Thursday, November 27, 2014
Blog Page 18

0
Photo: Kevin C. Cox | Getty Images

Discouraging news out of Lakers camp as Kobe Bryant is expected to miss at least two more weeks with a fractured lateral tibial plateau in his left knee, according to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding.

Bryant had been doing stationary bicycle work since fracturing his knee on December 17th and had hoped to ramp up his rehabilitation this week.

According to Ding, however, Bryant’s knee fracture has yet to heal.

The fractured lateral tibial plateau in Bryant’s left knee hasn’t healed yet, even though the Lakers had initially been pointing to a medical re-evaluation Tuesday as a point at which he might be cleared to play.

Bryant’s level of discomfort is such that his visit with Lakers doctor Steve Lombardo on Tuesday evening before the Lakers face the Indiana Pacers will not even include any MRI or other diagnostic procedure to judge the bone’s healing, according to a team source.

While Bryant is expected to miss another two weeks, he could possibly miss up to another month.

Bryant’s original diagnosis, on December 19th, was to miss approximately six weeks; this Thursday marks six weeks from the start of that timeline.

With the 2014 NBA All-Star game fast approaching, it looks like Bryant may indirectly get his wish of sitting out the game, despite being voted as a Western Conference starter by fans.

The Lakers, now 16-29 on the season, are too far out of the playoff race for Bryant’s return to matter much this season.

His return, however, will be necessary in proving to potential free agents that the ‘Black Mamba’ is still able to play at a high level. With an uncertain off-season on the horizon, a healthy Bryant is imperative to lure marquee free agents such as Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, etc to Los Angeles.

Bryant has refused to capitulate to the notion of sitting out the rest of this season, so stay tuned for a better understanding of Bryant’s health here in the next two weeks.

2
Photo: Robyn Beck | Getty Images

This is sure to make fans of the “Knicks Tape” nervous.

Despite insisting he will not help recruit Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers this summer when the New York Knicks superstar forward becomes a free agent, Kobe Bryant has seemingly laid out the ground work for Anthony’s “Escape from New York.” Bryant recently compared Anthony’s situation to Miami HEAT star LeBron James‘s decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010 in the pursuit of an NBA Championship.

“It’s a familiar story with LeBron James, and he seemed to turn out OK.”

James received a ton of criticism for his decision, but in retrospect, it turned out to be the best decision for his professional career.

During his seven year tenure in Cleveland, James’s lone trip to the NBA finals ended in a sweep. Since his arrival in Miami four seasons ago, the HEAT have been to the NBA Finals every year, and are the two time defending NBA champions.

Bryant acknowledged that a similar backlash may await Anthony should he decide to bolt from New York, but reminded everyone that the decision should be made for what’s best for Anthony, while also vowing to be there for support if his friend needs him.

“I think that players, when that time comes, will have to make the best decision for them and their families. If he wants to call me for advice later as a friend, I’ll be more than happy to give it to him.”

Some fans and critics have labeled Carmelo Anthony as being a one dimensional scorer who is unworthy of donning the purple and gold. While Laker Nation seems divided on the possibility of acquiring Anthony this summer, Bryant provided the remedy for shaking that toxic label.

“The only way to do that is to win. I won five championships and there are some of you that still say that; so you kinda just take it and roll with it. The most important thing is to win a championship and that’s the only way to shake it.”

It is no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers will do their due diligence and speak to Anthony, should he decide to opt out if his contract this summer. Outside of LeBron James, Anthony is the best available player this coming off-season.

As Bryant noted, it will be up to Anthony to decide what is best for him. All we can do is enjoy the ride.

3
Photo courtesy of Jesse D. Garrabrant, Getty Images

“We just seem to find a way to lose,” Coach Mike D’Antoni said after the Lakers ended their Grammy road trip just 2-5.

In their last game before heading back to L.A., the Lakers had yet another chance to take a victory from a team with just as bad a record as them and, again, failed to do so. It wasn’t a completely unwatchable game. The Lakers kept it close throughout, getting behind by as much as eight points late in the final quarter, but having led by six themselves during the game.

In the closing 12 minutes, the Knicks, quite simply, outhustled the Lakers and as a result, got the 110-103 victory.

High Points
Offensive Production – Offense isn’t a big issue for this team this season, regardless of who is missing from the active roster. The Lakers are full of players who can score or help their teammates score, and tonight was no different. Five players in double figures, led by Jodie Meeks’ 24 points on 8-13 from the field, 6-8 from downtown and 2-2 from the free throw line. Pau Gasol, continuing his consistent play, had 20 points on 8-15 and 13 rebounds.
Threeball – 11-23 from behind the arc. Despite Wesley Johnson and Nick Young going a combined 0-6.
Fast break points – A stat they in which they seldom excel, the Lakers outscored the Knicks 15-2 in fast break points.

Low Points
REBOUNDS. REBOUNDS. REBOUNDS. – The Lakers shot 52% for the game, hit almost 48% of their threes, missed just four free throws out of 18, limited their turnovers to just 12, and assisted on almost half of their field goal attempts, but their downfall is evident – allowing the Knicks to take over the offensive glass. A glance at the box score shows that the Knicks’ stats are very similar to that of the Lakers’. The most glaring column, however, is that New York outrebounded the Lakers 45-35, led by Tyson Chandler’s 14. Moreover, 16 of those were offensive boards (16!), which helped them overtake these rebound-less Lakers. The product of all those offensive rebounds? A 21-6 advantage in second chance points. That final score is a mere seven points in disparity, but in the final quarter, alone, the Knicks took over the glass with a 14-6 advantage. In Pat Riley’s words, “No rebounds, no rings.” In a simpler setting, like a regular season game – no rebounds, no wins.

It’s unfortunate the Lakers can’t find a way to win instead, because they always come close to it these days, but constantly hit a glass ceiling. Coach D’Antoni continues to defend his team, exasperated because they are, indeed, playing hard for a team as battered as can be. Yes, they’re trying. In Yoda’s words, however, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Box Score

0
Photo: Christian Petersen | Getty Images

January 26th, 2014 — Today, Kobe Bryant gave the basketball world an update on his health.

Bryant will be evaluated by doctors on Tuesday back in Los Angeles and hopes to ramp up his activity soon.

“I’ll finally do more things than just riding a bike. That’s killing me. Absolutely killing me.”

All of the “tank theorists” that believe Bryant should sit out the rest of the season (to help the Lakers better position themselves for this year’s NBA draft) need to realize two things.

One, if the Lakers truly hope to land a superstar this off-season via free agency or sign and trade, Bryant must prove his health is not an issue going forward.

The other is that the Lakers realize Bryant does not have too many basketball years left, and they are going to explore every option to ensure they give him the best possible chance to win ring number six.

In six games this season, Bryant averaged 13.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 29.5 minutes per game.

0
Associated Press

EL SEGUNDO – The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Manny Harris to a second 10-day contract, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. 

In five games with the Lakers this season, Harris is averaging 6.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 20.9 minutes.

Before signing his first 10-Day contract with the Lakers on January 16th, Harris was most recently a member of the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the Lakers’ NBA Development League affiliate, and was the D-League’s leading scorer at 30.6 points per game. Overall, in 13 games with the D-Fenders (13 starts) this season, Harris averaged 30.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.1 steals while shooting 48.5% from the field. On January 13, Harris was named the NBA D-League Performer of the Week for the second consecutive time, and fourth time in his career.

 In his previous 80 career NBA games (20 starts) with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, the Detroit, Michigan native averaged 6.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 17.4 minutes per game.

———————————

Not a surprising move by the Lakers to keep Manny Harris for another 10 days. The injured guards situation looks like it could be improving over the next couple of weeks but at the moment, Kendall Marshall remains the only healthy point guard on the roster.

Harris has done a nice job in the time he has been given, but would most likely need to show a lot more if the Lakers decide to keep him through the rest of the season.

Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein/ NBAE/ Getty Images

After 16 NBA Championships and 31 Western Conference Titles, the Lakers have been one of the most storied and successful franchises in NBA history. From the eras of West, Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, and Kobe, there have been countless record-breaking performances and memorable games that have added to Lakers glory. Let’s take a look back at some notable moments for the purple and gold, from the week of January 26-February 1, over their 66-year history.

January 29, 1980

Norm Nixon set a then-NBA record for most minutes played in a single game with 64, when the Lakers fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers 154-153 in quadruple overtime. Nixon’s record was tied in 1987 by Sleepy Floyd of the Golden State Warriors, and later broken by Dale Ellis of the Seattle SuperSonics in 1989, when he played for 69 minutes in a five-overtime game against Milwaukee.

January 30, 1996

Magic Johnson shocked the NBA with his return to the league after having been retired from playing basketball since he announced that he had contracted HIV in 1992. In his first game back on the floor with the Lakers, Johnson scored 19 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out 10 assists to help the Lakers defeat the Golden State Warriors 128-118 at the Great Western Forum. At 36 years old, Johnson played the final 32 games of the 1995-96 season, while averaging 14 points, seven rebounds, and six assists during that stretch. Johnson was an assistant coach with the Lakers in 1994 before returning to the hardwood. He retired from playing for good in 1996.

Dick Raphael /NBAE/Getty Images
Dick Raphael /NBAE/Getty Images

January 31, 2010

Kobe Bryant hit a game-winning shot over Ray Allen with 7.3 seconds left in regulation to lift the Lakers over the Boston Celtics 90-89 at the TD Garden. This victory marked Los Angeles’ fourth consecutive win, and third straight against Boston. Despite trailing by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter, the Lakers rallied behind Bryant and their big men down low, outscoring Boston 18-0 on points in the paint in the fourth quarter. Bryant finished the game with 19 points, while Andrew Bynum also dropped 19 points and collected 11 rebounds. Pau Gasol added 11 points and 11 rebounds. With his 19 points, Kobe Bryant moved within 28 points of Jerry West’s all-time Lakers’ record of 25,192, for most points scored in franchise history.

0
Photo by Nick Laham | Getty Images

January 25, 2014 — 12:30 PM (PST)
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
TV: ABC
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Carmelo Anthony scored 62 points this past Friday vs. a top-10 defensive team in Charlotte Bobcats to single-handedly snap the New York Knicks’ 5-game losing streak.

Now, he and the rest of the Knicks (16-27) get to play vs. the Los Angeles Lakers (16-28), the NBA’s worst defensive team by a wide margin.

The Knicks might arguably be the most disappointing NBA team this season, with multiple locker room problems and playing without any team continuity. Despite the turmoil, Anthony has carried this dysfunctional Knicks all on his own back, scoring 27.0 PPG, grabbing 9.1 RPG, and dishing out 3.0 APG. He creates a matchup nightmare for the Lakers since the Lakers do not possess a player who has the size and strength to match up vs. Anthony.

Rumors and speculations have swirled around Anthony’s potential destination including signing with the Lakers to team up with G Kobe Bryant. However, he currently wears a Knicks uniform and the Lakers have to figure out a way to contain him.

The Lakers, on the other hand, suffered a bad loss vs. Orlando Magic, 114-105 as a result of allowing 38 points in the 3rd quarter. C/F Pau Gasol, who had another double-double vs. Magic by scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, seem to now arguably be the best offensive Center in the NBA during the month of January. Gasol needs to play like one today in order to offset Anthony’s probably scoring outburst.

Also, this would be the first time the Lakers will play vs. former Laker and 2010 NBA Finals hero F Metta World Peace, who the Lakers amnestied last offseason to clear cap space. World Peace’s playing status remains uncertain today due to a strained left knee.

Projected Starters

PG – Kendall Marshall / Raymond Felton [Advantage: Even]
SG – Jodie Meeks / Pablo Prigioni [Advantage: Lakers]
SF – Nick Young / Iman Shumpert [Advantage: Lakers]
PF – Ryan Kelly / Carmelo Anthony [Advantage: Knicks]
C – Pau Gasol / Tyson Chandler [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Knicks: G Tim Hardaway Jr.G JR SmithC Jeremy Tyler, Metta World Peace

Lakers: Wesley JohnsonG Manny Harris, F Jordan Hill

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Knicks: Out-F Kenyon Martin, Out-F Amare Stoudemire, Out-F Andrea Bargnani, Questionable-F Metta World Peace

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-PG Steve Blake, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-PG Jordan Farmar

Keys for Lakers Victory

Defense: No explanation nor analysis necessary. You can figure this one out.

Bottom Line

Hopefully the Knicks play like they have for the majority of this season that caused them to land in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. The Lakers need to win today’s game to salvage this roller-coaster Grammy’s trip, where they currently suffer a 2-4 record. The Lakers definitely possess better team chemistry than the Knicks, so they have to work as a team to grind out this game. Unfortunately, their defense will most likely haunt them, and the Knicks should win this game.

Prediction

Knicks: 116-107

3
Photo: Jeff Gross | Getty Images

A show of hands, Laker Nation: Who would like to see Carmelo Anthony in a Lakers uniform next season?

According to Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops.com, Carmelo Anthony will either play in New York for the Knicks or Los Angeles for the Lakers.

Ultimately, Anthony will most likely choose between the Knicks and Lakers.

A disappointing season thus far for the Knicks has Anthony mulling his options between two similarly popular, yet very different franchises. The Knicks haven’t won an NBA title since Walt Frazier and his mutton chops were running NYC during the 1972-73 season. The Lakers, on the other hand, are the epitome of a top-tier franchise and they have the hardware to back it up.

From that perspective, the choice seems to be an easy one for Anthony. He would, though, have to leave an extra $30 million guaranteed from the Knicks on the table if he chooses to sign with the Lakers.

“Should Anthony decide money won’t buy happiness this time around, the Los Angeles Lakers represent his best option to join a team with a proven winning track record, the ability to pay him adequately and a fellow star in Kobe Bryant.”

Scotto also brings up an interesting point in regards to Anthony and his fellow 2003 NBA Draft classmates:

“Unlike fellow draft classmates LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Anthony was the only member of that group to sign a five-year maximum extension, with a fourth-year option, for more guaranteed money.”

James, Wade and Bosh took less money to go to a wining organization and become legitimate contenders.

Will Anthony do the same?

0
Photo: Mike Ehrmann | Getty Images

How did Manu Ginobili, Lamar Odom, Ray Allen, Jason Terry, and James Posey contribute to their NBA teams in the last decade?

The answer?

They all played the Sixth Man role and became some of the most important pieces to help their teams win an NBA Championship.

The Los Angeles Lakers have a huge opportunity offseason to negate the atrocity of this season, mired by injuries and turmoil, if they use their huge salary cap space this off-season to field a roster that can contend for another NBA Championship.

The good news? One crucial asset the Lakers must retain on their 2014-2015 team, outside of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, happens to be wearing a Lakers uniform this season.

Lakers Sixth Man Nick Young, or “Swaggy P”, has taken full advantage of his return to the City of Angels to play for the team he rooted for throughout his childhood.

Before he joined the Lakers, the 7-year NBA veteran Young fostered a negative reputation throughout the NBA as a low percentage, volume shooter who took too many difficult shots and became a defensive liability. However, Young has slammed the door shut on his critics so far this season and has become the Lakers’ MVP and a runaway winner of the “Sixth Man of the Year” award if the season concluded today and the Lakers had a winning record.

Young has lead the Lakers in scoring, averaging 17.1 PPG this season in only 28.7 MPG, including scoring 29, 31 vs. Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls this week.

Kobe Bryant and Nick Young’s Relationship

Photo: Andrew Bernstein/Getty Images
Photo: Andrew Bernstein/Getty Images

Bryant and Young each represent two completely different characters. Bryant, known as the “Black Mamba”, possesses the old-school mentality of striking for the kill every time he is out on the court and being dead serious both on and off the floor. Meanwhile, Young has become well-known for his “swagger” both on and off the floor–wearing ridiculous looking outfits and the displaying joy out on the floor.

Two different characters, yes. But they both play the same exact style of ball; both want the ball during crunch time and have no fear in taking any shots to try to lead their team to victory.

Young has mimicked Bryant as much as possible and has tried to pick up the slack of Bryant’s absence by being the go-to guy on the floor, pretending to be Bryant in pre-game interviews, debuting the Kobe IX this week against the Miami Heat, and even sporting a mini-afro that Bryant famously sported during his early years.

Also, we cannot help to notice that Young has clearly learned a few tricks from Bryant, including drawing multiple shooting fouls, something Bryant has been known for throughout his career.

Most notably, when Young took over the game vs. the Chicago Bulls on Monday, we could not help but see Bryant with a huge grin on his face watching Young frustrate the Bulls by hitting shot after shot, and drawing multiple shooting fouls, which show similarity to Bryant’s style of attack on offense.

“I think he’s the guy that gets more fouls from the 3-point line than I’ve ever seen,” Gasol said to ESPNLA’s Dave McMenamin. “It’s incredible the way he gets fouled shooting 3s. I don’t know how that happens so often. But he does it really well, and I’m happy he plays well for us.”

Many players have not taken advantage of Bryant’s no-nonsense basketball lessons and advices in the past. However, Young seems to be one of the few players that has taken full advantage of learning from one of the NBA’s greatest player of all time.

“Kobe’s been a great mentor for me, just telling me all kind of things during the game,” Young said to McMenamin. “That’s been unbelievable for me this whole year, just learning from the greatest player to play this game. “Who wouldn’t want to learn from or have Kobe in their locker room?”

Bryant has seen Young progress in front of his own eyes, and loves what he stands for as a player; most notably when he called out his teammates for not having his back after being ejected vs. the Phoenix Suns.

“He’s bringing an edge to the game. He’s bringing a competitiveness that’s been missing,” Bryant explained to the LA Daily News’s Mark Medina. “The altercation in Phoenix brought things to a head to where ‘This is not OK.’ If you’re upset about something, you need to be upset about it instead of sweeping it under the rug.”

Although Young and Bryant play with a different mindset on the court, they both show killer instinct in different ways.

What the Future Holds

Image: Stephen Dunn | Getty Images
Image: Stephen Dunn | Getty Images

Although no definitive information currently exists regarding Young’s future with the Lakers, the Lakers’ management definitely prioritizes re-signing Young to a new long-term contract.

Young will most likely opt out of his player-option for next season and seek a long-term contract this off-season. A comparison could be found in the Clippers’ Jamal Crawford‘s contract in the range of four years and $25 million.

Although I agree that inadequate coaches and locker room turmoil doomed the Lakers from competing for the NBA Championships these past two seasons, one of the main reasons for the Lakers’ recent failures has been the non-existence of a solid bench unit after Lamar Odom‘s departure.

The Lakers have now found a solution and a foundation off the bench in Swaggy P.

Nick Young will certainly help limit Bryant’s minutes on the floor and guarantee the Lakers always have a go-to-guy on the floor at all times in the future.

Although this season has been a mess, look for Young to be one of the main foundations for another push at an NBA Championship before Kobe Bryant’s career comes to a close. If the Lakers can keep Young, Gasol and acquire a superstar this off-season, the Lakers will rise back to the top before the number 24 goes up into the rafters at STAPLES Center.

How critical is it for Lakers management to re-sign Nick Young this offseason?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

0
Photo courtesy of Sam Greenwood, Getty Images

Oh that cursed third quarter. Why does basketball require four quarters anyway? Silly though such thoughts are, if the Lakers didn’t have to play beyond the second quarter, they’d be close to undefeated this season. For reasons unknown, whatever possesses them in the first half, is exorcised in the second because they are almost two completely different teams on either side of halftime.

Fans this year are careful not to get too excited when the Lakers shoot 57% and score 30+ points to start the game. With this team, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish and the Lakers are adept at the former, remedial in the latter.

The Magic came into tonight’s contest with an 11-32 record. Hard to imagine a team doing worse than the Lakers, but they’re out there and Orlando is one of them. As we’ve seen numerous times this season, however, the wins and losses of Laker opponents are no indication of their performance against the purple and gold. The Magic got the Lakers’ best in the first half, but in the end, it was Orlando heading off the floor with a 114-105 victory.

High Points
Balanced Offensive Contributions – Five players in double figures, led by two who finished with double-doubles. Pau Gasol, continuing his solid play on this road trip, finished with 21 points on 8-17 from the field, 11 rebounds, six assists, a steal and two blocks. Kendall Marshall, trying to recover from a subpar scoring game against Miami last night, chipped in 19 points on 7-14, including 5-7 from three, led the game with 14 assists and had just one turnover in almost 40 minutes of playing time. This tandem of Gasol-Marshall has been a productive one. Gasol needed a point guard to look out for him, and Marshall has acclimated to the team’s needs almost seamlessly. Aside from their consistent play, however, are the continuing contributions from Ryan Kelly (15 points, 5-8 FG, 2-3 3PT), Jodie Meeks (17 points on 7-12 FG, 3-5 3PT) and Nick Young (16 points on 6-16).
First-half turnovers – Just four turnovers for the Lakers in the first two quarters. They actually didn’t commit a single turnover in the first quarter, and didn’t get their first one until halfway into the second quarter.
Threeball – 12-22 from behind the arc, led by Marshall’s 5-7.

Low Points
Wesley Johnson – Talk about the streakiest of all streaky shooters. Johnson doesn’t just have scoring droughts in every other game. He seems to go through them in a string of games. Tonight he had just five points on 2-7 from the field.
Lead Donors – The way they’ve treated almost every advantage they get, it appears the Lakers aren’t fond of leading in games. They give them away so haphazzardly, it’s not difficult to see why they have to struggle in the final minutes. Tonight, for example, they started the second half with a 10-point lead and then, quicker than you can say “seven seconds or less,” the Magic had gained an 11-point lead which, in the fourth went up to 12.
Rebounds – The Lakerd were outrebounded 51-40. Cleaning up the glass just isn’t their priority this season.

Even despite the Lakers shooting 56% in the fourth quarter to Orlando’s 33%, they still couldn’t figure out how to take advantage and win. Their fate, like many times this season, was decided in that third quarter where they were outscored 38-25.

Box Score

0
Courtesy: Getty Images

January 24, 2014 — 4:00 PM (PST)
Amway Center, Orlando, FL
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Now suffering from a two-game losing streak, the Lakers (16-27) seek to gain a victory tonight vs. Orlando Magic (11-32) to get to .500 on this Grammy’s trip. The Lakers played well at times vs. Heat, but once again could not play good defense, allowing 109 points last night.

Pau Gasol once again performed very well and seems to be in peak shape despite all the losses the Lakers have been piling up. Gasol scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, playing very effectively from the post, shooting 9-15 in the first half. Tonight, the Lakers need to continue to run the offense through him to finish tonight’s game unlike last night when the Lakers got away from their post game.

The Magic have been playing worse than the Lakers actually, losing 12 of their last 13 games, as they continue to find the right pieced to field a competitive team 2 years after C Dwight Howard left them for the Lakers.

Former UCLA Bruin G Aaron Afflalo leads these young group of Magic, scoring 20.2 PPG, grabbing 4.5 RPG, and dishing out 3.8 APG. He has a very solid all around game, playing both ends of the floor well, and would be a very good asset for a title contending team, but not as a go-to guy.

Projected Starters

PG – Kendall Marshall / Jameer Nelson [Advantage: Even]
SG – Jodie Meeks / Aaron Afflalo [Advantage: Magic]
SF – Wesley Johnson / Victor Oladipo [Advantage: Magic]
PF – Ryan Kelly / Tobias Harris [Advantage: Magic]
C – Pau Gasol / Glen Davis [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Magic: C Kyle O’QuinnG Doron LambC Mo Harkless

Lakers: G Nick Young, G Manny Harris, F Jordan Hill

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Magic: Out-C Nikola Vucevic, Out-PG Ronnie Price

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-PG Steve Blake, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-PG Jordan Farmar

Keys for Lakers Victory

Rebounding: I know I am kicking a dead horse at this point. However, the Lakers really have to to find a Magic player to box out and then crash the boards to not allow extra possessions. The Lakers gave up 12 offensive rebounds to a Heat team which already average last in the NBA grabbing offensive rebounds per game. Momentum in a game can swing against the Lakers quickly if they allow extra possessions and have to play defense for more than one possession.

Bottom Line

Hard to believe the Lakers finally can match-up vs a team with as bad of a record as the Lakers over the last month. However, the Lakers, notably Gasol, have been playing much better in the last 4 games and need to start building multiple-game winning streaks before all of their injured guards return to the line up. Expect the Lakers to compete well tonight and get a much needed victory tonight.

Prediction

Lakers: 109-104

 

0
Photo courtesy of Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images

Except for the second quarter, the Lakers were right there, battling with the Dwade-less Miami Heat. They fell behind by as much as 16 points in the third quarter, but continued to inch their way back into contention, reducing the lead to half going into the fourth.

The Lakers outscored Miami in each of the final two quarters, getting as close as four points within the Heat. Lebron James and Chris Bosh managed to close the visitors out, however, taking the game, 109-102.

High Points
Pau Gasol – Gasol had another double-double with his 22 points on 9-15 from the field, and 11 rebounds. He also handed out four assists. It’s not a bad stat line, but Gasol should have had more chances to score from his sweet spots in the paint, rather than the rest of the team launching 25 three pointers and only converting 8. He played 21 minutes of the second half and only attempted eight shots. After a 5-7 first half, the Lakers should have exploited Gasol, especially in the fourth where he was 3-4 from the field.
Jodie Meeks – Meeks, the Mr. Consistent of this season, has shown no signs of slowing down his roll. He also scored 22 points, on 7-13 from the field, including 4-6 from behind the arc, and a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line. Late in the game, it was his three that cut the double-digit Miami lead to seven, and another which cut the lead from seven points to four.
Bench – The Laker bench hasn’t been much of a story in these long losing streaks, but tonight they outscored Miami’s reserves 38-27, led by Nick Young’s 19 points. Had the starters not named Gasol and Meeks produced more than they did, this might’ve been a different game in the end.

Low Points
Not Enough Help – In the few games they’ve won, and in the many games they’ve almost won, the Lakers’ contributions have always had a consistent balance. There are typically at least five players in double figures, and more than a couple big men with double digit rebounds. Tonight, Gasol, Meeks and Young scored 63 of the Lakers’ 102 points, but the remaining eight players who got floor time, couldn’t only muster 39 points combined. The starting front court of Wesley Johnson and Ryan Kelly, who has been playing so well of late, only chipped in 14 points combined. And Kendall Marshall, who is surely scouted carefully, only went 2-6 from the field for his six points, but did hand out 11 assists. Jordan Hill, someone who was once looked to for energy and production off the pine, scored just eight points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Free Throws – In a game that came down to the final minutes, free throws were huge and tonight, the Lakers went 13-21. They didn’t do as badly as Miami, who went just 11-23 from the charity stripe, but clanking eight free throws and then losing by seven in the end? It’s disappointing.
So Close – The Lakers have been so close to winning so many games this season. They could be at least .500 with the number of games they let get away because of one bad quarter, poor free throw shooting or a senseless lack of defense in the closing minutes. It’s not the blowout games that are disappointing. It’s these winnable games that they always have within their grasp, but can’t seem to pull together.

Two more games are left on this road trip – against the Magic tomorrow night, followed by a Sunday after at Madison Square Garden. Then the Lakers come home to meet the surging Indiana Pacers. We’re 43 games into the season, folks. Boy, is it a long way to the last game in April.

Box Score

1
Photo: Ronald Martinez | Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Despite only playing in six games this season, Los Angeles Lakers SG Kobe Bryant has been voted to represent the Western Conference in this year’s NBA All-Star Game.

Bryant, who finished with 988,884 fan votes, will appear in his 16th-straight All-Star Game–if he is healthy enough to play, of course.

Bryant, playing in his 18th season, is a 4-time All-Star MVP. The 5-time NBA champion is the only player in NBA history to be selected to 16-straight NBA All-Star games.

Despite being voted as an All-Star this season, Bryant said he does not want to play in the game, according to the LA Times’ Mike Bresnahan.

Kobe says he appreciates being voted an All-Star but “with all due respect” doesn’t want to play in the game.

Other notables: Pau Gasol finished 10th in the Western Conference front court voting with 247,323 votes.

Bryant will be joined by Stephen CurryBlake Griffin, Kevin Durant, and Kevin Love in the West’s starting lineup.

0

January 23, 2014 — 5:30 PM (PST)
American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
TV: TNT
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

The Lakers (16-26) suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss Monday night vs. Chicago Bulls after allowing a wide open layup off an inbound pass with 0.9 sec left on the game clock.

Players on the Lakers were clearly out of piosition, and we cannot decipher from our television screen whether it was the player’s fault or the coach’s fault for poor positioning.

Nevertheless, they have to move on and play the 2-time defending NBA Championships Miami Heat tonight in a nationally televised game.

The Heat have coasted through this season and have suffered a few losses versus very mediocre teams by playing down to their level. Still, the Heat seem to be destined for either of the top 2 seeds in the east and seem to only focus solely on the playoffs.

Without G Dwyane Wade‘s service tonight, the ball will mostly be in F LeBron James and F Chris Bosh will run the show tonight. James, who averages 26.2 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 6.5 APG, has dominated both ends of the floor and continues to improve every season, now shooting at a career high FG % of 58%. Unfortunately, we will not have a James vs. Bryant duel this season as G Kobe Bryant still recovers from his fractured knee.

F Chris Bosh continues to play like an all-star this season, averaging 16.7 PPG and 6.7 RPG. Without having to matchup with any legitimate post players besides C/F Pau Gasol, Bosh should score a lot tonight if he plays aggressively and continues to drive to the basket.

Meanwhile, 2 Lakers have been on a tear for the Lakers despite their roller-coaster season.

The real Pau Gasol has finally returned to the Lakers.

I know Gasol has worn the Laker uniform since 2008, but we have not seen Gasol play this dominantly since the NBA championship run from 2008-2010. It must be correlated with PG Kendall Marshall giving Gasol the ball in his sweet spot, and Gasol has played with more energy on both ends of the floor as a result. In his last 5 games, Gasol has averaged 22.0 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 3.0 APG and 1.8 BPG on 53.0% FG.

Also, we cannot forget about F Nick “Swaggy P” Young‘s dominance coming off the bench. A clear 6th man award winner and the team MVP if the season ended today, Young has scored 29 points and 31 points respectively in his last 2 games after coming off a 1-game suspension.

Projected Starters

PG – Kendall Marshall / Mario Chalmers [Advantage: Even]
SG – Jodie Meeks / Ray Allen [Advantage: Heat]
SF – Wesley Johnson / LeBron James [Advantage: Heat]
PF – Ryan Kelly / Shane Battier [Advantage: Heat]
C – Pau Gasol / Chris Bosh [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Heat: G Michael BeasleyPG Norris ColeC Greg Oden

Lakers: G Nick Young, G Manny Harris, F Jordan Hill

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Heat: Out-G Dwyane Wade

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-PG Steve Blake, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-PG Jordan Farmar

Keys for Lakers Victory

Rebounding: The Lakers absolutely have to limit the Heat to one possession and not allow offensive rebounds in order to have a chance at winning this match up. Allowing 19 offensive rebounds to the Bulls led to the Lakers’ eventual loss. Since the Heat already average last in the NBA grabbing offensive rebounds per game, the Lakers can absolutely ill-afford to let this team get extra possessions. We know when the Lakers are hot on the offensive end, they are very hot. However, the Lakers have to find a Heat player to box out and then crash the boards to not allow extra possessions.

Bottom Line

The Lakers should come out with a lot of energy tonight after 2 days of rest. However, since the Heat do not have Wade available tonight, expect the Heat to do so too. Hopefully, the Lakers play their game and do not let the Heat players intimidate them on both ends of the floor. If they keep the offensive rebounds allowed to a minimum, play good team defense, and shoot the ball well tonight, they will make tonight’s game competitive. If they do not, expect the Heat to dominate tonight at the Lakers’ expense

Prediction

Heat: 105-90

 

Social

Latest

2
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.