Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Blog Page 71

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Photo Courtesy of Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

After a 0-3 start, the Los Angeles Lakers earned their first win of the season as they drubbed the also win-less Detroit Pistons at Staples Center 108-79.  Dwight Howard had 28 points on 12-14 shooting.  Kobe Bryant added 15 points and 8 assists.  The Lakers offense looked as if it found it’s mojo.  The defense was swarming and overwhelmed Detroit, making them shoot 35% from the field.  And everyone was saying that the Lakers looked to have turned the corner and were on their way to putting together a winning streak.

Someone forgot to tell this to the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz, having an identical season record to the Lakers, let it be known from tip-off that they were going to be the team walking out victorious as they dropped the Lakers to 1-4 with a 95-86 win.  This isn’t the dominant, championship calibar start that a team casting the likes of Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol was supposed to get off to.  This was a team built to run over any and all comers that dared come across the Purple and Gold and bring the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Tinsel Town.  Instead, Los Angeles most beloved team sits in the cellar of the Western Conference.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

When it was first announced that Antawan Jamison was coming to Los Angeles, a lot of fans were excited, and with good reason. In his previous stints in Golden State (1998-2003), Dallas (03-04), Washington (04-09, 09-10), and Cleveland (09-10, 10-12), he was a solid, veteran leader who remainded professional, even in some losing situations. His coming to the Lakers franchise meant that they would have a go-to scorer off the bench who could average between 15-17 points/game.

Jamison, in his previous 14 seasons, has posted averages of 19 points and 5 rebounds per game. However, so far this season, he has had quite the struggle getting adjusted to his new teammates and, ironically enough, the Princeton offense, a system he flourished in during his stay in Washington.

“I know the spots I need to be at, but you can’t just have one guy that knows where to be.  You have to be on a string offensively.”

While fans and critics have been hard on him, they haven’t been the toughest so far:

“It’s my kids, my mom,” Jamison said. “The coaches, they know what they want me to do. Coach has tried to get me on the box a little bit more in the past game or two. It’s going to take time.”

This season, Jamison has averaged 4/4 in just over 16 minutes per game. This isn’t the production that everyone was hoping for, but Jamison has remained level-headed about the slow start.

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(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Somewhere Andrew Bynum is chuckling and slapping his surgically repaired knees.

Just a few games into the season and fans are wishing David Stern had blocked the Steve Nash deal.

The offense is looking more junior college than Ivy League, and the only thing that’s consistent is their inability to defend point guards.
This truly is the worst Lakers team of all-time.

When you can play with your starting back-court on NBA Live ’98 for Sega Genesis, and your two best bench players are named Antwan and Jodie, you’re in trouble.
Twitter followers are beginning to call for the removal of Mike Brown at a rate that mirrors the rise of the Tea-Party in 2010. Thus far the reserves have been so anemic, it is glaring that the Lakers were robbed by relinquishing Josh McRoberts to the Orlando Magic.

Jerry Buss is actually happy that a majority of people can’t watch these Lakers games. The executives at Time Warner must have hired consultants from Solyndra when they decided to pay mega-bucks for this pathetic mess.

You’d have to reach back 34 years to find a Lakers team that started 0-3. But the 2012-2013 installment has joined history, putting to rest early any speculation about matching or eclipsing the Chicago Bulls 72-10 record.

Even Chucky Atkins and the 34-48 hapless 2005 Lakers got one out of the first three. This team is so bad that people are speculating Tim Leiweke foresaw this coming and decided to sell AEG.

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Photo by: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America

The Los Angeles Lakers started the 2011-12 season with Devin Ebanks at the starting small forward position, which was a surprising move to many people since it meant that the former defensive player of the year, Metta World Peace, would be demoted to the bench. The idea was to get World Peace more involved in the offense, which was obviously a hard thing to do as a starter while sharing the court with names like Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, back then.

Coming from the bench, MWP was to be mainly responsible for scoring points in the second unit, which was briefly nicknamed as the “Peace Squad”. Instead, Metta’s awful performance offensively to start the season, which lasted until late in the NBA calendar, squashed head coach Mike Brown’s idea prematurely and Peace was quickly inserted back in the starting lineup.

A year after, coach Brown might be turning to the same direction once again. As reported by the L.A. Times, World Peace will likely be used as a backup shooting guard in the upcoming games, which would give Devin Ebanks more minutes with the starting group.

Throughout the first five games of the regular season, it’s pretty clear that Peace is one of the last options, if not the last, in the starting lineup’s offensive scheme, averaging 8.5 field goals attempted per night. But, differently from last year’s initial contests, Metta is being more effective and reliable with the balls on his hands, with a 44% of field goals made and 32% from beyond the three point line.

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Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea, US Presswire

I’m glad Metta World Peace is the starting power forward for the Los Angeles Lakers. I mean, can you imagine if he was the starting shooting guard? The PA announcer: at shooting guard from St. John’s University, Metta. World. Peace. It is as bizarre writing it as it is saying it. In a surprising move yesterday as reported by the LA Times, Lakers’ head coach, Mike Brown, revealed that Metta World Peace will get minutes behind Kobe Bryant at the shooting guard position.

Really, Mike Brown!? Do you really want to remain the head coach of the most popular franchise in all of professional sports or are you trying to sabotage yourself? I love Metta.

He is one of my favorite Lakers, but giving him any minutes at shooting guard is an accident waiting to happen. Yes, Metta (aka Ron-Ron) is in the best shape in recent memory. And yes, he scored 18 points Sunday night in L.A.’s first win of the season, but to play MWP at SG over Jodie Meeks is a head scratcher. Metta was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise terrible exhibition season as his offense was consistently good, but why waste him at shooting guard when he does so much at the power forward position?

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Photo courtesy of Jed Jacobson | Getty Images

Both the Lakers and the Jazz entered tonight’s game with a 1-3 record, and the team who wanted to avoid 1-4 more got the victory. After earning their first win this season against the Detroit Pistons, the Lakers could have been that team that wanted the 2-3 record. It, in fact, should have been of their own expectations to build on the positives that Sunday’s win produced – energy and activity on both ends of the floor, good ball movement, efficient scoring, a collective team win. Unfortunately, the Lakers’ short-term memory has contributed to their demise.

They forgot that Kobe Bryant’s 40-point effort against the Clippers yielded a loss for the lack of contributions from his teammates, and practically forced him, into tonight’s 29 points. They forgot that they’re averaging 20+ turnovers a contest and that their fewest turnover game has been their sole victory thus far. They forgot that they have two skilled big men who are adept at scoring and passing by, instead going 4-23 from behind the arc (To be fair, one of the big men himself forgot this too. How else can Pau Gasol explain his 5-point, 7-rebound in 36 minutes effort tonight?).

The Lakers are a work in progress – yes. This has been established…repeatedly. But if they’re not moving forward, they’re either moving backward or caught in a terrible stalemate. Their play, in almost every aspect of the game tonight, looked nothing like their effort just one game ago. One step forward, two steps back.

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Photo Credit: The Truth Sports

The All Star Game is what fans and players everywhere look forward to season after season.  It marks the midway point in the NBA season, and gives the fans the opportunity to see the games current best players go at it, East vs. West.

The voting system has been the same ever since the game’s inception, with fans being able to choose the players they want to see represent their region.  Fans were allowed to choose the starting five positions: a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and a center.  However, this year for the 2013 All Star Game the voting has changed up a bit, and instead of voting for all five starting positions, fans now can only vote in three front court players, while leaving the back court the way it used to be.  This takes out the center position from the ballot and Dwight Howard had some words about it:

We work just as hard as anybody else. I don’t think it’s fair to take away a position which has been here for life. You need a center on the court. So I don’t think it’s right. That’s like taking away a guard.”

The center position has certainly changed since basketball was a young sport, with new centers now being more versatile and able to accomplish more on the court.  Howard, of course, is a very hard working center, and he feels his position deserves its own spot on the ballot as it always has been. Centers now don’t have to be chosen for the All Star Game, and one team could be represented by three power forwards in the front court, or a combination of that and small forwards.  Read more about it here.

The NBA has likely chosen this path because of the “lack of real centers” that are left in the NBA, and Howard had something to say about that as well:

The game changes every day, It changes every year. You look at the game back then and now, centers are bigger, stronger, faster. Guards are bigger, stronger, faster. So the game evolves. That doesn’t mean you take out a position because of the game evolving, because the players that play center are evolving also.”

So with the All Star Game this year changing up its original ballot, will you be voting differently?  I personally disagree with the new ballot system and would prefer, like Howard, to go back to the old system.  I feel centers are a very integral part of basketball as a whole and they need to be a part of the ballot again.  Centers can be very underrated and while the NBA doesn’t have too many “true centers” in the game, doesn’t mean that the position has disappeared, it only means it has changed for the better of the game.

The All Star game is a mere three months away, and already there is opposition to the voting change, will there be less votes this year? More?  Only time will tell, give me your thoughts on the rule change, are you for or against it?

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After last Friday’s loss to the Clippers, guard Steve Blake was fined $25,000 for bad language directed towards a fan on the sidelines. On Wednesday, Steve was able to meet the fan and his father, who is the longtime ticket holder Steve Jackson, at the Lakers practice facility.

“We got a chance to speak and talk about the situation,” said Blake. “I just let him know that I was sorry for the way I acted. I didn’t handle myself the way I wanted to. We were able to talk and hopefully build a relationship off of that.”

Blake, typically known as a reserved guy, is one of the very last players on this Lakers squad you would expect to engage a fan in trash talk during a game. We wouldn’t be surprised if this is the very last time we see anything like this from Blake.

 

 

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

As the losses have piled up to start the season (1-3, and 0-8 in the preseason), the most commonly used phrases you’re hearing from these Lakers are: “It’s a process”, and “that will take time.” Anxious fans are told to relax, for the team will figure it out in time. But is that really even true at all? Does it take time for great teams to come together?

When you look back through recent Laker history, along with what other superteams have done, history seems to suggest otherwise.

In Feburary 2008, Pau Gasol came to join the Lakers, a team running the “complex” triangle offense. In his first game he dropped 24 and 12 in a Laker win on the road. That team went 27-9 to finish the season and went all the way to the NBA Finals in year one. There was no “process” of integrating Pau. The team gelled with their new all-star right away.

If you want to keep digging in the history books, the Lakers other super-team didn’t take long to figure it out either.

Karl Malone and Gary Payton joined Kobe and Shaq in 2004. That team started 18-3, despite Payton’s issues adjusting to the triangle, Kobe’s legal issues, and beef with Shaq. They performed immediately, and just like the ’08 Lakers, went to the NBA Finals in year one. It’s impossible not to point out that since the arrival of Phil Jackson, L.A. have never had trouble getting stars to gel (at least on the court).

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Dwight Howard, making his way back from surgery, shows why he is one if not the best center in the league.
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

There you have it Laker Nation, the monkey is finally off our backs. After three cruddy performances, we have our first victory of the season. The team that showed up to play Sunday evening at Staples Center was nothing short of impressive. Granted, we did play a mediocre Detroit Piston team, but a win is a win. This was the Laker team that was suppose to roll through the preseason, the team that was going to dismantle a Dirk-less Dallas Mavericks team opening night, the team that was suppose to strike fear in the heart of the league.

The way this Lakers team played in the 108-79 rout of the Pistons, I am not sure the Monstars from Space Jam would stand a chance… okay, let me calm down and not get too ahead of myself.

If you are looking for what went wrong the first three games, it is pretty much spelled out in the box scores. The Lakers allowed the Mavs, Trailblazers, and Clippers to all shoot better than 45% from the field and the combined turnover ratio for these games was not in our favor, 58 to 35. Although turnovers were not as big as a factor in the Dallas game, missing 19 free throws proved enough to cost us the W.

Being that it is the start of the season, teams should have a little rust and not scoring at will. That is unless you slack your first three games in all aspects of your defense as the Lakers did. We looked slow, boggled on both ends of the floor, and simply flat as a unit. This should not be the case when you have the highest payroll in the NBA.

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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.