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Lakers Q&A: Joe Smith maintains positive attitude in limited role, indulges passion for rap music and collecting hats

Joe SmithThis is the fifth post in an occasional series of Q&As with a member of the Lakers organization.

Below is a recent conversation with Lakers backup forward Joe Smith, whom the Lakers acquired Dec. 15, 2010 from New Jersey for Sasha Vujacic and a 2011 first-round draft pick. He holds the league record with Chucky Brown, Tony Massenburg and Jim Jackson for most franchises played for (12),including the Golden State Warriors (1995-98), Philadelphia 76ers (1998), Minnesota Timberwolves (1999-2000), Detroit Pistons (2000-01), Timberwolves again (2001-03), Milwaukee Bucks (2003-06), Denver Nuggets (2006), Chicago Bulls (2007-08), Oklahoma City Thunder (2008-09), Cleveland Cavaliers (2008, 2009), Atlanta Hawks (2009-10) and New Jersey Nets (2010)

From a basketball standpoint, what have you gotten out of being a Laker so far? I’ve enjoyed being on the team that competes the way we do. It hasn’t been perfect, but at the same time as of late we’ve been competing and playing the best type of basketball I’ve seen this team play from afar for years.

I noticed you have assumed Josh Powell’s role last year where you shake everyone’s hand before the starters step on the court. What do you think that does? That’s something that I’ve been doing for maybe half of my career. Every team I’ve been on, especially as of late for the last five or six years where I’ve been coming off the bench and I haven’t been starting. It’s something that I just picked up on. It’s a last-second, ‘let’s-get-'em’ before the tipoff. I look at as when you see a veteran as long as I have out there, it should be something that gets everybody going. Usually it’s a younger guy and the last guy you might see is a guy in the first couple years in the league, but when you see a veteran that’s been around and into it as anybody out there, I think it feeds into everybody.

What role, at least from what they tell you, do Phil [Jackson] and the rest of the coaching staff envision for you? We haven’t really talked about that. I guess we’re still trying to get a feel for each other. I’m picking up the offense more and more every day. Defensive schemes are something I’ve always known. The defense is no problem. Just trying to be as ready as I can whenever my number is called. As much as I do want to play, I understand this team already has a rotation. We have Lamar [Odom], Pau [Gasol], Andrew [Bynum] and that’s a rotation that he’s been going with. As long as we win, I’m good.

You’ve talked a lot about learning the triangle offense to be an ongoing process. Where are you with that? I’m pretty close. There’ still some terminology I have to listen very closely to in order to unscramble it and put it in basic basketball terms. Other than that, I’m pretty close. We go through the triangle every day, in shootaround, practice. Whether it’s three-on-three or four-on-four, whatever it is, we use some form of the triangle. I’m picking it up in all types of angles. It’s now having to do it without thinking about it. I hate to be out on the floor and having to think about a lot of things. It takes you a second behind once you have to think about it. Now it’s just being able to be out there and read and react. That’s something that will help me out a lot once I really get it down.

Do you feel settled yet in L.A.? Not all the way. When I first moved into my place we went on a 12-day, 13-day trip and then it was the All-Star break. We had a day here and then went to Portland. I’m still trying to get settled in my home. But it’s good to have a home to go to. I’m still waiting for my car to get here. I still have some stuff in New Jersey that I’m getting shipped out. Everything is happening slowly but surely.

And you just rent at this point? Just rent. I did the buying thing earlier in my career. After a while it gets hard to get the houses off your shoulder, especially nowadays.

When did you stop buying and start renting? The last home I purchased was in Milwaukee [in 2003]. I stopped purchasing houses and started renting. We found a place in Arizona and that’s where my family got established there. It made it easier for me to uproot my stuff than having to uproot wife and kids and everybody. I rent everything. I rented in Denver, Chicago, Oklahoma, Cleveland, Atlanta, New Jersey and rent here.

You hold the record for the most franchises played for. How do you handle that? A lot of people might look at it as a negative thing. But I look at it as a blessing. First of all, to be able to stick around for so long and be able to adjust my role on different teams where my worth is appreciated. A lot of guys I’ve seen come and go throughout this league. For me to be able to stick around and play with so many teams and so many players and meet so many people, it’s been a blessing for me.

You came in as the No. 1 draft pick in 1995 out of Maryland and averaged double digits in your first few seasons. Then you were traded multiple times. What was the process in coping with that? The first time I got traded was tough. The first time is always the toughest. Then after that, a few times I signed as a free agent. But most of the time I have been traded. I look at is as a new opportunity every time now. I don’t take it as personal or a negative like I used to.

How do you explain what happened with Minnesota? [Following the 1999-2000 season, the NBA discovered Smith and then team executive Kevin McHale were involved in a salary cap tampering scandal. Smith was allegedly promised a future multimillion-dollar contract if he signed with the team for below market value, prompting the league to void the last year of his contract, fine Minnesota $3.5 million and take away from the team five first-round draft picks]. That was something that was out of my control. I was a young guy and was kind of being misled at the time. It was pretty much out of my control. That’s something I don’t look back at or hold a raincloud over my head because I didn’t have too much to do with that.

Reflecting back do you feel that affected your standing in the league? It opened my eyes a little bit more. It made me feel a little more as if I couldn’t trust certain people as much as I thought I could. It takes a lot of time to have trust in certain people. Other than that, it’s water under the bridge. I went to Detroit for half a year and then went right back to Minnesota. It showed my appreciating with the Timberwolves and how much they appreciated what I brought to the team.

Joe smith 2What helps you keep a positive outlook on this? I try not to let too much bother me. It’s just my upbringing. That’s something I was always taught. No matter what, keep your head up and keep your head high. Even when you’re going through something, not everybody needs to know. I always try to stay positive and keep a smile on my face. It can’t be that bad. Somebody is going through something worse. It can’t be that bad.

You grew up in Virginia and went to Maryland, so how were you a Laker fan? I was a huge Magic Johnson fan. A lot of my friends were either Celtics or Bulls fans. I just happen to be a Laker fan. I was a Magic fan and I loved how they used to play then. I liked how they got up and down the floor with Showtime. I really don’t know how I ended up a Laker fan. I loved watching them play. It was exciting basketball back then. They were on TV a lot. Even on the East Coast, they were on TV all the time. Sometimes I would get in trouble staying up late to watch it. It was worth it. I loved watching Magic play. Sometimes I had to take one on the chin, but it was worth it.

Your Twitter handle has 6,941 followers. It started at 90 before you got here. What does that support mean to you? It’s amazing. I’ve been trying to keep tabs on how many I get a day now. It’s kind of hard because they come so quick. I might lie down and take a nap before a game and wake up two hours later and have 40 more followers. It shows how crazy the Laker support is, not just here in L.A., but even when we go on the road. Half the arena is filled with Laker fans. It’s amazing. When you hear "M-V-P" chants for Kobe on the road, you know it’s ridiculous. Laker fans are everywhere and they share their support to players, especially through social networks. I’ve been getting a lot of good responses on my Twitter about my songs on Ron [Artest]’s mixtape. People have been saying I’m a monster out there.

How's your mixtape going? Right now I’m four of five songs into my mixtape. I’m looking to add another eight more. I do most of my writing on the plane and the hotel rooms. It’s going pretty well. I’m doing it with the interns, up-and-coming producers, they got nominated for a Grammy for their work with Justin Bieber.

Who are they? They’re a two-team production team from Chicago. They really know their stuff. They’re up and coming. They really grow with their music. They’ve been doing some stuff with Beyonce and Justin Bieber, a wide range of people.

Who are your main hip-hop influences? I’m an old-school guy: Biggie, Jay-Z, Tupac, that’s my era. Early '90s. I still listen to the new-generation guys with J.Z., T.I. and Lil’ Wayne and Drake and all that. But I originate with the early '90s.

Do you go even further to the '80s with NWA and Public Enemy? I do. That’s a funny story. My first NWA tape my mom took because there were too many curse words. I was a big NWA fan, too. Any good music back then, I enjoyed.

Many athletes have ventured into rap, but you say you’re not just another athlete that raps and that you’re more than that. How do you feel you distinguish yourself? I’ve been around a lot of teams and players that actually have done a lot of music with. A lot of them look at it as a hobby and something to come by and do a couple songs and like to hear themselves on the track. I’m way past that point where it’s just a hobby to me. It’s something I love to do. It’s something I enjoy doing. It’s something I feel pretty good at.

60087970 What do you think of Artest's mixtape? Ron is pretty serious with it, too. That’s why we’ve been jelling. He’s deep into it. Obviously being here and being around a lot of rappers he has a few more connections than I have. He’s been helping me out with that. Ron is pretty serious in it as well. Ron has his thing down pretty good. The songs we did ["This Is What It Sounds Like" and "We Will Rock You "], we just went into the studio and vibed a little bit and came up with a concept and wrote it. That’s pretty much how I feel about my studio sessions.

How did Derrick Caracter do? That was the first time he had ever been recorded. It took some molding that night when we were in recording, but he’s pretty good.

Back in the day, Kobe dabbled in it. Will you try to recruit him and develop him? He hasn’t said he wants to do anything. He’s more than welcome. I remember the Brian McKnight song he had and the video he shot. He’s more than welcome. I’ll welcome anybody.

In Cleveland, you wrote a pregame anthem, is that something you’d do here? I have, but they don’t play too much hip-hop around here.

They play "Purp & Yellow." Yeah, we talk about that all the time. After they play the "Purp & Yellow" song, we don’t get too much. If they play it, I’ll do it. I did two songs in Atlanta, one for the playoffs last year and one during the season. In Cleveland, I did two both years for the playoffs and got good responses from the fans and team. It’s something I wouldn’t mind doing here if I knew they would play it.

6a00d8341c506253ef0147e0709941970b-600wiHave you gotten a chance to talk with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre at any of the Laker games? I see Dre a couple times and saw Memphis. It was during the game so I couldn’t really talk music then. If I can get something done with them, I’m willing.

I also noticed you wear a lot of different hats [at a recent morning shootaround, Smith was wearing a black Chicago White Sox hat]. What's the story behind that? I have a huge collection. I don’t know exactly when it started, but it’s been quite a while. Almost every city I go to, if I go to the mall, that’s pretty much the only stop I make unless I’m picking up a gift for somebody else.

How many do you have? I’m pushing 300-400. It’s pretty much every team with all colors. Nowadays they make teams in all colors now. It’s not like the standard team colors anymore. You might find a black-and-white Red Sox hat or one with random colors. Whatever city I can find the one I don’t have, I try to pick it up.

Which team has the most hats in your collection? Probably the Yankees. They make so many different designs and colors. They’re one of the top-selling baseball caps so probably the Yankees and then probably the Red Sox after that.

How many of Lakers? I just got my first one on Christmas from Derrick Caracter. He gave me a nice Lakers hat and I wore it for the first time the other day. It matched one of my outfits.

Do fans get confused which teams you’re rooting for? I get that all the time because I don’t have a baseball team. It’s easy for me to mix and match my baseball caps. I get that all the time. When I come here with my Boston hats they give me such a hard time and heckle me. Even when I go out and just have a hat on everybody always asks if that’s my team or what’s my affiliation with that team? I really don’t have any.

So what are your favorite teams? Lakers. Football, I’m a Cowboys fan. I won’t wear anything else except Cowboys. That’s why I collect baseball caps and University of Maryland. That’s pretty much the sports I watch. I watch some baseball. But I don’t really watch hockey.

How do you determine what hat you’re going to wear? It just depends on the outfit and what type of look I’m going for today. Some fit different than others. They’ll all be the same size, but for some reason some fit different than others. It depends on the fit and the shade.

-- Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photos from top: Laker Joe Smith blocks a shot by Hawks center Zaza Pachulia in February; Smith pulls up for a jumper over Detroit’s Jason Maxiell in January; Lakers forward Ron Artest recently released a mixtape featuring various artists, including Lakers backup Joe Smith; rapper Snoop Dogg often attends Laker games, and Smith says he'd love to work with him. Credits: Alex Gallardo / Associated Press; Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire; Matthew Emmons / US Presswire; Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

 
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Laker Land: where all that is possible and even a lot of what is impossible happens on a daily basis.
History repeats to the same patterns, but evolving from them to a more perfected reality, round after
round. So we are the same: just better than last time. And we are getting better with every step more
we take within the future. It's a great life to be a Lakers Fan. Sorry others: you just can't compete.
Still wearing my Purple & Gold Pride.Not because I will think of what others are doing, which I don't
care for, but only because I am well aware & assured of what we are capable of @ZAIRA AMATERASU
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They seem to have forgotten...in the playoffs, one man rises above the rest....his will alone will bring
a third ring to the city of Angels...in a row!!!! @ I HEARNED THAT
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Triangle Physics: "For Every Defensive Action, there is a Greater & More Lethal Offensive Reaction
"Other Teams may River Dance, The Lakers Ballet is an Artistry in Rhythm." @ The TriAngulator
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To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on
stepping” basketball is a journey, teams learn about their weaknesses & strengths as they play along
all 82 Games. So let's enjoy this journey with our team. Onto the next win @ J24 aka (LadyJem24)
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Phil knows he's got a Ferrari this year. He's just got it purring along. Trying a few things in 2nd & 3rd
gear. Knows he's got several more gears, but sees no need to even try them now. Hasn't even floored
it yet when the NBA cops aren't looking, but knows he can lay a patch of smoke & rubber a block
long if he ever needs it. But yeah, Sonny Belfast, Phil knows (and YOU know) he may not even need
to floor it this year at all. But just for the heck of it, I think he will. @CORNERJ
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In my mind's eye, the Lakers and Celtics are rushing towards each other in the fashion that they have
in years past. Matching each other, blow-for-blow, against all-comers until the time to meet arrives.
They are looking squarely in the others direction while they simultaneously brush aside any with the
misguided notion that they are contenders. It is the same as how Bruce Lee will casually vanquish all
OF the Big Boss' henchmen on his way to the real dance. It is about Boston. It has always been about
Boston. Boston is the only franchise that has earned our RESPECT...and our DERISION. @ FEARLESS
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LIKE FINE ART. . .--stand too close, and the brilliance cannot be fully appreciated --pass judgment
before the masterpiece is complete, & short-change the genius of the process Nobody ever marvels at
the canvas underneath the final presentation, but instead the magnificance of the finished product.
This Run of the Lakers is like Fine Art. Wait, just wait on it, & behold the beauty @LAKERMIKE
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Kobe can win THROUGH his team mates. He can win WITH his team mates. He can win
DEFERRING to his team mates. He can win IN SPITE OF his team mates. He can win INSTEAD
of his team mates. He can even win BY HIMSELF (just ask Dallas & Toronto). Champions are
forged in the 4th QUARTER. Franchises are defined in the 4th QUARTER. Dynasties are cemented
in the 4th QUARTER. Sit back & watch PJ, Kobe & Fish orchestrate this symphony we call Lakers
basketball to another parade down Figueroa Blvd.@ FEARLESS
*______________________________________________________________________*
Lakers Today, Lakers Tomorrow, Lakers Forever!! What Do We Play For, More Rings!! @JON K
*______________________________________________________________________*
WHO THE HELL ARE WE!! ALL TOGETHER:
We’re the World Champion LA Lakers , we’ve won (16) Rings
(10) of the 50 Greatest players played under our wings
There have been (4) Lakers Dynasties with more on the way
We have more Dynasties than others have Titles in the NBA
Best Winning Percentage in History is part of Laker Lore
You want Hall of Fame Coaches, Check it we’ve had (Four)
Weve appeared in Half of all the Finals there have ever Been
We’re the Freakin LA Lakers and all we do is Win baby WIN!
We got the (2) Time Finals MVP, Black Mamba Kobe Bryant
Who scored more points than an entire team without even trying
He scored 81 points in a game & could have scored More
But Rings not number of points is what Mamba plays for.
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
We got The Logo Jerry West & 1st Great center George Mikan
The Legendary Elgin Baylor & Magic Johnson the Icon.
We’ve had all the great centers like Shaq, Wilt & Kareem
Super Stars Worthy, Goodrich & Silk played on the Laker Team
Karl Malone & Gary Payton, A glove & Mailman we just Leased
(11) time Title Winning HOF Coach, who mastered Zen in the East
Chick Hearn the Broadcasting Legend, Broadcasted Lakers Games
Now he’s Broadcasting from Heaven & is in the Hall of Fame
We got Sports Winningest & Best HOF Owner, Kudos Dr. Jerry Buss
We play for Rings & Rings only , which is why teams FEAR US
That’s just a summary of our Resume, we don’t talk we Do.
We’re The Freakin Champion LA Lakers, Who the Hell are You

*________________________GAME DAY PRAYER __________________________*
Many of you have made requests for a game day prayer. Your wish is my command. As I do not
want to offend anyone of certain faiths, I have included several divine beings from the skies above.
.
LET US PRAY
.
Dear God, Jesus, Allah, Vishnu, Zeus, The Golden Calf, Buddha, The Alien Greys, The Reptilians, & Sam Cassell, We ask that you use your divine powers to grant us, not world peace, not the end of world hunger, not even the destruction of the TV show, Jersey Shore. We ask only for a Laker victory. We know you don't concern yourself with resolving such petty issues as world peace and poverty, as these problems have existed for thousands of years, and have yet to be resolved. We do know that you care about the Lakers, as you have blessed them like no other, and have have granted them back to back titles. We pray for another Laker victory tonight for your favorite team. You may hear similar prayers coming out of ORLANDO for a MAGIC victory, but I beg of you, oh divine one, ignore their silly prayers, and listen only to ours. We thank you in advance. Can I get an AMEN?
.
Posted by: Game Day Prayer Temp/aka LAKERTRUTH| January 12, 2011 at 11:41 AM Post

Mamba 24,

Game day Roll call PLUS the prayer always get the PSP going. Sam Cassell appeared to the PSP in a vision last night! Great job as always.

Thanks
PSP Intern

Sam Cassell appeared to the PSP in a vision last night! Posted by: Practice Season Police | March 14, 2011 at 08:31 AM
*
This is a very good sign PSP. It means good fortune is sure to flow your way. Either that or...You had one heck of a nightmare sir!!! Thanks for the kind words...Carry on Officer!

@POINTFORWARD... Bravo for your post about fans not appreciating Kobe. I have no problem with criticizing Kobe at times but any Lakers fan who does not love this guy for everything he has meant to this franchise will have a hard time convincing me that he is a real Lakers fan.
...........................
@MUD.... Another great post about being a fan. I feel exactly the same way about the Lakers and get upset when other fans dump on Fisher or Luke or Drew or Lamar or any of the guys. Loyalty is a trait that often seems to have no place in the world of professional sports thanks to free agency but to me it has always been a key to character. Insult Lakers players and you insult me.
...
I also find the calls to bench Fish because he had a bad game and Blake finally had a good game to be typical of those fans. I had a statement moment this weekend as my grandson’s CYO basketball team won two close thrillers over the weekend to earn a spot in next weekend’s Final Four. My assistant coaches wanted me to pull our second point guard after he had made several turnovers. In the end, I decided that I would not destroy this kid’s confidence in the playoffs by pulling him. Instead, I called time out and gave him a pep talk and he went out and turned his play around.
...
The point here is that one of the things players love about Phil is that he gives the players freedom to play, something that is important whether you are a veteran professional or a 10-year old kid. I do the same thing with my kids. I want them to have fun and not to be looking over their shoulder when they make a mistake. The only thing I will really scream at a kid is not letting his head drop and quitting after making a mistake. They need to know how to play through the bad to the good.
...........................
@PSP... Thanks for reminding us all to pray for everybody in Japan. All I could think about when I first heard the news and watched the reports is how this could easily have been California. There but for fortune go you and I. I also wonder if Drew or his advisors have read the blog and seen the rumor mongering about trading him for Dwight Howard. Either way, I expect Drew to be sky high for this game and I expect Phil to let Drew play whenever Dwight is on the floor. We saw last time we played Orlando that Drew held his own against Dwight, who scored mostly against Pau Gasol.
..........................
@MAMBA24... Nothing like Game Day Roll Call and prayer to get things rolling on a Monday morning, Larry. Hope you and Mrs. Three-peat are enjoying each other and making life like an ongoing honeymoon. Phred is right. It’s all about the love.
...........................
TOM

Good morning Mamba24! AMEN brother.

@Justanothermambafan and the Fabulous morning Crue...GAME DAY BABYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!
*
@JovBatz44 aka for today JovBatz24, I like it!! It looks good on you. LOL!
*
Good Morning DJ LRob what you got for the Nation this morning?
*
@MUD, Yes I'm sorry but I have to say this...OUT FREAKIN STANDING SIR!!!
*
mamba24 is a lil under the weather I don't know if it's sympathy pains with Kobe or what, so I'll be in and out this morning. PsychedLakerGirl will provide some rousing words of inspriration to get the Crue Psyched I'm sure! Thank you for your indulgence Nation Carry on!

@LRob
I've never seen a great player and proven champion receive as much criticism as Kobe Bryant. And a good portion of this is among Laker "fans". I thought it would die down some after he led the team USA to the Gold. Nope. I thought it would subside after the first title without Shaq. Think again. Then I said for sure after the repeat. Wrong again. I don't get it.

*********************************************************************

I agree with you.
I think Wilt Chamberlain (although I can only base my thoughts on articles and books ) shared/shares the same perceptions from the media and fans.
Maybe Kobe is even more vilified.

In the case of Wilt they labeled him "Loser" since he lost the NCAA championship game, the Boston eliminations, etc.
But they forget to mention that he was the one that lead the only team to beat the Boston Celtics in 60's and the 33 win streak with the Lakers and Finals MVP with 36 years old.

And as you said well they also forget to mention Kobe's feats, always keeping the same talk of ballhog and selfish player.

I think the media/fans/NBA want to pass the legacy to another player but because the so called "New Superstars" haven't dominate the league as they expect they keep attacking Kobe, but this only gives him more strength.

Hope you and Mrs. Three-peat are enjoying each other and making life like an ongoing honeymoon. Phred is right. It’s all about the love.Posted by: LakerTom | March 14, 2011 at 08:34 AM
*
Good Morning LakerTom! Yes sir, Mrs. Mamba24 with her 3-peating lil self and I are just having a fine old time sir. Once we practiced LakerToms knock down drag out fight and make up technique sir things have been simply awesome. Thank you my brother!! LOL!!!
*
ChicNStu how are you this wonderful Lakers Game day morning sir? Better than me I hope! I shall now enjoy your Fab4 links to which I say THANK YOU!! Carry On sir!

Thanks for the game day roll call and blessing Mamba24 - amen!
Boy oh boy, it feels good to be a Lakers fan!
Dwight Howard who??? Bring in Magic!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvfE-Cf9Qcc
What can I say? ONJ was a serious crush on this 17yr old at the time...

JEFE101 IN THE HOUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSE!!!!!
Yes Jefe101 I believe in the Magic. I believe in the Magic to lose by 10 points tonight!! I believe Andrew will show Superman he is not the only one with Magic powers. And though I truly,, truly hate to say this...I believe Kobe will be magically healed and play tonight!! NO KOBE, NOOOOOOOO!!!

Posted by: TidalWave | March 14, 2011 at 08:48 AM
*
@TIDAL WAVE, SIMPLY BRILLIANT SIR!!! CARRY ON!!

@MM – Welcome back. Good interview with Joe. Sounds like they need to play a little more hip-hop in Staples. Maybe you should make that suggestion since you’re a hip-hop fan!

@Mamba – Thanks for the game day roll call. Let’s Do This!

@ChicNStu – Thanks for the Fab Five links.

@Mamba – Thanks for the game day roll call. Let’s Do This! Posted by: LRob | March 14, 2011 at 09:16 AM
*
Say no more sir!! LROB, LAKER NATION…LET’S RIDE AMIGOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE THE ARRIVAL OF ANDREW BYNUM
By Matt Moore for NBC Sports
http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/03/13/lakers-top-mavs-its-time-to-celebrate-the-arrival-of-andrew-bynum/
.....................................
Outstanding article on Andrew Bynum. Here is an excerpt:
.....................................
But really, if you want to know what this game meant? It’s “the moment” for Andrew Bynum. There have been flashes along the way. Signs. Huge games, bigger than this one. Moments where Bynum was the difference maker, the extra piece, the X-factor, other cliches. This wasn’t the biggest game of Bynum’s career, far from it. But the other games for him were proof of what he could do, what he was capable of, what was possible with him.
.....
His performance against the Mavericks was a statement of what he is doing, where he is at, how he is playing.
.....
In short, Bynum has finally, fully, arrived.
.....
Bynum has always had the ability and the hype that goes with it. In 2008, a colleague I respect at the utmost levels stated that Bynum was already the 24th best player in the league. I scoffed and mocked him, not out of denial of what Bynum was capable of, but out of a question of whether he would ever really reach that level of production, consistency and performance. What Tom Ziller saw three years ago is what Bynum is doing now, dominating the landscape on a championship squad and making it to where the Lakers not only win, but win with relative comfort even on nights where Bryant is struggling, a scenario that would have seemed impossible two years ago. Three years ago I wanted to see the proof in the pudding. This season Bynum has served it with crow-flavored custard on top.
.....
The reason for Bynum’s ascension? Simple. Health. Bynum has suffered through multiple knee injuries each season, even limping through the 2010 Finals with a small tear. The biggest criticism of Bynum has been his work ethic in regards to those knee injuries. Bynum has always missed benchmarks, return deadlines, and suffered recurrences of injuries. He never rushes back to work and instead constantly gives vague and delayed timelines for his return. But once on the floor, he’s a monster.
.....................................
TOM


HOME WITH PRIDE, BYNUM SEEKS EVEN BETTER
By Kevin Ding for the OC Register
http://www.ocregister.com/sports/bynum-291986-lakers-jackson.html
.....................................
Another great article by my favorite Kevin Ding. Here is excerpt:
.....................................
Phil Jackson used the words "full strength." No ambiguity about the context, either. "He's at full strength now," the Lakers' coach said about Andrew Bynum.
.....
That's throwing out quite a bone when it comes to the project the Lakers have grown far more accustomed to being nicked in the knees than giving opponents consistent paddywhacks.
.....
Even more than Jackson saying flat-out, "Drew is coming into his own now," that declaration that Bynum is operating at full power by the coach perennially dissatisfied by his starting center's energy and stamina (and health) was jarring.
.....
Yet that's how this young man came rolling home Saturday night, acknowledging that his confidence is swelling after having had the road trip of his career:
.....
Bynum, 23, led the team in rebounds every night, piling up 60 in the four games – plus 13 blocks – all against winning teams.
.....
He shot 23 of 29 from the field (79.3 percent!) and capped it off in Dallas in Game 67 of the season by leading the Lakers in scoring for the first time, hitting two clutch free throws for his 22-point finish.
.....
His shirt came untucked every single night from the twisting and reaching and willing.
.....
The Lakers went 3-1 on the trip that Jackson flat-out told them beforehand could "easily" be 0-4. When the home team's coach praises his players' effort afterward in defeat, as happened in Atlanta and Dallas, you know the visiting team was simply great.
.....
So Kobe Bryant announced it before heading home: "It was a statement for us."
.....
At the end of the statement stands Andrew Bynum ... like an exclamation point, not a question mark.
.....
This week was the closest thing there would be to a playoff series in this Lakers regular season, and Bynum dominated it.
.....
It has felt like it came out of nowhere, but it didn't, really. Before he got hurt (again) and slowed down last postseason, he had double-digit rebounds in six of the Lakers' first eight playoff games – despite being hurt (again) and missing the final 13 regular-season games.
.....
He wound up proving toughness while playing hurt then, but this trip was proving productivity while being healthy – and it was powerful stuff.
.....
It was so impressive that it led to some amusing moments in the Lakers' locker room late Saturday night, when the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan asked Bynum if he is the best player on this team.
.....
Bynum's brow furrowed in confusion and he was literally speechless before gathering himself to say: "Are you kidding me? We have Kobe Bryant and we have Pau Gasol."
.....
Bynum started to smile, adding: "Kinda silly!" It prompted Bresnahan's co-worker, T.J. Simers, to throw Bresnahan under the bus by relaying that question to Bryant in a later interview.
.....
After raving about Bynum all week, Bryant in this case wore a goofy grin as he said: "Let's not hit the crack pipe yet!"
.....
It was high comedy, but the statement that I wanted to relay was Jackson's "full strength" one to Bynum.
.....
I suspected Bynum would not be ready to make that declaration, aware of all that he feels and does behind the scenes for that atypically reattached cartilage in his right knee, including taking anti-inflammatory medication.
.....
"I have still a little bit of pain in my knee," he said. "I ice it every day. I'm still doing a lot of treatment. And it makes it hard to practice on a daily basis. But I feel pretty good right now."
.....
So there remains, in fact, room for improvement.
.....
Scary.
.....
"Realistically, I need to drop a little more weight; I'm still pretty heavy," Bynum said. "I'm like 289-290. Really, I play at 275. So it's a lot more weight on my legs. So I've got a lot of work to do this coming offseason to really drop and get to where I want to be."
.....
So not fully healthy, not fully svelte. But Jackson's point about Bynum, to be specific, was being fully strong.
.....
Too strong for Tim Duncan to start this trip and too strong for Tyson Chandler to end it.
.....
And in a year when there's no way new Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins' ACL comes all the way back, Duncan and Chandler are the two biggest men to stand between the Lakers and the NBA Finals.
.....
"I'm proud of him," Gasol said of Bynum, "but I want him to continue to do that the rest of the year."
.....................................
TOM

THE DNA FOR 3PEAT; THE FOUNDATIONAL BLOCK TO 3PEATING, SUCCINCT, SIMPLE AND YET POWERFUL:


"I like to see everybody involved in the game," Jackson said. "I've tried to preach as a basketball coach, even though we have a guy that dominates the ball in Kobe, basketball is not a one on one game — it's a team game."


People and media can gloat on glitzy stuff but at the end of the day, team game is indeed the Key, songs to the key of life in NBA.

IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE THE ARRIVAL OF ANDREW BYNUM
Posted by: LakerTom | March 14, 2011 at 09:26 AM
*
Yes, Yes I'll go along with that!!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeTgx_pj6m8 - CELEBRATE - KOOL AND THE GANG

@LakerTom - thanks for the material on Drew - I share your optimism when it comes to Bynum's qualities and importance to this Lakers team. A true litmus test comes tonight though...getting it together and holding his own (and then some) against Dwight Howard will go a LONG way towards helping to cement his resurgency in the minds of both Lakers fans and all the doubters out there.

If Kobe plays tonight and plays bad, that wont be on Kobe, that would be on Phil. Phils the head coach and at the end he makes the decision.

It's good to be back. I missed you guys!

Norcal-

again, this is NOT youth soccer.

everyone involved means everyone INVLOVED, not everyone getting the same number of shots. it means revounding, playing proper D, it means getting back on D, it means making the proper cuts, it means hitting open shots. only a fool would think that that quote by Jackson is a cut against Kobe. if you think that Kobe, at this point in his carreer is ignoring the coaching staff's wishes, then you are incorrect, and the proof of that is the team's success. it takes two to tango.

it's good for Phil to remind Kobe AND THE REST OF THE TEAM, to play the game correctly, that's his job. all you're doing is spamming the Lakers Blog which is full of people who have nothing to do with what goes on on the court. as Spock would say, "highly illogical".

btw- thanks to those who sent me a kind word on my words...


BYNUM FINISHES MAVERICKS GAME !!!
.....................................
It’s been a long time coming but it was refreshing to see Andrew Bynum not only gain Phil’s confidence to leave him in the game at crunch time but also validate his trust by grabbing that key rebound, getting fouled, and calmly sinking the 3 free throws to win the game. Bottom line, Phil knows he needs Drew’s intimidating defense to close out games. Even the Mavs announcers acknowledged that Drew’s domination of the paint was the critical difference in the game.
.....
Tonight’s game will give Lakers fans a bird’s eye view of the best two centers in the NBA as Andrew Bynum and the Lakers play host to Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic at Staples Center. There is no doubt that Dwight still holds firm grip on the top spot but Drew has been coming on strong now that he is finally healthy late in the season. Tonight, we’ll see how far Drew has come.
.....
With all the rumor mongering on the blog about Dwight Howard possibly wanting to play for the Lakers when his contract with Orlando expires after next season and Bynum Bashers and Doubters actively proselytizing to gain support for their fantasy trade, tonight’s game should trigger an avalanche of passionate and heartfelt discussion tomorrow based on how AB and DH play. If Drew plays Dwight to a standstill, I would hope that all Lakers fans will rejoice and support Drew.
.....
Personally, I expect Drew to show like he did when we played Orlando earlier this season that he can defend, rebound, and score on Dwight Howard. With his confidence sky-high, I expect Drew to continue with his break-out play at both ends of the court. I would like to see Phil have Drew on the floor whenever Dwight is, much like he does with Artest guarding the other team’s top scorer. I would also like to see the Lakers pound the ball down low to Drew to get Dwight in foul trouble.
.....................................
TOM


Oops. I meant 2 free throw.
..................
TOM

@LakerTom - Good articles on Andrew.

glad to see you back MM

M24....a big amen, and Halelujah

the switch has been thrown, the home stretch is ours, and another ring in the end....

the switch has been thrown, the home stretch is ours, and another ring in the end....Posted by: I hearned that | March 14, 2011 at 10:20 AM
*
Well I guess all that's left to say is...LAKER NATION...LET'S RIDE AMIGOS!!!!!!!!!!!

Its good to criticise some players some times but not to the extreme by using harsh words,no it shouldnt be condole.Anyway for me and others who are long time Laker fans we know what is expected of this present Laker team,we saw and experienced the Showtime era of Magic,Kareem,Worthy,Cooper and Byron Scot and also the 1999-2002 Laker team of Shaq,Kobe,Fish,Brian Shaw and Horry.We saw how dominant and devasting these Laker teams were and as a result we fans expect the same from this team .We are also accustomed to winning especially under Phil Jackson the Zen Master,we know his philosophy and the high standards he expects from his players.We also know what he had done in Chicago with the great Bulls team.Furthermore we laker fans know about the triangle offence and the emphasis on team effort to win games,so whenever a player decline to play within the triangle,and takes it on own to try to win games which may results in turn overs for the other team or when an individual player is not putting an effort in defending well,then we will critise because we know what is expected of the Lakers,which is high expectations in winning games.If all the players put their best effort and still come up short of a win,then i dont think the fans would criticise the team that much but may just congratulate the other team which bring their A game against the Lakers.

Pearl of Wisdom from the Zen Master and it should apply to all team sports including soccer:

"I like to see everybody involved in the game," Jackson said. "I've tried to preach as a basketball coach, even though we have a guy that dominates the ball in Kobe, basketball is not a one on one game — it's a team game."

My only fear is that Phil is giving away the recipe to winning 3peat out to all, hmmm.



LAKERS PICK-AND-ROLL D
By Sebastian Pruiti for Basketball Prospectus
http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1550
.....................................
Here is a great article for those interested in how the Lakers have adjusted their pick-and-roll defense to take advantage of Andrew Bynum. It has some great video of how Miami and Lakers deal with pick-and-rolls involving their big men. Here is an excerpt:
.....................................
“Despite being one of the better defensive teams in the NBA this season, the Los Angeles Lakers and their coaching staff felt that it was necessary that they change how their team defended the pick-and-roll, catering more to Andrew Bynum and his skill set. Kevin Ding at the Orange County Register has the details:
....
Jackson noted how Miami was trying Sunday to have its big men come all the way out to show on pick-and-rolls by Chicago's Derrick Rose--to no avail in stopping the ball. Rose could not be checked and thus was easily able to create offense for the Bulls--something that often happened to the Lakers with Bynum and Pau Gasol: "Now when that guard gets around that screen, you've got 5-on-3," Jackson said.
....
"As a consequence, we're starting to try and funnel them in to a place where we have Andrew in position," Jackson said. "He's a plug. He's in there stopping penetration."
....
Basically, the Lakers have determined that they don't want Bynum showing hard on pick-and-rolls, opting to have him hang around the middle, with the rest of the defense funneling the play to him in the paint. The result is more midrange jumpers with the defense being able to contest threes and keep point guards out of the lane. The midrange jumpers are not troubling since the Lakers have determined that they want their opponents taking those shots, because who excels at that anyway? Again, Ding has the details:
....
[Lakers assistant coach Chuck] Person said "the only true mid-range shooters left in the game" are Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce anyway. New York's Carmelo Anthony jumps to mind, but he gets a lot of his work done with physicality and isn't necessarily a pure shooter.
.....................................
TOM

@Jefe - nice to hear from "Lovely Livvy"

@Mamba - Celebration tonight yes sir!


My selection today goes out to all our brothers and sisters in Japan...

Kirk Franklin (with Bono, Mary J, Crystal Lewis and R. Kelly) - Lean on Me
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXBKaOkmQhw

Norcal, I think we got your message and also to others in re-emphasizing too much on their beliefs as we need brain twisting here.

Kobe is not an evil player, Lakers will not be at this stage competing for third Championship without the involvement of Kobe. The same with the involvement of multi-title coach, PJ. Bynum has been giving us some props lately that made the 2nd half palatable to watch but Lakers is not all about Bynum. There is Ron-Ron, Pau, LO, Fish, Blake, Barnes and Shannon. Basically, they also contributed for the team. Bynum is supposed to be doing this in the first half of the season. As professionals being paid with good money, they should have been giving their best selves to the team and to the fans. If we see the efforts and the mindset of trying to be competitive, what should a fan becomes restless, uncomfortable and a habitual complainer? A fan complains when he doesn't see the action and motivation in their game.

well, i'm certainly convinced by the spamming of the Lakersblog!

a team should have everyone involved!

it's nice to see a player like Joe Smith embrace his support role on the team. i'm glad that he finds ways to stay involved.

LRob, nice video of Lean On Me for our Japanese fellow residents who have been the recent victims in the Ring Of Fire. It refers also to New Zealanders, Indonesians, Haitians and Mexicans who also had earthquakes lately. I hope and pray that we hold on here in the West Coast. I hope not. What good would it be to be a passionate Laker fan in the midst of death and destruction? I think we should learn to count our blessings in this blog, it is not all about winning or losing a Championship, but being alive and happy with your family.

Nice interview, but it doesn't change the fact that Rap music overwhelmingly sucks sewage and has had a tremendously negative impact upon society over the last 20 years.

Rap music is the soundtrack to "Idiocracy."

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

*___________________________________________________________________*
PRAY OR THINK GOOD THOUGHTS FOR THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN - BANDWAGON
*____________________________________________________________________*
(01)LROB - OWNER - My selection today goes out to all our brothers and sisters
in Japan...Kirk Franklin (with Bono, Mary J, Crystal Lewis and R. Kelly) - Lean on Me
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXBKaOkmQhw
(02) EDWIN GUECO – CO/OWNER - After a day of respite on my part from posting in honor of our Japanese brothers and sisters who perished last Friday, I'm getting back to usual self. I hope the Lakers Blog nation will pray for the safety of our fellow blogger, T. Sensei and his family. Trying to assess this natural calamity and comparing it to our worries in the Lakers Blog, the latter is so tiny under the great scheme of things. This kind of problem could happen to us in SoCal or in the on cities alongthe western seaboard of US. If such thing occur, how can we (residents in the Ring of Fire) exercise passion in the midst of destruction? It is beyond comparison, isn't it? I chose the lesser path of passion which is silence even just for a day as we share our grief on their sullen faces in desperate search for more survivors, our fellow residents on the other side of the world.Therefore, our concerns and debates nowadays are somewhat misplaced and meaningless based on values and priorities of things.
(03) PRACTICE SEASON POLICE CO/OWNER - Goodmorning, Police here; First and most important, let us keep our Japanese brothers and sisters in our thoughts and prayers!
(04) PHRED – CO/OWNER – I would like to express hopes and concerns and support for the people of Japan right now, who just took a serious natural disaster. I offer condolences to everybody who lost family members and friends and thoughts and concern for everybody else.
(05) LAKERTOM – DRIVER - All I could think about when I first heard the news and watched the reports is how this could easily have been California. There but for fortune go you and I.
(06) MS – CODRIVER - stay strong Japan (& Lakers): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkvXu6AGqjs
(07) BRONXLAKERFAN - My heart and prayers go out to all the people impacted worldwide by the devastating earthquake in Japan and the ensuing tsunami. It will certainly affect our friends in Laker Nation in the Phillipines, Asia, Hawaii and along the West Coast. Real world events certainly put a loss in a basketball game into its proper perspective.
(08) JON K - 8. I'd write more by what is happening in Japan is amazing me.
(09) PUTRID - What a turmoil.disastrous. Pray for japan. Japan is my favorite country.. Great nation. Great people.
(10) POINT FORWARD - As I write this our hearts and prayers are with our Japanese brothers and sisters. I may not know them by name they don't know me but I will be praying for them. One of the worst disasters I've seen.
(11) JOE CORAD - My prayers go to Japan and the citizens.
(12) MAMBA24 – May God’s Love and Blessing flow down to the people of Japan and uplift them in their hour of need.
(13) FAN OF THE MAMBA
(14) JUSTANOTHERMAMBAFAN
(15) LAKERLASS
(16) NEWMEXICOLL
(17) D(ERICK) J(ETER)
(18)

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | March 14, 2011 at 10:52 AM

What does Phil's statement has any thing to with Kobe being evil. Is that what you understood? I am only evangelizing Phil's pearl of wisdom as a Mantra to 3Peat and hope it sticks with; to whom it may concern. You have your view and I respect that and I have my own view so we co-exist. Shall we dance?


@LT - Thanks for the excellent articles on Drew. Tonight should be fun. As a NBA fan I love individivual marquee matchups. Whether its DRose vs. Rondo, Kobe vs. Wade, etc. In the first game Howard uses his quickness to blow past Drew and strength to overpower Pau on putbacks. He was 13-16. It'll be interesting to see how rd 2 plays out.

You said, "If Drew plays Dwight to a standstill, I would hope that all Lakers fans will rejoice and support Drew."

I hope all Laker fans support Drew regardless of his performance tonight. He's proven his value to the team and improving everyday. Tonight is a nice little measuring stick...but its just one meaningless game in the big scheme of things. It won't change my opinion of Drew either way.

Edwin - well said.

Norcal,

With constant repetition on what Phil said, it is a clear reference to Kobe's activity why we lost in Miami. Perhaps, you didn't refer to Kobe as evil but there were posts that made those accusations. Well, it is a fair comment as his/her right to make such accusations but constantly repeating, cheering, mocking him becomes boring posts to those fans here. They become nuisance bloggers without constructive purpose at all. It is enough to say it once, we got it and read what PJ said.

Jon K - I'm going to advise Joe Smith to write a battle rap song on you. Just for fun

Jon K - I'm going to advise Joe Smith to write a battle rap song on you. Just for fun Posted by: Mark Medina | March 14, 2011 at 11:20 AM
*
OH SWEET JESUS!!! ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How you like those apples Jon K? LOL!

Great roll call Mamba24. @LakerTom... Really enjoyed the articles on Bynum. He truly has stepped into his role and now you can see the determination and desire to be the BEST!! He now wants to challange the best centers to see how he matches up! A really good test tonite.
Hollinger has us at # one in the rankings! Unbelieveable, he being the ultimate Laker Hater!! Let's go Laker's!!

I wish they would allow Joe to play more. Every time I see Drew having a great game, I keep hoping he doesn't step on a foot and get injured. I want him fresh for the stretch. I also hope Blake is starting to get confident and willing to shoot when open.

@NEWMEXICOLL, Good morning ma'am! Thanks for the nice words and thanks for checking in. Number One? WTH? Hollinger has Lakers as Number One? OK...I take back just a little of the bad things I said about him...Justa little! LOL! It's going to be a great game ma'am, enjoy it!!!

I don't think Kobe will let Fish outdo him. Fish almost got his arm ripped off and suited up the next game. Seeing as the foot is still attached, I expect Kobe to play. I wish he would take the night off so that he doesn't injure it further, but Kobe is a warrior. Hopefully, he will facilitate and we will get the W.

I will be watching Drew and Dwight tonight. Dwight was talking about how he will have to dominate... Good luck with that... NOT. I think Drew will be serving notice on the league who is the more dominant player. It is going to be awesome!

Mamba24 - thanks for the roll call! You the man!

Go Lakers!

I am a Lakerholic.

I've got a strategy for the Lakers tonight...

score more points than the Magic.

If they do that, I think they can win.

Wow,

Since the beginning of Feb., the Lakers have won 14 out of 19 games.

Excellent!

I think they are looking good for their playoff run.

And I hope Kobe plays tonight. Go Lakes!

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | March 14, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Do you know what mantra means? It is to be repeated everyday and please don't tell me what I should and should not post, don't you think you are stepping your bounds? Why not scroll past my post? What is evil reference to Kobe below?

"I like to see everybody involved in the game," Jackson said. "I've tried to preach as a basketball coach, even though we have a guy that dominates the ball in Kobe, basketball is not a one on one game — it's a team game."

Well for the past year I have been hearing on beast bynum, repetitious news but never complained so what gives?


In Mark Stein's Power Rankings at ESPN, he ranks San Antonio number 3, with this comment:

"The Suns shot 41.2 percent on 3s in 2009-10. Which is significant in San Antonio because that's the only team in the past 10 years with more team success from deep than these Spurs, who are at 40.2 percent"

Of course, we all know what happened to those hot-3-shooting Suns in the playoffs in 2010, don't we?

Mark Medina,

Let me outline the content of a "battle rap 'song'":

I'm badder than you.

You're weak.

I can rap.

You can't rap.

Here's a specific insult about you or your mother or something like that.

{End genius}

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

I like Joe Smith.

and put me in the japan bandwagon....I was in shock last friday. I'm still worried. Hope them all the best.

Mamba24 - thanks for the roll call! You the man! Posted by: Lakerholic | March 14, 2011 at 11:27 AM
*
No, No, No!!!!! I am, like you sir...A Lakerholic!!! Thank you for checking in, now put that Game Face On and help the Lakers bring that win on home!!!

*___________________________________________________________________*
PRAY OR THINK GOOD THOUGHTS FOR THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN - BANDWAGON
*____________________________________________________________________*
(01)LROB - OWNER - My selection today goes out to all our brothers and sisters
in Japan...Kirk Franklin (with Bono, Mary J, Crystal Lewis and R. Kelly) - Lean on Me
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXBKaOkmQhw
(02) EDWIN GUECO – CO/OWNER - After a day of respite on my part from posting in honor of our Japanese brothers and sisters who perished last Friday, I'm getting back to usual self. I hope the Lakers Blog nation will pray for the safety of our fellow blogger, T. Sensei and his family. Trying to assess this natural calamity and comparing it to our worries in the Lakers Blog, the latter is so tiny under the great scheme of things. This kind of problem could happen to us in SoCal or in the on cities alongthe western seaboard of US. If such thing occur, how can we (residents in the Ring of Fire) exercise passion in the midst of destruction? It is beyond comparison, isn't it? I chose the lesser path of passion which is silence even just for a day as we share our grief on their sullen faces in desperate search for more survivors, our fellow residents on the other side of the world.Therefore, our concerns and debates nowadays are somewhat misplaced and meaningless based on values and priorities of things.

"
"
(18) MAGIC PHIL - and put me in the japan bandwagon....I was in shock last friday. I'm still worried. Hope them all the best.

Is it me ...or does anyone else feel the skeltics purposely dealt away 2 players with injury issues?

Jon K - Yup that's pretty accurate. I actually recorded a battle rap with one of my friends in college and it followed that exact formula. Hopefully it doesn't leak.

I have three words for Joe Smith; Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!

The Lakers made a trade and can use the services of Joe Smith. Phil Jackson should find quality minutes to use Joe Smith to save his key big men from foul trouble and fatigue.Joe has 15 years of experience and should have some type of major role with this team.Phil should move away from his super 8 to be more innovative with a positive nine or a quality ten players.This is a championship team and build on your bench that you discussed over the summer when the management added Blake,Barnes, and Ratliff.


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