Andrew is making the right choice. It will be nice to watch LO and KB do work for team USA though!
Andrew is making the right choice. It will be nice to watch LO and KB do work for team USA though!
The (40-13) Los Angeles Lakers are in Salt Lake City, Utah to face the (32-18) Jazz. The Energy Solutions Arena is a tough place to come out with a win at full strength, as evidenced by their 22-6 home record.
The Lakers won’t be at full strength for this game. The Lakers are still banged up; Andrew Bynum won’t play, Lamar missed practice due to a sore left foot, and Kobe Bryant will be a game time decision.
Kobe Bryant, like several other NBA players has dealt with a sprained ankle before, he knows his body better than anyone else, and he also knows that the team is playing for a Championship.
He has earned the right to make the call on playing tonight and in the All-Star game. However, I would like to see him sit out tonight, make an appearance at the All-Star game to fulfill his obligation of being a part of the event, run up and down the floor a few times and shut it down early in the first quarter.
This would provide him with a nice nine day break, so he will be rested and healthy for the beat down that will be administered to a certain team from Massachusetts on the 18th of February.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak sat down to talk trades and the state of the team!
Lakers.com: With the Feb. 18 trade deadline approaching steadily, we sat down with Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak to get his perspective on the current mindset of the franchise.
Kupchak offered his analysis of Ron Artest’s progress, shared his thoughts on Kobe Bryant’s similarities to Jerry West and his view of Bryant playing through injuries, and discussed whether or not the next NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement impacted his current decision making.
Below is the transcript of our conversation:
MT: Clearly this is a championship caliber team, but with the trade deadline approaching, we have the requisite question regarding whether or not you’re looking to make any minor tweaks to the roster?
Kupchak: Our team hasn’t aged significantly in one year, and the one change we made (Ron Artest – Trevor Ariza) arguably could make us a better team … we don’t know until the season is over. We’re happy going into the postseason with this group intact, but we have until the 17th to look at ways to improve the team via a trade. I don’t anticipate anything major with our core group. However, we’ll look at ways to better manage our roster. A word that is always used is ‘tweak’, you used it yourself; I don’t know how you define that, but it could be something that makes a difference. But again, I don’t anticipate any of our core players being involved in anything prior to the trade deadline.
MT: Is it fair to say that a tweak could be motivated by both on-court and salary-based considerations?
Kupchak: What we would look to do is put the organization in a better place to win, and there are a lot of ways to do that. That may mean this year, by trading a player for a player, or next year or the year after that because you better managed your salaries today and that puts you in a better position a year from now to sign a player. Everything we do is geared towards putting the organization in a better position to win, whether that’s for this year, this summer or next year, I don’t know right now. It’s hard to judge what’s going to happen in the next 12 days or so.
Interesting take from Rosen.
Fox Sports: There are several qualities that his prospective new team would require to bring out the best in Wade: Since he’s basically a slasher with a mediocre jumper, the team must be loaded with dead-on perimeter shooters. To give him the space he needs, a big man who can post up and also nail mid-range jumpers would likewise be essential.
An excellent point guard would assume some of the ball-handling responsibilities that Wade was forced to assume in Miami and allow him to move more freely in an open court (i.e. to run ahead of the ball). Plus, the new team has to be a serious contender for a championship.
Assuming that LeBron stays put, the Cavs would not be the best option for Wade, if only because LBJ is so used to dominating the ball. The Spurs shouldn’t be under consideration since their outside shooting is a continuing problem. In Orlando, Dwight Howard spends all of his time double-parked in the paint.
Denver would fill the bill. But the best fit would be the Lakers because of Kobe’s ability to knock down important jumpers, the versatility of Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom and the power of Ron Artest. All that the Lakers lack in this equation is the right kind of point guard. However, Derek Fisher makes few mistakes and, besides, by next season Jordan Farmar should be just about ready to take over most of Fisher’s minutes.
Also, Wade’s signing with the Lakers would most likely induce Phil Jackson to accept an inevitable pay cut and return to L.A. for at least another season or two.
Lamar underwent an MRI on his foot, but he will play.
Lakers BasketBlog: The injury list was longer than usual heading into Wednesday evening’s game in Salt Lake City, but after shootaround we learned from the Lakers PR staff that the following listings remain:
Lamar Odom (foot) – Probable
Kobe Bryant (ankle) – Questionable
Andrew Bynum (hip) – Doubtful
Phil Jackson suggested that Odom will start, Bryant is unlikely to play but remains a game-time decision, and Bynum will not go.
This is awesome news for Lamar! Kobe has stated he wants to play and he no doubt will!
ESPN: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant joined six others from the reigning Olympic champions who are among 27 players on the U.S. national team roster.
The players chosen Wednesday will be candidates for this summer’s world championships and the 2012 Olympics in London.
Also returning from the team that ended the Americans’ eight-year gold medal drought in major competitions are: Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer.
Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom, who played on the 2004 Olympic team, also was chosen Wednesday. The rest of the players are almost entirely young players.
Looks like KB24 will give some aid to Cannon Brown for the dunk contest!
O.C. Register: Shannon Brown wants to win the Slam Dunk contest. Or at least put on a really good show.
So the young guard has asked Kobe Bryant, winner of the 1997 contest, for ideas to incorporate into his high-flying act for Saturday’s dunk-off. He then went a step further and asked Bryant to be a part of his act.
Bryant will pass him the ball during the competition maybe even do more, such as serve as a prop.
“Everybody has been throwing me stuff and Kobe was coming up with some stuff while we were practicing out here,” Brown said. “So we got a lot of great ideas and we still got a couple more days of practice.”
Last Saturday, before we played Portland in ‘Rip City’ I read that Kobe was a no go.
As soon as I read that I knew we were going to win.
I know, I know, yeah right. But seriously, I did.
And no, I don’t think we’re better off without Kobe, or some asinine idea like that.
It’s just that I knew what Pau, Artest, Lamar, Shannon, Fish, Farmar, and etc… were capable of, and I thought that they would relish the opportunity to prove that they could win a game on their own — and they did!
I’m sure we would’ve been thrilled to just get the one victory in Portland, but then we put the hurt on San Antonio too; and I’ll be honest, I had no idea that was going to happen.
Anyway, I’m sure you all remember when I wrote about how Kobe should sit right? I pretty much got destroyed in the comment section, but its okay because I feel a bit vindicated.
Congratulations to Derek, who reaches the 1,000 games milestone.
Derek Fisher, who had started his career with the Los Angeles Lakers and helped lead them to a 3-peat and just recently championship #4 (sharing that glory with Kobe Bryant). The invaluable 6-1 guard will be reaching (possibly) the biggest milestone of his career. Tonight against his former team, the Utah Jazz, Derek Fisher will play in his 1,000th career game.
1,000 games seems forever for this 35 year old veteran as his body has suffered the effects of wear and tear over the 14 years in the NBA and its undoubted that he has left his mark in the NBA over the 1,000 games as it seems like his career is winding down.
Off the court, Derek has been more than just a player. He has been the vocal leader, sharing in his experiences, his glory & triumph and his hardships and defeat. The team has picked off and learnt from Derek and used that to help them win championship #15 for the Los Angeles Lakers.
There were many aspects that made Derek Fisher well respected around the NBA . However, one aspect of Derek Fisher that hasn’t aged and grown weary over the years is his spirit and dedication for the franchise that drafted him and he has shown his love by playing his part in rewarding them with 4 championships in his career.
There is no doubt that Derek played a huge role in his quest for his 4 championship rings and whether it was hitting a clutch shot which he has done countless times over the years (and has never been reluctant to take big shots), or whether it was getting into the grill of his teammates and telling them to tighten up on defense, his actions will be remembered for years to come and will most certainly write another chapter in the big book of the irreproachable Laker history.
It has been a long roller coaster career for Derek, none the less, it has been a great one.
The Lakers continue to be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
After a day of rest at home, Denver, their only real competition for dominance in the West, comes into their house without the league’s leading scorer and just slaps the Lakers in the face like Shaq did to Ostertag.
The very next night, the Lakers go to Portland, where they haven’t won since Smush Parker was our starting point-guard, where even Phil Jackson assumes the Lakers will lose, without Kobe, and win.
A few days later, missing Kobe and Bynum, the Lakers handle the Spurs with Ginobli, Parker and Duncan all healthy.
Kobe looks like he is enjoying his rest but his ankle has yet to say that.
O.C. Register: Bryant said he doesn’t have a problem missing a game because of an injury; that too much is made of his “warrior” mentality. He went so far as to say that if the ankle doesn’t respond to treatment, he would sit out the All-Star game.
“People make a little bit too much of that,” Bryant said. “I’m not an idiot. I’m not going to run through a wall just to run through a wall. Injury-wise, if I feel I can play through it, I will. If it can heal while I’m playing, I’ll play.
“But if it’s the type of injury that playing will make it worse, I won’t play.”
The Lakers have been playing great with the injuries, but still, no injuries would be GREAT!
L.A. Times: The injury bug stayed away from the Lakers a year ago, leaving them alone on their path to a 15th NBA championship.
Kobe Bryant played all 82 regular-season games, as did Derek Fisher and Trevor Ariza. Pau Gasol missed one game. Lamar Odom missed four.
Andrew Bynum’s knee was their only injury of note, keeping him out of 32 games, but it’s been a different story this season.
Gasol has already missed 17 games because of hamstring injuries. Ron Artest missed five games because of a concussion. Bynum has missed three games and Bryant has now missed two games because of a sprained left ankle.
The Lakers are getting nickel-and-dimed by injuries, a five-gamer here, a 10-gamer there.
“When it rains, it pours,” Odom said. “With all the games we play and how much we practice, it’s kind of bound to happen. It’s just when and who it happens to.”
Rejuvenated. Energized. Poised. That is how the Lakers played tonight against a veteran San Antonio team.
For the second game in a row without Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum, the Lakers came in with no excuses. No missing teammates would derail them from winning. No loss in scoring and defensive options would stand in their way. The Spurs had beaten them by 20 points in the last meeting, but tonight was not about revenge. Tonight, like Saturday in Portland, the goal was just to win another game.
To win how they did tonight, however, was reminiscent of a style that has been lost on this team periodically this season — Championship-caliber basketball.
The Lakers, again, played excellent team ball, with Odom, Gasol and Artest leading the charge. Together they scored 55 points, seized 34 rebounds, and handed out 15 assists, not to mention Gasol’s 5 blocks.
The frontcourt’s mission to dominate was clear early on, and their aggressiveness on both ends of the court was undeniable.
Odom, in particular, punished San Antonio all evening, doing just about everything he wanted to do; curling around his defender for a lay up, splitting double teams for an emphatic dunk, passing to a running Gasol, and fighting for rebounds.
When asked what he planned to do with Odom in the 2nd quarter, Coach Popovich thought for a second and replied, “We just have to find somebody who can defend him.” Simple enough request, difficult to execute, especially when Odom is the primary ball handler on the floor.
The (39-13) Los Angeles Lakers are back at Staples Center to host the (29-20) San Antonio Spurs. The Purple and Gold hit the hardwood at home, after bouncing back from the loss to the Denver Nuggets.
The team made a definitive statement by beating the Trailblazers in Portland without Kobe Bryant. The Lakers assertion was loud and clear that we’re still here and the road to a Championship has to make a few stops at 1111 S. Figueroa Street.
Every Lakers fan knows that the team in general is banged up as well as Kobe Bryant in particular. The question has been out there for a while, “is he going to shut it down and rest for a game or two?” The answer had to be a yes, a road win was necessary, but really wasn’t expected.
To return to the Finals, the Lakers coaching staff knows that the team will have to overcome several uphill battles and challenges. They’re stuck in the role of the hunted as opposed to the hunter. They’re going to receive everyone’s best shot and have to respond.
Facing the Blazers without Kobe in Portland was a huge hurdle cleared, but what it did was prepare the team to play without their leader if necessary, allow Ron, Pau, and Lamar to lead the team. It forced the team to come together, get everyone involved, improved the confidence of the team, and force the players to run the offense to find solid high percentage shots and not look to Kobe to save them at the end of the game.
The Lakers lost to the Spurs 105-85 on January 12th, 2009. Andrew Bynum had a 23 point, eight rebound performance, although Kobe didn’t play in the fourth quarter due to back spasms. Both Andrew and Kobe are nursing injuries and in my opinion shouldn’t play in tonight’s game.