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Category: Lakers Roundtable

Lakers roundtable: Salt Lake Tribune's Brian T. Smith breaks down Lakers-Jazz matchup

The Utah Jazz's four-game losing streak didn't prompt the Lakers to express plenty of concern. In fact, that convinced many of them that could help spark Utah in ending its 16-game losing streak at Staples Center when the two teams square off Tuesday night. After all, the Lakers had lost to the Jazz on the road, 102-96, earlier in the season and they learned last week that a matchup with the Dallas Mavericks was all they needed to end their six-game losing streak.

Salt Lake Tribune's Jazz beat writer Brian T. Smith, however, believes otherwise.

"This right now is the toughest stretch for the Jazz," Smith argued, "and they're probably playing the Lakers at exactly the worst time."

There are plenty of reasons for that, including Utah's recent struggles, the team's admission that chemistry's been lacking and because the Jazz follows its matchup against the defending champs with a back-to-back against Western Conference leader San Antonio.

"It'll be a very interesting matchup," Smith summed up.

Among the topics of interest regarding the Lakers-Jazz matchup

--What's currently ailing the Jazz

--Why Utah has struggled beating the Lakers at Staples Center.

--Whether Coach Jerry Sloan will continue starting rookie Gordon Haywood in place of Andrei Kirilienko, a lineup shift that happened in Utah's road loss Saturday to Philadelphia.

--Who in the Jazz is worried about in the Western Conference.

You can follow more of Smith's work at the Salt Lake Tribune's website and by following him on Twitter.

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman discusses Carmelo Anthony's future, Lakers-Nuggets matchup

Keeping up with the latest regarding Carmelo Anthony's future with the Denver Nuggets doesn't just entail working the phones and reading the clips. For The Denver Post's Nuggets beat writer, Benjamin Hochman, it also involves clocking in 40-yard dashes that would make Usain Bolt proud. Upon hearing Melo was leaving a morning shootaround through a different exit than he thought, Hochman can been seen in the video above sprinting down the hallway and running a 40-yard sprint in 6.71 seconds.

This led me wondering if Hochman's effort in visiting burger joints in each NBA city has led to a new theory that eating them can lead to better conditioning.

Said Hochman: "Any chance I can get a little exercise, even if it's on the job, I'll take it."

Among the other topics of interest regarding the Lakers-Nuggets game on Friday:

--Why Hochman believes playing for the Nets is still an option for Anthony, despite the contention from New Jersey owner Mikhail Prokhorov that the organization has walked away from a possible deal involving Anthony.

--How both Anthony and Denver point guard Chauncey Billups are handling the possibility of getting traded.

--Why Lakers guard Kobe Bryant argues it's inappropriate for Nuggets fans to boo Anthony.

--Recapping the Lakers' 118-112 loss on Nov. 11 to the Denver Nuggets, and previewing the teams' upcoming matchup on Friday.


You can follow more of Hochman's work at the Denver Post website and by following him on Twitter.

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Lakers Roundtable: L.A. Times' Mark Medina and WGN Radio's Jordan Bernfield break down the Lakers-Bulls matchup

This may be a pointless exercise, considering WGN Radio's Jordan Bernfield can't envision a scenario in which the Chicago Bulls (7-4) can defeat the Lakers (12-2) Tuesday night at Staples Center, given Carlos Boozer's long-term injury (right hand), the possible limitation regarding Taj Gibson (pinched nerve in right foot) and the Lakers' overwhelming talent level. The Lakers say they see it otherwise, with the Bulls -- and the skill-set of Derrick Rose -- being a truer test than all those sub .500 opponents they crushed.

But that's why they play the games, and that's why there's another Lakers roundtable. Among the highlights from my discussion with Bernfield:

--He explains what first-year coach and former Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau has brought to the Bulls.

--He recounts Thibodeu's past history with Kobe Bryant as well as why Thibodeau deems Lamar Odom to be one of the most dominant forwards in the game.

--He explains how Boozer assumed a leadership role despite remaining on the sideline.

--He discusses the Bulls' good start and how they stack up in the Eastern Conference.

In return, I joined Bernfield and Brian Bedo on the "B-Squared Show" on 312 Sports Radio in Chicago.

Mark Medina on B-Squared show on 312 Sports Radio.

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Lakers Roundtable: L.A. Times' Mark Medina with Roland Lazenby on Tex Winter and Jerry West induction to National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has often jokingly remarked to Tex Winter that his chances of getting inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame will remain slim because "he's outlived all of his contemporaries."

Longtime Laker author Roland Lazenby, another proponent of the 88-year-old Winter for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, has lamented that Winter's role as a key architect in the triangle offense has been overlooked because Winter mostly has been an assistant coach in the NBA. But Lazenby expressed some optimism that Winter's induction Sunday to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Mo., would help Winter's cause.

"He's had a profound impact on basketball as we know it," Lazenby said of Winter, whose head coaching stints at Marquette, Kansas State, Washington, Northwestern and Long Beach State led to records with the Wildcats for most league titles (eight), two trips to the Final Four in 1958 and 1964 and UPI coach of the year in 1959. "I don't know if the Hall of Fame can see past its formulas and its snooty attitude to correct it. I hope it does."  Lazenby noted that Winter receiving the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award prior to Game 2 of the 2010 NBA Finals probably gave him another boost toward the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

In his way, Jerry West can relate to the long wait. Though he was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1980, it wasn't until Sunday that he was inducted -- alongside Winter --  in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

"I think they think I'm going to die right away. They always do that before they do these things," West said of his induction which honors his efforts at West Virginia, which includes holding multiple Mountaineer records

Lazenby, who authored a West biography last year titled "Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon," spoke with me in the video below both about West and Winter, whom he's known closely since being an assistant under Jackson with the Chicago Bulls.

Among the highlights:

-- Winter's contributions to the triangle offense and whether the system will live on after Jackson retires.

-- Why Winter has yet to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

-- West's legacy at West Virginia.

-- West's litany of accomplishments this year, including an induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for his involvement with the 1960 U.S. Olympic team, the Lakers announcing they'll unveil a statue of him as a player outside Staples Center and his induction Sunday into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Lakers Roundtable: Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman breaks down Lakers-Nuggets matchup

You may recall one glorious April morning earlier this year where I introduced Lakers Roundtable - a segment that featured the opposing team's beat writer and gave all the Lakerholics in this corner of the blogosphere an idea on how enemy matches up. The Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman joked, "I think we're doomed from the get go," but yet he was willing enough to stop by for another segment breaking down the Lakers-Nuggets matchup, which begins tonight at 7:30. Or he may have really just had time to kill after landing in the Denver airport and had nothing better to do while waiting for his cab.

Nonetheless, Hochman provided terrific insight on the following topics:

--How Hochman's fingers still remain sore after covering the Nuggets' recent 114-113 loss to Indiana, which featured the Pacers hitting 20 consecutive shots and 54 third-quaeter points.

--the latest on Carmelo Anthony's playing future and how he matches up with Lakers forward Ron Artest.

--How the Nuggets (4-4) have managed to play well despite Anthony's uncertainty with the team and injuries to Chris Anderson (knee surgery) and Kenyon Martin.

--How Hochman has become an expert on burger joints.

You can follow more of Hochman's work at the Denver Post's website as well as on his Twitter account.

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Lakers Roundtable: L.A. Times' Mark Medina and The Columbian's Matt Calkins preview the Lakers-Blazers matchup

With this being the first edition of Lakers Roundtable this season, there's very few guests that can top The Columbian's Matt Calkins. With the Lakers matching up against Portland tonight at Staples Center, Calkins has an even-handed perspective, considering he covered the Lakers' 2010 playoff run for the Riverside Press Enterprise before becoming the Trail Blazers' beat writer across the Columbia River from Portland in Vancouver, Wash.

Among the highlights:

--Calkins provides an injury update on Portland (5-2).

--Very little can be drawn from Portland's 91-88 victory in the Lakers' third-to-last regular-season game in April, but Calkins says that upset doesn't even resonate with the Trail Blazers

--Calkins offers insight on the late Maurice Lucas and what he meant to the Trail Blazers' organization.

--Calkins explains why the Lakers' talent will prove too overwhelming for Portland.

--You can follow more of Calkins' work at The Columbian website as well as on his Twitter account.

In addition, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and guard Steve Blake size up the Trail Blazers.

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Lakers Roundtable: Roland Lazenby discusses Jerry West and the 1960 U.S. Olympic team's induction to Basketball Hall of Fame

Those wondering when the NBA season is ever going to start can temporarily take solace that there are still plenty of Lakers items to talk about in the upcoming weeks. One of them includes the fact that both Lakers owner Jerry Buss and the 1960s U.S. Olympics team, on which Jerry West played, both will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame Friday in Springfield. Mass. We'll host a live chat tomorrow at 3:45 p.m. as we watch the ceremonies on NBA TV

Until then, I'm going to take a look at both of those story lines. For starters, I talked with Roland Lazenby, who wrote a book about West this year titled "Jerry West: The Life and Legend of a Basketball Icon." Since I spoke at length with Lazenby about West when the book came out, this conversation mostly centers on West's involvement with the 1960 U.S. Olympic team, which is also featured in the book.

Among the highlights from my interview with Lazenby:

-- The impact the 1960 U.S. Olympic team had on the game and why it was so dominant. The team went 8-0 and defeated teams by an average margin of 42.4 points. West averaged 13.7 points per game.

-- The relationship between West and Oscar Robertson

-- How Coach Pete Newell convinced West not to quit the team.

-- Why West kept remembering his brother David, during the team's Olympic run

-- Lazenby's comparisons between the 1960 and 1992 U.S. Olympics teams.

You can purchase Lazenby's book on West here, read his blog at Laker Noise and follow him on Twitter.

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: E-mail the Lakers blog at 

Lakers Roundtable: Discussing Team USA with The New York Times' Pete Thamel

Though the 2010 FIBA World Championships are 17 days away, it's never too early to start looking ahead. After all, Team USA reassembled Monday in New York City to begin training for exhibition games against France (Aug. 15), Lithuania (Aug. 21), Spain (Aug. 22) and Greece (Aug. 25).

Amid all his various duties in staying on top of the college football and basketball scene, The New York Times' Pete Thamel recently went to Las Vegas during the team's tryouts and plans to see the team compete firsthand beginning Aug. 28 in Turkey, a tournament the U.S. hasn't won since 1994. Among the highlights from my conversation with Thamel:

-- How the makeup of Team USA changes, since no player from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including Kobe Bryant, will play.

-- Why Lamar Odom is presumed to play backup center, what adjustments he needs to make and how he epitomizes the versatility Team USA needs in its lineup.

-- Thamel's prediction that Team USA won't win the tournament. The last time the team won was 1994.

-- You can follow more of Thamel's work here and on Twitter.

-- Mark Medina

Lakers Roundtable: Discussing Matt Barnes with Orlando Sentinel's Brian Schmitz

Among the highlights from my conversation with the Orlando Sentinel's Brian Schmitz about Matt Barnes

--- What Barnes will bring to the Lakers after agreeing to a two-year deal.

-- The relationship between Barnes and Kobe Bryant, which has ranged from contentious matchups to constant text messaging.

-- Why the Magic didn't offer Barnes a contract.

-- How much it means for Barnes to return to L.A. after playing for UCLA.

-- You can follow more of Schmitz's work here and you can follow the rest of the Orlando Sentinel's coverage on Twitter.

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: E-mail the Lakers blog at

Lakers Round Table: discussing Derrick Caracter with the El Paso Times' Bill Knight

You've learned what to expect from West Virginia sophomore forward Devin Ebanks in Vegas Summer League after the Lakers selected him with the 43rd pick. Now it's time to see what's in store for Texas-El Paso junior forward Derrick Caracter, whom the Lakers picked 58th overall.

The El Paso Times' Bill Knight provides those answers, having covered Caracter's college career with the Miners. He credits Caracter's rebounding skills, but mentions that his conditioning needs to improve. Knight highlights Caracter's attitude problem at Louisville, but details how he matured at UTEP. He explains the difficulty Caracter has in cracking a spot in the Lakers' lineup, but he ultimately believes Caracter will make the team. You can follow more of Knight's work at The El Paso Times' website as well as on Twitter.

--Mark Medina



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