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Five story lines to watch in Lakers-Hornets matchup

6a00d8341c506253ef014e60286871970c-800wiBefore we dive into the story lines, here is the Lakers schedule for their first-round series against New Orleans.

Game 1: Sunday at Staples Center/12:30 p.m./ABC

Game 2 – Wednesday at Staples Center/7:30 p.m. TNT / FS West

Game 3 – Friday at New Orleans / 6:30 p.m. ESPN / KCAL9

Game 4 – Sunday, April 24, at New Orleans / 6:30 p.m. TNT / KCAL9

Game 5 * Tuesday, April 26, at Staples Center / TBD TBD / FS West

Game 6 * Thursday, April 28, at New Orleans / TBD TBD / KCAL9

Game 7 * Saturday, April 30, at Staples Center TBD TNT / FS West

1. How healthy will the Lakers be? There are plenty of encouraging signs. After Lakers center Andrew Bynum hyperextended his right knee Tuesday against San Antonio, his MRI the next day revealed he simply has a bone bruise and should be ready to play in Game 1 of the Lakers-Hornets first-round series Sunday at 12:30 p.m. After experiencing soreness in his surgically repaired right knee, Lakers forward Matt Barnes also had an MRI on Wednesday and results "showed no new damage," according to the team, and is expected to suit up. Lakers guard Steve Blake is out an indefinite amount of time because of the chicken pox. With exception to Blake's illness, the Lakers are fortunate the injuries to Bynum and Barnes aren't considered as serious and the Lakers' first-round schedule ensures they'll have plenty of time to rest. But anyone knows it's best to take a cautious outlook on anything connected to Bynum, injuries and timetable because all of his injuries have entailed lengthy recovery times and limitations and all initial estimations have always proven to be wrong.

2. Will the Lakers' early-season success against New Orleans help or hurt them? I'll go into detail in the three categories below on where the Lakers have the most noticeable advantages against New Orleans. But here's the main thing you need to know: The Lakers swept the Hornets, 4-0, in the regular-season series. Two of their victories came in double-digit margins. Two of them came within single digits. But never was the outcome in doubt. Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons, who started putting together a playoff specific scouting report on New Orleans about a month ago, told me that sweeping them should really derail the Hornets' confidence. No doubt, the Lakers have favored a pretty good draw, considering their regular-season success against the Hornets and the many reasons why some on the Lakers considered Memphis and Portland to be a more difficult matchup.

It remains unseen whether the Lakers will actually take advantage of this scenario. They ended the season with a five-game losing streak followed by two awfully underachieving performances against the Spurs without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili and a sub-.500 team in Sacramento. As easy as it is to say the Lakers will turn it up for the playoffs, it's conceivable that mind set won't trickle in right away. The Lakers acknowledged last year's first-round series against the Thunder forced them to wake up for the playoffs because it proved such a daunting task keeping up with Oklahoma City's youth and athleticism. If the Lakers feel like they can coast against the Hornets, who have by all accounts overachieved this season under first-year head coach Monty Williams, that may not be a good thing considering they've often shown they're mostly externally motivated. 

3. The Lakers' size advantage will prove to be too much. That's usually the case against most opponents. Besides Kobe Bryant's tremendous talent, scoring ability and hunger, the Lakers have one distinguishable advantage that no other NBA team has in having two seven-footers in Bynum and Pau Gasol. Add versatile, 6-foot-10-inch swingman Lamar Odom and the Lakers prove hard to stop. But this will definitely be a deflator against New Orleans, who won't have David West because of a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury. Even though the Lakers have always been impressed with Carl Landry, that won't offset the Lakers' size advantage. Emeka Okafur has not matched up well with the Lakers so it's integral the Lakers use their bigs. That effort has always proven to be a mixed bag for reasons varying from Bryant taking over, Gasol and Bynum lacking aggressiveness and everyone else firing outside shots. Of course, Bynum's health hinges on how well the Lakers do in this area. But it's not going to be rocket science playing New Orleans. Pound the ball inside and let them go to work. 

4. The Hornets' biggest threat involves Chris Paul. This isn't a can-Derek Fisher-keep-up-with-a-speedy-guard debate. The answer has always been no, but so is the rest of the league. Fisher deserves credit for his tenacity in fighting through screens and calling out rotations, even if he gets beat off the dribble. But this where the Lakers' defensive scheme comes in, which has emphasized funneling drivers into the lane. The Lakers' improved discipline coupled with Bynum's resurgence on the rebounds largely contributed to their 17-1 start after the All-Star break. Paul will get his points and prove hard to stop, but the Lakers can minimize the damage if they remained disciplined in following the scheme and communicating effectively.

5. Trevor Ariza will try to bait Bryant into taking over. Ariza surely has a chip on his shoulder ever since his departure from the Lakers in the 2009 off season, so there's no question he has extra motivation from this series. Another thing the Lakers should keep in mind is he's very familiar with the Lakers' offense and knows the most effective way to guarding Bryant isn't by trying to stop him, but hoping to bait him into taking difficult shots. Bryant will crank up the intensity and aggressiveness come playoff time, but it'll be interesting to see how effective Ariza proves in goading him.

Prediction: Lakers in five. The Lakers should have no problem winning this series. The only reason the Lakers will lose one game is the inevitability that they might coast in one of the games. My hunch is Game 3, when the Hornets will feel like they're in a must-win situation, are at home and the Lakers no longer feel the urgency in setting the tone for the series. 

--Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers center Andrew Bynum hangs on the rim after dunking against the Hornets earlier this season. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (58)

The comments to this entry are closed.

(Unretiring for one more comment)

Now that the anti-Kobe trolls (AGAIN) have had their day (AGAIN) to remind us all (AGAIN) of how he's the scum of the universe (AGAIN) and how we Laker fans are idiots (AGAIN) for supporting him (AGAIN), allow me to offer a halfway mature retort:

I don't need Kobe Bryant to be a role model for my children. My wife and I along with our family and community serve that role. I don't need Kobe Bryant to be an upstanding citizen. I don't need Kobe Bryant to be a beacon of moral fortitude.

All I need...and all I will ever need...from Kobe Bryant is for him to drop 25 or more against every opponent the Lakers play & to lead my favorite basketball team onward and upward to victory. That's all. Nothing more. Nothing less.

The day he takes off that Purple & Gold jersey, I won't need him to do anything else. Period.

I don't pin my hopes and dreams and standards of morality upon athletes, actors, politicians or anyone else in the public eye. I'm a sports & movie fan. Just play the gosh darn game/act or direct your butt off in the gosh darn movie and I'm good. Seems to me if everyone else shared my attitude, there'd be a lot less useless anger, energy and B.S. standards placed on guys who bounce a ball for 48 minutes a night.

(And now...back to my retirement)

And here is my prediction: Lakers in SIX

Game 1: Lakers pumped up about the real season and are ready for another championship march. Win by double-digit going away. 1-0.

Game 2: Game 1 proved too easy so Lakers lose focus, coast while thinking about personal pet projects. They play as crappy as during the 5-game losing streak and lost a sqeaker. 1-1.

Game 3: NO is home and pumped by the crowd not to mention newly found HCA. A can of whupass to LAL thx to all the intangibles in NO way. 1-2.

Game 4: LAL facing possibility of humiliation get mad and get serious in a hurry. Score a convincing victory to even the serie. 2-2.

Game 5: Must-win game for NO cause they don't want to go back to LA needing to win both games. LAL pull out a close victory in a hard-fought physically bruising game thx to late-game heroics by KB. 3-2.

Game 6: Back in LA, NO has no fight left and see the writing on the wall. LAL score a blow-out close-out game to advance. 4-2.

utzworld - THE (RETIRED) BANNER HOLDER,

Brother!

Nice to see you again!

Lakers in four!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Good points here. I think the Lakers' biggest obstacle will be looking past the fact that they went 4-0 against this team and that David West is out for the year. It's still an NBA team under all of that and the Lakers/Utah game from a week ago shows the dangers of overlooking that.

Other random points:
I forgot how spaced out the playoffs are. Even if they win in 4, the 2nd round doesn't start until MAY.

Pau has owned the Hornets this year. 22 and 13 on 70% shooting. Bynum can probably afford to take all the time off he needs.

To answer LRob's question about my predictions, I think the much anticipated Heat/Lakers finals series is looking more likely by the minute.

A fun stat from Hollinger.

Over the past 3 years of playoffs, Orlando, Boston, and the Lakers are 5-5 against each other and 21-1 against everyone else.

Orlando lost to Detroit in 2008, but other than that, those teams have only lost to each other.

Not good news for Chicago, Miami, and San Antonio.

If the Lakers lose a game, it will be game 3. Those first two games highly favor the Lakers given the amount of rest they're getting.

But, I do expect to see a more concerted Hornets team, solely focused on attacking the Lakers weaknesses (if they can). So my guess is that CP3 has to do most everything, and if the Lakers can contain him, the rest of the dominoes will fall.

*Wow. Steve Blake has the chicken pox? That's kinda sucky.

*I don't hink we could have gotten a better 1st round opponent with the Hornets. Of all the Western teams in the playoffs, the Hornets have to be the weakest of them all. That said, no more games Lakers, sweep these guys, and rest.

*Bynum's injury was scary. The championship flashed before my eyes.

*We're lucky to be healthy.

Go Lakers!
3peat!

The Lakers will sweep New Orleans. The only team in the playoffs I could envision NO beating in a series without DWest is Indiana.

@Laker Tom – Interesting predictions. Right now I’m learning toward the Lakers meeting OKC in the conference finals and I’m very down on Boston right now, but I’ll check in tomorrow with my predictions.

@Lakerholic/fan0615/LakerPeace – I’m with you on Trey. Put him on the playoff roster and let’s roll.

@mclyne – another good one by Foo.
@jefe – checking in with the man, Jimmy Cliff, nice.
@Tri – that was a jamming “one hit wonder”…still sounds great today.

i think the Lakers will sweep N.O. i think the 5 game losing streak at the end of the year, hopefully left a bad taste in their mouth and prepared them for the upcoming playoffs . the regular season is over (thank god, that's what p.j. and the players are thinking) and now the prize is waiting from them. focus, focus and focus should be L.A.'s mantra!

Another thing leaving a bad taste in their mouth is the 20 point come back last night, shades of 2008 finals vs. the Celtics.

If there ever was a rude awakening, that was it.

I expect the Lakers to be in full playoff mode come Sunday. No more screwing around.

It's time to get down to business.

And the name of the business is WINNING

For the suspensions Kobe got for the follow through, I've never seen a player elbow a player in the face on a follow through, especially not repeatedly. Only Kobe knows what his true intentions were but I haven't seen any other player do it to determine if there is any consistency in how they rule on those plays.

Posted by: Bay to LA | April 14, 2011 at 02:15 PM
---------------------------------------
Bay to LA,

Kobe was suspended for "an unnatural basketball act". I've seen more than a couple of shooters commit "unnatural basketball acts" and hit opponents in the face. I've seen MANY players get stripped of the ball and flail their arms in an "unnatural basketball act" but Kobe is the only one I've seen suspended because of it. Here's exhibit A ....later than SAME year....in the playoffs no less. Hmmm!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGnnN5BMXwE&feature=related


@JON K ... I don’t think Kobe meant the comment as a slur to gays. He was just pissed at how he was playing and at the foul he just picked up. It just happened that the epithet that came to his mind when he decided to curse the referee was unfortunately an anti-gay slur. And while Kobe did not intend it to disrespect or taunt anybody, that does not make it any less hurtful or hateful for a gay man to hear. The issue, as Kobe so aptly framed it, is to make every player in the league aware that using such epithets is part of the problem that leads some to commit hate crimes against gays and lesbians.
...
As for the 1200 # elephant, that was merely a recognition that African Americans have not historically been supporters of gay and lesbian rights, which may be why they should to be educated about gays and lesbians, understand that condoning or encouraging the use of anti-gay epithets simply causes more and more Americans to disown their citizenship, not understanding the generational differences they share. Personally, I don’t think Kobe should have been criticized at all. Stern only acted the way he did because he is still hoping that the Heat defeats to the Celtics in their celebrated 3rd row seats.
.................................................................................
TOM


Normally, I don't like too easy of a 1st round series. The team needs to improve for next rounds tougher opponent. Its one of those 'iron sharpens iron' thingys. But in this case, with the Lakers working through some injuries and illness, I'll take the easy one, and watch us sweep the NO Hornets.

After the last NO loss, CP was saying some teams we just don't match up well against, and the Lakers are one of those. Its just way too much for them to overcome and they know it going in.

Lakers complacent? I don't see it. They have been bored since the season started waiting for the playoffs. Its time to shine and make some history.

If they were to lose one, I first felt like MM, it would be game three. But now, I'm thinking game 4 just because MM said 3 and I'm in a opposite mood today.

Utz- I hardly ever post here anymore. Largely for the reasons you went into retirement. But also because of the incessant and frankly ridiculous in-fighting amongst those that are, at least ostensibly, Lakers fans. Yet your post was spot on and I for one would like you to a least consider more un-retirement.

Let the campaign begin!

OPERATION 16 WiNS 2011

The New Orleans Hornets are our Utah from last season. I will be disappointed with anything less than a sweep. The Lakers are vastly more talented, and our front court simply cannot be matched by the Hornets. Paul will get his -- but, like PJ always says, if you make him a scorer and limit his assists, you win nearly every time.

They don't call it The Big Easy for nothing.

Go Lake Show!

"Bay to LA,

Kobe was suspended for "an unnatural basketball act". I've seen more than a couple of shooters commit "unnatural basketball acts" and hit opponents in the face. I've seen MANY players get stripped of the ball and flail their arms in an "unnatural basketball act" but Kobe is the only one I've seen suspended because of it. Here's exhibit A ....later than SAME year....in the playoffs no less. Hmmm!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGnnN5BMXwE&feature=related

Posted by: LRob | April 14, 2011 at 02:58 PM "

Thanks for refreshing my memory, I forgot about this one, I think I blocked that entire playoff year out of my memory. I think it's more unfair that LeBron wasn't suspended than that Kobe was.

I need to look up and see what the league's explanation was for this. The only real difference is that LeBron was flailing on a made shot and Kobe was flailing in response to being blocked. I have noticed that the league does whatever it can to avoid suspending players in the playoffs. Outside of that dumb technicality that got Amare suspended, they have let a lot of weird stuff go by unpunished that certainly would have earned a regular season suspension (Rondo fighting Hinrich, Pietrus punching Gasol, etc)

So, remember, we are not at full strength going in. AB is hurt. Matt B may not be back to even 80% until summer. Blake - obviously it will take some time (2nd round) before he will be close to game shape. Kobe is injured (knee/finger(s)/elbow/ankle sprain residual/etc.). Pau may still have lingering hesitation if nothing else from his knee bruise. (TR?/DE?) still injured or they would be playing minutes, I have to conclude.

So, I get a little irritated at media pundits on TV claiming Lakers are at full strength going into the playoffs! Yes, they will have most everyone in a Laker uniform, but so will I ~be, and my on-court, game, contributions will be equivalent to Theo's, I am certain! :-)

Hopefully whatever it is that blows 20 point easy leads is over for the rest of the playoffs!

Play Trey, PJ!!!

Laker Tom,

"I don’t think Kobe meant the comment as a slur to gays. He was just pissed at how he was playing and at the foul he just picked up. It just happened that the epithet that came to his mind when he decided to curse the referee was unfortunately an anti-gay slur."

I agree. I think EVERYONE agrees except GLAAD.

So, if a person did an act in the moment that was thoughtless and arguably in bad taste--and that's it--then where's the crime?

Where is the action that is worthy of a $100,000 fine?

There isn't one.

Instead is an artificial controversy created by the media, GLAAD, and Darth Stern.

THAT is reality.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

MM - How does one go about baiting Kobe into trying to take over the game?

Laker Tom - I was studying your playoff predictions very carefully, and it makes a lot of sense to me. Each round, number of games etc...

I do think, it will be a tough road to the Finals, both for the Celtics and Lakers, but they will be there. I expect some very memorable moments and am looking forward to another Ron Artest post game experience.

It will be fun to share this with friends.....again.

"So, I get a little irritated at media pundits on TV claiming Lakers are at full strength going into the playoffs! Yes, they will have most everyone in a Laker uniform, but so will I ~be, and my on-court, game, contributions will be equivalent to Theo's, I am certain! :-)

Posted by: NuggetsCountry | April 14, 2011 at 03:16 PM "

In the playoffs, no team is truly 100%. Every team is full of guys who have been playing non-stop basketball for 6 months or more.

New Orleans (David West) is not 100%, Portland (Oden, Roy) are not 100%, Dallas (Butler) is not 100%, but the other teams in the West can't really complain unless Ginobili is expected to be out past game 1 for the Spurs. I think that's what they mean by that. The Lakers have the usual bumps/bruises but they have no significant injuries that are expected to sideline them.

So what Laker team are we going to get this second season? A 16-1 Juggernaut, or four 7 game series in a row?

UTZ for the win!


DBDH!

UTZ for the win!


DBDH!

i say rest bynum in game 1 unless it is absolutely necessary he plays, which i doubt it is. go lakers baby!

A return of Justa and UTZ in one day! It must be playoff time!!!

UTZ- I agree with your post 100%. It's a shame that a lot of people today won't take responsibility for their own actions and actually live lives worthy of youngsters to look up to. Sports atheletes were never meant to be roll models- they are very talented entertainers who were blessed with extremely unique God given talents. They are not role models.

@utzworld: I totally agree with you, to a point. I think I (and possibly the police) would be concerned if Kobe or any other public figure was a felon of some sort. However, I still do not think Kobe as a player is as good as he is hyped up to be. His athleticism was incredible until about 2-3 years ago. Not so much anymore. His ball handling and passing skills are quite sub-par (he gets stripped quite easily even in one-on-one situations, and he always fails to see 1 or 2 open teammates), even during his prime. He is definitely the most determined player I have ever seen, playing with any sort of injury and his late game focus and ability is no doubt top-notch, in this era and possibly in the whole history of basketall.

@psycorp: I think you are mistaken. The first 3 rounds of the playoffs are 2-2-1-1-1 format games, you are thinking of the Finals (2-3-2).


@JON ... The “crime,” if you will, is exactly what Kobe said in his interview on 710 AM. Like it or not, professional athletes ARE role models and the last thing anybody wants is for a young kid to watch Kobe and then feel like it is perfectly acceptable to use anti-gay epithets or even to engage in an actual hate crime. K0be recognized that which is why he has started a dialog with GLAAD and why they have spoken out very supportive of Kobe’s efforts. GLAAD understood that the Kobe likely did not mean the words to attack gays. They know he was just angry but the reality is that the words he spoke were words that could easily be misunderstood by young people watching the game as anti-gay comments. Their efforts were not to punish Kobe but to make everybody aware not to use anti-gay slurs. Kobe handled the situation well. I am especially hopeful that he will become part of a honest campaign to eliminate all racial and anti-gay or anti-Semitic comments from our smack dictionary.
.................................................................................
TOM

LakerTom,

He didn't shout it into the stands or a microphone.

If it wasn't for Steve Kerr, no one would have noticed.

How often do we hear foul language blurted out in a heavily miked game?

EVERY game.

Then why aren't other players getting $100,000 fines each and every game?

It's about the intent, right?

WORD CRIME is not a crime.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Laker Tom,

"I am especially hopeful that he will become part of a honest campaign to eliminate all racial and anti-gay or anti-Semitic comments from our smack dictionary. "

Never going to happen.

Never.

We will NEVER all get along. That's not within human potential.

So, we may as well accept it and diminish the power of that animosity. And we DO NOT diminish the power of that animosity by giving artificial, almost supernatural power to taboo words that may have referenced that animosity in recent history.

It doesn't work like that .

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

"Never going to happen.

Never.

We will NEVER all get along. That's not within human potential.

So, we may as well accept it and diminish the power of that animosity. And we DO NOT diminish the power of that animosity by giving artificial, almost supernatural power to taboo words that may have referenced that animosity in recent history.

It doesn't work like that .

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!!

Posted by: Jon K. | April 14, 2011 at 04:19 PM "

The NBA, like any workplace, has the right to force its employees to adhere to a policy of conduct. You can use slurs all you want and not get fined 100,000 for it, so can Kobe if he does it around friends and not in public situations.

I agree that people as a whole will never truly accept one another, especially those who are different, but to say it's a lost cause and that it's ok for everyone to say whatever they want opens things up for all kinds of problems.

Just curious, what would your response be if Barack Obama used a racial slur to refer to a caucasian?

Anyone else worried about the first game being on Sunday? I am. Bad things happen to this team on that day.

Any opinions on where that shot last night stands in the kobe pantheon of great, career-difining shots? I think it might be a top 10. There's just so much that changed in the seconds following that wicked screen by Gasol and the ball falling in the hoop. Not just that we went from having the hardest road to the playoffs of any of Kobe's postseason teams (as another blogger pointed out) to having possibly one of the easiest--I mean, we went from 3 absolute nightmare matchups to probably the best three we could expect in the Western conference--but how we regained home court in the playoffs for a quickly-aging and injured team with some very serious 3-peet chips on the table. If we would have lost that game, everything becomes more difficult. And it's not that they can't handle adversity, but that the margin of error for this team is much smaller now than even last year, and with Bynum out the first few games, we could have been facing a team like Portland where our size is everything.

It was a huge shot. And I loved the reaction of the Kings'bench. Priceless. Some didn't even move, but the young guys who actually had hopes that he would miss, they looked super disgusted when the shot fell.

The only thing better would have been to see the shot live.

Wes

Bynum is missing the first two games? I thought he said he will be playing this weekend?

>>>Then why aren't other players getting $100,000 fines each and every game?

They are occasionally. I remember a game where Latrell Sprewell yelled something to the effect of "F**k you, B**ch" to a woman in the audience who was heckling him. It was in a nationally televised game and you couldn't just see his mouth move, you could actually HEAR him say it.

He got fined big bucks for it as well.

>>>So what Laker team are we going to get this second season? A 16-1
>>>Juggernaut, or four 7 game series in a row?

C'mon! You GOTTA know the answer to that one!

If you don't know, you better axe somebody...

FO FO FO FO


@JON K ... No doubt the same slur has probably been said hundreds of times. Unfortunately, Kobe knows he is held to a higher standard because he has so many fans and is a media lightning rod. The size of the fine is just Stern trying to score public relations brownie points. Had TV not captured it, Kobe would not have been fined and this would have been no big deal. But the cameras and reporters did witness this which meant that it got escalated into a teaching moment as far as GLAAD was concerned. I understand how political correctness has gone too far but this is not a case of that IMO. Instead, it truly is an opportunity to teach all NBA players not to use racial and anti-gay epithets.
.................................................................................
TOM

"Just curious, what would your response be if Barack Obama used a racial slur to refer to a caucasian?"

Posted by: Bay to LA | April 14, 2011 at 04:29 PM

Bay to LA,

I apologize for answering this question, as I know it wasn't addressed to me, but I couldn't help myself. I would say that he's confused, because he would be referring to himself in some aspect (if one goes in for parental lineage as the determining criteria for racial classification).

I disagree with point #4. Derek Fisher has done a very good job of defending Chris Paul this year. Chris has averaged 15.7 pts. and 10.25 assists in the 4 games against the Lakers this season. Fish really gets physical with Paul and his strength bothers Chris and wears him down IMO. Paul's numbers against the Lakers are pretty much the same as against the rest of the league where he goes 15.9 & 9.8. If you can hold a great player like Paul to his average, you've done a good job.

"Bynum is missing the first two games? I thought he said he will be playing this weekend?

Posted by: mclyne | April 14, 2011 at 04:38 PM "

Is that the word now? That seems to be the constant in all of his injuries. He's always out longer than originally expected. Even if it's 2 games it shouldn't hurt them. They're both at home.

Congratulations and appreciation to the 5 Lakers who played in all 82 games this year. Pau, Lamar, Fish Ron and Kobe deserve to be cited for their professionalism and durability.

Bay to LA,

"Just curious, what would your response be if Barack Obama used a racial slur to refer to a caucasian?"

Annoyed, little more.

I've been called "cracker" scores of times. It's annoying. I don't go crying about it, because I'm not an idiot.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

"I disagree with point #4. Derek Fisher has done a very good job of defending Chris Paul this year. Chris has averaged 15.7 pts. and 10.25 assists in the 4 games against the Lakers this season. Fish really gets physical with Paul and his strength bothers Chris and wears him down IMO. Paul's numbers against the Lakers are pretty much the same as against the rest of the league where he goes 15.9 & 9.8. If you can hold a great player like Paul to his average, you've done a good job.

Posted by: bronxlakerfan | April 14, 2011 at 04:47 PM "

Fisher relies on strong help defense to defend Paul or any point guard for that matter. I think that's what Mark is getting at. It has to be a team effort to push him into the trees. He's not as quick as he used to be so he's not going to be a huge problem in there. Fisher's main job is to prevent him from having wide open shots outside.

LakerTom,

The response to Kobe's curse word (not "slur" because it clearly wasn't intended as a slur) has been pure histrionics.

So, calling someone or specifically a woman a female dog deserves a shrug of the shoulders, but using a taboo word that a special interest group has a histrionic attack about deserves a "logical" punishment of $100,000.

You know as well as I do that it's not right, not fair, and not rational.

I'm tired of people trying to defend Darth Stern's actions because they don't make sense.

By the way, Bay to LA, Kobe works for the Lakers, not Darth Stern.

If Jerry Buss decided to fine him AS HIS BOSS than that's on HIS BOSS, not some East Coast troll trying to enforce Orwellian political correctness on everybody.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Caliphilosopher,

Agreed.

By the way, few African-Amerians are solely African. On average African-Americans are 12.5% European by "blood."

Hispanics even moreso.

So most of the "white devil" comments are at least a little laughable because the overwhelming majority of us have at least a little "white devil" in us.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

I'm predicting a first round sweep.

I hope DJ MBenga doesn't decide to rough up Pau with some judo.

"Bay to LA,

"Just curious, what would your response be if Barack Obama used a racial slur to refer to a caucasian?"

Annoyed, little more.

I've been called "cracker" scores of times. It's annoying. I don't go crying about it, because I'm not an idiot.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Posted by: Jon K. | April 14, 2011 at 04:56 PM "

Is GLAAD crying? Are they asking for Kobe to be stripped of his rights? Or to be thrown out of the league? I don't care a whole lot about the whole issue but I thought they already commended the NBA for its response and I didn't hear about them asking for any piece of the pie about the whole thing. They wanted a response, the league responded, and it's over.

Kobe may directly report to the Lakers, but the Lakers are part of the NBA that is overseen by David Stern. The Lakers may not have had a problem with what Kobe said or they may have preferred to just defer to the league on the issue. The league did have a problem with it and that's that.

If you're saying this is all just an Orwellian response to everything, I guess I'm a bit confused why you're not critical of Kobe for issuing a politically correct response of his own instead of just saying he's going to say what he's going to say and everyone else just has to deal with it.

This has to be the worst 2 game winning streak ever.

mclyne, where did you hear that Bynum was going to miss the first two games? - that's news to me - I haven't heard such a report...

I'd argue that if your employment is such that your boss can fine you $100K, then you're not really subject to an Orwellian response.

Now Bradley Manning, that guy is subject to an Orwellian response, Kobe not so much.

regarding Bynum,
I was just commenting on this quote from wesjoe:
" and with Bynum out the first few games, we could have been facing a team like Portland where our size is everything. "

As far as I know, he was supposed to play on Sunday.

@psycorp
re Your prediction

Since when did the first round go to 2-3-2?

Ouch. Party foul, rookie.

Bay to L.A.,

"I guess I'm a bit confused why you're not critical of Kobe for issuing a politically correct response of his own instead of just saying he's going to say what he's going to say and everyone else just has to deal with it."

Just because I abhor political correctness, it doesn't mean I want everyone to suddenly start being a completely insensitive a-hole. People should still be polite with one another.

What I'm calling for is a shift of responsibility, if someone offends you, distance yourself from them if you can't handle it. It's on you. We still should admonish people to be civilized, just not so much that we demand that people be disingenuous toolbags.

Kobe explained himself. He didn't absolutely need to, but he did and that should have been enough for everyone, including Darth Stern and GLAAD.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

"Just because I abhor political correctness, it doesn't mean I want everyone to suddenly start being a completely insensitive a-hole. People should still be polite with one another.

What I'm calling for is a shift of responsibility, if someone offends you, distance yourself from them if you can't handle it. It's on you. We still should admonish people to be civilized, just not so much that we demand that people be disingenuous toolbags.

Kobe explained himself. He didn't absolutely need to, but he did and that should have been enough for everyone, including Darth Stern and GLAAD.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

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

GO LAKERS!!!

Posted by: Jon K. | April 14, 2011 at 06:04 PM "

From a personal standpoint, Kobe didn't have to explain himself. He has every right to use whatever words he wants and people have every right to dislike him for it. The problem is that by being an NBA player, he represents the league and is subject to their code of personal conduct.

David Stern is the commissioner of the NBA. When people in the league are acting in a way that portrays the league in a bad light, he tends to try to fix that. Kobe's comments did just that and he responded to it. The NBA office isn't some independent office that sticks their nose where it doesn't belong, it's the governmental structure of the entire league and is there for a reason, even if we might not agree with all of its actions.

GLAAD doesn't have nearly as much power as you seem to think they do. Other than making some public statements against Kobe's comments and maybe trying to boycott the league, it's just one person or group's words against another.

Be honest, would you ever direct Kobe's words against a co-worker or an associate of yours and then claim your business was Orwellian if they disciplined you for it? If you want the rights of a free society, you can't work under the umbrella of someone else.

Medina goes out of his way to not to criticize kobe. If he takes 50 shots medina will write no one else was being agressive so kobe had to shoot. Yet yall attack medina because this one time he had to criticize kobe justly. My my my you guys like jon k and eddie are fanatics. Some comments are inexcusable even if you have won 5 rings. Kobe is not used to being questioned so that is why initially he didn't apologize. Then he compounded the problem by saying he will appeal the fine. I though lebron was dumb but kobe takes the cake.

neither kobe nor lbj went to university but lebron is more cultured than kobe the babarian. Kobe almost broke joe smith arm with that vicious punch of the bench. But kobe has been on a roll offending different groups. he offended the koreans by making his poor korean maid dig into dog excrement with her bare hands to retrieve a trinket. Then he had the gall to sue the poor woman before settling out of court like in eagle. Then he offended the turkish community by starring in air turkey's airline commercial. Now he offended the wealthy and powerful gay community with his crude comments. Kobe is a bigot.

Let the real games begin......Lakers 3 peat and beyond.....

My biggest worry about this series is that the flight controller directing the Lakers plane doesn't fall asleep. Otherwise, bring on Portland!


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