Friday, November 28, 2014
Blog Page 156

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Getty Images | Photo By Chris Graythen

There was a rare sighting from the Lakers bench today; something that hasn’t been seen in quite a while – smiles. Lamar Odom checked out of the game late in the fourth quarter, sat beside Kobe Bryant and the two shared a chuckle. Sometimes all you need is change – change is good. You need it every once in awhile, especially when you feel trapped in a seemingly inescapable malaise. Based on their last three losses, the Lakers were the perfect candidates for change, and Phil Jackson was happy to help. His decision to insert Andrew Bynum in the starting line-up in place of Lamar Odom may have been a small alteration, but it made a world of difference.

Playing his most of the season, Bynum capitalized on his 30 minutes of floor time by converting a lob from Kobe Bryant early in the first quarter, rebounding his own misses and scoring, working the defensive glass to prevent second chance points, raising an arm or two to alter shot attempts. Bynum played his longest stretch in the first quarter, playing 10 straight minutes before subbing out. He said in his post-game interview that he is still a few practices and a few games away from being at full strength, but even despite playing at less than 100%, he managed to score 18 points on 8-12, collected six rebounds (5 DEF), and hit both of his free throw attempts. To remind us that he is more than just a dunker, he also shot a flat-footed jumper (if it can technically be called that) from about five to six feet to give the Lakers their 103rd points of the game. It cannot be said enough how much Bynum’s mere presence means to the quality of this Lakers team.

Not only does Bynum provide reinforcement inside, but it places all the other Lakers in their rightful positions. Back to his natural place at the four, Pau Gasol seldom has to bang with the beefier centers and, most importantly, his minutes are at a more reasonable count. Tonight Gasol played just under 35 minutes, and though he only attempted five shots and converted three, he still got to the line (5-6) for his 11 points, handed out five assists, and he grabbed 12 rebounds (8 DEF).

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Getty Images | Photo By Harry How

The (21-10) Los Angeles Lakers are in New Orleans to face the (18-13) Hornets.

The Lakers are playing in a terrible funk; it might even qualify as sleepwalking. They started off strong then faded fast against the Spurs. They’re in the midst of a three-game losing streak, on the verge of matching their longest losing streak of the season.

Everyone wants to know “What’s Wrong?”

I could fill up at least two pages with disturbing numbers in terms of the Lakers production or lack thereof. Case in point, Tim Duncan had one of the worst games of his career last night and the Spurs still dominated.

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Getty Images | Photo By Ronald Martinez

The Spurs played like the best, and the Lakers played like the team who used to be the best. They lost four games in a row, then went on a 6-1 road trip. Pau Gasol was huffing and puffing, then Andrew Bynum came back to relieve him. They got their butts whooped by Milwaukee and Miami, then started tonight’s game against San Antonio with some energy and life…and then they folded over and looked into the eyes of their third loss in a row. Nothing seems to be working for this Lakers team.

After rattling off a 13-2 record to begin their season, the Lakers have since decided to execute alternate plans – stop moving the ball, stop going inside, stop running the offense, stop playing defense, start mouthing off to officials, cower in pressure situations; in other words, do the exact opposite of what they did last season but, oh wait, still expect to win and win it all. Tex Winter must be throwing things at his TV watching this team play.

Kobe Bryant, after getting ejected from the Milwaukee game, and then after sounding off his frustrations after the loss to Miami, shot his team out of tonight’s contest. After hitting his first four shots of the night, Bryant missed his next 13 and finished 8-27 for his 21 points. He had just ONE assist and five turnovers. If he planned to make an example of himself to teammates, he sure set a bad one. Tonight’s version of Bryant wasn’t the same anxious player from last season’s Game 7. Back then, Bryant claimed he tried to do too much because he wanted to win so badly. But even despite a terrible shooting night (6-24), he still managed to contribute in other ways – 15 rebounds. Unofficially, rebounds are a good measure of effort, and that night against Boston, Bryant’s effort overturned his shooting efficiency. That wasn’t anxious effort tonight on Bryant’s part; it was senseless selfishness.

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Getty Images | Photo By Ronald Martinez

The (21-9) Los Angeles Lakers are in San Antonio to face the league-best (26-4) Spurs.

After consecutive blowout losses… at home, no less — by a combined 35 points; everyone can see that the Lakers are playing poorly.

As stated previously, the Lakers have been playing poorly and didn’t even show up for the Christmas Day game. Losing games will happen in the NBA, but there is something to be said about the way you lose.

When you are embarrassed; twice, fail to show up and compete at the championship level that the Lakers Nation knows the squad can and should perform; it’s not a good look.

It also must be said that championships aren’t won or lost in December, but you must compete whenever you step on the floor. We’ve seen early season struggles from the Lakers before and the latest loss could be seen coming long before it actually happened.

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Kobe followed through on a post-game promise:

“I’m going to kick some ass in practice.”

Per multiple Lakers’ media sources, Kobe was “feisty” and “aggressive” with his teammates during today’s practice. He, once again, left without speaking to the media.

Let’s hope that intensity boils over into Tuesday’s match-up with the West leading Spurs.

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According to the O.C. Register, the Christmas Day showdown disappointment drew a 6.4 national TV rating, which was a surprising 45% increase from the Lakers match-up with Cleveland on the same day last season.

The game earned a 15.0 rating in Los Angeles, making it ABC’s highest-rated NBA regular season game since, well, the last time L.A. played Miami on Christmas in 2004.

What’s not included in those numbers is the 5 million TV sets in L.A. that were shattered by flying projectiles during the 4th quarter, the highest reported number since Game 6 of the ’08 NBA Finals.

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It happens just about every Christmas.

The Lakers suck the cheer out of the day like a Boston Celtics Championship DVD.

In ’03, Steve Francis (remember him?) carved the Lakers up like Freddy Krueger. In ’04, Shaq ate Chris Mihm in his first visit to L.A. after the Kupchak fire sale. In ’05, Gary Payton – at 87 years old – demoralized the Lakers D. In ’06, Wade (40/11/4) made Kobe (16/4/2) look slower than Eddy Curry after a Chinese buffet.

And, we all remember last year, when LeBron James and the Cavs all but killed Santa with a 15-point victory at Staples Center.

If history has any say in this, yesterday’s layup drill for Miami will prove to be relatively meaningless.

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Well done LeBron, you’ve shown the world how self-centered you are.

Fanhouse: Might LeBron James be starting a shoe war with Kobe Bryant?

Nike announced this week that three NBA stars will be wearing special shoes on Christmas Day. The cheapest of the three is Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant’s Zoom KD III, which has a suggested retail price of $88 primarily because Durant doesn’t want a super expensive shoe.

The others that also will hit the stores Sunday are James’ LeBron 8 V/2, which has a suggested price of $160, and Bryant’s Zoom Kobe VI, which retails for $130. So the natural question is: Why in the heck does the Miami star’s shoe sell for $30 more?

“Yeah, it’s a better shoe,” James said Friday after a practice at UCLA on the eve of Miami’s Christmas Day battle with Bryant’s Lakers at the Staples Center. “But we’re all one Nike family.”

So why is it a better shoe?

“Because it is,” James said of his shoe, which is red with green laces while Bryant’s is green with red laces. “Because it’s LeBron’s shoe. It’s got my name on it. I take pride in my shoes every year and I’ve always taken pride in having the best shoe. So they’re going to cost a little more if you decide to wear them.”

Continue reading ‘LeBron says he has ‘better shoes’ than Kobe’

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First of all, GREAT job writing headlines, Lakers Nation! We definitely enjoyed reading them. Unfortunately, just about every one of you predicted a Lakers victory, which made our job a little more difficult than we anticipated, considering that ‘predicting the outcome’ was a big part of this contest. Even so, we have selected our winners (in no particular order):

MP Lakers: World ends for Fickle Fans as Lakers lose to Heat trio.
Anna: Fire on the Lake! The Heat beat the Lakers on Christmas Day.
Jesus: The X-Mas Beatdown in Downtown.

Congrats to Anna, Jesus & MP Lakers, you just won one of these, and will be hearing from us soon! One of those headlines will top Anna’s post-game report. Stay tuned, right here, to find out which one!

Thanks to everyone that participated! This is the first, of many, contests we have coming up. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date with all the happenings around the Lakers Nation.

Lastly, special thanks to Phiten for sponsoring this contest! Check out their entire NBA collection, including their great Lakers products, and make sure you’re following them on Facebook!

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Getty Images | Photo By Lisa Blumenfeld

Maybe the Lakers are starting a new Christmas tradition: Don’t give in to a much-hyped game by playing heartlessly and showing exactly how little you care. Well, point taken, guys – you don’t feel the need to prove yourselves to a newly-formed team in Miami, but did you have to get blown out of your own home court…for the second game in a row?

The game STARTED well for the Lakers. Lamar Odom converted on Kobe Bryant’s lob with a thunderous dunk. He followed that with another slam from another Bryant assist. Then Derek Fisher came in and hit one from downtown, giving the Lakers a 7-2 lead…and that’s as good as the Lakers looked in this game. The remainder of this Christmas afternoon at Staples was as unbearable to watch as Megan Fox trying to “act.”

Miami’s big three played to win in front of this huge Christmas Day audience. Together, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh produced 69 points, 29 rebounds, 18 assists, and six steals. James alone finished with a triple double – 27 points on 8-14 (5-6 from 3PT), 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Ron Artest may have had intentions on defending and stopping James from going off, but after just two and a half minutes of game time, Matt Barnes subbed in after Artest picked up his second foul. Artest, like the rest of this Lakers team, is clearly still trying to find his game on both ends of the court, and based on what we’ve seen so far this season, he’s still got a ways to go.

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Getty Images | Photo By Marc Serota

Merry Christmas, Lakers Nation!

Once again, it’s on! Another Christmas Day game in Downtown Los Angeles. The (21-8) Los Angeles Lakers are at Staples Center to host the (21-9) Miami Heat. This is the most anticipated game of the year, to some, in the NBA.

The Lakers aren’t caught up in the hype; it’s a big game for them because it’s the ‘next’ game, an opportunity to bounce back from a disappointing loss. This is a great time to face one of the association’s hottest teams.

For the Lakers it’s all about playing solid defense, energy and execution on offense. However, everything I’ve read tells me that this is an early match-up of playoff teams. The Socratic irony is that neither has performed well against elite teams.

The Heat are (5-7) against opponents above .500. Coincidentally, the Lakers are (2-3) against opponents above .500 and winners of eight of their last ten games. Despite that fact, there are some Laker fans who have already chalked this game up as a loss. It is well documented that Kobe and the Lakers are 5-6 in Christmas Day Extravaganzas.

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It’s no secret, Christmas Day tickets to watch Kobe and Pau take on the Miami Heat at Staples Center are selling at unprecedented prices.

If you’re a star in this city of stars… sure, that’s no problem. As for the other 99.5% of us, Lakers ticket prices are just completely astronomical.

We recently got connected with a company called TiqIQ. They introduced to us a relatively new, and somewhat revolutionary, ticket buying platform. The concept is extremely simple:

They pull ticket listings from multiple selling platforms – StubHub, eBay, TicketsNow, etc. – and display them all in one place, organized by price, allowing you to find the best ticket deals on the games you want to see, all without the hassle of shopping around everywhere.

In a sentence, TiqIQ is essentially Orbitz for event tickets.

We went ahead and setup a platform with them that we’re calling TLN Tickets, where you can utilize their system to find the best deals out there on Lakers tickets. We plan to have a pretty cool widget coded and ready to go for the sidebar sometime this afternoon.

Do us a favor and check it out, give us your feedback, ideas or suggestions and we’ll continue to try and improve on it and ultimately provide you with the best opportunity to get your Lakers, and L.A. based sports teams, tickets at the lowest prices on the web.

Click here to take a look, or here to see what’s available for tomorrow’s Lakers vs. Heat game.

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Getty Images | Photo By Doug Pensinger

Here’s a random story rumor, first reported by CelticsLife.com:

Per Tony Gaffney (an ex-NBA’er and former Laker), Carmelo Anthony wants to be a Laker, and a rumored deal revolving around Lamar Odom and draft picks is being discussed. On Gaffney’s Facebook page, he also claims to have ‘plenty of sources’ to back this up.

Obviously, we don’t consider Gaffney to be much of an NBA source – especially since he’s currently playing somewhere in Turkey – but it is an interesting thought that at-least raises the question:

Do you think the Lakers need to make a move before the deadline, or are they championship-ready as currently constructed?

Sound off, Lakers Nation, and Happy Holidays from all of us here at TLN!

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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.