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Lakers vs Washington: Lakers beat Wizards in Andrew Bynum's return

Lakers 103, Wizards 89 (final)

In Andrew Bynum's return, the Lakers defeated the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night at the Verizon Center.

Bynum played his first game this season after sitting out the first 24 while recovering from right knee surgery.

Bynum played 17 minutes and had seven points, four rebounds and two blocked shots. He was just one for five from the field.

He got plenty of help as the Lakers improved to 2-1 on a six-game trip.

Kobe Bryant had 24 points on seven-for-13 shooting, playing about 23 minutes, none in the fourth.

Pau Gasol had 16 points on six-for-eight shooting, nine rebounds and seven assists in 30 minutes.

Lamar Odom had a double-double with 18 points (six-for-eight shooting) and 10 rebounds.

 Lakers 92, Wizards 70 (end of third quarter)

The Lakers went to work in the third quarter, rolling past the Wizards.

By the end of the third, Kobe Bryant had 24 points, Pau Gasol had 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists and Lamar Odom had 15 points and nine rebounds.

There was one strange moment in the third quarter. Bryant drew a foul on Al Thornton while shooting a three-point attempt. But Bryant missed all three free throws. At that moment, Bryant was three for seven from the free-throw line.

 Lakers 57, Wizards 46 (halftime)

The Lakers opened an 11-point lead at halftime because they were more efficient in the second quarter.

They shot 54.5% from the field in building a 13-point lead at one point.

Shannon Brown led the Lakers with 12 first-half points.

Nick Young, the former USC star, had 17 first-half points off the bench for Washington.

 

Lakers 24, Wizards 22 (end of first quarter)

With 6:09 left in the first quarter, Lakers center Andrew Bynum checked into the game.

It was his first timing playing since Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics last June.

Bynum had missed the first 24 regular-season games recovering from right knee surgery he had in July.

He was active right from the start, blocking a shot by Hilton Armstrong  with 5:13 left in the first.

Bynum finished the first with six points, one rebounds, two blocked shots and he altered two others, his seven-foot presence obviously a problem for the Wizards.

He played six minutes in the first quarter, going one for two from the field, four for six from the free-throw line.

Bynum was fed down low, drawing a foul. He made both free throws for a 13-10 Lakers leady.

But it was clear that Bynum still didn't have his timing down.

He got the ball down on the low blocks and rolled to the middle of the lane, only to shoot an airball layup attempt.

 

-- Broderick Turner, reporting from Washington, D.C.

 
Comments () | Archives (155)

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I heard on AM570 last night that we traded Sasha for James Edwards. Is this true?

DBDH!

Will someone please explain to me how this trade saves the Lakers 9 million dollars?


We're about a third done with the season right now, so there's about 3.36 million left on Sasha's contract for the remainder of the year.


Minus Joe Smith's remaining contract (at the 2/3s point) of about $600,000 (trade machine says he makes 900,000) leaves us with a savings of 2.8 million this year on this deal, a far cry from 9 million.


And isn't Sasha's deal expiring this year?


Also, we would have been able to sell that 1st round pick for 3 million dollars, so when I subtract that 3 million dollars lost on this deal, I have the Lakers losing 200,000, on this deal, right off the top. Maybe I'm usin g bad math and faulty logic. Anyone?


Why not just let Sasha walk it season's end if we want to substact his contract? Was someone's trade exception involved here?


You tell me.


Wes

They aren't suggesting that 2.8 million rounded up to 3 million then doubled by the luxury tax (6 million) plus the cost of signing the 1st round pick (3 million) is 9 million?


Are they?


They're messing with the Maria / Sasha relationship over this?


Why?


Wes

I hope Sasha is given a chance in NJ. He obviously pissed somebody off. PJ use to have faith in him, but he hasn't played this year - even when guards have had career games against us because we needed some defense at that position. Success is always the best revenge.

Note to self - if I get signed by the Lakers I need to make sure my girlfriend isn't hotter and richer than everyone else's girlfriend. It will screw with the pecking order and I will end up on the bench.

What about LO? He has been tearing it up lately. A big part of us getting out of that loosing streak was LO stepping up and filling the "tired Pau void." He is the human miss-match - too fast and skilled for the big guys, too big and strong for the small guys. If you try to play him close because he is nailing his jumper, he goes right by you and stuffs it in your face. When he gets his thing going, it always makes me laugh. It is funny how much better he is than the guy(s) trying to guard him. He is always unselfish and makes the right pass. He is shooting 58.7% - third in the league. If he keeps this up (always the big "IF?"), he will be an all star this year... and it will be #17 for the Lakers!

Best moment this year - the crowd giving Kobe crap for missing the free throws. You would think they would know better. You don't want to awake the sleeping tiger - you definitely don't want to awake the Black Mamba. You could tell the Wizards coach got all worried and wanted to yell at the crowd "Shut the *&%$ up!"

I am a Lakerholic.

You mentioned earlier that Sasha hit two of the biggest free throws in Lakers history, good point. (of course they don't top Capt's 2 with the Lakers down 1 gm6 in the 88 Finals). What if the Lakers need 2 throws to ice the 2011 chip, Fish has fouled out and Kobe's shooting like he did 2nite? Sasha is the guy I would want up there...what about you?

Posted by: LRob | December 14, 2010 at 11:49 PM
====

Steve Blake or Shannon Brown could do a fine Sasha imitation under those circumstances. The Lakers are a deeper team this season even without the Slinging Slovenian now than Bynum is playing again. The payroll is now at the 2009-10 level and the Lakers barely made a profit last season. Are we a better team? Well, within one month, we were down to 2 bigs plus Caracter, a #58 pick. So yes, I think we are for all intents and purposes. I am among those who always defended Sasha, but I won't miss him. I won't forget him either.

I will say this. I think the Miami triple signing this summer changed the landscape of how the NBA does and will do its player signings.


I think the Lakers realize that they won't have to go thru a huge rebuilding project once Kobe retires. What they need to do is see that all the other players have contracts that expire when Kobe's does. Then they keep one or two pieces like Bynum and whomever, and let the players in the NBA fight it out to see who gets to come to LA.


This is a new, much faster vision of rebuilding.


Wes

Piggy backing on mcIyne's Seeger selections from yesterday, a good alarm clock song and a nod to Melo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WWHdBuOC6Q

Will someone please explain to me how this trade saves the Lakers 9 million dollars?

Posted by: wesjoenixon | December 15, 2010 at 07:18 AM
=====

The Lakers will now pay Smith the prorated balance of his contract for this season, but (and I am guessing here) the total amount of his contract is what is included for luxury tax purposes when you add up the players' salaries at the end of the season. So when you subtract Smith from Sasha, that's about 8.2 mil (4.1 x 2 - luxury tax) and the Lakers wind up saving another 1.3 mil by virtue of the savings between what is actually paid out. That's my understanding, as non-sensical as it sounds. The other savings, of course, is that the Lakers won't have to pay guaranteed money for a #1 pick (who they could have traded away anyway). The Nets probably insisted on that as part of taking Sasha off our hands. So the Lakers essentially PAID them to take him! Oy vey.

Steve Blake or Shannon Brown could do a fine Sasha imitation under those circumstances. The Lakers are a deeper team this season even without the Slinging Slovenian now than Bynum is playing again. The payroll is now at the 2009-10 level and the Lakers barely made a profit last season. Are we a better team? Well, within one month, we were down to 2 bigs plus Caracter, a #58 pick. So yes, I think we are for all intents and purposes. I am among those who always defended Sasha, but I won't miss him. I won't forget him either.

Posted by: KobeMVP888 | December 15, 2010 at 07:38 AM
--------------------------

Barely made a profit? I don't believe that. But again that is not my concern.

If the move was all about saving money then I understand it. But please don't try to sell me on the on court benefits. Or I'll have borrow Jack Nicholson's line from "As Good As It Gets"....Sell crazy someplace else we're all stocked up here.

If you think Joe Smith is a better player "today" than Sasha....well we'll agree to disagree. If the move was all about getting another big...then I expected better than Joe Smith.

Also....Blake had some free throw issues at the end of games the last few years with the Blazers. I recall watching several games where he missed key free throws down the stretch. (Maybe Dan can elaborate). Shannon is unproven in that area, but he very well could come through like you suggested.

The old vets are back with LTLF, Wes Joe and Art Fl chiming in. It will take a lot of practices before we could see contributions from Joe Smith, hopefully the old engine could generate new firepower now that he is with the Championship team. He could be hungry like Artest last year or Barnes and Blake this year to get the bling bling which is also the goal of every NBA player. Besides financial and his height, Mitch opted to deal Sasha now than go down with $10M contract i.e. including the luxury taxes. Our first round draft pick is not that attractive because Lakers are always in the Championship playoffs, it's an equivalent of a 2nd round draft pick of the Nets. Lakers are always a free agent market not a draft market team. It took sometime for Mitch to hatch the deal because we didn't know or see the availability of Joe that meets the need of the Lakers playerwise and financially. They were able to unload Sasha who has been in the market since preseason but the takers wanted more from the Lakers too.

That Sasha trade could also send a loud message to Luke Walton who has still 2 1/2 years in his contract but because of his BB IQ, he could provide court leadership and awareness on a cellar dweller team. The savings of $12M from JB pocket plus the ensuing contract years will really help the Lakers to sign Barnes and Brown to mutiple years. I think Wizards and Kings need a player like Luke to provide discipline on their eager beaver rookies.

Anytime now, Ratliff is coming back as well. Perhaps, this time he knows his role better than when he was acquired. The inclusion of Smith could motivate Theo to be a better player or else he will rot on the bench. Come playoffs time, leave it to PJ how he will mix his tall men both young and old and compliment it with his rabbits or killer bees.

I heard on AM570 last night that we traded Sasha for James Edwards. Is this true?
Posted by: Don't Blame Del Harris! | December 15, 2010 at 07:15 AM
---------------

Hilarious!

I will say this. I think the Miami triple signing this summer changed the landscape of how the NBA does and will do its player signings.

This is a new, much faster vision of rebuilding.

Posted by: wesjoenixon | December 15, 2010 at 07:38 AM

Wes, you may be right...but I'd contend that it was in fact the Lakers who "changed the landscape", not Miami. It was the Lakers' dominance that frustrated not just the Heat, but before them the Celts, and now several other wannabes to force them to look at "group rates signings to match up with the Lakers".

The strategy looks something like the following: start trading your existing semi-star players for a bunch of overpaid-but-expiring contracts, and then dump all of them to get your group of superstars to contend with the Lakers. But it's easier said than done, since, as we've seen with the Heat, the group you get may not have complementary styles that mesh well together. In the end, when they all keep losing to the Lakers, this new strategy may go by the wayside.

One more thing. Where is Darth Stern and the NBA Office on this? These "groupfests" are clearly cases of "tampering". There is no way they could happen unless the players, coaches, and owners are in fact colluding to pre-agree on terms while the players are under contract to their current teams. This shouldn't be allowed in the first place.

Is Joe Smith better than Sasha Vujacic? It's hard to tell. We all know the defense handicap of Sasha, he could be a pesty jerk but also porous when it comes to crunch time, he lacks speed and blocking ability plus the fact that he moves like a euro which is finesse than engaged in post brutality. On F/T shooting, Sasha is an expert in that area however if he plays only during garbage time, what is the advantage of being a good F/T shooter.

I think Joe Smith was also the choice of PJ which is similar to his Chicago Bulls big men who are not really great but they support their Jordan and Pippen. Will Ratliff and Smith emerge as teachers or patients in this team? Let's see how it works. Surely, they have the NBA abilities being low draft picks and longevity on the league. Will they have the stamina? that remains to be seen on Seniors.

LRob

My understanding is that the Lakers made about a 20 mil profit last season, which under the circumstances, isn't a very big profit. Look, like you, I don't care about that stuff either, but they do. Just like I don't gripe about what a player does compared to what he's paid, I don't gripe about the other end of the business decisions.

As for Sasha > Smith, yeah, but now we're nitpicking. We;re missing DJ and Josh more than we imagined, so Smith is good enough now that Bynum's back and Ratliff's a few weeks away. This deal in no way is about Sasha or Smith; it's about money.

@ LRob,

Am I right, am I right?

[dbdh]

Joe Smith has a mid range shot ala Karl Malone, that must be respected. That fits perfectly in the triangle especially with Andrew on the floor.

It's all or nothing this year. Mitch and Co. are just tryin' to load the gun.

Well,

As predicted, Bynum showed flashes, and Pau looked refreshed. And, I think I'm already seeing that deer in the headlights look on the faces of apposing guards. The Wizards sure did turn into a jump-shooting team when Bynum was in, didn't they?

That bank shot was pretty nice. Wish he would have thrown down that alley-oop.

--FEARless

Sasha didn't play. Joe Smith isn't going to play either. Joe Smith costs $8 million less. No brainer.

--FEARless

We always talk of Miami because of their big 3, however we need only to compete with one team in Eastern Conference. I think Lakers should concentrate on the West. Based on the past 25 games, Mavericks and Spurs proved to be teams to be watched. They have a good coach, experience and chemistry of players that could dislodge the On & Off Lakers. We should take care of the W & L standing first than imagining the Championship derby. Kobe and Artest have not shown any consistency in their games, their numbers and % are quite low and leaves a lot to be desired. Kobe is coming from injury and Artest is not in tip top condition. Gasol and LO have been over used in the first 25 games. We have not reached the peak yet while other teams revving up already at high speed. So far, Lakers have not met the quality teams yet so there is not enough gauge on how our chemistry works.

I want to go back through the blog and some of the ideas we had for who the Lakers would get in return in the Sasha trade. I remember Tayshaun Prince was one of them.

Does Indiana have a full squad tonight? If so, good.
More of a challenge.

For those of you who have been saying that you don't think about or care about the financial aspects of this deal (i.e., whether Buss makes or loses money this year), here's a thought...you would if it was your dough.

As for Sasha > Smith, yeah, but now we're nitpicking. We;re missing DJ and Josh more than we imagined, so Smith is good enough now that Bynum's back and Ratliff's a few weeks away. This deal in no way is about Sasha or Smith; it's about money.

Posted by: KobeMVP888 | December 15, 2010 at 08:15 AM

MVP - Agreed it was strictly a money deal....which I don't like but I definitely understand.


I'm hopeful that Joe Smith will put on the P&G uniform and suddenly recapture his game from 2-3 yrs ago. But the reality is he shot 39% from the field last year in the regular season....and in 5 playoff games he played 24 minutes - was scoreless and grabbed a whopping 2 rebounds.

@Ouchhhhh


I have archived your comments about my daughter. When MM gets back from vacation, I will email them to him personally. And, just like Sasha Vujacic, you will be out of here. Permanently.

In terms of names, this is a bad trade. Sasha “The Machine” Vujacic for ….. Joe Smith. I’ll miss the best of Sasha. That one year when his shots actually went down. His pesky but often out of control defense. His hair. But honestly, he was so low on the depth chart I think Phil would have asked Brian “Baby Head” Shaw to suit up before looking to the dysfunctional machine that Sasha had become to play significant minutes.

Joe Smith will do a few things. He will bring a veteran who knows how to play, and that Phil will trust even in the playoffs. He will eat minutes here and there. He will provide injury insurance. Last, and not least, he can be a mentor to Caracter. He is the only Laker with the basic size and body type of the rook and he can help Caracter develop his game.

So the Lakers go from a from a frontline depth chart of Gasol/Odom Caracter to Bynum/Gasol/Odom/Smith/Caracter in one day. That’s a huge improvement. Things are staring to look up.


utzworld - THE BANNER HOLDER | December 15, 2010 at 08:47 AM

i have a large archive myself. i did not say anything about your daughter. i said that U SHOULd have been CAUTIOUS.

ignorant does not make one stupid. maybe negligent or not paying attention IN CERTAIN cases.

so u really do not have a case.

except that u don't like my BB opinions from very long time. i do not care about your prayers.

The scrubs alumni are gradually fading the Lakers landscape. They used to be the centerfold of this team in '05, '06 and '07. Let's start from Tierre Brown, Chucky Atkins, Jumaine Jones, Chris Mihm and Brian Grant. Then the succeeding year, it was taken over by a new wave of scrubs Brian Cook, Kwame Brown, Luke Walton, Smush Parker, Von Wafer and Sasha Vujacic. Bynum, Jordan Farmar, LO and VladRad were about to be inducted to be the head scrubs when Kobe just blew up and ranted in summer of '07. The dynamics changed when Ariza, Gasol, Artest and Brown joined the team. It was really a waste of time on Kobe's career to spend his best years with a bunch of neophytes and inept players.

LO and Bynum were able to extricate themselves from the scrubs alumni by changing their games during off season. From time to time, they still attract detractors from this blog because of their past association with bad players. Therefore only Luke remains as the head of the class on the roster of the Scrubs Alumni. Will he ever extricate himself from that image? I hope he will change. He was the son of a legend first before being a bona-fide scrub.

First, forgive me if someone else posted the song the Nets played at Sasha's arrival: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5jRewnxSBY

Second - Smith... I think Buss saving money is a good thing. I know many people don't care about that here, but it's part of the game... as much as Buss looks to always have an open checkbook, it's still a business, and he's not Cuban or a Russian. It's always a matter of balance for the team (as in any well-run business), hence Fish instead of CP3, say. For the triangle, Fish is a incredible bang-for-the-buck at a position that isn't nearly as important in the balance of things (nuthin' against Fish). It's always a matter of balance, and Dr. Buss and the FO do a great job of that. The MJ Bulls were the same way.

I've been looking forward to Blaker and AB playing together. Blake understands passing to the low post, getting the pass back and passing back to the re-post. He does that with Pau a lot (one of the few), and I'm hoping that he will teach AB to trust to pass out, with the knowledge he might get the ball back (AB always looks like he's afraid to give it up, as he'll never get it back: I'm talkin' to you Jordan Farmar!). Can't wait to see that unfold. Matty Barnes also has an excellent pass-to-post ability. I think Drew's going to have some fun once he gets acclimated.

I think Joe Smith, if he does get PT, will be fine. We need some guys who play good D, and can hit the open mid-range jumper, which is the bread-and-butter for role-players in the Triangle. How many missed open looks last night? Enough in the 4th to make me pull my hair... not that we were going to lose, but just sayin': hit the frickin' open jumper! Smith, if he gets any playing time, hits those fairly well.

@wesjoe.. dont think lakers trading that future 1st rounder for cash is as easy as it seems.. i know that was done by mitch last year but that was to knicks i think and considering its a very late first rounder no guaranteed we find any takers later.. perhaps mitch is just playing it safe.

utzworld - THE BANNER HOLDER

we never exchanged opinions about BB on this blog. but you had many jabs at me because U were DEFENDING the one and only LakerTom.

so if you read my post correctly, (maybe some of my english gives some secondary meanings) i mentioned that when i got a new place for my family I WAS CONCERN about my daughter's well being. so definitely, i'm concern about other kids too. yours included.

the real question there was about Julius Hemphill and it went over your head. that was my little test for you to see how far u know the musical culture of your native old town, saint louis. by avoiding the question, you had a resounding NO

and i did that because in your profile you bragged about all the cinema clubs where you promote and educate about black cinema.

so, let's don't carry away and find "that little word" that we don't like???

by the way, what has your daughter with the Lakers Topic???????? if you bring your private life in public, maybe you should learn to have surprises.

on this site i care about the blogger OPINIONS, not them, not their life, jobs outside it and i do not have to have ANY sympathy for their family problem.

maybe it is insensitive for some. so waht. does not put banners in the Staples.

let's not forgot the context of this blog

some want to make it social. that's their part. but really is OFF TOPIC. so it is part of SPAMMING. how about that????????????????????

maybe you should bring in social services. or maybe i should point that out to them that you r unfitted parent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sasha didn't play. Joe Smith isn't going to play either. Joe Smith costs $8 million less. No brainer.
Posted by: FEARless | December 15, 2010 at 08:30 AM
-------------
FEARless - Agreed from a financial standpoint. But Sasha was someone who could play as an "insurance" policy. I don't see that in Joe. But as long as no backcourt injuries no problems. I also don't like giving away #1 picks....I prefer to leave that to the Suns.

I think Joe Smith was also the choice of PJ which is similar to his Chicago Bulls big men who are not really great but they support their Jordan and Pippen. Will Ratliff and Smith emerge as teachers or patients in this team? Let's see how it works. Surely, they have the NBA abilities being low draft picks and longevity on the league. Will they have the stamina? that remains to be seen on Seniors.

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | December 15, 2010 at 08:13 AM
------------------
Edwin - welcome back. You're right PJ loves his vets. DJ sure would look good right now.

@Edwin...are you back from The PI...I know you had a blast...do you have jet lag...do you have post balikbayan syndrome...still, nothing like home sweet home...

@LRob...I'm just so happy Bynumite is back...Here is a song dedicated to him...and it is fitting since he likes to go 120 mph...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cey2dGPbVcY

As far as Sasha...I liked him more of a character than a player...He was a sight to behold though when he would rain and string those treys...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8CDERzun4k

As far as our team...no more analyzing, theories, and trends...It time for results on the hardwood...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4nAS7HZd1s

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation...

#17 Coming Up!!!

Joe Smith will do a few things. He will bring a veteran who knows how to play, and that Phil will trust even in the playoffs. He will eat minutes here and there. He will provide injury insurance. Last, and not least, he can be a mentor to Caracter. He is the only Laker with the basic size and body type of the rook and he can help Caracter develop his game.

So the Lakers go from a from a frontline depth chart of Gasol/Odom Caracter to Bynum/Gasol/Odom/Smith/Caracter in one day. That’s a huge improvement. Things are staring to look up.


Posted by: Tom Daniels | December 15, 2010 at 08:51 AM
-----------------------
Tom Daniels - I thought that was Theo's job to be the mentor? All the things you're saying about Smith, people were saying about Theo.

I agree that it's a huge improvement from a couple of days ago. But that's all because of Drew.

I've been looking forward to Blaker and AB playing together. Blake understands passing to the low post, getting the pass back and passing back to the re-post. He does that with Pau a lot (one of the few), and I'm hoping that he will teach AB to trust to pass out, with the knowledge he might get the ball back (AB always looks like he's afraid to give it up, as he'll never get it back: I'm talkin' to you Jordan Farmar!). Can't wait to see that unfold. Matty Barnes also has an excellent pass-to-post ability. I think Drew's going to have some fun once he gets acclimated.


I think Joe Smith, if he does get PT, will be fine. We need some guys who play good D, and can hit the open mid-range jumper, which is the bread-and-butter for role-players in the Triangle. How many missed open looks last night? Enough in the 4th to make me pull my hair... not that we were going to lose, but just sayin': hit the frickin' open jumper! Smith, if he gets any playing time, hits those fairly well.

Posted by: 63 Footer | December 15, 2010 at 08:57 AM
------------------------
Excellent observation on Blaker potential impact on Bynum.

I'm not sold on Joe's potential contributions....other than being another warm body.

Yep, Lew beat you to that selection last night :-)

LRob - I thought that might have been the case on the Floyd - it was an obvious one, but I'm feeling obvious this morning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06DCVG0erEk

I too feel Smith will just be another warm body, but if he DOES get in, I think he'll do just fine in his role, was all I really wanted to mention. Five minutes here and there (others in foul trouble), and he can hold the fort down. Mentoring? I don't think that's as big a deal as people make out. That's what the coaching staff is for.

I'm hopeful that Joe Smith will put on the P&G uniform and suddenly recapture his game from 2-3 yrs ago. But the reality is he shot 39% from the field last year in the regular season....and in 5 playoff games he played 24 minutes - was scoreless and grabbed a whopping 2 rebounds.

Posted by: LRob | December 15, 2010 at 08:41 AM
===

The further reality is that this had nothing to do with Joe Smith. In terms of acquiring a better big for Sasha's expiring contract, the only way that would have happened would be if the Lakers were willing to take on a worse contract, which is the last thing they would do given the fact that they already have the highest payroll in the NBA and, looking forward, it will continue to be among the highest payrolls in the league. Someone mentioned Tayshaun Prince, a player who would be perfect for the Lakers, but who they no longer need. His 11 mil contract also expires, so I suppose Mitch could have explored a deal offering Sasha and, let's say, Artest for him, but what does that do for this year's payroll and luxury taxes?

This is why Mitch Kupchak is the GM and we're fans. I think that once again he proved that he has mastered his craft. Hey, we also got back Golden State's second round pick which shouldn't be far behind our first rounder and the rights to some 28 year old 6'11" Ukranian player named Sergei Lishouk. I have no idea why he was included in the deal.

So far this season, Ratliff played more games and minutes than Joe Smith (only played 4 games.) Anyone knows why? Coach's DNP or injured?

This was a good game – some observations
Bynum looked ok, but got tired and couldn’t jump in the second half. When fresh though he sure clogged up the lane and challenged many shots. No easy layups when Bynum’s in there. I think the best play of the entire game was taking Bynum out with 2 minutes in the game so in his fatigued state he couldn’t injure himself.
Kobe must have took a sharp blow to his shooting hand, really missing 3 freethrows in a row? That may be a first. That Wizards guard Nick Young got under his skin for a little bit, I loved how Odom gave him the behind the back pass in the corner for the 3 pointer. Kobe really needed that to pick himself up. One concern though LO, why not shoot the ball from the low block, why keep passing out for 3 pointers?
Pau looked like a peppier version of Pau, Odom looked fine and even Shannon started hitting again. Is the team getting back to its normal self? I loved how Kobe got a rest with minute left in the 1st qtr to the 6 minute mark in the second qtr. With other facets of the offense clicking, and a pesky defense the Kobe/Fish/Artest combination got a good rest.
Blake is really a smart player, great playmaking which the lakers need he really is a pass-first guy which is what Artest and Bynum need. Also the play where Pau was double teamed and Blake ran to the spot where Pau could pass it to him was genious.
What a surprise to see Walton in the offense, but hey it was the Wizards we were playing. You gotta shoot the ball Luke!
Pau is just too nice, he was explaining to Mcgee how the ball went off his leg? It’s a good thing we have Bynum back, he gives us a nasty inside presence that Pau and LO do not have.
Barnes still is a cheap shot artist, he reminds me of Bruce Bowen pulling and pushing. Lakers can now definitely match the cheap “physcal” play of the Celtics and Bulls.
Still some interesting developments to the offense. Seems like several offenses where featured
1. I loved how Artest was featured to shoot in the paint, he needs to bang in there. He serves an important role as the team’s fullback, that can soften up the defense of the other team. If he drives the rim then the foul usually called on the defense which mean the defense gets a bruise and a foul. Let artest do this 5 or 6 times when he is in the game, that softens up the defense for shannon and Kobe to drive later on.
2. There was also the Kobe/Pau/LO passing game that was worked to perfection
3. There was also the Kobe offense on display
4. The Killer B’s (including Bynum) were also effective and featured Bynum. (Jeez I forgot how big he is)
Lets hope Hibbert doesn’t kill us tonight!

Just a thought....Which combo would you prefer to have on the Lakers roster? Mbenga and Powell or Ratliff and Smith? Would you consider the 3rd string C and PF were upgraded?

Kevin Tully,

>>>What a dumb trade. Giving up a number one pick for a 35 year old has been?
>>>I don't think the Lakers are serious about winning rings anymore.

Everyone knows that 35 year olds can't contribute to rings. Ask Ray Allen. Ask Shaquille O'Neal. Ask KG, who will be 35 when he exits the playoffs in 2011.

The difference is, Joe Smith will be the 11th or 12th guy in the Lakers depth chart. Your fragile ARPA members are critical to the success of your team, so when they go down like the Titanic, so will the Celtics aspirations of winning another ring before 2020.

hugs

taino - excellent observations. Should be interesting to see how it all unfolds (my favorite part of the "practice" season). Playoffs become a whole 'nother monster, where we slow it all down. Can't wait!

taino,

That was an interesting read, especially for me not being able to see the game.
Enjoyed the post.

Thanks 63 Footer - coming from one of the smartest fans on this blog, that means a lot (loved your posts last summer on Kareem and Wilt).
Lets hope Bynum can slow down Hibbert! Note to Fish and Artest, Hibbert deserves a double team!

I did read every comment, and I am sure some of the more educated and informed bloggers have already said this but we did not trade a "No. 1" pick, we traded a FIRST ROUND pick!
Duh, the Lakers rarely if ever get a No. 1 pick, and our first round pick is quite low, this is no big deal. It is a salary dump and a chemistry thing. Let's not forget Dr. Buss has a Masters and PhD. in Chemistry, good Lord people, Sasha was not playing and fell out of favor with the staff, bad juju (sic).
Secondly, what team in the league goes 12-13 deep? Nobody, who cares if Joe Smith can play? He is insurance, extra big, just in case.
And finally, why all the hate on Sasha? He is a 2 time world champion, he contributed, I for one am grateful and wish him all the success in the world (except against the Lakers), but seriously what former Laker ever has success when they come back against us? Hardly anyone ever, (see Trev, VladRad, Jordy, etc) to much pressure, I doubt the Machine is gonna light us up any time soon.
Good luck Sasha, thanks for the memories.
billy in SLO

taino - you're too kind. Really! But I'm not sure Bynum needs to slow Hibbert down (don't think he can at this stage of his recovery), but giving Pau some breathers will do wonders for the Spaniard (as per last night's game) I think.

We'll see....

I expect Kobe to be fired up and hit 11 out of 10 FT's tonight.

oops, should be "did NOT read every comment"

Once formidable "Bench Mob" with promising Farmar and Sasha (and Luke) is finally over. We now have "Killer B's"(will Bynum join them?)

@taino - good observations. And I'll add that I was impressed by Kobe's defense on Nick Young in the 3rd quarter. It was nice to see Kobe go in the lockdown defense mode again. I don't remember seeing him that intense on defense this season.

Thanks Art - NBA League Pass...I recommend it! This is shaping up to be an epic season, full of suspense, stops and starts. Being in FL I bet your Dec 25th NBA viewing will be intersting. I can't wait to see Artest bang with LeBron, and I hope Barnes plays Wade... Ha-Ha-Ha

63 Footer don't be modest, many of the young guns on this site waste space with nearsighted rants. Your posts are always reasoned.

Hibbert is a beast... he'll me more mobile, but I wonder if he is as strong as Bynum?

taino - I think when fully recovered, the match-up between Hibbert and Drew will be mucho fun. I believe Drew will out-muscle him and have quicker/better footwork on the offensive end. We'll see.

As for the Dec. 25th game... I just wanna see some Heat get Scola'd! Mr. Floor, meet Mr. Wade/Lebron.

taino,

I can't wait for the 12/25 game.
I hope Barnes reaches deep down into his bag of tricks and pulls out the fake pass into the face of Labron. Think he'll flinch?
I would give 3 straight losses to crappy teams just to see the Lakers beat up on the Heat and Celtics.

A nice article from Eric Pincus explaning about the trade and its consequences for the Lakers:

**

http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=18193

"Someone mentioned Tayshaun Prince, a player who would be perfect for the Lakers, but who they no longer need. His 11 mil contract also expires, so I suppose Mitch could have explored a deal offering Sasha and, let's say, Artest for him, but what does that do for this year's payroll and luxury taxes?

Posted by: KobeMVP888 | December 15, 2010 at 09:25 AM "

I brought it up to talk about how people were expecting great things from this trade, which is probably why what they got back is being looked at as a disappointment. Realistically speaking, nothing should have been expected in return from Sasha outside of a disgruntled player who still had several years left on a bad contract.

I'd almost be surprised if Joe Smith ever even suits up as a Laker. Especially with Ratliff returning soon. I'm looking at it more that with how little Vujacic was playing and producing, it would be better to have essentially the same team with a slightly smaller payroll.

Note: I meant that Buss thought it would be better to have the same team with a smaller payroll. As someone who isn't paying Sasha's salary, I think it would have been better to keep him.

 
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