Monday, December 29, 2014
Blog Page 201

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It has been a long three days without a Laker game; so long that we fans have subjected ourselves to cheering for (gulp) the Boston Celtics. In our defense, there were reasons for this momentary lapse in judgment…

  1. The Celtics are the only team left in the Eastern Conference over which the Lakers would have home court advantage should they reach the NBA Finals again.
  2. Kobe Bryant loyalists have wanted to see the demise of the player who receives the utmost reverence and privilege despite accomplishing little, while our 4-time champion has defied age and injury but receives nothing but doubt.

LeBron James — the mere mention of his name can drive a faithful Laker fan insane. We are tired of every call that we feel he does not deserve to get in his favor. We see his images shown more prominently in advertisements than our superstar and we feel robbed. We remember every pass he has been given for disrespectful behavior and know that Kobe’s character would have been shredded if that behavior had been his. We think it’s unfair that people have crowned Kobe’s heir when he’s clearly not ready to abdicate his throne. The new guy has no idea what it takes, we say. He doesn’t know what Kobe has been through to get to where he is today.

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Lakers Examiner: Just before the playoffs started, dedicated Boston sports junkie and ESPN writer Bill Simmons wrote an article about some of the things he knew were going to happen in this year’s NBA Playoffs.

One of those things was this: “I know the Celtics are going to lose in Round 1.”

Among other reasons, Simmons noted the Celtics’ “glazed, “As soon as we get eliminated, we get to start summer vacation, right?” look on their face.”

Well it appears as if the Celtics aren’t eager to start that summer vacation any time soon, as they just eliminated the devastated Cleveland Cavaliers from the playoffs to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Despite the fact that the Phoenix Suns will probably put up a good fight against the Lakers, you have to think that the Lakers will eventually make it to the Finals for the third straight year. The Lakers have already played both the Orlando Magic and the Celtics in the NBA Finals, so the question becomes…

Continue reading ‘Question for Lakers fans: Celtics or Magic?’

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See Cavs fans, us Laker fans aren’t the only ones that see it this way.

NBC Sports: Toying with the city of Cleveland’s fragile psyche, calling the NBA’s reigning MVP “LeGone” James would just be piling on, rubbing in salt. Besides, that would be predicated on LeBron first being somewhere.

For all the numbers, for all the surreal passes and forays above the rim, the most breathtaking young player in the game is still at base camp in the legacy game. LeBron is gazing longingly toward the top of the mountain, where Kobe Bryant is about to plant a flag.

After consecutive MVP awards, let’s look at the resume that matters: Rings? Zilch. NBA Finals wins? In his lone appearance three years ago, bupkis; four and out to the San Antonio Spurs.

And to put a bow on what might soon become a seven-year career of unfulfilled championship promise, LeBron’s Cavaliers, the best team in pro basketball this season, are one game from bowing out in the second round against essentially three old guys with knee braces who Rajon Rondo found at the Dorchester Y.

At 25, LeBron is in danger of becoming the NBA’s Alex Ovechkin — heavenly regular season, hellish playoff finale.

We’re all witnesses, all right — witnesses to Phil Knight’s Great American Hyperbole Machine, where we sop up commercials as reality.

Witness to 3 for 14 in front of your home crowd.

Witness to passivity, flat-out in-game apathy, unbecoming a player of LeBron’s Hall of Fame caliber.

Continue reading ‘Kobe vs. LeBron: There’s no comparison’

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Lakers Examiner: What a difference two weeks makes. On Saturday, April 24, the Los Angeles Lakers were embarrassed by the Oklahoma City Thunder, 110-89 in game four of their first round playoff series.

The ensuing banter was apocalyptic: “The Lakers are done!” “They just don’t have the heart!” “Kobe’s not himself, he doesn’t have it anymore!”

Fast forward to last night, May 10, when the Lakers dominated the Utah Jazz, 111-96, to complete the second round sweep and solidify their sixth straight victory. The Lakers clicked on all cylinders against the Jazz (Ron Artest bombing threes…and actually making them for a change), using their size and length advantage to its fullest.

The ensuing banter has shifted dramatically: “The Lakers are just more talented than anyone else!” “Kobe’s got the magic back…best player in the league!” “I don’t see anyone who can beat this team!”

Don’t get me wrong, I had some of those same thoughts while watching the Lakers’ nearly flawless performance against the Jazz, and the word “sweep” even came into my mind when I thought about the upcoming series with the Phoenix Suns.

But then I put down the Kool-Aid and snapped out of it. If you asked any Laker fan who they would NOT want to see in the Western Conference Finals, it was probably the San Antonio Spurs. Something about that team, a veteran, well-coached machine with winning playoff experience, just gives the Lakers a hard time.

Continue reading ‘Suns series will test Lakers… and their fans’

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“People made Kobe mad. People owe him an apology,” Deron Williams said from his post-game podium visit. “I heard Chuck (Charles Barkley) say he was getting old, and he wouldn’t be able to do the same things he could do… and he pretty much did them.”

Chuck and everyone who doubted Kobe Bryant owes him an apology all right, especially after he scored 32 points on 11-23 shooting this evening, marking his fifth 30-point game in a row going back to Game 6 against Oklahoma City.

With a chance to sweep this series and enjoy a week’s worth of rest before the first game of the Western Conference Finals, you can bet Bryant didn’t entertain the idea of missing out on a possible week’s worth of rest before the next round. Thankfully, his teammates felt the same.

The Lakers looked determined to play the cleaning crew tonight. Sweep… Sweep… Sweep. Home game, away game — it hasn’t mattered to this Lakers team since they came out of their first round battle with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Since that Game 6 victory, they’ve been locked and loaded. The unfortunate victims this time around were the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz, despite a good start and various runs in this game and throughout the series, simply could not paint the Lakers into a corner.

“They’re just a better team. There’s no other way to put it,” Jazz point man, Deron Williams said. “If it’s not one guy beating you, it’s the next guy stepping up the next night and I think that’s what separates them.”

“They got everything you could want,” Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan said.

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The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Utah Jazz in a lop sided Game 4 to sweep the playoff series against the Utah Jazz and to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the third consecutive year. This is the first time in 2 years that the Lakers swept an opponent in the playoffs since sweeping the Denver Nuggets in Round 1 of the 2008 playoffs.

However, theres more. Everyone knows that Jerry Sloan has been around for a while and there is no denying that he is a great coach. But in that long career this sweep marked the first time that Jerry Sloan got swept in a playoff matchup.

A week from now, the Lakers take on the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 at the STAPLES Centre.

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The Lakers beat the Jazz and took a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. The win was way too close for comfort for the Lakers Nation, but a win is a win and we’ll all take it. The lead changed only once in the first-half and then 21 times in a ridiculous second half. They will again go into the cleaning business and complete the sweep of the Utah Jazz tonight.

The Lakers won the first two games by dominating the painted area and game three ironically from behind the arc. The Jazz have pushed the Lakers in every game, but the Lakers had their wake-up call against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Another way to look at this series, would be messages sent and messages received.

Phil Jackson called out Lamar Odom in the first round series and he responded. Jackson recently called out Ron Artest and he also responded, although it appears to be time to call Odom out again. Artest played his best game as a Laker on Saturday night and was big on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. Jackson stated that it would happen and Artest came through as expected.

Tonight the Lakers will be all business, they need to establish Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the painted area and allow them to go to work.

The Lakers cannot allow the Jazz to take away their post game and size advantage with double-teaming and defensive rotations. Although the Jazz did everything right; played their best game of the series and still came up short. Their window of opportunity has closed. The Lakers are excellent in closeout games and tonight game won’t change that fact.

The playoffs are all about adjustments, but the Jazz are all out of options. The Jazz have the unenviable task of picking their poison tonight. They can attempt to stop the Lakers from dominating them on the interior or attempt to stop the them from beating them from the perimeter.

1

The Lakers are one win away from sending the Jazz fans home with their Kobe cut-outs for the season.

G-Small and D-Bricks review the Lakers riveting Game 3 victory, and look forward to the 4th and final game of the series before moving on to the Phoenix Suns!

Audio
G-Small – Light’s Out
Ele e Ela – Marcos Valle
Warren G – Super Soul Sis

All post-game audio courtesy of NBA.com!

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Download Link: Voice of the Nation – Episode #86

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This is… odd. Sloan made a questionable anology about Kobe.

ESPN: “He draws so much attention,” Sloan said Sunday. “You give too much help, somebody else is open. If you don’t give enough help, he’s got what he wants; kind of like Miss America. She gets what she wants.”

Kobe and Phil heard it, too.

ESPN: The Miss America comparison raised Bryant’s eyebrows Sunday and caught the attention of Lakers coach Phil Jackson after shoot-around Monday. “I think Jerry calling Kobe Miss America and comparing him to that is a message,” Jackson said. “That is something we will look at.”

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Tonight, we’re looking at a 4 game sweep of the Utah Jazz. We did this during the last round, and we’ll do it again — for all of you who are superstitious, you’re welcome. In typical Phil Jackson fashion, the team will be watching the following clip from 1992’s Glengarry Glen Ross, as they do before every close out game. Lets finish this off and go onto the next one. Warning: Explicit Language

Do we close? We’ll find out tonight…

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Machine: status = potential active boot!

O.C. Register: Sasha Vujacic practiced Sunday for the first time since suffering a sprained left ankle in the regular-season finale and said he could return to the lineup for the Western Conference Finals next week.

“We’re up 3-0 (against Utah in the semifinals), so I’m not even going to consider coming back now,” Vujacic said. “The team is playing well right now, so I will wait.”

Vujacic said it was difficult to watch his teammates take 29 3-point attempts in the Lakers’ 111-110 Game 3 victory and not one of them came from him. He was averaging 30.9 percent shooting from the arc when he got hurt.

“You have to add 10 more when I’m in there,” he said.

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Kobe Bryant is obviously the MVP of the Lakers and is arguably the best player in the NBA. His  been carrying the Lakers in the past few games, by either taking up the scoring load or assuring the Lakers a victory. However, who is the Lakers next MVP, which player is needed for every game? Some argue that it’s Pau Gasol, Lamar Andrew, or even Ron Artest. But one thing is understood, there is no clear-cut winner.

The first candidate is a 7  foot center from Spain, Pau Gasol. Most people agree that Gasol is the Lakers 2nd best player, but is he the 2nd most valuable player? He helped bring the Lakers to the promise land last year, and this year, Gasol has averaged 18.3 ppg and 11.3 rpg. Based on his stats, he’s had a more productive regular season than his front-court colleague Andrew Bynum.

Gasol has also stepped in this postseason, by averaging 18.7 ppg and 13 rpg. Not to mention saving the day in Game 6 of the first round, when he tipped in the game winning shot. He will most likely never win a league MVP, but is he your Lakers MVP?

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Usually here at the Lakers Nation, we do “2nd Look” for game winners (let’s get real, Kobe Bryant clips) and dunks. But today, we’d like to give a “2nd Look” at the closing minute of last night’s ah-mazing game…

Here’s the last 6.1 seconds of the game. After the cut… And I still think Fisher was fouled in that steal. Whatever.

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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.