Phil Jackson was named the NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month, today, for the games played in March.
Jackson led the Lakers to a league-best 12-1 record in March. The Lakers (54-20), currently stand in second place in the West, trailing the San Antonio Spurs by 2 ½ games for the number one seed.
The Lakers earned 12 wins in the month, including a 99-83 victory at San Antonio on March 6. The Lakers also defeated Dallas twice in March and clinched the Pacific Division title with an 84-80 victory over Portland on March 20.
Jason Terry, who was ejected with a flagrant 2 foul from last night’s contest after he shoved Blake to the ground went on radio this morning. He continued to disclose his feelings about the Lakers and Matt Barnes. Dallas could end up seeing the Lakers in the second round (still depending on seeding). These comments will surely reside in the Lakers locker room; at least with the fans.
Here is a brief recap of what was said:
Colin: What was going on with the shove… why shove Steve Blake?
Terry : Game had a playoff intensity to it. I had to make a statement to my teammates and try to inspire them somehow and just send a message that if we see the Lakers down the line, we wont be a pushover.
Colin : You had a bad shooting night (2-9)… were you frustrated?
Terry – A lil bit, should’ve played better, but it happens in an 82 game season. Lakers had a great game going.
Colin: Is Matt Barnes the first tough guy for the Lakers in a while?
Terry – He’s the charminator, the guy that assaults charmin toilet paper. He’s a past Bruin… us Wildcats we hate the Bruins other than Reggie (Miller). He put a laker uniform on and all of a sudden he turns into Jerry (West) and Kareem (Abdul Jabbar)? Those are real Lakers. He just trying to play a role. He’s not (Ron) Artest, that’s their tough guy.
Phil Jackson had some comments for Mark Cuban. Cuban recently talked about Phil, Artest and the Lakers. The talking pretty much ended after last night’s dominating victory by the Lakers over the Mavs. However, Phil had this to say in regards to Mark’s comments.
“I know that Mark likes to prick the skin of people,” said Jackson, pausing for extra emphasis after the second verb in the sentence. “But he’s not a player. He just sits behind the bench with his suntanned face and has to make comments like that. He’s got nothing to do with it. I know that he’s provided a great roster that’s almost as good as money can buy. But not quite.”
Phil also talked about Ron Artest’s game:
“Ron played within the context of what our offense is about,” Jackson said. “This offense used to be called the triple-post offense and all the forwards and the centers have a role in posting up in that offense. Even our guards at times. We took advantage [of Artest on Kidd] last time.”
Everyone was battling for something. The Lakers were fighting to maintain their #2 seed in the West while the Mavericks were fighting to take it. Lamar Odom versus Jason Terry for the Sixth Man of the Year Award. Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki in the Best European Big Man race…okay, there’s no such category but it’s a battle nonetheless.
The Mavericks came into Staples Center tonight to try and take back what the Lakers took from them back in Dallas. They came in with their five-game winning streak, their need to score on the run and their ability to shoot the long ball. They didn’t realize that five-point loss a few weeks ago was just a preview of the real dangers that lie ahead of them if they ever met this Lakers team in the post-season; dangers like overwhelming length, playoff-proven savvy and a hungry defending championship team looking to run over everything and everyone in their way, including a trash-talking bench player and his team’s owner.
Jason Terry told ESPNDallas that he didn’t believe Kobe Bryant wanted to or could, chase him (and Roddy Beaubois) around the court. He said that’s an advantage that Dallas had over the Lakers. With five points on 2-9 shooting, not to mention an ejection and possible suspension, it’s safe to say that Terry’s mouth wrote a check that his performance couldn’t cash. He was anything but advantageous to the Mavericks tonight, first with his poor shooting and absent defense, then with his inability to find composure when his team needed it most. The second leading scorer on a playoff team and the best that Terry could do was to shove Steve Blake to the ground out of frustration for his own failures.
With 9:23 left in the 4th quarter, Steve Blake drove to the basket, and was shoved to the ground by Jason Terry.
Blake, immediately bounced up and got in Terry’s face. As officials were trying to separate the two, Matt Barnes rushed in and shoved Jason Terry. Barnes, was immediately ejected, and was pushed away by officials towards the Lakers bench.
While Barnes was walking towards the Lakers bench, Mavericks assistant coach, Terry Stotts, grabbed Barnes to act as a sort of a “peace maker”. Barnes, told him to get off him, he then attempted to unwrap Stott’s hands from his waist, and then finally shoved the coach to the ground.
Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Jason Terry, and Brendan Haywood would all be ejected.
Shortly thereafter, a fan from the stands, ran down the stairs towards the Mavericks bench, and four red coats (security) had to stop him, and immediately ejected the fan from the stadium.
Finally, with 1:52 left in the game, Brian Cardinal fouled Pau Gasol, with a noticeable swat to the head. He then got tangled up with Shannon Brown, Brown then shoved Cardinal away from him, and Shannon was then ejected.
In total, seven ejections in this game, including all 3 of the “Killer Bees”. The Lakers are now 1.5 games up on the Mavs for the number two seed. Yet, suspensions are sure to come down from the league office. (Video of the first altercation after the jump)
Ron Artest has been named a finalist for the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award. The award is given each year to an NBA figure who shows “outstanding service and dedication to the community.”
As it is commonly known, Ron Artest raffled off his 2010 championship ring to mental health awareness. Artest has even said he will donate part of his salary next season to the cause.
According to the LA Times, he has also promoted the Mental Health in Schools Act, which plans to be reintroduced to Congress in February during the 2011 legislative session and would provide $200 million in grant funding involving mental health issues.
The J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) award given since the 1974–75 NBA season to a player, coach, or trainer. It is the oldest citizenship and community service award in the NBA and is named in honor of James Walter Kennedy, the second commissioner (then president) of the NBA, who served from 1963 to 1975.
The winner is selected by the Professional Basketball Writers Association (PBWA). Ron is currently a finalist with Orlando’s Dwight Howard, Portland’s Marcus Camby, and Philadelphia’s Kyle Korver. Only two Lakers have won the award in its history. (Michael Cooper won it in 1985-86, and Magic Johnson in 1991-92)
Mark Cuban wasn’t sold on Ron Artest joining the Lakers before. Cuban also watched the Lakers, with Ron playing a key role in their game 7 victory over the Boston Celtics in last year’s Finals, hoist up the championship trophy last season.
It seems Cuban believes he’s solved a way to beat the Lakers. Cuban believes Ron is lost on the offensive end and actually wants the Lakers to make Ron make decisions:
“Anything that puts the ball in Ron Artest’s hands is always a good thing,” Cuban said. “And you can tell him that I’ll even take him out for ice cream. Of all the choices you have on that team, you want Ron Artest making the decisions in the triangle.’’
Ron’s play as of lately has been key, much like Andrew Bynum, in their recent surge towards the post-season. In the biggest game of the season, with potential playoff seeding on the line, it seems Cuban is trying to play mind-games with Ron. Despite Ron’s heroics in game 7, it seems Cuban still isn’t sold on Artest… yet.
Bryant, was asked to clarify his comments from 2 weeks ago, that he was proud of Andrew Bynum for the flagrant 2 foul he had against Minnesota’s Michael Beasley.
Tony Kornheiser: “Is the message in that, that Kobe Bryant says to his team and to the league, that the Lakers are going to be tougher then you think we are going to be?”
Bryant: “I don’t know about all that, I just thought it was a good foul. I was proud of him for taking a stand and protecting our paint, and protecting the basket. Now whether that is controversial, or people interpret it as whatever they want to interpret it as, so be it, but I’m proud of our bigs for protecting the basket.”
Since the All-Star break, Bynum has shot 63% from the field. Averaging 11.8 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks, helping the Lakers to a 15-1 record.
The Lakers have absolutely dominated the league since All-Star break and key part to their success is their starting center, Andrew Bynum. Kevin Ding wrote a great insight to what has changed in Andrew’s approach to the game. Here’s some quotes from Bynum on his recent change:
“It’s how to focus, how always to reset,” Bynum said. “If I got bad calls before, maybe I would’ve blown up or gotten a technical or done something crazy. I mean, I was mad; I was hot. But I just walked off the court, sat down and waited for an opportunity for the game to present something for me to do. All things will work out,” Bynum said. “Just don’t react so much. Just bring yourself back to focus, and you’ll be all right.”
There is no question Drew’s new focus on the game has helped drive up the Lakers’ defense and aided them in all their victories. As the playoffs approach, it’s going to be interesting to watch everyone on this team adapt to the mentality and focus that Phil Jackson teams always posses. The Lakers have a chance to win their third title in a row this year and with Andrew Bynum anchoring the defense, they will be a tough opponent to take out.
David Brickley, host of the Voice of the Nation, had a one-on-one interview with Matt Barnes, as he was gearing up for his Youth Basketball Clinic at the Peninsula Montessori School, in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Matt discussed: the Lakers chance of catching the Spurs for the #1 seed in the west, how he felt about Kobe Bryant before they were teammates, and who is the better rapper, Ron Artest, or Joe Smith? Hear his answers to all that and more in this exclusive report.
Forward/Center Derrick Caracter has been sent down the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA D-League. In 40 appearances with the Lakers this season, Caracter has averaged 2 points and 1 rebound in just over 5 minutes per game. While Caracter wont be with the Lakers these last couple of weeks, he will at least be able to recieve ample playing time with the Jam.
As for the Lakers’ other rookie forward, Devin Ebanks, he will need an additional 3 weeks of rehab as the stress fracture in his left tibia is healing more slowly than originally anticipated. Ebanks was slated to miss 3 weeks of action, and said he planned to return even sooner, that was on March 4th. In 20 games with the Lakers this season, Ebanks has averaged 3 points and 1 rebound in 6 minutes per game.
Its not likely that either Caracter or Ebanks would have made much of an impact in the final 9 games of the regular season, however with the health of Theo Ratliff still a concern, it is a likely possibility that Caracter will be added to the playoff roster once the postseason begins.
The “Black Mamba” has been in playoff mode lately aiding the Lakers to their 7th consecutive victory and 15-1 since the All-Star break. Along with Dwight Howard in the East, Kobe has been named the Western Conference Player of the Week. Here’s a glimpse into what Kobe has done recently:
Bryant paced the league in scoring, averaging 36.3 points, in leading the Lakers to a 3-0 week. In the process, Los Angeles extended its winning streak to seven games. On March 22, Bryant scored a season-high 42 points to go along with 12 rebounds and nine assists in a triple overtime victory over the Suns. It was the 107th 40-point game of his career.
Not bad considering Kobe recently sprained his ankle a few weeks ago against Dallas; calling it the “worse sprain” of his career. The Lakers have 10 games remaining on the schedule and look poised for a very strong playoff and championship-defense run.
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.