It’s April 26, 2012 and the (41-24) Los Angeles Lakers are in the state capitol to battle the (21-44) Sacramento Kings. The Lakers double-overtime 114-106 win over the OKC Thunder was a win that the Lakers had to have. The win over OKC; L.A.’s fourth comeback win, was the biggest of the year.
What was improbable was the fact that the lineup used in the deciding run was Steve Blake, Kobe Bryant, Devin Ebanks, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill. This group played the entire fourth quarter and both overtimes. The most disappointing part of the game was Metta World Peace’, scratch that, Ron Artest’s ill advised ‘elbow heard’ around the world overshadowing a great Lakers win.
The elbow was BAD and never should have happened. The elbow overshadowed and probable erased all the solid work Ron Artest has done on and off the court to improve his image.
Ron Artest absence in concert with Matt Barnes moderately sprained ankle leaves the Lakers short at the small forward position causing L.A. to call Christian Eyenga up from the L.A. Defenders of the D-League. The L.A. Defenders made it to the NBADL Finals facing the Austin Toros. The NBADL Finals start tonight at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, CA. The L.A. Defenders are two wins away from being champions.
In the wake of Lakers forward, Metta World Peace’s 7 game suspension, Lakers head coach Mike Brown joined The Dan Patrick Show to give his thoughts on the suspension and also discuss how the loss of Metta will affect the Lakers lineup as they move forward into the postseason. Here are a few highlights from Brown’s interview:
What do you think of the 7 game suspension?
It was in the NBA’s hands and they’re the disciplinary group for stuff like that so whatever I felt that they deemed was necessary for the punishment, I felt that Metta and our organization would definitely abide by it.”
Did you speak to Commissioner David Stern at all about this?
I did not. I know when the punishment was handed out they spoke with Mitch Kupchak about it and Mitch just passed the information along to me.”
How is Ron (Metta) dealing with this?
I did not speak to him. We got done practicing [yesterday]and then he left, and I left. I did not speak to him after he heard about the time and length of the suspension but from my understanding he’s doing ok.”
How will the team adjust with him out of the lineup?
We’ll try not to do too much differently. Devin Ebanks has got some key minutes while Kobe was on the shelf for 6 or 7 games. He started at the 2 guard spot when Kobe was out. Now he’ll start at the small forward until Metta gets back.”
Have you spoken to Ron [Metta]?
Not since the 7 game suspension has come out, I have not spoken with him. We have exchanged texts, but I have not spoken with him.”
What does the suspension entail?
From my understanding he has to be out of the arena that we play in 2 hours prior we tip-off. So he can travel with us, he can practice with us, he can come to shootarounds, team meetings on the road…Obviously he cant be in there during the game and other than that he’s fine to be around us.”
What was the locker room like after the Oklahoma City game?
I know everybody was hoping James [Harden] was ok. And this was the tough part for me was I was asked in the 3rd quarter what I thought about the incident….I didn’t see it, I was looking down at the he other end on our transition defense….I saw the commotion and kind of got word of mouth what happened…I didn’t see it until after the game in terms of the replay. …Metta said himself that he shouldn’t have done it and I agree he shouldn’t have done it…so for me after the game I was talking about more the win and what certain guys did well for us more than anything else.”
How is Kobe as an assistant coach?
[laugh] He’s great. I’ve said all along he can be an assistant or head coach but he just might not be able to afford the luxuries that he enjoys in life.[laugh]”
Why don’t great players always make great head coaches?
Great players do work hard and I think that’s a misnomer; that everybody thinks that it all comes natural for them, but they work their tails off in order to be great. And a guy like Kobe or Lebron, you guys like Michael [Jordan], Magic [Johnson], Larry [Bird], when things comes that easy for them because of their intellect, their feel, their work ethic and their talent, when guys dont understand when you’ve told him for the 3rd time in 2 minutes, they don’t get it right, yes it can be very frustrating for them and that can cause them to not want to coach.”
Mike Brown also talks about his funniest Shaq story (Brown was Shaq’s head coach in Cleveland for most of the 2009-10 season), fining himself for being late to team practices and who he thinks the NBA MVP is. The entire interview can be heard here.
The Lakers’ Metta World Peace has been suspended for seven games without pay for striking the Thunder’s James Harden in the head with his elbow, the NBA announced today.
The incident, which resulted in a Flagrant Foul Two and ejection, occurred with 1:39 remaining in the second quarter of the Lakers’ 114-106 victory over the Thunder on April 22 at Staples Center.
The concussion suffered by James Harden demonstrates the danger posed by violent acts of this kind, particularly when they are directed at the head area,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said. “We remain committed to taking necessary measures to protect the safety of NBA players, including the imposition of appropriate penalties for players with a history of on-court altercations.”
The Los Angeles Lakers have issued the following statement from General Manager Mitch Kupchak following the NBA’s announcement of the suspension of Metta World Peace:
Metta has for the most part been a model citizen both on and off the court since joining the Lakers. Still, his most recent lapse in judgement is not to be condoned or accepted. His actions could have seriously injured another player, and his absence during this suspension will hurt our team as well. While we accept the league’s decision, we will be supportive of Metta and try to help him be more professional on the court.”
World Peace will miss the regular season finale against Sacramento, and 6 playoff games.
It’s April 22, 2012 and the (40-24) Los Angeles Lakers host the (46-17) Oklahoma City Thunder at the Staples Center. The Spurs beat the Lakers soundly for the second time in nine days. Sunday’s matinee game against the Thunder gives the Lakers the opportunity to bounce back, win a game against an elite opponent, and gain some momentum before the start of the post season.
It is ironic that the Lakers will end the regular season matching up against the top two teams in the Western Conference.
Entering this season the Lakers had taken six straight season series from the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Lakers trail the season series against the Thunder (0-2), after taking last season’s series from Oklahoma City, going 3-1 against the Thunder in 2009-2010, sweeping the 2008-2009 series (3-0) and 2007-2008 (4-0). L.A. won the 2006-2007 (3-1) and 2005-2006 (2-1) season series.
The Lakers are 8-2 in their last 10 games at home against the OKC Thunder, losing their last at Staples Center after winning eight straight. The Thunder are 21-11 on the road, while the Lakers are 25-7 at the Staples Center.
The last time the Lakers played the Thunder it was literally a tale of two halves; in the first half, L.A. got off to a fast start building a 12-point lead at one point, only to see their big lead cut to five by halftime.
In the second half, after shooting poorly to start the game, the Thunder sparked by Derek Fisher’s inspired performance caught fire. Russell Westbrook (17-points on 6-of-10 shooting) alone outscored the Lakers in the third quarter. The Thunder pushed their lead to 19 and ran past the Lakers in a 102-93 win.
It’s April 20, 2012 and the (40-23) Los Angeles Lakers are in Texas for an important game against the (45-16) San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers had a solid bounce back 99-87 win game against the Golden State Warriors after suffering their worst loss of the season to the Spurs on 4/17.
Make no mistake tonight’s game against the Spurs on the road and Sunday’s game at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder are playoff games. The Lakers need to approach both games with this thought in mind and act accordingly.
The Spurs, embarrassed by the Lakers at home 98-84 on 4/11, came out ready to play and made a statement against L.A. on 4/17 at the Staples Center.
The Spurs made the necessary adjustments, put into play a game plan to increase the tempo, double-team Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol hard, cut off the passing lanes to all inside passes, and got into transition as fast as possible making the Lakers big players run while trailing the action, unable to protect the rim.
This is the first time we can say it this season – the Lakers cruised past their opponent. They actually cruised. They started the game steadily, built up their lead slowly, maintained their collective efforts on both sides of the court, and as hard as they played, didn’t appear to break a sweat (figuratively speaking of course).
Without gig men David Lee and Andrew Bogut on the floor, the Laker bigs had their fun in the paint. The Golden State Warriors are one the worst defensive teams in the league and one of the worst rebounders and it was on full display tonight. By halftime, Andrew Bynum had already scored 21 points because the Warriors simply didn’t have anyone who could challenge him, nor the Lakers’ excellent ball movement (led by Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace) and efforts on the glass. With every purple uniform engaged in tonight’s game, Golden State never had a chance.
The eight-point halftime lead ballooned to 21 points, and despite the Warriors not exactly playing like the Spurs, the Lakers won because they stuck to their game plan from beginning to end.
We expected San Antonio would play much better than the last time these two teams met. We expected Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli would combine for more than just the 27 points they scored as a unit a week ago. And we expected the Lakers to continue their excellent efforts of the last week and a half to last. Well, two out of three isn’t bad, I suppose. Unfortunately, those odds benefit the opposing team.
The Lakers led by six points in the first quarter, finishing off the opening 12 minutes one point ahead of their visitors; both teams shot a solid 55% each. Andrew Bynum had scored 13 points already and Tony Parker’s hot hand collected 11 points. The Lakers stuck to their game plan at the onset, scoring inside (14-8 advantage in the paint) and moving the ball (nine assists on 12 made field goals)….then came the rest of the game.
In the ensuing three quarters, the Spurs’ intensity went up and the Lakers’ efficiency went down, in more categories than one. When defensive leader, Metta World Peace headed to the bench with early foul trouble just seconds into the second quarter, he took the Lakers’ defense with him. What else could explain allowing the Spurs to shoot 71% from the field for 36 points? The Lakers shot 50% themselves, but compared to San Antonio, produced very little from it.
It just got progressively worse in the second half. The Spurs led by as much as 24 points, which wasn’t hard to do since the Lakers did very little to stop or counter their attack. The rebounding efforts were exactly even in number. The Lakers led in the paint by a four-point margin, but the Spurs hit seven from downtown to the Lakers’ two. The fast break points were the same (20 apiece), and the second chance points weren’t won by San Antonio by a large number either. In the end it call came down, as it usually does, to effort and execution, none of which the Lakers showed much.
Fresh off of being named Western Conference player of the week, Lakers center Andrew Bynum, joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss Kobe Bryant’s role as a pseudo assistant coach on the bench, his relationship with Mike Brown compared to Phil Jackson and the Lakers chances of making it to the NBA Finals. Here are a few highlights from the interview:
How much fun are you having right now?
I’m having a lot of fun. It’s been amazing. Defensively ive really been stepping it up. Offensively im struggling a little bit with my shot…My team is playing amazing. Pau Gasol has been huge…Matt Barnes and Ron (Metta) stepping up. And obviously the addition of Sessions has been huge for us because we were getting a lot of activity in the fast break at that point guard position now so we look pretty good.”
How good of a team are the Lakers right now?
I think, especially when Kobe gets back, we keep playing hard, and we’re definitely a contender. And we’re going to be a team that other teams definitely don’t want to play.”
How’s Kobe as an assistant coach?
He’s doing a great job actually. He’s been supporting us and showing us things that we need to hear. Just directing, where to take advantage of mismatches…he’s been keeping everybody under control.”
Do you compare yourself to Orlando Magic center, Dwight Howard?
I think we always get compared. Obviously we’re both centers, east and west coast. Number one and two in the game, however you guys want to decide who is, that’s up to you guys [the media]. Obviously Dwight has done what he’s done for a longtime now and he’s only going to get better. So im aware that we’re compared but at the end of the day I don’t let that affect me or how I play the game.”
How much did trade rumors motivate you?
I don’t let that affect me. Ive been a part of every trade rumor since ive been drafted, starting with Jason Kidd, Bosh, everybody. I always have my nose to the grind and try to get better. I’m just going to keep on taking it one day at a time and try to add things to my game and get better.”
On his relationship with Mike Brown vs. Phil Jackson
I think right now it’s different in the way of communication. I talk much more with Brown than I ever had with PJ [Phil Jackson]. I never really got to be a big part of the team while PJ was here, well last year when he was here I was a pretty big part of the team but prior to that I didn’t really get an opportunity to grow because we had a great bench and I was making mistakes and LO [Lamar Odom] would come in and whoever was playing better between the two of us would get the run that night…I enjoy both coaches, I love both coaches. And Im just looking forward to continuing with Mike Brown.”
Do you expect to be in the finals?
Yea we definitely have a chance to get there and I’m going to do everything in my body to make it possible.”
Bynum also discusses who his favorite player is in one of his favorite sports (soccer), and also describes what it’s like playing against his all-time favorite player, Tim Duncan. You can here the entire interview here.
First-round match-up? Possibly, and who would mind it? After getting embarrassed by Dallas in last season’s playoffs, the Lakers exacted (albeit less major in magnitude) some form of revenge in this regular season series sweep of the Mavericks. Don’t think for a minute that second round a year ago has dropped from the Lakers’ minds. Kobe Bryant never forgets, and neither do these Lakers. Despite playing without Bryant for the fifth game in a row, the Lakers have made their captain proud. It wasn’t a blowout today. It was, in fact, a difficult game to get through, but they got through it and it showed that this team has more fight than many naysayers would like to give them credit for.
Co-captain Pau Gasol, through three quarters, was just 3-8 from the field. Each time Andrew Bynum held the ball, he was wrapped tightly like a burrito by a tortilla that was the suffocating Dallas defense. Delonte West, who didn’t play in the first two contests between both teams, torched them in the first half and the Dallas threeball, despite ranking 21st in the league, continuously broke every run the Lakers attempted to make.
The home team didn’t look close to being awake in the first quarter, falling behind by as much as 10 points and shooting just 9-25 from the field. Dallas, feeling it at the onset, had a 27-point quarter on 52% shooting. The Lakers, however, picked it up in the second quarter. Despite allowing Dallas to shoot 58%, they stayed close by getting to the free throw line and converting 9-11.
After letting Dallas shoot as well as they did in the first half (55%), the Lakers tightened up their defense, with Bynum contesting every shot, regardless of who was shooting. When a blue uniform rose up for a shot, so too did Bynum’s long arms. And choosing to stop West’s first-half success was Metta World Peace.
The final quarter was a humdinger, if you will. After Ramon Sessions hit back-to-back shots late in the fourth, so too did Jason Terry. With the game tied at 98 points apiece, a last second (literally with 1.5 seconds left in regulation) shot by Nowitzki missed and the game was sent into overtime.
Outscored 14-10 in the final five minutes of the game, the Mavericks were sent home with a third loss in a row to the Lakers.
We have teamed up with Phiten – one of the industry leaders for titanium necklaces, bracelets and sports accessories – to give away some great prizes to a clever fan on Sunday. Here’s how you can win:
We want you to write tomorrow’s headline for Anna’s Mavericks vs. Lakers post-game report.
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Leave us your best post-game headline predictions either on our Facebook status, or in the comments section below anytime between now and tip-off (12:30pm PT, 4/15).
Following the Mavericks vs. Lakers showdown today, we will pick our favorite (and most accurate) headline. (Important note: This is a headline, meaning it should be no more than 17 total words). The finalist will win this Phiten Lakers bracelet, and one of those finalists will have their headline top Anna’s post-game report.
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It’s April 14, 2012 and the (38-22) Los Angeles Lakers are set to battle the (34-26) Dallas Mavericks. Friday’s win against the Denver Nuggets secured a playoff spot for the Lakers, their 59th playoff berth in 64 seasons. The Lakers are 3-1 with Kobe Bryant sidelined, including three straight.
The combination of Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol inside and Matt Barnes & Metta World Peace on the perimeter led the Lakers to the win over the Nuggets. The Lakers have six games remaining in the regular season, four with a record above .500.
The Lakers are currently leading the Pacific Division, in sole possession of the 3rd seed in the Western Conference Playoffs, the L.A. Clippers are right on their heals, one game behind them, in the Pacific Division.
The Dallas Mavericks hold the sixth seed in the Playoffs. If the playoffs started today, these teams would meet, again (as the 3-6 match up) with the Lakers having the home court advantage, again. The Lakers lead the season series against the Mavericks 3-0, after taking the season series last year 2-1.
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.