Saturday, February 13, 2016
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Boston-loving sports columnist Bill Simmons’ had a lot to say about Kobe and the Lakers in his latest column. What do you guys think? Is Simmons’ starting to see the light?

simmonsBill on Kobe vs. Shaq:
In the book, I blamed Kobe Bryant for 2004’s breakup with Shaquille O’Neal and wrote that Shaq was a great guy. Last summer, Shaq left his fourth team on bad terms, and we heard rumors that he stole a reality-show idea from then-teammate Steve Nash. This happened right after Kobe won a non-Shaq title as the leader of the 2009 Lakers and even had a couple of successful interactions with teammates. Was Kobe less to blame than we thought? Why was Shaq on the wrong side of so many playoff sweeps and chemistry-gone-wrong situations? Could he have thrived in the Finals without a dominant sidekick like Kobe or Dwyane Wade?

Bill on Kobe:
A big theme of my book is The Secret of winning basketball, something Isiah Thomas explains to me at a topless pool in Las Vegas. (The Secret, in a nutshell: Teams only win titles when their best players forget about statistics, sublimate their own games for the greater good and put their egos on hold.) Another big theme of my book: Kobe Bryant’s inability to grasp The Secret. He wanted to win a title, but only on his terms. That’s what made him the most fascinating player of his generation. In the book, I even spend three pages comparing him to the wolf in Teen Wolf.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago: A reporter asks Kobe if he still has room to grow as a player. Kobe responds, “I do, I do. I think there’s so much more to understand. A lot of it just has to do with winning. When you first come into the league, you’re trying to prove yourself as an individual, do things to assert yourself and establish yourself. But once you’ve done that, there’s another level to the game that’s more complex than figuring out how to put up big numbers as an individual.” (That’s right, The Secret! He finally gets it! Man, I wish this were in my book.)


90041663SD003_LOS_ANGELES_LL.A. Times: Pau Gasol finally got his touches. And the rebounds kept coming too.

The Lakers forward had been unhappy with his lack of shots — eight against the Chicago Bulls, 11 against the Utah Jazz — but there were no complaints after he scored 26 points on nine-for-15 shooting Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Gasol also pulled down 22 rebounds, making his rebounds in recent games look like numbers from the “I” column in Bingo: 16-20-20 and now 22.

No wonder a reporter jokingly compared him to Bill Russell. Or maybe he wasn’t joking.

“I’m just trying to be more active and more assertive in rebounding and try to pursue the ball, not just wait for it,” said Gasol, who has a career average of 8.8 rebounds per game. “Things are working out right now, the ball is bouncing my way a couple times more than it regularly would.”

Gasol was also satisfied that he had more shots Wednesday.

“I’ve been demanding the ball a little more and getting a few more looks, so I’m able to create more,” he said.


Lakers Bucks BasketballIt wasn’t pretty but back to back road games are rough and I will take any win I can get.

This thrilling win took an extra five minutes before Kobe put it away at the buzzer. He’s game winner was a true game winner — down one… it’s win or lose.

The Lakers definitely played down to their competition tonight. They shot the ball poorly again from behind the arc and turned the ball over a lot. Kobe really stepped up his game in the second half after shooting only 3 of 9 in the first half.

The Bucks started out red hot from three point land but cooled off as they finished only 10 of 29. The Lakers were even worse hitting only 4 of 20.

Pau continues to dominate the paint with his rebounding…  he has to be around 80 boards over the past four games.

Now, the bests of the day…


Wonder what it sounded like on the Bucks broadcast? This is great! Mamba, Mamba, Mamba!

Here is the Lakers broadcast call…


kobebucksThe (19-4) Western Conference leading Lakers are in Milwaukee to face the (11-11) Bucks in the third game of a five game road trip. It was the Lakers 12th win in 13 games and allowed the team to improve to a 4-2 record on the road.

Los Angeles began a new streak by beating the Bulls as Kobe Bryant had yet another career defining moment. Not affected by a broken finger, he was on fire dropping a season-high 42 points on the Bulls. His 101st 40-point game and 1st in the house that Michael Jordan built, setting the tone early on 8-12 shooting and posting 20 points in the 1st quarter.

Kobe is averaging 28.4 points per game, but he has put up and average of 29.7 points in his last nine games against the Bucks. Bryant scored 30 points leading the Lakers to victory in their last appearance in Wisconsin. However, the Lakers have lost the previous two times playing at the Bradley Center.

The Bucks led by the #10 overall June Draft pick and budding star point guard Brandon Jennings played with a knee brace got a huge 108-101 double-overtime win over Portland on Saturday. Brandon Jennings posted a double-double scoring 18 points and handing out 11 assists in that game. He has also posted a 55-point game this season.

Milwaukee is a good young team that is 9-3 at home and on a two game winning streak.



Alright, we all know the infamous and very disturbing Tiger Woods saga. There is no need to repeat or even go into details. If you don’t know the story, just Google it. There are hundreds of articles to choose from (and no, that’s not an exaggeration).

Many athletes have come to Tiger’s defense, mainly to defend him from the press. However, very few have actually written an open letter to him. Until, our very own Ron Artest did.

Now, I’ll admit it off the bat, when I first learned that Ron Artest was joining the Lakers, I wasn’t thrilled. His stats are pretty decent, averaging 40% from the field and 70% when he’s at the free-throw line. There’s not a doubt he’s a great player and would be a valuable asset to any team. He’s a strong defender and it’s almost a guarantee there will be a few blocked shots when an opponent is trying to score against him.

But Ron, as great as he is, does come with some baggage. I’m not talking about a few suitcases. I’m talking a Boeing 747 loaded with baggage. His reputation for being combative and difficult have plagued him, both on the court and off. Oh, let us not forget the very infamous 2004 Pacers-Pistons game. Probably the first time in history where one went to basketball game and a boxing match broke out.


I found this funny note at the bottom of a Bulls recap…

ESPN: Lakers Ron Artest said he does not anticipate any trouble with Ben Wallace when Los Angeles visits Detroit on Sunday, although he wouldn’t mind fighting him on pay-per-view. He even called Wallace “a good guy” who has a “great family,” and said if they did go at it, the bout would have to be sanctioned. “It’s something that’s kinda cool and probably will never happen,” Artest said. In a recent interview with the Sporting News, Artest said he’s still ready to fight Wallace, the player who shoved him on the play that preceded the brawl with Pistons fans when Artest was with Indiana.


Lakers Bulls BasketballThe Lakers finally took care of business on the road with a win in Chicago Tuesday night.

The box score may make it seem like the Lakers won this easily, but the game was a battle to the end. It was the Lakers strong defense in the fourth that made the difference, holding the Bulls to only 14 points in the final quarter.

The Laker offense tonight mostly came from Kobe who had about 4 times as many points as the next highest Laker scorer. They only shot 46% from the field and 20% from three point land, but really made up for it with great rotations on defense. They got their hand on a lot of passes with 9 steals and held the Bulls to under 40% from the field.

It’s amazing that the Lakers were able to pull this one off on the road considering the Bulls had 14 more boards and 22 offensive rebounds tonight!

With Pau, Bynum and Odom down low, the Lakers need to do a better job of securing boards.

Now, the bests of the day…


Check out this fantastic article on the Lakers’ trainer, Gary Vitti!

Picture As the longtime trainer of the Los Angeles Lakers, Gary Vitti — who has held the job for 26 years — gets more notoriety than the franchise players of many NBA teams. He has a look — shaved head, goatee — that pops and has been a sideline staple at the Staples Center (and the Forum before that) since the team’s Showtime era. He is a trainer of celebrity and a “celebrity trainer” all in one.

As the longtime trainer of the Los Angeles Lakers, Gary Vitti — who has held the job for 26 years — gets more notoriety than the franchise players of many NBA teams. He has a look — shaved head, goatee — that pops and has been a sideline staple at the Staples Center (and the Forum before that) since the team’s Showtime era. He is a trainer of celebrity and a “celebrity trainer” all in one.

I spoke with Vitti by phone recently during a break in his day at the Lakers’ El Segundo practice facility: In your bio in the Lakers’ media guy, it says this: “On weekends, Vitti enjoys riding his Harley-Davidson through the canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains.” That’s the sort of hobby that would get a player in trouble. Is this a case of “Do as I say, not as I do?”

Gary Vitti: I guess. They don’t need me the way they need players. If I fell off my bike, the game would go on. But my wife and I were just talking about it the other day. She said, ‘You ought to sell this thing because you never use it anymore.’ I think I put about 300 miles on it last year. Because we played till June, and we’re seven-days-a-week here. I mean, every day is Monday for us. And when the season ends, the day after our last game — and that can include the championship game for us — we’re open for business. We go from seven days a week to five days a week in the offseason. So really, the only time I get to ride is Saturday or Sunday in the offseason. You count ‘em up, that’s not very many days. That doesn’t leave much time for the house you own in Settefratti, Italy. (It’s in the mountains about 60 miles southeast of Rome.) Sounds like a nice offseason retreat — if you actually get over there.

GV: Same situation. I get about three weeks vacation. I leave around mid-August — I have to be in Italy by Aug. 17 because there’s this big feast in my village that starts on the 18th. That morning, they take this Madonna out of the church and parade her up this mountain to a Roman temple that is now another church, and she visits another Madonna up there. Then I come back on Labor Day. My wife and kids love it. It’s two different apartments, 400 years old, it’s in the ‘new’ part of town: The village is over 2,000 years old. This feast I’m talking about is almost 800 years old. That place really centers me. I need those three weeks over there. Get back to my roots — my parents were born over there. I grew up in an Italian neighborhood, but my kids grew up in southern California, so it’s important for them to know they’re Italian.

Continue reading ‘Gary Vitti, Lakers’ trainer, on injuries, Magic and Jack’


paubullsThe (18-4) Los Angeles Lakers are in Chicago to play the second game of their first extended road trip of the season against the (8-14) Bulls.

Los Angeles never got into any sort of rhythm, didn’t play well or with any energy and lost to the Jazz. Utah was able to avenge a 24-point beat down that the Lakers dropped on them three days prior.

Unfortunately the loss snapped the 11-game winning streak the team was riding, but tonight’s game gives the Lakers an excellent opportunity to start a new one. A positive coming out of the loss to the Jazz was that Pau Gasol posted back-to-back 20 rebound nights.

Chicago is really struggling and the last thing this team needs right now is to face a motivated Lakers team coming off of their first loss in 12-games.

Kobe Bryant is a true warrior once again playing in a game that he really shouldn’t have played in. Kobe suited up with and was clearly affected by a broken index finger, a stomach bug and receiving IV fluids before and during the game. Bryant minus the stomach bug will play and lead the Purple and Gold again tonight.

The Bulls are a young team that wants to get out in transition to score some easy points, the Lakers need to play solid transition defense and control the tempo. They need to force the Bulls to execute their half court offense the entire night. Chicago is a perimeter-oriented team that relies on energy, activity and motion to get the job done; forcing them to be patient and play at a slower pace gives the Lakers the advantage.



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.
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