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Handing out Laker Academy Awards


Somewhere between the Lakers' 90-87 victory Sunday over the Oklahoma City Thunder and what could've passed for an NBA All-Star game in the Knicks-Heats match-up, basketball fans may have clicked the remote control a few times to sneak in a few minutes of the Oscars.

"The King's Speech" won four Oscars, including best picture, while "The Social Network" missed out on most of the big awards. And when Natalie Portman won best actress for "Black Swan," Laker fans may have thought of Pau Gasol -- who was told by Kobe Bryant to be a "black swan" and then stepped up his aggressiveness this month.

If only there were an awards season for the Lakers. Oh wait, that usually happens in June. But in light of the 83rd Academy Awards happening Sunday at Kodak Theatre, I thought it timely to hand out a few  of my own. And I'm not going for the obvious, including best director (Phil Jackson), best actor (Kobe Bryant) or original screenplay (2010 NBA championship). Here are a few Laker-centric nominations:

Best supporting actor: Lamar Odom. We're not talking about his work in his upcoming reality show, which would likely cause a few eye rolls among academy members. We're talking about Odom's consistency, with his 22 double doubles and overall reliability. No doubt, Bryant and Gasol have put up better numbers, earned All-Star bids and had more influence in the Lakers' victories. Throughout the season, however, Odom has been steady in his performance while everyone around him has played like a wave.

Best visual effects: Usually Lakers guard Shannon Brown would win this award hands down. Although he wants to be known as more than just a dunker, well, his shooting percentage has dipped, but he's still provided plenty of plays that show he's much better than his performance in the 2010 NBA dunk contest. Heck, even rookie forward Devin Ebanks could get in the mix for some of the alley-oop lobs he threw down Tuesday against Atlanta. But this honor goes to Bryant for his dunk over LeBron James in the 2010 NBA All-Star game. It was a great symbol of Bryant's relentless desire to stay on top of the game.

Costume design: Sorry, Kobe. Not every statue handed to you is going to be complimentary. That's because your photo shoot in the L.A. Times Magazine sparked punchlines from fans, teammates and Jackson.  This isn't an award you'd want to put next to your five championship rings. 

Best documentary: Usually the Lakers have plenty of cameos, whether it's Bryant on "Modern Family" or Gasol in "CSI: Miami" or Luke Walton's legendary of "Life With Luke," That means by default I would hand this award to Andrew Bynum for his work on "Celebrity Sweat." But I can't bring myself to doing that, either. The irony of Bynum having a workout video is fairly obvious because of his extensive injury history with the Lakers. A representative for the company told me weeks ago that that was why Bynum was a good candidate: He could speak with authority on how to overcome injuries. But that's ridiculous. Although I've credited Bynum for fighting through his knee injury during the 2010 NBA playoffs and recognize the value of his presence, that argument falls flat for me. It only raises questions about injury prevention. I'll stick with Bryant's six-minute movie titled "The Black Mamba," a Robert Rodriguez-directed film that helped promote Bryant's new Nike sneaker, the Zoom Kobe VI. Great humor and action.

Best original song: Blame it on my interest in rap music, but I narrowed it down to Ron Artest's "Champion" and "Purp & Yellow" featuring the Game and Snoop Dogg. Game and Snoop Dogg would win in virtually any rap battle over Artest. But Ron Ron's single was recorded hours after his heroics in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. Snoop predicts a Lakers' three-peat for this season. That hasn't happened yet, so this award goes to Ron Ron.

Best film editing: One of Jackson's pastimes is inserting clips into film edits to help break up the monotony. Jackson slipped Odom's commercial touting his unisex fragrance, Unbreakable, into a recent film session. Odom got some ribbing from teammates, and Artest at least apparently bought a bottle. He sprayed a reporter with the fragrance, but the timing wasn't that great. It was after the Lakers' double-digit loss two weeks ago to Charlotte, when the team didn't seem very unbreakable.

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: "Black Swan's" Natalie Portman accepts the Oscar for best actress, Feb. 27, 2011. Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times

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By Broderick Turner for the LA Times
Excellent article about Drew’s performance against the Thunder. Here is an excerpt:
Reporting from Oklahoma City — It was the ultimate compliment paid by his coach.
"Andrew [Bynum] was very good," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said about his young center.
Indeed, Bynum was a force for the Lakers during their 90-87 victory over the Thunder on Sunday.
It was more than his five blocked shots, which was telling. It was more than his 7-foot frame, which was a deterrent.
It was how active Bynum was.
He had 16 points, missing just two of his seven shots.
He had 10 rebounds, three offensive. He also had two assists, one steal and one foul in 31 minutes, 39 seconds.
"Today, mentally more than anything, I was in the right spots," Bynum said. "That's just what enabled me to have the kind of game that I did. Defensively, it's timing."
Late in the game, Jackson said he "reluctantly" replaced Bynum with Pau Gasol because he's more mobile.
"But Andrew was blocking and changing shots," Jackson said.
Bynum had right knee surgery over the summer and is still trying to get back to 100%, and he missed one game with a bone bruise in his left knee.
"His activity obviously is an issue," Jackson said. "A lot of it's due to how he feels physically. He's going to have knee issues as he goes along and he just has to monitor that. I think when he feels well, you see his activity level increase."

Andrew and Pau are starting to flow to the point where it would be nice to see them both in an end game.

Kobe could use the options and the rebounding since most of his end game act is mid range and beyond.

LO's versatility would seem to make this doable no matter what other teams counter with, but Phil's an old dog and it's hard to argue with the success of the last 2 years.

If Andrew's feelin' up to it, he's too dominant not to be on the floor. Having said that, it would also be nice to see more of his arsenal on the offensive end.

Nice awards article MM.

@NBA4ever/Laker Tom/VMan - If Bynum continues to play like he did yesterday its only a matter of time before he gets some closing opportunities.

i guess we are back on laker time. Oh, it's after the all-star break?, time to go to work

"But Ron Ron's single was recorded hours after his heroics in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. "

No it wasn't. It was recorded almost a full year before that game even happened.

I saw phred's Summertime/Porgy & Bess nod the other day. So here's another one from P&B, It Ain't Necessarily So:

Pau is more of White Swan with all his talents outside shooting, ambidextrous pivots & hook shots but still a distant away from being a Black Swan. He didn't grow up in American basketball but more on suave European style of basketball. I'm sure if you surround him with Ricky, Fernandez, Navarro and Calderon, you will see the explosiveness of Gasol. There is less dribbling and plenty of accurate shooting. You get a glimpse of this in the Olympics against the best of USA. Having said that we still need a strong PG.

With regards to Bynum, we got the game yesterday because of the Bynum's activity, nevertheless it is not enough with one game showing it should be every game. If we consider the season as just as practiced games for the real season, then we have to take this prism from Thunder's view, they'd say that KP and NM were not yet in uniform while they missed their traded players contributions like Green and Kristic. Besides that there is no cause for euphoria against a team below our rankings, we need more sample from the survey to establish trends. Praise them if you will but not too much, criticize less & give credit where it is due after 4 consecutive victories. Next is Minny, would u believe that if we lose a game in Minny, it is equivalent to losing in the Oklahoma game. Therefore, showtime in the second half means consistency all the way to the playoffs.

Hi all: I missed yesterday's game. But it appears it was a total team effort. I like how everyone is writing about AB's increased activity - which is great. But given some of the highlights, I think Ron should be getting extra credit now too. That's all good.

It's very clear to me now - the TEAM is focusing in on the light at the end of the reg. season tunnel. Can we say win out?? How sweet would that be?

But back to reality, I'll setttle for a win against Minny tomorrow. A win tomorrow might be a huge accomplishment for this team since they tend to get their groove on and then "OOPS" with a crappy team.

Cheers - PLG

Mayor of Kobe Town - Let me clarify. Artest wrote the song a year beforehand and had recorded vocals. But he went in the studio with Dr. Dre for him to produce it and for him to redo the vocals

Speaking of Music of Original Score, it is time to recognize Randy Newman, a quintessential LA citizen who won yesterday an Oscar on his composition: "We Belong Together" Toy Story 3. This is a song needed by the Lakers blog every time we engaged in extended debates, labeling names against one another and cutting longtime disgruntled bloggers. Here is the first stanza of the song that is very applicable to the Lakers Blog:

Don't you turn your back on me,
Don't you walk away.
Don't you tell me that I don't care,
Cause' I do.

Btw, for those people who are not aware, Randy Newman is the composer of Lakers Championship Theme Song - " I Love L.A.".

Really agree with your choice of Lamar as Best Supporting Actor. The man has ramped up the level of his game this year. He has emerged as one of the Lakers' leaders on and off the court and has shown the consistency and confidence of a two time NBA champion.

Yesterday's game was a perfect example. Lamar only scored 9 points for the game, but 7 of them came in the surge that helped the Lakers get back in the game after falling behind by 14. During that stretch, Lamar also rebounded the ball well and fed Shannon for a spectacular fast break basket. LO's presence allowed PJ the luxury of resting his starters in their regular rotation. Lo's leadership of the 2nd unit yesterday was a huge factor in helping his team secure the victory.

Not sure how I feel about the "Black Swan" analogy for Pau, however. Haven't we gone down the "Gasoft" road enough to not want to compare the big Spaniard to a ballerina? JK!

And who gets best actor for trying to act like a PG, Fisher or Blake?

Maybe in the playoffs when Perkins plays, Bynum will get those closing minutes.
Watching Bynum play yesterday made me realize how quick Shaq was back in the days.

My goodness! Did anyone see Mandy Moore last night at the Oscars? She is the hotness, no doubt.


whatever you make of the game yesterday, i hope everyone would agree that since the all-star break, the boys seem to be in a better groove. it's important to win strong against kurt,kevin and co.. this is going to be a very good playoff season if things stay true to form.there should be no surprise if we get a number of upsets, but time will tell.i think ron-ron wants a ring he can call his own.

whatever you make of the game yesterday, i hope everyone would agree that since the all-star break, the boys seem to be in a better groove. it's important to win strong against kurt,kevin and co.. this is going to be a very good playoff season if things stay true to form.there should be no surprise if we get a number of upsets, but time will tell.i think ron-ron wants a ring he can call his own.

people were calling pau a black swan, is that because of the movie, or the other use of the term in which a bad event happens, afterwhich everything in your life is changed forever.must be the first, which is bogus.if anyone thinks that pau dosen't work hard , i would disagree.

LAMAR ODOM + Andrew Bynum + Shannon Brown and even Matt Barnes for Dwight Howard and Gilbert Arenas ( need to take something bad from the Magic to intice Otis). This is the deal that needs to get done next year.

Glad people notice Bynum's big effort yesterday (although if you watched the game it would have been really hard to miss it). I haven't seen the stats yet, but I sort of recall the announcer's saying that OKC out-rebounded the Lakers. But thinking back to how the game was played I think that was because the Lakers got a lot of possessions out of OKC turnovers/LA steals and also AB's blocked shots (I'm not sure if recovering a blocked shot counts as a "rebound" or not). It's funny, but even early on when they were down 14 I felt the Lakers were still gonna win, and I usually don't get that vibe - especially when it's a Sunday morning or afternoon game that is being nationally televised. I knew it would be close, but I really felt that the size advantage was going to pull them through late.

@David - "LAMAR ODOM + Andrew Bynum + Shannon Brown and even Matt Barnes for Dwight Howard and Gilbert Arenas ( need to take something bad from the Magic to intice Otis). This is the deal that needs to get done next year."

Nah, even though Howard is spectacular, I think Arenas has two many loose marbles floating around in his head and would be more of a distraction than an asset. Now to my way of thinking loose marbles are OK as long as they aren't coming from a totally self-centered source, but I think thats exactly where Gilbert A's marbles get their start. And I just don't see him meshing very well with KB.

Regarding the players being traded away - also a big "NAH!" because you don't want to give up TWO effective bigs for one. Having Drew, Pau & Lamar means that you can just about always have two long bigs in the game and gives you depth in case one of them is out with an injury. If you give up both LO and AB then Pau has to back Dwight up at the "5" and that means you need another effective "4" for Pau's back-ups - maybe as much as 16-to-20 minutes a game since 8-t0-10 minutes of Pau's PT would be spelling Dwight. I don't see enough positives in this move when you look at where you want to be after 100+ games.

Remember, it's not about looking good in one game, it's about getting to the last one and then bringing home rings when it's over.

I say hang onto 'Drew - his game has been developing and he has done this within a system that doesn't really give him all that many touches. I honestly think that his defensive game is getting close to Howard's and I like the variety of Drew's offense and his better-than-average free throw shooting. That last part is really critical when you get into the late play-off rounds.

"two many"? ICK! How could I not have caught that before posting?



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