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Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

Category: Josh McRoberts

Five things to take from Lakers' 93-89 win in Denver

Lakers31. An important road win against a conference playoff contender. Let's start with the biggest positive of the night: a quality win on the road against a conference opponent. So it wasn't pretty, but the Lakers still went on the road to beat the Nuggets, 93-89. When they want to know whether you won or lost, they ask how many, not how well you played. The Nuggets (15-8) have proven to be a formidable opponent since the departure of Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks as well as Kenyon Martin (now of the Clippers) and J.R. Smith to China. Just as impressive, the Lakers (14-9) overcame some controversial calls, or non-calls, to earn the victory and move up in the Western Conference standings.

2. Broken record: The Lakers need to execute better on offense. Once again, the Lakers continued to have breakdowns in running their offensive sets, often resulting in poor-quality possessions that ended with rushed shots at the end of the 24-second clock. And with Andrew Bynum running hot, how can he end the game with only 13 shots? The Lakers continually failed to get him the ball when he had great post position. A couple of scenarios in the game included the Lakers' two most veteran players -- guards Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant -- failing to get Bynum the ball when he had established himself on the block. Bryant ended up driving wildly into the lane and hoisting an off-balance shot on more than one occasion.

3. Broken record II: The Lakers need to improve their transition defense. Too many times the Nuggets were able to get down the court for easy layups. And that included big men Nene and Timofey Mozgov as well as the speedy Ty Lawson and other perimeter players. The Nuggets are primarily a young and athletic team, and they're not the only one in the West that will torch teams in transition if defenses aren't paying attention. Think Thunder, Clippers, Blazers, Jazz, Warriors, etc.

PHOTOS: Lakers vs. Nuggets

4. Broken record III: Kobe Bryant needs to know when to defer to the big men. Bynum made 10 of 13 shots for 22 points while collecting 10 rebounds and Pau Gasol was five of 10 from the field for 13 points while pulling down 17 rebounds. It became obvious as the game unfolded that the Lakers had the advantage on the front line. When your two big men are shooting better than 65% combined, they need to take more than 23 shots in the game.

5. Andrew Goudelock continues to impress. The rookie guard made six of 10 shots, including one of three from three-point range, for 13 points, his fourth double-digit effort in the last five games. When Steve Blake returns to the lineup, the Lakers' backcourt will have more weapons and depth, plus the ability to give more rest to Fisher and Bryant.

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--Dan Loumena

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives the baseline for a reverse layup in front of the rim against the Nuggets in the second half Friday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Credit: Jack Dempsey / Associated Press

Lakers reportedly interested in Ramon Sessions

The Times' Mike Bresnahan explains why the Lakers struggle against the Charlotte Bobcats--Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Lakers remain interested in acquiring Cleveland point guard Ramon Sessions.

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan explains why the Lakers struggle against the Charlotte Bobcats.

--The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell reports that Gerald Henderson, D.J. White and newcomer Reggie Williams will play Tuesday against the Lakers.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding argues that Metta World Peace's move to the starting lineup is a good idea.

--Fox Sports lists Lakers forward Josh McRoberts as one of the 10 best NBA enforcers.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky argues that the Lakers shouldn't pursue free-agent guard Gilbert Arenas.

--Hoops Hype's Roland Lazenby wonders if Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak will stay.

--Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe remains concerned about Kobe Bryant's minutes.

--The Daily News' Elliot Teaford focuses on the Lakers' struggles against Charlotte.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell talks to trainer Gary Vitti about various team injuries.

--Silver Screen and Roll's Actuarially Sound wonders why the Lakers have struggled with rebounding.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano wonders why the Lakers aren't lowering Bryant's minutes.

--Lakers Nation's Nadya Avakian says Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are key to solving the Lakers' consistency issues.

--Laker Nation's David Brickley, Jason Riley and Kevin Figgers debate numerous Laker topics.

Radio interview

I talk all things Lakers with ESPN Radio 1430's Guy Haberman in the audio file below.

Mark Medina on ESPN Radio

Tweet of the Day: "The @blakegriffin dunk tonight over Perkins made me realize that he's one of the best in-game dunkers in @NBA history." -- MagicJohnson (Lakers legend Magic Johnson) 

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "I can see Sessions. But I was under the impression that the Lamar exemption was to be used in trades for major new talent. If Ramon Sessions is the difference between a ring or the lottery this season, sure, trade exemption well spent. I think people in the Arenas camp weren't so much in love with Arenas as they were with the 'can get for vet minimum' factor. If we are blowing the trade exemption on stuff like Sessions, I would propose that we are better off saving the money, or blowing it on somebody who we can trade for a draft pick.

I appreciate hearing about stuff like how Sessions or other players would contribute, but please. At least acknowledge that the two aren't entirely comparable. I don't say this as someone who wants us to get Arenas, at least at the expense of somebody else. I say this as someone who thinks the two aren't mutually exlusive, and frankly they might both be a bad idea, but.... I mean, you ignore the fact that we could get Arenas AND Sessions with practically the same expense." -- Phred Phredphredington

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Gerald Henderson and the Charlotte Bobcats have given Kobe Bryant and the Lakers fits, not to mention a losing record, recently. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Kobe Bryant watching Josh McRoberts: 'Wow, the game is changing'

In some ways, Lakers forward Josh McRoberts is having a difficult time adjusting to Los Angeles.

Immediately after walking into a Costco on a recent Saturday, the Indiana transplant ditched his shopping cart and fled to his car. The 6-foot-10, 240-pound power forward was intimidated by the throngs of people buzzing around in an aisle.

In other ways, McRoberts seems right at home.

Because of his love for high socks, he's drawing comparisons to former Laker Michael Cooper. Lakers announcer Bill Macdonald even called him "The white Coop" at a recent event at Staples Center.

He's also drawing comparisons to Kurt Rambis, which McRoberts said is a "good" nickname.

"At least people can say it around my grandmother and she won't get too upset," said McRoberts, who acknowledged he's been called much worse names but declined to divulge specifics.

McRoberts is averaging 3.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in 19.5 minutes with the Lakers this season but perhaps is best known for his jumping ability.

McRoberts reportedly has the highest vertical leap on the team.

That stat has even given Kobe Bryant some pause.

After watching a video clip of McRoberts jamming a reverse dunk off an alley-oop from Metta World Peace against Dallas, Lakers Coach Mike Brown said that Bryant turned to the team and said, '"Wow, the game is changing.

"I've never seen a black guy throw an alley-oop to a white guy before.'"

-- Melissa Rohlin

Five things to watch in Lakers-Pacers matchup

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Some things to keep an eye on when the Lakers (10-7) return to Staples Center on Sunday and host the Indiana Pacers (10-4).

1. Can the Lakers bounce back at home? The disparity between the Lakers' home record (9-1) and road record (1-6) remains staggering. The difference between home and road games points to a number of areas. That includes points per game (93.8 at home, 89.7 on the road), shooting percentage (47.1%, 42.4%) and rebounds (46, 43.4). Individually the home-road disparity points mostly to Lakers center Andrew Bynum (16.9 points and 14.3 rebounds per game at home, 14.7 points and 12.8 rebounds per game on the road).

The Lakers mostly pointed to their opponents for the poor road record, which included losses to the Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, all playoff-contending teams. But the team also acknowledged the energy at Staples Center giving them an extra boost. After losing a back-to-back at Miami and Orlando, it will be interesting to see to what degree the home crowd will help improve the Lakers' play.

2. The Lakers will face a tough test on offense. This points to the Lakers' most pressing need. But they can't expect to fill it right away for reasons going beyond the team's own personnel. Indiana boasts the third-best defense in the league, holding teams to 89.9 points per game and a league-best 40.1% shooting. Meanwhile, the Lakers have scored fewer than 100 points for nine consecutive games, have remained second to last in the NBA from three-point range (25.7%) and have shot 45.1% overall. It's critical the Lakers remain patient, while adopting the five ways proposed earlier on how to fix their offensive struggles.  

3. The Lakers may have to win with defense. That's become their calling-card all season, and it's probable they'll have to rely on that to secure a win against Indiana. That's because the Lakers have limited teams to 90.06 points per game (fifth in NBA) on 41.1% shooting (third best). Meanwhile, the Pacers have also struggled offensively, ranking 18th overall in points per game (92.9) and 26th in shooting percentage (41.5%). Perhaps that zone defense Lakers Coach Mike Brown has occasionally used will become useful against Indiana. After all, it worked for Sacramento.

 

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Josh McRoberts holds mixed feelings about Indiana

His roots back to the Indiana Pacers almost seem like a distant memory.

Josh McRoberts hasn't had a chance to follow his former team, only recently having cable TV service installed in his South Bay apartment. He's only kept in touch with A.J. Price from time to time. And of course, McRoberts has slowly but surely learned the confines of Los Angeles.

He's embraced the warm weather, hates the traffic and limited his lifestyle strictly to Lakers basketball.

There's no doubt, though, that McRoberts sees the Lakers' (10-6) game Sunday against the Pacers at Staples Center a tad differently.

"It'll be fun," McRoberts said after the Lakers' practice Saturday at the team's facility in El Segundo. "I want to beat them. I want to beat everybody. But I definitely want to beat them."  

That's because McRoberts views his 2½-year stint at Indiana with mixed feelings. He said it was a "dream come true" to play in his home state and relishes his best NBA season last year, when he averaged 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 22.2 minutes. But he remains hurt at the Pacers' attempt to trade him for Memphis guard O.J. Mayo and Indiana's apparent unkept promise to re-sign him when he became a free agent.

"They tried trading me at the deadline and they didn't get it done," McRoberts said. "They told me they were going to try to bring me back this summer, but they didn't call and try to bring me back. It ended in a bad way, in my opinion, but I'll always be thankful for the way it started and the time that I spent there." 

Still, McRoberts maintained he "doesn't hold any grudges" and is happy with how everything turned out. He signed with the Lakers to a two-year, $6.1-million deal and has averaged 4.0 points on 54.5% shooting and 4.4 rebounds in 19.5 minutes, adding instant energy to the Lakers' bench. And the team has immediately embraced him. 

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Jason Kapono's wife gives birth to twins [Video]

Jason Kapono's wife gave birth to twin girls, Campbell and Isla, on Tuesday.

Andrew Goudelock said in the locker room before the Lakers' game with Phoenix on Tuesday night that he could only imagine the excitement and happiness that his teammate must be feeling.

"I'm happy for him," Goudelock said. "I mean, it's a big thing in his life, so I know he's ecstatic right now."

Darius Morris said that Kapono was so excited for the arrival of his daughters that he bought them matching outfits during a road trip in Portland.

Josh McRoberts added that Kapono would ask his teammates for parenting advice in the locker room.

Kapono was excused from the game against Phoenix, a 99-83 win for the Lakers. He is expected to play against Utah on Wednesday -- with a couple more fans watching from a distance.

-- Melissa Rohlin

Kobe Bryant practices; Josh McRoberts remains sidelined

Kobe Bryant

In yet another sign that any pain from the torn ligament in his right wrist won't deter him from playing, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant participated in almost a full practice Monday and will surely play in Tuesday's game against the Phoenix Suns.

In yet another sign that the pain in his sprained left big toe has not subsided, Lakers forward Josh McRoberts sat out Monday's practice and will remained sidelined against Phoenix. That will mark the fifth consecutive game he will miss because of his injury.

The lone exception in Bryant's practice activity involved team shooting drills that were open to the media. He skipped those, and received treatment to numb pain surrounding his right wrist.

"He looked good," Lakers Coach Mike Brown said of Bryant.

McRoberts dressed in practice gear and was on the court during the shooting drills, but he didn't partake in them. Although the Lakers have officially listed him as day-to-day, McRoberts said prior to the Lakers' 90-82 victory Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies that he expected to return at least by the end of the week. Still, it remains to be seen whether he will return either Wednesday at Utah, Friday against Cleveland or Saturday against the Clippers.

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--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Josh McRoberts expects to return within the week

Although the Lakers have officially listed him as day-to-day, reserve forward Josh McRoberts said he expects it will be the end of the week before the sprained big toe in his left foot will fully heal.

He will remain sidelined tonight when the Lakers host the Memphis Grizzlies, the fourth consecutive game he will miss because of the injury. The Lakers play Tuesday against Phoenix, Wednesday at Utah, Friday against Cleveland and Saturday against the Clippers.

"I've always been banged up because of the style of play that I have," McRoberts said. "This is killing me to sit out."

McRoberts said he senses he's made progress. Although he's sat out of practices since Monday, McRoberts said the Lakers' training staff has cleared him to perform cardio exercises, including daily runs on an elliptical machine. He also views practice and film sessions.

McRoberts still wears tape on his left foot and receives unspecified treatment daily to nullify the pain. An MRI exam and CT scan last Tuesday did not show any fractures.

"The way I play the game is running and jumping," McRoberts said. "When I can barely dunk and barely move, I'm not helping as much."

Meanwhile, the Lakers' reserve unit has hardly excelled during McRoberts' absence even as the team  won two of the three games he'd missed before Sunday. 

They miss McRoberts' 5.7 points a game, 53.8% shooting and 5.7 rebounds through hustle plays. The bench has been outscored by opponents' reserves, 83-52. And Coach Mike Brown argues the team's transition defense has suffered.

"When you have a guy like that at that size who's athletic, he's missed," Brown said. "It's part of the process. He'll come back when he can and I'm sure he'll help us out when he comes back on the floor."

McRoberts said he and the Lakers' training staff are remaining patient with the process.

"I have to be effective," McRoberts said. "At this point, I missed some time and you don't want to go back where it sets you back another two months. We're close to getting it completely healthy so we may as well take the time now so it's not a recurring thing."

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--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Josh McRoberts to miss Lakers-Grizzlies game

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The sprained big toe on his left foot will keep Lakers forward Josh McRoberts sidelined for the fourth consecutive game Sunday when the Lakers host the Memphis Grizzlies.

McRoberts sat out of Saturday's practice and was dressed in street clothes.

Meanwhile, Brown said Kobe Bryant "practiced in most of the practice," though he stayed out of unspecified drills to treat the torn ligament in his right wrist.

McRoberts suffered his injury in the Lakers' game against Sacramento on Dec. 26, but he managed to play through it. After discovering the toe hadn't healed, the training staff encouraged him to sit out Monday's practice and Tuesday's game against Houston. An MRI exam and CT scan Tuesday did not show any fractures.

Since signing with the Lakers at the minimum mid-level exception, McRoberts has made an immediate impact. He started at power forward while Pau Gasol moved to center to replace Andrew Bynum, who served a four-game suspension connected to his forearm shove on Dallas guard J.J. Barea in the 2011 playoffs.

McRoberts' 5.7 points a game on 53.8% shooting and 5.7 rebounds often came via hustle plays. And he often played among the Lakers' starters as well as reserve unit. 

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--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Josh McRoberts 'doubtful' for Lakers-Warriors game

It's likely that Lakers forward Josh McRoberts will remain sidelined for a third consecutive game because of the sprained big toe on his left foot. Lakers spokesman John Blacks said McRoberts is considered "doubtful" for the team's contest Friday against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.

In their 107-96 loss Thursday at Portland, the Lakers saw firsthand how much they miss McRoberts' on-court energy. L.A.'s reserves scored only 14 points on five-of-24 shooting, a far cry from the 24 points Portland's bench provided. McRoberts' 5.7-points-per-game average on 53.8% shooting and 5.7 rebounds often come through hustle play, and the Lakers severely lacked that when Portland scored 32 points in the third quarter, with Troy Murphy assuming heavier minutes.

McRoberts suffered his injury last week in the Lakers' game against Sacramento on Dec. 26, but he managed to play through it. After discovering the toe hadn't healed, the training staff encouraged him to sit out Monday's practice and Tuesday's game against Houston. An MRI exam and CT scan Tuesday did not show any fractures, but Coach Mike Brown told reporters in Portland, including ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin, that he doesn't want McRoberts to rush his return.

"I'm not going to risk hurting Josh more and try to throw him in the game," Brown said. "Obviously we miss him. We miss his energy, we miss his hustle, his ability to rebound and defend and stuff like that, but I'm not going to throw him out there if I don't think he's ready." 

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-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

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