Saturday, December 20, 2014
Blog Page 205

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Gotta admit, his been playing ah-mazing these pass few games. But will it continue? Sound-off!

L.A. Times: If things had continued to go badly for the Lakers on Tuesday night in Staples Center, here’s the really bad news, they would have Ron Artest under contract for four more years.

They still do, of course, but today everyone in town feels better, every player a hero, the Lakers monsters once again with Artest standing out, but only because he chose to fit in.

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The Lakers trip to Oklahoma City didn’t go as planned. The Lakers had game three in hand, before letting a great opportunity to go up 3-0 in this series slip away and in game four, they were literally ran out of the gym. The only statistics that you need to know about game four was that the Thunder outscored the Lakers 24-2 on fastbreak points and had 48 free throw attempts to the Lakers 28.

I’m not buying the “Lakers backs are against the wall” talk, both teams have done what they are supposed to do and won at home. There is reason for concern, but it isn’t time to panic. This is a tough match up for a Lakers team battling a series of injuries against a talented young team that possesses the leading scorer in the NBA and plays tough defense.

Make no mistake, tonight’s game is a ‘must win’ game for the Lakers. This is now a 3-game series with the Lakers still holding the home court advantage. The Lakers Nation needs to be extremely loud to help push this team to victory. The Lakers have to play hard, focus, be aggressive, and play with a sense of urgency. The Lakers individually and as a team have to answer the question “What are you prepared to do?”

The Lakers are in need of making adjustments, starting with being introduced to their transition defense. They have been given several open jump shots that they need to knock down. However, the Purple and Gold have settled for entirely too many jump shots and three-point shots as opposed to taking the ball to the basket and getting to the free throw line. They aren’t getting any easy baskets or getting out in transition themselves.

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The five time NBA champion, and former Laker is calling out seemingly ever player not named Kobe Bryant. Justified? Yes. Will Lamar, Ron, and Jordan show up during today’s pivotal Game 5? We’re a few hours from finding out.

LA Times: Ron Harper has called out the Lakers all the way from his home in New Jersey.

Harper specifically called out Ron Artest, Lamar Odom and Jordan Farmar, wondering when they are going to “show up” for the Lakers in the Western Conference first-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harper feels as if he still has ties, and allegiance, to the Lakers, with whom he won his last two NBA titles in 2000 and 2001.

He won those rings with Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher and Brian Shaw, now an assistant with the Lakers. Harper won five NBA championships total, all for Coach Phil Jackson, including three in Chicago.

Game 5 is Tuesday and Harper has plenty of questions for the Lakers in a best-of-seven series that’s tied at 2-2.

“Who is going to show up for L.A. in Game 5? They need somebody besides Kobe,” he said. “And I ain’t talking about the offensive end. I’m talking about on defense.”

Continue reading

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Urban Dictionary: bandwagoner — In sports, someone who shamelessly cheers for a particular team not because he likes them or follows them faithfully, but only because that particular team is the “popular” choice or has been or is the top team in their specific sport recently. When that team which bandwagoners follow falls from grace, they gleefully jump on the next team’s bandwagon and cheer for that team.

Example: All Lakers fans are bandwagoners, ALL OF THEM, except maybe Jack Nicholson.

Bandwagon fans exist in every sport… EVERY sport. Whether you became a “die-hard” Celtics fan in 2008, or a “die-hard” Yankees fan last season, or yes, even a “die-hard” Lakers fan last year. Your days and seasons are numbered because, quite simply, loyalty is an ever-evolving concept to you. You remember only the good and easy times, but never flinched or worried when the seasons became rough and the future of “your team” unknown.

Don’t claim the “die-hard” title unless you can remember what it felt like when your team was the dysfunctional black sheep of that league, your best player the laughing stock of the city. Die-hard Laker fans know ourselves well.

Bandwagon fans remember Kobe Bryant’s 81 points against Toronto and Derek Fisher’s 0.4 shot against San Antonio. Real fans remember the panic and disappointment when Kobe wanted to be traded, and we felt loss when Derek Fisher left for Golden State. Bandwagon fans remember the three-peat championship Lakers, but quickly cast the team aside after that Game 6 romping against Boston. Real fans waited… waited… and waited some more between that could’ve been title in Detroit and the 15th Championship in 2009.

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Great article from Kevin Ding.

O.C. Register: It was two days before the Lakers’ regular-season opener that Sasha Vujacic (and Maria Sharapova) enjoyed the U2 concert at the Rose Bowl.

It’s now six months later, and the Lakers – sing along with Bono, if you know the lyrics – still haven’t found what they’re looking for.

For such a complacent, skilled, defending-champion team, the Lakers still haven’t found that elusive quality that drives greatness much further than talent does.

Fearlessness.

The reason that the Oklahoma City Thunder has seemed so overwhelming is not because they’ve been winning more. This series is very much tied, 2-2. But the eighth-seeded Thunder has what the top-seeded Lakers want.

Oklahoma City has been fearless. Refreshingly, spectacularly, charmingly fearless.

And in so being, the Thunder has revealed just how much fear the Lakers are toting around as they try not to lose the championship they still hold.

Continue reading ‘Above all, the thing the Lakers need is…’

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The sky is falling in Los Angeles; or does it just appear that way? In this special Lakers edition of Basketball Taboo (Episode #7), Manning and Riley discuss the state of the Lake Show:

  • Is Kobe morphing from cyborg to human?
  • Does a Game 5 loss spell the end of the Kobe-led Lakers era?
  • Are the refs swinging this series in the favor of Oak City?

The guys also share their predictions for Game 5, and a refrain from examining the rest of the 2010 NBA Playoffs, something they promise to do in a second edition later this week.

Co-Host: Chris Manning
Co-Host: Jason Riley
The Voice: Sharla Pair

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

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Download Link: Basketball Taboo – Episode #7

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Lakers Examiner: Let’s play a game. Read the quote below and try to fill in the blanks:

The ______ keep surprising everyone but themselves, and now they’ve got a chance to pull off the ultimate stunner: knocking out the Los Angeles Lakers. The scrappy, undermanned _____ pushed the Lakers to the limit in their series with a decisive victory…

If you’re a Laker fan and you penciled in “Oklahoma City Thunder,” congratulations! You’ve officially hit the panic button!

The quote actually comes from an ESPN.com recap of Game 6 of last year’s Western Conference semifinals matchup with the Houston Rockets. The Rockets, who saw their only offensive force, Yao Ming, go down in Game 3 with a broken left foot, gave the Lakers all they could handle in the series.

For those of you that don’t remember, Game 6 against Houston was an embarrassment for the Lakers. They were out-hustled, out-played, out-everythinged, as the Rockets built up an 18-point halftime lead and never looked back. Here’s what Kobe Bryant had to say after the Game 6 loss:

“We just didn’t start the game off the way we should have. We didn’t execute right. They jumped on top of us.”

The series made experts question whether the Lakers truly had what it takes to win the NBA Championship, and many counted them out.

Sound familiar?

Continue reading ‘Before you panic, remember the Houston series’

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If there’s one thing I know about Lakers fans, its that when things are bad — half our fan base is either overly confident, or overly unconfident. There is no in-between. Here’s a Game 5 video made by one of the confident ones. Video credit to Lakers fan/mixmaker, SILO.

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That was disgusting…

Yet, David Brickley and Gregory Small will dive into Lakers Talk and discuss what went wrong as the Thunder waxed the Lakers from start to finish in Game 4.

In this episode, the fellas discuss…

  • Worst playoff loss since the 39 point beating in Game 6 of 2008 NBA Finals
  • Kobe’s game management
  • Artest continues to struggle offensively
  • Phil Jackson on the  free throw discrepancy
  • Thunder’s confidence (Durant on destiny)
  • A Caller is extremely upset with G-Small
  • A Game 5 preview
  • And much more!

Music
Obie Trice – Don’t Come Down
T.I. Feat Jamie Foxx – Live In The Sky
Amerie – One Thing

All post game audio courtesy of NBA TV.

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

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Download Link: Voice of the Nation – Episode #81

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A must read article by Roland Lazenby. The harsh reality of age hitting Kobe.

HoopsHype: Larry Bird spent his later years in the NBA battling heel spurs and a bad back, the price he paid for the all-out way he played the game.

For Magic Johnson, the end came with an embarrassing loss in the 1991 NBA Finals, followed a few months later by the stunning revelation that he was HIV positive. His later attempts at a comeback were hard to watch.

Jerry West fought through an array of injuries to finally help his Los Angeles Lakers to a championship in 1972 after the team had failed in seven previous trips to the NBA Finals. Two seasons later West found himself tangled in a contract dispute with Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke, so he played one final furious exhibition game and retired in a bitter huff. He then filed a lawsuit against the team for which he had played his entire career.

Michael Jordan was thought to be the one who would finally leave the game on his own terms. He defeated the Utah Jazz with a killer shot in the 1998 NBA Finals to win a sixth championship for the Chicago Bulls. It all seemed so perfect until he gave in to weakness and attempted a comeback with the Washington Wizards three years later that produced two miserably lost seasons. That failed effort was rewarded by an ugly scene in which Jordan was fired as an executive by Washington owner Abe Pollin.

Pro basketball’s select few — its greatest competitors — have all reached the heights of fame and glory only to find themselves staring at a harsh reality — their youth is gone, having been spent in an seemingly endless, dizzying cycle of games and practices, a blur of physically challenging seasons, punctuated by summers that were far too brief and much too busy.

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It is hard to believe how much the “top seed” Los Angeles Lakers can miss playing in Staples Center. I understand the Oklahoma City Thunder can play extremely well at home, but I never realized how badly they can beat the Lakers, especially during an NBA Playoff game.

The Lakers entered Game 2 with momentum and looked to essentially lock up the series by going up 3-0. The first half was won by the Lakers 50-43; that defensive urgency was present and the effort was paying off. The Thunder were shooting only 32%, but as usual, the Lakers slipped and the Thunder capitalized. The game was eventually lost 101-96 and defense was our Achilles’ heel.

Some said the Thunder crowd was a factor in the game, however, no NBA champion should let a crowd affect their play. The two losses this series have come from the defensive let down by the Lakers. “We have to play with better effort. We have to play better as a unit.” Ron on the Lakers in Game 2. “We needed to get some stops as a unit and we didn’t. They had some good momentum going. They just woke up. They were asleep for a minute, but they woke up. They just took advantage.”

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Smart but greedy move from Shannon!

Fan House: Shannon Brown said it would “make a lot of sense” to opt out of his contract this summer due to the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement soon to expire. But the Lakers guard will reserve any final judgment until after the playoffs.

Brown last summer signed a two-year, $4.148 million deal using the biannual exception. He’s making $1.99 million this season and has a player option worth $2.149 million for next season.

The general assumption is that Brown will opt out and seek a new deal because it remains to be seen what the NBA landscape will be when the current collective bargaining agreement expires June 30, 2011, and there could be a lockout. So is the assumption correct it would make sense for Brown to opt out?

“It would definitely make a lot of sense with how my contract is,” Brown said in an interview with FanHouse before Saturday’s Game 4 of a West first-round series against Oklahoma City. “It would make a lot of sense. But I’m going to play the rest of these games out and then think about it then.”

One thing is for sure. Brown, who said his contract situation is in “the back of my mind,” said he wants to remain next season with the Lakers.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “I don’t want to go nowhere. I definitely want to stay here.”

Continue reading ‘Shannon says ‘Opting out makes a lot of sense”

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ESPN: At the time last summer when Kevin Durant suggested the Oklahoma City Thunder should be shooting for the playoffs this season, it was considered an outlandish statement.

But look at them now.

Durant scored 22 points, Russell Westbrook added 18 points and eight rebounds, and the Thunder evened the first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers with a 110-89 victory in Game 4 on Saturday night.

“A lot of people didn’t expect us to be here and once we got here, people were saying we were going to get swept and a lot of different things,” Durant said. “We knew what we were capable of and how hard we play every day and how hard we practice every day.

“With those attributes, I think that we can go far as a team. It’s all on us. We control our own destiny at this point.”

For the second straight game, the Thunder capitalized on a significant edge at the foul line and on the boards despite the presence of the Lakers’ 7-foot tandem of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.

Oklahoma City never trailed after the opening 5 minutes and led by double digits for the final three quarters in a thorough dismantling.

Continue reading ‘Thunderous victory over Lakers ties series’

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There’s not a lot to say about this… other than maybe this guy reminds us our very own Kam Pashai. Enjoy this video, we cracked up. You crazy Lakers fans, you. Which one of you is this dude?

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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.