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Caught in the Web: Lakers take day off before preparing for Miami Heat

58402713--The Times' Mike Bresnahan details how the Lakers' loss to Milwaukee doesn't help the defending champs' preparation for its Christmas day game against Miami.

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr insists that the Heat will beat the Lakers.

--A panel of ESPN.com writers offer their predictions for the Lakers-Heat game.

--The Miami Herald's Joseph Goodman says the Heat's matchup with the Lakers will serve as a statement game.

--Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin believes it's very unlikely Dwight Howard would go to the Lakers.

--ESPN.com's John Hollinger compares Kobe Bryant and LeBron James (insider subscription required).

--The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Dave Hyde breaks down the myths surrounding Miami.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky has a heartwarming story on Ron Artest's maturity. The Kamenetzky brothers also discover some letters to Santa regarding the Lakers/Heat matchup.

--Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins argues Kobe Bryant has the upper hand over LeBron James.

--Fox Sports' Mitch Lawrence predicts that the Lakers and Heat won't meet up in the NBA Finals.

--The Sun-Sentinel's Shandel Richardson notices how the Lakers aren't making a big deal about their game against the Heat.

Artest spends five minutes in the video below with "PTI's" Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.

--Sports Illustrated's Britt Robson drops the Lakers to No. 4.

--The Sun-Sentinel's Sarah Talalay reports LeBron James will also be making a Nike shoe debut on Christmas day.

--The Daily Breeze's Elliott Teaford explains why Artest doesn't consider the Heat to be a rival.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell breaks down a few facts and numbers involving the Lakers-Heat game.

--Silver Screen and Roll's C.A. Clark debates whether the Lakers' defeat to Milwaukee was their worst loss ever.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Michael Crowder examines Pau Gasol's role.

--Laker Nation's Gary Lee counts the best Lakers' Christmas moments.

--Peninsula is Mightier's David Dwork breaks down what Mike Miller's return means for the Heat.

Tweet of the Day: "DisneyWorld vs. Disneyland feud could go DefCon1: Sources say DHoward has eye on Lakers if Magic don't win a title in next 2 years." -- RicBucher (ESPN's Ric Bucher).

Reader Comment of the Day: "Not in Panic Mode yet, ha, ha. I remember in the first game of some Playoff series's where the Lakers got smacked in game 1 and went on to win the Championship. Am I concerned, well, somewhat. We'll see more Saturday." -- D(erek)J(eter)

-- Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

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

Photo: Milwaukee guard John Salmons collides with Lakers center Pau Gasol during the second half of L.A.'s 98-79 loss Tuesday. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Associated Press

 
Comments () | Archives (35)

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something about that picture just isn't right..

DJ! Congrats!

63: Hope you can go from en-fevered to un-fevered. Just go for the chicken soup, that always seem to do the job!

- - -

Amit: Pop has been doing a great job resting his starters, keeping Timmy's minutes down and still have them winning. Tony Parker looks rejuvenated, Manu is still Manu. Richard Jefferson has finally started fitting in. They've drafted some very nice players the last few years like DeJuan Blair and George Hill that Pop is real good about easing into the lineup and maximizing production. They are a very nice 3-pt shooting team, they always seem to work a shooter open in the offense and with their players all being nice passers, it's a good formula for success.

I can see them trying to bring the Lakers bigs outside, opening it up for Parker/Manu. They are always tough with Pop at the helm, in my opinion the best coach not named Phil Jackson. It's one of the loudest, fanatical arena's in the league too.

Bottom line though they are vulnerable inside, look for Drew/Pau and L.O. to dominate the paint. The Lakers match up with them very well, nullify their strengths and unless they go crazy from 3-pt line - which they are capable of - the Lakers should win.

- - -

Art: I think that HCA is important - if it comes. Phil has said one thing and done another as it has related to HCA, resting Kobe in 3 games and some other starters too going down the stretch last year for instance when home court against some east teams was still in doubt.

The season seems to normalize things, over 82 games the cream usually rises to the top, the upstarts or hotshots usually level off. The Spurs, Mavs or septics still haven't faced a losing streak, it will come for them, the Lakers just need to keep coasting along. The Lakers though are facing early-season complacency that all others aren't contending with. Comes with the territory in being a back-to-back champ.

I don't want to sugar coat that some of the Lakers losses have been downright ugly, like the last one to the Bucks for instance, but it's not that the Lakers have lost because of huge roster holes or been beaten by teams they will be meeting or fearing come playoffs. The Laker losses have come as a result of lack of interest, not playing up to their abilities. They are trying to coast through games and getting caught not finding the switch.

If the Lakers never catch the Spurs for instance it won't mean the end of the world, but yes it will make a harder playoff road. Really, the only team in my mind I'd be concerned with not having home-court against are the chowds. They will be hungry and looking for revenge against the Lakers - it will be important to have a game 6/7 against them at home.

It will be interesting to see how the Spurs match up with the Lakers on Tuesday in San Antonio so we can see if they are for real or not.


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

TM - what could you POSSIBLY be thinking? It's that girl in the front row that isn't watching the action, right?


Good reading from Lee Jenkins from SI


When the Lakers have only Gasol and Odom, as they did for the first 24 games of this season, they remain among the elites. But Gasol and Odom are then forced to play too much, the bench shortens and the Lakers are beatable. Bynum is back now, but still logging limited minutes and complaining of stiffness in his knee. He is a constant source of anxiety and reassurance both. The Lakers know they cannot depend on him -- this is the fourth consecutive season that he's missed time with knee trouble -- but when they have him at full strength, alongside Gasol and Odom, few teams can counter.

Bryant has discovered what James soon will. It's not enough to be flanked by talent; the talent must be complementary. Transcendent perimeter players like Bryant and James need reinforcements down low. Bryant has them, and as long as he uses them Saturday, he should continue to pick up ground on James. In most statistical categories, from points to field-goal percentage to overall records, Bryant and James are running about even this season. But once again the winner of their personal rivalry will be revealed long after Christmas, and chances are, it won't be decided face to face.

that pics reminds me of:

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o219/arkanthill/nba/shaq_danny_ferry.jpg

lol...


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

TM - there is no rivalry between Kobe & Lebron. When has there ever been one? They've never even met in a series. If one is trying to be the greatest player evah (as Kobe definitely has been since he came into the league), one is playing against themselves, and the ghosts of players past). A rivalry is between two players who go up against each other time and time again: Russell vs. Wilt, Jerry West vs. (pick a few names), Magic vs. Bird (sorta), etc. Kobe & Lebron don't have a rivalry.

Cyber,

Nice, balanced commentary and insight.

We only need to go back to last year to see the importance of HCA.
The Celts thought they could pace themselves through the season and came up with a #4 seed. That was good enough to get them out of the east.

They proved that winning games 3, 4, 5 is quite difficult and followed the pattern that it doesn't happen very often.
They just couldn't beat the Lakers twice on the road just as the Lakers couldn't beat them twice on the road.

They learned a painful lesson in the Finals last year just as the Lakers did in 2008.

In 2009 the Lakers played on a mission to get HCA all the way through.

This year, the Celts are using last years pain to motivate them and they are playing like the 2009 Lakers.

The Lakers, so far, are playing like last years Celtics, or maybe not even that well, yet.
This troubles me.

But I recognize there is still a lot of BB yet to be played and plenty of time to move upwards in the standings. By the all-star break we will have a better read on the team.


Merry Christmas everyone

Troll Man

aka.....
You Ever Notice
Sister Mary Elephant
Mr. Opposite
There are 4 Lights
By Grabthar's hammer
Nostradamus

bet you didn't see that coming

TM :)

Good Day Ladies and Gents, It's nice to read all the positive vibe, skip past the negative ones. My prospective on HCA, it's cool but were playoff tested. I have no fear in going to the oppsition place and kicking their @zz when need be. Whatever our shortcomings are, we'll be find come PLAYOFF TIME.

Mamba24-report to DUTY...I don't see any vacation day request.

Art: You bring up an important point regarding HCA, the fact the Finals are 2-3-2 which really magnifies the importance of HC against a team hungry and driven for revenge like the septics, who realize their window is closing shut and are foaming at the mouths and pulling on the leash in anticipation of meeting the Lakers in a rubber match.

They are deeper this year and more motivated. Doc is a real good coach too, pulling just the right strings and getting them to give max-efforts.

I would be concerned about not having HC against the septics. Let's see if they can continue to stay healthy outside their O'knee-ails and Delonte's wrist. They will be getting Perk back in a while, and although he's not Drew he will be giving them a lift. Jermaine return is imminent too. At that point their froncourt minutes will be divided, Shaq will have a chance to rest-up until the playoffs.

We've improved too so it wouldn't be doomsday, but that is the one team I feel we should try to get HCA over if possible. I remember they good start last year then struggled in Jan/Feb, so we'll see what happens. No doubt they come down to earth soon despite fattening up on leastern teams...


GO LAKERS!!!!!!

888 and keen -


Come on you guys. You're both great fans and love the Lakers. Can't you see that you merely have a different way of approaching your fandom? You can agree to disagree, right? The things you both (and we all) have in common are what really matter - we love this team and want them to win.


Simple.


I do believe that its PJ's intention to keep the Lakers out of the limelight and let's the Mavs, Spurs, Heats and the hatred Cs dominated the news and fight for their spot in the playoff. As far as I'm concern, Lakers need to stay one game ahead of Boston to secure the home court advantage in the Finals. I can certainly guaranty to all of you that, history speaking, the Lakers will surge in the second half of the season leading into the playoff. All of us are rottenly spoiled by the success of this team in the past years and have unrealistic expectation in them to win every regular season games. Every time this team loss, especially to the mediocre teams, someone would got excited and panic!!! Relax guys! What in the world are we playing for? The best record in the NBA? Heck no! You are all know what is the real goal of this team. This teams have made the NBA Finals for the past three years and won 2 straight championships. What else you could ask for a team! I'm sure that Cleveland fans would trade their last two seasons where they had the best records in the NBA for ONE chance to play in the Finals!

Relax. We got this. It's part of the "Art of Wars" orchestrated by PJ and Kobe!

By the way, I love the idea of trading for Howard but I doubt that it would happen this year.

Justa, I have a difficult year career wise. I had to accept several tough work assignments over the summer and didn't get a chance to spend time on the blog. However, my thoughts are always with you guys.

Mark M, you're doing a fantastic job!

The link for Luke didn't work, here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lXpAS9zQNA

@Lrob
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFc7STuQF0U&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1sf5yqZX-k&feature=related


Opinion: We will come out strong from the opening tip against the Meat!

Opinion: LeCreep will be slowed, but not stopped by Artest.

Opinion: L.O. and Drew will dominate down low- not quite sure about Pau at this point in the season.

Opinion: Kobe will show LeCreep who the real MVP of this League is.

Fact: Even though I doubt this teams lack of intensity and focus throughout the season, they are still my team, I love them, and they will bring it all come playoff time.

I just hope they bring it fot not only the Christmas Day game, but all the successive games. I don't buy into the beleif that "it's just one game" or "it's still early in December." Playoff seeding sometimes comes down to the difference in a win or a loss.

MM,

What happened to my Xmas list, it didn't post???

Wallace - sorry to hear about you having such a tough year. I'm hoping things are either better now, or will get better for you VERY soon. Good to see you again!

@63
Yes! There is no rivalry and there won't be until the Meat can defeat the Lakers in the finals.

Since that is not going to happen this year, all the so called "professional sportswriters" will just have to wait!

Art Fl Laker Fan,

Congratulations Jeter oops DJ I mean and Merry Christmas

Art, could you include me in your Christmas list? I'd like to share u our theme music 38 years ago, will be celebrating throughout the day in San Diego. Merry Christmas to all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFHUB4Oyrss&feature=related

i don't think the team will match miami's energy and will lose the game. miami has begun to find their "groove" while the lakers are still on the mend and players continue to find their way to play effective defense and intelligent offense.

with all of their "struggles," this team will eventually mesh and fire on all cylinders during the second half of the season as long as the team can get healthy and remain that way. we’ve seen their potential this season and we've witnessed their brilliance, dedication and resilience for the last several years.

do not judge this team on x-mas day. beating the heat is more important to us than the team but i believe they will want to win in san antonio and new orleans. regular season is strategic and the ultimate goal is to get into the playoffs; HCA is a feather in the cap.

i get as frustrated with this team just like everyone else and i can find fault with every player who takes the floor at any given time, but in the end, it's about the collective. the core of this team and coaching staff have been to the finals for the past three seasons and it's simply too early in the season to write them off.

in my opinion, their success lies at the "5." if we continue to get limited minutes from bynum, then i think LO should move to center and let pau get back to the "4" where he is far more effective and "strong;" he simply cannot handle the center position for an extended period of time.

we hear all of the funny nicknames given to pau and it's for a reason. i know the level of competition in the fiba isn't the same as in the nba, but lamar won a world championship at that position and he is much stronger than pau. lamar can bang with those dudes in the paint without fainting.

our string of losses seems to be due to pau getting "gassed" down low. i know he's playing big minutes and anyone who has played this game is aware of how much energy is expended during full court action, but the fact remains that at times, he looks like a wet noodle! anyway, i digress. this is our team and they've won 2 of the last 3 championships without a healthy bynum. when the games count, they show up so until then, enjoy the regular season and get ready for the playoffs but lets not rush it. i'm in no hurry to get older!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13olfeD026g

GO LAKERS!!

Edwin,

My Christmas list doesn't seem to want to be posted. I tried it a few times over the last 30 minutes but it doesn't appear.

Perhaps the comments being monitored again?

ART- FL - Not sure why. Try posting the comment again

MM,

Just posted it again, but it isn't appearing.

Wallace,
Phil is not trying to keep the Lakers out of the limelight. Lets stop the "Denialism". This team sucks, and unless we see some massive improvements soon, we might be bounced out of the first round. We have not beaten any team of note up to this point.

888 and keen -


Come on you guys. You're both great fans and love the Lakers. Can't you see that you merely have a different way of approaching your fandom? You can agree to disagree, right? The things you both (and we all) have in common are what really matter - we love this team and want them to win.

Simple.

Posted by: justanothermambafan | December 23, 2010 at 11:30 AM
=====

Justa

Are you KIDDING me! You don't only insult me by lumping me in with him, you insult yourself and all Lakers fans. Nope. Until he reveals himself, he will be met with my rebuttals to his constant negative attacks.

P.S.- I don't agree to disagree on anything. I either agree or I disagree.

888 and keen -

Come on you guys. You're both great fans and love the Lakers. Can't you see that you merely have a different way of approaching your fandom? You can agree to disagree, right? The things you both (and we all) have in common are what really matter - we love this team and want them to win.

Simple.

Posted by: justanothermambafan | December 23, 2010 at 11:30 AM

-------------

Wallace,
Phil is not trying to keep the Lakers out of the limelight. Lets stop the "Denialism". This team sucks, and unless we see some massive improvements soon, we might be bounced out of the first round. We have not beaten any team of note up to this point.

Posted by: keen observer | December 23, 2010 at 12:22 PM

***********

I don't think the statement of "You're both great fans and love the Lakers" is accurate here...I may be wrong, but I have never seen a post from keen that said anything positive about the team, it's players, coach and front office...

Are you KIDDING me! You don't only insult me by lumping me in with him, you insult yourself and all Lakers fans. Nope. Until he reveals himself, he will be met with my rebuttals to his constant negative attacks.

P.S.- I don't agree to disagree on anything. I either agree or I disagree.


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

And your stupid and idiotic baits, will be ignored by me.
This is the last time i respond to you!!!
Whether i am negative or not, is none of your business!! You don't own this website and you do not pat my taxes for me..Stupid bully!!

Haha funny photo of pau gasol xD

Mamba24-report to DUTY...I don't see any vacation day request. Posted by: 2Phatt | December 23, 2010 at 11:14 AM
*
Forgot to submit the vacation requests sir. Last minute Christmas errands keeping me busy. Won't be in today and possibly tommorow but will be in bright and early ALL DAY CHRISTMAS/HEAT ARMAGEDDON DAY!
Mamba24 OUT!!!!

Forgot to submit the vacation requests sir. Last minute Christmas errands keeping me busy. Won't be in today and possibly tommorow but will be in bright and early ALL DAY CHRISTMAS/HEAT ARMAGEDDON DAY!
Mamba24 OUT!!!!

Posted by: Mamba24
==============

Mamba,

Sorry, too short of notice, your pay will be docked for this.

Art FL - Hey sorry about this. I'm not sure why it's not working. I'll let management know there were some technical difficulties.

Haha funny photo of pau gasol xD

Posted by: Eurotriple | December 23, 2010 at 12:38 PM

_________

yes it is and it's an example of the "wet noodle" syndrome. he's a euro, through & through, but there's no denying his talent.

i think kobe has to get his team to take on his competitive spirit. he's doing his best to involve his teammates offensively while trying to figure out his offense simultaneously. the dude is hurting but you will not hear it from him. he's playing on a surgically repaired knee and now that crazy finger is acting up on him. getting ejected a couple of nights ago had more to do with cumulative frustration rather than getting "tuned-up" by the bucks. it all came to a head for him. winners do not take losing lightly.

winners do not take losing lightly.

Posted by: frmkt | December 23, 2010 at 01:01 PM
============

Good point.
That's what were all waiting to see!
Well, some of us.

(D)erek (J)eter - way to go on the Friedman...congratulations...well deserved...

Justa:

You can't reason with the trolls like keen. We see glass half full, he (or she) sees glass half empty. If keen is so ticked off about the Lakers, perhaps he should stop watching it.

I'll be alright once the economy is moving on the right direction..

Mamba24, my brother...Make sure that you add me on your roll call!! Miss you, bro!


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