Friday, November 28, 2014
Blog Page 238

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President Obama took time out of his busy schedule to give the Lakers some props, as he reminded everybody how impressive it is that the Black Mamba is playing with a broken finger, and reminded Magic Johnson that his hometown Chicago Bulls beat the Lakers back in ’91.

The Lakers are in the midst of an eight game road trip, and the Voice of the Nation lands another interview with Lakers sideline reporter, MICHAEL EAVES, from Fox Sports Net, As he discusses the Lakers meeting President Obama, injuries, and how the rest of the Lakers need to step up and come to play every night.

The guys also dive into some of Ron Artest’s comments about Ariza, whether Kobe should be playing less minutes, the Zen Master clowning on Ron-Ron’s shoes, and they preview the rest of the road trip including a big game with rival Boston Celtics.

Music
Jay-Z – Beware Of The Boys
Jerimiah – I’m A Star
BOB – I’ll Be In The Sky
The Bar Kays – Too Hot To Stop
Kid Cudi – Day And Night
Ray Charles – Hit The Road Jack

Additional Audio
AM570 KLAC
NBA.com

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Download Link: Voice of the Nation – Episode #69

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Out of Bounds with Jason Riley

I talk an awful lot about overly emotional Lakers’ fans – primarily because I am a recovering one myself. If I were to create an F-Bomb Usage Chart that spanned the entirety of my life, it would look something like this:

Lakers Specific: 90%
Basketball Related: 7%
First Day of Wakeboarding: 1%
First Day of Snowboarding: 1%
That Time my Ex Tried to keep me from seeing my Dog: 1%

On Tuesday, I had a minor relapse, dropping a big F-You on Twitter in the direction of Lebron James’ and the Cavs. To those I offended, please accept my sincere apologies. While my anger may have been vented towards Lebron, it certainly had a lot more to do with the disappointing and deflating play of the Lakers.

Last season, a distinctly hungrier Lakers’ team met, and conquered, almost every single challenge the regular season placed in their path. Around this time, they were busy dominating a late-January road trip (6-0) that concluded with back-to-back victories over the Celtics (swept 2-0) and Cavs (swept 2-0). This year, well…

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The Lakers visited the White House and president today!

ESPN: President Barack Obama has welcomed the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers to the White House.

An avid basketball fan, Obama says no team exemplified excellence on the court more than the Lakers did last year in winning their 15th league championship.

Obama said Monday he was especially excited to meet Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who has won 10 championships, though he didn’t hesitate to remind the team that six of those victories were with Obama’s hometown Chicago Bulls.

Obama commended the players not only for their athletic achievements, but also their work off the court. The players held a fitness clinic for Washington-area school children Monday, and several players are donating money to relief efforts in Haiti.

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The Lakers couldn’t pull this one out Sunday night in Toronto. It was one of the few games since Gasol arrived in L.A. that the Lakers lost after leading after 3 quarters of play.

The Lakers had a 4 point lead with less than 2 minutes and the ball, but did not execute well late. Bad fouls, bad shots, and turnovers beat the Lakers.

It really just sucks to lose at the free-throw line. I would have also liked to see the Lakers set up a better final play rather than Kobe hoisting a long fadeway three-pointer in the final second.

Three Lakers had over 20 points tonight and Farmar came in off the bench to add 17.

The difference tonight came at the line where the Raptors shot 17 more free throws than the Lakers.

Now, the bests of the day…

4

Ron is battling some foot injuries; but plans to play through it all.

L.A. Times: The Lakers had just completed their shoot-around for tonight’s game against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre when Ron Artest sat down in a courtside seat and had both of his feet wrapped in ice.

Artest had announced on his Twitter page Saturday that he had plantar fasciiitis in his left and right foot, and now he was getting treatment so he could continue to play.

His history with the Lakers and other teams he has played on is not to complain about injuries and he was doing the same thing Sunday, even after tweeting about it the day before.

“I didn’t know what was wrong with me,” Artest said. “I’ve probably had it a lot of times in my career, but I never, ever sat out with it. I know guys who have actually sat out with sore feet, but there’s no need for me to complain about it.

“I just don’t like excuses. That’s it. No excuses. I don’t want nobody saying, ‘Oh, Ron Artest has got plantar fasciitis, so that’s why he didn’t play a good game.’ No, I didn’t play good or I didn’t do what I did because that’s just what happened. No excuses.”

Artest said as the season progresses, as long as he is diligent in getting treatment on both feet, he expects to make improvements.

“It’s gotten a lot better,” Artest said. “So that’s a good thing. I know I haven’t been about to get the [defensive] stops I want to get this year, but I feel it getting better so it’ll come back around. You just got to take care of it. Ain’t no clock.”

Continue reading ‘Lakers’ Ron Artest to play with foot injuries’

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Andrew missed the plane flight to Toronto. Here is what Phil had to say:

L.A. Times: “His bags made it to Toronto, but he didn’t,” Jackson said, smiling. “So obviously he got up and put his bags outside the door and something happened between there and the bus, like going back to sleep again, or whatever. … He’s all right. A rookie mistake you would call it, even though he’s not a rookie. There’s a standard fine for it. He paid his own plane fare.”

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The (33-10) Los Angeles Lakers are in Toronto, Canada to face the (22-22) Raptors in they’re only appearance at the Air Canada Center.

Despite battling through a long and arduous NBA season the Lakers possess the best record in the NBA. As nice as that sounds, the fact of the matter is that it is a little misleading in the sense that at the half-way mark of the season the Lakers aren’t playing their best basketball, the defense has improved, but their offense has suffered. Make no mistake the Lakers will play better in the second half of the season as the team gets healthy.

There are several league-wide discussions about if the trade that brought Ron Artest to the Lakers has helped or hurt the team, if Kobe playing through his injuries as opposed to sitting out is helping or hurting the team. If the Lakers weren’t dealing with any injuries at all and were out-scoring and out-rebounding everyone; some people in the media would still find something else about the team they didn’t like.

Lakers fans realize that this could be attributed to several different reasons such as injuries, rebounding and consistent scoring from the reserves. Kobe Bryant continues to answer the bell, maintaining a 28-point scoring average playing with multiple injuries while still leading by example. It is way pastime for all of his teammates to step their game up.

The Lakers are a rhythm team, but as Kobe stated recently, “Guys have to get going, Pau’s got to get going, Andrew has got to get going”. The Lakers need balanced scoring; veterans Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom have to consistently have an impact on the game as well as be aggressive, and take high percentage shots that will increase their point totals.

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L.A. Times: Now for the losers, er, Lakers . . .

Unhappily — or not — for the defending champions, they can’t go unbeaten on their East Coast trip as they did last season with wins in Boston and Cleveland, after which they congratulated themselves and went on cruise control the rest of the way.

The Cavaliers, the upstarts who upended them again last week, have an ongoing case of “Stick-it-to-The-Man-eosis,” like the kids in “School of Rock.”

The Lakers are The Man, having overcome an ongoing case of “What-us-worry-eosis” that recurred in last spring’s second-round debacle against Houston, when Trevor Ariza noted, “We thought we could win on sheer talent.”

Dismayed by losing to the Cavaliers, Kobe Bryant questioned his teammates’ toughness, but it’s even more basic.

Pau Gasol was, is, and will always be a finesse player — or as it’s called after big losses, “soft”– but the Lakers are bigger than the Cavaliers.

Shaquille O’Neal is a massive presence but no Bill Laimbeer-type menace. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is as physical as Gasol.

After that, it’s Anderson Varejao, a major energy guy, versus Ron Artest, who has taken on entire arenas.

Continue reading ‘What the Lakers lack is energy’

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Their defense has improved, but their offense may be down a bit. None the less, the Lakers hold the league’s best record!

NBA.com: At 33-10, the Los Angeles Lakers have the best record in the NBA. Though there have been some bumps in the road, they’ve seemingly picked up where they left off in June.

But this Laker team is a little different than the one that won the 2009 NBA championship. They’ve taken another step forward defensively and currently rank as the third-best defensive team in the league and the second-best defensive team that Kobe Bryant has been a part of (behind the 1999-00 Lakers).

Conversely, this is one of the worst offensive teams that the Lakers have had during Bryant’s career. They currently rank 10th in the league, scoring 105.9 points per 100 possessions, just 1.9 points above the league average. Three other Lakers teams have been worse relative to the league, but none have been ranked lower offensively.

When you think about how stacked with talent this Lakers team is, it can be hard to believe that they’re worse offensively than teams like the Raptors, Blazers, or Grizzlies. You’ve got Bryant, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom running the vaunted triangle and you’re barely a top 10 offense?

Of course, we’re nitpicking here a little. The bottom line is that L.A. is currently in line to have home-court advantage through the Finals. And with Pau Gasol now healthy and Mo Williams now injured, they should be able to put more distance between themselves and the Cavaliers.

But a look at the Lakers’ 10 losses, two of them against those Cavs and seven against possible playoff opponents in the West, reveals that offense has certainly been a problem this season. They’ve failed to score a point per possession in seven of their 10 losses.

Less than 24 hours after his team shot just 39 percent from the field in Cleveland, Phil Jackson admitted that the offense is a concern, and pointed at shot selection as part of the problem.

“We’ve talked about that consistently over the last two or three weeks,” Jackson said Friday. “We have people taking shots from positions they probably shouldn’t take shots [from]. We’re not executing quite the way we’d like to execute, in getting the ball in positions to where we’re most comfortable.”

Continue reading ‘NBA.com: Lakers not living up to high offensive standards’

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The Lakers continued their road trip Friday night in a back-to-back in New York.

The many Laker fans in attendance got a treat in a game that went back and forth until the fourth quarter when the Lakers clamped down on defense finally and hit many big shots. The Lakers fourth quarter effort tonight was just enough as they hung on for a 115-105 victory.

Every Laker starter hit double figures, both Farmar and Brown had 9 off the bench. As a team, the Lakers shot over 50% from both the field and three-point line.

It was a clean game with only 14 turnovers combined from both teams and very little interior defense as the bigs from both teams dominated the game.

Kobe and Pau also had 23 of the final 31 for the Lakers tonight.

Now, the bests of the day…

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UPDATE: Pau dropped 20 points against the Knicks!

Twitter: Since Gasol finished with 20 points, that’s $20,000 to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

This is a very cool thing Pau is doing tonight. Thanks to Kevin Ding’s twitter…

Twitter: Pau Gasol donating $1,000 to Haiti relief for every point he scores tonight vs. Knicks.

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The (32-10) Los Angeles Lakers are in New York to face the (17-24) Knicks.

The Lakers arrive after losing a game that started out great; was there for the taking, but the result was not matching the intensity of their opponent, by allowing the Cavaliers to be more physical, literally push them around and the Lakers not executing down the stretch.

The sad reality of the Cleveland game was that it was very close and if the Lakers did a better job of rebounding and knocked down their free throws; our Lakers would have walked away with a close win. That’s two games against the Cavaliers as well as two games that the Lakers frontline was neutralized. The Lakers need to learn from the two games against Cleveland and make the necessary adjustments.

The last two Laker games have been against two (Magic and Cavaliers) of the better teams in the NBA, but the Knicks aren’t there yet, although they’re still a dangerous opponent.

The style of play that the Knicks run will not surprise Lakers fans and to steal a Hollywood phrase it will remind you of a movie you’ve seen before. The old adage that the sequel is never as good as the original applies here. The Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni ran the same up-tempo system with more success in Phoenix.

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Andrew Bynum for Harris? That wouldn’t help us.

BenMaller.com: Andrew Bynum hasn’t made enough progress this season to keep Lakers executives happy. Bynum has been such a disappointment, he’s been made available on the trading block, two different Eastern Conference sources confirmed to me this week.

While Bynum’s overall numbers are pretty good (15 ppg 8.4ppg, but he’s been far too quiet most nights. Bynum has also struggled to perform along side talented teammate Pau Gasol.

A source confirmed to me this week that the Lakers have taken Bynum’s name off the untouchable list and would deal him for a player that they feel will give them the best chance to win another championship this season.

Peter Vecsey tossed out Raptors star Chris Bosh’s name last week. This is a longshot but I’m told told Bosh loves the idea of playing in Los Angeles.

A person in the know tossed out the idea of a blockbuster trade that would send Andrew Bynum back to his home state of New Jersey. In a multi-player deal the Lakers would end up with Brook Lopez and Devin Harris of the Nets.

Lopez is averaging 19 ppg and 9.6 rpg for the Nets this season and would give the Lakers another dominant inside presence and more toughness.

As good as Pau Gasol can be, he’s the last guy you want to have the basketball late in games for the Lakers…

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Chris Kaman doesn’t believe Pau Gasol is neither an All-Star or a center. Umm… what?

NBA FanHouse: The battle of Los Angeles might just have heated up for the next time the Lakers and Clippers meet.

Clippers center Chris Kaman said in an interview with FanHouse after Thursday’s 105-85 loss to Denver that Lakers big man Pau Gasol doesn’t deserve to be in the All-Star Game.

“I don’t think Gasol should be in it at all,” Kaman said when asked if he would be disappointed if Gasol, who starts at power forward for the Lakers, is slid over to be the backup center when West coaches vote for All-Star reserves. “He’s only played like 20 games (he played Thursday in his 25th out of 42 Lakers games) this year. I think there should be a number of games you should play. I think you should have to play like 80 percent of the games.

“It shouldn’t be 50 percent (of games a player has logged) over a guy who plays 90 percent and who has better numbers. Not just me. Zach Randolph, a power forward, he has better numbers (than Gasol). But he’s not on the Lakers.”

Gasol is averaging 16.8 points and 11.1 rebounds to 20.4 points and 9.2 rebounds for Kaman, who has played in 38 of 42 games. Randolph is averaging 20.8 points and 11.5 rebounds while having played in all 41 games. But Kaman does not believe it would be fair to slide Randolph over to center because he starts at power forward for Memphis.

“I don’t think he’s a center,” Kaman said.

Continue reading ‘Kaman Says Gasol Not All-Star Worthy?’

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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.