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Five things to watch in Lakers-Timberwolves matchup

6a00d8341c506253ef0133f5bace68970b-320wi1. The Lakers will take the Timberwolves more seriously. 

The Lakers are a much changed team since their mail-it-in 99-94 victory 10 days ago against Minnesota. They experienced their first loss. They sharpened their play in the first two road games in this trip. And they're locking in more on defense. It's crucial the Lakers (10-2) continue that mind-set for Friday's game (5 p.m. PST), because the Timberwolves (4-9) are also a much different team since their recent loss against the defending champs. If the Lakers maintain the level of play they've shown thus far on their road trip, the outcome shouldn't be in question. But there are a few areas that may require a bigger effort. The Star-Tribune put together some telling statistics regarding the discrepancy before and after the T-Wolves first played the Lakers, including record (1-6, 3-3), scoring differential (-17.1, +1) and points allowed (114.4, 104.3).

2. Who will own the glass?

Minnesota dominated that category in the last match-up, with a 54-42 advantage. Kevin Love grabbed a career-high 23 boards. And the T-Wolves' 26 offensive rebounds offset their 38% mark from the field. All of these factors pointed to a lack of hustle by the Lakers in the first meeting. But it also pointed to Minnesota's ability to make up for poor shot selection, entering that contest tied with the Lakers, averaging 48.1 rebounds per game. Love's rebound average spiked to 17.3, though Minnesota currently ranks second (46.23) behind the Lakers (47) in dominating the glass.

3. Can Lamar Odom limit Love?

In addition to Love's rebounding numbers, his playing time spiked to 36.3 minutes per game for good reason. His 31 points and 31 rebounds in a 112-103 victory last week over the New York Knicks validated the view of plenty of fans and writers who believed former Lakers and current Timberwolves Coach Kurt Rambis kept Love on too short of a leash. He's also recorded three double-doubles in five games since Minnesota's loss to the Lakers. It's safe to say things are going better than when he and Wes Johnson miscommunicated on a high-five.

Odom will have to put on a much better performance than he did last time against Minnesota, after getting in early foul trouble. My hunch is he will. He's been remarkably consistent this season this year, and his 14.9 points per game average on 58.5% shooting and 10.8 rebounds prompted former Lakers Jerry West and James Worthy to argue that Odom should play in the 2011 NBA All-Star game. It'll certainly be a heavy task, though. Odom has valiantly fought through a sore right foot and a damaged left thumb, and the news that Theo Ratliff and Andrew Bynum are sidelined only increases the pressure on Odom to carry the load.

4. Round 2 of Pau Gasol vs. Darko Milicic. It's crucial that Gasol carry his share of of the load, particularly because Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has said the forward needs to play more aggressively if he wants to be considered for league MVP. Gasol has averaged 22.9 points per game (12th best in the league) on 55% shooting, 12.2 rebounds (3rd) and 1.5 blocks (21st) per game. He also has led the NBA in double-doubles (10) and has led all big men in assists (3.9). So I see this as more Jackson needling Gasol. But against Minnesota, Gasol's effort was modest at best. Instead of completely dominating Milicic, Gasol put up 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Milicic finished with 10 points and seven boards at a time he was shooting 23% from the field. Milicic has since averaged 41.3%, and while this match-up should still remain lopsided, Gasol should ensure that actually happens.

5. How will Ron Artest match up with Michael Beasley?

Aside from his effort against Brandon Roy, holding him scoreless from field-goal range, Artest hasn't been happy with his defense. This match-up will give him an opportunity to make that first step, as Beasley's numbers have jumped within the last 10 days, from 14.3 points per game to 30 points. Jackson recently noted how Artest's work on Beasley in the last game resulted in him scoring 17 points on six-of-17 shooting. But that very well might point to Beasley's improved play. Artest has a chance to prove otherwise.

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photo: Pau Gasol puts up a reverse layup against Minnesota's Darko Milicic during the first quarter of a recent game at Staples Center. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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Lamar limit the love? No way, Lamar's heart is way too big for there to be a limit to his love.


RE: Michael Vick

Hold Vick up to the same standard you hold Kobe. Slight difference is Kobe was able to settle out of court (was most likely a smear campaign for dough, anyhow) and Vick was convicted and did jail time. But as far as the dues a person pays for a crime...that's why we have a penal system (no jokes, phred), courts judges and all that brou-ha-ha.

Once you pass though that system, you once again fall under the 'innocent until proven guilty' provision of our great country.

I love dogs, could never bring myself to hurt an animal (or most insects, they just have to live outside), karmically, it's bad to hurt others and so I try my best not to. That being said, it doesn't matter how rich, succesful or popular the person, we all make mistakes. The difference between us normal folk and the celebs is that they have a media following and nobody cares what I do.

Watching Michael Vick play football right now is watching athletic perfection. He is fulfilling all expectations that he had fallen short of. If anything, he's become a better person as a result of his mis-judgement. Was what he did heinous? More so than some people realize, dogs often never recover from the emotional scars inflicted on them. Should he be villified? Doesn't matter what I say, some will, some won't, but at the end of the day I challenge those who are willing to throw him on the pyre of righteous outrage to forgive lest they become that which they so voiciferously abhor, in a manner of speaking.

I vehemently disagree with yellofever that Vick got 'screwed'. He must be a cat person or something because that's kind of a thoughtless post. Electrocuting dogs, pulling the teeth out and other barbaric acts of torture are illegal for a very good reason.

Lrob/jamie sweet

Hold up there.. For the record no ones condoning vicks behavior.. Just sayin he more than served his time.
A convicted rapist gets 3 years behind bars (tyson).. Another sentenced for DUI manslaughter for killing a human serves 2-3 months (stalworth) and countless other wall street CEOs dupe investors of millions of dollars and get a slap on the wrist short term arrest within the confines of their own home.. michael vicks killed dogs here and got 2 years.. So if your askin me if the penalty fit the crime.. My answer is NO.


Nice pointers, MM, I like the Ron vs Beasley one in particular as Ron has a big challenge there. The Beez loves to score and Ron loves to defend...who will win?!?

Now for little Dead Kennedy's to take me outta work

"I am Governeor Jerry Brown..." (so prophetic...twice, Jello Biafra should get a head on Mount Rushmore, he's a partiots patriot)

freeze frame...for brown

do they put us in foul trouble out the gates

Mellow out or you will pay!

Uber Alles, California, California Uber Alles.

In the past the swipes that were taken at Kobe by some in the media against him taking his rightful place among the greats were "He has Shaq"................Then it was "He will never win without Shaq"

There were some in the media who used their MVP vote to mask their disdain for Kobe by awarding Steve Nash and others their vote and ultimately the award ( I still can't believe Steve Nash has more MVP's than 5-time champion Kobe Bryant)

Now that Kobe has been to 3 straight Finals without Shaq and has won 2 titles and 2 Finals MVPs.............the haters in the league can no longer justify their positions without being exposed...........i.e. Charles Barkley changing his statement last night that Kobe was a top 10 player of all-time to top 5.

To be honest with you, with the exception of Kareem and then MJ...........I couldn't place anyone ahead of Kobe on my list.........but I digress.

Since it appears that Kobe is headed for another Finals and ironically it appears the "most hyped" player in the league's "Decision" has all but taken him out of the running................the haters are thinking............How can we mitigate the greatness of Kobe...........without being detected?

Very subtly from somewhere the new "thing" is....................."Pau Gasol for MVP"! I can't take anything from Gasol he is playing very well as a compliment to Kobe but I don't remember the Scottie Pippen banners for you?

Then you have Phil in the media suggesting what Pau needs to do to become a MVP candidate................Does anyone remember Phil saying what Scottie had to do to be MVP?..............or What Kobe had to do to be MVP during the Shaq years in LA?

Pau is Pau...............a very good basketball player with a tremendously high IQ for basketball. He will NEVER be a physical's just not in him.............and that's fine. Phil Jackson should be more concerned about picking up another big that's rugged and nasty to compliment Pau so Pau can be free to do Pau. Expiring Contracts like Sasha's or dead weight like Luke Walton should be examined to bring this about...........I say we need 2 defensive, nasty bigs that understand their role.

As the season goes on and if the status quo remains look for more ESPN banter about Pau being considered for MVP.......Pau Gasol, a player who before joining Kobe was a fringe all star player at best and who never won a playoff game will be bandied about as a MVP candidate.

This will all be done not because they really believe Pau is a deserving MVP will be done to take credit away from the inevitable...........................AT THE END OF THE DAY KOBE BRYANT'S ACCOMPLISMENTS WILL RANK HIM THE BEST TO EVER PLAY.....................there are some who shudder at the thought of that.

Yellofever - I agree that his sentencing was unequal. And I love a good redemption I'm with you on both counts.

On your initial post I thought you were making light of Vick's cruel treatment of dogs. But since you said that wasn't your intent...then we're on the same page.

MM - Good points on the Gasol-Darko matchup. Pau needs to come out aggressive like PJ said and establish his dominance. That's the next step. That's the Pau I'm waiting to see.


Count me among the Lakers fans who think Lamar Odom has a realistic shot at being named to this year’s Western Conference All-Star team. I think Lamar’s importance to Team USA winning the Gold Medal, his great start to the 2010 season, and the fact that the All-Star game this year is at Staples Center bode well for his chances. I had hopefully predicted that marriage might really help mature Lamar and make him finally start to realize his potential. So far, that prediction seems to be right on target. Go, Lamar!

Also count me among the Lakers fans who are simply amazed at how much Shannon Brown has improved his overall play, especially his decision making and outside shooting. Add UPS 2.0 to Matt Barnes great hustle and defense and Steve Blake’s superb playmaking and outside shooting and you have the Killer B’s, who with Lamar Odom now comprise the best bench in the NBA. Much like how Drew, Pau, and Lamar can cover all the key minutes of every game at the 4 and 5, the Killer B’s can essentially cover all the key bench minutes in every game. That’s why the Lakers depth is the best of any team in the entire NBA.

I hope all of the Bynum Bashers heard what Phil Jackson had to say about Andrew Bynum when asked if the Lakers were a good enough defensive team without Drew to win the NBA championship. His answer was a point blank “I don’t think so.” This should finally put to rest the stupid comments and disrespectful lack of appreciation from the usual suspects. Of course, when you think you know more than 11 rings about coaching NBA championship teams, why let logic and expert opinions dissuade you from your bias and prejudices against the young man who may be destined to be the Lakers next great center.

Some interesting discussion about Pau Gasol becoming an MVP candidate. Personally, I agree with Phil’s assessment that Pau needs to be much more aggressive in order to be included in the MVP discussion. Frankly, as great a player as Pau is, I don’t think that being the team’s alpha player is in Pau’s DNA. Much like Lamar, Pau is better in a role where he is part of a team of great players. There is no doubt that his personality has taken on new dimensions since joining the Lakers and being exposed to the work ethic and championship drive and mettle of the great Kobe Bryant, however, I don’t believe Pau has the type of heart and personality to be a team’s premier player. No disrespect to Pau but that is a role that Andrew Bynum is far better suited to take over once Kobe Bryant hangs up his sneakers for good.

Lots of great blues music the last couple of days. In honor of the Minny game, here’s a toast to my favorite young blues artist, the great Jonny Lang of Fargo, ND and Minnesota. This kid has one of the best voices around and can play guitar with anybody. Here are my favorite Jonny Lang cuts:

Red Light:
Lie to Me:
Irish Angel Live:
Missing Your Love:


AT THE END OF THE DAY KOBE BRYANT'S ACCOMPLISMENTS WILL RANK HIM THE BEST TO EVER PLAY.....................there are some who shudder at the thought of that. Posted by: pfunk36 | November 19, 2010 at 03:41 PM

6th thing to watch for (re-posting a clip that Jamie Sweet posted yesterday) is whether or not Kevin Love and Wes Johnson connect on the post-free throw handshake...


I with you on its hard to believe Nash has more MVPs than Kobe. But also more than Shaq. Also more than Zeke & JKidd. He's still the only MVP that hasn't played in the NBA Finals. I still contend that he has Shaq's trophy from 2005 and Kobe's from 2006 (sorry Blitz).

I didn't read about Phil promoting Pau for MVP. I think PJ was asked what does Pau need to do to be considered...and he responded he needs a seek and destroy mentality (in so many words).

You can end the contest to give Shannon Brown a nickname now. From this point forward, he shall be dubbed "Uptown" Shannon Brown.

Jefe101 -

That was one of the funner videos that I've seen all year!

I like Jacks em' Brown


let's go Lakers-

finish this trip off:


have fun everyone-

This post is regarding Michael Vick.
If you are not interested in reading about this scumbag, skip to the next post.

I was going to let this go, but I just can't do it.

Michael Vick is a man who committed atrocious acts of torture and violence. Saying he is a product of his environment, that because he was exposed to these hideous acts within a group of peers so it is ok that he succumbed, is nonsense. I suspect there are those who post here who grew up in a "difficult" environment but who overcame many obstacles and rose above whatever cultural immoralities they may have been exposed to. Why didn't they give in to the immoral or illegal acts of peers? Maybe because they have a conscience and they followed it at some level.

Because he is a wealthy, well known athlete does not excuse what he did. Like many wealthy people arrested for committing a crime he got off easy. That's the way it goes. But that does not mean he should be excused. Yes, he is out of jail and he paid a debt. Was it a sufficient debt?
Not by a long shot.

I understand the inequalities in the legal system. Some people go to jail and are later found to be innocent. Some get a sentence that just seems to be too light, some get a sentence that seems too tough. This isn't about the legal system and its inequalities.

Where does justice end and forgiveness begin?
Are there any crimes that are unforgivable?
How about the torture and murder of your daughter, spouse, mother?
Are those forgivable?
Would you feel the same if Vick was not an athlete?

You are defending a man who didn't just force dogs to fight to the death.
He hung dogs from trees to watch them squirm and die as he laughed.
A man who electrocuted dogs for fun.
A man who drowned his dogs.
A man who stomped dogs to death.

What kind of man can put his hands around the throat of a dog, that is not a threat to him, and choke the life out of it?

Would it be ok if he did this with humans or is it ok because they were "just" dogs?
What does a person need to do for you to say,
"Ok, no way I will give this person a second chance? Even if he doesn't go to jail, I am done with you."
Each person needs to look in the mirror and answer that for himself.

Forget about what the law says and what the legal punishment is.
Why should this man have been allowed to go back into football, go back to earning great wealth and living a life of ease?
Because that's the law?
Regardless of the law, he has done sick and vile things.
I cannot comprehend how anyone could now cheer for this man.
You say "he more than served his time."

It seems many sports fans who like a particular athlete are willing to overlook an awful lot of bad behavior.
Is "your team" or "your player" really that important?

Simply put, people need to be held accountable for their actions and suffer the consequences of their behavior whether rich and famous or poor and unknown. The justice system doesn't always do a good job of that. But the rest of society has a moral obligation to hold people accountable. I am not advocating vigilantism, but to actually cheer for and support a man who has done the things he has done makes me sick.

There are those who will disown a spouse for infidelity.
There are those who will kill a spouse for infidelity.
For infidelity!
Yet they will cheer for a man like Michael Vick.
Redemption my ass.

No need to villify Vick.

He managed that quite thoroughly on his own.

Tyson should have gotten 20 years to life.

Others should have gotten their due as well.

But because they didn't, doesn't mean Vick should have been (for the most part)
let off the hook as well.

I think most of us are glad to see him prospering once again.
A fantastic football player! Best of luck to him.

What he needs now is our love...think I'll send him a puppy.



The thing that sometimes gets overlooked regarding Kobe's accomplishments is that not only was he was a bona fide superstar at a very young age, he started winning CHAMPIONSHIPS as a bona fide superstar at a very young age. Of course, the Big Minimum overshadowed Kobe (pun intended), but that was just Shaq's ego attempting to boost his own legacy while having the effect of minimizing Kobe's legacy. But I digress ..

When Kobe was only 22 years old, he dropped 48 points on the Queens in Sac Town in the Game 4, Round 2 sweep in the 2001 playoffs and then took his show to San Antonio where he dropped 45 points on the Spurs in Game 1 of the WCF prompting Shaq to proclaim the Mamba the best player in the league. These were ROAD playoff games against excellent opponents!

Kobe has only improved his game in some fashion EVERY year he's been in the league and somehow he's managing to continue to improve by making the players around him better and better. Other than the fact that he's only been voted the regular season MVP once (zzzzz), when you look at his body of work and how he has remained the best all around player in the NBA for SO LONG, history is bound to be a lot kinder to Kobe than today's Jordan worshiping, Kobe hating critics who man the airwaves. After this season, Kobe will have matched the number of seasons Jordan played, he has already been to more NBA Finals than Jordan and, hopefully, he will go to one more in June and win his sixth championship.

And he has a long, long way to go in his ALREADY remarkable career!

@LakerTom - Good call on Jonny Lang. He's very talented. I'm interested to see what he does next as sound is evolving more into a gospel flavor.

@Ms - Very topical selections as usual.

@Art - Forgiveness is a beautiful thing.

Great posts pfunk and MVP888...

I would like to see our boys put together 4 strong quarters on both ends of the floor.

LO, Barnes, and especially Artest needs to shut down Love on the boards...Everyone just needs to execute their roles...and we should easily win this game...

I want a good solid energetic start...we need to set the pace early...get a nice 2 digit lead to accommodate PJ's experimenting with the rotations...

Best case scenario, we get a big enough lead that our starters sit out the 4th quarter...

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation

#17 Coming Up!!!

Be like Mike?
What moronic mom or pop wants their kid to be like Mike?
But, I give him his due as a great baller.

Lebron James?
Gotta give him his due too.
But really...what a slime ball.

And Kobe?
Don't get me started.
That pointy headed little twerp needs Ron's shrink more than Ron does.
Again, he's a spectacular game player.

But, the best player of all time???

That's gotta be Kurt Rambis!

And while we're on topic...

He's coaching a team which is preparing to administer some
Beastly Love to a Hollywood Troupe this very evening.
(But it's Sat morning for it's a nice start to the weekend).

Happy Loi Krathong!

Go Kings!
Go Niners!
Go Manny, go!


Floridian Art (which I think is early Tijuana),

I'm with you completely about the unforgivable nature of Vick's treatment of doggies.

But, I'm not really clear concerning your closing remarks.

Are you saying that it is O.K. for a married man to take the hose to another woman, just so long as he's not choking the monkey while he's at it?

Go Kings!
Go Niners!
Go Manny, go!





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