Sunday, November 23, 2014
Blog Page 86

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Photo courtesy of Stephen Dunn, Getty Images

If you’re the opposing team, and there are 2.3 seconds left on the shot clock and just over 10 seconds left in the game, and the lead to overcome is a single point, there is ONE player on this Laker team that you absolutely, positively ensure does not get his hands on the ball. ONE PLAYER. He’s number 24, has a reputation for scoring big in tight moments? Maybe New Jersey Nets Coach Avery Johnson thought the Lakers would bluff with a Kobe Bryant decoy that opens up a Pau Gasol for an easy two points in the paint. With 2.3 seconds left, though, they should have known. All of Staples Center knew. The whole league knew. Everyone who’s ever heard of Bryant knew that a play would be drawn for him. Well, everyone but the Nets anyway.

Pau Gasol set a screen that trapped Gerald Wallace and allowed Bryant the freedom to sprint to the top of the arc. With one swift inbounds pass from Matt Barnes, Bryant rose up from about two feet behind downtown and launched a wide open shot that bounced seemingly off every inch of the rim before it finally fell in. By the time leather hit twine, the game clock read 6.8 seconds and the Lakers had a four-point lead that stuck until the final buzzer.

It should never have been that exciting in the end. The Lakers should have, in fact, ended this game with a boring blowout, building on that 70-53 advantage midway through the third quarter. They’d shot 66% after a half, with the Nets shooting just under 41%, and up until that 17 point lead, looked as if they’d finally get a comfortable win this season. Unfortunately, Bynum or no Bynum, the Lakers would continue to make this game as uncomfortable as possible.

After a 58-point first half, they managed to score just 33 points in the entire second half, shooting just 33%. The defense disappeared, as did any recognizable offensive sets. The Nets tied the game at 86 points after Deron Williams hit a three, but thankfully, that’s as close as they got.

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Andrew Bynum may be having an All-Star season, but the 24  year old center has had a very forgettable couple of weeks for the Purple and Gold. And now, he’s reportedly paying for it. Due to Bynum’s recent actions/comments, he has been fined an undisclosed amount for “numerous infranctions” by the Lakers organization, according to ESPN Los Angeles.

Bynum was benched in the 3rd quarter of the Lakers 104-101 victory in Golden State last week attempting a 3 pointer early in the offensive possession and when prodded about it by the local media about the attempt, his response was: “I guess don’t take 3’s is the message. But i’m going to take some more.” Bynum followed up those comments by saying “I don’t take part in huddles”, when the media inquired what the mood in the team huddles were when Kobe Bryant was struggling during the Lakers’ 88-85 win over New Orleans on Saturday afternoon.

This reported fine comes on the heels of an earlier report that many in the Lakers organization haven’t been pleased with Bynum’s actions over the last few weeks. Bynum will be held out of tonight’s contest against New Jersey to rest the ankle he injured in Sunday’s contest against Golden State, however this situation bears monitoring as Mike Brown and his coaching staff gear up for their first playoff run with the Purple and Gold.

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Photo by Stephen Dunn | Getty Images

It’s April 3, 2012 and the (33-20) Los Angeles Lakers face the (19-35) New Jersey Nets in a trap game at the Staples Center. The good news, the Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors (120-112) for the second time in five days by producing a season-high 120 points.

Kobe Bryant bounced back and dropped 40 points; Bryant, Pau Gasol and Ramon Sessions’ combined to score 89 of the Lakers 120 points. The Lakers received a contribution from their bench and every reserve, that received playing time, scored at least one basket.

The bad news, Andrew Bynum tracking a rebound came down on Josh McRoberts foot and sprained his left ankle; the Lakers allowed 100+ points for the fifth time in their last 10 games. The Lakers had 15 turnovers, allowed 42 points in the paint and the reserves outscored 41-22 by the Warriors reserves.

The soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets decimated by injuries and are not in the playoff picture, but are riding a three-game winning streak. The Lakers swept the last season’s series (2-0) for the third consecutive year and have won seven straight games overall against the New Jersey Nets by an average of 15 points. The Lakers are 9-1 in their last 10 games against the Nets. The Lakers are 8-4 all-time against the Nets at the Staples Center. In 23 games (including 19 starts) against the Nets, Kobe Bryant is averaging 22.4 points per game, his second lowest average against any team in the league (Bryant is averaging 22.1 against the Atlanta Hawks).

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Photo courtesy of Stephen Dunn, Getty Images

Lakers won 120-112, which means the absence of two things – defense and tacos for the Staples Center attendees. Based on how lackluster the Lakers’ play has been of late, however, the fans may not have minded tonight’s game so much, tacos or not.

It was an entertaining game, with the Lakers leading by as much as 15 points and then losing it (of course), and the Golden State Warriors doing what they do best – score in bunches. It was a game of runs. Each time the Lakers built up a respectable lead, the Warriors would score on a fast break or hit the open three pointer. They even took over the lead in moments, but the Lakers would race back with another one of their own runs.

With Andrew Bynum rolling his ankle and then leaving the game before the end of the first quarter, Pau Gasol took over the frontcourt with considerable contributions from reserves Josh McRoberts and Troy Murphy. Kobe Bryant’s shots were falling after yesterday’s abysmal shooting, and Ramon Sessions was huge again leading the floor with not only his playmaking, but his scoring as well.

Despite the momentary lapses (which have become much too common this season), the Lakers always found a way to get back into form to come out with the victory.

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Although the random three-pointer that Bynum threw up in transition against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday seems like a thing of the past, it may have been just the beginning.

In a win against the Hornets on Saturday afternoon, Bynum had some interesting things to say in his post-game interview. Bynum’s comments to reporters could be described as a “passive-agressive” way to speak out against head coach Mike Brown and possibly his Laker teammates.

Here is some of what Bynum had to say in his postgame interview (via Lakers.com):

Question: What was Kobe like in the huddle in the 2nd and 3rd quarter as he was missing shots?

Bynum: I don’t know. I don’t take part in the huddles

Q: Is that True?

AB: Yes!

Q: Do you do that for a reason?

AB: No, im resting…getting my zen on.

Q: How were you able to only score two points in the first half?

AB: Man! Thats a great quesion! I need some more shots I think

Bynum would go on to say that he got enough looks. He said that he was looking to pass more as he wanted ten assists. Some may think he is joking or simply playing around with the media. However, a report from the Daily News on Thursday said Bynum has been “erratic” in the Lakers locker room in recent weeks:

Bynum’s shot was the latest in a catalogue of items that have annoyed Brown, his staff, the players and team management over the past few weeks. Brown had seen enough and decided to sit the 7-footer for all but 5 minutes, 17 seconds of the second half.

The 24-year-old Bynum has played loud music in the Lakers’ locker room, which has been frowned upon over the years. He also has been disrespectful to members of the coaching staff and to his teammates for about the past three weeks.

Bynum not taking part in huddles has to be taken as a sign of disrespect to first-year head coach Mike Brown. The Lakers won’t get too far without everybody on the same page, and by the looks of things they simply are not.

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Photo courtesy of Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Trevor Ariza smiled then shook his head from the New Orleans bench. Despite being shorthanded, his team had overcome two Laker double-digit leads and led by 10 in the fourth quarter, only to lose their advantage for good late in the game to a 3-21 shooting Kobe Bryant. Ariza knew that was coming, and so did everyone on the floor.

It was Bryant’s only made three-pointer in eight tries, and only his third field goal converted in 21 attempts.

“He’s our leader,” Matt Barnes said after the game. “Whether he misses 20 shots or makes 20 shots, he’s gonna take the next shot and we believe in him.”

Despite Bryant’s poor shooting, he did hand out five assists in the first quarter, which helped launch a 14-point lead early in the game. But as habits are hard to break for these Lakers, the lead so easily created was just as easily lost, and after starting 6-9 to open the game, they went 2-12 to close the first.

New Orleans would clearly not go down without a fight; evident in their last meeting which took an overtime for the Lakers to win. The Hornets went off in the third quarter, outscoring the home team 28-18, shooting 55% and allowing the Lakers just 37% from the field. It appeared that the team should have been preparing for another loss, but instead they got behind their leader and pushed on to victory.

Bryant was 0-15 after three quarters and hadn’t attempted a single free throw, but in the final quarter, with his team down 10 points, he refused to stop trying and scored the only points he could muster in the game. With Bryant struggling, the rest of the team pulled together to get this win. Should it have been such a tough game for the Lakers? Probably not, but they found a way to win anyway and that counts for something.

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It was a bad afternoon for Kobe Bryant.

His first 15 field goal attempts resulted in 0 makes. After being held scoreless in the first three quarters, Bryant was 2/20 with the Lakers down two points with 21 seconds left in the game.

Then this happened:

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Photo courtesy of Harry How, Getty Images

The game clock ran down as the Oklahoma City Thunder put the finishing touches on their Staples Center victory. A friend of mine texted soon after the final buzzer, “I don’t know why I hope.” It’s a sentiment shared by every Laker fan this season, because every time the team appears to have a game, their mindset or their efforts in the right place, they always find a way, an excuse, to do everything wrong.

The Lakers are like the absentee mother or father who always promises their child a day at Disneyland and then sends their assistant instead. The interim guardian is fun for the first hour and then completely clueless and incompetent for the remainder of the day. That’s what the Lakers have turned into in this last, most critical stretch of the season – a team that looks excellent and dominant for a moment that raises our hopes, and then turns into a group who looks lost and confused.

They start a game with great effort, focus and energy, but as soon as their opponents counter with their adjustments, the deer-in-the-headlights syndrome takes over and they don’t seem to know the slightest bit about adjusting right back. Not to search for scapegoats, but that’s one thing Mike Brown and his coaching staff have yet to show their mastery in this season – in-game adjustments.

Kevin Durant shot 1-9 in the first quarter with Metta World Peace guarding him. Then he went off for eight points on 4-7 in the second under Matt Barnes’ watch, who is a scrappy defender himself, but against Durant, he may as well be a pencil guarding a palm tree. Russell Westbrook shot 3-10 in the first half and then went off in the second half against Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that he played under Kobe Bryant’s watch; Bryant, who may not be quicker, but is at least a bigger body with which Westbrook had to work around.

We should’ve known where this game was headed at the half, when OKC shot just 36%, Westbrook and Durant were a combined 8-26 from the field and Derek Fisher was just two points away from tying Pau Gasol before going into the break.

The third and fourth quarters were all OKC all the time. Except for a 15-4 run late in the fourth, the Lakers could do no more. This game belonged to the Thunder and they knew it.

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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

It is March 29, 2012 and the Pacific Division leading (31-19) Los Angeles Lakers face the Northwest Division leading (38-12) Oklahoma City Thunder. The Lakers were able to rely on Kobe Bryant down the stretch to beat the Golden State Warriors 104-101 on a Magic day in L. A., as former Laker Magic Johnson becomes the face of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

There has been a lot of talk in L.A. surprisingly suggesting that Head Coach Mike Brown might be losing the team. Brown has raised eyebrows for recently benching both All-Stars. This would not be an issue if Phil Jackson or Gregg Popovich benched a player. Mike Brown is not as tenured as Jackson or Popovich nor has he had that level of success, but he is in the process of managing egos in his first year as head coach of the Lakers. There have been a few instances where it appears that Andrew Bynum is testing the substitute teacher, so to speak.

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David Brickley, Jason Riley and Kevin Figgers are back in Studio B at Fox Sports Radio for a special edition of Voice of the Nation. Tonight, the guys go old school for a full length audio/video edition of VOTN where they’ll be taking your calls, answering your questions and getting you caught up on all the news around LakerNation, and the NBA. Later in the show, they’ll also be joined by ex-NBA vet and NBA insider Olden Polynice.

 

Rundown

  • Bench-a-Mania: Mike Brown benches Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum in consecutive games
  • Around the NBA
  • Does Ramon Sessions make the Lakers championship contenders?
  • We take your calls on Derek Fisher, Mike Brown benching Kobe & Bynum and more
  • Interview: Interview with 19-year NBA veteran Olden Polynice

Additional Audio

  • Lakers.com
  • KCAL-9

 

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Download Link: Voice of the Nation – Episode #150

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Podcast Home: STNTV

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Be sure to subscribe to the VOTN YouTube Channel for your chance to win a Phiten Lakers Necklace!

Voice of the Nation hosts, David Brickley, Jason Riley and Kevin Figgers discuss the Lakers top story-lines of the 2011-12 NBA Season.

Rundown

  • Mike Brown Benches Kobe Bryant in 4th Quarter of Memphis Grizzles Game.

Question of the Show: Do you have a problem with Mike Brown benching Kobe Bryany in the 4th quarter of a game? (COMMENT BELOW)

Videographer: Ryan King

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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.