Monday, November 24, 2014
Blog Page 60

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Photo courtesy of Harry How, Getty Images
Photo courtesy of Harry How, Getty Images
Photo courtesy of Harry How, Getty Images

Jodie Meeks steals the ball from Luke Babbit and runs off. He tries to lay it up but gets blocked. He grabs the offensive rebound and tries to score again, but for the second time in a row, is rejected. As he fights for another rebound on the floor, he manages to hand it off to Darius Morris. After getting up off the floor, Meeks strolls to the corner and asks for the ball again so he can score from downtown.

In 16 seconds, Meeks got a steal, grabbed two offensive rebounds, attempted trio of shots and hit a three-pointer. That happened halfway through the fourth quarter when the Lakers were up by 20 points. 48 minutes of effort – that’s what Meeks’ sequence symbolized, and the Lakers were overflowing with it tonight.

Only three Lakers scored in double figures, but every player, save for Jordan Hill and the reserves who played in the last five minutes of the game, each handed out an assist. Every player who saw the floor, except for Steve Nash, grabbed a rebound. The Lakers played with something else tonight that wasn’t there against the Nuggets – joy. They were having fun out there. It’s funny what winning can produce.

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Huh?
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers starting power forward Pau Gasol was recently diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. The injury comes at a time where the team was beginning to mesh well with one another with Gasol’s return as well as star point guard Steve Nash. Plantar Fasciitis, as Eric Pincus of the LA Times reports is,

…an inflammation of a tendon within the sole of the foot. It’s a relatively common injury that can be resolved with treatment and orthotics (customized shoe inserts).

Gasol’s right foot was examined by Dr. Kenneth Jung via MRI. The Lakers list their forward/center as probable against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The only cure for Plantar fasciitis is rest, however it has been noted that having a plantar fascia tear is more bearable than dealing with the inflammation:

Recently Richard Hamilton of the Chicago Bulls tore his plantar fascia, which has him still sidelined now for almost a month. A clean tear can actually heal more easily than dealing with the ongoing pain of plantar fasciitis.

Some players are able to go all season with the ailment. Some sit for a stretch to try to alleviate the inflammation.

Most recently, star Kobe Bryant dealt with the injury back in 2004 but did not sit out any games. This is not the first injury to Gasol this season as he previously sat out for 8 games with knee tendinitis before recently returning on the 18th of December.

This injury will only further complicate Gasol’s season as he is still struggling to find a comfort level within coach MIke D’Antoni‘s offense and along side star center Dwight Howard. However with Nash leading the offense and supplying Gasol with the best looks available, whether they are in the post or three point shots, it is believed that he will play through the injury and do it well.

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Photo Credit: ESPN.GO
Photo Credit: ESPN.GO

Much like the Lakers thus far, Dwight Howard hasn’t been much of himself this season.  Recovering from back surgery last April that sidelined him for the rest of last season, Howard is still not 100% and won’t be for a couple more months.  His play this season is not what many Laker fans had expected from what they remember in Orlando.

Last night was another centerpiece for why The Lakers are frustrated with his play thus far; getting ejected after committing a flagrant 2 foul on opponent Kenneth Faried.  Here’s the foul that got Dwight ejected late in the 3rd, and more from that play can be read here.

After seeing the foul, I (like many of you) couldn’t believe he got ejected. I completely agree that it was a flagrant foul, but not a flagrant 2.  Howard had this to say regarding his foul:

It was a hard foul,” Howard said. “That’s all I know. I’ve been fouled harder than that before and nobody’s ever gotten kicked out of the game for it, but I get penalized for fouling people hard. It’s basketball.”

I absolutely agree with Howard on this one, I’ve seen much worse fouls on the court and an ejection is not given out.  I disagree with the referee’s ruling last night, and feel Howard’s foul should have been only a flagrant 1.  When asked about the foul and whether Howard deserved it, Kobe Bryant had this to say

I think it is the right call. I don’t think it was extensive enough to warrant a one-game suspension, but I believe it was a flagrant.”

Kobe didn’t side with Howard, he in fact agreed with the referees and felt the foul was worth the ejection.  However when asked if he felt it was worth a suspension, he disagreed.  Coach Mike D’Antoni when asked what it meant to lose Howard in the 3rd, said,

“Not a whole lot.”

Wow.  Not a whole lot to lose Howard in a critical point in the game.  That speaks volumes to the play of Dwight recently, and how he isn’t the impact player the Lakers need him to be just yet.  Yet being the key word.  Howard will get to full strength by the end of the season and the Lakers will need him to be playing at his full potential in order for them to make that championship run so many are anticipating.

It’s unfortunate to see Dwight getting frustrated on the court and taking it out on innocent players. Clearly he knows he isn’t where he wants to be and also where he should be. Once this injury completely heals and he regains full strength, then, and only then can we properly criticize Howard.  I strongly believe in Dwight and that he is the player that will put the Lakers over the edge in championship contention.

With the frustration growing exponentially, and Lakers fans still as impatient as ever, Howard must get his game to a peak level and become the Dwight Howard we all know he can be.

 

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Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The season of poor defense continues for the Lakers as they lose to the Denver Nuggets, 114-126. Even though Dwight Howard, the anchor of the defense, was ejected for a questionable Flagrant-2 foul early in the 3rd quarter, the Lakers were unable to match the Nuggets’ energy and hustle all night long.

The Nuggets outscored the Lakers in the paint by 20 while also getting the benefit of the whistle on more than a few occasions. Laker Nation is hoping that Coach D knows what he’s doing by not playing Devin Ebanks and Antawn Jamison more often, especially when Kobe plays 44 minutes in the game.

The star performer of the night was Kenneth Faried who embarrassed the Lakers by outhustling every man on the court for loose balls and offensive rebounds. The Lakers can’t afford to linger around the .500 mark all season, and they absolutely cannot continue to lose games to teams they are chasing in the standings. The Trailblazers come into the Staples Center looking to beat the Lakers for a second time this season; let’s see how this team responds. Here are the grades for Wednesday night’s L:

 

Steve Nash: B

When the game got close in the 4th quarter, Nash didn’t quite deliver as he did 24 hours prior against the Knicks. The Lakers looked discombobulated on offense and putrid on defense. Although Nash prefers to get others involved first, he really needs to be aggressive in trying to score because the Lakers’ shooters are very streaky and do not cut to the basket very well.

Kobe Bryant: A-

This, along with the poor defense, has become the recurring theme for the Lakers this season: the Lakers are better when Kobe shoots less, but his teammates have yet to prove to him that they can be trusted. Aside from Steve Nash, I don’t think Kobe trusts any of his teammates to make the right decision. Therefore, he reverts to trying to take over the game offensively instead of spreading the ball around and giving maximum effort on the defensive end. The Lakers need to figure out how to play effectively with Kobe as well as lower his minutes because Kobe will be needed much more during the postseason.

Metta World Peace: C

Metta is the spark plug that energizes this Lakers team on the defensive end and against the Nuggets the energy was nowhere to be found. The Lakers were slow to react and let the Nuggets grab offensive rebounds with no resistance. Though it may sound unfair, it’s up to Metta (and Jordan Hill) to bring the energy and intensity to negate teams from outhustling the Lakers.

Pau Gasol: C

It’s tough to give Pau a bad grade, but he was not up to the task of playing center once Dwight was ejected. Pau was late on his rotations and did not bother boxing anyone out for rebounds. The Nuggets drove into the lane without hesitation as soon as they realized Dwight wasn’t on the court anymore. The main reasons Pau is not on the trading block yet are because of his size and basketball IQ. When you are 7 footer who does not defend the rim, grabs a measly 6 rebounds, and gets outclassed by a guy in Kenneth Faried that is 5 inches shorter than you, you are making it very difficult for management not to make a trade.

Dwight Howard: C+

Can’t blame Dwight for getting ejected when a.) The foul did not warrant a Flagrant-2, it was a Flagrant-1 at most and b.) His teammates are constantly getting beat off the dribble and once Dwight rotates to help, nobody is rotating to his man who gets the easy put back or rebound. Still, Dwight needs to know how important every single game is for the Lakers now that they have dug themselves into such a deep hole with their sub .500 record.

Jordan Hill: B

Would’ve been nice to see J. Hill get more than 13 minutes in a game where the Lakers are getting pummeled on the offensive glass.

Chris Duhon: F

Our backup point guard played 17 minutes and tallied 2 points, 1 assist, and 0 rebounds. Please come back soon, Steve Blake.

Jodie Meeks: F

Bad shooting night for and the hustle that we normally see from his was absent as well. Guys like Jodie, Jordan, and CD need to realize that they are hustle players and need to bring the extra energy when their teammates are clearly lacking it.

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Photo courtesy Doug Pensinger, Getty Images
Photo courtesy of Doug Pensinger, Getty Images
Photo courtesy of Doug Pensinger, Getty Images

A night after a big fourth quarter comeback to beat the New York Knicks, the Lakers found themselves in a hole they couldn’t get out of tonight against the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers were down nine points after Corey Brewer hit a 3-pointer to end the third. In the fourth quarter, the Nuggets built that lead to 15 and had an answer for every Laker push.

The Lakers were shorthanded much of the second half after Dwight Howard was ejected in the third quarter for a Flagrant 2 foul on Kenneth Faried. That, along with 14 turnovers and the 20 offensive rebounds they gave up did not allow the Lakers to make a successful comeback. After cutting the Nuggets’ lead to seven with 4:38 left in the game, Metta World Peace missed a fastbreak layup that led to a Dalino Gallinari three on the other end, helping the Nuggets hold on to win the game, 126-114.

The Lakers broke down defensively on seemingly every possession as Denver found the open man. The Nuggets, who shoot 33% from three-point range on the season, shot 12-of-22 (54.5%) from downtown tonight. They also had 58 points in the paint, outscoring the Lakers by 20.

The Lakers played well offensively at times, but they couldn’t get enough stops to string together a timely comeback as they had done in the prior three games. Fourth-quarter comebacks got them wins against Charlotte, Golden State, as well as yesterday against New York. But unlike those three games, the defense never picked up in the last period and the Lakers never had a chance to get back in the game.

Kobe Bryant had 40 points and six assists to lead the Lakers. Brewer scored 27 off the bench for the Nuggets.

The Lakers fall to 14-15 and look to get back to .500 on Friday at home against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Box Score

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Photo courtesy of Victor Decolongon, Getty Images.
Photo courtesy of Victor Decolongon, Getty Images.
Photo courtesy of Victor Decolongon, Getty Images.

The Lakers may have won three games in a row before Steve Nash returned to the active roster, but they didn’t win like they did tonight or three days ago up in Oakland. When Nash went down with an injury ealier in the season, the Lakers did their best (some would say not really) to get by without him, but a different Laker team showed up in practically every game. One night, they’re blowing out the Dallas Mavericks and then in the following game, they’re losing to the Indiana Pacers. The team wasn’t exactly unraveling, but it was obvious they needed some direction; or maybe director is more like it.

Enter Steve Nash on Christmas Day, letting a floater fly and then rising up for a quick jumper to get the Lakers on the board. Some two minutes after that, he sends a pass to Pau Gasol for a midrange and then sends another his way for a rare three-pointer. That’s just typical Nash – scoring with precision or doing what he does best – setting up plays, and that’s exactly what he did today.

The last time these two teams met in the Big Apple, the Knicks owned the Lakers; but that was without Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, both who made quite the impact on today’s game. Neither team led by double figures and the lead changed on 10 occasions. It was an exciting game to celebrate the holidays, especially with the Laker win.

• Metta World Peace – MWP has been the Lakers’ MVP this season – no question about it. Kobe Bryant may be having a phenomenal season despite it being his 17th year, and Dwight Howard is the exciting new enforcer on the team, but it is Metta who consistently comes out fighting. He scored 16 of his 20 points in the first half, and then spent the second seemingly glued to Carmelo Anthony. He even got tangled up with Tyson Chandler fighting over a loose ball and ended up with a long gash across his upper arm as a result. He also added seven rebounds and a steal to his stat line. He even fouled out of the game.

• Steve Nash – 16 points on 10-12, 11 assists, six rebounds – not bad for a guy who was only playing in his second game after being out for almost two months. And it’s somewhat misleading, because Nash did so much more than his stat line reads. His presence seems to be galvanizing this team. In the last two games, the Lakers fell behind, but never gave up and that’s in large part to Nash.

• Pau Gasol – Mike D’Antoni should have arranged that dinner with Pau Gasol as soon as he got to L.A. Whatever it was the player and coach discussed over dinner a few days ago, it’s doing something right. Pau looked more engaged and confident in this game than he’s looked in the recent past (three-pointer, hello!), and his game was punctuated by an inbounds pass that he received from Nash late in the fourth quarter, and which he drove into a white open lane to the hoop for a dunk. He finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block.

• Kobe Bryant– 34 points on 14-24 from the field, five rebounds, a block and just a singular turnover. Bryant was locked into this game, and for another chance to go up against his good friend, Carmelo Anthony, no problem. This was the ninth game in a row in which Bryant scored 30+ points.

• Defense – …led by Dwight Howard. Aside from yet another double-double (14 points and 12 rebounds), Howard converted on six of his nine free throws and guarded the paint as he usually does, preventing the New York Knicks from getting too many easy baskets. The Knicks only scored 26 points in the paint on 13-31 tries, while the Lakers had a field day, scoring 46 points on 23-38 from inside the same area.

• Scoring together – The Lakers had five players in double figures.

• Turnovers – Just 12 turnovers today, a welcome sight after some inexplicably sloppy games.

LOW POINTS:

• Jodie Meeks – He played almost 22 minutes but only managed to hit one of two free throws. He went just 1-6 from the field (0-4 from downtown)

Michael Wilbon said it best during the half-time show. The Lakers look like a different team in these last couple of games. They haven’t reached their full potential yet, but they are playing with a certain spirit about them – a drive – that certainly wasn’t there before Nash’s return. That’s five wins in a row – it may not be comparable to the longer winning streaks in the league, but it’s just a positive sign that the Lakers are headed somewhere good.

And with that, all of us here at Laker Nation hope that your Holiday Season has been a joyful one!

Box Score

 

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Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

What a Merry Christmas it was at the Staples Center as the Lakers extended their winning streak to 5 games and defeat the New York Knicks. This was the second game back for Steve Nash and experts who predicted he would not make much of a difference were dead wrong. Nash has made this Lakers team gel perfectly on the offensive end as Dwight Howard is slowly getting back to his old defensive prowess.

The Lakers look to continue their strong play when the team travels to Denver on Wednesday night to face a Nuggets team seeking revenge after they got embarrassed by the Lakers less than a month ago. Dwight and Pau have been developing better chemistry while playing together which is exactly what the Lakers must have if they are going to contend for the title in June. Here are the grades for the Lakers’ Christmas W:

Steve Nash: A

Can’t say enough about the leadership and poise that Nash brings to this team. When the game is tight, Nash should have the ball and decide what the team will do instead of Kobe simply because Nash will make the best play instead of look to score. The best part is that the Nash/Howard and Nash/Gasol pick-and-roll will only get better as the season progresses.

Kobe Bryant: A-

Kobe took 10 shots in the first quarter and it seemed like he was going to get trigger happy like he did in Golden State on Saturday, but he stayed efficient and played his role well down the stretch. Kobe has now scored 30 points in 9 straight games and is quieting the doubters who believed the team could not win with Bryant scoring so many points.

Metta World Peace: A-

Even though Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points, they were some of the toughest 34 he has had to score in his career. Metta was challenging Anthony on every trip down the floor and set the tone for the Lakers early and often. After getting torched by Melo in MSG the last time these two teams played, Metta bounced back with a vintage Ron Artest defensive showcase.

Pau Gasol: B+

Solid day for Pau as he put the nail in the Knicks’ coffin with his emphatic dunk that put the Lakers up by 5 with under 10 seconds left in the game. That strong finish was exactly what Laker Nation has been begging to see more of from the Big Spaniard for the last two years. When Pau is aggressive and attacks the basket, he is a force to be reckoned with.

Dwight Howard: A-

The stat sheet won’t show it, but Dwight was awesome on the defensive end all game long. Not only did Dwight protect the rim, but he also boxed his man out right after, which has been a problem for the Lakers all season long. While Dwight did not get many shots up, he did go 6 for 9 from the free throw line and that is what he must do in order to prevent teams from trying to “Hack-a-Howard”.

Jodie Meeks: C

Tough shooting night for Jodie, but he brought the defensive intensity as usual and helped turn the game around for the Lakers in the 3rd quarter. It’s good to know that when his shot is not falling, the team can still rely on Jodie to play solid defense all game.

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phiten-smallHappy Holidays! We got wrapped up in the Christmas spirit this season and decided to team up with our friends over at Phiten to give away some great Lakers gear during today’s showdown with the Knicks.

It takes less than 30 seconds to enter for your chance to win! All you have to do is…

(1) Like Phiten on Facebook.

(2) In the comments section below, tell us the following.

(a) Who’s going to win. (ex. Lakers)
(b) Who will be the leading scorer in the game. (ex. Kobe Bryant)
(c) How many points will that leading scorer finish with. (ex. 35 points)

That’s it!

We’ll be giving away up to three (3) officially merchandised Lakers Titanium Bracelets. If nobody answers correctly, or less than three people do, we’ll be randomly giving away these prizes on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so be sure to follow us there!

Good luck, Nation, and be sure to check out Phiten’s entire NBA collection and stay up to date with them on Facebook for exclusive discounts and savings on hundreds of products!

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Every week, our staff writers chime in on the trending topics, rumors and storylines around Laker Nation. In today’s Christmas Day edition of State of the Nation, they take a look at the Lakers match up with the surprisingly hot New York Knicks, and give their best shot at telling you exactly how it’s going to go down at Staples Center on Tuesday.

 

Kobe Bryant (1) and Carmelo Anthony (2) are the top 2 scorers in the NBA this season. Who wins the scoring battle between the two on Christmas?

Anna Gonda // @AnnaLBG:

Kobe. The Mamba enjoys a good scoring battle, so I think he’s going to take it over his good friend, ‘Melo, on Christmas Day.

Alex Lambeth // @AlexLambeth:

Carmelo. Unless D’Antoni inserts Metta World Peace back into the starting lineup, Anthony should start off hot again, like he did in the previous matchup in New York.

Oren Levy // @LakersOren:

Kobe. The Mamba only needs 29 points to pass Oscar Robertson for the most points scored on Christmas day games. Coming off of 41 shots on Saturday, and 8 straight 30 point games, expect Kobe to out-duel Melo and take the crown from Big-O.

Emil Rivera // @e_double_r75:

Kobe. With Nash being back in the line up, Bryant can assert himself offensively instead of facilitate. And he remembers what happened the last time these two teams met.

Jon Gaffer // @jewelslamo:

Carmelo. In a marquee game like this, ‘Melo is going to fire away, taking twice as many shots than Kobe. I expect him to outscore Kobe by 10 or more.

Robert Benitez // @beeb0:

Kobe. With the way Kobe has been going lately, I say he gets the scoring title for tomorrow’s game. Even though I think Lakers would do better if he deferred the ball a little more, that just isn’t the Kobe we have all grown to know.

 

The Lakers will need a big contribution from _______ if they’re going to split the season series with New York.

Alik Ourfalian // @alik_o:

Metta World Peace. If he can keep up his stellar play, the Lakers can get some spark off the bench and the starters don’t have to play 40+ minutes again.

James Cypert // @JamesCypert:

Pau Gasol. If the Lakers hope to even the season series against the Knicks, they won’t look to the Black Mamba to carry them to victory. Instead, they’re going to need the help of the Black Swan, better known as Pau Gasol. Gasol has averaged 20/10 against the Knicks throughout his career, but hasn’t had such a performance all season since his 23/13 in the season opening loss to the Dallas Mavericks. If the Lakers want to take down the second best team in the Eastern Conference, they’re going to need the Pau Gasol of 0ld, and not an old Pau Gasol.

Robert Benitez // @beeb0:

Jodie Meeks. New York is a good defensive team and will likely be on the lookout for Kobe, Nash, and Dwight. Jodie could see some open looks and it’s going to be important for him to knock those down against New York’s own shooters.

Garrett Garcia // @GarrettGarcia:

Dwight Howard. The Lakers will need a big contribution from Dwight Howard. If Dwight can come up big and dominate the boards, and have a decent scoring output, the Lakers will earn a Christmas victory.

Oren Levy // @LakersOren:

Metta World Peace: The Knicks’ attack starts with Carmelo. Melo got the best of MWP in round 1, and the Knicks ran roughshod over LA. If Metta can take Carmelo out of his game, the Lakers have a much better shot of winning.

Felipe Amaral // @F_Amaral:

Dwight Howard. D12 must be active on the Pick&Roll defense and dominate the glass, not allowing Chandler to provide second chance opportunities for their shooters.

 

The Knicks and Lakers have won a combined 42 games on Christmas. Which team unwraps another Christmas Day win this year? 

Belal Abdelfattah // @Belal_A:

The Lakers get to .500 with the win. Ball movement on offense and key stops on defense give the Lakers their fifth straight and Laker fans a Merry Christmas.

Bummi Anderson // @BummiNAnderson:

The Lakers are riding a 4 game winning streak, and they’ll make it 5 straight on Christmas Day. They are primed to prove their demise is an exaggeration.

Matevz Rojc // @MatevzRojc:

The Lakers pull it off with their team work and ball movement. Carmelo Anthony doesn’t get enough help from his teammates.

Melvin Taylor // @PastPossible30:

The Lakers win due to Steve Nash fluidly moving the ball and getting everyone touches. Dwight proves to Tyson Chandler and the Knicks why he should have been defensive player of the year last season.

James Cypert // @JamesCypert:

It’s a bit difficult to pick the Lakers here since the Lakers haven’t won a Christmas Day game since 2008. That said, the Lakers are getting a bit of a match-up gift for their game against the Knicks: the Lakers, first in the NBA in rebounding, will be playing a Knicks team ranked 28th. With the Knicks out of the comfort of Madison Square Garden, expect a few less Knicks shots to fall, a few more transition baskets from the Purple & Gold, and a narrow Lakers victory to fill your stockings.

Anna Gonda // @AnnaLBG:

As bad as the Lakers have played on Christmas Day, having Steve Nash back will give them a boost, as will exacting revenge from the embarrassing loss in NYC.

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You guys remember LD2k, right? Of course you do. Here’s back with another timely Lakers video with a crazy narrative.

With a disappointing start to the season, this Lakers team is soul searching. Led by Kobe Bryant, they must rise from the darkness to reach greatness. The NBA thinks it’s safe… they are NOT.

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Photo Credit: ESPN

Around the holidays the words probable and probably are often used. For kids it’s a magical word that means they may get the toy they want; for adults it means they may get that new car they have wanted all year.  For Los Angeles Lakers fans it means that there is still a good chance for a title run after All-Star weekend, yet for Dwight Howard probably almost meant an early retirement.

The Lakers star center almost had to call it quits before going into herniated disc surgery for his back last season. As Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register and Scott Cooper of NBA.com both reported Dwight was dangerously close to hearing the words “never play basketball again“,

The doctors told him that if he kept trying to fight through the pain “for a couple weeks or a month” more and put off surgery (as Howard sort of wanted to in order to answer critics in Orlando expecting him to bail on the franchise), he might have done irreparable harm to his spine.

“If I would have waited until after the season, if I would have tried to continue to play, then I probably wouldn’t be able to play anymore,” Howard said.

Like previously stated, Dwight wanted to play to respond to his critics but had to consider his health and the longevity of his career,

“When I got hurt, I lost my whole left leg, basically, from my nerves,” he said. “That takes at least nine months to get that strength back. I was able to get some of it back in a couple of months. But it’s always a process. I wish that it would all come back right away, but this is a great time for me to work on other parts of my game that’ll make myself better and also make the team better.

At one point Dwight was willing to play through the injury but had to reconsider what the repercussions were;

“If I would have waited until after the season (to have the operation), if I would have tried to continue to play, then I probably wouldn’t be able to play anymore. I had to do it right away. I didn’t want to risk my career for some playoff games. They were important for me, but my health is important.”

Dwight made the right decision and decided to have the surgery and begin his long journey back to being in his playing shape. He has taken a lot of criticism for not being the player he was in Orlando but he does feel it coming,

“It’s really, at this point, not even my back. The injury I had caused my whole left leg to just lose all strength. My nerves were severely damaged. It takes a while for those nerves to grow back and for you to have enough strength to play. All that stuff is coming back slowly. There’s still days, like I said, where I feel really good, and there’s day when I’m not so good. But it’s all a process. I’m pretty sure at the end of the year I’ll feel a lot better than I do now.

Right now, Dwight still has a long road ahead of him to return to his dominant form. What people forget is that when he first was acquired via trade reports about his injury had him out until January and even then he would have had to still get into shape. Expectations for this Lakers team were sky high at the beginning of the season and I still believe that they can be reached but it will take time and determination from Dwight who is ultimately the backbone for the Lakers present and future.

Happy Holidays!

 

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Image Credit: Gary Kazanjian | AP
Image Credit: Gary Kazanjian | AP
Image Credit: Gary Kazanjian | AP

The Lakers’ thrilling 118-115 overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors could certainly be the turning point for a disappointing season thus far. Two-time MVP point guard Steve Nash returned to the Lakers lineup last night for the first time since suffering a left leg injury on October 31st. Although Nash’s return made an immediate impact, the reemergence of Lakers F/C Jordan Hill should not go unnoticed.

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Photo Credit: The Associated Press
Photo Credit: The Associated Press
Photo Credit: The Associated Press

It didn’t look good for the Lakers halfway through Saturday’s game in Golden State. It looked even worse after three quarters, as the Warriors turned their 8-point halftime lead to 13 going into the fourth quarter. But when the final buzzer sounded at the end of overtime, the Lakers were the ones that walked off the court celebrating their 118-115 road win.

It started when the Lakers’ reserves, led by Metta World Peace, scored 10 straight points after trailing 90-76 less than 90 seconds into the final period. Then Kobe Bryant came back into the game, received a bounce pass from Dwight Howard, and that led to a wide-open dunk, capping off the 12-0 run that cut the Warriors’ lead to two.

A Bryant three finally tied the game at 95 with 4:28 to go. The final four minutes saw 3-pointers made by Jodie Meeks, Steve Nash, and World Peace, the last of which gave the Lakers a two-point lead with 24.1 seconds left.

Jared Jack tied the game with 15 seconds left, but with a chance to win the game, Kobe couldn’t hit at the buzzer. It sent the Lakers into their first overtime game of the season.

The Lakers struck early in the extra period and took the lead for good with the help of Bryant and Nash.

In his first game back, Nash played 42 minutes and had 12 points and 9 assists. Howard started slow, sitting out much of the second and third quarters with foul trouble. Eight of his 11 points came in the fourth quarter and overtime. Bryant had 34 points on 16-of-41 shooting, bringing his streak of 30-point games to eight. The bench also stepped up with 46 points, 20 of which came from World Peace.

“We can get a lot better, but [this] is a good start,” Mike D’Antoni said.

The Lakers look to continue their 4-game winning streak on Christmas Day against the New York Knicks at Staples Center.

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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.