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Lakers don't express much surprise over Shaquille O'Neal becoming a Celtic

In a move that bolstered Boston's front line and added further intrigue to the team's rivalry with the Lakers, Shaquille O'Neal signed with the Celtics during the off-season. But don't expect much of a reaction coming out of Laker land.

"I don't think it's too weird," said guard Kobe Bryant, who had a contentious relationship with Shaq during the center's time with the Lakers from 1996 to 2004. "I don't really hold too much significance to the fact that he's playing with the Celtics. I don't think Laker fans as a whole are. I don't think it's that big of a deal."

There are plenty of reasons. O'Neal, 38, is at the tail end of his career and brings a very different dimension to the Celtics in a utility role than he did as a dominant force for the Lakers who proved largely instrumental in the the team's championship three-peat from 2000 to 2002.

Lakers guard Derek Fisher acknowledged that he initially was surprised by O'Neal's signing with the Celtics, but the Lakers' rivalry with Boston when O'Neal was in L.A. had lost much of its intensity given the disparity in the success of both organizations. And though it went unstated, O'Neal has had a fair amount of history when it comes to trying to needle the Lakers, including rubbing it in after he won an NBA title with the Miami Heat in 2006; releasing a distasteful rap song (if you can call it that) targeting Bryant after the Lakers lost in the 2008 Finals; and suggesting at one point that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson intentionally tried getting him to butt heads with Bryant.

"I think they'll greet him normally," Jackson said of fans' reception of O'Neal on Sunday at Staples Center. Some have argued that O'Neal should not have his Lakers jersey retired here even though he led the team to three titles and is fifth on the league's all-time scoring list. "He's become kind of a -- I was going to say comic figure, but not -- but more a familiar person with the commercials and a lot of things that he does." Jackson said. "He's become America's symbol of salesmanship. He's done a good job of doing that. He sells a lot of things."

-- Mark Medina
twitter.com/latmedina

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

 
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Does anyone know Pau Gasol was referenced by rap artist David Banner in "The Light"? "He protects my center from the trap like his name is Pau Gasol." Pretty cool. It starts at 3:08 of the song. I'd post a link to the song but the word synonymous with donkey is only used once. That's the most profane it gets.

Shaq's jersey retired = NO!!!

RE-POST FROM YESTERDAY AFTERNOON (with some editing):

About an hour or so ago, John Ireland interviewed some MAJOR Celtics journalist/fan (whose name escapes me). Ireland introduced him as one of the most knowledgeable, die hard Celtics fans on the planet. He was at the airport in Boston about to board a plane for his flight to LA for the game. Here's the sum and substance of what he said:

1) Kobe Bryant is the best closer in the game PERIOD, and that's even taking into account his Celtics bias. Those statistics are nonsense. Kobe's been the best player in the game PERIOD since the days of Magic, Bird and Jordan. Anyone who says otherwise is crazy.

2) The game on Sunday has no significance. No one remembers what happened between the Lakers and Celtics during the regular season in the 80's and they made ZERO difference.

3) The regular season has little to no significance. He's convinced that the Lakers will be there at the end this season and laughed at those who are making a big deal at the Lakers' periodic mediocrity this season.

4) All that matters is what happens in June.

5) HCA may or may not have significance, but the best team wins in a 7 game series. He doesn't necessarily think the Celtics would have won in 7 with HCA last June. Too many variables.

I agree with everything he said. This guy is tuned into history, more important what it takes to win championships. He has something that ALL of us need:

PERSPECTIVE.


Apparently the Lakers AND the Celtics were both guilty of looking ahead to tomorrow’s rematch of last year’s Finals foes, the Lakers losing to the hapless Kings and the Celtics to the defenseless Suns. This is why MVP rightly states that the regular season is really just the practice season. The real games don’t begin until the playoffs, when the pace slows down and defense and intensity crank up.

Winning tomorrow’s showdown won’t count for anything if and when these two teams meet up again in the NBA Finals as many of us expect but it will provide an important first look at the key matchups, which become dominant in a long playoff series, which is what we will likely be looking at this June. That’s why I’ll be paying special attention to the Drew vs. Perk/Shaq, Pau vs KG, and Ron vs. Pierce.
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Like the last two Finals between these teams, the front courts will determine the winner. The Celtics defeated a Bynum-less Lakers team three years ago with rougher, tougher low post play. Last year, with Ron Artest and an injured Andrew Bynum, the Lakers used the same formula to beat the Celtics and win their second NBA championship in a row. Expect the front courts to be the key once again.

The key tomorrow in my mind is going to be Kobe really working to get our bigs involved and the team playing solid inside-out basketball. That means the bigs have to redeem themselves for their horrible play last night. Drew has to dominate Perkins and Shaq, Pau and LO cannot allow KG and Big Baby to bully them out of their games, and Ron has to turn Paul Pierce into a volume scorer. If we do that, we will win the game and slide some big slivers of doubt into the confidence of the Celtics.
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I find the criticism of MM for the level of activity on the blog to unfounded. I’ve been here for over five years, usually posting pretty regularly. There have always been lulls in posting, often aftermaths of troll invasions or periods where everybody is just plain blogged out. Just like the Lakers and Celtics, it’s hard to bring our A-game every night. After all, this is just the practice season for us too.

And what is it with the sudden wave of anonymous self-appointed and anointed guardians of free speech who condescend to tell everybody that what is wrong with the blog is MM is Adolph Hitler. It’s like we’ve been suddenly overrun by a shipload of escaped mental patients with multiple personalities in love with speaking of themselves in 3rd person singular to sound more relevant than they are.

Finally, give the Kings credit. Cousins was on fire, even if several of his shots were recipient of sweet bounces, Dalembert had a career game, and Landry was his usual pesky self against the Lakers. Every 9 or 10 games, they’re good enough to beat the Lakers, especially when the Lakers don’t bring their A-Game mentally or physically. That’s why games are won on the court and not on paper or video.
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TOM

Shaq just adds another nice juicy subplot. How many hours til gametime! Oh yeah...there's no question his jersey will be retired and deservedly so. The Lakers organization has too much class not to.


@Mark G – I believe that was Eric Gale on guitar. Probably his most well known commercial work was the nice solo he had on Bob James “Angela” (the theme for the TV show Taxi).


@psycorp – Laker bigs need to be called out for that lackluster effort. But there would be no all-star game if all players were held to the standards you cited at 1:52pm.


Shaq will make little to no difference in the game tomorrow. Kevin Garnett is officially a dirty player after what he did to Channing Frye. I know that the game doesn't matter in the grand-scheme of things, but it does matter in the here and now. It will be interesting to see how the Lakers respond to the Celtics, because they played against the Heat about as hard as they did the Kings.

Doc Rivers on why he was ejected yesterday..........


"I'm not sure," Rivers said when asked about the ejection. "I didn't earn it. So I think you have to ask Mr. Javie. He actually came into our huddle. We were standing there and he came up to us. I'll tell you exactly what was said. He said, 'You guys are complaining way too much.' And I said, 'Then make the right calls.' His answer back was 'I'll make a call for you.' That's how I got the tech. After I got the tech, I didn't have any choice words for him. I didn't say a word. You know what I said? 'It's about the game, it's not about one individual.' That's what I said over and over again."

LT

Superb post as always. I agree with everything you said across the board. Losses like last night are annoying, but like the players, we as fans need to learn from minor setbacks, use them as teachable moments and move on. I didn't read through all the silly garbage ... trade Artest, Bynum stinks, Gasol's soft ... that typically follows a loss because it's old, tiring, narrow minded and .. yes .. unsophisticated (to use a snobby word that gets under everyone's skin). As Lakers fans, we are better than that!

mm- ....Dude I guess my comments were a little too GRAPHIC, for YOU and your 27 BLOGGERS, Oh well just one man's opinion. When you PLAY little GIRLS, you get talk about like little BITCHES.

I hope PJ would advised Pau "The Weenie King" to wear an extra pad on his jock strap tomorrow when goes up against KG. KG has indeed cemented his legacy as a thug yesterday when he literally slapped at Frye's manhood while went up for a J. I just love KG's expression after Frye got up and went up to his face to complain about the love tap. Like, I didn't do anything! But thanks god for the technology, he got caught on camera!! He's giving a new meaning of the "crotch cam" technology.

I hope you guys noticed Kobe's facial expression during the 3rd quarter run by the Kings yesterday when our Bigs (But soft) got punked by the Kings. As usual, Kobe gave us 110% but our Bigs just got caught in the limelight with the Sunday match up against the hatred Cs. I hope they won't need KG's love tap to wake up from another mid season doldrums.

@MVP…Thanks for the props. And for the recap of the Boston scribes right on comments. I also meant to compliment you on the toasting the Celtics troll. I especially loved the line about the Lakers enjoying the dynasty that was supposed to be the Celtics. That one brought a foot wide smile.
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TOM

LRob

The Chowds have an entirely different set of rules than the rest of the NBA and it's been this way forever. They are taught to cheat on every play so it either doesn't look like cheating or so the refs get sick of calling it. Then when a referee like Javie who isn't afraid of them calls the game correctly, the result is what happened last last. KG is a barbaric beast who should be suspended the way he slipped his foot under Channing Frye's foot after his jump shot. Kobe got suspended twice in 2007 for doing a whole lot less than that, but because he dons East Coast Bias Green, KG is permitted to get away with all his crap, including his filthy illegal screens that every player in the league complains about and he's even allowed to continue playing after calling another player a "cancer patient."

The worst is the way Glenn "Big Baby" Rivers never shuts his trap during a game, freaks out at every illegal screen that his pulling guards are called for and generally makes an ass out of himself on the sidelines. Or are we the Big Babies?

Shaq will make little to no difference in the game tomorrow. Kevin Garnett is officially a dirty player after what he did to Channing Frye.

Posted by: TNTLakerFan | January 29, 2011 at 04:59 PM
====

Oh TNT, it's been official for a LOT longer than that!

2) The game on Sunday has no significance. No one remembers what happened between the Lakers and Celtics during the regular season in the 80's and they made ZERO difference.

Posted by: KobeMVP888 | January 29, 2011 at 04:44 PM

Dude, any huge Magic fan remembers that running jumper at the buzzer, it's one his signature clutch moments.

Regular Season games between the two might mean nothing, that shot meant a lot, retrospectively, to the image of Magic as a clutch player.

I hope PJ would advised Pau "The Weenie King" to wear an extra pad on his jock strap tomorrow when goes up against KG. KG has indeed cemented his legacy as a thug yesterday when he literally slapped at Frye's manhood while went up for a J. ......
Posted by: Wallace | January 29, 2011 at 05:14 PM

I actually went on a rant after the finals about KG and PP "Love Tapping" our players like Artest and Lamar. I saw MULTIPLE times that their hands just ended up on, next to, glancing, and menacing our players "Packages".

I actually got into quite a tussle with Mr 131 who was at the time manning up by coming to our blog after losing to us. He vehemently defended his Boys and called me crazy, blah blah blah.

I now stand vindicated. I know what I saw. I asked you guys then to watch for it as you rewatched the games. So I will do so again. The next time you watch last years' finals, watch for it.

JohnnyV:

Indeed. You have been vindicated! KG should be further punished by the NBA for his repeated behavior.

MVP,

Good post on the game outlook by the he Boston fan. You’re right about the Celtics setting so many illegal screens that the refs get immune to them. Your comment about Perkins being a pulling guard was hilarious. Here’s an example of KG doing his offensive lineman impersonation.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbB731KpKuw

@Johnny V - consider yourself vindicated. The groin taps are just crazy, but putting your foot under a jump shooter while he's in the air...that's dangerous and dirty.


@never - J. Cole also shouted out Pau in a collabo he did with Mos Def and Talib, but it also has too many lyrics that I wouldn't post.

The Celtics are just what the Lakers need to really gauge themselves at this point in the season. Let's face it: No other team in the league piques their interest like the Celtics can. Expect both teams to go at each other because their pride is on the line via national T.V. Thank goodness for self conscious vanity because we're all in for a treat: Sunday Mass!!

GO LAKERS & IN BUSS WE TRUST!!

Jerry West projects that Kobe will go down as one of the 2-3 greatest players evah! I guess that still falls in the top 10 guards of all-time...right MJ!


http://msn.foxsports.com/video/NBA?vid=467ab727-f3db-40e6-aaaa-8d914aa94434&from=foxsports/nba/stories

LRob

I've seen that video on the moving screens and that is just an EXAMPLE of what they do. Perkins is just as bad as Garnett and Big Baby II has learned from his mentors well. That's not a PART of their offense, it IS their offense. Last year was so gratifying on so many levels, I'm still pinching myself. We beat them despite their cheating ways.

I actually got into quite a tussle with Mr 131 who was at the time manning up by coming to our blog after losing to us. He vehemently defended his Boys and called me crazy, blah blah blah.

Posted by: JohnnyV | January 29, 2011 at 05:31 PM

JV-

I dont recall getting into "quite a tussle" with you over the touching of Laker packages. Please forgive me. Im sure I would have "vehemently" defended my boys. I also dont recall calling you "crazy, blah blah blah" or anyone else for that matter. But it sounded good. Any other tales about us "tussling" you want to share? Remember that time...

PompousTom-

Another excellent pickup by your Yankees! Bartolo Colon .... Lol!!! Lets see, youve added Mark Prior and Bart Colon that should be enough. The rich just keep getting richer. Lmao!!

Shaq should have his jersey retired for what he did for the franchise.

That much said, he was never truly a Laker. We all just believed he was.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

The Lakers should retire Shaq's jersey and hang it on the men's room wall. He stinks!!!

If you hang Shaq's jersey alongside the other Laker's retired uniforms it would diminish and defile everything the other Laker greats accomplished. It would be a sellout of major proportions.

I like Phil Jackson's take on Shaq, when he says "he sells a lot of things...". Shaq has become the George Foreman of the NBA. Like George, he may have stuck around too long. But, also like the aged George, he's still big and powerful and dangerous.

@Posted by: TNTLakerFan | January 29, 2011 at 04:59 PM

TNT...you wrote that "Kevin Garnett is officially a dirty player after what he did to Channing Frye."

IMHO, Garnett has been a dirty , loudmouthed, cursing, bully of a player for a long, long time. It has gotten worse with him since he's been with the Celtics.

The worst is the way Glenn "Big Baby" Rivers never shuts his trap during a game, freaks out at every illegal screen that his pulling guards are called for and generally makes an ass out of himself on the sidelines. Or are we the Big Babies?

Posted by: KobeMVP888 | January 29, 2011 at 05:16 PM

AMEN!!! This is the same Doc Rivers that spends half of his time outside the coaches box and actually ON THE COURT!! If there is one rule I'd like to see strictly enforced, that's the one. If a coach or player that is not officially in the game even puts his toes on the sideline, it should be a technical foul.

Rivers claimed innocence when asked why he was ejected in Friday's game. He probably got tossed for the volume of his comments to Steve Javie. Javie IS a prima donna in his own right, but Doc Rivers is the worst ref baiter in the league. It's an old Celtic tactic.

Then, to top it off, Doc claimed that what Garnett did to Frye was "not so bad." It's hard to respect that. In fact for me, it's impossible.

O'Neal, 38, is at the tail end of his career and brings a very different dimension to the Celtics in a utility role than he did as a dominant force for the Lakers who proved largely instrumental in the the team's championship three-peat from 2000 to 2002.


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