Saturday, December 20, 2014
Blog Page 139

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Photo by Kevork Djansezian I Getty Images

Last season, Kobe Bryant averaged almost 39 minutes per game (38:47 to be exact), and ranked 7th in the NBA in minutes per game.

Phil Jackson has definitely put an emphasis on playing his bench more, and resting his starters this season.

According to Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell, this season will be the fewest Kobe has played since 1997-98.

Bryant is playing only 33:53, by far his fewest minutes since his second NBA campaign back in 1997-98 (26:00). He’s not even in the top 50 in the league, yet still ranks sixth in scoring (25.1 points per game).

Phil Jackson acknowledged prior to the team’s Friday evening game in Portland that this is no accident, as the season splits suggest.

Bryant ranks first in points per 48 minutes at 35.6.

In the last three games in particular, Phil Jackson has decided to rest his stars. Bryant, has averaged 32.6 minutes per game, Gasol 30.6, and Fisher 29.3.

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Photo by Streeter Lecka I Getty Images

The Lakers have now lost four in a row, and their lack of effort may be the root cause.

Phil Jackson made these statement after the 93-86 loss against the Blazers, in Portland.

“These guys just don’t want to play hard right now.” Jackson said.

“It’s a product of not paying attention, not being focused & not playing the game with the right attitude.”

The Blazers had 20 fast-break points, and many of their made baskets came from lay-ups.

The Lakers finished the season off rough last season as well, losing four of their last six, but they were dealing with a handful of injuries down the stretch.

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Photo by Jonathan Ferrey I Getty Images

Before the game, a Lakers commercial on KCAL-9 said, “Our belief is unwavering. Our spirit – unbreakable (pun intended?). Our mission – to win it all…again.”

Belief? Overconfidence might be more like it. Spirit? Looks like laziness the last few games. The mission? Still in sight though the last week has made the vision a bit blurry.

For the second time this season, the Lakers have produced a 4-game losing streak. The difference now is timing – they’re three games away from the playoffs. After going 17-1 after the season break, the defending champions have completely gone back to lethargic, careless basketball and, despite evidence to the contrary, can’t always depend on post-season scheduled intensity to bail them out in the first round.

The Lakers started hot, as they’d done in the three games before tonight. And just like those last three games, they also went cold soon after. Attribute the loss to Andrew Bynum’s stomach bug. Attribute it to the slow reacting defense. Attribute it to the 17 turnovers. The bottom line is, the Lakers, in the last week, have been unable (or unwilling) to sustain their effort and energy for a full 48 minutes and they have certainly suffered because of it. The matter of playoff seeding aside, the point is to play properly each time you’re on the floor and the Lakers haven’t done that in four games.

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Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Brian Shaw has been a much desired candidate in replacing Phil Jackson for next season. Jackson has consistently suggested this is indeed his last season and “last stand.”

Recently Kobe Bryant had some thoughts on former championship teammate Brian Shaw in regards to Shaw replacing Phil:

“I feel all of the players believe in coach B-Shaw,” Bryant said the Lakers’ Friday morning shootaround. “We have such a rapport with him. He’s been with us for such a long time. We all have a bit of a bias towards him.

Bryant and Shaw go way back and it’s great to hear the team so supportive of Brian. A great coach and man, it seems as the majority of Lakers fans would be happy with Shaw.

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Photo by Harry How I Getty Images

The (55-23) Los Angeles Lakers are in Oregon to face the (46-33) Portland Trailblazers. The Lakers have taken three of the four games in the season series. They’re seeking to snap a three-game skid and win tonight and the they would earn their first season sweep

The Lakers have won the last two games at the Rose Garden after losing 22 of 26. The Lakers can no longer catch the Spurs and win the Western Conference; that ship has sailed. The slump the they’re in has also kept them from locking up the number two seed.

A more pressing issue for the Purple and Gold would be their shooting and getting back to playing Lakers basketball. They’re a rhythm team that needs to get back to playing in a good rhythm.

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Photo by Vincent LaForet I Getty Images

Phil Jackson sat down with a group of traveling beat reporters on Thursday night, as the Lakers gear up for a game against the Portland Trailblazers.

Jackson spoke in depth about his plans to retire after the season, and how he has been anticipating retirement for the last two seasons.

An interesting story was told when he was asked about his 11 seasons coaching Kobe Bryant, and the evolution of Kobe as a player.

Kevin Ding, from the Orange County Register, wrote about Jackson and Bryant’s relationship, and how earlier in Kobe’s career Jackson arranged Michael Jordan to sit down and talk with Kobe Bryant:

Jackson told the story of arranging a first meaningful meeting between Bryant and Michael Jordan in the 2000-01 season, which was filled with Kobe-driven friction after the first championship the previous season. Jackson’s goal was for the learned Jordan to get the eager Bryant “to understand he didn’t have to stray outside the offense” and the Zen idea to “wait till the game presents itself.”

Jackson said Bryant’s first comment to Jordan, however, was: “I can take you one-on-one.”

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David Brickley, Jason Riley and Kevin Figgers come to you for another LIVE edition of the Voice of the Nation. Special Guest Mark Medina, (LA Times Lakers reporter) joins the program

Rundown

  • Lakers fall to Warriors; 3 straight losses
  • Kobe Bryant has a new Music Video!!!???
  • Andrew Bynum comes to Pau Gasol’s defense
  • Interview: Mark Medina LA Times
  • Around the NBA
  • Lakers will have new TV play by play announcer
  • What will Kobe Bryant do after he retires?
  • Is Pau Gasol soft or is he a finesse player?
  • and Much MUCH More

Additonal Audio

  • AM570 KLAC
  • Lakers.com

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Download Link: Voice of the Nation – Episode #126
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Podcast Home: LakersPodcast.com

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Photo by Kevork Djansezian I Getty Images

By David Brickley – Los Angeles

Well guess who’s back.

After going 17-1, after the break, the Lakers have lost 3 straight to the Nuggets, Jazz, and most recently to the Golden State Warriors.

The last time the Lakers lost three straight, it was against Orlando, Charlotte, and Cleveland right before the break. The Cavs loss was considered when the Lakers were at their lowest.

The Cavs were a team that the Lakers beat by 55 points just a month before their 99-104 loss in Cleveland.

They were playing their worst basketball of the season. “It’s a painful, painful loss,” said Pau Gasol, after the February 16th loss to Cleveland, “It’s very disappointing. I don’t understand it.”

Then the proverbially “switch” was flipped. The Lakers would win eight in a row right out of the break, lose a close game against the Heat in Miami, and then rattle off another nine wins.

The Lakers looked unbeatable, and did the unthinkable. They came within striking distance of the #1 seeded Spurs in the West, after San Antonio dropped six in a row.

Their focus was sharp, their passion was at an all time high, and they saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

Then they drop three in a row.

Lethargic, unmotivated, sluggish, whatever word needed to describe the team that has dropped their last three. They’re not a very fun group to watch.

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Photo by Streeter Lecka I Getty Images

Alright, who flipped the switch back to off? Someone tell that guy that the season’s not done yet.

There is nothing like a 0-3 losing record to make that 17-1 start post-All-Star break practically forgettable. After that unbelievable beginning to the second “half” of the regular season, with the Lakers beating to a mushy pulp every team who got in their way; where every analyst claimed no team could beat them; when Lamar Odom was playing head and shoulders above the rest to in campaign for that Sixth Man of the Year award, the defending champs decided to throw up a trio of stinkers that has all but made that dominating run seem like a mirage.

For a month and a half, the 4-game losing streak in November was a distant memory. The 3-game slide to end the year was a mere hiccup. The 3-game bad spell right before the All-Star break was a wake-up call. So how do we categorize the latest 3-game losing streak right before the post-season? Let’s call a spade a spade – this new streak is, in short, bad news. It should be a cause for some concern and it doesn’t matter how badly the Lakers ended last year’s regular season but still managed to take the title. This is a new season filled with much more challenging obstacles than last year’s championship run.

In the last four days, the Lakers have retreated back to their old ways – playing against the scouting report, showing very little interest in playing the right way, ignoring their strengths and forcing their weaknesses to suddenly turn a new leaf. If the Lakers are the hare, then Denver, Utah and Golden State are the tortoise; a contest between talent and effort, and we all know which quality won in the end.

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Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld I Getty Images

Eric Pincus of Hoopsworld.com recently came out with an article in which Phil Jackson speaks on Kwame Brown’s influence on a young Andrew Bynum:

“We knew that we had to get another person ahead of [Bynum] so that he could come off the bench and Kwame Brown was a real good defensive player (traded for that year so that we would have some basis and Andrew could learn). That process really helped Andrew grow up and every day having to work against a guy like Kwame gave him some kind of competitive edge. It was good for him. Andrew’s developed very nicely and we haven’t put a lot of pressure on him to speed it up and I think that’s the thing that’s really important.”

Kwame Brown, the 2001 number one overall pick, is considered one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history. However, he has been praised by the likes of Phil Jackson, and Kobe Bryant over the years.

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Kobe Bryant has made many appearances in music videos throughout his career. Whether its been rapping on a Brian McKnight track, or simply being seen in a locker room in Destiny Child’s music video “Bug a Boo”

Jay Chou is a Chinese pop star who asked for Bryant’s services in his latest music video. Bryant, doesn’t rap necessarily in this one, but he does say a few words on the chorus.

If my counting is right, Bryant, Artest, Matt Barnes, and Shannon Brown have all made appearances in music videos this season.

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Photo by Doug Pensinger I Getty Images

A few days ago, we brought you a video of Amar’e Stoudemire calling Pau Gasol soft at a New York Footlocker.

Once the video became viral, Andrew Bynum immediately took to twitter to defend his fellow Laker

“The NBA is a weird place! How can a man that plays 0 defense call a 2 time champion soft?”

Lamar Odom, and Ron Artest had a few things to say, once they learned of Stoudemire’s comments. They both chimed in, courtesy ESPN LA, in the locker room before Tuesday’s game against the Jazz

“Pau got moves. He don’t have to be hard. That’s why he got us,” said a shirtless Artest as he flexed his chest and arm muscles.

“How are you soft and average 10 rebounds?” Odom said.

Ron made sure to mention this as well:

“Amare posed on the front of [a magazine] butt naked!” Artest said. “OK, is that tough?”

Finally, Phil Jackson, when asked about Stoudemire’s recent comments, may have had the best advice for Gasol:

“Win another championship,” Jackson said. “Just go out and do it again. That keeps people quiet really quick.”

For some reason, there is a stereotype placed on all European born players. Gasol, considered by many, the most accomplished and polished big man in the league, has been called “soft”, by both Kendrick Perkins, and Amar’e Stoudemire this season.

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Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The (55-22) Los Angeles Lakers are in Oakland to start a two-game road trip in the Bay Area against the (34-44) Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

The Lakers have lost consecutive games for first time since the All-Star break and both losses weres filled with uncharacteristic mistakes.

It was great to see both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the lineup. The duo played well with Gasol scoring 19 points and Andrew Bynum recording a double-double 12 points and grabbing a career-high 23 rebounds.

The loss to the Jazz, as puzzling as it was, had this writer feeling as if I was watching the NCAA Title game between UCONN and Butler all over again. The Lakers played well enough defensively to win the game however failed to move the ball, showed an inability to knock down shots or fight through the Jazz defense.

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After years of radio broadcasting for the Los Angeles Lakers, Spero Dedes will reportedly be moving over to television broadcasts.

The Lakers play-by-play shift comes as no major surprise, given Dedes’ recent broadcasting success with the NFL and college football. The 31-year-old broadcaster was considered a major up and coming talent since first joining the organization 6 seasons ago. His previous endeavors took him through New York’s YES Network and NBA TV.

Dedes is set to take over for Lakers 8 year play-by-play announcer, Joel Meyers; whose contract will expire following this season. Meyers had replaced Chick Hearn successor, Paul Sunderland.

Almost 9 years after Chick’s passing, Dedes would become the third to attempt filling the Laker legends microphone. In 2008, we had asked Spero, our very first live blog guest, about what Chick means to him.

One of the biggest — and only — regrets I have is never having met Chick. Right after I got this job in 2005, the first thing I did was buy as much material on Chick as I could find… books… CDs… magazine articles… whatever. He was one of a kind… as unique a talent as there will ever be in ANY profession. The gold standard. It’s pretty daunting to sit in his old chair sometimes, but there’s no place else I’d rather be. Just thankful that the Lakers would have me.

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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.