Friday, December 19, 2014
Blog Page 209

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The last game of the regular season… finally!

Ever since the Lakers received their Championship rings before the season opener, the only thing that seemed to be on everyone’s minds was getting another one. There were high expectations for this defending championship team, as should have been. Lofty goals of record-breaking wins, establishing dominance through an uber-talented roster and keeping that Larry O’Brien trophy in Los Angeles were posed, and no one — not the fans, media, or even their opponents expected anything less.

A lot can happen, good and bad, to a team in an 82-game season, however, and the defending champions were no exception.

Tonight’s game against the Clippers could have ended the regular season on a much higher note. Instead, it was an evening filled with every obstacle (most self-inflicted), that has plagued the Lakers all season — stagnant ball movement and refusal to run offensive sets (Lakers “out-assisted” by the Clippers 31-20), inconsistent outside shooting (4-11 from downtown), dulled free throw capabilities (19-28), turnovers (14), and injury (Sasha Vujacic’s sprained ankle now added to the long list of battle wounds the team has or is facing).

It is quite a grocery list of negativity, and the Lakers have three days to correct all their wrongs.

There were, however, some positives from this evening’s relatively pointless game. Shannon Brown, after having one of his most efficient games against Sacramento last night, put in 39 minutes of burn to produce 18 points on 7-14 shooting, five rebounds and three assists. With Jordan Farmar appearing for only the final 1.3 seconds of the first half due to a strained hamstring that needed no further aggravation, and Sasha nursing a new injury, Shannon and Fish were it for the Lakers backcourt. If Shannon can provide this type of effort in the playoffs, the team is that much better.

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Not good news at all.

Twitter: SEVERE ankle sprain diagnosed for Sasha. He will be out for quite a long time – Kevin Ding

Twitter: Officially, Sasha Vujacic suffered a “severe left ankle sprain” and will obviously not return. X-rays negative for a fracture – Mike Truddell

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The best news of the day was hearing that the legendary Chick Hearn will finally have a statue outside the Staples Center.

The (57-24) Lakers face the (28-53) Clippers in their season finale donning their road jerseys. Technically it is a road game for the Lakers, but come on, it’s the Staples Center and we all know who owns this house. You can call this the battle of Los Angeles or a game between the owner and their tenant, both apply here.

As great as it is having a road game without actually hitting the road, the Lakers can’t look past this team or provide this team with any reason to celebrate.

The fact of the matter is, that tonight’s match up is the 82nd game of the year; a Lakers win in conjunction with an Orlando loss and the Purple and Gold will possess the second best record in the league.

The Clippers are a few hours away from having serious discussions about whom to select in the lottery, whilst the Lakers are making plans for the post-season.

The 2010 NBA Playoffs will be memorable with every participant in the Western Conference being a 50-win team. Despite the fact that the Western Conference is loaded with talented teams. However in the end, the only team I’m concerned with is the Los Angeles Lakers!

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Chick Hearn statue will be unveiled at STAPLES Center prior to Game. 2 of the Lakers/Thunder series. Truly deserving!

ESPN: A statue of former Lakers announcer Chick Hearn will be unveiled next week in front of Staples Center prior to Game 2 of the team’s first-round playoff series, sources close to the team told ESPNLosAngeles.com late Tuesday.

The likeness of Hearn, voice of the Lakers for 42 years until his death in 2002, will be seated at a table wearing headphones and appearing to speak into a microphone. The work of art includes an empty seat next to him for fans who want to pose as his analyst.

“I feel so wonderful about this,” said Marge Hearn, his wife for nearly 64 years. “This is the best thing that can happen to someone in their whole life. How many people get a statue? It’s a shame he didn’t get to see it. And even if he did, he wouldn’t believe it.”

Hearn, more than Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant or anybody else who ever wore purple and gold, is rightfully credited with turning the Lakers into the most popular team in town thanks to his colorful and passionate broadcasts on radio and television. Included in Hearn’s career behind the Lakers microphone was a string of 3,338 straight broadcasts.

His statue, commissioned by the Lakers franchise, will now join those of Johnson, the Kings’ Wayne Gretzky and boxer Oscar De La Hoya on Staples Center’s Walk of Fame.

The public is invited to the dedication, which will begin around 4 p.m. Because the NBA playoff schedule hasn’t been announced, the day of the actual ceremony is still in doubt but will be presumably Tuesday or Wednesday in the Lakers’ series with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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It will be a tough series cause they are young and will expose our point guard problems.

O.C. Register: The worst thing any playoff-qualifying team can feel is like a success based on regular-season overachievement.

When it gets hard in the playoffs, as it assuredly will, that sense of satisfaction morphs into the grim reaper. The fleeting, subconscious thought: “It has been a great season,” means a sigh gets exhaled when teeth absolutely need to be gritted to survive.

Maybe – just maybe – if a team is experienced enough to guard against human nature, then the damage from such a letdown can be somewhat mitigated.

Except the Oklahoma City Thunder is the NBA’syoungest team.

Not the youngest playoff team. The youngest team.

So it’ll be over fast, a trap door suddenly opening under the Thunder’s currently happy but toddler-sized feet.

The Lakers will sweep the Thunder.

Serious basketball pundits everywhere are questioning the Lakers. Local Chicken Littles are running around and nervously glancing up at the sky. Those two worlds have collided and resulted in yolk falling on the heads of Ron Artest and DJ Mbenga.

Nevertheless, the Lakers have nothing to fear for now. Long, lean Kevin Durant will turn out to be the longest straw the Lakers could’ve draw. The defending NBA champs will even get plenty of time to rest their boo-boos and improve in practice before having to be truly playoff-ready in the second round.

Continue reading ‘Unsteady Lakers will sweep Thunder’

10

The last time the Sacramento Kings visited Staples Center, they had played their hearts out against the defending champions; and only until the last few seconds of the game did those same hearts turn cold, frozen by the buzzer-beating game winner off the hands of the cold-blooded, Kobe Bryant.

Tonight there would be no last second heroics for the Lakers and certainly no moral victories for the Kings. Tonight, there would not even be a Kobe Bryant on the court. Tonight was all about getting another game closer to the real season of the NBA — the playoffs.

Starting in Kobe’s place in the line-up was Shannon Brown. In his 6th start of the season, Shannon played more than admirably in his captain’s shoes. He shot 3-7 from downtown, showed off his improvement from mid-range, intercepted and then scored from an inbounds pass, and found open lanes in which to taxi and take off for his signature dunk. Shooting 10-19, he finished with 24 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block and zero turnovers.

Also filling in for Kobe’s absence at the 2-guard was Sasha Vujacic, who has not been this active since the last win in Utah. Sasha chased down rebounds, defensive and offensive, hit one buzzer-beating three to end the first quarter, and rebounded then faded away for 2 points to end the third. He defended Omri Casspi closely, providing his opponent little space in which to maneuver. Casspi finished with just four points on 2-11 while his defender for most of the evening. In the end, Sasha finished with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal.

Though Pau Gasol did finish with another efficient game, collecting 28 points on 13-15 shooting (that’s 87%!), 8 rebounds and 3 assists; and although Lamar Odom put in another double-digit rebound with 10 and added 4 assists, the story this evening, pleasantly shocking, was the Laker bench.

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All games start to count this weekend, and Laker fans are hoping a switch is flipped.

David Brickley and Gregory Small discuss the state of the Lakers, and their expectations on the Voice of the Nation #78!

In this edition of Voice of the Nation we discuss…

  • Kobe Bryant sits the rest of regular season
  • Kobe on missed freethrows against Portland Trailblazers
  • Lakers not gaining momentum
  • Latest on Andrew Bynum
  • Top Lakers Moment Championship round REVEALED (Final 2)
  • Preview of the NBA Playoffs

Be sure to follow G-Small and D-Bricks on Twitter!

Audio
Outkast – Caroline
Pharell – Baby
Nirvina – Smells Like Teen Spirit
Mission Impossible – Main Theme

Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, and Phil Jackson Audio provided by ABC 7.

Top Lakers Moment Audio courtesy of NBC and FSN.

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Download Link: Voice of the Nation – Episode #78

Top Lakers Moment: The Championship after the cut…

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Just what we needed around playoff time!

Update

Twitter: Lakers update Jordan Farmar’s (strained hamstring) status – He now could possibly play tomorrow night against the Clippers.

____________________

Twitter: Farmar has left hamstring strain and will not play tomorrow night. Not good vs. Russell Westbrook – Kevin Ding

Twitter: Jordan Farmar strained his left hamstring early in the 2nd quarter and will not return tonight OR play tomorrow night – Mike Truddell

16

Rest was supposed to be the answer.

Kobe just had dead legs, nothing that a little time off couldn’t cure.

He was supposed to play Sunday — against a marquee match up in Brandon Roy — and dominate like we are used to seeing ‘The Black Mamba’ do.

Nope.

He looked old, slow, and stiff.

Mark Jackson said that Kobe needed more rest; that the Lakers should shut him down for the season.

I agree. Phil Jackson definitely need to shut down Kobe.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s going to help.

4

Great news! Good to see he is making progress in his recovery. We need him for the undersized Thunder in the playoffs.

Lakers.com: The last update we had on Andrew Bynum came from Denver on Thursday, when he suggested that he most likely would not play in L.A.’s final two regular season games, but would almost certainly play in the Lakers’ first playoff game.

Bynum confirmed as much after Monday’s practice, during which he ran on one of the team’s machines with 30 pounds of weight on his back.

“It worked fine,” he said. “There was no pain. Tomorrow, (I’ll) run a little bit further, put a little more weight on.”

Bynum’s primary concern isn’t for his left Achilles tendon, but on his game shape and conditioning, which he recognizes will take a bit of time to return. He’s already missed 11 games due to the injury.

The 22-year-old center hopes to resume basketball activities on Wednesday, the day of L.A.’s final regular season game, which would give him several days of practice before the team’s first playoff game.

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Looks like it will be Lakers/Thunder in 1st round.

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LakersBasketBlog: The Lakers found out a few days early whom they’ll play in the first round of the playoffs: the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Heading into Monday night’s NBA action, San Antonio, Portland and Oklahoma City were positioned in a three-way tie with identical 49-31 records and two games to play, the loser of which would draw L.A.

As it turned out, San Antonio easily beat Minnesota 133-111, while Portland went on a late run at home to defeat Oklahoma City 103-95 and lock the Thunder into the No. 8 seed.

OKC can still finish with the same record as San Antonio and Portland if both of those teams lose and the Thunder win their final contest, but both Portland and San Antonio hold the season tiebreaker against Oklahoma City (both went 3-1 vs. Durant and Co.).

Continue reading ‘Lakers to Face Oklahoma City in Round 1′

0

In less than a week, the Lakers will officially begin their quest for back-to-back Championships. It’s time to get geared up for the NBA playoffs, and for a limited time, you’ll get free shipping on your order of $75 or more. Here are some of our favorite items:

18

Is effort and a desire to succeed the way to win games? For an answer just ask the Lakers… the 2008-’09 Lakers. As the 2010 NBA Playoffs approach the Lakers are struggling and unfortunately no Laker fan can hide the fact that the team’s performance is troublesome, to the point where their repeat chances are looking slim.

As teams like the Mavericks and Magic are rolling, and the Cavalers have already locked up the best record; the Lakers are showing complete lack of intensity.

The Mavericks have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games while the Magic have gone 8-2, and also took over the lead for second best record in the NBA. And as for the Lakers, they have gone 4 and 6 in their last ten, losing to team like the Hornets, Spurs at home, and to the Blazers; after a let down in the fourth. Not to mention, beating the Timberwolves by only 11 points; without their star power forward.

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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.