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Lakers enter season opener with cautious optimism

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson stayed at home, with flu-like symptoms keeping him in bed.

But he still felt healthy enough and interested enough to catch on tape the Lakers' last two preseason games -- a 120-99 victory in San Diego on Thursday over Golden State followed by a 105-102 overtime win in Ontario on Friday over the same opponent.

He liked that the Lakers had won handily Thursday but argued "they were lucky to win the game" in their preseason finale. Jackson lamented the injuries that kept Lamar Odom (sore left thumb, tight back, beat up nose), Theo Ratliff (swollen left knee) out of the lineup Friday and Luke Walton (aggravated right hamstring) back onto the sidelines after playing only four minutes. But he expressed relief that Odom and Ratliff will likely play in the Lakers' season opener Tuesday night at Staples Center against the Houston Rockets, while indicating that Walton will remain sidelined for an undetermined amount of time. And Jackson continued his daily pressure on Lakers forward Pau Gasol, whom the coaching staff has pressed to prepare for carrying the team considering the uncertain rehabilitation progress regarding Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum on their surgically repaired right knees.

Yet, amid all the injuries and the team's inconsistency that led to a 4-4 preseason record, Jackson believes the team is fully prepared for the rigors that lie ahead in the 2010-2011 season.

"I think they're ready," Jackson said after Sunday's practice at the team's facility in El Segundo. "There's a lot of hard work ahead and I think they know that. I think they've measured and are anticipating that. But that daily or nightly pressure that every team is going to bring is something that really has to draw a lot of energy from them. So we'll see how it starts. "

Though Bryant insisted his right knee is "good," Jackson wouldn't plan on limiting Bryant's minutes early in the season. It's a number Jackson says he still hasn't determined, but estimated would amount to the 30-minute range against Houston in what Jackson envisioned to be a tough matchup between Bryant and Houston forward Shane Battier. Although Bryant's quote below describes the key toward three-peating, the approach speaks to how he wants to get phased back into the lineup after appearing in seven of the eight exhibition games averaging 12.6 points on only 28.2% shooting in 21.6 minutes a contest.

"The whole season is all about ramping up," Bryant said. "You try to get better and come out of the gates playing great. You still want to continue to get better and better and better. That's what it's about. The whole season is just a process."

The process involves more than just Bryant hoping he returns to form. Although Jackson shared a sliver of good news that Bynum could return by Thanksgiving, the immediate reality points to the fact that the team must find a way to fill his absence. Because of Ratliff's current injury, Derrick Caracter's back spasms and inexperience, Jackson has considered playing rookie Devin Ebanks at some power forward to stave the load. But Jackson mostly has locked his eyes on Gasol, whose team-leading 17 points on 46.5% shooting this preseason looks impressive but has left the coaching staff wanting more from him with leading the team and tightening up defensively.

"Defensively he's just measuring himself," Jackson said of Gasol. "He's not pushing himself. Probably rightfully so because we don't have a lot of backup at this point. He's got to be there for the regular season. But when the regular season comes, though, he's going to get tested night in and night out."

So is he still concerned about Gasol?

"Not until I see him play in a regular-season game. Then I'll be concerned," Jackson said with a smile.

Those concerns extend to the Lakers' bench, including newcomers Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Ratliff. Though Bryant anticipates "our second unit will be consistent for us," Jackson still notices a learning curve. There's also the unresolved issue on whether Shannon Brown or Sasha Vujacic will win the starting backup shooting guard spot, a role Jackson seems to envision splitting based on matchups and circumstances surrounding the game.

"We just go out and play hard," Brown said of himself and Vujacic. "There's no secret where there has to be anything said. Both guys want to play. both guys will go out and play hard."

In the end, all these challenges appear nothing other than issues the Lakers have all season to solve. But Artest fears that mind-set can get dangerous, a reason why the team wants to ensure a strong start come Tuesday.

"You look at it as boxing. You make one mistake and you get knocked out," Artest said. "You can't look too far ahead."

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

 
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Quote of the Night: "You can't really think about how long it's going to be or how hard it's going to be because it will be. We're excited and we want to start off strong." -- Lakers forward Pau Gasol to KCAL's John Ireland on the regular season starting.

--Mark Medina

this little department should be called "Joke of the Night"

"start off strong." -- Lakers POWER forward Pau Gasol" (adding the correct position. not even talking about the Best Power Forward in the NBA)

so, finally i started to understand the TRIANGLE

Gasol
/ \
/ \
/ \
Strong -------- POWER

"I'd like to thank Lowell George and the great California band Little Feat who was always a sort of mentor, not only to me, but to so many of our other friends."

Posted by: LRob | October 24, 2010 at 05:41 PM
=======

KobeMVP88 - Bonnie Raitt, another big Little Feat fan, also acknowledged the group in her HOF speech:

"To Joan Baez, Peter Seeger and Bob Dylan for teaching me to sing for what's right. To the Beatles, the Stones, the artists of Motown, Stax/Volt, Atlantic, Chess/Checker, John Hammond Jr., Aretha, Ray, Mississippi Fred McDowell, the Staples, Chris Smither, Joni Mitchell, Muddy, Wolf, John Lee, Sippie, Taj, Ry Cooder, Little Feat, and of course, the Brown family dynasty--Ruth, Charles, James and Jackson..I thank you."

Posted by: LRob | October 24, 2010 at 05:47 PM
=====

LRob

I rest my case.

Cautious Optimism begone! In the immortal words of Smokey Robinson, "Get Ready (cause here I come!)" Both the Temptations and Fergie's Redux are attached herewith for posterity - Oh, it's on!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PV97roslmt0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pn6c_Vqiw0

If we're goin' with the gettin' ready:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQqTxK7VhSk

The comment below rings so true. Other than the C's and maybe Orlando, the Heat should have an easy time against most other teams in the Leastern Conference.

Marc Stein, ESPN.com | Stein's picks
Any issues that the SuperFriends have dealing with opposition size should be mitigated by the fact that the Heat will be ridiculously hard to guard ... at least until they have to deal with the Lakers in the Finals. They have to be the East favorites, crowded as the conference is at the top.

I love basketball so much that I actually 'enjoy' the early season. But let's be realistic, the first few months don't mean much and we won't see the real Laker strength until the new year. Although, I am getting tired of watching my Lakers lose the Christmas game because it doesn't really matter. The holiday just isn't the same when we let some team beat us up. Makes the egg nogg go down with a lump.

cofm99 - not sure I completely go with Stein's opinion. Not saying that it won't be easy, but as the Lakers see over and over, year after year, when there are expectations, there's a target on your back.

Night in and night out, EVERY team playing the Heat is going to want to take them down. Even the lowliest team is going to want to "put a little hurt on." I think opposing coaches are going to follow the Heat weaknesses with extra care.

Should be fun.

63 that may be correct but seriously now. You have 2 out of 3 of the most prolific players in the game today (Lakers still have the best and he is #1). I don't see many teams in the East, no matter what they do, really giving it to the Heat. The Heat will have it nights and I think they will win somewhere's between 60-65 games this year, but that will be there own doing not their oppositions. In the end it is all speculation right now because none of us really know if that team is going to work. I don't think they really know how it is going to work yet either until the season is at its midpoint.

Go Lakers--all the way to 17 & a 3-Peat.
Nevertheless, we need another PF/C on the bench besides Odom and Caracter.
PJ just agreed with me by by suggesting Ebanks at PF--wow!!!
The Lakers have one too many SF and need a PF/C.
Kobe will come back and Gasol will do his thing, but it
is time to avoid the "Group Think" in Lakerland.

cofm99 - I agree with your assessment, just not Stein's. I remember that the 60's Lakers of West and Baylor could be guarded (the team, not Elg & Jerry), and with the Bulls, Milwaukee, and Atlanta, I could see them figuring out how to make Lebron work at it, and limiting Mike Miller (oh, wait, he's already limited) and the 5 position, and out-hustling the Heat.

People blame the Lakers of having a "switch" they turn on; I'm going to wait and see if the Heat does or not. If they come out of the gate totally focused and playing team ball, then I'd say sky's the limit. I'm not one of the people who thinks the Heat can't be a great team, I'm just saying: "Show me first."

Also, I'm curious to see what happens if the offense funnels through Lebron, and teams start to make him work hard, keying off on him. DWade is there, but without the ball, what do you do (he's not the greatest off-the-ball guy I've seen) As I'd said before:

Should be fun.

Must get back to Pecan Pie Testing Night - I have six new recipes to try out. A winner will be crowned, and then multiple pies will be forthcoming for Thanksgiving next month.

In honor of our conversation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIYAMisgDXQ

Pete? Your eggnog goes down with a lump if the Lakers lose the xmas day game? You're obviously not putting enough vodka in it.


Seriously though, I personally hate the xmas day game. And I may be guessing here, but I think the guys are sick of it too. There's just too much hype and expectation surrounding it. Who cares if we win or lose it? It's only 1 of 82 when it comes right down to it, and it's never been a predictor of whether or not we can take that team out in the playoffs. I only care about beating a team when we're talking about a series. A playoff series. Everything else is just so much practice.


Caveat - all that being said, I still want to win every game by 20 or more and take home some tacos....

Wow 63 Footer - I love that you broke out a little Graham Parker and the Rumour! Now, to play a little connect the dots from earlier, here's GP playing homage to LG and Little Feat from 1980!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUHUyWAcBuw&feature=related

Seriously though, I personally hate the xmas day game.

Posted by: justanothermambafan | October 24, 2010 at 07:24 PM
======

We split up our season tickets and we got the #1 pick, so we chose the stupid Xmas game. Why? The profit we see on this game for selling our tix should pay for 4 or 5 playoff games. The consolation? I can watch the game on my big screen with my family anyway and if it turns into a debacle like last year, we can shut it off. It's just 1 out of 82, baby. That's all it is. No more, no less.

Jefe101 - I gotta get back to my pies, but I could not overlook your amazing melding of Little Feat and Graham Parker... what a great call! The Rumor, like the Attractions, were amazing bands at that time period.

Jefe101 - I gotta get back to my pies, but I could not overlook your amazing melding of Little Feat and Graham Parker... what a great call! The Rumor, like the Attractions, were amazing bands at that time period.

Posted by: 63 Footer | October 24, 2010 at 07:37 PM
====

Yep. GREAT CALL!!!

@NewMexLL - ouch...darn that instant replay. Oh well the Central Division is so mediocre the Vikes are still in decent shape.

@Jefe- yep Gettin Ready...Tempts or Rare Earth...can't go wrong

@63 Footer - Curtis and Taylor Dayne? who knew...works for me.

It would be remiss of me not to at least drop in a Little Feat selection. Here you go MVP...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNSV5qWTY_w&feature=more_related

Good Night all!

Great profile Jamie Sweet! Nice to meet you.

Zaira,
Congrats on RCOTD.

Congrats to Cain Velasquez. Way to dominate!

LRob - but did you check out the rest of the band? David Lindley (on keyboards of all places), David Sanborn, etc. It was the weirdness.

I'm a big fan of the Jeff Beck version. I saw him do it at the ARMS Concert, the LA version, and he had Andy Fairweather-Low singing it that version, not Rod.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phEgCogSOss

LRob - oops, forgot to thank you for the Feat.

The following week I will be all over the music sounds but tonight I will start with some Latin raegaton.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9zKrlRJr6g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nl5U0O5nOU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0eWmFEoJ14
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS8_MxGQ-N0

LRob,
Is this your alter ego, seems to young but who knows with under cover vibes lol.
Original Justa
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdOKfkE-T4M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JUkPJYbC9c

ANY ONE WNAT SOME OF THIS MONEY, IN IF YOU WANT SOME COME ON IN GET SOME

ANY ONE WNAT SOME OF THIS MONEY, IN IF YOU WANT SOME COME ON IN GET SOME

hey Lewis you're a legend!

LAKERS FOR LIFE BABY

===============

KOBY

MAGIC

KAREEN

JAMES WORTHY

JERRY WEST

WILT CHAMBERLIN

LEWIS MONROE

ANY ONE WNAT SOME OF THIS MONEY, IN IF YOU WANT SOME COME ON IN GET SOME

Posted by: LEWIS MONROE | October 24, 2010 at 11:52 PM

__________________________________________

A la MAMBA24: "What is this isht? SWEET JESUS!!! OH THE HUMANITY!!!"

Seriously though, what is with this poster?

Seriously though, what is with this poster?

Posted by: Caliphilosopher | October 25, 2010 at 01:03 AM


answer:
http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2010/7/6/1555562/will-the-free-agents-all-get

mud -

I still don't get it, even after I went to the link. Must be an inside joke or something.

Caliphilosopher-

did you read the comments? did you notice the insanity?
-not that L. Monroe is not a great Laker fan....

they like to laugh at SS&R and that epic fan post has become a rallying point. basically, Mr. Monroe says that PAT RAILLY can do as he pleases trying to get all the high level free agents, but the Lakers are still the best and if you think you're getting the trophy, you'll have to survive a butt kicking from the true champs, the LA Lakers. or in Mr. Monroe's words, "ANY ONE WNAT SOME OF THIS MONEY, IN IF YOU WANT SOME COME ON IN GET SOME"...

real story. maybe this link will help:
http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2010/8/21/1635525/shout-out-to-lewis-monroe

mud -

I got it now. That's pretty damn funny, once I got the background from the second link that you sent to me. Those pics of him are pretty hilarious, cause the first thing I noticed was that headband under his backwards lakers cap. Thanks for sending me the link and for the laughs this morning.

Crazy!

Activator -

Policing? I was responding to an oft-repeated failing argument about Luke being worth nothing. I can police your comments too if you'd like, but there will be a fee.

Posted by: Caliphilosopher | October 25, 2010 at 12:50 AM

i will just respond with Jon K's haiku from a few days ago:

"Luke, The White Shadow
A ninja. None can defeat
Triangle, it flows"

looks more like:

Luke, The White Shadow
Ninja? The Self-defeatist ONE
Huge TEAM Distraction

Cali

i'm sure you, like me and all of us, had some e-mail exchanges with a different party. after clicking the REPLY button back and forth many times, the SUBJECT of the e-mail looked like:

(Luke Walton) RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: injured his hamstring (or you can replace that with FOOT, BACK, or any 4 letter words)

regardless of the great stat line he had in 2006/07, the one you keep so hard and lovely close to your heart, for the past 2 years and especially now, LUKE WALTON is nothing more than a DISTRACTION to the team based on his INFINITE injuries. he gets one before heals one.

not only he is a distraction by changing the lineups, but especially he is becoming an IMPEDIMENT to the young and new acquired players.

also, a question that NO ONE thinks about:

what do you think that Luke's confidence LEVEL is at this point in his career. i know that no stat measures that.

my answer: NEGATIVE or close to NONE.

so, just thinking about Bynum who even after was hurt and healed, came back and took him a few weeks to get his confidence back regarding his MULTIPLE injuries - how do u think that Luke feels after playing for 4 minutes in one game and 4 more in another one: OUTTTTTTTTTTTTT AGAINNNNNNNNNNN.

by the way, (as a joke), there is one similarity between the HEAT and the Lakers:

one of their marquee players, D Wade played 3.5 minutes in ONE game in pre-season.

Luke walton, one of the ONLY players to play for all his career with the same team, the Lakers, played 4.5+ 4.5 minutes

sorry, as much i can laugh about Wade and now Miller (not because i want some player injured, but because the press and the so called "insiders" never thought about the injury factor and they still think that the HEAT can go over 72+ games this season) i'm not laughing about Luke. regardless of my "liking or not" of certain individuals on the Lakers team, i'm excited about the season, i expect them this season to beat 72+, or maybe 33+ (i did not expected that last year)

and yes, I DON'T want any Lakers injured.

but Luke Walton is becoming a problem, like driving a car when the Parking Dept. put the booth ON. (not even the JUDGE, or the MIGHTY can forgive one, especially in CA, about those tickets/injuries)

Best Lakers starting five all time:

Magic
Kobe
Baylor
Pau
Gasol

Best Backup all time:

Goodrich
West
Big Game James
Mcadoo
Kareem


ricky

try to understand this: Gassy, can't even hold a candle to the players you mentioned.

in the big scheme of things, Gassy is like an order of Tapas vs. an 8 course Meal.

So excited about opening night. Can't wait til this team gets healthy! I wanna see a healthy Bynum in June! btw, I found a really awesome NBA blog by a Lakers fan in case anybody wanted to check it out: http://nbaoracle.blogspot.com/

The guy is good...and funny, too

@63 Fooer - whoa...I didn't notice Lindley or Sanborn. I listened to it on my iphone while watching the Vikes go down....so I wasn't fully engaged. Thanks for mentioning it.

I loved Beck version also. Very soulful.

@Justa LF - haha...yep now you've gone and blew my cover. Seriously though that lil Rob is cool.

Lakers have no chance for Luke got lost in the triangle again,,the one off florida known as the bermuda triangle but he can sit there again making over five million a year this time because he was out of shape again and hurt his hamstring playing four minutes this off season which is four minutes more than he has played the last two years.

mornin crue -

So we are on the threshold of another Laker season. The suspense, the drama, the tacos - I can't wait for all of it! I'm more excited about this team than I have been about any other - except maybe for when we were vying for the elusive Quat-row (but we're not gonna talk about that here - bad juju). Regardless, it's gonna be a helluva ride, but I only want chills and thrills - no spills - if you know what I mean. Health is gonna be the major deciding factor this year. We need to be healthy - and stay sharp.


That said - without any further ado - here's Joe:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1CLZdrFkYQ

Mornin' all. Seems the haters are getting thicker and thicker around here, so the start of the season must be upon us. This may or may not be the season we want, but it's the season we need:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxkdmL3iMCY

As for the haters:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOl01vKXv6I

justanothermambafan - Oh, and the excellent call on the Joe... especially the expanded disc version.

GOOD MORNING NATION...

2 FREAKIN DAYS TO FILL THE LAT LAKERS BLOG BUS...

DESTINATION: STAPLES CENTER FOR OPENING AND RING NIGHT!!!
Let's show unity and support for this most excellent season coming up!

===========================
[_|___|__|___|__|__|__|__|__|__\
|____LAKERS NATION BUS_\__\__
l__________________________--|
\_(O)-(O)_____________|_|(O)___/

LEWSTRS - (Driver) Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation
NewMexicoLL - (Shotgun) From Land of The Original Lakers
justanothermambafan –(Security) Fabulous AND Funny dammit
Mamba24 - (Navigator) OUTFREAKIN STANDING!
LRob - DJ Extraordanire - Archives Master
Laker Lass - No matter what UNIVERSE or alternate REALITY I’m in I AM A LAKER FAN!!
Mark Medina - Customs
ZairaAmaterasu - Goddess
Laker Tom - NorCal Chapter
utzworld - THE ONCE AND FUTURE BANNER HOLDER - Chaplain
Fan of The Mamba - Midwest Chapter
phred = The Love Chapter
Jamie Sweet - "Kobe didn't, doesn't and won't ever suck".
KobeMVP888 - Courtside Technician
RDLee - Ready to Roll
LakerPeace - Ready for the Quest for #17
Houston Laker - Needs a game day Link
Noah - Gods favorite
JustaLakerFan - Got some tunes to strike up the band
63 - Footer - Ready to put some foot into some heat behind
Magic Phil - He of the magic skill
#4 - He knows this is Phils 4th 3-peat
EastCoastJessie - Latina Princess
And the Jello Is Jigglin - He can turn Lebron to Jello
Tim-4-Show - Shannon Browns advisor
Lone Star Laker Fan - Olde Timey Historian"
LakerJ - Fire Fighter - Will Extinguish The Heat
Cofm99 – In House Guitarist
Segeboy/Taliq – Sheriff
OutLaw – Defense Specilaist
Baby Outlaw – Defense Specialist in Training
Fearless – Dynasties are cemented in the 4th QUARTER
Rick Friedman – Morale Officer
Faith – Defense Officer
Jon K – Undercover Agent
J24 – Fairness Officer
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Joe Corad – Night Games Supervisor
Adrian Palomar – Philippines Chapter
Caps-Googles – Tech Foul Official
CyberCosmix – Devising otherworldly Laker Defense
2Phatt – Can Squash anything with the name Heat
WesJoeNixcon – Shaolin Monk – Trainer of IP Man
lance from da' bronx - East Coast Chapter
MS – The Tune Master
Zach - From San Diego Chapter
Jefe101 – 17th Parade Director
Staples24 – Director of Trades
Caliphilosopher - British Correspondent
Nemaia Faletogo - Tropical Zen Master
LAKER TRUTH - Abe in Purple and Gold
Humanomaly - Trekkie and proud of it
htj - Memphis BBQ Specialist
puddle - 550 Celtics dollars richer
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yellowfever - symptoms-turning purple and gold
mclyne - bus roof surfer(you know, like in the movie "Teen Wolf")
longtimelakerfan - Leave Luke Alone
iheartkb24 - Norcal Pinay Sweetheart
Edwin Gueco - The Voice of Reason
Hugo Boss - Colorado loves our World Champion Lakers!
VMan - 'V' for Victory!
frmkt - GO LAKERS & IN BUSS WE TRUST!
lone star laker fan - alone in Texas, but flying the purple and gold
G in DC(aka GDUB) - Let's go Ls...all the way to 3-peat!!!!!
JohnnyV - justa smooch winner
Otis- Drunk and in jail...
Tom Daniels - Wise Man = Laker Wisdom
longtimelakerlover - Laker Girl for life
brian - Ebanks will be an All Star
Art - FL Lakers Fan - Florida Chapter
Rocky - San Diego Chapter
KBlitz - Walking Encylopedia
bronxlakerfan - Purple and Gold with Pinstripes...
ChicNstu - Blue Plate Special
LakerFanInCowTown - Behind enemy lines...
The Triangulator - "Other Teams may River Dance, the Lakers Ballet is an Artistry in Rhythm."
mud - Analysis Technician
CornerJ - From the corner...automatic...
Fatty - THE DEFENSE BEGIN, ANOTHER TITLE TO WIN
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pfunk36 - Just get Kobe the ball!!!
dave m - 'm' stands for MONEY...Lakers 3Peat
London Laker - a lakerholic while living in london
VirginiaLakerFan - Go Lakers--all the way to 17 & a 3-Peat.
Lakers Por Vida - Livin' La Vida Loca

Gregory Isaacs passed away; he'll be missed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyEP_st9csI

GOOOOoooooooOOOOOOOOd Morning Laker Blog!


Monday, rainy, bleh.

Thanks justa, it's nice to be introduced. Jon K, glad you liked the profile (MM had me er0do it because, get this, I didn't extrapolate enough, ME?!? I thought it was funny). Again, thanks y'all, you are too kind.


Sooooooooo tomorrow, huh, something really important is happening ohnowIremember...the beginning of our latest, greatest quest for a Ring.


I knew it was something epic!


People already hating on Luke, they'd all A) take the money, B) be stoked to hang out with Kobe and C) Don't realize how much Luke wants to play and how helpful he can be on the floor.


But it's cool, we're all entitled to an opinion. Mine is that Luke is a valuable member of the Laker squad and when he wins his 3rd ring...well, let's just say I'm hoping to get a prop 19 passage here in about a week.


Nose to the grind, Jamie, NOW!


GO LAKERS!!!!!

mamba24 - I am expecting tomorrows roll call to be spine tingling! No pressure, though :-)


I'm sure it's coming, MM, but is there any word on whether Luke might not be available to go tomorrow. He knows the system so for him to miss some pre-season games is more about missing out on an opportunity to get his wind up to snuff. Just wondering.


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