Friday, December 19, 2014
Blog Page 204

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Thanks Ron, non-stop hard work on defense!

O.C. Register: Lakers fans, thank Ron Artest.

Thank David Lee, Trevor Ariza’s agent, for misplaying his free-agent hand when his client would’ve rather returned for the money the Lakers then went and gave Artest.

Thank Jim Buss for, as he says, “maybe a little bit harder pushing toward Artest” than others in the Lakers’ organization.

Thank Kobe Bryant for embracing this oddball (“He’s one of my favorite teammates ever,” Bryant said) despite Artest’s inability to keep the triangle offense angled to help Bryant’s scoring.

The Lakers are done with Oklahoma City Thunder, the series finishing Friday night with the Thunder not even trying to get Kevin Durant the final shot because of how well Artest guarded him all series … and then Durant sprawling face-first to the floor in sadness upon seeing teammate Russell Westbrook miss.

In the same moment Durant went down because it was all over for him and his team, Artest bent down, too. Artest didn’t celebrate; he stooped over at the waist – as if finally realizing how much of himself he’d given up.

Utah did the Lakers a favor and knocked out budding rival Denver, meaning no Carmelo Anthony for Artest to guard next round. Neither San Antonio nor Phoenix has a formidable wing-scoring threat, either.

“I won’t play against anybody that tough,” Artest said late Friday night, his bruised left shoulder packed in ice, two more icepacks around his knees, his feet soaking in a bucket of more ice and water, the majority of his fingers mummified in tape from so many jams and sprains.

In other words, Artest just played his Western Conference championship series and won it. He won’t have to work this hard to earn his keep again until the Lakers face the other elite scorer in the league: Cleveland’s LeBron James.

Continue reading ‘Laker fans, thank Ron Artest’

12

“They’re stallions,” Kobe Bryant said of the Lakers’ first round opponents. “They broke us in that [one] game, just from their speed… and they forced us to play hard on every possession.”

Should the Lakers find themselves fortunate enough to get past the next three rounds victorious, they can thank the Oklahoma City Thunder for pushing them to their limits. In the tough Western Conference, seeding is but a technicality. Top seeds don’t prey on the bottom seeds as easily as they used to. The post-season brings out a greater ferocity from teams lucky enough to get there, and home court is an arbitrary advantage if you can’t defend it (see: Dallas and Denver, seeded 2 and 3 respectively and now both eliminated).

The Lakers did have home court advantage and they certainly defended it, but if a team cannot win on the road in the playoffs, how capable and dominating could they possibly be in attaining a title?

Last season’s Championship team had the best road record in the regular season and closed two playoff series away from the comforts of Staples Center. This season’s team was not as successful on the road and were blown out of the Ford Center in Games 3 and 4. Tonight’s predictions were divided and rightfully so, but the Lakers knew they had a chance to finish the series the right way, and to do it the first chance that they got.

For the second game in a row, the Lakers’ defense was key in getting past the quick, transition-dependent Thunder. Leading the way defensively, as he has been all series long, was Ron Artest. Despite having to wear a compression pad, Ron did not let a sore shoulder impede his ability to shut down Thunder phenom, Kevin Durant. Durant rarely had space to maneuver his shot attempts and every which way he turned, there was a purple uniform to greet him. He was 0-7 to start before hitting a three-pointer in the second quarter. Having just shot 5-23 from the field, he earned most of his 26 points from the free throw line where he made 14-15.

33

The Lakers and Jazz each eliminated their respective opponents tonight.

The Lakers defeated the Thunder 4-2 on a dramatic last-second tip in by Pau Gasol with .5 left in the game.

The Jazz knocked off the stumbling Nuggets, but perhaps the bigger news is the injury of Deron Williams (wrist). We’ll keep an eye on that.

This Sunday marks Game 1 of round 2, Lakers vs. Jazz. Tip off is at 12:30PST on ABC. Time to silence the Jazz… again!

What are your thoughts on this match up? The Lakers have knocked out the Jazz the last two playoff years; a legit rivalry in the West.

Regardless of the past, we here at TheLakersNation.com hope that Williams will be alright and ready to go come Sunday!

  • Game 1: 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Staples Center (ABC)
  • Game 2: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Staples Center (TNT)
  • Game 3: 5 p.m. Saturday in Utah (ABC)
  • Game 4: 7:30 p.m. Mon., May 10, in Utah (TNT)
  • Game 5: May 12 at Staples Center (TNT), if necessary
  • Game 6: May 14 in Utah (ESPN), if necessary
  • Game 7: May 17 at Staples Center (TNT), if necessary

6

The Los Angeles Lakers were highly upset about their performance or the lack thereof in both games in Oklahoma City, and in game five, they issued the Thunder a resounding and long overdue beat-down.

The Lakers made the necessary adjustments of finding their transition defense, the reserves combining for 32 points and eight assists as well as getting the ball inside to Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. They went back to establishing their big men inside and destroying the Thunder in the painted area. This is an advantage that is in the Lakers favor and one that the Thunder don’t have an answer for.

What might have been the series deciding adjustment of the series was Kobe Bryant asking for and receiving the assignment of defending Russell Westbrook. This move was a must due to Westbrook torching both Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar. The Purple and Gold had to put a bigger body in front of Westbrook. Kobe sacrificed his scoring in game five for the good of the team. Make no mistake the “Black Mamba” can shut down Westbrook and still score, but the reality is that he doesn’t have to score 40 for the Lakers to win when his teammates play like Champions.

The adjustment appeared to catch Westbrook and the Thunder by surprise, as evidenced by the looks on the faces of the entire Thunder bench witnessing Kobe neutralizing their young point guard and Ron Artest making things difficult for Kevin Durant.

The scary thing is that the Lakers can and will play better.

2

Tonight’s Game 6 is a possible close out. 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

12

NBA Fanhouse: Ron Artest has never won an NBA title, but he knows championship- level basketball when he sees it.

And that, the Lakers small forward said on Wednesday, is precisely what he saw in his team’s dominating Game 5 win over Oklahoma City at the Staples Center. But before the Lakers headed back to the Ford Center for Friday night’s chance to close out their first round series, the 11-year veteran who so desperately wants his first ring wondered why that sort of performance has been the exception and not the rule.

His best guess: champions are always prone to becoming too complacent.

“I guess there were times when (Michael) Jordan and (his Chicago teams) won back-to-backs (titles) and three-peats, when they won 69 games one year, then won 59 and 55 (games), (and) I guess you’ve (won) so much and you’re just waiting for the big picture (of the playoffs),” said Artest, who signed a five-year deal with the Lakers last summer to take part in this very pursuit. “But a guy like me, I don’t have much (in the way of championships) so I want to play every day hard.'”

Which is something he wishes the Lakers had done more often this season.

“We were cruising through the whole Western Conference this year, and we stayed in cruise mode,” Artest said. “And then at the end of the season, you saw that it hurt us, and then it led into the playoffs a little bit. We stayed in cruise mode. We thought we were something that we’re not. We thought we were hot, just hot stuff, but we weren’t. But we are if we play the right way.”

Continue reading ‘Artest Wants Less ‘Cruising,’ Criticism, More Defense and a Ring’

5

She could know more than we do, but one way to find out… we wait!

ESPN: It hit Lakers vice president Jeanie Buss like a load of bricks as she rode to Staples Center for Game 5 of Los Angeles’ first round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday night with Phil Jackson, her longtime boyfriend and the Lakers head coach.

With the teams tied 2-2 in this best-of-7 series and Jackson in the final year of his contract, this could have been the last time they rode to a Lakers home game together.

She doesn’t, however, think it will be the last time she rides with him to a game he’ll be coaching.

“I know Phil will be coaching next year, somewhere. Whether it’s here or someplace else I don’t know,” Buss said. “There’s going to be a lot of good jobs that come up this summer.”

Buss wouldn’t elaborate on which jobs might interest Jackson if he doesn’t extend his career with the Lakers. But she was emphatic that the choice isn’t limited to Jackson returning to the Lakers or retiring.

“I know that he can’t just retire,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Honey, what are you going to do? Are you going to help your kids go change diapers and stuff?'”

Continue reading ‘Jeanie thinks Phil will coach next year’

1

Not a surprise. Congrats to Kobe, once again…

ESPN: Just as Kobe Bryant took the reins Tuesday night to lead the Lakers in an overwhelming playoff Game 5 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, he also is showing how much clout he has in the marketplace.

Bryant’s No. 24 jersey again is the top-seller in the NBA, the league announced Wednesday. His jersey also was No. 1 in 2008-09.

The Lakers were the top team in NBA merchandise sales, as has been the case in seven of the past eight seasons.

Continue reading ‘Kobe’s jersey #1 in sales’

4

Our Los Angeles Lakers are now 18-0 in Game 5’s when the series is tied 2-2. You can now take that finger off the panic button.

David Brickley gives you extensive Game 5 post-game coverage as the Lakers beat the Thunder 111-87 to take a 3-2 series advantage.

In this episode, he discusses…

  • Lakers… are baackkkk!
  • Media acts like Lakers were down 0-3
  • History tells you your future!
  • Scott Brooks on terrible loss
  • Phil Jackson on Lakers performance
  • Kobe Bryant tells Phil he wants to guard Russell Westbrook
  • Kevin Durant on Kobe
  • A caller has a bone to pick with D-Bricks
  • D-Bricks tells a caller why he’s overreacting
  • And much more!

Music
Boom Town Rats – Staying Up All Night
Nelly – Country Grammar
Trey Songz Feat. Fabolous – Say Ahh

All post game audio courtesy of NBA TV.

Be sure to follow David Brickley and Gregory Small on Twitter.

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

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Download Link: Voice of the Nation – Episode #82

16

The young one still doesn’t believe that he’s better than Kobe. I think I speak for most, but it’s hard to dislike KD. Arash Markazi writes…

ESPN L.A.: Kevin Durant couldn’t believe what he was hearing every time he turned on the TV or radio or what he was reading every time he picked up the paper or went on the Internet.

Kobe Bryant was getting old, he was past his prime; he was finally breaking down.

“I don’t understand why people say he’s lost a step,” Durant said outside the Thunder locker room before Game 5 on Tuesday night. “He’s the greatest player in the game. There are only a couple guys who can turn it on and off like him and get 15 in a row and also get 10 assists and get their guys involved. He’s probably the best ever. You can’t say that he’s lost a step. He’s the same Kobe from a while back, maybe he’s not dunking on a lot of guys like he was back in ’01, ’02 but he’s still the same Kobe.”

As Durant talked to his teammates on the bus ride over to Staples Center, he told them there were two kinds of Kobe Bryant they were going to encounter Tuesday and both could be equally deadly in a do-or-die game as Game 5 was being billed.

“You never know what Kobe is going to do,” Durant said. “He can turn it on and off so easily. You got to be ready for him to hit 10 in a row. A guy like that can get hot at any time. [In Game 4] I thought he was going to [go off], but he kind of deferred to his teammates and tried to get everybody involved. It’s better when he tries to get everyone involved, that’s Kobe Bryant. Once he gets 12 or 13 points in the first quarter that’s the Black Mamba. We want him to be Kobe Bryant not Black Mamba. Our toughest job is stopping the Black Mamba.”

Continue reading ‘Durant definitely a believer in Bryant’

33

The starters sat on the bench in the fourth quarter.

The reserves combined for 32 points and 8 assists.

The Lakers shot 54%.

Kobe Bryant only scored 13 points on 4-9 and the Lakers still won the game.

What do the items on the list have in common? We can’t remember the last time they occurred! The Lakers reminded everyone tonight, however, that in the Department of Control and Composure, they can still run supreme. This team does not acknowledge discouragement and won’t even entertain failure; despite appearing less than their stellar selves. If someone else wanted that NBA Championship, it would have to be pried from their hands. The Thunder have tried, respectably, to do the prying, but the Lakers continue to hold their grip.

The two losses in Oklahoma City (the last one a complete beat down by the home team), was enough to send fans and media in a tizzy over the team that many thought would do some sweeping in the first round. With the series tied 2-2, that panic button was nearing its purpose… until tonight.

Like Kenny Smith said, “the playoffs are about adjustment and advancement. It’s not about winning every game.”

Tonight, the Lakers not only talked us off the ledge, they darn well pulled us into safety. Simply put, they played with an energy that the Thunder could not match; a veteran savvy that the Thunder could not duplicate; a tall order that the Thunder could not fulfill… not tonight in this arena.

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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.