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Lakers face a lot of uncertainty heading into first-round matchup with Oklahoma City

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In the midst of two glorified scrimmages this week, the Lakers had already begun their preparation for their first-round matchup beginning Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (fractured right index finger) and center Andrew Bynum (strained left Achilles' tendon) sat out the last two games to ensure a healthy postseason run. Lakers guard Jordan Farmar sat out all but 1.3 seconds of the Lakers' 107-91 loss Wednesday to the Clippers to do the same. And Lakers Coach Phil Jackson acknowledged that much of his pre-game routine entailed watching Oklahoma's season-finale, a 114-105 victory over Memphis.

The Lakers (57-25) have two days of full practice before Game 1 begins at noon Sunday at Staples Center, but there's a lot of uncertainty even for a No. 1 versus No. 8 matchup. Though Jackson believes Bryant "is going to be fine," the Zen Master still acknowledged some of the physical limitations have limited him from fighting through double coverage. Though he declined to anticipate how quickly Bynum would become acclimated to the lineup, Jackson noted his conditioning will largely determine how many minutes the Lakers would use him. And though the Thunder (50-32) will appear in its first playoff series since the franchise moved to Oklahoma City, Jackons still wonders if the team's youth (Oklahoma City is the league's second-youngest team, boasting a lineup whose players' average age is 25) and talent level (forward Kevin Durant leads the league in scoring, averaging 30.1 points per game) would become an additional challenge. 

"It’s always an adjustment to go to the unknown," Jackson said. "I don’t know if it’s easier, better or what’s worse it’s just you always have to make the changes. You can’t get set in your mind so you have to be flexible."

This matchup featuring the Lakers, the defending NBA champions, and the Thunder, a young and quick team, reminded Jackson the time he coached the 1994-95 Chicago Bulls. Though that team was largely experienced with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, this was just the beginning of Jordan's first comeback team. The Bulls played the Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the playoffs after the team notched their first 50-win season in franchise history. The Bulls won that series, 3-1, but the Orlando Magic provided a frustrated ending to Jordan's comeback season. The Magic featured plenty of young talent, including Shaquille O'Neal, Anfernee Hardaway, Nick Anderson and Dennis Scott and wound up in the NBA Finals before being swept 4-0 by Houston. But the team had never won a playoff series entering the 1995 postseason.

Despite some of the uncertainty, Jackson had a few concrete ideas on how to beat Oklahoma City. The first factor involved the Lakers' defense, which actually allowed only 95.7 points per game in April but still remained undisciplined on the screen-and-roll as well as on rotations. The second factor involved "how we play as a team," a vague phrase, but something that's mostly the reason why Lakers lacked consistent chemistry. And the third factor, Jackson said, involved "who can convert in critical parts of the game," an area the Lakers actually excelled against Oklahoma City by winning two of their three games this season in the final minute.

Jackson made his point pretty clear regarding the importance that Lakers forward Ron Artest plays well in the postseason, saying "Ron will be an impact in the playoffs. That’s my feeling." 

But how that will happen remains unclear. Consider the exchange Jackson had with Channel 9's John Ireland regarding how the team plans to match up against Durant:

Ireland: "Have you discussed yet when you play Oklahoma City how much emphasis you put on Durant with your defense, and how much is too much? Has that come up yet?"

Jackson: "No."

Ireland: "Do you have any thoughts on it"

Jackson: "No"

Ireland: "Is it something you'll discuss in the future?"

Jackson: "No, I won't. Not with you, but with the team."

It turns out Jackson only likes discussing Durant when it involves his league-leading 840 free-throw attempts and the 10.2 foul shots he averages per contest. With drawing a $35,000 fine for suggesting Durant benefits from officiating calls, perhaps Jackson won't engage with Durant's retort that Jackson's comments were inaccurate and disrespectful.

Artest was equally as vague. Instead of centering on an Artest-Durant matchup, Artest said it's about the "Lakers versus Oklahoma." Instead of highlighting the team's inexperience, Artest argued "they're well-coached" by Scott Brooks. Though the Lakers earned the West's top seed, Artest said the "No. 1 spot doesn't mean much," citing last season where he helped the Houston Rockets push the Lakers to a seven-game series in the Western Conference semifinals.

Lakers guard Jordan Farmar didn't mind sharing his opinions, however, saying that Durant shouldn't be considered the league MVP.

"I think he's very good and I think he's going to be one of the best scorers of all time," he said.
"But I don't think he's at the NBA MVP level. You can't be at the eighth seed and be the MVP. That's nothing against him."

Case in point, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Bryant trail Durant in scoring but are on teams with better records. Still, Farmar said "I haven't thought too much about it," when I asked him who should be the league MVP. Perhaps a safe answer since Bryant's nagging injuries has limited his effectiveness even if his presence has been largely valued. 

Nonetheless, the Lakers face much more important uncertainty. The team had often talked about how it can't decide to just flip the switch once the postseason starts and that it has to be a gradual process. But Farmar argued, "We don't have a choice."

"We haven't been playing the best basketball the last couple days," he said. "For us, it's knowing it really counts now where we're going for everything. This is what we've talked about all season. We want to defend our title. Now we have the chance in front of us."

--Mark Medina

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

Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn, Getty Images.

 
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SILENCING THE THUNDER
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Is their any doubt why Phil Jackson has earned the nom de guerre of the Zen Master? His comments that Kevin Durant gets favorable treatment from the refs were pure genius and classic Phil Jackson. Just as Kevin Durant’s angered response showcased that Jackson had already gotten under his skin. The Lakers championship experience will suffocate the talented, young, and inexperienced Thunder.
~
I was sorry to see Sasha go down with a dreaded high ankle sprain. I’ve had a high ankle sprain before and they take forever to heal. They’re also not the kind of injury that you can play through. Sasha is most likely done for the year, which is a shame because I think Phil had been playing him in hope that he might get hot like shooters are prone to do. And hot outside shooters are something we need.
~
But it’s very encouraging that Drew seems to be pretty upbeat with teammates commenting on the hop in his step. I loved how he said he hadn’t lost his touch. All he needs to do now is to get his wind. If he really is healthy, Drew is going to be very driven and aggressive in the playoffs as he views this as his first real opportunity to have a big impact in the post season.
~
It is also encouraging that Pau seems to be playing at a higher level now. We may finally see our dream duo start to play in sync. The key in my mind is the team committing to playing inside-out basketball. If we run the Triangle Offense efficiently, don’t settle for outside jumpers, and win the points in the paint and rebounding battle, there is no team in the league that can beat us.
~
Which brings us to Kobe Bryant, who I believe is going to win his 2nd consecutive Finals MVP award. We need Kobe to stay within the game plan on offense and defense and to lead by example. We don’t need or even want 30 shots and 40 points from Mamba. We want efficient not volume scoring. We want the ball and the players moving not standing still. Most of all, we want team ball not Kobe ball.
~
Lakers in 4. Than Nuggets in 6, Mavs in 5, Magic in 6. Never underestimate the heart of a champion.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM


Having a matchup that the other team can't defend is the key to a short series.
Typically that is Kobe vs. whomever.

Against OKC it will hopefully be Gasol and Bynum inside.

If not, there could be a problem as Westbrook, Harden and even Thabo are going to get loose on the perimeter.

Re The Roll Call; I have always been of two minds about the roll call. I think it tends too far towards the ‘hierarchization’ of the blog, and it places a burden upon Mamba24 to keep it an impartial institution. I was also originally opposed to the general bandwagon idea, as it sort of tends towards, well, bandwagons.

But here’s the deal; Mamba24, also known to some of us as Larry, is a great guy. He works very hard to fairly recognize everybody and his doesn’t abuse his power and use the roll call against particular people. Furthermore, the bandwagon feature not only defies bandwagon thinking, but rallies the members of the blog community in support of their own in difficult times in there life. Utzworld, Nemaia, Justanother Mamba fan, Jon K, earthquake victims in chile and Haiti and Nuggets coach George Karl and his family have all received best wished, prayers and support from Mamba’s bandwagon. This brings out the best in the LATimes blog community.

I’m not going to respond directly to Mamba24 bashers, I’m just going to do what I can to annoy them. Mamba24, I propose two new bandwagons that I will be happy to drive, ride shotgun, or pick up the gum wrappers from the back seat of. First, the Roll Call is awesome and great. Second, the Bandwagon is also awesome, great, and kicks lots of patootie. I would like my quote for both to read ‘Nanny nanny boo boo, haters, nyaaaahh.’
Nyuck nyuck. Finally, if we evaluate how we feel about the roll call based on how we feel about its detractors, well, i think i love the roll call.

Re Jackson criticism; Oh no, those poor refs, having their fragile little psyches manipulated by the zen master for the zillionth straight year. I hope they will be able to preserve their integrity in the face of this subtle undermining of the officiating process.

FCM- just had to bring it up; Kobe’s physical limitations will limit what he can do? Time comes, I hope his weaknesses don’t weaken him and his injuries prove detrimental to his healthiness. Nah, you’re still improving and doing a good job of it. Keep up the good work.

Marky Mark,

"Lakers face a lot of uncertainty heading into first-round matchup with Oklahoma City"

Dude, you are SO caught up in journalist group-think.

DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE!!!

Do YOU or anyone else actually think that the Lakers won't make it out of the first round? Maybe you and one of the trolls (and T.J. Simers) BUT THAT'S IT!!!

Come on, man. Let's be a bit more grounded here. We don't need to fall into hysteria. There's no reason for it.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Lakers Game Plan Versus The Thunder:

1) Put Ron Artest on Kevin Durant

2) Let Kobe score

3) Win the series in four or five game

4) Move on

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Mamba24, Other Esteemed Members Of The Blog Who Have Been Here At Least Two Years,

It has made me very, very sad that Utzworld has chosen to move on from the blog. I found that his spirit, faith, and wisdom were often lights in the darkness of uncertain times.

He cannot be replaced, but someone needs to fulfill his roll.

I ask the permission of the team if I may, if temporarily, provide a game day pray for the blogmunity in his absence, for the good of the team and the blog.

I may not do it as well, as gracefully, or as eloquently, but I will do it with heart, faith, and commitment.

We all know that God is a Lakers fan and we need Him on our side.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Watching the video of Ron Artest, I really felt for the guy.

He is on the precipice of everything a person like him ever desires in life...redemption, deliverence, victory, culmination, absolution.

It's all there... and that is terrifying.

Sometimes the concept of really having everything you've ever wanted in life is ultimately terrifying. Do you deserve it? You've lived so long without it, how would you go on without having that hollowness?

It's hard. It's really hard. I've been there.

In the end, just take it.

Ron, God bless you.

This is going to be one of the best playoffs of my lifetime. I can feel it in my gut.

I can't wait.

Let's go.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

phred,

The only people who bash Mamba24's roll call are trolls. Period.

The guy is an inspired Lakers fan and a brillian poet. Anyone who doesn't appreciate that is less that a Lakers hater (because even an enlightened Lakers hater would appreciate Mamba24's dedication, humor and creativity), but just a scourge of joy.

In all seriousness, in person, even as a man of deep faith, if someone to my face disparaged Mamba24's roll calls with vitriol, I would be forced to defend his honor.

The truth of the matter is that we do things in this blogmunity with silliness, grandeur and wonder because we still have a bit of innocence about us. Things still matter to us. And there is a true beauty to that. It's a better way to live. It is a way of having hope in things that leads to better things in life. It's part of being Laker Nation. It's part of being a team.

We watch each others' backs because we care.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Jon K - You're right. I'm just chasing my tail and drinking the hatorade. lol. I never said the Lakers would lose the series. I'm just pointing out there are uncertainties. I actually think the Lakers will win in five, although most of them will be close games. But surviving the first round doesn't mean everything is okay for the Lakers.

MM

Jon K. -

I'm up for it. It's sad that UTZworld will be leaving. I may not have communicated with him much, but I always read what he posted.

I'll be looking forward to what you have to say on Sunday.

Let's face it. As Kobe grows older, he's going to be more of a combination of Reggie Miller and Jerry West. Sure he won't go to the foul line as much, but so what? Ever career evolves.

People act like it's the fricken end of the world that Kobe won't be able to dunk like he could when he was 24. So fricken what? Does ANYONE have a commitment to excellence like Kobe in basketball? Is ANYONE even fricken close? No. Period. NO!

Everyone in the media needs to fricken chill the heck out. If I hear one more moron screaming about "athelicism" (which I may add is not even a real word) when the game is about so much more than between the legs 360 dunks, I'm just going to walk out of my house and hit a bunch of angry geese with a golf club?

Is that what you want? IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?!?!?!?

{Okay. Okay. I know many of you may not get my humor. The extreme action stuff is humor. I find it humorous. I wouldn't do that kind of thing though I know that some would do such which I personally find to be befuddling and ridiculous, but that's life... anyhoo, let's not get all caught into video games. Sports are about more than that.}

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Marky Mark,

" I'm just pointing out there are uncertainties"

And what are the uncertainties?

That we'll win the series in four?

That's we'll win the series in five?

That we'll win the series in six?

Let me ask you honestly this question, "Do you HONESTLY think there is ANY posibility (outside 0f 1-5%) that this could be a Mavericks-Warriors first round playoffs series?"

Seriously?

Come on.

There's a fricken reason we've all been waiting for the playoffs.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Jon K, Phred -

Have you noticed that someone turned the Turing Machine back on? It's pretty regrettable.

Hope you two are having a good evening!

Utz,

Your gameday prayers were greatly appreciated. You know where to find us.

God bless you and your family.

Utz, I have no sympathy for your exit. A Laker fan makes time. No excuses.

Regarding Phil's fine, we all know that David Stern runs a tight ship. There have been at least 2 or 3 times this year that the League has admitted they have made an officiating mistake.

We should be thankful that Mr. Stern took care of that one rogue referee, Tim Donaghy, before he corrupted any other upstanding and impeccable referees. Bennett Salvatore, Joe Crawford, and Dick Bavetta quickly come to mind as the best of the best of the best.

God Bless You David Stern

Whats that you say Mr. Stern? I'm being fined for negative comments about an ex-NBA referee?
Well deserved, My Bad.

@Jon K You are perhaps the most biased basketball fan in the entire world and give Lakers fans a bad name with your complete and utter lack of fundamental knowledge. Your complete lack of objectivity makes you sound like a complete idiot. Kobe Bryant may be a great basketball player but your contention that he is funny provides overwhelming evidence that you have no idea what you are talking about. I suggest you get a life, open your eyes and realize what an ass you make out of yourself on a public forum.

Jon K, I'm up for it too. Maybe at some point Utz will return to us, maybe not. It was fun having him around.

By the Way

here's a link to the most honorable men in all sports

http://www.phillyref.com/basketball/nbarefs/nbarefs.html

Jon K, are you actually using God to support your lakers obsession?

Is it just me, or does Durant look like Grendel next to Kobe in the above pic?

It will be an interesting first round against OKC for sure. Even though the season ended in a disappointing loss against the crosstown rival, I expect the Lakers to win the first round in 6. It won't be easy especially everyone seems to bang up. Kobe in particular. But we're the champ until someone take it away from us.

Mamba24, I'm reporting for a rollcall! Let's go Lakers!!

Everyone in the media needs to fricken chill the heck out. If I hear one more moron screaming about "athelicism" (which I may add is not even a real word) when the game is about so much more than between the legs 360 dunks, I'm just going to walk out of my house and hit a bunch of angry geese with a golf club?

Is that what you want? IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?!?!?!?

_______

LOL, pretty funny.

Hey, where is the "playoff prediction thread"?

As our injury riddled Lakers limp into the playoffs, many questions have been raised about why it takes 82 "pre-season" games to get here. A partial answer is money. TNT's season ratings are illuminating.

http://bit.ly/aqsE6X

All those eyeballs and downloads help pay for superstar salaries and David Stern's wardrobe of pinstripe suits. It's expensive to be the NBA and licensing fees bring in big revenue. It's not going to change; the cost would be too high. And frankly, we're like crack addicts. We're not about to give up a game on TV. We like watching too much.

This round will be complicated. Thunder are dangerous team. It will be crucial the Bynum´s play and performance.
Great games!
there is a good analysis about Thunder at:
http://www.factual.es/deportes/2010/04/16/20136

Jon K,

1st. Hola.

2nd. I liked the bit about the geese.

3rd. I give the Lakers a 10% chance to lose the first round.

why a chance to lose?

D-Fish's shot has been missing since last year. We hope .4 finds it in the
playoffs, but would you actually put $$ on it?

Ron Artest's outside shooting has been mediocre to abysmal all year. Do you
have anything, other than hope, to make you believe that he'll be reliable in
the playoffs?

LO is LO. He will be good/great 1 night and be missing in action for the next
2 to 3. He's been this way for 5 years.

Bynum is recovering from an achilles issue. He'll be out of shape. His timing
will suck. He may not focus on defense like he was before he got hurt. If
he doesn't focus on defense he won't pass, he'll travel, he'll not hustle to get
down the court.

Bryant is recovering from ankle, knee & finger issues. His shooting has been
off for most of the time since he broke it. I saw an interview with Mitch who
indicated that he'd seen Bryant shooting without the bandages. It's an unkown.

Our bench is suspect. We just lost one of best shooters in Sasha. He was also
a good defender. At times. At least he played with heart/passion. Farmar &
Brown *MUST* come through. I desperately want them to, but do you
*REALLY* believe they will?

OKC is flat out faster than us. Speed kills! The bulls were faster than the
Lakers back in the Magic vs. MJ day and they ate our lunch.

Kevin Durant. He's the scoring champion in a year where LBJ was *NOT*
hurt. He's tall. He's long. He's quick. He's smart. He's got a beautiful shot.
He'll dunk any chance he gets.

OKC was playing great going into the finals. We weren't. We now have to play
great. I don't believe that the Lakers can magically flip a switch. I would love
to be wrong.

Go Kobe!
Go Lakers!!!

This has nothing to do with the playoffs, but would anyone else like to see Shaun Livingston get a tryout next year? Just to root for a guy whose injury was so devastating?
He was last on the Wizards--THE MOST DYSFUNCTIONAL TEAM IN THE NBA--with a 10 day contract this winter. They were such a mess, there's no way anyone could show they could fit in, because there was nothing to fit into.

I don't know what kind of teammate he was as a Clip. Anyone want to chime in?

He's 6'7", he's still young, he had (I know HAD) so much upside. He could have taken his guaranteed first round money and said, "okay, here's a gift, no way people come back from that kind of injury, I'll make do with a few million in my early twenties" but he's worked really hard to rehab.

Anyway, it would be a good story. And really, isn't that what's it all about? Stories. A good narrative. One that no one knows the ending to except the basketball gods. Maybe they'll smile on him.

Eric W.,

Maybe Jon K. was right, you lack "Mama's Love" when you were young. Your need for attention is off the charts.

I can very well understood DFish's issues here- only thing that bugs me with him is when he calls the Lakers, Fakers and his out of this world hate for Fish, but I can live with that. But when it comes to you, you are one of a kind Mr. Wright. You are so DISRESPECTFUL.

BTW, I hope you will still be here when the real LAKERS are rocking the playoffs. I really hope so, by then, you will be deeply hurt. Again.

So, is it Sunday yet??? LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

Let me ask you honestly this question, "Do you HONESTLY think there is ANY posibility (outside 0f 1-5%) that this could be a Mavericks-Warriors first round playoffs series?"
Seriously?
Posted by: Jon K. | April 15, 2010 at 10:09 PM

____________

Actually, I think there is a better than a 5% chance but I don't know how to put a % on it.
Thats why they play the games.
The Lakers are beat up but I think they can prevail.
If OKC steals a game in LA, watch out.
Big X factor is if OKC falls to the pressure of the playoffs.

By the way, I was so happy to see a PACQUIAO jacket at the back of Ron Ron. I'm so proud of PACQUIAO.

One of the, If not, Greatest Boxers of All Time.

LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

While few fans who comment here are ready to concede the possibility, it appears GM Mitch Kupchak is already looking at moving forward without a repeat. Kupchak says that even if the Lakers are one and done in the playoffs, the decision on whether Phil Jackson returns is the coach's to make.

http://bit.ly/aeWcqw

It appears the organization is so concerned about the team's walking wounded, it has recalculated the odds and is ready to recalibrate. Whether or not Phil returns, we all recognize that there will be many new faces. It's too soon for many of us to be looking that far ahead. I'm ready for Sunday.

Random Lurker -

I like the idea, but I'm going to save speculation about next year's team until the off-season. :-)

Hope you're having a good day!

H-Tails,

gracias por el sito

Eric Wright,

I can tell you what is certain – you’re an idiot and part of the group so-called simply “trolls”, where no one to have courage to get on this blog during our parade. This is certain, say hello to Butler

BUTLER,

So, do you actually have a problem with my belief in God and that God actually is involved in human affairs?

Do you have no belief in the power of human prayer?

By the way, your Suns really surprised me this year.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Very interesting series in my opinion because we're coming in banged up and im really concerned with the recent play of Kobe. If he's not up to how we are accustomed to seing him play then that could make a difference in the 4th quarter. 3 of our victories over the Thunder all came down to the wire.

JovBatz44,

Manny Pacquiao is one fine boxer. I was a little dismayed as to why he refused drung testing. Can you explain that to me?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

To Jon K,

What are you drinking, man? It should be extremely toxic!!!

hobbitmage,

Your points are well taken, but so what?

What startles me is that realistically speaking any betting man is going to choose the Lakers for the series against the Thunder and what is the overall tone of so many posters and journalists?

An almost paranoiac sense of concern.

It just doesn't reflect reality.

You know that I'm a huge homer and that I bleed purple and gold, but what I crave most on this blog is to be able to intelligently and rationally discuss the team and what's going on with them. Unfortunately, most posters (particularly of recent) are prone to histronics instead of reason. It's frustrating to say the least.

But that much said, you made a lot of valid points, but I just don't see why we should be panicking seeing the cup as half empy when its really three-quarters full.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Eric Wright,

Do you guys have a team in Edmonton? And I'm not talking about your middle school team?

Your mommy must have really rejected you when you were young to have you develop so many psychological disorders. Was is because you didn't make the middle school basketball team nor the curling team?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

I'm very happy that the media (and apparently many fans) believe the Lakers are done. This team needs that kind of adversity to perform. Recall what happened against Boston, a series in which the Lakers had been crowned by many? Then last year, all the uncertainty and adversity with injuries, inconsistent playoff performances, and "softness" against the Nuggets? So much for that conventional wisdom and so much for this year's storyline.

We'll find out soon enough who the real fakers are. Which, could one of the trolls explain this to me? What are the Lakers faking? Championships? Talent? What? An insult really only hurts if there's some kernel of truth to it. I mean, I get it -- Fakers, how cute -- but, please, bring something a little stronger than that...

PURPLE HEART… “LakerTom, i absolutely love your optimism. i actually wish i could be that positive towards the Lakers post season run. i agree with most everything you stated here, Bynum's excitement and readiness to be an integral part of our run, Sasha's injury may be more critical to us as a team than most may think. but the one thing i am holding my breath on and pray to God that you are correct, is Kobe winning Finals MVP. i just don't see it this year. for the last few months, he has looked really bad out there. something just isn't right with his movements. he has no hops at all, he is struggling with his shot bigtime, and i've noticed him giving up on defense quite often. although, i hope i'm completely off base here.”
~
Thanks for your gracious comments, PH. One of the incredible things about freedom is that we all get the opportunity to make a choice on how we want to face life with all its trials and tribulations. Personally, I choose to view the glass as half full rather than half empty. I chose to smile rather than frown, to hope rather than despair, to believe rather than doubt, to love rather than hate. The playoffs are a new season, where health and hope will be reborn and faith and trust will be rewarded. After the dust clears, the Lakers will repeat.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
JON K… “The truth of the matter is that we do things in this blogmunity with silliness, grandeur and wonder because we still have a bit of innocence about us. Things still matter to us. And there is a true beauty to that. It's a better way to live. It is a way of having hope in things that leads to better things in life. It's part of being Laker Nation. It's part of being a team. We watch each others' backs because we care.”
~
Like you, I was disappointed to hear that Utzworld was leaving the blog. I thank him for his contributions and wish him and his family nothing but the best. People with giving hearts are all that separate us from the beasts. I think it is a great idea for you to pick up the baton and carry forward Utz’s tradition of the Game Day Prayer. While we can debate whether there is a God and whether or not He is listening to our prayers, one thing we can count on is that karma definitely does exist and the power and will of collective human minds is a reality. As you grow older and the road ahead of you gets shorter, you realize that life is still and will always be a mystery.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

lmmfao....Troll Dfish has genuine concerns and they do center around strawman statistics that put the real Dfish a negative light. He's an A whole, but at least he's better at the troll game, at least from my non-Laker fan perspective....what do you think Eric?

However Eric Write is pretty hilarious to look at...he's the equivalent of a heckler to you Laker fans. Yes, even I, a non-Laker fan skip his stuff.

Its like going to a someone else's church, not being part of the religion necessarily, but wanting to have a listen....all while sitting in the room designated for kids or folks with Tourettes.

....and Aric Wright's in there with you too, so you ask yourself "They let raving lunatics in here too with the kids and tourette's people?"...

I'd say you guys should pay him no mind, and yes, even as a non-Laker fan myself, I don't see the point of an Eric Wight.

Eric, care to comment on your point for being here? I'm a non-Laker fan too, chief negotiator, let's be good friends....2 tough guy, good friends. Let's do this E-Dubb!

the sun god,

I'm not trying to be confrontational here. I'm honestly trying to better understand your motivations.

As a "non-Lakers fan" what are your motivations for being here?

I appreciate your post and as a rabid Lakers fan I'd be a fool to claim a complete lack of bias in my perspective, but as a fan, I only go to blogs of teams I'm a fan of--which is overwhelmingly this blog and once in a while another Lakers or Clippers blog. That's it.

I don't go to Celtics blogs or Thunder blogs or whatever. It just serves no interest to me.

So, may I ask, what brings you here?

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

random lurker,

"I don't know what kind of teammate he was as a Clip. Anyone want to chime in?"

As one of the few Clippers fans on this blog, I know a lot about Shaun Livingston. It was an absolute tragedy that he was hit by the Clippers curse. Before his injury the guy was guaranteed to be a super-star. I have rarely seen a player with such vision on the court. His ball movement and passing were works of art.

Anyhow, Shaun Livingston was nothing but a great teammate, a great personality, and the kind of player you would want on your team.

The two players I most hope the Lakers go for in the offseason are Shaun Livingston and Steve Blake. I think either/both would make fine additions to our team.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

LakerTom,
thanks for the pleasant comments back. i'm in complete agreement with you on positivity and optimism. i live my life the exact same way. i've had several people tell me since i was a teenager (now 42) that i'm the happiest, most positive person they've ever met. so we're on the same "happy life wagon" if you will.

i'm just saying that i don't feel the dominance of last season, or of the early 2000's 3peat years. agreed that the playoffs is a brand new baby, i just pray that Kobes gets his legs back for the next 2 months.

My current thoughts about Lakers, from a lifelong Laker fan. Thought Laker swoon at end of season to allow Magic homecour advantage, if they meet again in finals was a mistake. Lakers finished 3-6, & if they finished 4-5 would have had homecourt, if they play Orlando again in finals. Their failure to do this or appear to be concerned about this leads me to question, if this years' team has it in them to repeat. Can anyone imagine the Magic Johnson led Lakers doing this? I'll be rooting for Lakers same as always. I hope they prove me wrong! However, I question to be honest they can suddenly turn on the switch, & go all the way again this year.

Mike Johnson

to Eric Wright

you wrote:

"And non, Jonny BOy K, there is no pros b-ball team in Edmonton, but quit talking like you live in LA! You live in Cleveland andwere fired from your Janitorial job. That is the truth! AGAIN."

I do not see how Janitoral job has anything to do in this discussion. In my opinion any job is sacred and it is non of your business!

However, I am surprized of his comments today, I thought he is a reasonable guy that can analyze the team without any prejudice. Apparently he is very off today!!!!

"JovBatz44,

Manny Pacquiao is one fine boxer. I was a little dismayed as to why he refused drung testing. Can you explain that to me?

Posted by: Jon K. | April 16, 2010 at 08:49 AM"

__________________________________________

Jon K.,

First off, I suggest that we do not respond to these TROLLS anymore- not until after the Playoffs.

On to your question, IMHO, Pacman "passed" on that Drug test simply because it was not required by the Athletic Commission, rather it was required only by Floyd Mayweather. Boxers do not dictate what tests their opponents are going to take, its the Athletic Commission's job. What was required by the commission should be enough, and Pacman always abides by that with no trace of Cheating- not even Xylocaine- which Floyd uses.

I think If those Drug tests were being required by the Commission, then IMO, Pacman will be willing to take that.

Also, for Pacman, it is more psychological. When he first fought Eric Morales, they had to take off blood from him a day before the fight because the medical people of the Athletic Commission claimed that Pac's blood sample(which was earlier extracted) was mysteriously lost. I think this was what traumatized Pacman when it comes to blood tests near the fights.

This is only my opinion Jon. There are way too many versions/ reasons written as to why this blood test became an issue, only God knows what is the Truth. We can only speculate and choose a side to believe in- and with Floyd's reputation of ducking formidable opponents and Pacman's history of zero issues against Drugs- then I choose to believe in Pacman.

PACMAN ALL DAY!!!

LAKERS ALL DAY!!!


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