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ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen address a number of Laker topics

photo: ESPN basketball analyst Jeff Van Gundy on air with colleagues Mike Breen, center, and Mark Jackson, left, during a game in Cleveland. Credit: Garrrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images They share their sentiments on the air throughout the NBA season. But with the season winding down and the Lakers appearing in playoff form, it's only natural for ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy and play-by-play announcer Mike Breen to address a litany of Lakers topics. They both explain what's led to the Lakers' resurgence since the All-Star break, why Kobe Bryant's on neither of their regular-season MVP lists and why Lamar Odom should win the sixth man of the year award hands down. Van Gundy also argues the Lakers should do everything they can to convince Coach Phil Jackson to not retire after this season. Below is the Q&A in its entirety.

On what's gone into the Lakers' play since the All-Star break

Van Gundy: I think they were probably a bit disappointed with some of the games they let slip away before that time. They're locked in like you would expect a championship-experienced team to be, knowing it's coming down the stretch. They've gotten more focused and urgent due to the Spurs slipping and seeing not only can they catch the Bulls, but also catch the Spurs for home-court [advantage] all the way through.

Andrew Bynum obviously is a huge part of their team. They have the best front court in basketball when all three of their guys (Bynum, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom) are available. Odom off the bench is terrific. Bynum and Gasol's size makes it hard for opponents to score around the basket. Bynum has seemingly accepted that he won't touch the ball as much as a player normally of his skill would normally touch it. The sacrifice for him and to focus on defense, rebounding and making sure he gets good plays for others by getting the offensive boards, that's something that shouldn't be overlooked.

Breen: It sounds simple, but a healthy Andrew Bynum. You put a healthy Bynum on any of the top teams in the NBA and they will become so much better. He's such a great player on both ends of the floor. he's such a presence defensively. He's so much more skilled than he's given credit for on the offensive end. Just having him out there, there's a snowball effect. He starts so Pau Gasol can play power forward and Lamar Odom gets to come off the bench. He just makes every aspect of them more dangerous.To me, the key is having a healthy Andrew Bynum.

He doesn't care about scoring as much. He's pursuing the rebounds. With his size, he's able to grab a lot of boards but he's pursuing rebounds. It's become a mission for him that he wants to be the best rebounder in the game and he wants to get every rebound that's within his reach. I don't know if he had that mindset before. He certainly has that now.

Photo: Denver center Nene unloads a pass between the defense of Lakers forwards Ron Artest and Pau Gasol during the game Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times What's changed about Ron Artest's game since the All-Star break?

Van Gundy: Artest, I always felt it was good for him when Barnes went out because they had to play him more. They then knew whether he would succeed or fail because he was playing as poorly as I've ever seen him play over a long period of time. He's bounced back like [the] good player he is. I'm sure he's more engaged with the entire process. It looks like he's shooting the ball better, it seems like. He started defending with more activity. I think he probably felt more needed. He had to play better for them to play well because Barnes is a good player at his position and he was out. He had to either play well or not.

Breen: I don't know the reason why and I'm not going to try to figure it out. All I know is he's much more engaged. You can see it on his presence on the floor. He's more engaged and more active. When he gets going defensively, it fuels him on the offensive end. It's his activity. He's not going to be a big-time scorer, but his activity is there. Now that he's more a part of the offense, I see a little bit more confidence. There was almost a tentativeness to him anytime he had an open three early in the season. It's not the case now.

Photo: Lakers Coach Phil Jackson plans to retire after this season, but ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy argues the Lakers should do everything they can to convince him to stay. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times. [I cited a report from ESPN.com's Marc Stein that the "Lakers remain intrigued by the prospect of hiring Jeff Van Gundy" and he declined to comment on the report and whether he'd be interested.] This did bring up a discussion on how Phil Jackson coached the Lakers this season.

Van Gundy: If I were the Lakers, I'd do everything humanly possible to get him to reconsider. I think it's one of the undertalked-about stories in the NBA this year that we are losing the most successful head coach that has ever coached in any sport. He and John Wooden. They've had periods of domination. You don't get too many things that can never be duplicated, but I feel confident in saying this will never, ever be duplicated. If I were the Lakers, I would treat this as if it was Kobe Bryant retiring in his prime and I would do everything in my power to try to get him to reconsider. Same thing with Phil Jackson. Phil Jackson is still in his prime and still at the top of his game.

Breen: I think they're very aware of this being his last year and wanting to send him out with a championship. I don't think he's changed the way he's coached at all. He's tried to downplay [his retirement] and he's not strolling down memory lane, but every once in a while you'll get something out of him and say, 'Oh that's interesting.' He'll reminisce a little bit. But he's sticking to the usual script. I do think the team has been aware of it, especially the guys who have been around, I think they'd love to send him off as a champion.

Photo: Lakers forward Lamar Odom reacts after he was called for a foul in the fourth quarter Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / April 3, 2011 Why would you put Lamar Odom on the sixth man of the year award list?

Van Gundy: Because he's so good, I don't even think of him like that. If he gets the sixth man award, it's almost like a sign of disrespect. Of course, he'll get sixth man of the year. He's better than all of these guys. How many power forwards would you put ahead of him? You wouldn't put many starting power forwards ahead of him so I almost think it's a sign of disrespect if somebody says he might win the sixth man. He should win it every year if that's what he's going to consider him. I consider him a starter. He started when Bynum was out and he's certainly a finisher. To me it would be a foregone conclusion if I considered him a sixth man.

Breen: He's No. 1 right now and I don't forsee anyone beating him there. With him, it's not just statistics. He's had such a consistent year on a team that has had its ups and downs. I thought he should've been on the All-Star team. The guy sacrifices so much of his individual players just to do what's necessary to win games. You know this better than I would, but I feel I can tell how happy his teammates are when he has big games. I like watching benches and see how they react when a certain player hits a big shot. They'll get more fired up for certain players. Sometimes it's the 12th man who never plays. But it's the main guys, you can tell which guy is beloved in the locker room. You can tell which guy means a lot to the team by sometimes how the bench reacts. It seems to me that other Lakers love it when Lamar hits big shots. Same thing with the fans. He's so respected and loved in the locker room and by the fans. I think that gives you an indication of what people think of his value. 

Even though the criteria state that a player's eligible for sixth man of the year award so long as he plays more games as a reserve as a starter, does the fact that Lamar is often seen more than just a bench player actually hurt his cause?

Van Gundy: I don't know if him [starting] works against him, but he's so darn good. It's an unfair fight. I don't look at him like that. He's one of the best players in the league. There's very few teams he wouldn't start for. I can't even think of a team he wouldn't start for at small forward or power forward. That's how I look at it. I wouldn't even insult him by talking about sixth man of the year. This guy is a starter and a very good one.

This guy has never gotten enough credit. He was perceived as a knucklehead when he was coming out of college and no one will ever come back and say we were wrong about this man's character. This guy is all about team and all about sacrifice. I know firsthand from my brother [Stan Van Gundy] just how highly he thought of him not just as an all-time player, but all-time people he's ever coached. The versatility, commitment to team and commitment to himself. I never heard people who judged him harshly say we couldn't be more wrong. It gives me good pause that I learned about in coaching. You never know someone until you coach them. You can take what people say, but until you're around that person everyday, you don't know what they're really all about.

There's not a better player that sacrifices more and more willingly than Lamar Odom. He's the whole package. Gasol gets recognition and rightfully so; Bryant obviously does and is a top five player in the history of the game. But Odom does what he does and does his work, sacrifices and goes home. The only time you hear about him where he gets a lot of notoriety is maybe when he doesn't play well.

Breen: I hope that's not the case. Whatever the criteria is and whether or not you agree with it, those are the rules. If you're a voter, you have to go by those rules and he's eligible. You don't vote for him because he started too many games. I don't think that should be the case. If he's the best sixth man, he's the best sixth man. [Manu] Ginobili went through that one year too where because of injuries to Parker hestarted a bunch of games and he was clearly the best sixth man

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has his shot challenged by Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler in the first half Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire How do you view the MVP race?

Van Gundy: To me there is such a difference between MVP and best player or best players. I vote [Derrick] Rose first. I would vote [Dwight] Howard second. You can flip them easily. But I think without question if you replace either guys with just a pretty good player at each position, the win total would drop. Now best player, that's when you start talking about Kobe and LeBron and Wade and all those guys. Kobe has already done it. Bryant has been so good for so long that everyone just takes it for granted. People vote the new kid on the block.

Think about it: How was Jordan not MVP every year? Was he the best player every year? He was and I don't think his value ever dropped. They were winning championships so how was he not the Most Valuable Player? There's a lot of changes in the MVP races. Kevin Durant won it last year and is just as every bit as good this year and he's not even in the discussion. He was in it last year and now he's not even in the picture?

That's why the media shouldn't vote for these awards. They should vote for coach of the year and the players should vote for MVP. I think every bench guy should vote for sixth man. Let their peers judge them. I guarantee you if that was the case, Jordan would've been MVP every year for a decade.

Breen: Right now, I'm having a real tough time. I always wait until the end of the season. To me, you have Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard neck and neck. The way the Lakers and Kobe are finishing, he gets put in the conversation with LeBron James. I want to see how each of those four teams finish their season. That might be how I'll be voting. Right now, I'm leaning more toward Rose and Howard as opposed to LeBron and Kobe. But what if Kobe wins out and Kobe averages 30 in the last stretch of games? What if LeBron has three triple doubles and the Heat win out? There's not one distinguishable candidate, which is great for the league. I legitimately think those four deserve to be up there.

The Bulls have been the most consistent team and the Heat had its ups and downs and LeBron struggled at times. The Lakers certainly had their rough patches. But the reason I put Derrick at the top now is Chicago has been so consistent and he's the main reason why. With Howard, I'm going to steal a line from Jeff's brother Stan, there's nobody in the league that impacts as many possessions on both ends in the floor. Because his strength can't be measured in statistics, his biggest strength is his presence. That's not the glamour part of the game. It's amazing how Orlando is one of the elite teams and he's the only star player on that team. They've beaten all the good teams at least once and I think his presence carries so much on the rest of the roster. I'm not knocking them, but they don't have any real legitimate stars on that team.

If you poll all these MVP writers and broadcasters who vote on it, half of them will say I only vote on the most valuable player. If I take the guy off this team, where would they be? Half of the other voters just pick the best player. Everybody has a different criteria on how they vote and that's what makes it difficult. But at the same time, it's all part of the fun in the debate. I try to balance both.

The idea is to win. To me the MVP has to be on one of the best teams in the league. The Lakers for the first half of the season, you could say were underachieving for a team that good. I want to pick an MVP on a team that's overachieving. Now the Lakers are playing the best basketball in the league so now that's why Kobe is up there with the rest of them. But in the first half, the Lakers were underachieving and he was the leader of that team. That's why he was below the others at that particular time.

Andrew Bynum drew a two-game suspension for throwing a forearm on Minnesota's Michael Beasley. Derek Fisher earned a flagrant foul type 2 on the Clippers' Chris Kaman. And Matt Barnes drew a two-game suspension for escalating the altercation between Steve Blake and Dallas' Jason Terry. What do these incidents do shaping the Lakers' identity?

Van Gundy: Their identity is champions. That's the only identity that matters. Anything else, they do what championship teams need to do to win. Bynum's play, you have to get into somebody's heart to know if it was dirty or not and I don't plan on trying to do that because I'm not capable of trying to see what incidents were. But a hard play or a tough play, that's what NBA champions are equipped to do. Bryant, one of the greatest competitors to ever play this game, his will to win and will to fight through injury sets an example and a tone. When they brought Fisher back and hard-nosed guys like Barnes, those type of guys complement the guys that they have. I think their team is doing what championship teams do, following the leader and doing what needs to be done in that particular game.

Breen: I heard somebody say on the air that it shows they're tough and they're not going to be pushed around. I don't think they need to do that. I don't think they need to send a message. Matt Barnes is always aggressive and he's always ready to go on the edge. So that's his physical way of playing. Derek has always been a physical player too. The one surprise was Andrew Bynum getting a suspension, but I just think it's a matter of emotions. The Dallas game was an emotional game and Dallas really wanted it and they were getting their butts kicked. Terry reacted. But I don't think it's anything about them sending a message that they're a tough team. They don't need that. They're just too good.  

--Mark Medina

[email protected]

First photo: ESPN basketball analyst Jeff Van Gundy on air with colleagues Mike Breen, center, and Mark Jackson, left, during a game in Cleveland. Credit: Garrrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Second photo: Denver center Nene unloads a pass between the defense of Lakers forwards Ron Artest and Pau Gasol during the game Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Third photo: Lakers Coach Phil Jackson plans to retire after this season, but ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy argues the Lakers should do everything they can to convince him to stay. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times.

Fourth photo: Lakers forward Lamar Odom reacts after he was called for a foul in the fourth quarter Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / April 3, 2011

Last photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has his shot challenged by Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler in the first half Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire 

 
Comments () | Archives (49)

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MM Thanks for this post. I often find myself becomming annoyed with JVG, MJ, and to a lesser degree, Breen, when they're covering the Ls, but I have to say that both guys gave some pretty good assessments of how they see the Ls at this point in the season...good job!

Let's go Ls...all the way to a 3-peat!!!!!

Terry | April 04, 2011 at 08:00 PM -Dude...I'm a Heat fan, but reading your post I'm getting close to changing TEAMS. Put down that Glass PIPE.

Terry | April 04, 2011 at 08:00 PM -Dude...I'm a Heat fan, but reading your post I'm getting close to changing TEAMS. Put down that Glass PIPE.

Posted by: G.Money | April 04, 2011 at 09:05 PM


Dude, what's stopping you from changing teams. You turncoat. Switch, already. I live and die by the Heat - James *is* the King of NBA and all sports. I mean *all* sports. The King will play Kobe any day, any time, any place, with a hand and leg tied to his back. How's that.

Kobe, how does my a** taste, says the King.

Now, all hail the King - the one and only one - Sir. LeBron James.


I gotta hand it to JVG - I've always struggled to define the Lakers' "identity" - are they a defense-first team? Is it all about the triangle offense? Is their identity inextricably linked to this business of "flipping the switch"?
No, he's absolutely correct - "Their identity is champions. That's the only identity that matters."


@FRMKT … Excellent points about Pau. We definitely need an aggressive, healthy, confident Pau for the playoffs. And I agree with your analysis that Pau looks tired and that contributed to his terrible play at the end of the game. I hesitate to say it but what the hell, I also think Drew’s success bothers Pau a little bit and he seems at times to become passive on the boards and in his all-around game. When you’re an NBA player, even a guy as team oriented as Pau is, you still have to have a large ego. Anyway, Pau would not be human or competitive as he to not have it bother him a little. Hopefully, it will motivate him to take his own game to another level like Kobe has challenged him to do.

On the subject of hard fouls, I have a little different take. First, I personally don’t like hard fouls that are so hard they could easily cause injury, It really doesn’t matter to me that the player making those kind of hard fouls disguises his intent to rough up another player by going for the ball or just lets him have it as Drew did to Beasley. Bottom line, the players are too vulnerable to allow plays where they could get injured. The hard fouls by the Russian swinging down on Kobe’s shoulder in an apparent attempt to go for the ball should have been flagrant fouls. In the end, you protect the players and control the physicality of the game to prevent injury. Anything else is incredibly stupid business.

Listen, I’m as old school as any blogger here. Well, I’m probably at least as old. The game today is played at a pace and so far above the rim and the players are so much bigger, faster, and stronger that old school rules are a joke, sort of like when you got old enough to realize that punching somebody out could end up killing them and sending you to jail. The game is dangerous enough to not have to worry about getting killed when you go into the paint, I would guess part of the blame for the Russian’s play could have been the physicality of the Lakers and Drew since the all-star break. The Lakers are the new Celtics and every team now knows they have to stand up and be men.

Anyway, we would have been screwed if one of the downswings from the Russian dislocated Kobe’s shoulder and we had to go through the playoffs without him. Talk about trying to win without Drew? We would have little chance if any at all without Kobe. In the end, the game is basketball, though the way the refs allow players to guard Kobe makes you wonder if you’re watching rugby or football. It seems as if the only way Kobe can get to the rim these days is to tuck the ball under his arm like a fullback and stride into the paint. It’s a freaking miracle he is still playing with the beating he takes.
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TOM

Is Derrick Rose truly the mvp of the league shooting 44% with 4.2Rpg and7.9 Apg? Is he leading the Nba in any of those categories?L ook at Russel westbrook numbers and it equal to the same as Rose with 44% 4.6 Rpg and 8.3 Apg and he doesn't get any Mvp consideration.Put Westbrook on the Chicago team,and he'll probaly have the same type of impact maybe even better,cause he's a better defensive player.I don't know,i think they should wait until at the end of the Playoff and crown the real mvp; cause thats when the best player is normally the one holding up the trophy in his hand at that time.If you look at it from a stastical point of view he's not in the discussion.

Go Lakers!

Kellog and Anthony did not appreciate this year's Championship with a low scoring game. Buttler could not buy a basket because of the leech defense applied by Jim Calhoun. They controlled the post, not the offense but the defensive post. Going back to the old saying in basketball between two great teams whoever controls the defense wins the game.

Why are the Lakers winning in the 2nd half? Because of the defense, rebound of Andrew, no chance of 2nd possession on the opponents. The others are purely icing in the cake. Yesterday, the defense on the perimeter was bad while the gunners of Nuggets were hitting from all directions, as a result we lost the game. They say that the triangle don't need a good PG, just imagine if we have a nimble PG as good as Kemba Walker or this rat pack player S. Napier, then we have a match against the speed of Lawson and Felton. A PG is the facilitator, the great provider that creates confusion within the triangle. He goes to the hoop and then looks for the open man or baits that's what creates double teaming then it leaves someone open. If a good PG can create a shot in the post with ease, then it makes the game easier to understand. However, if we try to analyze Shannon Brown was doing yesterday passing the ball to LO, to Blake back to Brown wasting time on lateral passing, where is the triangle? They could not pass it to Gasol because he would give it away freely, lol! The triangle suddenly disappears while Brown makes an awkward shot at a closing second. Supposing, the play was centered on Blake via screen and pop or pick and roll back to Blake waiting on the perimeter, I think that is also a moving triangle with more chances than just watching a boring lateral passing. Again, I'm not a coach nor a good player but has a keen common sense after watching so many basketball games. lmao!

OK now paTroll Man is peeved, so is everyone going to confess now?
My question prior was not meant to be mean as WJN suggested, as I like both bloggers of interest, granted we have had our moments though.
The question was whether the accusation had been refuted and who better to refute than than victim. Seemed like an easy resolution to me.


BYNUM IN MIDST OF MVP-LIKE STRETCH
by Kevin Pelton for basketball prospectus
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http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/news/story?id=6290116&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnba%2finsider%2fnews%2fstory%3fid%3d6290116

Excellent analysis of Drew’s impact on the Lakers defensive stats. Here is excerpt:
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“AT HIS CURRENT RATE, BYNUM'S NUMBERS ARE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF DWIGHT HOWARD'S

TRENDING TEAM: LOS ANGELES LAKERS RELYING ON BYNUM

Despite Sunday's home loss to the Denver Nuggets, no contender is heading into the stretch run with more momentum than the Lakers. Los Angeles has won 17 of its 19 games since the All-Star break to get back into the race for the top spot in the Western Conference.

It's no secret that Lakers 7-footer Andrew Bynum has been key to the team's surge. The impact of a productive Bynum is evident throughout the team's numbers. For one, the Lakers have been playing at a slower pace lately. Before the break, they averaged 90.3 possessions per 48 minutes, a pace only slightly below league average. Since then, their possessions per 48 minutes have dropped to 87.4, which would tie them with the New Orleans Hornets as the league's second-slowest team. Only the Portland Trail Blazers (87.2) average fewer possessions per 48 minutes.

In terms of performance, Bynum's impact has come largely at the defensive end of the floor. While he's been highly efficient with his possessions (he's making 62.3 percent of his shot attempts and getting to the line regularly), the Lakers have weaker floor spacing with Bynum and Pau Gasol on the floor together, so their overall offense has been no better since the break -- exactly 4.0 points per 100 possessions better than league average before and after, when adjusted for opposition.

On defense, however, the Lakers have taken a huge step forward. They held opponents 1.8 points per 100 possessions below their usual efficiency before the All-Star break, but have improved to 8.0 points better since then. That would make them the NBA's best defense over the course of the season.
Bynum has been at the center of that stingy defense. He's grabbing 28.3 percent of available defensive rebounds, which would put him seventh in the league, and has blocked nearly as many shots as he's committed fouls. (Only one player in the NBA, San Antonio's Tim Duncan, has pulled off that feat this season.)

Basically, Bynum has played at an MVP-type level when on the floor over the past month and a half. His numbers during that span compare favorably with Dwight Howard's in every category save usage (Howard is a much bigger part of the Orlando Magic's offense). This is the type of dominant play from Bynum that has convinced the Lakers to hold on to him despite attractive trade offers. If he stays healthy (having missed the end of Sunday's game after tweaking his right knee) and plays at this level, it makes the Lakers favorites not only to win the West but to repeat as NBA champions.”
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TOM

Guys, please don't intrigue people in this blog. Give it a rest and don't make conclusions without sufficient evidence. If there's anybody who would be concerned, it will be Justa or MM. Our Moderator has already said Mamba24 will be back during the playoffs. That is enough information for us. Move on to basketball than intriguing this blog with innuendos and gossips like Pharisees and Sadducees 2,000 years ago.

NCAA Final Thoughts

Hmmm… Laker fans are trashing the NCAA title game because of horrible shooting. Yet 83-79 was a gritty tough defensive battle that might as well been a Picasso to hear Laker Nation describe it. Okay I’m not saying today’s game wasn’t hard to watch…I’m just saying appreciate the tenacious defense that both teams were playing. Remember when its one game TAKE ALL …even in the NBA with the best players in the world, with the athleticism of the modern athlete and the current rules, its usually its not a pretty picture.

Consider the scores of the last 3 NBA Finals game 7’s:
2010 83-79
2005 81-74
1995 90-84

Uconn’s Napier & Lamb are about as cool as they come for a freshman duo.

Good to hear CBS go back to Luther’s version of One Shining Moment to close the tourney.

@GDUB – Enjoyed your selection for U-Conn. Also good point about Lupe. Another reason I like him.

@Jefe – I agree about Brothers Gibb “Main Course” album. They added some dance rhythm to their already tight harmony on that album and presto…the rest is history!

@Oclezy- Yep DRose is legit MVP. Yep he’s kept the Bulls up top despite all the injuries to Booz and Noah. Plus, his 4th quarter performances have been the best in the association imho.

@LT – Thanks for posting the Pelton article on Drew. Good stuff.

*_____________________________________________________________________*
What’s up Laker Nation?
I was on break but found out that for the past week my absence has been the subject of division. I waited until now because I figured it was just some blog nonsense, but it wasn’t, and so here I am. It seems that my leaving the blog to rest up and because I thought my posts on the Blog were making another Blogger feel uncomfortable has been confused with someone else who may be bothering this fellow Blogger. I may have done some a little over the top posts perhaps, but that’s it, please don’t equate me with this other problem. It’s understandable how the confusion could arise but please don’t put me in this equation. I now apologize to the other blogger if my blogg posts made her feel uncomfortable and hope my 72 is not used up.

I hope Lakers nation which I consider a family knows me well enough to know my intentions are always for the best for the Nation. Let me lastly say this. To anyone that any of my posts may have in anyway offended I sincerely apologize. Thank you Lakers Nations. Under the circumstances, it appears the name mamba24 has been permanently damaged and it will never be the same again. Due to my love of Lakers Nation and wishing not to cause a distraction, this will be my last post on the Blog.
*_______________________________________________________________________*

Le Bron is a lot of hype. Until he wins his first ring that is all he is. The lakers will have to play better if they want to beat Miami in the finals.They have the look of a team getting ready to flip the switch.

Say it ain't so! I don't understand all the drama to a simple blog that belongs to the LA Times, monitored by an employee, Mark Medina and patrolled by so-called "Trolls" can stir up so much trouble.

It's a very simple format: comment about the team, the games, the NBA and pass on the posts that do not pique your interest. To get involved in these silly back-n-forth "virtual confrontations" is very lame.

I really have not commented about any of this stuff and I will never do so again. Everyone has to shed their "self-importance" and just to stick to what you know or think you know about the Lakers and basketball.

The blog is here to satisfy the "Jones" one gets when basketball, especially a Lakers game is not being played. It's a place to "vent" about the game and not a place to entertain "virtual antagonists."

In the short time I've been visiting and posting on this blog, I've seen a lot of cool comments go by the wayside and it seems that the RC might be the spot of "refuge." I think Mark does an excellent job in trying to keep the blog interesting and raises topics that can be openly discussed in this "virtual" format.

This is "virtual" people. Keep it all in perspective. I almost deleted this whole post but I'm going through with it. "Scrue” it. Flame suit on but don't expect to engage me in a non-constructive "virtual" debate. Good night and GO LAKERS!!

Guys - Please stop this bickering. Put aside all the personal things and keep the conversation on basketball.

Flip the switch...??? i don't buy this.

I would agree with Phil, Kobe, and Fish. NBA season is a long season. The battle is not to the swift nor it is for the mighty. It is about perfecting the execution of the offense and honing the defensive mindest. Slowly peaking until all cylinders are working harmoniously.

Never too high, never too low.

Banner 17 here we come!!! Go lakers!!! Go kobe!!!

LeBron is the king of nothing...absolutely nothing. He's won what? A high school championship? He's the king of crying babies and wannabe losers that skips out of his home town because he can't carry it. He's the king of crying in the locker room because he can't even win with Wade, who is pound-for-pound better than LeBron. He's the king of hype, because he's never won anything except individual accolades for being a freak of a physical specimen. In fact, LeBron should run from the title "king" until he has a ring to prove something. Even after he has a ring, he'll need four more to catch Kobe and Magic, he'll need five more to catch MJ, and he'll need 10 more to catch Russell. King of crap at most I say...

Common Mamba 24, please don't go. Remember this blog is all about the love for the Lakers, it starts and ends with the team. I know it must be difficult to continue posting when there are many trolls and Laker haters who have nothing better to do than to make the Laker fans unhappy. All they do is spew garbage, venom and hate. They don't back up their arguments.
In my opinion, this blog needs you Mamba 24. You have more followers/readers that appreciate your contribution opposed to those who cry foul when all they do is talk garbage.

frmkt

let's see
you get your shots in on this blog
get in a plug for the RC chat
poo poo the virtual atagonists as you so call it
and then say you wont respond to comments.

just a couple of observations and please no need to respond because you can have it both ways.

justa had other options than to post on this blog that she was being stalked.
justa also had the oppurtunity to squelch any rumor about Mamba 24.
justa is a regular on the Renegade Chat who calls others "attention ho's"

need I continue?
not everyone is intrigued with this issue but I didn't start it and it certainly had no place being posted on this blog in the first place. This was over the top for even this drama queen. Exactly what did justa think would happen? Now friends want no mentions of it. Well , too late pal.
To top it off, Mamba24 saying his latest last goodbye.I say the Mamba name is not tainted.
justa needs to do right thing and clear his name from this rumor

Did Van Gundy just say that Durant won the MVP last year? Hmm...

Guys, please don't intrigue people in this blog. Give it a rest and don't make conclusions without sufficient evidence. If there's anybody who would be concerned, it will be Justa or MM. Our Moderator has already said Mamba24 will be back during the playoffs. That is enough information for us. Move on to basketball than intriguing this blog with innuendos and gossips like Pharisees and Sadducees 2,000 years ago.
Posted by: Edwin Gueco | April 04, 2011 at 10:15PM

Are you kidding me? Damn right I am concerned as I have younger sister posting on this blog. Mark Medina choses to sweep the issue sunder the rug but is too quick to ban others for harmless infractions. IT CONCERNS ME THAT LA TIMES ENCOURAGES THEIR "FRIENDS" and pretend nothing has happend. I am not sure who the culprit is but LA TIMES owes us the benefit of the doubt and assure that others can post without being "stalked".

Posted by: All that glitters is not gold | April 05, 2011 at 03:57 AM
__________________________


Fairly stated.


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

In all FAIRNESS..........

- Somebody needs to step-up to the plate and CLEAR this issue once and for all.

- Good or Bad, this ISH needs to be cleared.......NOW.


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

Mamba24, much respect goes to you. Hope to see you back brother.


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

Mamba24...

As a long time reader and commenter here, let me say that I have enjoyed interacting with you on many occasions in the past. I hope that you will reconsider your decision so that I, and the rest of the blog can enjoy interacting with you in the future. You mean a lot to this site. Don't ever forget that.

Put aside all the personal things and keep the conversation on basketball.

Posted by: Mark Medina | April 05, 2011 at 02:11 AM
_______________________

MM,

As much as we want to talk solely about basketball, we can't hide the fact that we are all people here. People who have been interacting for years now. People who have grown altogether. People who have learned something from each other. People who have learned to care for one another. Thus, it became a Family- a Lakers Family.

Now this "STALKER" issue was brought up, yes! we know it ain't good (only IF its TRUE), and it needs to be cleared. If this ISH will be left hanging, then, it will be unJUSTly.

Hope you do understand.


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

@LRob...

You made a very good point about Bernard King on a previous thread. If Satch Sanders is HOF material, so is BK.

GAME DAY


Let's welcome the Jazz, surely they will appreciate this entertaining little song:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGNNA0YB8Jg

@bronxLF - I think Bernard will make it next year. Overcoming that devastating ACL injury and making it back to the All-Star game was incredible.


@Art - haha. Salt Lake City, Utah...where Magic led the Spartans to NCAA title 32 years ago!


Speaking of the HOF. Congrats to Arvydas Sabonis for making it in. (Nice article on him below.) Another one of those players we can only wonder how great he would've been if not for all the injuries. I know Clyde Drexler says the Blazers would've won multiple titles with a healthy Sabonis.


http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2011/04/arvydas_sabonis_injury-marred.html

*Dang, The Aztecs came so close to beating Uconn...They should have beaten them...

*Kemba Walker is an amazing player. So fast and controlled at the same time. It turns out that Uconn's supporting cast is real good too. Congrats to Uconn.

*The NBA draft this year should be pretty good with Kemba and Jimmer. The big guy Kenneth Faried of Morehead State looks like he can make an impact right away. I'm interested to see where those guys end up. Shelvin Mack looks like he might be pretty good in the NBA too.

*That loss to the Nuggets stung a little bit. I like how George Karl is using both Lawson and Felton at the same time. You will not find a quicker set of guards than that. You will also not find a shorter pair of guards than that. Karl deserves a lot of credit for holding the Nuggets together after losing Carmelo and Chauncey. The Nuggets front office got pretty good value back from that trade too. Gallinari, Felton, and Chandler are very good players. With a few tweaks, the Nuggets will be good for a long time to come.

*Would I like Jeff Van Gundy to replace Phil Jackson? No.

*If the Lakers win another ring this year, why wouldn't Phil Jackson come back? This Laker team is built for another 4-5 championship runs. Phil Jackson needs to be a part of that.

Go Lakers!

LOS ANGELES LAKERS GAME DAY

April 5, 2011
Game #77
Los Angeles Lakers vs Utah Jazz
Venue: Staples Center
Record: 55-21
Standings: Clinched Pacific Division
Western Conference: #2
League Record: #3
Current Streak: Lost 1

LA TIMES LAKERS BLOG ROLL CALL

>++
|
===========================
[_|___|__|___|__|__|__|__|__|__\
|____ LAKERS 3 PEAT BUS _\__\__
l__________________________--|
\_(O)-(O)____________(O)-(O)___/


Rick Friedman – This Season is Dedicated to You!

LEWSTRS - (Driver) Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation
NewMexicoLL - (Shotgun) From Land of The Original Lakers
Caliphilosopher - British Correspondent
justanothermambafan –(Security) Fabulous AND Funny dammit
Mamba24 - (Navigator) OUTFREAKIN STANDING!
Laker Lass - KEEPER OF THE FLAME: No matter what UNIVERSE or alternate REALITY I’m in I AM A LAKER FAN!!
LRob - DJ Extraordanire - Archives Master
Mark Medina - The "Customs Officer"
ZairaAmaterasu - Goddess of the Blog!
Laker Tom - NorCal Chapter- AB is the FUTURE...
utzworld - THE ONCE AND FUTURE BANNER HOLDER - Chaplain
Fan of The Mamba - Midwest Chapter
phred - The 'LOVE' Chapter
Jamie Sweet - "Kobe didn't, doesn't and won't ever suck".
KobeMVP888 - Courtside Technician 1-2-3 RING! #17 coming up STRONG!!
RDLee - Ready to Roll
LakerPeace - Ready for the Quest for #17
Houston Laker - Needs a game day Link
Noah - Gods favorite
JustaLakerFan - Got some tunes to strike up the band
63 - Footer - Ready to put some foot into some Heat behind
Magic Phil - He of the magic skill
#4 - He knows this is Phils 4th 3-peat
EastCoastJessie - Latina Princess
Tim-4-Show - Shannon Browns advisor
Lone Star Laker Fan - Olde Timey Historian"
LakerJ - Fire Fighter - Will Extinguish The Heat
Cofm99 – In House Guitarist
Segeboy/Taliq – Sheriff: "A new season is upon us."
OutLaw – Defense Specilaist
Baby Outlaw – Defense Specialist in Training
Fearless – Dynasties are cemented in the 4th QUARTER
Faith – Defense Officer
Jon K – What do we play for...RINGS
J24 – Fairness Officer
PsychedLakerGirl – Review Judge
Joe Corad – Night Games Supervisor
Adrian Palomar – Philippines Chapter
Caps-Googles – Tech Foul Official
CyberCosmix – Devising otherworldly Laker Defense
2Phatt – Let the party begin, "and so it is"- "UN-LEASE THE KRAKEN"
WesJoeNixcon – Shaolin Monk – Trainer of IP Man
lance from da' bronx - East Coast Chapter
MS – The Tune Master
Zach - From San Diego Chapter
Jefe101 – 17th Parade Director
Staples24 – Director of Trades
Nemaia Faletogo - Tropical Zen Master
LAKER TRUTH - Abe in Purple and Gold
Humanomaly - Trekkie and proud of it
htj - Former Ciscos hired gun...
puddle - 550 Celtics dollars richer
hobbitmage - my response: Lakers Rule
yellowfever - symptoms-turning purple and gold
mclyne - bus roof surfer(you know, like in the movie "Teen Wolf")
longtimelakerfan - Leave Luke Alone
iheartkb24 - Norcal Pinay Sweetheart
Edwin Gueco - We don't need to pour more points but just enough for victory, reserve that energy in the playoffs" --
Hugo Boss - Colorado loves our World Champion Lakers!
VMan - 'V' for Victory!
frmkt - GO LAKERS & IN BUSS WE TRUST!
G in DC(aka GDUB) - Let's go Ls...all the way to 3-peat!!!!!
JohnnyV - justa smooch winner
Otis- Drunk and in jail...
Tom Daniels - Wise Man = Laker Wisdom
longtimelakerlover - Laker Girl for life
brian - Ebanks will be an All Star
Art - FL Lakers Fan - Florida Chapter
Rocky - San Diego Chapter
KB Blitz - Walking Encylopedia
bronxlakerfan - Purple and Gold with Pinstripes...
ChicNstu - Blue Plate Special
LakerFanInCowTown - Behind enemy lines...
The Triangulator - "Other Teams may River Dance, the Lakers Ballet is an Artistry in Rhythm."
mud - Analysis Technician
CornerJ - From the corner...automatic...
Fatty - THE DEFENSE BEGIN, ANOTHER TITLE TO WIN
LakerMike - Wait, just wait on it, & behold the beauty..
pfunk36 - Just get Kobe the ball!!!
dave m - 'm' stands for MONEY...Lakers 3Peat
London Laker - a lakerholic while living in london
VirginiaLakerFan - Go Lakers--all the way to 17 & a 3-Peat.
Lakers Por Vida - Livin' La Vida Loca
Jolly Rancher - Lamar's favorite baybee...
AndTheJellosJigglin - Chick's legacy lives on!
Laker J - LET THE (NEXT) JOURNEY BEGIN!
Don't Blame Del Harris! - I haven't been this excited for a new season since the summer of '96! Woot-woot!
Allnet - Like in "swish"...
The Outlaw - Wanted Dead or Alive
htj - "I'll take our best two vs.their best two, any day and twice on Sunday."
Kobe81pts - "absolutely don't ever want LBJ, the big spoiled brat to play for the Lakers....NEVER!!!!"
LakersWorld - Global Warming
Let's Go L's! - Laker pride through ALL and ANY ADVERSITY! Peace.
JustASouthCalFan - Laker fan for 28 years...
TNTLakerFan - It's time to proceed on the quest for the 3peat!
longtimelakerlover - GO LAKERS!!!!!!!KILL HOUSTON!!!!
wildone - This could be the greatest Laker season ever...
Larry of LA - Really psyched about the season...
WintonDupree - Let's get this Three-peat 2.0 party started!!!!
Kobefan in Cupertino - Oh yeah baby...... we're BAAAACCKKKKKKK
Jeanette - "I love Ron so MUCH..."
OCisMambaCounty - 1, 2, 3, RING!!!
Purple & Gold Reign - Thy Kingdom Come...We get another One!
OneLakerNation - Is there any other?
Jackie Robinson - G-d bless the Lakers!
srafrank - Crown Royal 3 shots
Lakerman420 - "I need to post"
D(erek)J(eter) - Lakers will hold up my Yankees...
Art - FL Laker Fan - Covert opps deep behind enemy lines...
DC Mamba - Can't wait for the Ring Ceremony!
traveling laker - All roads lead to Staples...
qs - i think it's just right that i start the season right...let me in that bus. =)
LakerSunshine - ShineS as bright as Laker Bling...
Magia32 - Glad we didn't go for Bosh
Laker Kev - serving up baguettes and eclairs on the glorious Laker bus
Kobeayashimarue - Oh, by the way, is it to late to jump onto the buss...LOL?
alberto esmeralda - No. 1 in the regular season is overrated.
Angelica - Kobe is the greatest LAKER and one he will be the greatest of all time. Nobody can touch Kobe.
alekesam - And LO better get sixth man this year.
YRM - NBA effectively set up what happened with Kobe tonight in Utah...now that everyone knows it's open season on L.A.
soshibo - Tex Winter in the HOF...about time!
Annanotherthing - can't we all just show a little more love?
Lakerholic - Go Killer B's...Go Lakers...I am a Lakerholic...
JovBATZ24 - LAKERS ALL DAY!!!
E! - At least Kobe is the MVP financially! And Phil as MVCoach financially.
Laker Fan in Seattle - As long as Bynum is healthy and Lamar is putting up 15 points a game, 3 peat sounds ensuring.
rossdogg76 - LAKESHOW BABY! ALL UP IN YOU!
Doug from ME - The Lakers are the freakin' Borg! Resistance is futile!
Oregon Wade - Ah yes. Life is good...
NuggetsCountry - Kobe's 81 brought tears to my eyes to watch it live.
Stockton Showtime - Does the bus stop in Stockton???? I'm on it man....GO LAKERS ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Jack Bauer - Kobe and co. will be OK. Go Lakers!
DOC4DaLakeShow - Lets count your nugget titles...done...go away
desertlaker - 2nd seed in the west is a good draw. Go Lakers
dan the man - Nuggets will never sniff a Chip.


All together now...May we stay focused and have the inner strength to reach our goal of ultimate victory. Keep us free from injuries and injustice.
Keep us strong, determined and give us the will and stamina to overwhelm any and all obstacles.
We are the Los Angeles Lakers, and we spread the FEAR.
No one can beat us but ourselves, and we say to all, bring it on!

THE LAKER FAMILY WILL PREVAIL.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS 2009-2010 NBA CHAMPIONS!

@Rocky - I agree coach Karl and the Nuggets FO deserve a lot of credit for how they handled the Melo situation. Also, congrats on winning our fantasy league. (I posted something about that yesterday, but I don't know if you saw it.)


@Lew - Thanks for the roll call!


Dear Concerned Fan,

If you are really a concerned fan, you don't have to hide in different handles.

Here are the answers to all your concerns:

1. Posted by: mamba24 | April 05, 2011 at 01:17 AM

2. Put aside all the personal things and keep the conversation on basketball.
Posted by: Mark Medina | April 05, 2011 at 02:11 AM

Would I like to know more? Sure, but I reserved that discretion to the Moderator of this blog which is Mr. Mark Medina and to the aggrieved party. If they are not raising any voices of concern or a non-issue to them, then why don't we just move on to Lakers basketball. The reason why we are in this blog is not for social fraternizing, personal associations which are bound to create personal strife or misunderstandings. We are here because of the Lakers per se. Other agenda outside of the Lakers should be handled by those parties concerned. If you want to conduct your own investigation then get the emails of parties concerned and do it on your own. Please spare the others from further intrigues or protracted scandal by using this blog as a venue for trial by publicity.

Good morning team. WTH is going on here with all this craziness.

MAMBA24 - Larry - friend - you need to be here for the championship run. Come on - live and let go. Come back.

Lew - thanks for the roll call - I am ready for the Jazz and taking another game from them.

Let's go LAKERS!!

Cheers all - PLG

Lakerholic checking in. Thanks for the roll call LEWSTRS!

That was a tough loss – a definite buzz kill. Also, to have to see the Trolls scurry out from under whatever dark hole they hide under during winning streaks is always disheartening.

Ron had a tough day – 1 of 5, 3 rebounds, and their forwards killed us.

It seems like Denver hit their threes and we didn’t. It isn’t the whole story though. At the end, when we usually take over, it just didn’t happen. It was tied up going into the fourth.

Tonight will be another tough game. The last one with Utah was hard fought. It will be the fourth game in six days. The third game in four days didn't go well. We are starting to get banged up. I don't tend to like the games where Kobe shoots more than 20 or so shots. Even when he is shooting the lights out, it is not good for team morale having him shoot 27 of the teams 84 shots as he did on Sunday. It is tough to win when one guy misses 17 shots. That said, Kobe was +3 in +/-. He gives it his all and always finds ways to contribute – 28 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals… ;-) It is tough to pass it to someone when nobody is fighting for position.

It will be a long night if Pau doesn’t play. I remember the days before Pau… Drew will have to really step up. Utah has some big guys. All the pressure is off for them, but a win tonight will allow them to go fishing with a little pride. They will leave it all on the floor. I am sure Pau will play. He is a warrior. Plus, he doesn’t want to hear it from Kobe… ;-)

We have to win all of the winnable games from here on out. Utah at Staples is definitely winnable. Golden State tomorrow is winnable. Portland in Portland on Friday will be tough as will OKC on Sunday and SA on Tuesday. It has come down to it. We need to at least hold onto second place in the west. Chicago could falter. They have to play Boston and Orlando. We need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, buck up, and get it done. It is winning time baby!

I am a Lakerholic.

I don't fear the Spurs, the Mavs or the Nuggs...

I don't fear the Chowds, the Cheats, the Magic or the Bulls...

I do fear the X Factor...

I don't look at the schedule and wish for 6-0, 5-1. or 4-2...

I could care less about that...

What I care the box score to look like...

Injuries to Laker Players in the last 6 games: ZERO

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Genration...

#17 Coming Up!!!

Dude....is this going to be a DRAMA day in Lakerland?

Mamba24- Be strong dude...it's your WORLD.

Terry..Dude WHEN the Heat get to the finals, it'll be because of WADE and Lebron.

And the Lakers will be their WAITING for all Comers, 3 peat NO DOUBT.

Mamba24,

This blog wont be the same without you. You cant bail out on our 3Peat season, our Rick Friedman season, our Dynasty. I expect you to be playoff ready and return with ALL your enthusiasm as the practice season comes to an end.

Lock N Load Larry!!!

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

Morning LAT Blog fam!!! it's GAME DAY baybee!!!

@Lew - Thanks for the RC...hope you'll keep posting the roll call until mamba24 comes back...

@PLG - yeah, what's up with all the craziness?

@mamba24 - I agree with PLG! Live and let go...So, get you behind back here and post about BB and not personal stuff...

Let's GO LAKERS!!!

LEWSTRS:
Love the roll call, Thanks!

We need everybody healthy and we will roll through the playoffs, HCA or not.
If we are healthy, I can't see anyone beating us four times in seven games.

The real season is about to begin!

checking in. thx for the roll call, pinoy brotha. will miss the first 3 quarters of the game tonight. kawawa face.

i watched the 2001 championship dvd last night. memories. that team was beast. 15-1 playoff record. scaryyyy

pareng soshibo...great to know another FlipBro is amongst us...

Mabuhay Lakers!!!

"congrats on winning our fantasy league."

Thanks LRob. It was a good season. Fun like always. I'll be ready again next year for all challengers. Bring it.

Congrats to Justa for winning the second league.

Thanks to Phred for starting the leagues.

Go Lakers!

mamba24, no ones does a roll call like you! i personally miss you as do other many, many die-hard Lakers fans! we need your support as L.A. goes for another 3peat! peace brother!

I don't understand why people call lebron James a king... Kings have rings. Or in the sports world championships. Last time I checked lebron 0 rings Kobe 5 and don't bring the bullshit about him winning with shaq and now with Gasol.. Go back and check the stats and you will see that Kobe had better stats then both of them through out the finals....

THE MEDIA OWES KOBE ONE MORE MVP!!!

http://kobegames.blogspot.com/


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