Saturday, November 22, 2014
Blog Page 101

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The X factor is a reality series in which contestants prove they have the vocal ability, charisma and stage presence that it takes to win an unprecedented $5 million recording contract with Syco/Sony Music.

In this years season finale, rapper 50 Cent was introduced by Lakers point guard Derek Fisher. 50 cent began his set by performing a track off his new mixtape, “Wait Until Tonight”.

The rapper transitioned from his mix-tape single, to his 2003 smash hit “In Da Club”. Laker players Matt Barnes, Steve Blake, and rookie Darius Morris walked out on stage. (As Lakers head coach Mike Brown calls him “The Rook” can even be seen dancing with the backup dancers.)

Watch the video below:

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Courtesy of US Presswire

Now with basketball back in action, Laker Nation has decided to continue to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise.

DECEMBER 22, 1967
DETROIT PISTONS 105 – LA LAKERS 133
BAYLOR AND WEST SEND LA SPORTS ARENA OUT IN STYLE WITH BLOWOUT OF PISTONS

For 7 ½ years, the Lakers had played at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, moving from frigid Minnesota to the West Coast. With their move came new franchise superstars Jerry West and Elgin Baylor as well as the NBA’s classic east versus west rivalry with the Boston Celtics. However, after seven years of increasing popularity, the Sports Arena could no longer accommodate the fanfare basketball created, and the need to build a new arena meant the retirement of an iconic venue.

In front of a crowd of nearly seven thousand fans, the Lakers sent off the Sports Arena in a final match against the Detroit Pistons. After losing the previous four games, the Lakers had already beaten Detroit after the first quarter, outscoring the visiting Pistons 39-21. Baylor would lead the Lakers in scoring with 25, followed closely by Archie Clark and Jerry West who would each contribute 23 and 21 points, respectively.

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Photo by Ronald Martinez | Getty Images

Kris Humphries was booed by 20,000 strong in Wednesday night’s Nets vs. Knicks pre-season game. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to Humphries as he has been awarded the title of “NBA’s Most Disliked Player”.

Forbes recently conducted a survey to find out who the most disliked NBA player is. Along with Humphries, two current Lakers, and one former Laker made the Top 10:

  1. Kris Humphries – New Jersey Nets – 50% Dislike
  2. LeBron James – Miami Heat – 48% Dislike
  3. Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers – 45% Dislike
  4. Tony Parker – San Antonio Spurs – 37% Dislike
  5. Ron Artest – Los Angeles Lakers – 36% Dislike
  6. Chris Bosh – Miami Heat – 34%
  7. Carmelo Anthony – New York Knicks – 27% Dislike
  8. Paul Pierce – Boston Celtics – 25% Dislike
  9. Dwayne Wade – Miami Heat – 23% Dislike
  10. Lamar Odom – Dallas Mavericks – 21% Dislike

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The fourth iteration of Kobe’s foray into low cut sneakers dropped at Midnight Eastern/9PM Pacific tonight. The Nike Zoom Kobe VII goes a step beyond the previous 3 low cut models, with interchangeable cushioning and support systems that allow the shoe to fit the needs of all types of players. The Kobe VII’s “System Supreme” is a performance system allowing players to customize the shoe, switching ankle support and midfoot cushioning.  The Nike Kobe VII System Supreme edition includes two interchangeable insert options allowing players to switch out the cushioning and ankle support to match their style of play.

ATTACK FAST
If a player’s game is based on speed, there is the Attack Fast insert that features a Phylon midsole with Nike Zoom units in the forefoot and heel for the ultimate in lightweight responsiveness. It also has a low-cut, power-stretch cuff that hugs the foot for support. Its sock-like fit eliminates the need for a traditional tongue and innersleeve, keeping the shoe lightweight.

ATTACK STRONG
For games that get intense and physical in the paint, there is the Attack Strong insert. It offers a full-length Cushlon midsole and an ankle cuff for a plush, comfortable ride with great support.  The sensory cuffs are made of an engineered power-stretch material that is padded and perforated for comfort and ventilation.

These two midsole options allow players to customize footwear during practice or in a game to meet their performance needs.  The Nike Kobe VII System Supreme offers similar performance fit and feel as the Kobe V and Kobe VI, but offers a different look and includes additional performance customization.  In addition to the customizable insert options, next-generation Flywire technology provides lock-down support, a 3-D heel clip offers enhanced support, and a glass reinforced composite shank in the midsole gives responsive midfoot support.

In addition to the Nike Kobe VII Supreme System, the Kobe VII is also sold in the Attack Fast version featuring the low-cut cuff and Nike Zoom air, without the Attack Strong insert.

Nike Kobe VII System Supreme: $180
Attack Fast and Attack Strong version.  Comes with two midsoles and sleeve heights.  The Attack Fast midsole contains Zoom Air in the forefoot and heel.  The Attack Strong midsole is Cushlon, and contains no air.

Nike Zoom Kobe VII System: $140
The Attack Fast version.  Comes with a single midsole with Zoom Air in the forefoot and heel.

How many of you are planning on picking up a pair of the new Nike Zoom Kobe VII?

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Ronald Martinez | Getty Images

Kobe Bryant’s right wrist was wrapped and secured by a brace, but even a torn ligament in his shooting hand couldn’t keep him from pumping his fist into the air at the sight of teammate, Andrew Bynum catching a lob from Derek Fisher (7 points, 8 assists) and dunking with some authority. Without Bryant on the floor, there is always concern, but with his absence comes an opportunity that this fragmented Laker team cannot surpass, and that’s for the next two players on the pecking order to stop waiting to be led and built up, and start leading and rebuilding themselves.

Andrew Bynum, who led the Lakers with 26 points on 11-15, 11 rebounds and two blocks, had a night that wasn’t all that unfamiliar. It just feels rare because each time he’s risen to the occasion, he’s instantly brought down to earth by injury that forces gaps between games like tonight. After a long summer spent getting fit instead of rehabilitating from surgery, however, Bynum didn’t have to wait long to push himself to produce and might have even learned a thing or two about maturity in the process. He was patient, keeping his complaints to the refs at a minimum. He was aware of each ball handler, awaiting his chance to receive passes and lobs for high percentage scoring opportunities. He was attentive (though could be moreso) on defense, running to get back in time to block shots or grab rebounds. He also played over thirty-one minutes en route to his second double-double in a row.

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Mike Powell | Getty Images

Now with basketball back in action, Laker Nation has decided to continue to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise.

DECEMBER 21, 1980
SAN ANTONIO SPURS 122 – LA LAKERS 135
ABDUL-JABBAR BECOMES FIFTH PLAYER IN NBA HISTORY TO BREAK 25K MARK

With Magic Johnson’s knee injury sidelining him for the previous 16 games, center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was tasked with taking the bulk of the scoring load. While Abdul-Jabbar had been shooting 62% and averaging 30 points per game over his last ten games in that stretch, the Lakers were only 5-5 in those games and had lost their last two straight games. Next on the schedule? The San Antonio Spurs, who had been riding a three-game winning streak and had won six of their previous seven games.

Abdul-Jabbar knew that his 33-year-old body would have to be responsible for a major portion of his team’s offense given a roster that gave Jim Chones and reserve Butch Carter sizable playing time. What Abdul-Jabbar didn’t know was that he sat only 38 points away from an NBA milestone only four other players up to that point had crossed: the 25,000 mark. In three quarters against the Spurs that Sunday night, Abdul-Jabbar scored 36 points, two shy of the mark as coach Paul Westhead sat Abdul-Jabbar to start the fourth quarter.

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Photo by Harry How | Getty Images

In a statement the Lakers announced that Kobe Bryant’s wrist injury is a little more serious than just a sprain:

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who suffered a right wrist injury in Monday night’s game against the Clippers, was examined today by Dr. Steven Shin of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic and underwent an MRI exam. Results show that Bryant has a torn lunotriquetral ligament.

Bryant will not play in tonight’s game against the Clippers and his status is day-to-day.

According to USA Today, the lunotriquetral is the ligament that helps stabilize two small bones on the outside of the wrist.

“They’re held together by these ligaments such as the one Kobe Bryant injured,” says Dr. Michael Hausman, professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “If the damage (to the ligament) is severe enough, they can begin to shift out of the normal position and that can affect the normal mechanics and function of the wrist, causing pain and weakness.”

Bryant could be seen wincing during Monday’s pre-season game. He continued to play even after suffering the injury.

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Harry How/Getty Images

The Lakers conclude their abbreviated pre-season tonight with round two against their vastly improved red, white and blue clad co-tenants. The Lakers were in the game until posting a forgettable third quarter, which included nine turnovers. The first contest of the new season for the purple and gold had to be the most over analyzed pre-season game in NBA history.

Granted the goal is to play well and win whenever a Laker puts on a purple and gold jersey. However, it is a known fact that pre-season games are merely glorified practices. Trust me on this; at the end of the year, when a team puts together a “year in review” report, it isn’t by accident that the pre-season results are missing.

The Clippers were as advertised young, athletic, exciting to watch and deadly when led by an excellent floor general like Chris Paul. Thanks to David J. Stern and the undisputed quote of the year “Basketball Reasons”, the Clippers have a solid team. The Clippers are like the cute new girl at school, she has everyone’s attention for the moment. This does not mean that all of the other girls have all of a sudden gotten uglier. Just because you have new toys does not mean that you need to neglect the old ones.

In regards to Monday night – here is the good, the bad and the ugly. The good, the immediate impact of rookie Darius Morris, the Lakers rebounding, the development of Devin Ebanks, Jason Kapono’s shooting and Kobe Bryant dropping 22 points. The Bad, the Lakers shooting from the field (44.8%), the free throw line (68.3 %), Bynum & Gasol taking 21 shots and combining for only 31 points, no minutes for Andrew Goudelock, Elijah Millsap, Zach Andrews and Malcolm Thomas. The Ugly, the Lakers conditioning, overall defense and most importantly allowing another opponent to shoot 46.4 % from behind the arc, the 21 turnovers that were converted into 29 points, Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace & Luke Walton combining for three points.

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Now with basketball back in action, Laker Nation has decided to continue to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise.

DECEMBER 20, 2005
DALLAS MAVERICKS 90 – LA LAKERS 112
BRYANT OUTSCORES MAVERICKS 62-61 THROUGH THREE QUARTERS IN LAKER BLOWOUT

Let’s set the scene: Following the previous Sunday’s 76-74 loss against the Houston Rockets, Kobe Bryant was livid. Bryant had already told Laker guard Smush Parker and assistant coach Brian Shaw that he would drop 50 points against the next team they played to send the message that teams had to go through Bryant if they wanted to defeat the Lakers. That next team was the best in the Western Conference, the 18-6 Dallas Mavericks.

To call Byrant’s performance that Tuesday evening “virtuoso” would be an understatement. Using a wide-array of three-pointers, fall-aways, lay-ups, dunks and jump shots coupled with his 25 free throw attempts would put the Laker guard at 62 points at the end of the third quarter, a then-career high as well as setting a franchise record for most points in a quarter by scoring 30 points during the third quarter. Bryant’s 62 points would outscore the Mavericks 62-61 at the end of the third quarter, and with the Lakers leading 95-61 as a team, Bryant would sit out the entire fourth quarter as the team coasted to a 112-90 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

Quote of the Night: “Even if they sent two guys at me, I wanted to let them know tonight I was coming after you guys. – Laker Kobe Bryant on his performance against the Mavericks, outscoring their entire team 62-61. - From the LA Times, Dec. 21, 2003


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Photo by Getty Images

Well, no one said change would be easy; the Lakers least of all. After an embarrassing elimination in the second round of the playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks, there was the long lockout, then the Chris Paul / Pau Gasol / Lamar Odom deal that went south, then the exits of Odom and Shannon Brown, a new coaching staff, a new training staff, new teammates, new system – did anyone honestly expect the same back-to-back Lakers of two seasons ago? Those who have lofty expectations of this team will undoubtedly respond in the affirmative, but it was obvious in their first game of this Season of Change that expectations must be carefully monitored.

New Lakers coach, Mike Brown stated that one of the main goals of these two pre-season games was to formulate some sort of line-up. With Steve Blake starting at point for Derek Fisher who did not participate in tonight’s game, and Matt Barnes moving into the small forward position for the new leader of the bench, Metta World Peace, the starting line-up did not appear as foreign with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum maintaining their usual spots. It wasn’t until substitutions checked in and out that the Lakers’ greatest obstacles began to arise.

The only constant on this team for the foreseeable future, Kobe Bryant played as he would any other game, whether it mattered or not. He scored the Lakers’ first points of the season on a signature jumper. He was knocked to the floor twice; once falling on his tailbone, and his injured shooting hand (of course) was struck as he was fouled in the act of shooting. Each time, he shook it off – business as usual, ending the evening with 22 points on 5-10, hitting 12 of his 15 free throws and handing out four assists. Did he look healthy? Yes, as healthy as a 16-year veteran who takes excellent care of his body can look. Despite the obvious lingering pain to his old finger injuries, Kobe was Kobe, just another year older.

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Now with basketball back in action, Laker Nation has decided to continue to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise.

DECEMBER 19, 2003
DENVER NUGGETS 99 – LA LAKERS 101
ABOUT TIME: BRYANT CAPS OFF LATE ARRIVAL FROM COURT WITH GAME-WINNING BASKET AGAINST NUGGETS

Let’s set the scene: At the beginning of Friday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets, Kobe Bryant was nowhere to be found. Specifically, Bryant was traveling back from Colorado where he had spent the day in his criminal hearing for sexual assault charges during the summer of 2003. With Kareem Rush starting the game at shooting guard, Bryant would arrive during the intermission between the first and second quarters to the standing ovation of the crowd at Staples Center.

With the Lakers leading by nine points near the end of the fourth quarter, the Nuggets rallied with a 9-0 run behind the play of rookie Carmelo Anthony, who would sink two free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining, putting his game total at a team-high 24 points and tying the game at 99-99. Those 2.5 seconds, however, left the door open for one last shot from the Lakers, whose inbounds pass was intended to go elsewhere. Regardless, it found Bryant and the rest is history. Bryant would finish with 13 points and five assists in the 101-99 win for the Lakers, pushing them to 19-5 and breaking their two-game losing streak.

Quote of the Night: “It’s been a long day, a long draining day. I wanted to get out and play, just play the game.” – Laker Kobe Bryant on his performance in his game against the Nuggets, scoring 13 points off the bench including a game-winning basket at the end of regulation. - From the LA Times, Dec. 20, 2003

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

The NBA season is finally upon us. Some strange things happened between the NBA lockout and the start of this season. The Lakers have a new coaching staff and a re-tooled roster. The Lakers, Rockets and Hornets executed a perfectly good trade that made all three teams better. The only thing left was for the NBA Commissioner to sign off on the deal.

However, David Stern (the “de facto” General Manager of the New Orleans Hornets) and the league office decided to get involved.

The moment this occurred, Dell Demps, the actual Hornets GM, became an irrelevant bystander and the trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers stopped being a negotiation and turned into a shakedown. A few questions remain; was David Stern’s involvement a conflict of interest? Yes! Was Stern’s involvement an abuse of power? Yes! Did Stern’s involvement leave an indelible stain on the league’s credibility? Yes!

The league tasked the Lakers with making the Hornets a playoff team then flip-flopped on what it actually wanted between winning now and acquiring youth and building for the future. The package that the Hornets received from the Clippers pales in comparison to the one that would have sent four starters to New Orleans. From a Lakers perspective, the fallout from the shakedown included the league gift-wrapping Chris Paul to the Clippers and caused Lamar Odom to demand and receive a trade.

The Lakers are still after Dwight Howard, but in the meantime have made some under the radar moves to fill holes on the roster. Thanks to the league-office a quick fix of a superstar does not appear to be on the horizon. The Lakers lost Lamar Odom, Shannon Brown, Theo Ratliff & Joe Smith from last years roster.

Several have focused on big-name trades, but the Lakers have to develop their own young players. Rookies PG Darius Morris, SG Andrew Goudelock & PF Malcolm Thomas provide youth and versatility and fill huge needs. The purple and gold added a few low risk high reward role-playing veterans SG/SF Jason Kapono, PF Josh McRoberts, PF Troy Murphy, SG Gerald Green and C Chris Daniels. There is a chance that the two recent additions to the L.A. Defenders forwards Elijah Millsap & Zach Andrews will make an appearance.

A few things to look for in the first of two preseason games against the Clippers this week:

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With the Lakers off to a poor start, trade rumors have begun to swirl around Kobe Bryant, leading many to speculate if he'll leave for greener pastures. Kobe puts those rumors to rest in his interview with Yahoo Sports.