Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

Category: Blog News

Caught in the Web: Detailing how the Lakers are shaping up in training camp

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--The Times' Broderick Turner explains how Lakers forward Lamar Odom is the team's handy man.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding has the details on the Lakers' trip to London and Barcelona.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky sticks up for Andrew Bynum.

--NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper argues that Bynum should have undergone surgery earlier.

--Ball Don't Lie's Trey Kerby takes a look at Sasha Vujacic's denim line.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin explains how Vujacic has looked good in training camp thus far.

--The Orange County Register's Jeff Miller looks at how Derrick Caracter is fitting in with the Lakers.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford sizes up how Vujacic will fit in the rotation.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell explains why Phil Jackson would like to have longer practices.

--Silver Screen and Roll's Gil Meriken breaks down Theo Ratliff's game.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano argues that the Lakers will be able to absorb Bynum's absence.

--Lakers of Fire's Garrett Wilson explains what Ratliff could provide in Bynum's absence.

Tweet of the Day: "S.Blake and D.Ebanks dived to the floor to wrestle for a loose ball today. Two hungry players looking for 1st ring, helping team get 3rd" -- mcten (ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin)

Reader Comment of the Day: "You always need a Sasha in your team, when things are not going right, an opposing player is dominating the game, here comes Sasha. He will change the dynamics of the evening with his irritating body contact on your face, it's sort of annoyance and when he is called foul, he will give an innocent face: "what me?.'" -- Edwin Gueco

-- Mark Medina
Twitter.com/latmedina

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

Photo: Kobe Bryant flips a basketball behind his back as he is videotaped during Lakers media day at the Toyota Sports Center on Saturday. Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times

Caught in the Web: Pau Gasol travels to India as an NBA ambassador

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--The Times' Mike Bresnahan details how Pau Gasol is taking it easy this summer.

--L.A. Times Dodgers blogger Steve Dilbeck argues that Frank McCourt could learn a thing or two from Jerry Buss.

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr highlights Buss' career in a photo slide show.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky breaks down what Theo Ratliff can bring to the Lakers next season.

--Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum had a roundtable discussion with the 1992 Dream Team.

--Fox Sports' Charley Rosen ranks Phil Jackson as the NBA's best coach of all time.

--Lakers forward Devin Ebanks had fun during his Rookie Photo Shoot in Tarrytown, N.Y.

--The USA Basketball website has Q&As with the team, including Lamar Odom.

--Lakers.com has more on Gasol's visit to India.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano analyzes Buss' recent news conference.

--Silver Screen and Roll's DexterFishmore lists the greatest Lakers of all time by jersey number.

Tweet of the Day: "Sum1 told me I have an attractive smile. What u think? Lol" -- DevinEbanks3  (Lakers forward Devin Ebanks)

Reader Comment of the Day: "I don't hate to admit it at all. We needed this. Well, we didn't really need it, but it sure helps give that extra little motivation to keep our eye on the prize. Are we going to let Shaq tie Kobe in rings while wearing a ... Celtics uniform? HELL NO!!!! Are we going to let the Miami Meat and LeCreep get a ring after the sickening narcissism of "The Decision?" HELL NO!!! No way. No how." -- Jon K.

-- Mark Medina
 twitter.com/latmedina.

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

Photo: Pau Gasol acknowledges the crowd during the team's NBA championship parade in Los Angeles on June 21. Credit: Noel Vasquez / Getty Images

Fill out your L.A. Times Lakers blog profile

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You guys have wondered what to do with your time until the 2010-2011 season starts. You survived July after speculating about what trades or acquisitions the Lakers might make. You tolerated the early part of August after the Lakers' upcoming schedule was released. And you managed to get past last week while viewing Jerry Buss' Hall of Fame induction speech.

Now you're left wondering what's left to do, besides rewatching Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals for the millionth time. Well, I've just found your fix. A few weeks ago, I met with the Los Angeles Times blog editor, Tony Pierce, and he came up with an excellent idea that should keep fans of The Times' Lakers blog entertained: Fill out your L.A. Times Lakers blog profile. Here's how it will work. Starting next week, I will post a profile of one our esteemed readers of the Lakers blog. I plan to post these during the weekends, when news is usually rather scarce, but I will adjust the timing once the season starts and build it around the Lakers' schedule. (As a quick aside, your enthusiasm for this blog can't be overstated. I've been told by Pierce that the Lakers blog recorded the second-highest traffic numbers in July, trailing only L.A. Now).

Here's how to get started: Fill out the following template and e-mail it to me at mgmedin@gmail.com. All of these questions are entirely optional, so don't fill out any questions you don't feel comfortable answering. You can also add questions and answers on your own. Whether you're an old-timer here or you just started reading the blog last week, you are encouraged to fill out a profile. Bottom line, this is meant to bring a strong community even closer together, so have fun with it.

Below is the template:

Screen name:

Real name: (with mug shot optional)

Occupation:

Age:

Gender:

Hometown:

Story behind your screen name:

How I became a Lakers fan:

Favorite Lakers memory of all time and of the 2009-2010 season:

Most heartbreaking Lakers experience:

Favorite Lakers player:

Greatest all-time Laker:

Last time you went to a game at Staples Center and at the Forum:

Opposing team, player you dislike the most:

Interactions with Lakers players:

Most cherished piece of Lakers memorabilia I have:

Memorable stories about being a Lakers fan:

Again, this is just a rough template, and you are free come up with any questions and answers you want. The only thing I will edit is to fix any grammar/spelling mistakes. Please refrain from any profanity and inappropriate answers. Instead of filling out answers in the comments section below, please e-mail me responses to this template at mgmedin@gmail.com, so I can feature them throughout the season. And have fun! Hopefully this will help everyone survive the dog days before the road to three-peat begins.

-- Mark Medina
 twitter.com/latmedina

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

Photo: Lakers fans cheer for their team during the championship parade in downtown L.A. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Caught in the Web: Previewing Game 4 of Lakers-Suns series

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Lakers links

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan explains how the Lakers plan to attack the Suns' zone defense.

--The Times' Broderick Turner details the Lakers' second-quarter breakdown in Game 3.

--ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reports that the Chicago Bulls have reached out to Phil Jackson.

--Yahoo! Sports Johnny Ludden believes it's in the Lakers' best interests to rest Andrew Bynum in Game 4.

--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's Matt Calkins discusses why the Lakers plan to play Bynum in Game 4.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding focuses on how the Lakers plan to sharpen their offensive execution.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky discuss the Lakers' Game 3 loss, Amare Stoudemire's improved play, Phoenix's improved defense and a look ahead to Game 3 in their latest podcast.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin credits the Lakers for taking an even-keel approach to the loss.

--The Orange County Register's Jeff Miller highlights Derek Fisher's physical play.

--Fox Sports' Charley Rosen wonders how the Lakers will respond to Phoenix's zone in Game 4.

--Sports Illustrated's Dan Shaughnessy is looking forward to a Lakers-Celtics Finals showdown.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford examines the Lakers' decision not to rest center Bynum in Game 4.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell has a complete practice report from Tuesday's practice.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius documents what mental adjustments the Lakers need to make in Game 4.

--Silver Screen and Roll's DexterFishmore previews Game 4.

Suns links

--The Times' Turner highlights Phoenix's willingness to play zone again in Game 4.

--The Times' Mark Heisler showcases how Stoudemire's inconsistency leaves his future with Phoenix in doubt.

--ESPN.com's J.A. Adande points to the Suns' loose and fun demeanor as a big reason they have stayed in contention with the Lakers.

--The Arizona Republic's Dan Bickley argues that Robin Lopez serves as Phoenix's missing link.

--The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore illustrates how Lopez's contributions caught the Lakers off guard.

--The Arizona Republic's Paul Coro details how the Sun's zone defense caught the Lakers off guard.

--NBA.com's Art Garcia credits the Suns for increasing their intensity in Game 3.

--The Arizona Republic's Doug Haller reports Channing Frye will remain in the Suns' rotation.

--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's Greg Patton argues that it doesn't matter if zone defenses are "manly," so long as they work.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne credits Suns General Manager Steve Kerr for assembling the team's current roster.

--The Daily News' Teaford observes that Phoenix Coach Alvin Gentry became rather defensive about his team's zone defense.

--The Arizona Republic's Bob Young showcases Steve Nash's heavy tolerance for pain.

--Valley of the Suns' Mike Schmitz breaks down the Suns' zone defense.

Radio Interview

I discussed the Lakers' Game 3 loss to Phoenix with Sports Nutz's Mike Pilosof and Michael Gay on Z-92/K-101-FM (based in Woodward, Oklahoma).

Tweet of the Day: "If Phil was to return to Chicago who should coach the Lakers? Kobe player coach" -- Rickafox (Former Laker Rick Fox).

Reader Comment of the Day: "I'm glad Bynum is going to play. The high/low game of his and Pau's will be just the recipe that we need to kill the zone." -- Rocky

-- Mark Medina

twitter.com/latmedina

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

Photo: Suns power forward Amare Stoudemire (background) grabs a rebound from Lakers forwards Lamar Odom (7) and Ron Artest (37) in the first half of Game 3 on Sunday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Caught in the Web: Reactions to Lakers' 104-99 Game 1 victory over Utah Jazz

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Game stories

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan explains why the Lakers' 104-99 Game 1 victory Sunday over the Utah Jazz didn't exactly entail an inspiring performance.

--NBA.com's Bryan Chu details how Kobe Bryant's health has improved.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding highlights Bryant's fourth-quarter effort.

--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's David Lassen details the Lakers' late-game defensive stops.

--The Salt Lake Tribune's Ross Siler explains all that went wrong in Utah's effort against the Lakers.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford notes how the Lakers have often allowed teams to come back after a strong start.

Notebooks

--The Times' Bresnahan reports that Andrew Bynum will play through his latest knee injury, because surgery to repair a slight tear in the anterior horn of cartilage in his right knee would sideline him for four to six weeks.

--The Times' Broderick Turner explains why Utah Coach Jerry Sloan wants the Jazz to toughen up.

--The Times' Turner documents Derek Fisher's improvement.

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr reports that Ron Artest was offended by Deron Williams' suggestion that he's quicker than Artest.

--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's Lassen highlights Fisher's contributions.

--The Salt Lake Tribune's Steve Luhm believes Bryant played Sunday like the league MVP.

--The Daily News' Jill Painter details how Wesley Matthews tried guarding Bryant.

--The Salt Lake Tribune's Siler details Utah's poor start.

--The Daily News' Teaford reports that reserve guard Sasha Vujacic could play at some point in the Jazz series.

Columns

--ESPN.com's J.A. Adande says the Lakers' bench is faltering.

--The Times' Bill Plaschke credits Lamar Odom's fourth-quarter effort.

--The Times' T.J. Simers criticizes the Lakers' underachieving performance against Utah.

--The Times' Mark Heisler details the Lakers' familiarity with Utah.

--The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore focuses on the Lakers' poor bench.

--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's Matt Calkins says the Lakers reserves played so poorly, they should feel fortunate they play in the same facility as the Clippers.

--The Orange County Register's Ding argues that the Lakers need to have better teamwork while Bynum recovers from his injuries.

--NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper explains how Sloan and Lakers Coach Phil Jackson are complete opposites.

--Sports Illustrated's Frank Hughes argues that Bryant is back in full form.

--The Salt Lake Tribune's Kurt Kragthorpe argues that C.J. Miles' missed shot late in the game proved to be a turning point.

--Fox Sports' Mark Kriegel explains why Utah has such a tough time against the Lakers.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi argues that Utah lacks toughness.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin details the Kobe face, and how it might be needed this postseason.

--The Orange County Register's Jeff Miller wasn't impressed with the Lakers' Game 1 victory.

--The Salt Lake Tribune's Gordon Monson believes that toughness is the main ingredient Utah needs to overcome its lack of talent compared with the Lakers.

--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's Gregg Patton argues that the Lakers can't take Utah for granted, even if it's warranted for fans and the media to do so.

--Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears shares his skepticism on Bynum's decision to delay surgery.

Blogs

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky talk about the Lakers' up-and-down performance, with analysis and video.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell credits Bryant and Pau Gasol as the key contributors to the win.

--ProBasketballTalk's Kurt Helin explains why the Lakers' length will continue posing problems for the Jazz.

--Hoopsworld's Eric Pincus has a detailed breakdown of Game 1.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius has seen the Lakers play up-and-down one too many times.

--Silver Screen and Roll's Dexter Fishmore believes there's no use trying to analyze the Lakers' Game 1 victory.

Other Lakers links

--In an interview with the L.A. Times Magazine's Tom Murray, we learn what irritates Bryant the most. It's not questions about his injuries or about LeBron James winning the league MVP award. It's dog feces.

--I also did an a few interviews Sunday night talking about the Lakers. That included one with Fox Sports Radio's Sean Farham and Pooh Richardson (audio file below)

Fox Sports Radio


I also appeared The Point After on WBSU-89.1, based out of Brockport, NY.

WBSU-89.1



Tweet of the Day: "You can't give up that putback to Lamar Odom. You can't let Kobe Bryant drive all the way down the lane for layup." -- tribjazz (Salt Lake Tribune's Utah Jazz beat reporter Ross Siler)

Reader Comment of the Day: "When the Lakers are firing on all cylinders, there's not a team in the league that can stop them. The problem is, they fire on all cylinders so infrequently that we all fear a wasted season. The truth is, the Lakers are their own worst adversary." -- Tim-4-Show

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who scored 13 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, scores on a driving layup down the lane against Utah forwards Carlos Boozer, left, and Paul Millsap with 22 seconds left in the game Sunday. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times.

Caught in the Web: Previewing Game 2 of Lakers-Thunder series

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Lakers links

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan details the Lakers' varied moods after Monday's practice.

--The Times' Mark Heisler expresses concern about Kobe Bryant's assorted injuries.

--The Times' Broderick Turner details the adjustments Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons wants to see the team make in Game 2 against Oklahoma City.

--The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore highlights how Oklahoma City guard and former UCLA standout Russell Westbrook gave the Lakers fits in Game 1.

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr highlights the media circus surrounding the Lakers. She also lays out some possibilities on why Bryant has been struggling lately.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky highlights how Shannon Brown's patience in Game 1 paid off in a few sequences.

--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's David Lassen details the Lakers' struggle in playing a complete game.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Doug Mann does some number crunching from Game 1.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi reports that Lakers froward Ron Artest considers defense to be his drug. It's unlikely in this case the Lakers will stage an intervention and force him into rehab.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin details Bryant's grumpy mood after Monday's practice. To McMenamin's credit, he was the lone reporter to get Bryant to smile after asking him about D.J. Mbenga's glasses.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford has medical updates on Lakers centers Andrew Bynum and D.J. Mbenga.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell catches up Lakers reserve guard Jordan Farmar.

--The Orange County Register's Randy Youngman explains why the first round of the NBA playoffs puts him to sleep.

--Silver Screen and Roll anticipates the necessary Game 2 adjustments.

Thunder links

--The Daily Thunder has a detailed video breakdown on how Artest limited Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant in Game 1.

--Though Durant shot only seven-of-24 in Game 1, his teammates express confidence to The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry that Durant will have a much better outing in Game 2. Mayberry also explains what makes Thunder forward Jeff Green such a versatile defender.

--The Oklahoman's Barry Tramel argues Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook, given his Game 1 success against the Lakers, should try to take over the series.

--Lakers.com has details on Chick Hearn's statue unveiling.

National links

--NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper explains why Durant loves Oklahoma City so much, even if he's not offered a long-term contract.

--NBA Fanhouse's Sam Amick details the difficulties Bryant must overcome with his various injuries.

--ESPN.com's John Hollinger gives his take on what adjustments the Lakers and Thunder need to make in Game 2.

Don't have an insider subscription? No worries. Sports Illustrated's Britt Robson breaks down the adjustments he anticipates in Game 2.

--Sports Illustrated has a nice collection of Bryant pictures from his storied career. My, how much he has grown.

--Fox Sports' Randy Hill wonders whether Durant will bounce back from his poor performance.

Tweet of the Day: "if Kobe isn't looking to dominate - which he shouldn't since the bigs should win this series - he makes Sefolosha a non-factor" -- EricPincus (Hoopsworld's Eric Pincus).

Reader Comment of the Day: "Silence runs deep on the part of Kobe. A man who is injured cannot continue to be a miracle worker. He's there in the court with the guys, I think that is enough courage to be applauded by others. Don't expect too much from Kobe. Help Kobe and Kobe's presence on the court will help everyone get their scores. Without Kobe there, other players will have a hard time get their scores especially Bynum and Gasol because they will surely be doubled and fouled hard until they get hurt. It is the Odom, the Farmar, the Artest, the Brown who should contribute more. Kobe will get his score but he cannot be continue to be the workhorse at this time." -- Edwin Gueco.

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Kobe Bryant goes for a reverse layup after gliding past Thunder center Nick Collison on Sunday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Caught in the Web: Lakers preparing for five-game trip

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Practice reports

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan takes a look at the teams the Lakers will face on their five-game trip.

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr observes Lamar Odom's insistence to fight through his left- shoulder injury and not make excuses about it.

--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's David Lassen documents how the Lakers plan to increase their intensity in the remaining 12 games of the regular season.

--Though Lakers Coach Phil Jackson says the five-game trip won't "make or break" the team's chances of holding the top spot in the West, the Daily News' Elliott Teaford reports that Jackson still expects the team to win all five games. The story also mentions forward Luke Walton is hoping to fully recover from a pinched nerve in his lower back in time for the postseason.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell breaks down some numbers for Wednesday night's game between the Lakers and San Antonio Spurs.

--The Spurs have won 11 of their last 15 games, and the San Antonio Express-News' Mike Monroe deems their matchup with the Lakers will ultimately tell if the team is truly in sync.

More Lakers links

--Still debating whether Trevor Ariza or Ron Artest is a better fit for the Lakers? Well, Artest told The Times' Bill Plaschke, "he's a better player than me," though Plaschke noted his comment "contained some annoyed sarcasm."

--Former Times writer Steve Springer has a revealing Q&A with Lakers owner Jerry Buss.

--The Register's Carr highlights Kobe Bryant's popularity in Turkey.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky provides 20 reasons why Lakers fans should be happy with the season thus far.

--Silver Screen and Roll's Dexter Fishmore previews the Lakers' upcoming trip and further analyzes how San Antonio, Portland and Oklahoma City could be first-round opponents.

--48 Minutes of Hell breaks down Kobe versus LeBron

--Fox Sports' Kelani Simpson explains why a Kobe-LeBron matchup in the Finals must happen.

Tweet of the Day: "Mark Jackson sitting behind me on LAX-SA flight. Safe assumption game on ESPN and he's not going to San Antonio on holiday?" -- KevinDing (Orange County Register Lakers reporter Kevin Ding).

Photo Caption Comment of the Day: "Kobe showing the team what he meant by "use your head." -- puddle

Reader Comment of the Day: "Sometimes, you just have to sit back and smile because Phil comes off just like a dog trainer, doling out carrots or sticks as needed and providing a consistent and nurturing environment for the pups to grow, develop, and bond as a team. While he likes to win every game, Phil’s genius lies in his unique ability to build team play and chemistry where every player knows and executes his role perfectly. This is the road trip when I expect this team to start to display their championship mettle." -- Tom

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com.

Photo: Kobe Bryant takes aim between the Spurs' Keith Bogans and Tony Parker. Credit: Brendan Maloney / US Presswire

Caught in the Web: Lakers in an uncertain phase as regular season winds down

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Lakers sidebars

The Times' Mike Bresnahan analyzes what's made Kobe Bryant such a clutch shooter.

ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin provides some good data showing how Mamba delivers during crunch time.

The Daily News' Elliott Teaford outlines the areas of improvement the Lakers need to make.

Lakers forward Lamar Odom has a Q&A with...himself. Not really, but it's a one-on-one interview on his website. Something tells me booking that wasn't really hard.

Commentary

The Times' Bill Plaschke argues that if the Lakers don't improve their sense of urgency work ethic, they won't repeat as NBA champions.

Dime magazine's Austin Burton tries to answer the seemingly unanswerable question: How do you stop Bryant from hitting a game-winning shot?

True Hoop's Henry Abbott cites lots of numbers showing why that taskis far too difficult.

ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler debates whether or not Bryant is a ballhog. 

Slam Online's Todd Spehr reviews Roland Lazenby's book on Lakers legend Jerry West.

Blogs

The Orange County Register's Janis Carr doesn't like the Lakers' attitude.

ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky analyzes the adjustments the Lakers made in deploying Bryant in the offense.

Tweet of the Day:"I love you. Pass the salt babe." -- RealLamarOdom (Lakers forward Lamar Odom to his wife, Khloe Kardashian.

Reader Comment of the Day:"It's time for Andrew to man up every night. It's time for Pau to stop whining and start TAKING HIS GAME. It's time for Lamar to channel that anger about trash talking to the court. It's time for Ron to remind the NBA why he's Ron. It's time for this team to rise up to the level we know is in them......otherwise, it's a few more weeks of Kobeball before a 2nd round exit." -- utzworld

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Even with the Staples Center crowd going wild, Kobe Bryant plays it cool after hitting his sixth game-winning shot of the season, this one against the Raptors on Tuesday night. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times.

Caught in the Web: Lakers try to move on from loss to Denver Nuggets

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So how to react to the Lakers' 126-113 loss to the Denver Nuggets?

Silver Screen and Roll doesn't want you to panic, but thinks the latest loss raises concerns about Pau Gasol, point guard play, offensive efficiency and Phil Jackson's substitution patterns. Forum Blue and Gold takes a more 'it was them, not us' approach arguing, "when a team that is as explosive as the Nuggets finds their groove the way that they did in the second half, not much is going to knock them off their trajectory." After all, when a player in NBA Jam got on fire, any shot was a good shot.

The Lakers surely would like to hit the reset button. Though they have an immediate chance to turn it around tonight against Portland, a) that doesn't escape the Lakers' latest problems and b) they haven't done exactly done their best at the Rose Garden.

Nonetheless, Jackson says he isn't going to "berate" his team, but ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamanetzky makes a fair observation that Jackson's apparently calm attitude doesn't necessarily reflect the rest of the team's reaction to the loss.

Just look at Bryant's frustration level. Look at Ron Artest nearly considering throwing a punch to Joey Graham. Look at how close the Nuggets (34-16) are to the Lakers (38-13) in the Western Conference standings.

That's why Denver left the win with a soaring amount of confidence. With the Nuggets already beating the Lakers twice in the regular season, Coach George Karl to think his team has a "respectful belief" they could beat the Lakers in a playoff series.

More Lakers links (after the jump)

Continue reading »

Caught in the Web: Lakers inspired by trip to the White House

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Entering Tuesday's game against the Washington Wizards having lost two of their last three road games, the Lakers shared many reasons why their eight-game trip didn't get off to the best of starts.

The Riverside Press Enterprise's Jeff Eisenberg noted that "Kobe Bryant called it a malaise. Lamar Odom blamed it on cockiness. Phil Jackson attributed it to a lack of intensity." For all the reasons that contributed to the Lakers' poor start, there only seemed to be one reason why the Lakers responded with a 115-103 victory Tuesday over the Washington Wizards.

The Lakers played as if inspired after their White House visit Monday with President Obama, who honored the team's 2009 NBA championship season. In addition to giving players a chance to hobnob with the president, the ceremony was a nice way to break up the trip and stirred nostalgia for their championship season. That championship required teamwork, something Jackson also thought was key in Tuesday's victory.

The Lakers' opponents also deserve some credit for their Tuesday win. The Wizards (15-29) are in the midst of a four-game losing streak and are facing all types of drama this season. It's gotten to the point, says the Washington Post's Michael Wilbon, that fans show up at Verizon Center not to see the Wizards but whoever the Wizards are playing. 

Nonetheless, Silver Screen and Roll gives the Lakers credit for at least playing inspired basketball and providing a good blueprint in team balance, with solid production by Bryant, Pau Gasol and the bench.

More Lakers links (after the jump)

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