Monday, December 22, 2014
Blog Page 8

1
Photo courtesy of D. Clarke Evans, Getty Images

However insignificant tonight’s game, no matter the uncertainty of next season for darn near every player on the roster, and regardless of what a struggle it’s been the past six months, the Lakers did what they’ve done all season – they played their hearts out.

The San Antonio Spurs came into tonight’s game with home court advantage locked up for as far as the post season will take them, so they sat Tony Parker for the second half, Manu Ginobli didn’t play in the final quarter, and Tim Duncan wasn’t in uniform at all. It’s safe to say that Coach Popovich cared very little about exerting the team for a pointless win, so the AT&T’s loss this evening was the Lakers’ gain.

The road team led for the majority of the game, going up by as much as 15 points. Save for a bad second quarter, the Lakers outscored the Spurs in the first, third and fourth, eventually winning 113-100 to close out the 2013-2014 season.

HIGH POINTS
Points in the Paint – It’s not a category they made much noise in this season, but the Lakers actually outscored their opponents in the paint 50-38.
Rebounds – Another stat in which they seldom excelled this season, the Lakers also outrebounded San Antonio by one, 50-49, led by Jordan Hill’s 14 boards and Wesley Johnson’s 11.
Teamwork – Overall, in tonight’s game (and really this season as a whole), the Lakers have been a tight-knit group of teammates, win or lose. Tonight, every single player scored in double figures except for MarShon Brooks, who played just under nine minutes and scored seven points. Hill led the scoring with 18 points on 7-13 from the field to add to his 14 boards for a double-double. Nick Young, ever the celebrator no matter the circumstances, had 16 points, pumping his fist when he was fouled on a shot that he made. Kendall Marshall had a double-double himself, with 15 points on 5-7 from the field and a perfect 4-4 from behind the arc. He led the game with his 11 assists as well. Jodie Meeks, Mr. Consistent this season, had 14 on 5-7, hitting 2-2 from downtown. 12 points and eight rebounds from Ryan Kelly, 11 points and 11 boards for Wes Johnson, and 10 points apiece for Robert Sacre and Jordan Farmar, who also had six dimes.
End of Season – This pathetic season finally comes to an end! Despite the rarity of a Laker team missing the playoffs, it’s a relief this year to not have to watch another loss, another player get injured, a seemingly recovered player get injured again. Sometimes there’s just good in good-bye, and this is one season no one will have a problem waving farewell to.

LOW POINTS
End of Season – We can be (and I use this term loosely) “happy” that this dismal season is finally over, but it doesn’t take away the disappointment, the what-ifs, the questions and concerns that have piled up over the last six months. With a 27-55 record, the worst in franchise history, the Lakers averaged two losses for every win they earned. They had just nine active players tonight, with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Xavier Henry, Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman all unable to dress due to injury. All their ailments amounted to a total of 319 missed games, the most in the league and probably their worst stat, of this past season.

After the final buzzer in their final game sounded, the Lakers lingered on the AT&T Center floor, each hugging a teammate before heading off to the locker room. For a team that has had as tough of a season as these players, their final box score showed a lot more than what they contributed to the victory. They’re symbolic of a team who supported each other under circumstances that could have driven them apart. Their chemistry, a hot topic before the season began, remained in tact through 27 victories and appeared to grow stronger through 55 losses. There’s no telling who will return wearing the purple and gold uniform when training camp rolls around, but it sure would be great to have some of these players back for another crack at it.

We thought the regular season was tough to watch. This off-season, with all the mysteries that Laker management has to solve, might be just as excruciating. Rest assured, LakerNation, we’ll be going through it together.

The LN staff thanks you all for commiserating with us his season! Until the next post-game report, please stay tuned for all off-season Laker news!

Box Score

0
Photo courtesy of D. Clarke Evans, Getty Images

April 16, 2014 — 5:00 PM (PST)
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
TV: ESPN / TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

After a great effort to obtain a win on Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers will face off vs. San Antonio Spurs to close out this regular season.

G/F Nick Young led the way for the Lakers, scoring 41 points off the bench vs. Utah Jazz on Monday, carrying positive momentum into a game that does not bear any implications besides playing for pride.

Since the Spurs have clinched the top overall seed for the playoffs, expect Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich to limit the minutes of his core players if not rest all of them tonight.

Projected Starters

PG – Tony Parker/ Kendall Marshall [Advantage: Spurs]
SG – Danny Green / Jodie Meeks [Advantage: Spurs]
SF – Kawhi Leonard / Wesley Johnson [Advantage: Spurs]
PF – Tim Duncan / Ryan Kelly [Advantage: Spurs]
C – Boris Diaw / Jordan Hill [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Spurs: G Manu Ginobili, G Marco Bellinelli, C Tiago Splitter, PG Patrick Mills
Lakers: C Robert Sacre, G Jordan Farmar, Nick Young

Bench Advantage: Spurs

Injury List

Spurs: None
Lakers: Out-G Kent Bazemore, Out-G Kobe Bryant,  Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-C Pau Gasol, Out-C Chris Kaman, Out-G Xavier Henry

Bottom Line

This will clearly be the final time Laker fans will see a Lakers roster look like this since drastic roster movements will most likely occur this off-season. Everyone except for C Robert Sacre who will be available for tonight’s match up might no longer be wearing Laker uniforms this summer. Therefore, I expect the Laker players to play with maximum effort since this will be the final audition to not only Lakers management, but general managers of the rest of the NBA teams.

Prediction

Spurs: 111-108

1
Laker Nation Mailbag
Welcome to ‘End-of-the-Season’ Laker Nation Mailbag with staff writer Ash Kargaran!
Send in your Lakers-related questions or comments below and be on the lookout for Ash’s mailbag each month.

 

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Twitter Handle

Question or Comment (required)

1
Photo courtesy of Melissa Majchrzak, Getty Images

With two games left in the season, what were the Lakers to do? One was against one of the worst teams in the league, the last against the best. In simplest terms, the only thing they can do is what they’ve been doing all season no matter the circumstances – they play.

The last time the Lakers played against the Jazz, Utah kept them under 80 points in a victory at Staples Center. The way today’s game started, it wouldn’t have been a complete surprise if the outcome was the same. Utah led by as much as 13 points in the first half, with the Lakers unable to score for the first four minutes of the second quarter. But a 19-2 run before halftime put the Lakers up by seven points and, despite losing that advantage when the score was tied at the end of three, an efficiently-played fourth quarter gave them the lead for good and they beat the Jazz, 119-104.

HIGH POINTS
Nick Young – SwaggyP has led the Lakers in scoring in 43 games, including today. Before going into halftime, he’d scored 17 points on 7-10 from the field, and finished with 41 points (two points shy of his career-high) on 14-23 shooting, including 6-11 from behind the arc. He even had three rebounds and three assists. No matter the state of his team’s season, Young’s love for the game is undeniable. No one celebrates more joyfully after he scores…or after his teammates score.
Bench – On Young’s performance alone, the Laker reserves obliterated Utah’s. As a whole, the Jazz’s bench was outscored 57-13. Robert Sacre helped with his 12 points on 6-8, adding in his nine rebounds and one block.
Support Staff – Five Lakers scored in double figures. Behind Young’s 41 points was Jodie Meeks with 23 on a good 8-13 clip, 2-3 from three. Jordan Hill, capitalizing on a sweet spot he found on the left elbow, put in 21 points of his own, also grabbed six boards and one block. Wesley Johnson, like Sacre, scored 12 points, but it was his defense that’s worth mentioning. He had six rebounds, five steals, three blocks and, to get into the passing party, handed out four assists.
Ball Movement – It can’t be said enough, that when the ball moves, so to the likelihood of a good shot. Kendall Marshall led the game tonight, handing out 15 of the Lakers’ 31 assists. He was only 1-4 from the field and he never made it to the free throw line, but his court vision to get the ball to the open, available, running (etc) teammate more than made up for it.
Defense – Utah committed 18 turnovers and it turned into 29 Laker points. Add to that, 11 Laker steals and six blocks. Their fourth quarter was their best defensively, keeping the Jazz to just 18 points on 7-18 shooting, and they led by as much as 20 points.

LOW POINTS
Third Quarter – Their worst quarter in seemingly every game, the Lakers lost their seven-point halftime lead when they allowed Utah to shoot 70% from the field to outscore them 35-29.
Jordan Farmar – Farmar played 22 minutes but was just 1-6 from the field. He did hand out six assists, but the bulk of the point guard production came from Marshall.

Tanking – some teams have resorted to it; their end of season hopes resting on how bad their record can get to garner an advantage in that lottery. For the Lakers and Jazz, losing tonight’s game would’ve put them in a more favorable position come draft night. Many fans were hoping for their own team’s demise, but Laker Nick Young had this to say to Mike Trudell after the game, “We didn’t get the worst record in the league.”

These Lakers, I tell you. Despite a completely dismal season, wrought with injury, uncertainty and disappointment, they still manage to find a silver lining.

Next up – probably a Duncan-less, Parker-less, Ginobli-less San Antonio team.

Box Score

0
Courtesy: Getty Images

April 14, 2014 — 6:00 PM (PST)
EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Projected Starters

PG – Kendall Marshall Trey Burke [Advantage: Jazz]
SG – Jodie Meeks / Gordon Hayward [Advantage: Jazz]
SF – Wesley Johnson Richard Jefferson [Advantage: Even]
PF – Ryan Kelly / Marvin Williams [Advantage: Even]
C – Jordan Hill Derrick Favors [Advantage: Even]

Notable Bench Players

Grizzlies: G Alec BurksEnes KanterBrandon Rush

Lakers: PG Jordan FarmarRobert Sacre, F/G Nick Young

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Grizzlies: None

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-C Chris Kaman, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-C Pau Gasol, Out-G Kent Bazemore

Prediction

Jazz: 103-98

0
Photo courtesy of Noah Graham, Getty Images

55 losses – it’s a franchise worst. A few weeks ago, knowing that they were going to make the playoffs, there was talk in the locker room about getting to at least 30 wins. What a depressing objective for a team who won back-to-back championships just four years ago. Even more depressing is the fact that they’re not even going reach that goal.

For the first 24 minutes tonight, a win sure looked promising. True – the Lakers have spent a good part of their season playing well in the first half and then completely falling apart in the second, but there’s always a foolish hope that it will be different this time…but it hardly ever is. Tonight was one of those nights.

After leading the Grizz by four points in the first quarter, the Lakers played a competitive second and went into halftime down by just a point. The second half (the third quarter in particular) was a different story, told by a different team, who couldn’t sustain their first half efforts and lost, 102-90.

HIGH POINTS
First Half – 54% – that’s how well the Lakers shot in the first half, compared to the Grizzlies’ 43%. Memphis hit just one less three pointer, but they also gave up 18 fast break points to the Lakers. Even the points in the paint, a malady for the purple and gold all season, was even at 22 points apiece. The Lakers led by as much as nine points, led by Jodie Meeks and Nick Young, who scored 11 points each. They did give up eight turnovers, but only gave up eight points in the process.
Fast Break Points – Lakers were great in the open court today, outscoring Memphis 31-9 on the break.

LOW POINTS
Second Half – The third quarter was typical for the home team. It’s been their blight for a long while and tonight was no exception. It’s not hard to dig an 18-point deficit when you’re shooting 29% from the field and your opponent is hot-shooting at 68%. The Lakers gave up twice as many points as they scored – 17 to the Grizzlies’ 34. They were 1-5 from three and grabbed just six rebounds to Memphis’ 14. The last quarter was a relatively good one for the Lakers; or rather it was a bad one for the Grizzlies. They shot just 5-15 for the quarter and, despite the Lakers hitting just 8-20, they were 4-8 from three to Memphis’ 1-4. The damage from the third quarter was too much for the Lakers to overcome apparently. Despite Meek’s 20 points and a rare productive night for Wesley Johnson, who scored 15 points on 6-12 and 3-5 from three, the Lakers didn’t do enough to contain the four Memphis starters and reserve, Mike Miller who all scored in double digits.

Tonight was the Lakers’ final home game, and they have road games against the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs to close out the season. It’s too bad they couldn’t get one last win for the home crowd, but the way this season has gone, it’s not surprising they should end on such a disappointing note at Staples Center.

Box Score

0
Photo courtesy of Jeff Gross, Getty Images.

April 13, 2014 — 6:30 PM (PST)
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes / NBATV
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

With the season winding down, the Los Angeles Lakers will play their final home game of the regular season as they take on the Memphis Grizzlies, who currently battle the Phoenix Suns for the 8th and final playoff spot.

PF Zach Randolph, who both averages 17.1 PPG and 10.1 RPG, brings a very old school low-post game. He backs defenders down with his tremendous strength and has the excellent ability to position his body in the correct areas of the floor to grab rebounds and get off easy shots. Despite currently holding only the 8th seed, Randolph will become the key reason to cause the San Antonio Spurs a lot of hassle.

PG Mike Conley, arguably the most underrated and improved point guard in the NBA, could have easily become an all-star this season, scoring a team leading 17.1 PPG and dishing out 6.0 APG. Though it took awhile, Conley has finally developed into one of the most lethal point guards in the NBA.

Projected Starters

PG – Kendall Marshall  Mike Conley[Advantage: Lakers]
SG – Jodie Meeks / Courtney Lee [Advantage: Grizzlies]
SF – Wesley Johnson Tayshaun Prince [Advantage: Even]
PF – Ryan Kelly / Zach Randolph[Advantage: Grizzlies]
C – Jordan Hill Marc Gasol [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Grizzlies: G Tony AllenMike MillerNick Calathes

Lakers: PG Jordan FarmarRobert Sacre, F/G Nick Young, G Marshon Brooks

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Grizzlies: Out-F Quincy Pondexter, GTD-F Tayshaun Prince

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-C Chris Kaman, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-C Pau Gasol, Out-G Kent Bazemore

Bottom Line

Hopefully, the Lakers limit the Grizzlies to 1 possession by rebounding the ball well. The Lakers have to play with a lot of energy as they have to use their athleticism to their advantage. Although the Grizzlies must be playing with a tremendous amount of urgency, the Lakers have to play very motivated also since this is their final home game. Hopefully the Lakers can catch the Grizzlies looking forward too much to their next battle vs. Suns and steal a victory tonight to play spoiler.

Prediction

Grizzles: 112-101

Darryl Norenberg/WireImage

After 16 NBA Championships and 31 Western Conference Titles, the Lakers have been one of the most storied and successful franchises in NBA history. From the eras of West, Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, and Kobe, there have been countless record-breaking performances and memorable games that have added to Lakers glory. Let’s take a look back at some notable moments for the purple and gold, from the week of April 13-19, over their 66-year history.

April 13, 1949

George Mikan led the Lakers to their first-ever NBA Championship, as they defeated the Syracuse Nationals in six games to claim the title.

April 14, 1962

Elgin Baylor set an NBA Finals record with 61 points when the Lakers defeated the Celtics 126-121 in Game 5 at the Boston Garden. Baylor recorded 11 straight 30-point plus scoring performances for Los Angeles in the playoffs, setting an NBA record. Despite Baylor’s heroic efforts, the Lakers eventually fell to the Celtics in seven games.

Bob Flora/Bettmann/CORBIS
Bob Flora/Bettmann/CORBIS

April 14, 1976

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won his fourth NBA MVP award following a season in which he averaged 27.7 points per game. Abdul-Jabbar led the NBA in rebounds per game with 16.9 and blocks per game with 4.1. He finished his illustrious NBA career with six total MVP awards, which is the most by any player in NBA history.

April 14, 2004

Kobe Bryant hit a 3-pointer buzzer-beater in double overtime to give the Lakers a 105-104 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on the final day of the regular season. More importantly, the win clinched the Pacific Division title for the Lakers, and gave them the second seed in the Western Conference in the playoffs. Bryant, who finished with 37 points and eight rebounds, also hit a game-tying 3-pointer at the end of the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime.

April 15, 1991

Magic Johnson became the NBA’s all-time assists leader after dishing out 19 assists in a 112-106 Lakers’ win over the Dallas Mavericks at the Great Western Forum. He surpassed Oscar Robertson with 9,898 assists to claim the top spot. Johnson finished his career with 10,141 assists, which currently ranks fifth on the NBA all-time list.

April 17, 1966

Jerry West led the Lakers to a 133-129 come-from-behind victory against the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the 1966 NBA Finals. West scored 41 points, as Los Angeles erased a 34-20 deficit at the end of the first quarter, which is the largest first quarter deficit ever overcome in the NBA Finals. The Celtics eventually won the series in seven games.

0
Photo courtesy of Noah Graham, Getty Images

About half a dozen games ago, knowing their season would end in mid-April, many Lakers said they’d still play their best to end on a high note. “Be player haters,” per Nick Young, and defeat play-off bound teams for the sheer satisfaction of doing so. The problem with playing play-off bound teams, though? They’re really good.

Tonight, the Lakers took on their former teammate, Steve Blake, and his new team, the Golden State Warriors. In three of the four quarters, the two teams were relatively equal. Unfortunately, a huge second quarter by the Warriors did the home team in for the rest of the game and the Lakers lost, 112-95.

HIGH POINTS
Steph Curry and the Warriors – The sixth best team in the Western Conference is led by a dynamic point guard who makes scoring looking easy as pie. Curry Led the game with his 30 points on 12-20 from the field, including 4-5 from downtown, 12 assists, 10 rebounds and two steals for a well-rounded game, not to mention a triple-double. Golden State’s 18 turnovers aside, they shot almost 50% from the field, including 13-25 from behind the arc (that’s 52%).
Nick Young – There’s no telling what color jersey Young will be wearing next season, but it sure would be nice to have this kid back. Jodie Meeks may have been the most consistent player this season, but Young has been the showman. No player looks as happy as Young when his shot (or his teammates’ shots) go in. He was the best scorer in a Laker uniform out there tonight for sure, with his 25 points on 10-20 from the field.
Double Double-Doubles – Jordan Hill and Ryan Kelly had a couple of solid games this evening. Hill scored 18 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, handed out four assists and collected a pair of steals. Kelly chipped in 14 points, 11 rebounds, three dimes, a steal and a block.

LOW POINTS
The Un-Supporting Cast – Young, Hill and Kelly did a bulk for the Lakers this evening. The rest, including Meeks, had a tough night. Meeks was just 2-12 from the field, managing to reach 10 points only because he hit 5-8 free throws. Kendall Marshall, who has proven more than anything this season that a productive streak can surely be followed by an productive one, played just 19 minutes, hitting only 3-7 of his shots for seven points, and handing out a trio of assists. His 20 point, 16 assist night seems ages ago, as does the stretch in which he produced five double-doubles in a row.
Rebounds – It was the 5th best rebounding team against the 24th. 57-42 boards advantage for the Warriors.
Second Quarter – If not for the 15-point disparity of the second quarter, the two teams would’ve been at 80-78, Warriors, but Golden State really took it to the Lakers after the first 12 minutes of play. The Lakers shot just 33% from the field in the second quarter, and went 0-7 from three. The Warriors, on the other hand, shot 62% from the field and hit 4-8 from behind the arc.
Surrender – The Lakers have lost in bunches, by bunches. Tonight the Warriors led by as much as 21 points in that fourth quarter, but the Lakers just didn’t have a huge run left. They don’t seem to have much left…period.

The last home game is this Saturday against the Memphis Grizzlies, followed by two road games. It’s hard to believe that LakerNation is anticipating (perhaps relieved and excited) that the season is finally coming to an end. It’s been a long one.

Box Score

1
Allen Einstein/Getty Images

April 8,2014 — 7:30PM (PST)
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: NBATV / TWC SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

With the regular season winding down, the Lakers face off the Golden State Warriors, who currently find themselves fighting to keep the 8th place position in the Western Conference standings.

Tuesday night’s game symbolizes the lack of care on the defensive end throughout this season. Although they scored 130 points, they allowed 145 to the Houston Rockets, and the 4th quarter turned into a typical game one might see on a playground basketball court.

The only positive from last game was PG Steve Nash passing Warriors Head Coach Mark Jackson for 3rd place on the all-time assist leaderboard. However, Nash will most likely miss the rest of this season as he has another relapse with his nerve issues and might consider retirement following this season.

Meanwhile, PG Stephen Curry has blossomed into one of the best offensive players in the NBA, scoring 23.5 PPG while dishing out 8.5 APG.

PG Steve Blake will make his return to Staples Center tonight for the first time since getting traded to the Warriors for SG MarShon Brooks and G Kent Bazemore.

PG – Stephen Curry Kendall Marshall [Advantage: Rockets]
SG – Klay Thompson / Jodie Meeks [Advantage: Rockets]
SF – Andre IgudolaWesley Johnson [Advantage: Rockets]
PF – David Lee Ryan Kelly [Advantage: Even]
C – Andrew Bogut Jordan Hill [Advantage: Rockets]

Notable Bench Players

Rockets: G Steve Blake, F Draymond Green, C Jermaine O’Neal Jordan Crawford PG Steve Blake

Lakers:  C Robert Sacre, F Wesley Johnson, PG Jordan Farmar, F/G Nick Young

Bench Advantage: Warriors

Injury List

Rockets:

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-C Pau Gasol, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-G Kent Bazemore, Out-C Chris Kaman, Doubtful-PG Steve Nash

Bottom Line

With firepower a like Curry, SG Klay Thompson, and SF Andre Igudola, it will most likely be too much talent disadvantage for the Lakers to overcome even if they play with a lot of energy tonight. More importantly for the Lakers players tonight, it will be one of their last few auditions to determine whether they are worthy of staying on this roster next season or signing on with another team. PG Kendall Marshall and C Robert Sacre will be the only 2 players who will not be free agents following this season.

Prediction

Warriors 127-113

2
Photo courtesy of Robyn Beck, Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers forward/center Pau Gasol has been a steady rock. Ever since the infamous trade that shipped out Kwame Brown and others for him back in the 2007-2008 season, Gasol has thrived as the second star behind Kobe Bryant. However, age and ever-changing roles for the past three years have seemingly lacerated Gasol to the point where he may never return to his original and consistent form in a Lakers uniform.

Sports Illustrated reporter Chris Mannix recently wrote about Gasol in regards to what he has withstood and what may come next,

“I want to be in a team that is going to be built to win a championship,” Gasol said. “That’s my top priority. Money won’t be the main priority. Length and money are factors, but we’ll see. Until I know all the options, I won’t be able to measure them. But we’re getting close to the end of my career. I want to be in a good situation. It’s an important decision to make.”

Gasol’s contract expires at the end of this season and it seems as if the Lakers may be looking past him to move forward. Players like Gasol are a rarity in today’s NBA in terms of skillset. His numbers have gone down in the past three seasons and there is no debating that he has lost a step. Despite that, he still can be extremely effective when playing within a system where he feels comfortable. When Mike D’Antoni has slowed the offensive pace this year Gasol has performed better both offensively and defensively. When the offensive pace has increased, his play has suffered as his body is unable to withstand that much movement. Even if his skill set is being used correctly in LA, teams across the league are anticipating the chance to capitalize.

“There are a couple thoughts out there on Pau,” says an Eastern Conference executive. “Some people say he is worn out, that he is too far past his prime to really help a contender. There are others that think that LA, that environment the past two season, that style of play has destroyed him and if he goes somewhere else, plays with a different coach, he might be rejuvenated. I could see someone who thinks the latter paying him $10 million a year.”

Another factor that has contributed to Gasol’s decline is the numerous role changes he has had to undergo in the past four seasons. After winning multiple championships he was forced to accept a lesser offensive role to then developing Andrew Bynum. With no complaints he accepted the role and played within himself and the system. Next he was almost traded to the Houston Rockets until then Commissioner David Stern nixed the Chris Paul deal. His role in Houston certainly would have been similar to his championship one had he gone, yet he remained in Los Angeles and became even more humble having to return to the team that signed off on trading him.

While the trade to Houston did not go through he still had to accept a lesser role when the Lakers traded for center Dwight Howard and point guard Steve Nash. At this point he had gone from a championship winning, secondary role with the team to a fourth wheel who would be incorporated only on occasion. All with minimal complaints.

Gasol’s frustrations this season may not make Lakers fans content but nonetheless they make sense. After giving your all to an organization and displaying minimal signs of frustration, it is only a matter of time before it all becomes too much to bear. If Gasol ultimately decides to leave it would be a definite loss to the Lakers organization. He has brought consistency, a humble attitude and personality, as well as monumental contribution in multiple championship runs. However, in staying, Gasol would again add testament to his character by proving that he is more reliable than what you previously believed.

0
Photo courtesy of Noah Graham, Getty Images

Well, it was a good game until after halftime. The Lakers had rallied in the second quarter to get over a 13-point deficit, Steve Nash had surpassed Mark Jackson on the All-Time Assist list, and the greatest indicator of Laker wins, the three-pointer, was falling at an efficient clip. The Rockets lead was a mere five points going into the break…

…and then came the third quarter, where Houston outscored the home team by 20 points. Despite a 40-point fourth quarter by the Lakers, a 28-point lead was too much to overcome and they lost 145-130.

HIGH POINTS
Steve Nash – Nash threw a pass to Jodie Meeks late in the second quarter and he scored on a dunk. It was Nash’s fifth assist of the game, enough to get him past Mark Jackson for the third most assists in NBA history. 10,335 dimes in his 18-year career. It’s hard to imagine the number of layups, lobs, jumpers and three pointers that resulted from a pass by one of the craftiest point guards in our lifetime. It’s ironic that Nash should reach such a milestone wearing a Laker uniform, when the purple and gold had long been on the suffering end of the veteran’s previous 16-years’ worth of assists. With just over a minute left in the first half, Nash checked out of the game to a standing ovation by a fanbase who has hungered for his greatness the last two seasons, but is left wonting still. Despite such disappointing back-to-back seasons as a Laker, however, it’s hard not to admire Nash for his extensive career. He, like Kobe Bryant, comes from a generation of players who are a scarcity in this league; the players who chose skill development over power and physicality; players who built their success on a solid foundation of work ethic instead of entitlement. That’s the legacy that Nash leaves behind, even despite a modest night of three points and five assists tonight.
Jodie Meeks and Nick Young – Probably the two players this season who brought the crowd to their feet most often, Meeks and Young were a productive pair tonight. Meeks finished with 30 points on 12-21 from the field. Young led the team with his 32 points on 11-19 from the field, 6-10 from three, all in just under 23 minutes of playing time.
Assists – The Lakers handed out 38 assists of the 44 field goals they made, led by Jordan Farmar’s eight dimes.

LOW POINTS aka EVERYTHING ELSE
Points In the Paint Allowed – 80 points. Even without Dwight Howard on the floor, out with a sprained ankle, Houston was dunking all night, and why wouldn’t they with the Lakers doing so little to stop them.
Points Allowed In General – 145 points, the most that the Lakers have allowed an opponent to score all season. After letting the Rockets score 49 points in the third quarter, the Lakers went into the fourth having allowed 115 points already. Houston shot 75% from the field in the third, 18-24 shots and 7-10 from three. James Harden and Terrence Jones scored 33 points apiece.Their point total in each quarter were as follows: 35, 31, 49 and 30 and by the end of the game, they stood at 58% shooting for the night.
Rebounds – Houston outrebounded the Lakers 58-33.

What can we expect from two teams who have almost the exact opposite of records (51-25 for Houston and 25-52 for the Lakers before tip-off)? This team is completely unrecognizable, what with players jumping in and out of the line-up due to injury. No Kobe, no Pau, no Xavier Henry (who is having surgery for two injuries), and most recently, no Kent Bazemore who has a torn tendon on his right foot. Misfortune doesn’t care if the season is almost over. It continues to take each Laker down one by one. With just four games left, the end can’t come soon enough.

Box Score

2
Photo: Stephen Dunn | Getty Images

According to ESPNLA’s Ramona Shelburne, the Lakers have agreed on a multiyear extension with general manager Mitch Kupchak.

Kupchak has been the Lakers’ GM since he took over for Jerry West in 2000.

This extension is a strong signal that Kupchak’s role on the struggling franchise remains solidified, and is a reflection of the esteem in which he is held by the Buss family.

The timing of the extension is also effectively a vote of confidence to reflect the Buss families’ trust in him to shape the future of the organization, sources told Shelburne.

0
Photo courtesy of Andrew D. Bernstein, Getty Images

April 8,2014 — 7:30PM (PST)
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TNT
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Coming off a very poor performance vs. the Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers will attempt to even up the season series vs. the Houston Rockets.

Despite another loss, C/PF Jordan Hill continue to show his worthiness to stay on the Lakers roster following season. A player who provides the “Dennis Rodman” effect without all the crazy antics, Hill scored 22 points and 9 rebounds vs Clippers, and has averaged a career high 9.2 PPG and 7.3 RPG this season.

Unfortunately for fans who purchased tickets to boo former Lakers center Dwight Howard tonight, he will not be available tonight, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.

Howard’s service will most likely not be necessary since C Omer Asik can fill in nicely and the Lakers simply do not possess enough talent to defeat the Rockets.

SG James Harden has enjoyed life as an NBA starter after the Rockets acquired him from the Oklahoma City Thunder right before the 2012-2013 season, becoming the best NBA Shooting Guard this season due to the unavailability of superstar SG Kobe Bryant. Harden has averaged 25.4 PPG and 5.8 APG this season, hoping to carry the Rockets far into the playoffs in a few weeks.

Projected Starters

PG – Jeremy Lin Kendall Marshall [Advantage: Rockets]
SG – James Harden / Jodie Meeks [Advantage: Rockets]
SF – Chandler Parsons Wesley Johnson [Advantage: Rockets]
PF – Terrence Jones / Ryan Kelly [Advantage: Even]
C – Omer Asik Jordan Hill [Advantage: Rockets]

Notable Bench Players

Rockets: G Jordan Hamilton, F Omri Casspi, G Francisco Garcia, Greg Smith,

Lakers:  C Robert Sacre, F Wesley Johnson, PG Steve Nash, PG Jordan Farmar

Bench Advantage: Rockets

Injury List

Rockets: Out-PG Patrick Beverley, Out-C Dwight HowardQuestionable-F Greg Smith

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-C Pau Gasol, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-G Kent Bazemore, Out-C Chris Kaman

Keys for Lakers Victory

Hit Open Shots: Without any defensive skills, talent, or chemistry with multiple injuries, the Lakers need to like they did when they scored 51 points on the New York Knicks a few weeks ago. SG Jodie Meeks, who has progressed extremely well this season, will be heavily relied upon to fulfill that task, along with F Ryan Kelly, and F/G Nick Young.

Bottom Line

Since the Rockets currently have the 4th seed with a few games remaining, this game means significantly more for the Rockets and Lakers. Therefore, getting off to a quick start for the Lakers seems very unlikely. The only entertaining value from the Laker’s fan’s point of view will be the play of PG Steve Nash who ac tually has played well in limited role and might consider retirement following this season.

Prediction

Rockets: 117-110

Social

Latest

6
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.