Thursday, December 18, 2014
Blog Page 73

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Photo by | Getty Images

The Lakers recently released a press release with an update on the injury to Steve Nash:

Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash was examined by team doctor Steve Lombardo and had an MRI exam. Results of the MRI showed a small non-displaced fracture in the head of his fibula (left leg).

The injury occurred in the second quarter of Wednesday night’s game in Portland against the Trail Blazers. Nash is expected to be out a minimum of a week. He will be re-examined and an update on his condition will be given at that time.

The Lakers started Steve Blake in place of Nash in Friday’s game against the Clippers.

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Photo Credit: AP Photo/Gus Ruelas

Here we are, three games into the regular season and nothing going like we expected. An 0-3 record, one we haven’t had since 1978. An offense that doesn’t seem to be working despite a starting lineup resembling an All-Star team. Mediocre defense that has given up 100+ points in two of the three games. A starter already benched due to injury… Who would’ve thought?

We expected this team to come out from day one and dominate. A star-strutted roster assured us we could take down anyone in the league. Some deemed us the best team in the league before they ever saw the team in action. There were talks of breaking the Bulls’ 72-10 record.

But three games in, and everyone seems to be in panic mode.

Keep in mind that this Lakers team consists of only seven returning players from last season. Training camp began in October, so our current roster has been together for a month now. It’s true they played eight preseason games, but preseason basketball comes nowhere near the regular season in terms of intensity and competition. Add the fact that Dwight Howard sat out most of the preseason and barely began participating in contact drills during practice, and you’ll see that players have had little time playing with one another, building chemistry, and learning how their teammates operate.

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Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Kobe’s 40 points wasn’t enough to get the Lakers a much needed first win against the Clippers last night. For the season, the Lakers fall to 0-3 while the Clippers improve to 2-0. Nobody thought they would be saying that before the season started. The Lakers are now 0-3 for the first time in 34 years. To give that some perspective, Jimmy Carter was president, The movie Grease had just come out, and gas was 63 cents a gallon. So is it time to hit the panic button?

The real problem here seems to lie in the play the Lakers are getting, or perhaps not getting, from the bench. Nothing could make that more apparent than looking across the hall to our counterparts last night. The Clippers bench runs quite deep, something that showed easily as they were able to outscore our bench 46-16.

Against Portland, our bench managed to outscore their opponent by a whopping 15-13 margin, while in the season opener our bench was outscored 37-17. The fact that in three games our bench is yet to put up 20 points is kind of scary. Jamal Crawford put up 21 points against us alone last night. I should note that Steve Blake was forced to start last night, but that doesn’t make me feel any more comfortable about the situation.

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Photo Courtesy of Drunksportsguys.com

Raising three teenage boys, I’ve witnessed many altercations and fights. My oldest son has usually been the biggest and strongest while my youngest son has, for the most part, been what I call a runt. Over the years I’ve seen my oldest son have his way with my youngest.  But genetics has a sense of humor and there are times, such as with my boys, that eventually, little brother grows to become bigger and stronger than big brother. 

We just may see this unfold come Friday evening. 

The struggling Los Angeles Lakers will be prepared to take on their little brother, the Los Angeles Clippers. The Lakers, even with an explosive 33 pt., 14 rebound game from Dwight Howard, fell to 0-2 to start the season as they were defeated by the Portland Trailblazers 116-106.

The Clippers however, are off to an 1-0 start as they managed to win their opener against the Memphis Grizzlies 101-92. Sure, the NBA season is still in its infancy and there is still a ton of basketball to be played. But this is a game the Lakers can’t afford to lose.

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Image Credit: Jaime Valdez | US PRESSWIRE

Is it time to panic? No. Is it time for concern?

Maybe.

Having lost the first two games of the season, the new-look Lakers have certainly struggled to get off the ground. The last tally in the Lakers’ wins column came over 6 months ago back in the playoffs on May 18th.

Beyond the Lakers’ duly noted difficulties with the Princeton offense, slow defensive rotations, and a multitude of turnovers, they have also struggled to find an identity. A major issue has been their opponents dictating the Lakers’ play on both ends of the floor.

In both the Dallas game as well as the Portland game, their opponents have controlled the tempo from the tip. The Lakers are simply getting out-worked. Not only are they getting out-worked, but they are also failing to match the intensity and energy of the opposition. Allowing their opponent to control the tempo in this manner will never yield positive results.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Relax Lakers fans. We are going to be ok; although I hope I am speaking prophetically and not just wishfully thinking. How do I know there is no cause for panic from this dismal start? I haven’t thrown anything yet. Two games, two losses and I haven’t erupted. Believe me, that says a lot.

I don’t live in California (I live in GA) and every year since its inception, I have subscribed to NBA League Pass for the sole purpose of watching the Lakers. I have seen every single game the past 4 seasons, DVR’d them, and watched each one over again. When the Lakers are on, I watch alone. No talking, except me yelling or screaming at the TV. When they lose, I do absolutely no talking. I turn my phone off and relish in my sour mood.

During most games, my twin comes into my room to catch a glimpse of the action. She knows whether the Lakers are winning or losing by my demeanor. If I give her the “what da hell do you want” look with the evil eye, she turns around and walks away. If I look like I am about to explode, she knows the loss has already happened. I am not a happy camper.

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Photo Courtesy of SBNation.com

With all the hoopla of the retooled Los Angeles Lakers and the supposed dominance of the Big 4, it seems that this 0-2 start has many wondering if the Lakers acutally have what it takes to win another championship and bask in NBA glory.

Let’s remember that the NBA season is an 82 game marathon…not a 2 game sprint.

As a die hard Laker fan, I have to admit I’m a little disappointed. Seeing the Forum Blue and Gold team struggle as they did against the Dirk-less Dallas Mavericks and then have a young Portland Trailblazers team run an offensive clinic at the expense of Kobe and the crew was not easy to watch.

As a basketball purist, this really doesn’t surprise me.  After all, the starting five of this Laker team had one pre-season game under their belt.  That’s one game in which Bryant, World Peace, Gasol, Nash and Howard, as a cohesive unit, had to execute a system that has just been implemented.  One game in which Mike Brown and his coaching staff had a complete team to assess, critique and make adjustments.  You can’t sum up the season in just 2 games.  Laker fans, Rome was not built in a day.

Starting the season with two losses isn’t the end of the world. With a roster as talented as this, things can only get better.

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

With many Laker fans in panic mode, questions are flying about what is going on with this newly assembled super team. Where can we point a finger? The lack luster defense? Mike Browns coaching? How about Dwight Howards free throw shooting? I got it – let’s blame this Princeton offense…

It seems like regardless whether or not you are a Laker fan, or a Laker hater, both sides can agree on something: the Princeton offense does not fit with this superstar-fueled lineup. Developed for Princeton University’s basketball team by Pete Carril, this offense was taught to Lakers assistant coach Eddie Jordan when he coached with Carril for the Sacramento Kings. It relies on constant movement by not only the players, but the ball as well. I will save you the history lesson, but whether you are for or against the Princeton offense, it is not going to click from the start of the season. Right now it looks more like ‘Slowtime’ than ‘Showtime’, but remember how long it long it took for Metta World Peace to learn the triangle offense?

Adding to the headaches of the Princeton offense, we need to factor in that this team has many new faces that are used to playing a certain type of basketball for the majority of their careers. Steve Nash, for instance, needs to get used to playing with a ball dominant guard in Kobe. Dwight needs to adjust to it not raining 3’s (like it did in Orlando), and this Laker team has to gain experience and trust as a unit. This is not going to be an overnight story. Much like it did in Miami during their first season of the Big 3, it’s going to take time.

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US Presswire

Halloween couldn’t have arrived any sooner for Lakers fans, with everyone hoping for a glimpse at the newest Super Team treat, courtesy of Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss. This Lakers team was to be super scary, dominating the Western Conference by a landslide (post-Harden trade to the Houston Rockets).

But it only took two games for this epic-on-paper team to trick fans. Already, Kobe Bryant is donning the Mad Mamba mask-that scowling, frustrated version of the Black Mamba that’s clearly fed up with the shoddy play of his team.

Not that the Lakers haven’t showed up to play. Bryant is shooting a remarkable 61% from the field and Pau Gasol is averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds. Despite back surgery, a summer of rehabilitation and about one month of practice, Dwight Howard is a showing everyone why he’s such a phenomenal upgrade over a disinterested and listless Andrew Bynum. In the meantime, two-time MVP Steve Nash is trying to discover the role of quarterback in this Princeton-style hybrid and his freedom to audible into a more traditional Pick and Roll offense.

And somewhere, Metta World Peace is eating almonds out of over-sized trophy cups.

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Through out the life of an NBA franchise there are certain goals that owners would love to see their team achieve.  These goals are mainly dependent on the growth of the franchise.  A new franchise for example would have a goal of achieving a winning record for the season.  After that is accomplished, the next season they may want to make the playoffs, and eventually win an NBA Championship.  Every team has different goals that hang on the age and success of their franchise.

NBA fans look at the Los Angeles Lakers, as a very spoiled franchise.  This would explain why thebleachereport.com ranked the Lakers as the 2nd most hated franchise in sports, behind the Yankees.  You do not attain this spot by being unsuccessful; in fact I believe this hatred comes from a dominant attitude that the players/fans carry with them due to their success.  Along with the success that the Lakers achieved since their founding in 1947, came the evolution of their goals.

Through out their 65-year history they have achieved more than some teams could even imagine: 8 league MVP’s, 12 Finals MVP’s, 3 Coach of the Year awards, 60 all-NBA 1st Team honors, 132 All-Star appearances, 25 Hall of Famers, 9 Olympic medalists, 31 NBA Finals, and finally, 16 NBA championships. After all of those things are said and done,  where does that leave them? What more can they do?

It is at these moments where they must look at where they have been and who has brought them here.  There are few people that can lay claim on the recent status of the Lakers, but the one who is on the top of that list is Kobe Bryant.  Kobe is one of those rare players that come along once in a blue moon. He will go down as one of the greatest players to ever walk the earth, and for that, he is hated. He has been loyal to this team, as we have to him, since 1996.  During his time in the NBA, Kobe has come close to winning as many rings as the benchmark player that Kobe and all other modern wing players are compared to: Michael Jordan.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

As his NBA years went by, Kobe Bryant has become one of the most interesting people in the league to hear from. Not only because of his worldwide-known name, but also because Bryant knows  that he’s reached a point of his career that his great accolades earned him more liberty to speak his mind. That’s what happened after yesterday’s practice, when once again the media gathered around the future hall-of-famer to get his insight about the current Los Angeles Lakers’ situation. Here’s what Mr. Bryant had to say.

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Photo by: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America

It’s hard to be considered a tough guy when you play alongside somebody called Kobe Bryant, but Steve Nash might do it. Remember when he simply popped his nose back in place after getting hit by Derek Fisher? That even made former teammate Grant Hill cringe like he was watching a horror movie. Now as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Nash will have his first injury challenge just three games into the regular season.

After suffering a knee-to-knee collision with Blazers guard Damian Lilliard in the second quarter of Wednesday night’s game, Nash was forced to leave the court earlier than expected. The 38-year old point guard tried to come back in the second half but ultimately had to head to the locker room for good, after just a little over 1 minute into the third quarter.

The injury was later reported by Lakers.com’s Mike Trudell as a “lower leg contusion”, which should translate to a sore left shin. The team has listed Nash as “doubtful” to play against the Clippers later tonight and even though that usually means the player is out, Steve still expects to be out there to match-up against Chris Paul.

“I hope so”, Nash stated when questioned if he will be able to play tonight, “maybe I’m too optimistic to say doubtful, but it’s definitely a “touch-and-go.”

Steve added that the injury is not anything major structurally, just being a “contusion in a bad area.”

If Nash can’t go, look for Steve Blake to be his replacement in the starting lineup, with Chris Duhon as the main backup at the point guard position.

The Lakers will face the Clippers later tonight at 7.30 P.M. (PDT).

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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.