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Lakers healthy enough, prepare for playoffs against Thunder

Bynum_300 The Lakers reconvened Friday for a practice session in preparation for Sunday's Western Conference first-round playoff opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center feeling better about their health but still wondering how they are going to play after a so-so finish to the regular season.

Andrew Bynum was back practicing, which was a good sign since he hasn't played in a game since March 19 because of a strained left Achilles' tendon.

Bynum said he felt "pain-free" in a practice in which he went full court during a scrimmage and said "yeah, no doubt" about him playing Sunday against the Thunder.

"We're very pleased, I should say that," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said about Bynum after practice Friday. "He's certainly not at a space I'm sure where he feels totally like he's back, but we're pleased that he was able to run and play and look like he's able to participate."

Kobe Bryant, who missed the last two regular-season games with right finger soreness, right knee swelling and soreness in his left ankle, practiced hard Friday and deemed himself ready for Sunday's game.

"My legs feel better," Bryant said. "The ankle thing was still kind of lingering a little bit, so that feels a lot better. Rest never hurts."

Jordan Farmar, who suffered a strained left hamstring in the next-to-last regular-season game, practiced Friday and said he will play Sunday.

Sasha Vujacic didn't practice because of a sprained left ankle. He's not expected to play Sunday.

The only new injury was to backup center DJ Mbenga, who suffered a concussion from an elbow to the head during practice.

Other than that, the Lakers are pretty whole.

Jackson joked about the $35,000 fine he was given by the NBA for criticizing officials.

Jackson said Oklahoma City All-Star forward Kevin Durant goes to the free-throw line a lot, saying that the "referees are treating him like a superstar."

"That was a gift to the NBA charity," Jackson said, laughing. "The NBA Cares. They really care a lot about ... I've got to get out of here before I start something."

And with that, Jackson got up and left the room.

It was the second time in 10 days that Jackson had been fined $35,000 by the NBA for criticizing officials.

Durant responded to Jackson by saying he felt he was "disrespected."

"I really don't know what he was upset about," Jackson said. "It really wasn't that upsetting. He shot the most free throws in the league. He made the most free throws in the league. He shot the most shots in the league. He made the most shots in the league. I voted for him on the All-Star team. He made the All-Star team. We know he's a great player. Congratulations."

Jackson laughed after his comments.

But what he didn't find funny is how his team finished the regular season.

The Lakers lost seven of their last 11 regular-season games.

That's not the kind of momentum Jackson wanted his team to have going into the playoffs.

"This team still has some issues, and it's still developed," Jackson said. "I told them the school is still out on them that way."

-- Broderick Turner

Photo: Lakers center Andrew Bynum shoots over the defense of Timberwolves center Al Jefferson during the game in which he injured his left Achilles' tendon. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images 

 
Comments () | Archives (25)

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Interesting comment, "school is still out on them" what does that really means.

Jon K, saw your question to me in one of the previous posts.
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The question was what brings me here. Nothing really. The Lakers are a polarizing subject, thats all.
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I'd say my presence here is akin to getting tickets to a sporting event in a town you don't have ties to. Suppose a person like me was given free tickets to any Minnesota Timberwolves game I want. Well, which one should I go to? Exactly. The Lakers. The premier team, regardless of your affiliation.
-
Its like when I discuss the Yankees. I'm not a Yankee fan....but they usually ask why I don't hate the Yankees/Lakers etc. Well, tell me, why should I hate their success? I'm not a fan of them, but I believe in our system of competition and that competition breeds success. Its like hating the way our society works.
-
Anyways, thanks for asking. I didn't see your question as confrontational at all...

***CONSPIRACY THEORY ALERT******CONSPIRACY THEORY ALERT***


I, like many fans, expect both our series with the Thunder, as well as the Cavs series with the Bulls, to only go five games.

The Thunder are going to crap their shorts when they see what the Playoffs entail. And the Bulls are expected to win at least one game, but even that would take a miracle game by Chicago.

The difference is:
THE CAVS HAVE A TWO DAY REST BETWEEN GAMES TWO AND THREE.
PLUS ANOTHER TWO DAY REST BETWEEN GAMES THREE AND FOUR!!!

The Lakers, on the other hand, get their two day break between games four and five. Meaning they'll only have one day to travel and then its back to work.
Then they would have another break between games 5 and six.

Now, the breaks later on in the series could benefit the Lakers if the Thunder can some how stretch the series out to six or seven games.

But come on, we all know that's not going to happen!

I agree with Phil. The jury is still out on this team. To go 4-7 in their last 11 games is embarrassing. To give up home court against Orlando in case they play Orlando in the finals shows me a lack of killer instinct, hunger & motivation for the playoffs. Anyone, who isn't concerned about Lakers end season swoon I think is in denial. Hope I'm wrong & they display playoff magic like they did last year.

Mike Johnson

I don't understand why Phil Jackson gets fined $35,000 for his comments on Kevin Durant. Free speech is guaranteed by the US Constitution right? And as far as I can remember we are still in the United States of America.

"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,

First off, I suggest that we do not respond to these TROLLS anymore, no matter how tempting it is to respond- 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!!!

" Kobe Bryant, who missed the last two regular-season games................practiced hard................"

______________________________

Be afraid, be very afraid.


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

Looking forward to seeing how the team plays on Sunday.

I'm suprised I'm typing this but, I was somewhat disappointed to see Sasha go down with the ankle sprain...I thought he was playing a little better of late and was encouraged by his recent forays into the paint and attempts to finish at the rim(albeit with mixed results), and I've always felt that he has the best footwork on D of ALL the Lakers players. I was looking forward to him sustaining that type of play but, the injury bug has taken a huge bite out of this team so I guess him getting injured was to be expected.

I also have a feeling that Drew may be healthier than we've been led to believe and may end up being a dominant force against the Thunder.

Let's go Lakers...all the way to a repeat.


hope the Lakers pull it together and don't get knocked out in the first round...

So we have another Kobe Stopper
LMAO

"The Lakers lost seven of their last 11 regular-season games."

That is a giveaway part of the gamesmanship to let the kevin durant's and eric wrong's line of thinking that they have it on the bag.

Is it not amazing as soon as they playoffs are announced suddenly Bynum is feeling stronger and get bang heads with mbenga. Thank God, it's mbenga's head that is hurtin' not on Bynum. Kobe feels rested. The way I looked at it they are not 100% but all of them can play except the recent casualty which is Sasha. If I were Kobe, I'd put the finger numb for 48 minutes, so he won't feel any recurring pain.

Durant felt disrespected by Phil's word....wow....what an onion skin to be disrespected on his first playoff game! You ain't seen nothing yet of what disrespect truly means? After this series and his encounter with Artest and Fisher that's is the meaning of total disrespect. The first two games here in LA will be crucial to Durant, this is the turning point whether he is really a Super Star or a super wimpy. I'm worried with his frame whether he could still those dunks in the post.

PS. I hope you don't take my comments this morning as a personal affront to your style, in fact I am helping you by sounding the alarm at my expense because I could sense the reluctance of regular bloggers posting. You attract only delinquent kids who come here to create annoyance and constant disparaging attacks and tantrums as if we are baby sitting a two year old. Well, if you think that is blogging that attract "ticks" by posting often those crankiness, eventually it destroy the reputation of your paper and the standard of your blog.

Lakers...but it take them 7 games.

M2,

Best quote from practice was on your Twitter feed, but not in this post:

@latmedina: Phil Jackson's take on why team has been inconsistent: "I don’t think it’s out of lack of want. I think it’s lack of ability."

Phil was challenging the guys to prove him wrong, and I like that.

Nomination for Tweet of the Day:

@JeanieBuss: On plane returning from NBA meetings - looking forward to playoffs. Told Phil he can't retire with all the fines he's got to pay!

FCM- so, are we doing personal attacks or not? let me know, i have a few good personal attacks saved up.

After this series and his encounter with Artest and Fisher that's is the meaning of total disrespect.

Posted by : Edwin Gueco

Artest and Fisher. Fisher...are you kidding Edwin !!!

M2, Sorry. I see this was Brad Turner's post, not yours. Shame on me.

I doubt Bynum is ready to play. More mind games and tricks by Ponx Philboy. I rate him among the worst nba coaches in the history of the game. He is right up there with Terry Porter, as far as coaches are concerned. A nobody coach who happened to have a lot of somebody(s) players. Zen master, right. At best, he would tend bar at a golf country club pouring $20 mai tai's. Keep it up Philboy, you have the best talent money can buy, now lets see you blow it. Keep dreaming.

Rick - Hey no problem. I actually don't have that quote in the next post either. I wanted to get the full video and some anaylsis on Bryant's and Bynum's practice since that's the news of the day so to speak. But I'll definitely use that quote for a post tomorrow morning just kind of assessing the team with where it's at that sort of thing.

MM

Phred - No lol. I'm sure they're funny, but let's spare them. By all means if you guys want to attack each other on an issue involving the team by all means do it. I mean after all that's what sports is partly about, debating about the teams and players. But let's keep it within good taste

MM

FCM- no, i was just pretty sure that right after you said you were going to crack down, you cleared another comment by somebody mentioning jon k's life and job again, so i wasn't sure what was allowed. Anyway, we're all cool, as long as i am the first person to be notified if and when you do start allowing personal attacks, so i get get a good head start on it.

: )

phred - i'm sorry for letting that comment through. i deleted it.

eric wright - please don't make those kind of attacks again

MM

I'm a life long Laker die-hard. Like many of my fellow Okies, we live a die Laker basketball!!! Jerry West, Cooper, McAdoo, Worthy, Magic, Wilkes, Scott, Rambis, Nixon, Jabar, etc. A proud tradition, full of great house-hold names. But, don't take the Thunder lightly!! They are on the verge of blossoming into a power-house franchise.

I don't believe the Thunder can hang the the Lakers this year. But, if the Lakers don't delivery an early knock-out blow, and give the baby-boomers hope, they (the thunder) will upset the Lakers.

Expirience is a factor, but it can be overrated! The matchup that I believe favors the Lakers is Gasol vs whoever! Westbrook will roll by fisher all day! Artest's bullying Durant will run out of gas early. Durant will get his. Thunder has no answer for Kobe. The "big guns"(Kobe and Durant) will get theirs.
Lakers better psychologically beat them early. If they allow the Thunder to believe, the young legs will prevail.

The Lakers need to focus against Kevin Durant and Thunder. The Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James are waiting for a Finals confrontation. The Cavaliers are favored to win it all this year, it is up for the Lakers to prove otherwise.

durant will get his fair share of the game...but i think, for the thunder to move on, westbrook is the key...he will be the greatest headache for the lakers...he will run rings around fisher and farmar...


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