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Lakers Roundtable: L.A. Times' Mark Medina and the Columbian's Matt Calkins discuss Lakers-Portland game and possible playoff matchup

With the Lakers entering Friday's game against Portland on a three-game losing streak that's mostly pointed to a disinterest in the regular season, both the defending champions and their fans are surely hoping they can just fast forward to the playoffs.

There's another reason why they should be hoping time accelerates to April 17, the first day of the postseason. Should the Lakers and Blazers meet up in the first round of the playoffs, the Columbian's Matt Calkins and I will treat fans at The Times' Lakers blog to plenty of preview analysis, including segments that consist of us of rapping about the teams. But that will have to hold off for now.

Among the highlights of my interview with Calkins:

-- He reacts to Magic Johnson's suggestion that Portland would be the Lakers' toughest possible first-round opponent because of the "hate factor."

-- Calkins, a native Angeleno and former writer at the Riverside Press-Enterprise, shares what the Blazers and their fans dislike most about the Lakers.

-- Calkins extrapolates on why Portland has little chance of upsetting the Lakers in a first-round matchup and why playing Dallas would be a better draw.

-- Calkins provides a medical update on Marcus Camby (strained neck) and explains Brandon Roy's inconsistency.

-- Calkins doesn't believe Kobe Bryant when he says regular-season matchups against possible playoff opponents are measuring-stick games.

You can follow more of Calkins' work at the Columbian's website and on Twitter.

--Mark Medina

mgmedin@gmail.com

 
Comments () | Archives (34)

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this was written:

Every time the Lakers lose it is so easy to pin point the root cause which is so fundamental:

"I like to see everybody involved in the game," Jackson said. "I've tried to preach as a basketball coach, even though we have a guy that dominates the ball in Kobe, basketball is not a one on one game — it's a team game."

So here we go into the fourth quarter of a game with almost 20 lead changes. It's tied, and Bryant is about to go one-on-one with the Heat. Can't wait to read Jackson's next book.

my response:

http://vanhoozer.blogs.com/my_weblog/2010/04/activate.html

snippet:

“Activate Kobe! You gotta activate the ball!”

I was watching the Lakers play the Spurs the other night and heard Coach Phil Jackson communicate the challenge above to Kobe Bryant during a timeout. In this moment, he was telling Kobe that he had been trying too hard to pass it to his teammates, and he needed to go back to being active, not passive. Kobe became the aggressor in the next 3 possessions and made three incredible shots as well as a great pass to teammate Pau Gasol as Kobe drew the defense to him leaving Gasol open for a dunk.

snippet:

The best leaders are activators. They are active in the lives of other people and communicate belief and trust in the talent and potential of the people around them. Activators grow their talent by sharing wisdom and lessons learned to help expedite the learning curve. They also “activate the ball;” simply put, they strive to be their best every day and in so doing, they inspire others to be their best as well. Activators understand the world around them, and they seek opportunities to positively impact people at home, at work, and in their community. They effectively balance “scoring” when they need to and “passing off to a teammate” when necessary.
--------

Next Hater being served ......

note:

this was written: So here we go into the fourth quarter of a game with almost 20 lead changes. It's tied, and Bryant is about to go one-on-one with the Heat. Can't wait to read Jackson's next book.

question: Why were there almost 20 lead changes?

For those who likes to bring up last year's result, you conveniently forget how L-U-C-K-Y the Lakers were in winning it all. If not for a couple of "miracle" game winners by Gasol and Artest they wouldn't have made it to the Final. If not for Perkins suddenly got injured and Artest got "miraculously" great for that one game 7, it could have been an entirely different story.

And for those who likes to compare this year's run to last year's result, you must have never heard of the oft-used disclaimer "past history does NOT guarantee future result"

Last year's team might have its ups and downs but it was legitimate ups and downs due to lack of Andrew Bynum.

This year the team was projected before the season started to have a chance to break the Bulls record. Even when the season got started everybody thought 60+ wins would be easy cakewalk!

Forget about how talented and superior this Lakers team is, it doesn't matter squat if they are NOT motivated and willing to focus.

This year Lakers have demonstrated a LOT of BAD HABBITS in spite of their championship potential.

They are setting themselves and us fans for a possible very SOUR ending! BE FOREWARNED!

Chicken Littles ummm Tastey

an interesting article about the bulls & celtics.

http://bleacherreport.com/tb/b8Rrm

snippet:
The Bulls delivered a clinic to the Celtics, a 97-81 beat-down born out of the relentless and rigid defense, hellacious rebounding and the sheer greatness of Rose. His genius went so far beyond the 30 points and eight assists, beyond his blurring drives past Rajon Rondo(notes) and double-clutch finishes at the rim. His genius comes in the details of how he leads, how he practices, how he conducts himself as a franchise player when everyone’s watching – and maybe most importantly – when no one’s watching him.

snippet:

Within the Bulls’ locker room, they will privately tell you: The belief changed when the Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins(notes) to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green(notes) and Nenad Krstic(notes). Teammates remembered Rose’s vibe transforming the room, resonating with everyone. They have such great respect for the Celtics and learned so much from losing to them in the playoffs two years ago. The Bulls suspected they had completely closed the gap on Boston, but word of the Perkins trade ran through the room like a live wire on Feb. 24.

Buddha once said, "I am the miracle."

I would say...."The Lakers ARE the miracle."

There is another one..."History repeat itself."

@KOBEMVP888 ... “All ‘messages’ will be long forgotten by tip-off for Round 1, Game 1 of the playoffs for ALL teams!”
...
We will have to agree to disagree on this one, Kenny. There is no way that you can convince me that dominating the Blazers, Thunder, and Spurs in the next three games won’t mess badly with the minds of the players on those team, especially the individuals who got dominated. You know they are going to be going all out to send a message to the Lakers that they can beat them. You don’t want to give your opponents any hope or belief that they can stay with you in the playoffs.
...
Basketball is all about matchups and players’ confidence can soar or dive depending upon the matchups. I think Phil and Kobe and the Lakers realize and respect this and will come out tonight loaded for bear. Crush them from start to finish and make them seriously doubt that they can beat us in a series. The next three games can totally undermine and destroy other teams’ confidence.
............................................
TOM

Posted by: LakerTom | April 08, 2011 at 11:55 AM

=====

Whether victories mess with their minds or not is irrelevant. These teams fear the Lakers regardless, but the Lakers don't fear them. Even if they THINK they can beat the Lakers, it doesn't matter. When HEALTHY, only the Lakers can beat the Lakers in a 7 game series! Messing with their minds now makes no difference. Frankly, the Lakers getting blown out would mess with their minds even worse because they would develop a false sense of security and a misguided confidence. Then we'll blow them out in Game 1 (against whomever in whatever round) and they'll be a complete mess!!

Tonight is a MUST win!

Posted by: Magia32 | April 08, 2011 at 12:17 PM
====

This one made me cry, I laughed so hard!

Make no mistake. The NBA post season is War. No team in their right mind wants to face the Lakers in the post season. This has nothing to do with a "switch." It's about winning a championship.

"Now in order to kill the enemy, our men must be roused to anger; that there may be advantage from defeating the enemy, they must have their rewards."
Sun Tzu - Art of War

"Everything about the Lakers is geared toward winning playoff games. It's what they do." J.A. Adande


"Even when we didn’t make the playoffs, I thought we'd win the championship." Dr. Buss


"...they're shaking like virgins on prom night... Faithdalakerfan


Go Lakers & In Buss We Trust!!

@MM - Good piece on Lamar and Khloe. Also enjoyed the roundtable with you and Matt. Funny stuff when he asked you how you got Magic to open up, and him saying he'd take the Lakers not just on paper, but on any type of fabric/material. I’ll have to borrow that line.


@Jefe - Peter Tosh dangerous indeed!

@Triangulator - Jamming with JJ...smooth!

@Lew - what you got 2day?

MVP - Agree at 3:05 and 3:07.

@hobbit – You’re handling your bizness on all the Kobe battles as usual. I would love it if you could pump up Kobe with trashing his mates….but that’s me. Anyway I thought you’d like this article in Slam where Horry gave big props to Kobe…

Excerpt 1

SLAM: You played with some great players in Olajuwon, Duncan, Kobe and Shaq. Who was the best you played with?

RH: The best player as far as straight out talent was Hakeem Olajuwon. He was just very talented for a guy his size. But as far as straight work ethic, the guy that you knew was going to bring it every night was Kobe. He was probably one of the smartest guys you’d ever get to play with.

Excerpt 2

SLAM: Finally, Kobe’s effectiveness at the end of games has been discussed recently, with some saying he’s not particularly clutch. Where do you stand?

RH: People don’t know what they are talking about. He’s a very good player, he’s the smartest player and he makes people around him better. You talk to true basketball aficionados and they’ll tell you, the best players are those that make the players around them better.


http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2011/04/robert-horry-q-a/

Winning or losing these games won't make or break the season but there's no reason to allow these teams that confidence. If the Lakers aren't planning on taking these games seriously, they should sit the starters out so those teams know they didn't accomplish anything with a win.

Posted by: Bay to LA | April 08, 2011 at 12:03 PM
======

Whatever. The Lakers know what they can do. If you want to want to get into all this psycho-babble that's up to you. None of us know what is going on behind the scenes in terms of "whether the Lakers aren't planning on taking these games seriously." That's ALL up to Phil Jackson and his players. They are healthier and even more experienced than last year, so I have complete confidence in this team regardless of what happens between now and the end of the 82-game mess.

They also “activate the ball;” simply put, they strive to be their best every day and in so doing, they inspire others to be their best as well. Activators understand the world around them, and they seek opportunities to positively impact people at home, at work, and in their community. They effectively balance “scoring” when they need to and “passing off to a teammate” when necessary.
Posted by: hobbitmage | April 08, 2011 at 02:16 PM

agree as a ball hog they do "activate the ball" a great deal and most of the time get so wrapped in their personal limelight that they forget that they have team mates to help. Yeah, they are so great that their presence dwarfs their team mates existence because they are not worthy. Impact the community, really? I, I, I and me me me is synonymous with "activator of the ball"


LRob - I having a day from hell...it couldn't go any worse, unless of course the Lakers lose this meaningless game tonight...Just explaining my selection...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2W2rD1oUWWk

On another note: There is a Tiger on the prowl...

Tiger Woods currently on the 17th hole is now at -6, only four behind the leader...He started the day at -1, so he is having a hell of a round...Lakers have Tiger blood in them...lol

Go Tiger!
Go Lakers!

Posted by: LEWSTRS | April 08, 2011 at 02:58 PM

Thank you for the info. One quick question what is a 15 and 30 yr fixed interest at?

Bad news for all those hoping Phil's replacement is.....

a) Jerry Sloan
b) Coach K
b) Any coach that doesn't run the triangle
c) Any coach not already associated with the Lakers


http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=mc-spears_kobe_endorses_shaw_as_lakers_coach_040811

Lew - Hope your day gets better bruh...hang in there!

Posted by: LEWSTRS | April 08, 2011 at 02:58 PM

Thank you for the info. One quick question what is a 15 and 30 yr fixed interest at?

Posted by: Norcal | April 08, 2011 at 03:55 PM

---------

30 yr fixed Conv - 5%
15 yr fixed /Conv - 4.75%

*Give or take .2% depending on FICO, primary residence, reserves, etc. etc...

LRob - thanks on the Shaw piece...I have no problem with Shaw as coach...but we will have to endure the 'no speedy point guard' and the 'triangle sucks' posts for a whole season again...LMAO...

ALL championships involve luck. ALL of them....

the last couple of games, the Lakers have played like a veteran team that knows the playoffs are coming and don't want to get hurt(Pau)...

Posted by: mud | April 08, 2011 at 03:58 PM

Well like the Lakers, Tiger is in a great position going into the weekend at this years Masters...

Started way below the leader board at -1, Tiger strung a bunch of birdies in the back 9 and clawed his way back to third place with a 66 today and a total of -7 for 36 holes...

Like the Lakers, he is positioned in the perfect place, and a great oppurtunity for another Major in his trophy case, and that much closer to passing the great Jack Nicklaus who has 18 Majors total...

Very ironic, especially the numbers involved, Tiger chasing Nicklaus...like the Lakers need 18 to pass the Chowds for most ever championships...

Finally a fun rooting experience for me, today! Go Tiger!!!

I don't think anyone on that team will publicly say they do not endorse any of the assistants on the squad right now. Here's Kobe's disclaimer in that same article:

“I don’t want to get in the way of management. But we’ve all kind of had our eye on him for a while.”

The only way Shaw has a chance of coaching this team is if they win the championship, so congratulations Brian!

"Everything about the Lakers is geared toward winning playoff games. It's what they do." J.A. Adande


"Even when we didn’t make the playoffs, I thought we'd win the championship." Dr. Buss


"...they're shaking like virgins on prom night... Faithdalakerfan


Go Lakers & In Buss We Trust!!


The talk of who will replace Phil is SO premature...

The question should be, what other tricks does the Zen Master have in his sleeve for this years playoffs, and what adjustments and new schemes he will make for the playoffs...

I for one can't wait to see his shorten rotations, and how much offense he will expect from AB...

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation...

#17 Coming Up...

Lew - Hope your day gets better bruh...hang in there!

Posted by: LRob | April 08, 2011 at 04:01 PM

-------

Thanks my brother...it already has with that post....

But what did you think of my selection...don't know much about this band...

Magic Johnson is the EF Hutton of NBA, when he speaks we listen!!

agree as a ball hog they do "activate the ball" a great deal and most of the time get so wrapped in their personal limelight that they forget that they have team mates to help. Yeah, they are so great that their presence dwarfs their team mates existence because they are not worthy. Impact the community, really? I, I, I and me me me is synonymous with "activator of the ball"


Posted by: Norcal | April 08, 2011 at 03:38 PM

And *THAT* why MJ shot the ball 35 times w/ 1 assist while playing w/
Scottie Pippen & Steve Kerr. Oh. & went to the NBA finals 6 times. Oh. &
won the NBA finals 6 times.

Here's a quick one: Name 3 players, currently playing in the NBA, who
have been to the NBA finals 7 times.

Posted by: hobbitmage | April 08, 2011 at 05:19 PM

scratching my head, let me think. Kobe, Kobe & Kobe. the greatest?

@hobbitmage and Norcal,

How about Kobe, DFish and Shaq each with 7 NBA Finals appearances?

Haha thanks everyone on the feedback on the Lamar piece. Doing the roundtable with Calkins was fun too! Just a reminder - I'm planning to do a sitdown interview tomorrow w/ Matt Barnes where I'll be asking 10 of the best fan questions. Send me some and I may mention it

Dan Loumena,

I think you are correct. Now 2 out of those 3 were/are considered to be
ball hogs. I believe that Robert Horry actually referred to them as the two
biggest ball hogs he'd ever played w/.

Here's the fascinating thing: In a league which consists of such tremendous
talent as:

Tim Duncan, Shaq, KG, J-Kidd, D-Wade, LBJ, Brandon Roy, Ginobli,
etc ...

The ballhogs have actually one the most rings. No, D-Fish is not a ballhog.
However, don't you find it interesting that it is a non-allstar who has paired
w/ Kobe for 7 championship runs. [ only got 5 ]

Hold on. Kobe got D-Fish a ring, so D-Fish has one more ring than arguably
one of the greatest centers of all time. The most domiant, blah blah blah.

& D-Fish, who stinks per S. Perkins, has more rings than Shaq.

credited *who* for staying w/ the Lakers?

Now, if I've got this right ... ballhog == championship for LA?

Where do I sign up?

MM - my question to Matt Barnes...

Have you and Kobe ever discussed the ball fake to the head incident, since you became a Laker?

LEWSTRS


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