010 at 12:25 AM


I certainly don't agree with every word you write but I do enjoy reading it (usually lol).

First of all, yes, I did diverge from what you were discussing. It wasn't until after I posted it that I thought I should have mentioned that. The entire post wasn't directly related to what you had written, it was more a flow of thoughts and one thing led to another. Wait, don't tell me there are blog rules against writing that type of response, egads!

So, you ask how do I know what is motivating them (or not) or what their level of focus is?

Because they said so!

PJ, Gasol, Fish and LO have all been quoted in recent articles posted on this very Laker site. Their comments have been criticized, or maybe commented on is nicer to say, by other posters. They have talked about how the have trouble getting motivated, lose focus and know they don't go all out to show every team they play they are better than them (as in give 100%). I considered adding some to the original quotes for reference but figured they were so recent that anyone who read them would know what I was referring to. I'm not going to go back now and try and find them, its just not that important to me because I know they said it. Something else I should have mentioned in the original post but didn't think of it until after I posted was that I wish those players would stop saying that stuff. If they hadn't said it and I didn't read it then I wouldn't have wrote what I did.

Someone needs to tell those guys to quit going around and telling their fans that don't try hard to win every game, that they sometimes lack effort and focus.

No, I don't have a special ability to determine "what is in their “heart” or what is motivating them" (as you wrote), nor did I ever claim to. Those are things you bring up now that were not in my original post and I think they serve to confuse the issue. However, I do have the ability to read what they said and respond to it.

As to your comment, "...and what their level of focus and effort are." Well actually, yes, I do think that is something that can be observed. There have been numerous quotes from PJ and various Times reporters about the Lakers effort or lack thereof, so it's not a special skill I possess. I think one can tell when someone is focused and the level of effort they are working at, but that shouldn't be confused with results. My post was more about effort than result. I am not "confusing activity with accomplishment" as you mentioned. This is one of those cases where if you exchange just one little word (activity for effort) you change the meaning of what I wrote. I am not talking about activity, I am talking about effort. In my original post I wrote:
"What I am upset about is that even the players on the team admit they don't give their best effort every game, that they cruise, that they can;t figure out how to get motivated enough to show every team they play they are better than them. How can any Lakers fan NOT be upset by that?"

If they give their very best effort every game and leave it all on the floor, then win or lose I respect that they tried their best and just lost to a team that played better than they did. But when they admit that they don't, regardless of whether they win or lose, I do lose some respect for them. As I also said in my original post:
"If certain Lakers have a tough time giving their very best every night out, then go to the bench. Say sorry coach, I just can't get up for tonight's game so let someone else play for me tonight. I wonder how that would go over."

Do I hold them to a different standard than I do others? Yes, of course I do.
Do I expect every employee in every job to let it all on the floor (so to speak) when they go to work 365 days/yr (minus vacation or time off)?
Do I expect everyone who writes a post on this blog to give their very best effort, use spell check and reread their post to correct grammatical errors and sentence structure?
No, I don't.
These players are and should be held to a different standard. As I said before, these guys get paid millions of dollars to perform for us. They put on 82 shows per year, some more if they make the playoffs. When its showtime I want to see the best they got. I don't care about what's motivating them, only that they are, and if they aren't then they need to dig down and remember what motivated them in the past and get it back.
Maybe they should carry around one of their paychecks and the next time they need to find motivation take a look at it. Putting it on cruise control is not acceptable in their case. But hey, that's just me.

From what I have read so far about todays game vs the Nugs, it appears the Lakers are going to give their best effort and that they really want to win this game bad. Good for them, thats what I'm talking about! I hope they show the Nugs what they are really up against if they expect to dethrone the champs.

You mentioned you didn't know who Sugarland was, just for fun check it out:

To Barisula & others,

you wrote/agree with some of this: Seriously, can the mal-contents here find another hobby for a while? Every year around this time, LA fans quibble about "toughness" as they cite a litany of meaningless statistics. OMG THE LAKERS ARE -1.3 IN OFFENSIVE/DEFENSIVE RATING! THE SKY IS FALLING!

The fact is that a team which plays better defense will inevitable suffer a dropoff in offensive output. It's as natural as gravity. You prevent the other team from scoring, and your offensive aggressiveness will undoubtedly drop a bit.

my response: Two years ago, when the Lakers got Pau ... there was no drop
off in intensity. Kobe played through a damaged pinky. We won the majority
of "statement" games. We lost in the finals because we lacked physical
toughness. This is generally agreed upon by all basketball pundits. [ Feel free
to disagree with them, but it is irrelevant to this blog and bb history. ] This
year we have lost *ALL* of our statement games so far. You have never
heard Pau mention coasting while wearing a Lakers uniform. You have never
heard Lamar mention complacency in the last two seasons. The Lakers have
*NOT* played without effort over the last two seasons. Stupidly? Yes. Poorly?
Yes. Without intensity? no.

You've also missed the factor: better defense leads to more offense: fastbreak

If you wish to revisit the complacency issue, allow me to help.

snippet: More importantly, the Lakers feature Kobe Bryant, at worst tied year in and year out for the league's MCP (Most Competitive Player) award, highly skilled at kicking slackers in the ass. Fisher is a monument to discipline and leadership. Phil Jackson specializes in multi-title runs. Ron Artest wants a ring like a Tigger Pooh wants honey.** Strong management guarantees those who put themselves ahead of the team won't be on the team very long. And so on. These are highly motivated individuals who understand how their legacies as individuals are enhanced by the achievements of their team.*

In short, call me naive if you will, but I don't think complacency a problem. Discuss.

end snippet.

-- Strong management stopped the Lakers from trading Bynum who put
himself before the team. i.e. My goal is to be an all-star. If I don't do well
on offense I won't do well on defense. [ LakerTom, don't complain. Read
the article and go whine to Kevin Ding. ]


"The knowledge they are going to have go out and play well, the crowds are going to be there, you are going to be facing challenges on the road, your home fans are going to be expecting you to win and you have to bring that energy to excite people, yourself and the team.

"Those are things that these guys are aware of," added Jackson, who has guided teams to a record 10 NBA championships.

end snippet.

-- they haven't done this.


Will complacency set in? Have Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson lost their edge after winning the championship they desperately wanted? The competition will be fierce as the NBA's heavy hitters have reloaded. The Cleveland Cavaliers are gambling that Shaquille O'Neal is the right compliment to LeBron James. A healthy Kevin Garnett and newly acquired Rasheed Wallace make the Boston Celtics extremely formidable. Vince Carter joins Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. The San Antonio Spurs traded for Richard Jefferson. The young talented Portland Trail Blazers got veteran help in Andre Miller. The Lakers have their work cut out for them to repeat as champions.

A key factor is center Andrew Bynum. He is healthy and eager to prove what he can do in being a real difference maker. Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar are both free agents at the end of the season and are battling to be
Derek Fisher's back up at point guard. Sasha Vujacic cut his hair and looks to rebound from a sub-par shooting season.

end snippet.

-- I'm going to leave this one alone. The pot is already simmering.


lastly, for those who have taken exception to my questioning the toughness
of Pau and putting words in phil jackson's mouth. [ read disingenuous ]

I asked Phil if the finicky, unsure nature of hamstring injuries might be turning Pau gun shy about just getting on the court. A big grin formed as Phil interrupted me.

"You mean he's a hypochondriac and might be a baby and not come out and play? Is that what you're trying to say with that question?"

"No, but it's definitely what you're trying to say," I responded.

end snippet

Stefan Martin;

Thanks for your honest comments yesterday! I know that our team need to win and we should cheer for them now that nothing can be done in regards to changing any player. And I am really and truly a Laker fan as far as I remember, but I was only concern if Kobe at least been told to recognize our other players because without them, we can not win another championship.

That is the only concern I have, and I am sorry if I offended some of you Kobe lovers.

Today is a big game. Lets beat the Soft Creamy Nuggets, as they used to be known.

Kumbaya my lord. . .

Good morning,

No predictions here. None needed. I'm just counting on a well contested game, played by two highly motivated teams. It's the motivation that makes this game special. The Lakers and the Nuggets each take the floor determined to show who's boss.

This fan finds that determination really refreshing after a string of games the Lakers played with a sense of entitlement, rather than respect for their opponent. The team has been looking for a match-up to inspire its mojo. This should be it.

All season long, commentators have been touting the Lakers as the most talented team in the NBA. They are. But it has been weeks since they have played at a level where commentators are convinced they are the *BEST* team in the NBA. Today is that opportunity to change the conversation.

We started the weekend debating Bynum beast or bust, Kobe savior or sinner, etc. It was engaging, but incomplete as a scorecard. Today, I'm looking forward to an exhibition of the Lakers playing as a team because, in the end, that's what's needed to schedule a second consecutive ring ceremony come October.

The core eight man rotation playing team basketball at a high level for 48 minutes with energy and focus is what we want to see today. If it's there, the Thuggets will be overmatched by the Lakers talent.

So, today I propose to end the hating. The Lakers are what they are. Fish is what he is. The same is true for Kobe, Andrew, Pau, Thriller, Lamar, Jordan and Shannon. Just as the team needs to finally come together from today on as a unit, our expectations as fans should be about what we expect from the team. If we want the team to come together, so should we. Maybe that's pollyannish, but so be it. Go Lakers!

Hey guys a new post is up with all the links to get you ready for the game today. I'll have a post an hour or so before tip with the chat box so don't feel worried about a new post in the next hour.


Cut off the head.

It all flows from Chauncey. He killed us in Detroit and has to be stopped from doing it again. He's not the face of the NBA but the man can play the big games. He and Melo both want the clutch shots.

Shannon will try, but Ron and Kobe should make it a personal mission. LO can bother Melo enough in the 4th. Without Chauncey dictating the action, it won't be enough.

This should be fun. This is as good as the NBA has right now. GO Lakers


Let me see if I get what you are actually trying to tell me: Relax, go with the flow, and don't take a blog seriously. I do try not to. Oh, and the household inventory is:
3 grown children (only 1 is actually ugly), 3 grandchildren, and a horde of strays that have lived here over the years.

Troy -

I don't think we're being all that blind to the Nuggets threat, but we've been here before and the Nuggets have managed to take champion potential and come up short, while the Lakers have repeatedly turned on the heat in the second half and come out on top of the West.

That being said, if they play today like they played last week, the Nugs will have us 3 and 0 on the season. I don't see that happening.



As an American of Canadian descent (I was acually conceived in Canada), I think the problem with Canada is that they have a huge inferiority complex.

Let's face it. The United States lost thousands of lives fighting for independence from Great Britain while Canada stood by as Britain's lackey until GIVEN independence in the 1950's.

They're not really a country. They're like a jointly owned province of Britain and the United States and deep down they know it.

They do bizarre stuff like mandate radio stations and musak have to play a majority of Canadian produced music at all times. How much Joni Mitchell and Rush can a person listen to?

The truth is that Canadian culture is closer to the culture of, say, Minnesota, than Minnesotan culture is close to Louisiana culture.

But there are a lot of people in Canada who have a chip on their culture and want to maintain the "distinctness" of Canadian culture when 90% of Canada's population lives within 100 miles of the American border.

Canadian "aggressiveness" is just silly.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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



"Let me see if I get what you are actually trying to tell me: Relax, go with the flow, and don't take a blog seriously."

I'll settle for that, except if I had my druthers I'd have it finish with, "don't take this blog too seriously." instead, but yeah, you got it. No worries...outside of today's outcome anyway. G'day!

Rick Friedman,

"So, today I propose to end the hating. The Lakers are what they are. Fish is what he is. The same is true for Kobe, Andrew, Pau, Thriller, Lamar, Jordan and Shannon. Just as the team needs to finally come together from today on as a unit, our expectations as fans should be about what we expect from the team. If we want the team to come together, so should we. Maybe that's pollyannish, but so be it. Go Lakers!"

Nice comment, and some nice thoughts to close it out with...but it's a little like demanding the ball on the post in that it depends the cooperation of others to make it happen, and I'm not just talking about the adult's underwear here...

Here's to hoping that you get your wish, Cheers!

Art -FL Laker Fan,

“My post was more about effort than result.”

I think that this short statement summarizes out differences rather well. We obviously have some fundamental disagreements that probably aren’t going to get resolved anytime soon, but that’s alright. Vive le difference!

I’ve seen the player statements that you refer to but apparently they bother you a lot more than they bother me. I respect people for speaking their minds even when I think it might be better for them to STFU. I expect that a lot of these types of statements are said in the heat of the moment and with an emotion that players are often unable to suppress on the downside of the psychological roller-coaster they ride every day during the season.

IOW, I think they’re just being human when they say stupid things, if they are even stupid things, which as always is open to individual interpretation. This makes the game more intriguing to me, not less, and it makes me more curious than upset. These guys are fighting a bigger battle with themselves all season than they are with their teammates, coaches or opponents. That's what I wish that you would recognize.

Jerry Kramer said many of the exact same things in his diary, the only difference being that he waited until after the season had ended to let them out into the public domain. Does that make them any more reasonable or salient? I don’t think so but, of course, YMMV.

I’m focused more on results because I don’t think that I have the skill set to determine what’s in a player’s “heart” or what their level of motivation or focus may be on any particular day. I realize that this type of exercise may appear obvious and simple from time to time, but I just don’t think that it ever really is quite that easy. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree again. Carpe Diem!

Troll Man,

Even I have to admit that LakerinBC's post was pretty hilarious.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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


Jon K,

Excellent summary of Canada. It really is like having a European neighbor to our north. Of course, at the rate we're going, we may look a lot like Canada in the near future.

Tom Tom:

Thanks for the kind words, really. I am NOT a Kobe lover, or for that anyone's. However, I dont hate anyone as well, criticizing the players when they suck is ok (like when we have a run of at least 3 loses may be)

However, we're winning - we're winning with difficulty, but we're winning. In such case, why to spew hatred and bitterness for our players?? Do we gain anything out of it??

There was one rant from a poster here who said they wished Kobe was out for ever. Is that a right comment, at a guy who just won us the championship?? I dont think so....

I know this is after the game but the Lakers showed their mettle in today's contest. After a less than stellar 1st half performance, they stepped and kicked some tail. Kudos to Artest in handling Anthony. Anthony can usually bulldoze his way to the hole but Ron wasn't having it. Although Carmelo's last foul was questionable, he had been getting away with pushing all game and this time got caught. Kudos to Kobe not tyring to push the issue when his shot was off. I think Pau got the message when he got sit down in the 4th period that quit playing like a wussy and man up. The Nuggets will be a tough out but they are beatable. One last thing - Kobe owes the Nuggets, namely JR Smith a sho nuff beatdown - it did not happen today but should they meet in the playoffs, he got at least 1, if not 2 coming.



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