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Caught in the Web: Lakers prepare for seven-game trip

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--The Times' Mike Bresnahan shares this sobering statistic to back up his argument that it's unlikely the Lakers could surpass San Antonio in the Western Conference standings: "Even if the Spurs won at only a 60% clip the rest of the way, the Lakers would have to play almost .900 ball to finish ahead of them."

--The Times-Picayune's John DeShazier argues the Hornets-Lakers game is a must-win for New Orleans.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky discuss the Lakers' loss to the Spurs, potential trades and the NBA All-Star game in their latest podcast.

--NBA.com looks at the top 10 plays Kobe Bryant made in the 2004-05 season.

--Sports Illustrated's Britt Robson ranks the Lakers at No. 6.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne argues the Lakers need a confidence boost.

--The Times-Picayune's Jimmy Smith details the struggles the Hornets will have matching up with the Lakers.

--The Daily Breeze's Elliott Teaford previews the Lakers' seven-game trip.

--The Orange County Register's Mark Whicker faults what he calls the Lakers' "lifeline" for maintaining no team could beat them in the playoffs.

--Fox Sports' Billy Witz argues the Lakers' upcoming trip is the exact thing they need to get out of their struggles.

--SB Nation's Tom Ziller sizes up Bryant's scoring tendencies.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano and Silver Screen and Roll's Dexter Fishmore preview the Lakers-Hornets matchup.

Tweet of the Day: "Stayn hm while team goes on the road. Gotta get this knee rite. Tough east coast swing. Should b ready 2 start practicing once they get back" -- Matt_Barnes22 (Lakers forward Matt Barnes)

Reader Comment of the Day: "All the lakers not named Kobe need to be more aggressive. Especially when Kobe gets that hot hand. Guys need to force themselves to look for their shot when Kobe gets going, cause Kobe can get it going anytime he wants, but if guys are not looking to shoot then he might as well keep trying to carry them himself.

It should be easier for these other guys to get a good shot when Kobe gets hot cause every team has seen it before and they begin to focus their entire d on Kobe. So when Shannon gets the ball, or Pau gets a touch, or lamar don't give it up or look for where Kobe is at, look to drive or take a short pull-up, or play a two man game within the triangle like that weak side pick they run and let Kobe know that you are with him trying to get the job done instead of watching him." -- dlyte

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

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

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant passes to a teammate after drawing the Hornets defense to him in the Lakers' 101-97 victory on Jan. 7. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (26)

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Hornets don't have Ariza or Okafor.

Offensively- Challenged

Defensively- Challenged

Who's guarding Kobe? Bellinelli, Pondexter?

Kobe will eat alive, anybody guarding him tonight, The bigs should have their way on the inside.

This should be in and out, no complacency, no hesitation. Just finish them off.

Memphis- again, Ron was really active on Thur, it's a sign of him turning a corner and the red light goes on? Don't know, if it is, than Rudy Gay is in for trouble.

Boston- toss up.

New York- even on a back to back, with an improved team, the Lakers should win this game. And please Phil, put Ebanks in, even if Garbage time, let him have some shine coming home.

Orlando- toss up. Since they traded Gortat, I give us a slight advantage on the interior.

Charlotte- always gives us trouble, I think we win this one.

Cleveland- W. May God have mercy on their souls.

@dlyte – congrats on the RCOTD. Excellent comments.


@Lew – The Bangles doing their thing. Good one.

Edwin,

I agree that Phil should play the rooks a minute or two here and there to infuse some youth and energy into the team. And if they're able to give the team a boost of energy then they can get expanded minutes. Ebanks got a quick run in Houston and Kevin Martin immediately bated him into a 3pt foul.

I also share your wish to see the team play better now and no wait til the playoffs. You said, we need a better Bynum, Gasol, Artest and even Kobe to 3peat. I agree. But I try to temper my expectations with the realization that these Lakers (2008-2011) have played more games in the last 3yrs than any players in the history of the game when you factor in the following…

57-65 Boston only needed 8 wins to take the title
66-67 11 wins
68-76 12 wins
77-83 14 wins
84-02 15 wins
03-11 16 wins


Thus, the current Lakers are playing two full rounds more in the playoffs than Bill Russell Celtics did in 8 of his 11 championships. Plus factor in Kobe, Pau and LO playing all those games for international competition. This team is truly in uncharted territory. That’s not an excuse its real talk.


I think we have a tendency to romanticize the “good old days” and forget that those guys had their struggles too. Take a look at the 69 Celtics only winning 48 regular season games , or Jerry West Lakers losing to Boston in 69 and NY in 70 despite being heavy favorites, Magic’s 88-89 Lakers losing 8 straight roads…that’s right EIGHT straight road games.


As far as the off court activities…yes these players do more of that because they have more opportunities. (Somewhere out there some old time fans are saying that we're not real fans because back in the day they were so tougher, they listened to every game on the radio, waited two days sometimes to get the box scores, didn't need no wimpy +/- stats to tell who was playing better, etc). I’m probably in the minority here but I don’t have a problem with LO doing a reality show, or Kobe doing a documentary, or any of the guys doing things outside of basketball. As long as they show up for practice and put the work in. People rag on Ron about his outside activities distracting him….but from everything I’ve heard and read he works very hard on his game and does much more than just the mandatory stuff. FYI…Magic, West and those guys did commercials and the talk show circuit back in the day.

RCOTD = DLYTE = OUT FREAKIN STANDING!!! KUDOS!!

Boy its quiet around here today. Maybe the rare Saturday game day has thrown everybody off schedule.

@sean – excellent observations. Although I think that Orlando game can be problematic if the Lakers don’t get out to their shooters.

@Lew – Following up on your theme with one from LA’s own…featuring a Kraftwerk sample
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjFs9CPGhts

@LakerTom – You’re right Joni deserves some love. Here’s one of my favorites by her with Tom Scott lending a hand.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4oY8ojxp_8&feature=related

@Mamba - What did you come up with?

Wake me up when the NBA play-offs (Lakers real season)/NFL regular season starts.

Remember,

It's not just the 7-game road trip,

It's actually 14 of the next 17 games on the road, starting with the Hornets tonight.

Those 17 games end on March 12 at Dallas.

How many games can the Lakers win? We know they won't win all 17, but they better win at least 10 or 12 games out of the 17.

This will be a tough mid-term exam for the Lakers. Stay tuned - we shall see how they fare.


@LROB… “I agree with MVP in the spirit in which he meant that comment. The regular season is preparation for the post season. Of course you want to win every game (otherwise why play), but generally speaking the importance of the regular season is different depending on the stage of the life cycle of a given team.

New/ with championship aspirations - teams that have just recently been put together like Miami, Orlando and New York. The regular season is crucial for developing chemistry and an identity.

Growing - teams like OKC, Chicago, Memphis and Philly - it’s very crucial as these teams are looking to make a jump to the next level.

Maturating - teams like LA, SA and Boston where the stars have been together for years playing at a high level the regular season isn't as important as it is to teams in these other categories because they've proven what they can do and their identity is established.

Rebuilding/Declining - teams like Phoenix, NJ, Detroit or Sacramento (Sorry Sonny) must develop young players and look to the future even if it cost them some regular season wins.
……………………………….
That was certainly worth reposting, LROB. I haven’t caught up to all the new threads yet but that was a true RCOD in my opinion. That and your constantly positive team-oriented attitude get you my vote as a Lakers Blog first team All-Star and Rookie of the Year. Like Kobe, you continue to show people that you are even better than they thought.
……………………………..
TOM

Rob in LA - I'll say 11-6. Those last four will be rough (SA, Atl, Mia & Dal).

Hello,
Police here; the PSP agree that it is very quiet in here today. Makes working the saturday police shift even worse :(

LRob, great post; the PSP appreciate the way you lay things out and flesh out the reasoning behind your thoughts unlike a certain unnamed person.

The PSP second Laker Tom's sentiments as first team blog all star and rookie of the year. The PSP also nominate you for Blogger of the Year!

Thanks
PSP Intern (hoping for a full time job)

MVB - Most Valuable Blogger - LRob! Cast your votes people!

Thanks
PSP Intern

Growing - teams like OKC, Chicago, Memphis and Philly - it’s very crucial as these teams are looking to make a jump to the next level.


Posted by: LakerTom | February 05, 2011 at 01:49 PM


Nice points, Tom. The only thing I was going to chime in with is that Memphis, unfortunately will regress next year and possibly beyond that.
They will not re-sign Z-BO, they like Gasol too much to let him go. Randolph makes them a very interesting squad, with his virtual 10 rebounds a night and much, much prolific low post game.

Thabeet, has been...terrible, a lottery pick, no less, quite a dubious career so far, I don't see much in the way of improving his offensive game.

W/out Randolph and Mayo and Thabeet, the depth on this squad is suspect next year and not a lot of free agents are going to be tempted to play in Tennessee. That's a hard sell.

The Lakers have NO FIRE IN THEIR BELLY.

Despite how old the Spurs and Celtics are, they play with fire in their eyes and bellies.

This is why they have a better chance to win the championship than these Lakers.

Trading won't solve the Lakers' malaise.

Each Laker (including Kobe) has to find within himself the FIRE TO COMPETE at the highest level. Each has to bring it on, day in , day out, every day, every game, 100 percent.

It is amazing how much slower the Lakers are moving than the Spurs. It is amazing how less aggressive the Lakers are compared to the Spurs.

The team as a whole has a lot of talent. But winning involves one's heart and head as well.

Where is the fire I saw at the beginning of the season when they started 8-0?

Where is the speed? Where is the fire?

It is so sad to see this team losing the way it has.

Hopefully, after the All Star game, they can turn it around.

Hello LRob,

I'm also worried about the back-to-back games against Boston and the Knicks that begin on Thursday. You know for sure that those teams AND their fans are going to be pumped up beyond belief. Can't wait.

Should be a good one tonight too. Pre-SuperBowl Saturday night Laker game. Looking forward to it!

Lamar has made a couple of stupid mistakes in the last few games. It probably cost him an all star spot. He has had a fantastic year and the game is in LA - it was his to lose.

Logically, Drew should have been picked. He had the second most votes behind Yao - by a lot.

The Lakers are now a half a game behind Dallas. Stop the bleeding!

Where is the Kobe that I have watched for so many years? He had a fiery passion for winning. He hasn't shot well in big games for a while now... He doesn't get pissed at losses anymore. I prefer the F-YOU, glowering Kobe who won't talk to reporters after a tough loss and comes out and kills the next team they play. Can you imagine a young Kobe philosophizing about mental toughness?

The Spurs were very beatable. They were not shooting well. WTF?

I keep waiting for us to turn it around, throw the switch, etc. WTF?

This whole season (except the first eight games) has been very unimpressive. We seem like we have aged quite a bit in a short time. I saw glimmers of this in the Oklahoma series. Now, it seems to be the status quo.

I would like to see the younger guys on the team step up with some energy. Drew, Shannon, Ebanks, Caracter... Show me something! You are the future. Give them a chance Phil!

I will keep the faith because... here it comes...

I am a Lakerholic.

We keep talking about, pointing to, and looking at ways to spark a fire within the SOUL of this team. I for one think it's pointless. I'm of the opinion that this team needs a radical change. This team is built on talent and size overlooking heart and tenacity. The 2009 championship was won with pride after the utter spanking handed out by men from BOSTON. The 2010 championship was won with the same pride after facing the the same men from BOSTON who delivered the spanking. This 2011 cast, absent Kobe, lacks the inner fire to be great because they believe they already are great. It starts with the second best player on the team, Pau Gasol. Spain and Hollywood has him believing the hype, though hype has never won a championship. Heart, determination and will wins championships. I once again propose trade scenarios to improve the Lakers. MY team.

Pau Gasol and Fisher, or Artest for:

Aldridge and Miller
Deng and Noah
Love, Wesley Johnson, and Jonny Flynn
Ariza, West
Crawford, Horford and Josh Smith
Randolph, Mayo, Connely
Lopez, Harris, and Favors
Granger and Collison, Brandon Rush
Nene, Afflalo, and Billups

LT,

Thank you. I initially had mixed feelings on the whole "practice season" concept until MVP clarified and qualified the statement. (Although I know he uses it sometimes to get under people skin...lol.) PSP really made me think my position through. Hmmm...I think he might have been trying to trip me up.

Anyway since you're a fan of Joni. Just to let you some of the next generation do know about her and try to pass along the knowledge. Janet Jackson showed Joni much love on this one by sampling "Big Yellow Taxi" I think you'll like it if you haven't seen or heard it before.

Janet Jackson - Got Til It's Gone (Joni Mitchell Never Lies)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnyqVRijCNw


@DLYTE… Damn it, just when I think I can skip a couple of thousands of threads that MM posts, you submit a Friedman winning beauty that I would have missed if not for MM. I’ve generally been on the side that blames Kobe more than his teammates when the offense goes isolation but you make a very persuasive point about guys looking to make a shot rather than just looking to get it to Kobe. Now I’m going to have to back and see what other gems I missed. Outstanding post, dlyte.

Staying on the same subject, my grandson’s 5th grade CYO basketball team, which I’m coaching, had its biggest challenge today and we had to give our better players more playing time than our weaker players for the first time this season. Before the game, I told our weaker players, who include my grandson, that they cannot be afraid of the moment and rather than panicking and turning the ball over trying to get it to a better player, they needed to look for their shot (we identify each player’s best chance to score and built our offense around giving each kid their best chance to succeed).

The point of this digression is two-fold: First to, confirm how important the point you made about players, as I call it, “going all out” versus playing hesitant or afraid to embrace the moment and situation – whether you be a professional or just a young kid. And second to brag about how my team exploded and blew open a 14-13 slug fest after 3 quarters to win 26-16 with my grandson, who is the smallest kid in the entire league, hitting a key jumper to keep us in the game in the first half and all 10 kids contributing via points, rebounds, assists, steals, or blocks. Mt Carmel Lakers are now 5-0.
……………………………..
TOM

TRADE!!!! When Phil Jackson Retires we r going to need a point guard this is our opportunity to do this right now. tell me what you think. I like the 3 team better.

Could be a 2 or three team the main objective to get CP3

3 team: send bynum to NO and odom and seteve blake to golden state the lakers would get cp3 and okafor New orleans would get bynum, curry V. radmonovic and golden state would get 6.9 mil. trade exception

2 team trade bynum for cp3 could even throw in walton and trade exception to make deal sweater.


First, I want to congratulate Kareem on being cancer free. I’m sure Cap is smiling like never before. Having lived with Mrs. LakerTom through two episodes of breast cancer, I know firsthand just how bright the morning sun shines and how valuable each new day is once you’ve beaten the Big C.

Second, I’m still feeling just as good about the Lakers as I did when I posted the ten positive things to take away from the last minute loss to the Spurs. Honestly, I am not really afraid of the Spurs. Even with home court, I do not think they can beat us in a 7-game series. Know what? Neither do they. The matchups still favor the Lakers, especially inside. And without Bowen, they really do not have anybody who can stop Kobe. They won’t repeat their record in the second half of the season though they will likely win home court advantage unless one of their big three go down to injury. The truth is that they are playing over the heads right now and have snuck up on a lot of teams. The only team I really fear is the Celtics. Once the dust clears and the pretenders fall, it will be Lakers-Celtics.
……………………………….
TOM

this right now. tell me what you think. I like the 3 team better.

Could be a 2 or three team the main objective to get CP3

3 team: send bynum to NO and odom and seteve blake to golden state the lakers would get cp3 and okafor New orleans would get bynum, curry V. radmonovic and golden state would get 6.9 mil. trade exception

2 team trade bynum for cp3 could even throw in walton and trade exception to make deal sweater.

Posted by: cowboy | February 05, 2011 at 02:29 PM

Cowboy, I really, admire your enthusiasm. There's something DEFINITELY wrong with your idea fundamentally.

NEW ORLEANS WILL NOT TRADE CP3 until the Financial burden of the Franchise reaches a tipping point.

Now that the Hornets are somewhat relevant, again, playing that way anyway, there's no way David Stern will trade CP3 unless the trade makes sense for New Orleans as well. Their are a myriad of things wrong right now, and a trade, is the last thing New Orleans will make. They had to desperately get out of the Luxury Tax scenario, not to mention the Gulf Coast continues to struggle. And the fact, that Paul likes New Orleans, and is seen (rightly so) as their knight in shining armor, at least in places like the 9th Ward and other Wards that were drasticallychanged.




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LRob,

Maybe you are right with what you said about the mileage undertaken by these Lakers, so winning a three peat cures all. At this point, I take your spin to the heart of wishful fan buoyed by optimism. But my logical head says otherwise, spins cannot overtake actual performance. So far the losses to small and big teams do not measure anything logical if they don't change course during the trade deadline. The past is part of Laker history, which are two championships, no connection whatsoever on W-L story of this season. It is either you swim with the sharks and stay alive or you just charted your downfall. We have to judge them based on actual performance today, anything short of that is mere wishful thinking or cheerleading, fans are ready for the cheers but players are not responding.

thanks for input sean

sean you don't think bynum and curry makes hornets better they still get quality pg plus a 7 footer and they already have a power forward. according to trade machine the 3 way everybody improves!

Edwin,

You're being insightful today. Nice post.


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