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Lakers' injury list exacerbates concerns over play following 102-93 victory over San Antonio Spurs

60858930Folding his arms across his knees and burying his head down, Lakers center Andrew Bynum sat on the court.

He had just lost his balance while trying to track down San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair, a sequence that caused his left knee to slip underneath him. Bynum then grabbed his right knee, a discomforting visual for any Lakers fan, considering Bynum's well-documented injury history. But Bynum stood up and walked off the court as Lakers forward Pau Gasol patted him on the head. Soon enough, Bynum walked toward the locker room with trainer Gary Vitti following.

The Lakers' 102-93 victory Tuesday over the Spurs at Staples Center gives them a clearer look at the playoff picture, considering that L.A. can secure the No. 2 seed with a victory Wednesday at Sacramento and/or a Dallas Mavericks loss Wednesday against the New Orleans Hornets. But here's something that even has bigger implications: An unhealthy Bynum will severely dampen the Lakers' hopes to three-peat. Of course, the Lakers will have a better idea about the severity of Bynum's injury once he receives an MRI Wednesday, skipping the team's flight to Sacramento. But given Bynum's injury history, it's more realistic to expect a prolonged absence than a short one, even if he insists otherwise. 

"It's not really that bad," Bynum said while walking down a Staples Center hallway after the game. "It was painful right when it happened, but it's not that bad right now."

Even so, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson anticipated Bynum missing a couple of games, pointing out the possibility that the injury could be a bone bruise and revealing the center had swelling around his knee. Bynum's injury is just a string of bizarre events that took place before the Lakers-Spurs game even began. Lakers backup forward Matt Barnes missed the game because of increased pain in his right knee that flared up prior to morning shootaround, an injury that limited him during that session. He doesn't have a timetable for his return but said in a brief moment in a Staples Center hallway that the problem will prevent him from flying with the team to Sacramento. Lakers backup guard Steve Blake remained sidelined because of chicken pox, an illness the team learned about prior to morning shootaround. His wife, Kristen Blake, wrote via Twitter, "my kids [three sons] didn't give it to him. They were vaccinated and are healthy. No clue where or how Steve got chicken pox."

Bynum, Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant never had chicken pox, and it isn't clear whether they have had vaccines for the illness, but Bynum was the only one who confirmed that fact to reporters. Artest said he had the illness when he "was a baby," and Bryant smiled while dropping an expletive when asked if he's already had chicken pox. To stave off all the absences, the Lakers added Trey Johnson and Derrick Caracter from the Bakersfield Jam. 

Either way, all the unforeseen adversities add further anxiety to a team that technically ended its five-game losing streak but exhibited the same horrific play. That included Bryant's eight-for-21 clip and 15th technical foul, modest efforts from Artest (seven points, one-for-two shooting), Shannon Brown (four-for-11 shooting), Luke Walton (two points, four fouls), Joe Smith (zero points in 4:33) and Theo Ratliff (zero points in 1:30 of play), showing the Lakers' health concerns better be solved quickly. After all, it required Lamar Odom to overcome a one-for-seven first-half performance by finishing with 23 points on nine-for-18 shooting to put away a team that sat out its top three stars, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.

"We're going to have the adversities and struggles," said Lakers guard Derek Fisher. "We just have to make sure we remain focused on the positive that's going on in this locker room."

Fisher's positive outlook may be the approach the Lakers need during their latest trials. Team members repeatedly echoed the observation that Bynum seemed fine and could tough out the injury, considering that he provided a valuable inside presence in the 2010 NBA playoffs despite constant pain and swelling surrounding a lateral meniscus tear on his right knee. But realistically, recent events further illustrate that the Lakers' lackadaisical play is hurting them beyond playoff seedings.

Had they maintained their sharp play during their 17-1 run following the All-Star break instead of allowing complacency to contribute to a five-game losing streak, the Lakers could have avoided many of the problems they are facing. It's conceivable that they could have rested or at least limited starters' minutes had they had a secure playoff spot, but the Lakers' need for Bynum's presence exposed him to further injury. Additionally, securing home-court advantage would have at least mitigated uncontrollable problems, such as injuries, a luxury that became a distant dream with each loss.

"There's always concern when you see him go down a couple times," Jackson said of Bynum. "There's concern. It was a freaky play."

Odom and Walton shrugged off what they said is an overreaction among fans and media, with Walton even saying that he had to calm down a overly concerned Lakers fan he met while running errands. But Walton's disclosure that the Lakers recently had a players-only meeting validates the concern that the team has have plenty of issues to fix for the playoffs.

"We talked about how in the playoffs if you all of a sudden drop two or three straight, your season is over," Walton said. We're aware of everything that's going on. We have a great team [that] knows what it needs to do to win. The fans have the right to worry, but our team isn't like that at all right now."

That changed with Bynum's injury. Gasol, Brown, Fisher and Jackson all acknowledged feeling anxious when the center fell down, knowing that he missed 46 games in the 2007-08 season because of a left-knee injury, remained sidelined for 32 games in the 2008-09 campaign because of a right-knee injury, sat for 13 games last season because of a strained left Achilles' tendon and missed the first 25 games this season while recovering from offseason surgery on his right knee, the same knee he hurt against the Spurs. Likewise, the Lakers immediately tried to figure out who was vaccinated after hearing about Blake's chicken pox. For example, Brown initially wondered if he would get sick after shaking Blake's hand during Monday's practice, even though he says he had the illness when he was a child.

It remains to be seen whether the Lakers' confident aura will carry them through once again, or if it is simply an example of denial. It all depends on how quickly they can elevate their play, how severe the injuries become and whether playoff opponents will be ready to combat the Lakers' experience and talent. One thing is for sure: The quest to three-peat won't be easy.

"We're all veterans here, and we understand it's part of the sport," Gasol said. "We'll be focused on what we need to do, regardless."

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Andrew Bynum grimaces after injuring his right knee during the Lakers' 102-93 victory Tuesday over the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

 
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Voodoo.


Well,actually Steve may have been poxed by the kids' vaccines,or not...

I'm happy for the win, and praying for the knee,the season, and the championship that follows playoff success

Well ok, 'only' six new threads to catch up on this morning, could be worse I guess.

Bummer about Bynum.
Remember all the trade talk pre all-star break?
Then post all-star game Bynum turns it on and those who had favored trading Bynum were chastised for days.

Yes, I was in the trade Bynum camp. I said that there was an injury walking around out there with Bynums name on it and it was just a matter of time.

Here we go again.

What will this do to Bynums confidence?

In my opinion, he will always, as in all the time, be an injury waiting to happen.

It doesn't matter if he is the greatest center to ever play the game.
If he can't play the game...

Without him, the Lakers chances of winning it all have just nose dived.

Maybe Melo wasn't the right guy to trade him for, or, maybe Melo would have made a big impact. But at least Melo is healthy. And he would have lessoned the scoring load on Kobe.

Next year, if some way some how Dwight is available they must go after him.

No matter if this injury turns out to be minor.
The next one, and there will be a next one, may be another season ending injury.

I am not happy about this.
I loved seeing Bynum perform as well as he did and being a real defensive force.
I would love it if he could stay healthy.
I sincerely hope this injury turns out to be minor.

I had Chicken Pox as an adult (even after having it as a child--yes, it happens)

It left me the weakest I have ever been. It is not the uncomfortable childhood disease that is mostly the itchy skin eruptions. It is muscular and deeply painful--shingles, basically. Let's hope it's contained.

If he's back in two weeks, I'll be grateful and amazed.
More so if he can run the floor for a five minute stretch.

Anyone else had this as an adult? If so, chime in.

"LosAngele Slakers A Series of Unfortunate Events"

@mud, vodoo came to my mind too.

@random lurker, i had it. And was horrible. It happened in the summer, so the fever, the stickiness and the itchiness increased. The first week was the worst. I hope Blake can have a symbiotic reaction and ends playing better after the pox.

http://deadspin.com/#!5791516/kobe-bryant-calls-a-ref-something-he-shouldnt-nsfw

One, two, three strikes in a single, short video clip.
I mean, what other player in the league
wouldn't have been thrown out of the game
and suspended for a couple more? Name one...
And when you do, the one or two names you MIGHT be able to come up
with are the exceptions which prove the rule.

This, folks, is why Laker Championships are Faker championships
which mean absolutely nothing to anyone except Laker fans,
and a few sports reporters who secretly hope to someday work in L.A..
They are equally complicit and pathetic.
And if you can't see what everyone else in the country sees,
you are too.

He's a Laker ($$$) And he's the Saint ($$$) And the Playoffs are just around the corner ($$$)...Ha Ha Ha! Let's do (or don't do) what needs to be done,
to give the Lakers every advantage...you know...a million little things.
It's O.K.. We can even do some of it out in the open.
We've gotten away with it time and again before.
Gotta get em' into the finals.
Yeah man.
What do we play for?

Go Kings!

Sonnybelfast

Good win.

Definitely praying for very very good news after Drew's MRI.

LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

Whatever, Troll.

So, pathetic.


Troll away. TROLL ALL DAY!!!

Art,

you wrote: Yes, I was in the trade Bynum camp. I said that there was an injury walking around out there with Bynums name on it and it was just a matter of time.

Here we go again.

What will this do to Bynums confidence?

In my opinion, he will always, as in all the time, be an injury waiting to happen.

It doesn't matter if he is the greatest center to ever play the game.
If he can't play the game...

Without him, the Lakers chances of winning it all have just nose dived.

Maybe Melo wasn't the right guy to trade him for, or, maybe Melo would have made a big impact. But at least Melo is healthy. And he would have lessoned the scoring load on Kobe.

Next year, if some way some how Dwight is available they must go after him.

my response: There's no way the Lakers try to trade for Dwight. It won't
happen. Not because I'm not a fan, but because Jimmi Buss' pride is on the
line.

And, I'm not going to say anything else, because we all know who said what
when. :)

Anyhow, the playoffs are about to start. We have to play w/ who we've got.

Go Kobe!
Go Lakers!!!

SonnyBelfast, are u still feeling the pain of the Donaghy effect when the Kings were taken off from the playoffs? Well, the refs may have neglected blowing the whistles but give the Lakers the credit for those wins against Vlade Divac, Webber & Co. Do the Lakers have control on the media, in fact if you read this blog they accused the media, NBA and refs as haters of the modern day Lakers. Refs may have missed ticky tack fouls but not the holding or pushing fouls on Kobe and Gasol. Do they complain frequently, yes they do but it fell on deaf ears. How about the media, how many times did they write the obituary of the b2b Champs just this season? Well, most probably after this knee injury and chicken pox scare, Lakers are again the underdogs. Time will tell if our team is already done and out. I can tell u this, we had a run for the last couple of years and it was a great run going to three consecutive Finals and garnering two Championship. NBA will not be fond to watch if the Lakers are no longer in the mix. Our team is still the most popular team in the country if not in the world.

The bad thing about getting chicken pox as an adult is the symptoms are much worse and you run the risk of getting chicken pox pneumonia which is a serious illness. In the 80's at a hospital I used to work at there was an outbreak of CP in the local prison and one of our family practice residents caught the illness and was on a respirator for several weeks. Here's hoping a speedy recovery for SB as the lakers need him. To bad the lake show wanted to save 5 million and gave away Sasha who would be playing the back up pg-2g. Lakers should know the Dallas final before halftime and if NO wins they can rest the starters the 2nd half. If not they need to win or face the hot Blazers.

I am amazed on these Bynum injuries, they happened on freak accidents. You can't say that Blair intentionally put his foot in front of him or Kobe/Odom applied too much pressure which caused his knees to buckle down. If he gets injured so often, the kid is not ready for basketball. It appears that his body systems is not adapted to the risks, which we all know that if you played basketball since u were a kid there will be multiple injuries sustained on fingers, knees, ankles and so forth. It is the survival mode of a player to go on and play with the big leagues. This is part and parcel of why you are considered a professional. You survived playing basketball in grade school, high school or CIF, College, international competition and the ultimate challenge is the NBA. Skills and surviving from injuries are part of the unwritten contract with the big league. Like Kobe or Odom, they are playing with injuries but they gut it out to the point that we don't hear them complain about them. Look at Fisher's career, he has aged however, you can see his survival mode that he can keep up with the youth on those bumps. Why did the Cap or Bynum's teacher got the highest scoring record? He was a great scorer and knows how to handle his body playing with the bulky opponents up to age 42. I wonder whether Bynum asked his teacher how to avoid injuries or things to watch as a Center. He is the only player that I know who got a one-on-one coaching from a legend. It even appears that the Cap needed a job so he was hired by JimBuss to teach his pet how to play as a Laker Center. When the education has been culminated, I not aware of him being grateful to the Cap nor mentioned Kareem w/ his latest surge.

I hope Drew's injury will be short and slight strain only. Nonetheless, it is not good to be an injury prone player in the big league. I remember Bill Walton, one of the HOF but ended his stellar career as a Superstar when he sustained knee injuries with the Clippers. He came back and helped the Celtics win the Championship as a supporting cast only.

hobbitmage,

Understand about junior Buss, hope you aren't right but am afraid you are.
You know what they say about pride and falling...

Edwin,

you wrote: I am amazed on these Bynum injuries, they happened on freak accidents. You can't say that Blair intentionally put his foot in front of him or Kobe/Odom applied too much pressure which caused his knees to buckle down. If he gets injured so often, the kid is not ready for basketball. It appears that his body systems is not adapted to the risks, which we all know that if you played basketball since u were a kid there will be multiple injuries sustained on fingers, knees, ankles and so forth.

my response: Per the words of Gary Vitti, trainer for the Los Angeles Lakers,
Bynum has wide hips & is knock-kneed. His knees will be problematic for
his entire career.

You may recall a brief segment where I did research on Gary Vitti because his
medical acumen/integrity was called into question.

ps. I hope he'll be ok. He was playing great.

Even if the Bynum's injury is serious, will the Lakers FO tell us the truth? They have been known to throw a white lie here n there about those expensive knees before.

I hope....

Drew is okay
Matt is okay
Blake is back soon
Shannon plays better
Joe or Theo is ready

But ready or not...one game until the fun begins!

Sad, SAd, SAD...what a sad performance by the b2b champs. I feel for the Lakerholics and myself, its not going to end pretty. I think most of us know it, but like Mamba24 would say"Let's ride this Mother till the wheels come off". I can't see light at the end of the tunnel, all I see is a early exit. Heart Break Hotel, what are the odds Drew making it through out the playoff? pretty low, Kobe appears to be a train wreck, totally emotionally out of control. Look like SA and Miami in the finals.

@ Sonnybelfast,

That's cool, bro. We'll lock up Arco Arena for you tonight.

DBDH!

Last night's MVP - Lamar Odom.

Thanks for showing up, LO.

How 'bout that outside shooting last night? Dynamite, huh?

Last, but not least...

It must be playoff time, because Bynum's knee is busted again. Sheesh...

DBDH!

Adversity hits at the start of the playoffs. Here we go again. Time for another playoff run.

I know that a win is a win BUT consider the 5 players the Lakers had on the floor last night: a 5-time champion PG, a future HOF shooting guard, an All-Star PF/C, the 6th Man of the Year and a former DPOY and they couldn’t put away a bunch of SAS scrubs until the last minute. I will take the win anytime but, man, that was just ugly.

"I can't see light at the end of the tunnel, all I see is a early exit. Heart Break Hotel, what are the odds Drew making it through out the playoff? pretty low, Kobe appears to be a train wreck, totally emotionally out of control. Look like SA and Miami in the finals.
Posted by: Phoenix | April 13, 2011 at 07:29 AM"

OK, OK...so Drew is down, Kobe is a train wreck, we're playing crappy against scrubs, no light at the end of the tunnel...etc., etc....

In other words, just like last year. So, Phoenix, get ready to whine, dude, cause Phil is about to unleash the REAL World Champion Los Angeles Lakers for his Last Ride...and you'll finally see that Light at the End of the Tunnel...and dude, it's our 17th World Championship Express coming right toward you.

Phil has been sandbagging you poor troll suckers all season long...goofball rotations, no time outs, subs playing poorly left in too long...well guess what, suckas...it ain't gonna happen in the playoffs! Phil's like Lucy eternally pulling the football away at the last moment from all the Charley Browns in the NBA and Troll Nation. So sad, too bad you guys are going to miss...again.

And one more thing...we're just one day away from...THE RETURN OF MAMBA24!!! We've got this.

Laker Amigos, LET'S RIDE!!!

Happy game day - it would be really great for the Lake show to close down Arco with a big old W. It was a great rivalry.

Never underestimate the heart of a champion.

Adversity only makes us stronger.


Cheers all - PLG

Sometimes adversity bring out the best in a team. I'm choosing to believe it will happen to our Lakers.

Drew's knee is worrisome. I remember on his initial injury he said pretty much the same thing "Oh, it's not so bad. It hurt more when it happened." But who knows. He's been through this before and may be a much better judge of it than he was then. I'll be waiting anxiously for the results.

In the meantime, glad for the win. Glad to see LO really step up in the 4th. Glad to see Pau making his shots and looking a lot more fluid while he's doing them. Glad to see Kobe hitting some of those jumpers late. Now I want to see them throwing it inside.

GO LAKERS!!!!!

is sonny belfast ever gonna let go of the kings never getting to the NBA FINALS? hey sonny, LET IT GO! the reason they never made it wasn't because of the refs, david stern or whomever............it was because they wet their panties at crunchtime! on the bynum, poor kid.....he is so unlucky. what can you say.....just running down court, steps on blair's big, fat foot, hyperextended knee, damn shame. well, at least it wasn't one of his teammates that knocked him out, ha ha. fyi, L.A. is 20 - 7 without 'drew in the lineup. am i suggesting we can win this without 'drew? no, i'm not. it would be improbable! if the bench was playing consistently great, i would say we have a chance, but in the long run we need bynum's presence in the lineup. crossing my fingers today for the MRI results?

I know it doesn't mean all that much to Laker fans, but tonight, the Lakers and the "Sacramento Kings" play for the last time in Sac. The Kings will in all probability be moving to Anaheim. I, for one would like to thank the Lakers, Phil Jackson and the fans for the great match-ups we had years ago. You guys came out on top, but it was a definite highlight in the dismal history of the Kings. I will remember those games forever.

this "practice season" is never ending.

at the same time practice should make it perfect. or almost.

in this case looks more and more imperfect. and difficult. and dramatic. surreal or bordering on absurd.

ironically, the "Real Lakers Fans", are expecting Team A to beat Team B. and Team F to lose to Team H so the Lakers look rosy in the final positioning.

the same Lakerholics preached that the Lakers control their own destiny, that so many games are not important (next one, lol), HCA is a myth and they are searching for statistics that will prove that a Team from the 4th seed won a championship. not that the "statistics" will deliver the rings at the beginning of the following season.

and part of this new landscape, the Lakers, all of the sudden, DO NOT HAVE A BENCH. (anyone who will call Walton, Smith and Theo "the Bench" needs something examined)

great strategy from the fans, the coaching staff, the team (maybe except Kobe, who never did, do or will buy these confusing arguments) and the front office. visionary.

the situation parallels the Japanese events. Barnes and the earthquake, Bynum as tsunami and Blake as the undisclosed and unknown "contaminating" element (at what level his contagion will strike other team members - the incubation period is up to 2 weeks)

and the Lakers are running to save their position in the Sacramento desert. or delta.

are you talking about "practice"?!

i forgot, this team was built for the playoffs. my bad.

only Hollywood will come up with a script like this one.
or Bollywood?
maybe Nollywood (the Nigerian movie industry). like in reality, the Nigerian government did not have the ballots ready for the election. sounds also imperfect, difficult, dramatic, surreal or bordering on absurd.

And one more thing...we're just one day away from...THE RETURN OF MAMBA24!!! We've got this.
Posted by: CornerJ | April 13, 2011 at 08:18 AM

I know he is "versatile". But can he play PG, SF and to be the enforcer Center?

@Corner J - all net! I'm rolling wit you!


@PLG - Never underestimate the heart of a champion...that's right Rudy T is a Laker now! Very apropo.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-1jgNhopNo


What's up hobbit, JovBatz, Edwin, Art, DBDH, Tom Daniels, snake, LTLL, Lakeshowinphx & the rest of the morning crew! Let's get ready to roll!

Okay, time to put a positive spin on this, as I have personal experience with recovering from a meniscectomy.

I had a bad cartilage tear in my knee in 1982. The recovery process kinda goes in steps. You're doing just okay for awhile, and then you're doing a litte better for awhile, and then a little better, and then eventually you get back to feeling at full strength.

And the thing that causes the jumps are little tweaks to the knee like Bynum had last night. You step off a curb funny or slip on ice and hyperextend it. For a couple of days it's sore. But when it comes back, it feels a little more back to normal strength and flexibility than it did before the tweak. My orthopedist explained it that some scar tissue builds up after the surgery, and sometimes when you tweak the knee a little bit (but not too much), it breaks loose some of the scar tissue and returns some of your lost freedom of motion.

With luck, Bynum's tweak last night will be like that... it won't be bad enough to cause further damage, and he'll actually feel BETTER when the swelling goes down.

I know it doesn't mean all that much to Laker fans, but tonight, the Lakers and the "Sacramento Kings" play for the last time in Sac. The Kings will in all probability be moving to Anaheim. I, for one would like to thank the Lakers, Phil Jackson and the fans for the great match-ups we had years ago. You guys came out on top, but it was a definite highlight in the dismal history of the Kings. I will remember those games forever.

Posted by: Larry DuBois | April 13, 2011 at 08:38 AM


Thanks Larry. And actually, it does mean something to this Laker fan. Are you kidding? Those play off games in 2002 were legendary! I will miss the Kings and their fans. You guys loved them whether they sucked or were tearing it up. I hated you in 2002, but that was just because of the cow bells.
Much respect for your fan love, and I'm sorry about the move.

LTLL

Andrew

Like Micky Mantle, it's just plain sad to watch a knee joint hinder a great athlete's career.

We could save time and and just copy and paste the posts from the other knee moments of Andrew's career.

The ring rides on that knee, other than that, no big deal.

do you guys realize that with all of the different playoff scenarios in the western conference, BSPN is going to televise the clippers/memphis game here in arizona! wtf, there's no justice in this world! ha ha

I'm ready to roll, LRob! Haven't been able to get here most morning because of work, so I'm happy to have the day off and to spend it here with you guys.

Sactown will be motivated to win that last game in Arco Arena, and we're short staffed. I'd like to see us come out and play with skill and heart. I bet the Dleaguer PG comin' up is insanely excited to play tonight! (If he does.)

Ready to hear about Drew's knee.

GO LAKERS!!!!!!!

LTLL


@LTLF... Thanks for your comments about the recovery from your meniscectomy. Obviously, we are all hoping and praying Drew will only miss a few games and be able to come back stronger than ever. The blessing is that Drew had the brace on as it most likely prevented the knee from hyperextending even more. Rather than bemoaning the young man’s bad luck, we all need to pray he will be OK.
...........................................
TOM

I wonder if those games in December really are meaningless

I'm waiting to read LakerTom's response.

I'm hoping for the best and expecting worse case scenario to be missing the first practice round and coming back strong when we need him most. I feel we can still win with a limited Bynum and a new and improved focused Lamar Odom. I think a healthy active Bynum is critical though.

I felt like a father looking at his son and seeing the hurt in his eyes. I had to take a long walk outside and dvr the second half. I didn’t even want to watch the second half, I felt like it was for nothing. Of course I ended up watching it and was pleasantly encouraged that if Bynum is out for an extended time LO is ready to play bigger than he ever has.

LongTimeLakerFan | April 13, 2011 at 08:47 AM

I hope this not 1/1,000,000 type statistic you humor us as in Luke or Farmy. :-)

Andrew is scheduled to get his MRI around 11 this morning. We'll probably have more details later this afternoon

I have said it before, & will say it again - Mitch should have moved Sluggo Bynum when he had the chance as this guy is an accident waiting to happen & it just did again! They are paying him how much ?! What a colossal waste of money!

The guy bails on his surgery & the Lakers in the off season so he could go watch soccer - that alone tells me the Lakers are not his priority, he sat out 2 years ago with a bad cold - please - & again, he cannot & never will stay healthy yet Mitch wants to keep over-paying him. What a poor draft choice & to think we could have had one of several other healthy, quality players.

The chicken pox ? Matters not as Steve Flake has been a huge bust most all of the year & don't point to a handful of games, he has been a major, overpaid bust!

Fisher too needs to go; very few assists per game, little offense, gets burned by the younger, quicker guards & for everyone & John Ireland to say things like " Fish is a winner, been on winning teams" etc. well, that's all well & good AND in the past!

I have followed the Lakers since the 60's & still have my own scoring sheets for many of their games & sadly, I fear their championship run is over.

They need a major overhaul off season as this team is old & oft injured & so many of them play for themselves & not the team itself. And Mitch has not done a good job of adding quality youth. Other GM's have found quality players lower in the draft but just not seeing it with Mitch - look at all the over 30's, the millions they make & the future is with the bench they now have ? Nope, never gonna happen.

It was a nice run but sadly & hopefully wrong, it's over.


@MM ... Thanks for the update, Mark. That will save me from checking for news every two minutes. May the gods of basketball grant Drew a clean MRI and the opportunity to play fully healthy.
...........................................
TOM

sonnybelfast: let's take a trip back to 2002.

Game 1 Arco -- LA wins Game 1.
Game 4 Staples -- SAC blows 29-point lead
Game 5 Arco -- SAC wins narrowly, has 10-FT advantage and Big fouls out on *questionable* call
Game 7 Arco -- SAC loses, in OT, on their floor, in the Game they looked to all season, and sealed their own fate with missed FTs.

Look at Game 6 all you want but your team blew 2 games in their own house and a massive lead in another, a Staples choke job not topped for 6 more seasons by the home team.
But for Kobe's Bad Cheeseburger, the series may have been over in 5.

SAC flat lost 3 other games in that series and caught a series-saving break in another.

Hush.

Now and evermore.

Don't write LA off yet. If Bynum is marginally better than he was last year, LA will be better off, and I think he at least will be that.

LO is playing his best basketball overall this year.

Rest for Socks' knee and hopefully a short 1st-round series is just what they need.

Avoiding OKC until the WCF, and maybe the entire playoffs, would more than make up for a limited Bynum. Another win, and they clinch HCA v. BOS, which is the only team in the East that really scares me, as the others lack experience and/or size.

Win tonite, LA.

>>>I know that a win is a win BUT consider the 5 players the Lakers had on the
>>>floor last night: a 5-time champion PG, a future HOF shooting guard, an
>>>All-Star PF/C, the 6th Man of the Year and a former DPOY and they couldn’t
>>>put away a bunch of SAS scrubs until the last minute.

Okay, but look at the flip side of that...

1. The Lakers PREPARED to play defense against Duncan and Ginobili and Parker. They probably worked on specific schemes to slow down those three guys specifically, with stopping any other player as a secondary goal. Now you come out and have to focus on Gary Neal and George Hill and Richard Jefferson and Matt Bonner as the primary threats... it's a whole different ball game. They had some ups and downs, but eventually settled down and got the win.

2. All those second and third stringers for SA had nothing to lose. They probably won't play this many minutes EVER in the playoffs, and they're almost expected to lose the game, so they can shoot without conscience. You know how many times Danny Green has gotten to take 10 shots in an NBA game? NEVER. You know how often Tiago Splitter has taken 10 shots in a game? twice before last night. Gary Neal has been a designated scorer for them, so he's taken more than 10 shots pretty frequently, but last night he was a FEATURED offensive player. Usually he's more likely to take kick-outs from Ginobili or Parker.

3. The Lakers rotations were screwed up. With no Barnes, no Blake, and Bynum going out early, it broke the pattern of play. They'll have to step up their minutes for the playoffs, but they hadn't really geared up for that yet.

4. This STILL ain't the playoffs. If the Lakers played against SA without Parker, Ginobili, and Duncan in the playoffs, they would sweep them and average 20 point margins of victory. When you play against that lineup as a surprise when you're missing half your bench, then maybe you're caught off guard.

Lakers are bored and waiting just for the playoffs? Injuries, sickness, suspension, what can they ask for, now they have motivation.

Ok one thing that is insane is Jimmy Buss 'pride' is not on the line with trading Bynum or not. He made a GREAT draft pick. Unbelivable the one year the Lakers are in the lottery to get Bynum.

There is no way he could know that he would be injury prone. I am not saying we should trade Bynum. Perhaps is is minor and perhaps with treatment and braces and medical technology (and some good luck) he will have years of helping the Lakers.

But Jimmy Buss should feel great about the pick however it turns out, it was a GREAT pick. Normally at that spot never get anyone near Bynum. I think Jerry Buss is a great player and fan owner. But PLEASE don't say Jimmy Buss is going to be one of those owners that doom franchises with their 'pride' (which in the Bynum case is insane because as stated nothing to do with his great pick that Bynum gets injured). Jerry Jones and Al Davis come to mind as owners that get all prideful and mess up their franchises. Yes they both had some success but Jerry inherited his good fortune along with the triplets and Al hasn't been Al in a loooong time.

Just so insane that Jimmy Buss 'pride' should even be an issue with Bynum and Dwight or the Lakers. Crazy...crazy..CRAZY.


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