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Caught in the Web: Lakers prepare for the postseason

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--The Times' Mike Bresnahan will host a live chat today at 11 a.m. There's surely plenty to talk about, considering the Lakers are beginning their playoff quest, but be sure to ask him about his storied eight-man-football career.

--Bresnahan notices that the Lakers' are cautiously optimistic about Andrew Bynum, who has a bone bruise in his right knee.

--The Times' Broderick Turner explains why Kobe Bryant characterizes the Lakers as a "weird" team.

--ESPN.com's J.A. Adande wonders how long Bryant can stay on top.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding provides a position-by-position breakdown of the Lakers-Hornets series.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky previews the Lakers-Hornets series.

--Plenty of ESPN writers say they believe a Lakers-Bulls matchup will happen, while some argue that the Lakers have the easiest path to the NBA Finals.

--Fox Sports' Mitch Lawrence maintains that the Lakers and the Heat are the teams to beat in the NBA playoffs.

--NBA.com offers various video previews of the Lakers-Hornets series.

--The New Orleans Times-Picayune's Jimmy Smith explains why the Hornets are "curiously upbeat" about their matchup with the Lakers.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford draws from the Lakers' regular-season performance and explains why their postseason could be a "slog."

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell previews the Lakers-Hornets matchup.

--Fox Sports' Billy Witz argues that Bryant needs to control his emotions during the playoffs.

--Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski says he believes that Bryant's fury is a blessing and a curse.

--Silver Screen and Roll's DexterFishmore features the website's first power poll.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano provides a playoff wish list.

Tweets of the Day: "Had a great time with the fellas tonight! Looking forward to a hard practice tomorrow! 16 wins! Let's Go!" -- Andrew Bynum (Lakers center Andrew Bynum)

"Steve's doing well btw to all that have been asking! Thanks for your supports, thoughts, prayers and concerns! :)" -- kristenblake2 (Kristen Blake, wife of Lakers guard Steve Blake)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "I'm predicting a first round sweep. I hope DJ MBenga doesn't decide to rough up Pau with some judo." -- ChicNstu

-- Mark Medina

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

Photo: Kobe Bryant reacts after making a shot against the Kings in the third quarter on Wednesday night in Sacramento. Credit: Cary Edmondson / US Presswire

 
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@MM ... “Jon K - The fine was ridiculous. I'm going to write something tomorrow about it.”
...
That’s great, Mark. Got to make sure that dead horse we beat to death is really dead. LOL.
...
JK, Mark. I am actually one of the few who believe this issue was most newsworthy and was a uniquely appropriate issue for the NBA to tackle. What was ludicrous about the fine is that there would have been no fine had the media not gotten involved. The fine was “bend over and take it” public relations and nothing more. Despite the circus, hopefully something good will result.
...
In northern California, the media and public response to Kobe’s interview have been extremely complimentary. Chronicle reporter Gwenn Knapp applauded Kobe’s decision to get involved to make sure his comments are not used to perpetuate hatred and divisiveness. You have to give Kobe credit for turning a lemon into lemon aid. I admire his owning up and promise to be pro-active.
.................................................................................
TOM

LOL Congrats on the Friedman ChicNstu!!!

LRob - I'm in a great mood this morning...are you feeling this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zzyfcys1aLM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsH4CrwExCQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwqhdRs4jyA

ODD PLAYOFF HOPES . . .


Finally! The playoffs are here. No more in-fighting here on the blog about the conflicting pursuits of HCA v. health. No more squabbling over whether a loss was meaningful or not.


Time has arrived to cheer each Laker game, possession, moment. But this year's playoffs greet hardcore Lakers fans with some conflicting oddities that make for some twisted motivations in rooting interests during the many other series that unfold. For example...

1. Would love to see the Lakers beat Celtics in The Finals, BUT ~ that means having to root for the greenies for THREE rounds; including a necessary shout-out to Shaq to perform well. Nauseating.

2. Would love to see George Carl be rewarded for years of perseverance and excellence as a great coach with character, and surviving cancer, BUT ~ I really, REALLY want to see the Lakers beat OKC down the road.

3. Would love to see the Lakers beat the Heat in The Finals (if Boston fails to get there), BUT ~ I confess to secretly hoping that Miami implodes in the first round and flames out.

4. Would love to see Lakers beat the Bulls in The Finals (if Boston, if Miami, fails to get there) to enjoy the zen-like symmetry of Jackson's final ring won with LA over Bulls after his first was won with Bulls over LA, BUT ~ that may be asking too much considering the X-Factor in Commish Stern.

5. Would love to see the Dallas Cubans suffer another season of "playoff shrinkage" and lose in the first round, BUT ~ not only would I prefer Lakers to beat them, but I also would rather face Dallas than Portland in the second round.

6. Would love to see Bynum play injury free and dominate, BUT ~ if Orlando cannot make it past the second round, I am afraid the Magic will have no choice but to consider trade scenarios for a disenchanted D-Howard, and there is no doubt that Bynum is the best case scenario for them to pursue.


Last, but not least, I would love to see the Lakers play consistently and with a sense of professional pride and respectful humility on the way to another Threepeat. One can only hope, right?

Mike

Good Morning Laker Tom...

It looks like it will be May 15th, I will be spending the day in SF...I hope there is a Laker Game that day, and I can finally meet you and the rest of the Nor Cal Chapter...

I will keep you posted as we get closer to that time, and the playoffs schedule should be posted for the 2nd round by then, so we can coordinate...

First round of drinks is on me!!!

Sup lakernation.. I actually had to work yesterday so sorry I'm late to the party but just caught with my blog reading. Here's some of yellofevers very post sacramento postgame comments:

-- black mamba!! Wow!! Why wasn't there an entire thread dedicated to kobes last minute heroics?? The man may have just hit one of the most clutch shots in his career... At one point I thought FORGET IT no way anybody can recover from this monumental collapse and the next second BAAAM the black mamba strikes and the lakers are back in business as the most feared team in the league again with the whole league watching... And instead of celebrating any ramifications this has to our postseason matchups MM hardly makes one mention but remains fixated on kobes homophobic slurs and turns this blog into CNN crossfire.. So next time u ask urself if u think MM is a kobe hater just ask urself does the bear sh*t in the woods

-- speaking of all these fines.. The only person that shouldve been really fined is phil jackson and not for his CBA comments but fined for playing luke walton.. Luke almost singlehandedly blew our 20 pt lead with a couple bonehead lukelike turnovers and with luke on the court the kings turned into a pack of hungry wolves just foaming at the mouth.. I also saw our great phillip just sitting on his special high chair looking like big bird with a perplexed and helpless look on his face until kobe came to his rescue yet again.


@LEWSTERS ... I’ve marked it on my calendar. Sunday, May 15th. Mrs. LakerTom and I are looking forward to meeting you and your wife. I am sure there will be a game since it’s Sunday.
.................................................................................
@CHICNSTU ... Congrats on the Friedman. I’m with you on a sweep of the Hornets. Hell, I would be there even for a 16-0 sweep of the playoffs. Going to Staples to watch Game 1 on Sunday.
.................................................................................
@LAKERMIKE .. I was with you all the way until you traded Drew. LOL. After Drew wins co-MVP with Kobe in this year’s Finals, Dwight will begrudgingly re-sign with the Magic as his best option.
.................................................................................
TOM

What New Orleans has to do to prepare for this series match up....(an in-depth analysis by Fatty, with all the intangibles that MM missed)

They lack confidence that they can win. That MUST change.

It all starts with the coaches preparation in the film room. They should carefully splice together Lakers games from the season, making sure to edit out the four losses and any of the 18 games following the All Star game. Remember its encouragement they need, not discouragement. I would suggest using the Cleveland loss, and maybe the Utah one as well for study. That might give them some hope, and a few laughs to lighten the lockeroom atmosphere. Then maybe throw in some old Smush and Kwame tape. Oh, and add in some Lakers Girls shots, a few movie stars, so they at least have something to look forward too when coming to LA.

Next, remind the Hornets what they are playing for. A chance to be part of NBA trivia history. Who lost to the Lakers in the first round 2011 Playoffs? Surely something that they can share with the grand kids some day. "Yeah children, we did our part in losing to that great Lakers team during their dynasty"

The coaches also have the problem of the Hornets players looking past this series and onto their next opponent. Playing Frisbie with their kids on the beach in the Bahamas. Banning 'Vacation Resort Brochures' in the lockeroom will be mandatory!

Its all about gaining pride and respect. The Hornet coaches will need to instill this confidence that, yes, we are capable! Yes, we can do it! And yes, we can at least show up and collect our playoff bonus!

For all our musicians in the Blog Family...

Talk about TALENT...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGTfDf4b5oE&feature=related

Your thoughts Magic Phil, 63 Footer, mclyne, jefe, ms, LRob, GDub, etc...

How many 8 year old kids would say their idols are Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn...lol

@yellowfever, Haha, fining Phil for playing Luke? Brilliant. The front office should have implemented this policy years ago. The game against Sac was probably the most important game of the regular season. Winning that game was the difference between an easy playoff schedule and nightmare schedule, and Kobe sealed it, but Medina seems much more interested in Kobe's choice of curse words. He also made a reference to Ariza "baiting" Kobe into taking over the game. Huh? Let's hope that Ariza "baits" Kobe like Grant Hill did last year.

@ LakerTom...


Hey buddy,,, definitely NOT trying to trade Bynum! Just working through the emotions of what could happen in the twisted and conflicted world of NBA outcomes due to circumstances. "It's a business" maybe the three words I fear most sometimes!


By the way, surely you remember back in the 80's when Riley decided to rest Magic, Kareem and James in a meaningless late regular season game up in Portland. The next day, Commish Stern fined the Lakers some ungodly amount for that move. Remember that? But now, EVERYONE seems to be doing it. When did this policy change?


Mike

Fatty, just a reminder NO is owned by NBA headed by King David. I smell a little conspiracy here from the refs. so Lakers should watch out for their fouls and complaints when fouled. In the end, NO is no match because they don't have a reliable C except DJ. If Lakers turn this into cakewalk and play like the Lakers who played in Cleveland or absent minded charitable Champs giving away 20 pts in 12 minutes, then we have a major problem.

Why is this playoffs important?

Because this is dedicated to our No. 1 fan in the blog, Rick Friedman who passed away this year. (btw. congrats CHICNSTU). Another reason, this is the last dance of Phil Jackson as a Laker coach. They have to end it with a high note. Whether we get 3-peat or not, I smell some overhaul by the end of the season, it could be a youth movement with the new coach.

I think the Lakers win game 1 and 2 with the Hornets. Then lose game 3. That wakes them up and the win win win until the Western Conference Finals. Where they find a battle. We hope they win that and go on to win it all.

MM. We are giving comedy awards now? LOL. Thank you for the Friedman!

Lock N Load!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mPt3Zz_xLc

LakerMike,

"Would love to see Bynum play injury free and dominate, BUT ~ if Orlando cannot make it past the second round, I am afraid the Magic will have no choice but to consider trade scenarios for a disenchanted D-Howard, and there is no doubt that Bynum is the best case scenario for them to pursue."

--Totally agree. What LakerTom and other Bynum admirers did not see or include in the equation that the reason of sudden Bynum resurgence in second half of the season were the persistent rumors of trading him to Melo. It added fire on his belly to prove that is wrong. He is young and needs to be challenged, again through carrot & stick theory. I also remember in 2007 when Kobe ranted which was mainly addressed to Bynum and other scrubs at that time, the following year Bynum did giant leaps and improved the Laker standing of going to the Finals against Celtics. Therefore, constant praise on youthful Drew would not be enough, there gotta be a challenge attached with it. In the end, we have all the same objective for a team who have the tendency to be complacent because of their distinct height advantage and Kobe advantage.

LakerTom, Make sure you get that crowd ROCKIN' on Sunday. I wish drew a was available for game 1, but i guess the rest is good for his knee. Enjoy the game.

Lewsters, yeah - this Tallan Latz kid is pretty awesome - thanks for posting that profile - I love when he exclaims that the opportunity to perform at Alpine Valley on his (8th?) birthday, "just blew my heart away!"
As to his aforementioned guitar heroes, here are two of my favorites...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmWhvl9cub8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUCNsZXCd58

@yellow
"The only person that shouldve been really fined is phil jackson and not for his CBA comments but fined for playing luke walton.. Luke almost singlehandedly blew our 20 pt lead with a couple bonehead lukelike turnovers and with luke on the court the kings turned into a pack of hungry wolves just foaming at the mouth.. "

I could not agree more. Everytime Luke shoots a long range bomb, I cringe almost as much as each time I see Scotty from American Idol do his best Bush Jr. impersonation:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYN2nawAfjQ

Someone please tell the teenage girls of America to stop voting for this guy!

It's nice that the Lakers have the next 2 weeks off before they face Portland in the Semi's

I looked at the 2009 Nba finals but boy Fisher is a true let down,he breaks people heart,when he buried that 3 pointer the Orlando Magic fans hearts were well broken,it was a sickening shot,DFish broke their hearts.If i was an Orlando fan i probably might have gotten a heart attack back then.DFish will do it again,he is very dangerous,well this whole Laker team is arm and dangerous.

>>>The only person that shouldve been really fined is phil jackson and not for
>>>his CBA comments but fined for playing luke walton.. Luke almost
>>>singlehandedly blew our 20 pt lead with a couple bonehead lukelike
>>>turnovers and with luke on the court ...

LOL. I expected the Luke hate would eventually flow for that game.

Luke first came into the game with 2:21 left in the first. The Lakers were leading by 3 points. He played with mostly starters to the end of the first, at which time they were leading by 5. He played with mostly scrubs at the start of the 2nd and helped extend the lead to 14 points by the time he went out with 5:28 left in the half.

That's an 11 point INCREASE in lead with Luke on the floor with a mix of players near the start of the game.

Yes, Luke did have back to back turnovers near the start of the fourth while the Kings were making a run. During that time, Lamar bricked a shot, Shannon bricked 2 shots, and Luke led the team with rebounds at 2 (Lamar had one, and Joe Smith and the other Lakers had zero). When the starters came back in with 7:22 left, the lead was down from 18 points to 10 points.

Yes, they did fall from 22 points to 10, but that was because they started the quarter by BUILDING THE LEAD up from 18 to 22.

So net for the minutes that Luke was on the floor (often sharing the floor with guys like Trey Johnson, Joe Smith, and a bricklaying Shannon Brown), the Lakers were +4. And yes, his contributions DID help build that lead. If your bench players can just as an average hold leads (be at 0 for the game), then they're doing their jobs. Would have been nice if the scrubs could have extended the 18 point lead at the start of the 4th to 30 points, but it didn't happen.

Yes, Luke was part of a group of scrubs who let the Kings get halfway back into the game in the 4th... but once the starters took over, it was THEM who let the margin get from +10 to -3 before Kobe's dagger saved the day.

You know how the Lakers' starters lost the last half of that big lead?

Kobe: 2 for 7 shooting and a turnover
Pau: 3 fouls, 0 for 1 shooting, and 0 rebounds for 8 minutes
Lamar: 0 for 2 shooting
Ron Artest: 0 for 2 shooting and a turnover
Derek Fisher: 0 for 1 shooting (though he did out-rebound Pau over the 7 minute stretch)

Of course, I'm sure in your mind, Luke's voodoo hex caused the starters to shoot 2 for 13 and give up most of the rebounds (including giving up 5 offensive rebounds to the Kings in the 4th). But the reality is that Luke and Shannon and even Trey Johnson did their jobs in that game. Caracter & Smith? Not so much.

Luke is allllllllmost back to being productive. He's played so little this season that he's had no chance to get back in sync. If Barnes is out for even one or two more games, Luke will get enough minutes in to be ready if they need him in the later rounds of the playoffs.


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