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Caught in the Web: Reactions to Lakers' 100-86 victory over New Orleans Hornets

61094047-1Game stories

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan believes the Lakers solved their identity crisis in their 100-86 Game 3 victory Friday over the New Orleans Hornets.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding notices Bryant relied on a better supporting cast in Game 3. 

--The Times-Picayune's John Reid argued the Lakers controlled most of the game. 

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford noticed the Lakers' swagger returned with. 

Notebooks

--The Times' Bresnahan highlights Pau Gasol's improved performance in Game 3.

--The Times' Broderick Turner details how the Hornets are in a must-win situation. 

--The Daily News' Teaford details the genesis of Kobe Bryant's defensive assignment on Chris Paul in Game 2. 

SIdebars

--The New York Times' Karen Crouse looks at Phil Jackson's last season as head coach. 

Columns

--The Times' Bill Plaschke believes Ron Artest helped set the tone against New Orleans.

--The Times' T.J. Simers wishes Bryant would learn how to score and facilitate in the same game.

--ESPN.com's J.A. Adande wonders if the Lakers are ready for a rebirth. 

--Sports Illustrated's Mark Haubner credits the Lakers for returning to the basics. 

--NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper and ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin explain how Gasol got out of his slump. 

--Fox Sports' Billy Witz argues the Lakers looked like champions in Game 3. 

Blogs

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky breaks down the Lakers' win over New Orleans.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell provides a running diary of the game. 

--Silver Screen and Roll's DexterFishmore believes this Game 3 was how the Lakers-Hornets series was supposed to look from the beginning. 

--Forum Blue and Gold's Phillip Barnett notices the Lakers appeared in championship form. 

Tweet of the Day: "My baby hurt himself today... Please pray for him and send him positive vibes for his game tonight! He needs the prayers and energy! ... Ha! I caused "Laker Hysteria" because of my tweet for well wishes to Lam... I guess even when I send positive energy I get criticized" -- KhloeKardashian (Khloe Kardashian, wife of Lakers forward Lamar Odom)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "What we are witnessing is nothing new. Phil Jackson is a master of the 7 game series. Focusing on one team for a playoff series is completely different than that 82-game mess which I (and others who agree) so appropriately refer to as the "practice season" for these champions who we root for. It was interesting this season, but I barely remember it. This IS the Real Season and we are watching it unfold before our eyes once again. Once again our GOAT candidate is getting a feel for the series and doing whatever it takes to get the job done from game to game. Once again our talented 4-5 trio is wearing teams down with their length and skill. 48 minutes of those three guys will wear you down even if one of them isn't playing particularly up to snuff.

Our opponents can muster up only so much to combat these advantages and when you throw in a former DPOY like Artest and a playoff seasoned veteran like D-Fish whose playoff resume is the envy of many superstars in the NBA, and for good measure add veterans like Blake and Barnes with a Shannon Brown who has 2 rings, all of a sudden you can see why the practice season has little meaning and why this is a whole new ballgame. Thank God for the PLAYOFFS!" -- KobeMVP888

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant scores over the defense of New Orleans center Emeka Okafor during the first quarter Friday night. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / April 22, 2011

 
Comments () | Archives (41)

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repost:

"Why is Trey in street clothes? Did Joe Smith and the Mineral Man actually beat him out of a roster spot?

Posted by: mclyne | April 23, 2011 at 10:21 AM
"

MM: Can you or some media type ask this of PJ!? How does he justify having two bigs he will never ever play on the active 12, when we could have at least one of them inactive and an energy guy like Trey to come in for a few minutes to spell our aged DF or even Blake!?

Posted by: NuggetsCountry | April 23, 2011 at 10:45 AM

@NuggetsCountry - Unfortunately I can't ask that question because I'm not on the road

@Fatty.. Great job on the wife.. U know she's a keeper when she respects ur laker space then cheers alongside you... I also remember after colorado took me years of arguing to convert the wife into a kobe fan and once I convinced her he's innocent she became a lot more supportive.. Lol

LakerTom and LRob,

I know it is not good to talk about trades or moves for the off season on 1st round of the playoffs. We really have nothing to talk about the 1st round because it is already given. Just hold on switch, place a lever and screw it so nobody will move again that legendary switch and we will be sailing along at the French Quarters.

However, it is really enticing to let a good offer wasted and my dream is kinda' optimistic but that is the only way to stop conversation in trading Drew for Howard. GET THEM BOTH IN LAKERLAND. That's the challenge we want Mitch to investigate. Don't let another team in the West like SA or Mavs get on DH deal. I remember when Jerry West got Shaq and Kobe, it was a daring adventure, the same way we acquired Gasol in swap meat deal. lol! It is nice to dream LakerTom when you have the winning cards.

REPOST:
As the Lakers are advancing in the playoffs, they will face plenty of good guards, such as Kidd, Terry, Westbrook or Parker, and DRose or Rondo. I hope the Lakers include Trey Johnson on the active roster and have him some playoffs experience "sooner than later."

@MVP - congrats on the Friedman. I can't wait for the next round when the competition will go up a notch.

LIVE IN THE MOMENT !!!
………………………………………..
That’s what this Lakers team is doing right now. Forget about what happened in the regular season or the first couple games of this series. Focus on the now. Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow. Relish the opportunity you have now to make history and don’t dilute it with regrets and anxieties. We are on the verge of making basketball history in a season for the ages. Carpe Diem!

You can see that in the way that Andrew Bynum is playing. As Phil said, he is playing without any fear or hesitation. He trusts his body and the brace that protects his knee. He wanted a way to regain his importance as the second best player on this team and is well on his way towards accomplishing that. He won’t win Finals MVP because that deservedly will go to Kobe but he could win co-MVP.

We are in the heart of what may be one of the greatest playoffs in the history of the franchise. The team to a man are focused on sending Phil out with this fourth three-peat, earning Kobe his MJ-tying 6th ring, and posting their Celtics tying 17th NBA championship. Their focus is on the greatness of today, not the struggles of yesterday, or the challenges of tomorrow. Living in the moment.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Now is not the time to be worrying about the moves we are going to make next summer – much less hyping fantasy trades that could not even happen until after the end of next year. Why not listen to what Mitch Kupchak said. If Drew remains healthy and plays at this level, the Lakers will not trade him for anybody, including Dwight Howard. It’s really a shame all Lakers fans can’t do what this team is doing and just focus on the greatness that is happening.
………………………………………..
TOM


KobeMVP888 - Its always nice to see a well thought out comment recognized by the blog master. Well done.

Congrats MVP888, that's really your brand from now on. The practice season is different from the real season.

ps. you said yesterday, stop on pfunk haha! take it easy that is also pfunk's brand identity in the blog, no more luke. If you were here during Zacky'time, it's SP su*ks. lol!

The game 4 on Sunday will be really critical for the Lakers to keep their championship level of plays shown in game 3. They cannot not afford to play mediocre game and fall back into complacency "again."

Laker Tom - Just some advice to an old friend. Try to live in the moment and look past the stuff you may not agree with. Why denegrate fellow Lakers fans that are sharing moments that they enjoy talking about, when it doesn't share your view of things?

Some love talking trades, because....they love talking trades. Others like to analyze, because...they like to analyze, and others share observations because....they love to share observations.

We all bring different things to this site which make for a great site. Enjoy the diversity.

Fatty,

Perfect.

I also think it's funny when people say Kobe's old now. What? His stats are almost identical this season to his career averages, especially since he played 3 less minutes per game.

Okay, I better get working on my hitting, people are starting to say that I'm too old as well, ha, ha.

Great Game. D is Coming Back to Championship Form and their taking care of the ball again. Time for the Back Door Sweep! Let Dallas and Portland fight a Seven Game Battle...

3peat or No 3Peat, when all's said and down, with the way this month's gone, I'll Remember April:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rH_svH2LCwY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

"IT'S THE PLAYOFFS, NOT THE LAYOFFS!"

KOBE BEAN BRYANT IS STILL "THE LOGO OF PROFESSIONALISM!"

LAMAR ODOM IS "THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE!"

"AND THE BEAST GROWS UP!" (Kwame's got a cake for you...)

Encouraging game by pau.. Don't think there's anything physically wrong with him but seems he's just slowly rounding into form.. Maybe he's pacing himself mentally for a tougher opponent.. He has a tendency to space out like this in the regular season.. Now I'm convinced he has a switch that he will flip in the later rounds

@KOBEMVP888 … Congrats on another Friedman. Rick would be proud of you. Lakers are starting to get their mojo back and play like the two-time defending champs. Great to see the bench play well on the road. That was my biggest concern about not having HCA. 14 more wins to nirvana.
……………………………………….
LROB … Thanks for the call to reason about the Drew trade talk. Now is not the time. Personally, I find it disrespectful and unappreciative of Drew’s sacrifices and efforts to help this team win another championship. Talking about a trade that can’t even happen until after next season is ridiculous, especially since Mitch has already come out and said the Lakers wouldn’t make that trade.
……………………………………….
@MICHAEL H … Al0ha, Michael. Thanks for posting the information about the brace Drew is wearing. Heather did a great job explaining that during a sideline commentary during the game. Fans rightfully hold their breath whenever Drew’s knee gets hurt but that the nature of the game. Guys are going to bang knees and step on other players’ feet. Thankfully, the brace seems to be doing its job and more importantly, Drew seems still seems to trust his body and the brace.
………………………………………..
@SCOTT … Excellent summary of the advantages that Drew has over Dwight for the Lakers provided he stays healthy. The other big issue that you did not list was chemistry or fit as Mitch put it. Drew knows on this team he is the third or fourth option on offense and is fine with that. Would Dwight be willing to focus just on defense and rebounding? He’s a guy who’s been the go-to-guy on every team his entire basketball career. It’s no guarantee that he would be content to being a role player.

Chemistry is often a funny equation. One of the main reasons why the Lakers loved Drew was his intelligence and character. Dwight may be the better athlete but I think Drew is the smarter and more skilled player. Drew has also proven he has a championship character and heart. I would bet if you asked the team whether they would prefer a healthy Drew over Dwight, the answer would be Drew.
………………………………………..
@FATTY … I hesitate to call her Mrs. Fatty but your better half called it pretty well. She first said Drew was playing like a beast. Then she said she would pull the trigger on a Drew for Dwight trade in an instant. Then, after considering, she concluded that a fully healthy Bynum would be best. Sort of like the same thought process that every smart Laker fan goes through.
……………………………………….
NMLL … It is such a pleasure watching Drew finally get his chance to show up in the playoffs. We have enjoyed watching him grow from the pudgy 17-year old kid to the confident chiseled man child that is dominating games at both ends. And the team to a man played great. I can’t tell you how great it was to see Pau start to get out of his funk. I loved how he competed on the boards at the end.
………………………………………..
TOM


"@NuggetsCountry - Unfortunately I can't ask that question because I'm not on the road"

Posted by: Mark Medina | April 23, 2011 at 10:55 AM
___________

Well fortunately, it would be a "dynamite" question to ask upon his return.

_______

"Why not listen to what Mitch Kupchak said."
TOM

Posted by: LakerTom | April 23, 2011 at 11:04 AM
________

Because he's, well... he's lying! Of course you trade Bynum whether he's healthy or not because his health is only "temporary." You do not build your future franchise around him and the reasons are obvious. Mitch will not tell the world he would trade Bynum for Howard especially during the playoffs.

_______

@Edwin: having both Centers on the same team will not happen. Dwight is in a position to inform Orlando that he will not execute another contract and thus begins another Melo saga.

He will inform Orlando where his preferences are and then it will be up to Orlando to try and secure the best deal possible for them. As of today, the best scenario is swapping him out with Bynum but let's say that you do wind up with both Centers: Do you think Kobe will subscribe and dedicate himself to the "inside-out" game? Even with D Howard alone, do you think he'd go "inside-out?"

It was inconceivable that he had to be convinced to do so during Shaq's prime years in L.A. Anyway, I digress. In all honesty, the Lakers had a great game last night and Kobe was the quintessential Shooting Guard because everyone else on the floor was doing their job. It really does take a team to win.

Lakers in 6... NEXT!

Simply put, we played like we should last night. Kobe was spectacular, but everyone else was just plain solid. That's all we need.

Good game.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

@FATTY … In a way, I wished I had posted my original post where I said what I really thought about what I consider to be shallow Lakers fans making insulting and disrespectful comments about trading Drew. Andrew basically plays a great game and the result is 3 out of 4 posters can’t wait to trade him. WTF. This place used to be an oasis where fans appreciated and rooted for their players. That’s it for me. I’m out of here, guys. Rip on Drew all you want and keep it up all year long for all I care. If you think that is how to be a loyal Lakers fan, then this blog is no longer someplace I want to visit.
………………………………………..
TOM


Me and the new girlfriend just watched our first laker game together, aww


she hates paul peirce now :p, she doesnt know who he is but she hates him

"Loyal Lakers Fans" always want their team to improve where improvement is necessary. Enjoy the RC.

Trivia time...

Michael Jordan has the most 3-pointers in NBA Finals games all time.

Robert Horry is second.

guess who is third.

you can't improve a championship.
a championship team can either maintain, and win another championship, or decline. champion is the pinnacle of sporting life. there is no better. every team, no matter how good, will have some weakness. this team's weakness is AB's knees. if you fix that problem, there will be another. stop carping and moaning, the season's not over yet. when it ends, there'll be a chance to maintain, if they win it all, or improve, if things don't go as we would like. since hindsight is 20/20, we'll always be able to second guess, once it's all said and done.

If/when the Lakers take it this year, that means that we can continue the family tradition of going to the parade. So far, my daughter went when she was just shy of two in 09, my daughter and my twins (one boy, one girl) got to go in 10 (but they really didn't get to cheer much because they were still so little). So I'm hoping me and the wifey can take the kids once again this year. It's almost like an early birthday present/celebration since all three of them were born in July. lol. My daughter already cheers, "Go LAkers!".

They actually beat out their ol' dad. The earliest I ever got to see a Laker parade was five years old waaaay back in 1980.

LTLF,

Go Fish!

I understand LakerTom's frustration tho'. I'm totally lovin' Drew's game right now and how he's dominating NOH but the first post I see on one of the other threads is, "We have to trade him while he's still good enough to get good value." Mostly because people want Dwight Howard here at that. WTF?

First of all, while Dwight is a baller, he still hasn't shown that he'll be anything more than what he is. He still is horrid at free throws and really has no shot, let alone the ever-improving skill set that 'Drew has. DH plays excellent D. So does Drew, except a motivated Drew is damn near unstoppable while a motivated DHoward is not. He still has a limited game.

And since either Howard or Bynum would be the future to build around, I'd pick Drew in a heartbeat. Why? Because Dwight Howard isn't the build-around type, as evidenced by his years in Orlando. He's not going to win it all unless he has a superstar team of players around him. Unlike Shaq, who had one superstar in Kobe and solid players in DFish, Pretty Ricky, and Big Shot Horry. That team won three rings. All I'm saying is that DH is not carrying the franchise material. And since everyone who wants to trade is looking at who's going to carry the L when Kobe retires, that would mean a linup of DH, (no Kobe or Drew and maybe no Fisher by then), Gasol (or Gasoft depending on how he's playing), LO, Artest, and Blake. Except LO, none of those guys are lean-on guys.

As the person who coined the phrase Andrew The Beast Bynum, I am really proud of the way he played last night. I had faith in him when everyone was calling for him to be traded. He is showing what a difference he can be. Kobe intentionally froze him out in the regular season. But now the beast is unleashed.

@Laker Tom.........I, personally think Drew has earned the respect of the players, and they know he is a force to be reckoned with. He is so young and has just barely touched his full potential. Enjoy him while we have him and if there are problems with his health, deal with it when it happens. This is a very TIGHT knit group and really don't know how a DHoward would fit in. He demands the ball a lot more than Drew does with only one ball to go around. Also, Drew is starting to get a mean streak and Howard is too nice. Only my opinion!!!

The ony chance la having to beat the heat or the cs is with a dominant Bynum and gasol. This will be the year where bynum or gasol will be finals mvp. I just hope kobe can handle that. If shaq is healthy he is a force in the middle. With the heat both LBJ and Dwade are far better than kobe at this stage of his career. No one really can guard lbj. So the focus must be our big men.

I haven't read one comment that states Drew can't play; that he isn't valuable; that he isn't key to the Lakers' quest for another ring. It's his knees darn it! No one is bailing on the guy. You need him now but is he going to be reliable in the future? The answer is NO. That's what the debate is all about. The Lakers invested millions in him and they've gotten a very decent return but future returns are at risk so if there's a chance - keyword here is "chance" - to swap him out for Howard, you do it, that's all. No need to get emotional over it. You just don't trade him for "trading sake." The Melo for Drew was an asinine suggestion for what I hope are obvious reasons but if Dwight wants out and L.A. is one of his preferred destinations, management would have to be brain numb if they don't "pull the trigger." JMHO.. Enjoy the remainder of your Saturday. Lakers in 6 - NEXT!

GO LAKERS & IN BUSS WE TRUST!!

Tom, I have been right there with you on young Drew from the beginning. The fact is, he's my favorite Laker. However, if the sight of Andrew hitting the deck and grabbing his right knee every 4 games doesn't cause you to at least consider that the Lakers might be better off with a multiple Defensive Player of the Year in that spot, then you are letting your enthusiasm for the kid blind you.

There's no guarantee that any particular player will remain healthy, but at this stage of their respective careers, it is perfectly rational to consider Dwight Howard to be the much lower injury risk, and it isn't as if adding Howard to this team in place of Bynum would hurt the team. Again, Bynum is my favorite Laker, but as of this moment, there is simply no doubt that Howard is the better center. As for the future, for all of Andrew's upside (of which I happily admit he has more than Dwight), there is a much higher likelihood of injury with Andrew that has to at least factor into the decision.

If this kind of post causes you to flee the blog, I'm sorry about that and would hate to see you go, but I think you ought to reconsider and not view every such comment to be akin to Andrew-bashing....

Laker Tom,

If you think trade talk is shallow, insulting and disrespectful, perhaps you should think a bit more about it.
For you, it's all about Drew.
If the talk today was about trading Pau or Ron or whomever, I really doubt you'd have lost it, and maybe you would have even joined in.

Just a short time ago you were proposing trading Pau for Melo.
How could you be so disrespectful to a Laker player like Pau who, without him, the Lakers would not have won the last two Finals and probably would be an 8 seed without him this year.

Trade talk is just too big of a topic for sports fans no matter the sport.
It's not disrespectful, imo, it's just playing fantasy GM.
Nothing we say here is going to matter or have any effect on what the teams actually do or how they play.

Why do you want to impinge on a persons fantasy sports blog talk and tell them what's acceptable to fantasize about and what isn't?
Geesh, if that's not having a "control" issue I don't know what is.

Personally, I love the trade talk, doing it, reading it, whatever.
Beginning of the season, middle of the season, during playoffs and in the summer, there's never a bad time to talk trades.
That's just me, but obviously there are others who feel the same way.

It's also just a fantasy trade, so if you don't like my fantasy trades that's all well and good, but don't tell me that I can't talk about trades.
There is so much bulls**t garbage allowed on this blog that to rag on and complain about people talking about trades is just nonsense.
That's why scroll wheels were invented.
Intolerance should not be tolerated.

Nice job with the RFRCOTD, MVP888!!!! A great comment. One can question PJ's methods, as I sometimes do, but it's awfully hard to disparage his results.

@frmkt

Hmm...Kobe was more aggressive this game like he said he was and they end up beating them by the biggest margin of the series. Funny how that works huh? And you were crying about how Kobe vowed to shoot more than 10 shots...tsk tsk. It OK, you don't know nay better.

any*

For me the issue of Ariza vs. Artest is over. Ariza is faster and great defnsively, but I think that only goes so far when the refs put the whistle in their pocket.
Did you see how few whistles are called in the series?

Look again at 8:07 of the 3rd qtr of the last game. Artest fights off one defender with one arm, keeps his eye on the ball for the rebound, and grabs the rebound with the other while he holds off the defender. Next he has the upper body strength to hold the ball high with 2 hands. This causes Bellinelli to fall (before Artest snaps his arm) and protects the ball from someone slapping at his hands. Then Artest calmly puts up a 3 foot bank shot.

Playoff are jungle ball (or a scrum as PJ calls it). In the playoffs some quickness and steals and drives are nice (i.e., Ariza), but I think the raw power of a warrier in the paint is what wins championships. So what if Artest slows down in the next few years. He won't get any weaker and strength is what keeps the wolves at bay (i.e., Landry)

Laker fan since the baby hook ('81)

@ taino: Good write up. Of course, if I could have both Artest AND Ariza, I wouldn't complain either. lol.

But yeah, it's far past time for folks to admit Artest's value to the Lakers. Especially in the playoffs, when the game slows down a bit. This is also why Miami is in serious trouble but I don't want to get off topic. Artest can body up just about anyone and stay with them as well. He's naturally strong and you're not going to over power him, which also helps on D. Period. Stuff like that lasts well past how much you might slow down over th eyears. Look at Karl Malone. Dude played till he was 40 (and not a John Salley on the Lakers played but meaningful minutes played). As long as Artest keeps his quick hands, mental game, and upper body strength, he will play for the remaining years on his ocntract at a high level.

Phil is great also his coaching staff,what did Phil tells Jordan and his Bulls team mates in the finals against the Jazz in 1997,' defend Stockton,Malone and Hornacek in the triange,'words of a wise Zen Master.What a defensive philospy.

defend them in the triangle.

Alekasam

Thanks. I also would love having Ariza around, that dude can seriously contort his body midair to get off a shot. That is fun to watch, but maybe if he was stronger he wouldn't have to use such a high level of difficulty to get off a shot. . Also how many times did he steal the ball from Kobe in the series? It would be great to have him on Westbrook and Rondo to slow them down.

Ariza also seemed to dissapear in the 2nd half. That was really strange.

I will never forget Artest in game 7 last year. Daresay I think he is a role model for Pau, Lamar, and Bynum. He is hard to push, physically or mentally. He don't back down. One last thing. I am really impressed that Artest fights so hard and gets smacked as often as he dishes it out; and yet he is keeping his cool (3 fouls vs LO's 5)

With the emergence of Bynum as an enforcer Artest doesn't have to bare his teeth as often, but I for one think it great that el hombre loco is there and that he never backs down.

On another note it is nice to have Barnes back, he has a nose for the ball and great timing. I hated his hacking at the ball when he as with other teams, but hey the refs rarely call it in the playoffs.

Can't wait for the next game! Bring it!


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