Saturday, December 20, 2014
Blog Page 160

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Getty Images | Photo By Stephen Dunn

The (15-6) Lakers return to the Staples Center, but as the visitor tonight, to start their seven-game road trip against the (5-17) Clippers; their co-tenants.

Tonight’s game will be the first of four ‘Battle of Los Angeles’ or ‘hallway series’ games. Both teams come into this game following a win. The Clippers beat the Kings 98-91 and the Lakers beat the Wizards 115-108.

The normal adage would be that a win is a win and that everyone will take it. However, the competitive phase of the game should have ended in the third quarter.

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Getty Images | Photo by Jeff Gross

This game could have ended in the third quarter. The starters could have been resting comfortably on the bench, with ice wrapped around their knees, cheering on the reserves as they dove in for the final kill in the last 12 minutes of play. Alas, three starters subbed out late in that third quarter and suddenly, that 19-point lead turned into three. In 3:27, the Lakers managed to do everything wrong and the visiting team merely took advantage. Fortunately for the home team, not even late-game errors (three-pointers with double-digit time on the shot clock with your team leading, Kobe and Lamar? REALLY?) or 30 points from the Wiz’s hot shooting Nick Young, could give this game away.

The Washington Wizards arrived at Staples Center with a 0-10 road record. Suffice it to say, even with scoring machines like Gilbert Arenas (23 points on 8-17) and rookie, John Wall (22 points on 7-14), the Lakers could have won this game in much easier fashion than they did, and they could have distributed a more even amount of playing time, with a back-to-back to consider. Instead, every starter played over 30 minutes, with the already overworked Pau Gasol logging in another 40+ minute kind of night.

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Why did it take them 4 days to realize it wasn’t a flagrant?

ESPN: Los Angeles Lakers guard Shannon Brown’s flagrant foul with 8:34 remaining in the fourth quarter Friday against the Sacramento Kings has been rescinded by the league, the team announced Tuesday.

The foul occurred when Brown tried to get a chase-down block on an Omri Casspi fastbreak layup attempt with the Kings trailing by 30 points. Brown’s contact with Casspi sent the second-year Israeli forward to the floor.

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Getty Images | Photo By Kevork Djansezian

Today marks the 69th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt, while addressing congress, called it “a date that will live in infamy”. That sudden and deliberate attack was a on the Pacific fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.

It’s time to honor, support and thank the men and women of the Armed Forces, past and present for protecting yours as well as my freedom.

The (14-6) Los Angeles Lakers are back at the Staples Center tonight to host the (6-13) Washington Wizards and his will be the first of two games against the Wizards in one week.

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This is great news, especially for a Lakers’ team that has had a hard time defending the rim. So, TLN: How does the Lakers rotation change when Bynum re-enters the lineup!?

ESPN: After Bynum’s second-straight successful full-court practice Monday, the sixth-year center narrowed down his window.”Everything is going well,” Bynum said. “I haven’t felt too much pain. I’m ready for basketball. I hope to play in December.”

Bynum said he wants to participate in a “couple more practices” before playing in a game to improve his timing and what he describes as “quick jumping,” or the jump after a jump, when he’s battling in the lane for a rebound or put back.

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That debut is looking sweeter and sweeter everyday.

L.A. Times: The Lakers center, who hasn’t played this season but hopes to in about two weeks, participates in a five-on-five, full-court scrimmage for the first time and experiences nothing more serious than fatigue, according to Coach Phil Jackson.

“He said he was tired, which is natural,” Jackson said. “That’s going to happen.”

Bynum, who didn’t talk to the media after practice, has said he’d like to be ready to play around Dec. 19 at Toronto, which would be the last of a six-game Lakers trip.

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Well it wasn’t long before another media outlet came out with a “Top 50 players” list for the NBA. This time, Laker fans were hoping that they finally get it right after that slight typo Slam Magazine made by misspelling “Kobe Bryant” as “LeBron James.”

This time, Sporting News came out with their own Top 50 players and this one will have the Laker fans nodding in agreement. Why? Well, only because they finally got it right and put the Black Mamba on top of the list, like he should be. Yes, this time he wasn’t snubbed for Scottie Pippen LeBron James.

Sporting News asked 76 NBA types, from NBA legends Elgin Baylor & Lenny Wilkins to coaches Stan Van Gundy & Doc Rivers (the complete list of voters is under the Top 50 Players list). Kobe won by a landslide, as he got 49 first-place votes compared to Delonte Jr. LeBron getting 22 first-place votes.

Both Kobe and Queen LeBron had teammates that made the Top 10. For the Lakers, it was Pau Gasol that accompanied Kobe in the Top 10, ranked 10th after being ranked 17th last season. The leader of the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade, was ranked 3rd on the list just as he was last season.

Also, Andrew Bynum (whom has yet to play a game this season) deserves an honourable mention, as he was ranked 41st on the list, jumping up 9 spots after being ranked 50th last season. Laker fans are eagerly awaiting his return to the court so Drew can prove himself to be worthy of being a Top 25 Player (well, in my opinion he can be).

Kobe was ranked 1st last season too, so the consistency presented from Sporting News in making these lists is respectable. They haven’t failed to recognize true talent, because Kobe didn’t take his to South Beach like #2 did. The other media outlets can learn a thing or two from SN.

Read more on the Sporting News’ Top 50 Players List

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Getty Images | Jeff Gross

All streaks must come to an end…and thank goodness for that! That four-game skid couldn’t come to a quicker halt and frankly it doesn’t matter that it came at the expense of the hapless, defenseless Sacramento Kings. A win is a win, friends, and tonight the Lakers got it right from beginning to end and after the way they’ve begun but finished the last four games, it was a welcome sight.

Suffering through a sore hamstring since the Memphis game, Pau Gasol was questionable to play tonight. He arrived at Staples less than an hour before tip-off and reportedly had just seven minutes to warm up before the decision was made that he would play. If he felt any pain, he sure didn’t show it. Gasol had one of his most productive and well-rounded games since the Lakers’ last win, scoring 16 points on 6-8, grabbed five rebounds, led the team with five assists, and blocked three shots. The offense turned to Gasol inside often, as it should, and it allowed for a showcase of one of his greatest strengths – passing. He rebounded off of a Kobe Bryant miss and bounced the ball behind him and right back to Bryant for a hoop; threw a side pass to a cutting Shannon Brown for a dunk; threw a right-handed pass over his left shoulder to an unguarded Derek Fisher under the hoop. Good things happen when the offense begins inside and if the Lakers know what’s good for them, they will milk this strength for all it’s worth. Gasol led all +/- with +27 as well, and his best stat of all – just under 27 minutes of playing time.

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Getty Images | Image By Ezra Shaw

The (13-6) Los Angeles Lakers return to the Staples Center to host the (4-12) Sacramento Kings.

I know exactly what you’re thinking; what is wrong with this team? I know that while watching the Laker’s fourth straight loss more than a few (expletives) were in the air.

Despite the fact that the Lakers have experienced their first four-game losing streak since April 2007, it isn’t time to panic. As all Laker fans know, an NBA season is a marathon and not a sprint. The road to a championship is filled with obstacles, potholes and stretches of bad games. Hopefully, the Lakers will put their bad play behind them.

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It’s not hard to get lost in the hype.

Let’s be honest: We all spent way too much time talking, texting and tweeting about LeBron’s homecoming dance at the Q last night. I could only liken his return to Cleveland to what it would be like if O.J. showed up at a Brown Holiday party wearing nothing but a smile and a pair of supermodel sidekicks.

We all pondered the same redundant questions: Will ‘Bron do the powder volcano, and if he does, will he survive his gunshot wounds? Does Mo Williams shank LeBron before, or after, pre-game introductions? Will there be a fan insane enough to wear a James Heat jersey to the game, and how long will it take for the Cops to notify that person’s family?

There was simply no way any of us could have predicted that the marshmallow-soft Cavaliers would skip the game all-together, or that Gibson and James would make out on the Cleveland bench. The Cavs owed it to their incensed and blindly loyal fans to at-least pretend like they didn’t like LeBron. Instead, they only reminded him exactly why he left Cleveland to begin with.

The problem with the first few paragraphs of this column is the same problem I am having with the NBA this season.

I’m completely distracted by all the subplots.

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He needs to sit this game out so he has 5 days rest and prevent aggravating the injury.

L.A. Times: The hope, Pau Gasol said after practice Thursday, is that with rest and treatment on his strained left hamstring he’ll be able to play Friday night against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center.

Gasol will test his injury Friday at the team’s shootaround and then make a decision on whether to play or sit out.

“We’re short-handed already,” Gasol said. “So I just try to be out there as much as I can and do as much as I can without obviously wanting anything to happen that would put you out. I’ve got to toughen up right now…”

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First and foremost, we are a Lakers’ fan site… but like the rest of the NBA world, we’re pretty excited to see what happens in Cleveland tonight when the sidekick returns to the Q with his new super friends. Plus, it gives us another excuse to give you guys some more free stuff!

We have teamed up with Sports Enemy (the same guys who have produced these shirts) to giveaway their latest creation – Heat Freezes Over. Tonight is your first, of several, chances to win one of these shirts, all leading up to the Christmas Day showdown with Miami.

For your chance to win, leave us your best, fake, newspaper headline from tonight’s Cleveland, Miami game either in the comments section below, or on our Facebook announcement. All entries must be in by tip-off (5pm PT). After the game, we’ll pick our favorite! Easy enough, right? While you’re at it, be sure to check out Sports Enemy on Facebook and Twitter, and stay tuned to TLN for more chances to win great prizes!

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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.