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Things to watch in Lakers-Nets matchup

Farmar_300 1. The return of Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar

It'll be a homecoming of sorts for both as Vujacic plays against the Lakers for the first time since being traded Dec. 15 for Joe Smith while Farmar, who departed as a free agent, is returning to Staples Center to collect his championship ring.

No doubt, both players will want to prove something against the Lakers after experiencing frustration for their limited roles. Since joining New Jersey, the two have flourished. Vujacic has averaged 11.3 points and 27.3 minutes in 12 games, including one in which he made the go-ahead basket in a victory last week over Chicago. That's a big difference compared to the 1.8 points in 4.9 minutes he posted in 11 games with the Lakers this season. After averaging 7.2 points in 18 minutes a game last season, Farmar has posted 9.8 points in 24.7 minutes a game for New Jersey. Vujacic, a pesky defender, will likely guard Kobe Bryant, which would produce one entertaining back-and-forth. Farmar would likely try to prove his scoring prowess against Derek Fisher, whom started over him three of the four seasons he was with the Lakers.

"We know it'll be emotional both for Jordan and Aleksander," said Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, referring to Sasha's real first name. "They'll come out here and want to play well. We know we can't get emotional about it either way."

2. The Nets could be distracted by Carmelo Anthony trade talks

Numerous players with New Jersey have been tied to a possible trade for the Denver forward, including Devin Harris, Anthony Morrow, and Derrick Favors. Even if the Nets are insisting that possibility isn't looming over their head, New Jersey's on-court play suggests otherwise. The Nets blew a 15-point, fourth-quarter lead to the Suns. Reports indicate the team mood hasn't been the greatest. And they're in the middle of a four-game trip with a 3-18 road record. It's not the greatest recipe heading into Staples Center against the defending champions.

3. Can the Lakers continue to push momentum?

The real meat of their schedule doesn't begin until next week when they have games against Oklahoma City (Monday), Dallas (Wednesday) and Denver (Friday) as well as marquee games the following two weeks against Utah (Jan. 25) and Boston (Jan. 30). But for now, the Lakers are in a six-game winning streak because of good habits. It's unrealistic to ask them to replicate what they did in their 112-57 victory Tuesday over the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the pride they took in mastering ball movement, defensive rotations and overall hustle will help build a stronger foundation once the schedule proves tougher.

"I'd like to see us put a string of games together," Jackson said. "I think that's really important to gain the kind of confidence you have and what you're doing out there regardless of your opponents and go through a space of time in which you get a certain sense of a winning streak and keep it going. There's going to be bad games, games that are close and tight or whatever but you find ways to win and those are the kind of things that send you over the top in the season."

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

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

Photo: Nets point guard Jordan Farmar on the move against the Orlando Magic last month. Credit: Jim O'Connor / US Presswire

 
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Don't miss Farmar.

Miss Sasha. The team just isn't as fun without Sasha.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

No #4 and #5...you usually have '5 Things to Look For' MM...

Maybe the Nets are that terrible, they only warrant 3...lmao

Well here is #4 and #5...

#4 - How many Russian mafia members will we see seating in the expensive seats...

#5 - Will Sasha do the 'eyebrow strokes' before shooting his free throws...

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We have more Dynasties than others have Titles in the NBA
Best Winning Percentage in History is part of Laker Lore
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He scored more points than an entire team without even trying
He scored 81 points in a game & could have scored More
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With Pau Gasol lending The Mamba a helping hand
The Lakers will continue going to that Finals promised land
We got a man giving up his Championship Ring for Charity
Ron Artest, Great basketball Player & Human Being is He
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WHOO HOOO....

LEWSTRS present and accounted for...checking in for ROLL CALL!!!

We got all our mojo back...No stopping us now baybee...

Thanks brother Mamba...

hobbitmage

Brook Lopez may very well wind up with better statistics than Andrew Bynum tonight, but that is because he is the Nets #1 option. What is it about that do you not understand? Andrw Bynum is longer than Lopez, more talented than Lopez and, more important, BIGGER and STRONGER than Lopez. Lopez might be as tall or taller than Bynum, but he's not as LONG as Bynum and he gives up at least 25 pounds to Bynum.

And here's the deal. Andrew Bynum is a role player on the Lakers. Let me repeat that. ANDREW BYNUM IS A ROLE PLAYER ON THE LAKERS. The stars are Kobe and Gasol. If Andrew Bynum does his job .. whether it's having a great game like he did against the Knicks or a so-so game like he had against the Warriors .. it gives the Lakers a far better chance of winning the game than not.

This is NOT 5 guys playing one-on-one basketball against each other. You can load me up with box scores as much as you want and I will take them for what they're worth. I look for Bynum to patrol the paint, play solid defense on Lopez, alter shots and block a few, be a low post presence on offense who can pass out of double teams and score, box out to allow his teammates to rebound and rebound himself.

Andrew Bynum stabilizes the Lakers rotations and makes them a better team because of that. Brook Lopez is relied upon by the Nets to do a lot more, so loftier stats does not necessarily mean anything.

The Lakers have a quiz to take tonight and Andrew Bynum has a role to play in passing that quiz. Matching up with Brook Lopez is a part of that quiz and I agree with others that it will be more of a problem for Lopez than the other way around.

Stop that Lewstrs! Stop it now! Lol! Only because you asked my brother. It's still yours!!!!!!!

Lewsters - So Far...

Love that tune

JR

Thank Justa for my $0.02. She and I duked it out on the Renegade Chat while I was coughing up all manner of sickiness and infirmity. Never...NEVER put yourself in a position to be lectured by HER! I'd rather take another swat from my Mama's trusty belt than another lecture from Justa!

Mamba24

Yeah, baybeeee! THAT's what we're talkin' about!!

RE-POST:

Sasha Vujacic, Jordan Farmar and YOUR New Jersey Nets come into Staples Center tonight. You don't think these guys are going to play their tails off for 48 minutes? Jordan gets his well deserved ring and Sasha will try to make a point. When Sasha tries too hard, you know what normally happens. Stupid fouls and missed wide open threes.
~~~~~~~

Now for the interesting part of tonight's game. Here are the mid-season records for every team with three-peat aspirations since the Lakers attempted it in 1989, 20 years after the last team to repeat in 1969, the 48-24 Boston Celtics (who dipped to 34-48 in 1969-70 and missed the playoffs). I also included the final regular season records of these three-peat minded teams and the results for these teams in the playoffs. If the Lakers win tonight, THIS team ... whose play has been fair-to-middling in the eyes of Lakers fans (self included) and NBA experts ... will have the BEST mid-season record of ALL these teams. Who knew!

1988-89 Lakers: 28-13 (finished 57-25; swept by Pistons in the NBA Finals)
1990-91 Pistons: 28-13 (finished 50-32; swept by Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals)
1992-93 Bulls: 28-13 (finished 57-25; three-peat)
1995-96 Rockets: 27-14 (finished 48-34; swept by Sonics in the Second Round)
1997-98 Bulls: 29-12 (finished 62-20; three-peat)
2001-02 Lakers: 29-12 (finished 58-24; three-peat)
2010-11 Lakers: 30-11 ???

Since 1989, three-peat minded teams have either accomplished their goal or got swept out of the playoffs. Coincidentally, Phil Jackson has been the only head coach to pull off three-peats, but that's common knowledge. I love NBA history!

1-2-3 RING! #17 coming up STRONG!!

MM

You missed the huge Bynum-Lopez match up. Come on.

I kid! I kid!

Lakers are going to beat the nets

@MAMBA24... LakerTom present and accounted for. Looking for Drew to have a big game tonight against the better Lopez twin. And good to see Utz is lurking despite impending move.
..........................
TOM

Mamba 24:

Roll Call how do I get added?

Utz

Is this what you're talking about?

====

Or is this just more passive/aggressive behavior because I mentioned Bynum?

Posted by: hobbitmage | January 14, 2011 at 03:05 PM

Aleksander is his real name. Yet he goes by Sasha. I think my eyebrow wax is starting to leak into my brain.

Mamba 24: Roll Call how do I get added? Posted by: Lake Show | January 14, 2011 at 04:02 PM
*
By doing what you just did. You'll be on Sunday, whether it's Lew or me doing it.
*
LakerTom, I predict a big night for Andrew tonight. A nice little test of where he's at physically. Someone said this LakersBlog is addicting and I believe them. Lol! But what do I know since I'm an unrecovered Lakerholic! It's good to be back my brother.

@ Utz - There's some motivational speaking engagements in your future....good job.


@MVP - Classic.....Where's the spirit! Where's the guts!


@hobbit - Something's happened to Brook this year. I'm wondering if Avery's fiery personality is a bad match with Brook. That being said him and Drew is a good matchup. I don't know who's going to win their battle tonight, but I do know I wouldn't trade AB for him. Drew has a higher ceiling....more athleticism, better lateral movement and hands.

Aleksander is his real name. Yet he goes by Sasha. I think my eyebrow wax is starting to leak into my brain. Posted by: danglerzx | January 14, 2011 at 04:07 PM
*
LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Drew has a higher ceiling....more athleticism, better lateral movement and hands. posted by: LRob | January 14, 2011 at 04:10 PM
*
Yes DJ LRob, strange as it may seem, Drew does have hands...Truly!!! lol! Just playing with you my brother!

"The real meat of their schedule doesn't begin until next week when they have games against Oklahoma City (Monday)..."

MM - Don't leave out Sunday's game against the Clippers. Sunday's game will be a thriller which is going to cause the Lakers to put in some work and then be fresh for the following night's game against OKC. The back-back against Cleve & GS was a walk-in-the-park compared to what this team will face beginning on Sunday. All the team has to do is:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74Kh20Jwi1w

and play with that anger & demand for respect

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4DlfEQ7cyk

Ahhhhh... ROLL CALL! Love it!

Prediction: Kobe gets two techs leading to an ejection due to Sasha's pesky defense!

GO LAKERS & IN BUSS WE TRUST!!


Lakerholics,

All seems like the Lakers blog world is once again spinning on its proper axis.

Welcome back Mamba24 and utzworld - THE BANNER HOLDER.

As someone who keeps a close watch over your domain, I know you were missed. The rich collection of voices and opinions is what makes this blog so great. Not to mention Mark Medina's hard work and diligence.

It's a great night for West Coast basketball. And the next five weeks are going to really sort out the Western Conference, I believe.

Back to work I go. Enjoy the drama, everyone. Enjoy.

Thanks, Dan. Heavy is the crown that us Blog Patriarchs wear. We get hit the hardest by trolls - both in house & externally and sometimes the load is too much to bear. Silly, I know, since it's just a game.


Then again...for most of us, it's MORE than just a game.

Dan always great to see you...My condolences on Brandon Roy out for the rest of the year...

Mamba24 - I think we need to change that to Unrepentant-unrecoverable-Lakerholic.

JR

oh no the time difference between LA and NJ has caused sasha vujacic's circuits to fry

The machine will turn against us tonight, run for the hills !!

only Kobe can stop the machine

@utzworld, I hear you and feel you. I'm amazed by what some people will do.

@LEWSTRS, good to hear from you. My knees ache everytime I think of Brandon Roy. A three-time All-Star by age 25 and now a set of bad knees that will either end his career or greatly diminish the superstar he could have become.

@KobeMVP888, I like the Bynum-Lopez matchup. I like the way the Lopez brothers play. I'm not saying they're stars, but they put forth the type of effort you need from a big and they both still have upsides.

expecting a very good exchange between sasha and kobe :)

of course, kobe's gonna win over sasha anytime, any day, but sasha will make it interesting nonetheless.

i'm sure jordan's gonna be more out to prove himself than sasha 'cause he didn't show during the finals and shasha got that chance (with his 2 FTs).

sasha will be his normal self (feisty and all) only more energized.

though i'm happy jordan and sasha are getting their chances and since they come from a winning system, hopefully kobe's and the lakers' winning ways rubbed off on them well and they help the nets get our of the cellar

LAKERS ALL THE WAY :)

ROLLLLLLLLL CALLLLLLL!!!!!!

YIPPPPPEEEEE!

Hey I love Fish. I have since he shot lights in 2000

But I hope Farmar lights him up to show Phil he's an idiot. If PJ handled Farmar better, we wouldn't be so long in the tooth and might even have a little quickness on the court ...to get back to defend a fast break....to drive and dish...when's the last time you saw Fish do that?

I respect .4 as much as anyone, but basketball is a young man's sport. Maybe Farmar couldn't be controlled wiht the 2nd unit, but recall he played pretty well and knew his place with the first. Remember when he played against Houston the game Fish was ejected for the foul on Scola? He was respectable and played at least as good as fish could...if you just compare box scores...


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