Kobe Bryant dribbled baseline and faded away for a jumper over Portland’s Brandon Roy to give the Lakers a five-point lead with just over 30 seconds left in the game. He punched his fist down as he turned to the Laker faithful, yelling words probably not allowed on this blog, and grabbing his jersey like he didn’t know what else to do to channel his energy and passion for moments like this. In the Lakers’ next possession, after the Blazers had drilled a three to get within two points, Derek Fisher calmly dribbled around Rudy Fernandez and stuck a mid-range jumper to give the team a four point lead, holding his left hand steady posing as he ran backwards, reminiscent of his 2009 Game 3 performance against the Orlando Magic.
Did the Lakers miss Andrew Bynum? Yes. Did they practically sleepwalk through the majority of the game? Yes. Were they going to let this Portland team really think they could win a few games, let alone the series in the post-season if these two teams met? That would be a definitive he…ck no; not on the Bryant-Fisher watch.
The Lakers were leading 80 to 77 against the Blazers, with 33 seconds left, when Bryant helped ice the game with a baseline fade away jumper extending the lead to five.
He was asked after the game what he was thinking before he shot over Brandon Roy, “Hit the damn shot” Bryant said.
Bryant felt the referees were not giving him the calls he deserved towards the finish. Kobe came close to getting a technical towards the end of the game, he threw his arms towards the refs in anger multiple times down the stretch.
The (49-20) Los Angeles Lakers are at Staples Center tonight hosting the red-hot (40-29) Portland Trailblazers. Portland, winners of three straight and seven of their last nine games are always a tough opponent.
The Lakers will be playing without the services of Andrew Bynum. The league hit Bynum with a two-game suspension without pay, for his flagrant foul two on Michael Beasley. I do not think the foul was with malicious intent. It appeared to be more the product of a physical game. The Lakers are gearing up for playoff basketball and physical play is a part of it. However, they will miss Bynum’s defense, 15.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks a game.
The league suspension should not come as a surprise to anyone. The moment Bynum was late coming over to stop the penetration to the basket, he made the decision to bump Beasley, as oppose to contest his shot at the front of the rim. You had to know that the league would respond.
NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Stu Jackson, announced today that Andrew Bynum has been suspended for two games for his Flagrant Foul Penalty Two that he received on Friday, March 18 vs the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Bynum will be suspended without pay for the Lakers game tonight vs the Portland Trailblazers, and Tuesday’s game vs. the Phoenix Suns.
The Flagrant Foul Penalty Two, which automatically ejected Andrew Bynum from the game, occurred with 6:16 remaining in the fourth period. Michael Beasley drove baseline, and Bynum clearly fouled Beasley without going for the ball.
The Lakers are 11-1 since the All-Star break, and Bynum is one of the big reasons for the Lakers recent success.
In the last 5 games Bynum is shooting 62% from the field, while averaging 14.2 points, 15 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game.
It was November 17th when Laker fans received the news that back-up center, Theo Ratliff, would have to miss 4 to 6 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
17 weeks later, Ratliff has yet to return to the hardwood, however there may be some encouraging news for Lakers fans:
“Ratliff practiced today for the second time this week and if all goes well during scheduled practices this week, he could be sound enough to play” – Elliot Teaford (Inside the Lakers)
A return would add some much needed depth and veteran leadership as the Lakers head into the postseason.
With Derrick Caracter being a rookie and Joe Smith not getting much playing time, the Lakers currently have little to offer in terms of big men who can give them quality minutes off of the bench. Even in limited minutes, Ratliff can make a definite impact for the Lakers, especially on the defensive end of the floor.
Ratliff has only appeared in 8 games so far this season for the Lakers.
Andrew Bynum was ejected from the game Friday night for his flagrant 2 foul on Beasley.
There is a lot of talk about whether or not he should be suspended. The league, by rule, automatically reviews every flagrant 2 foul. What do you guys think – “good hard foul” as some analysts or saying or something else? Here is the footage of the foul. Sound off.
I heard again this week that the Lakers remain intrigued by the prospect of hiring Jeff Van Gundy — and you have to presume that the reigning champs are in the select club of teams with the wherewithal to finally lure Van Gundy away from ESPN’s courtside announcing table — but I’ve had the same question every year when someone says he’s a candidate in L.A.: Can Van Gundy really deliver the sort of entertainment that Lakers owner Jerry Buss craves? – (Marc Stein – Daily Dime)
Phil Jackson has made it clear he plans to retire after the season. Brian Shaw seems like the Lakers first choice to replace Jackson, as it would be the most seamless transition.
Shaw seems like the front-runner for the job, but Van Gundy, and other former succesful coaches will most likley go around the rumor mill before the announcement is made.
Andrew Bynum, slammed his body into Minnesota’s Michael Beasley as he drove to the hoop. Beasley hit the ground so hard he bounced. Moments later, Kobe Bryant was called for a reach-in foul, and in the process was knocked in the jaw so hard by Martell Webster that he, too, fell to the floor. Neither situation turned into an altercation, and no players on either bench even winced or made a motion to stand when everything occurred. But with the game as close as it was, Bynum’s thoughtless act could have had negative implications…like a loss. Fortunately, Beasley was able to walk away and as far as the Lakers are concerned, their veterans took over late in the game and before we knew it, the Staples Center faithful were cheering for their free tacos.
As it was in their last meeting in Minnesota, the Lakers could not (or maybe opted to not) get their offense flowing properly at the onset. In the first quarter, they shot just 37% from the field with Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest going 0-10, and Wesley Johnson (29 points on 11-21) going on a scoring tear that lasted practically all game long. In addition to the horrid shooting, the Lakers were getting outworked on the glass by the T-Wolves, and Mr. Double-Double, Kevin Love, seemed to arrive at every rebound before any player in a gold jersey did.
After three days rest, the (48-20)Los Angeles Lakers are back in action tonight and hosting the (17-52) Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Lakers have won all three of their match ups against the T-Wolves this season and 13 straight games overall.
The Pacific Division title is in sight for the Lakers. They could lock up their fourth straight division title with a win tonight and a Suns loss on Friday. However, they could care less. They do have that accomplishment as one of their goals, but a championship has been and will continue to be the singular focus.
Two Laker stars got a chance to win some money for their respective charities last night on NBC’s game show ” Minute to Win It”. Derek Fisher (University of Arkansas Foundation) and Shannon Brown (The Shannon Brown Foundation) competed against the clock for a good cause. Check out how they did below.
Why, after getting behind by just six points at the half, did the Lakers return to the floor like they were down 30, Chris McGee asked Lamar Odom after the game.
“Because we knew we could’ve played better,” Odom said.
If there’s one thing that signals the home stretch of the long regular season, it’s the Lakers’ recognizing some accountability. They can no longer fall back on the “it’s a long season” mentality when their play appears sluggish or disinterested. There are 14 games left before the post-season, and they know that teams are breathing down their backs for a favorable spot in the West. They know that teams bulked up in the middle on both coasts to compete with their size. And they know that no matter what their competitors do, that championship in June is as good as gone if they don’t prepare the one area in their quest that they can actually control – themselves.
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.