Friday, November 28, 2014
Blog Page 88

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Photo by Stephen Dunn | Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers’ Andrew Bynum today has been named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, March 12, through Sunday, March 18.

Bynum led the Lakers to a 3-1 week, which included wins over the Grizzlies and Timberwolves.

Bynum led the West in rebounding (14.8 rpg) and placed second in scoring (27.5) while shooting .665 from the field (fourth in the Conference). Bynum collected a point-rebound double-double in all four of the Lakers’ games, including a 37-point, 16-rebound in a 116-111 win over Memphis on March 13.

The Milwaukee Bucks Drew Gooden was named the Eastern Conference player of the week.

Andrew Bynum, Last three games:

March 13 @ Memphis: Scored 37 points and added 16 rebounds in a 116-111 win over the Grizzlies.
March 14 @ New Orleans: Tallied 25 points, 18 rebounds, four assists and two blocks in a 107-101 win over the Hornets.
March 18 vs. Utah: Tallied 33 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks during a 103-99 loss to the Jazz.

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All you had to do was “Write Tomorrow’s Headline” right here on LakerNation.com, and Phiten gave you a chance to win an officially licensed Lakers bracelet.

The Winner is Joseph Aguirre, who had the headline: N-O Easy Task – Lakers Win A Tight One

Here is what he had to say after he found out he won:

When I checked out LakerNation.com the day after I entered the contest I was a bit excited to see if I had won.  I was first glad to see that the Lakers got another much needed road win, as well as kept their win streak alive.  Then I saw my headline and felt very excited that I had won not only won the headline contest, but got a great prize from Phiten!

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Sometimes when you accumulate 24 turnovers, you almost don’t deserve to win, and the Lakers did that today. That Andrew Bynum shot 12-14 for his 33 points and collected 11 rebounds, it doesn’t excuse his five turnovers. The same goes for Pau Gasol who scored 18 points on 8-12, grabbed 10 rebounds but had five giveaways himself. And with the kind of night Kobe Bryant was having, it’s not surprising he led in this category with seven turnovers of his own.

The Lakers handed out 24 assists on 33 made field goals, but committed 24 turnovers. Talk about cancelling the good out with the bad. In the first quarter alone, they committed 10 turnovers en route to a 17-turnover first half. That they reduced their turnovers to just seven in the second half almost doesn’t matter. The damage was just about done already.

As far as the rest of the causes for the damages go, other than the broken win streak at home and the turnovers, Kobe Bryant’s 3-20 from the field was surely a contributor to the downfall.

HIGH POINTS

Andrew Bynum – The man was, again, ahead of the pack tonight. 33 points on12-14, 9-12 from the free throw line, 11 rebounds, an assist, a steal and two blocks. The five turnovers aside, Bynum played a more than productive game. He was downright dominant, receiving lob after lob after lob. And when he wasn’t dunking those alley oops, he was showing off his fancy footwork around the rim to get his shot.

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Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

It is March 18, 2012 and the (28-16) Los Angeles Lakers defend their home court against the (22-22) Utah Jazz. The Lakers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-92 on 3/16 in Ramon Sessions’ successful debut. The Lakers, winners of five straight, have posted an 8-2 mark in their last 10 games, are making improvements and now possess a league-best 19-2 record at the Staples Center.

The Pacific Division leading Lakers hold the third seed in the Western Conference if the playoffs started today. The Utah Jazz, winners of six of their last 10 games are riding a two-game winning streak. The Jazz, third place in the Northwest Division, are two games out of the playoff picture.

The Lakers lead the current season series (2-1), after splitting last season’s series (2-2). The splitting of last season’s series snapped a four-year season series streak against the Jazz. The Lakers are 6-4 in their last 10 regular-season games. L.A. has a 20-4 all-time mark against the Jazz at the Staples Center. The Jazz are 5-16 on the road.

The last time these teams met; Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol scored 71 of the Lakers 87 points. The Jazz scored 20 points off 14-Laker turnovers and Utah’s reserves outscored the Lakers reserves 49-12.

Now that Ramon Sessions’ is sporting a purple and gold jersey the Lakers will be the beneficiaries of another playmaker on the floor, another distributor of the basketball and a player with his speed and quickness who can attack off of the pick and roll play.  It is now possible to add a few things to your Laker vernacular such as dribble penetration, easy transition baskets as well as getting teammates the ball when and where they can attack.

The Jazz are a solid rebounding team and had three players combine for 42 rebounds in their 99-92 overtime win against the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers owe the Jazz a beat down and Utah has to pay for their transgressions. The purple and gold have to raise their energy level, intensity and continue to come together as a cohesive unit.

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Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

It was a slightly different Lakers team that took the floor at Staples Center tonight… but that was really the only thing that was different on a night where the Lakers beat the Timberwolves, 97-92. For the turf-defending Lakers, it was their fourth win in as many tries vs. Minnesota, giving them an NBA best 19-2 record at Staples Center.

The real story in L.A. tonight wasn’t Kobe’s 28, Pau’s 17 & 11 or even Drew’s baseball pass that may or may not have killed a driver on the 405, it was the buzz surrounding newly acquired point guard Ramon Sessions. In limited action, Sessions came off the bench behind Steve Blake (and according to Mike Brown, will continue to) and his impact was certainly noticeable.

He notched 7 points and 5 assists in 20 minutes of action, but most importantly, he showed flashes of something the Lakers haven’t seen in a very long time: Quickness and penetration at the point guard position.

Next up: The Lakers will host the Jazz on Sunday (7:30p PT) before they head to Houston where Derek Fisher and the Houston Rockets will be waiting.

Since our own Anna Gonda is out tonight, be sure to check out a few of our favorite recaps of tonight’s game from around the Blogosphere:

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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

By Jason Riley

I knew exactly what I wanted when I walked in.

The little shop in urban Kansas City wasn’t somewhere I had ever bothered to visit before. It was one of those places where balding, 55-year old men came to worship athletes they had once hoped (and likely pretended) to be.

“I’ll never forget how I felt when George Brett came storming out of the dugout.”

Those are the kind of things you would hear in a place like that. The store was exclusively built by (and for) people who felt some sort of emotional connection to a person they had never met who was involved in a moment they had nothing to do with. Its very existence was both completely ridiculous and totally rational at the same time.

I exhaustively searched through every cluttered aisle, but all I found were new ways to justify my clear psychological deficiencies.

As I walked back to my car, I was surprised at how angry I was about the whole thing. To be reasonable, it wasn’t a Rasheed Wallace kind of anger, but more of a 13-year old girl who missed the Justin Beiber concert kind of anger. I felt like whining about it, so I called my sister, the only person in my world who would understand.

“Kansas City sucks! Of course they wouldn’t have it. … But of course they would have a signed calendar of the ’02 Royals. Who the hell would buy that? They lost 100 games for the 100th time in the last 100 years.”

Rachel tolerated a solid ten minutes of dull, one-sided conversation before making up an excuse to hang up the phone. During my 45-minute drive home, I was angry that I was angry. It forced me to think about all the reasons owning this sentimental item even mattered. Where my mind went next surprised me.

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Getty Images

By Kevin Figgers

Now that the dust has settled on the NBA trade front, its time to take a step back and look at what the Lakers deadline moves mean for the team not only today, but for the future.

Before we get into the ALWAYS riveting salary cap and luxury tax discussions, we’ll tackle the on-court impact that these trades produce.

Trade #1

Lakers receive: Ramon Sessions & Christian Eyenga

Cavaliers receive: Luke Walton, Jason Kapono, 1st round draft pick & other considerations

On the surface this looks like an obvious steal for the purple and gold. The starting point guard position has been an achilles heel for the franchise for as long as Laker fans can remember. While not an all-star, Sessions is a serviceable point guard that can create shots for both himself and others while relieving Kobe Bryant from much of the ball handling duties. Christian Eyenga is a project player that will likely see more action with the D-Fenders than the Lakers. To say that Luke Walton and Jason Kapono were not producing for the Lakers would be an understatement, and no doubt the biggest draw for Cleveland in this deal was the ability to acquire another 1st round draft pick in a year where the pool is as deep as its been in a while.

Trade #2

Lakers receive: Jordan Hill

Rockets receive: Derek Fisher & The Mavs 2012 1st round pick

To the disappointment of many Laker fans, the purple and gold said goodbye to one of the faces of the franchise with this move. Even with Fishers’ declining skills, his leadership in the locker room and unflappability in the toughest of situations (whether on or off the court) will be tough to replace. Jordan Hill is a former lottery pick by the New York Knicks whose career has not lived up to expectations, but he undoubtedly has the physical ability to be a decent if not solid contributor in the NBA. The Lakers get salary relief (which I’ll get to in a second) while the Rockets get the Mavs top 20 protected #1 pick in this years draft (this is the pick the Lakers received in the Lamar Odom trade) as well as a veteran point guard in Fisher, to aid in the progression of Kyle Lowry.

Now to the “fun” stuff.

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No one can really understand what Pau Gasol has been going through the last few months. At first he was traded by the Lakers to the Houston Rockets in a three team deal that would of landed the Lakers Chris Paul.

That trade was of course not approved by David Stern, and Gasol stayed put in Los Angeles. Since that time, Gasol dealt with many trade rumors. Even publicly admitting that the numerous trade rumors affected his game.

As the trade deadline passed, Derek Fisher, Luke Walton, and Jason Kapono were no longer Lakers. However, Gasol stayed put in the purple and gold.

Excited by the news, Gasol posted on his Facebook account a video along with the following:

The uncertainty has come to an end! Happy to continue wearing the LA Lakers uniform! Now time to focus in playing basketball and winning!

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Photo by Chris Chambers | Getty Images

UPDATE (3:51pm): It was announced by General Manager Mitch Kupchak that the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired Jordan Hill from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Derek Fisher. In addition, Houston will receive the Dallas Mavericks’ protected first round selection in the 2012 NBA Draft that was acquired by the Lakers earlier this season in exchange for Lamar Odom. (via Lakers Press Release)

Yahoo! Sports, Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting via Twitter that the Lakers have traded Derek Fisher:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/WojYahooNBA/status/180369378792058885″]

Jordan Hill is a 6-10, 235 pound Forward/Center who has career averages of 5.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks per game.

It was also reported that the Rockets may explore a buy-out for Derek Fisher. However, the Lakers could not then re-acquire him this season. (Not until July) Another reason to rationalize the deal is Fisher had a $3.4M player option next year that he would have exercised.

Fisher has been a Laker for 13 of his 16 NBA seasons. (GSW 04-06, Utah 06-07). In 43 games this season, Fisher has averaged 5.9 points (worst since Rookie season), 3.3 assists, and 2.1 rebounds per game.

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Photo by Stephen Dunn | Getty Images

UPDATE: The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired guard Ramon Sessions and forward Christian Eyenga from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for forwards Luke Walton and Jason Kapono, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. In addition, Cleveland will receive the Lakers’ 2012 first round draft pick (protected) and other considerations. (Via Lakers Official Press Release)

The Lakers needed a point guard, and it looks as though they have landed one.

Multiple outlets are now reporting that the Lakers have acquired Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga in a trade for Luke Walton and a 2012 first-round pick (lottery protected).

Brian Windhorst, of ESPN.com, first reported on the story:

The Los Angeles Lakers have reached a deal to trade for point guard Ramon Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to league sources.

In 41 games this season, Ramon Sessions is averaging 10.5 points, 5.2 assists, and 3.1 rebounds per game. Sessions, who many consider a starting talent, has only started four games this season (24.5 minutes per game) due to the emergence of Kyrie Irving.

Christian Eyenga is a 6-7, 210 pound Forward out of Congo. He is averaging 13.8 minutes, 1.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks per game.

Those that are wondering why the Cavs would take on Luke Walton’s bad contract, Beacon Journal sports writer Jason Lloyd explains:

Walton has one year and $6.1 million left on his contract, but the Cavs made the move for the extra pick. They now have two first-round selections both this season and next season.

Walton has spent all nine of his seasons with the Lakers since being drafted back in 2003, with the 32nd overall pick.

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Photo Courtesy of Chris Graythen of Getty Images

Don’t look now, but the Lakers have a three game winning streak…ON THE ROAD. It seems like months since those back-to-back losses in Detroit and D.C., yet just a week after, the team has found some gusto to come up from behind (for a change) to win in the end. It hasn’t been pretty, getting behind by as much as 17 points in yesterday’s game against the Grizzlies and then again today against the lowly Hornets, but they’ve been getting those W’s nonetheless.

A common knock on the Lakers this season has been that they haven’t blown out very many teams. Some pundits have looked at their impressive 19-2 record at home and brush it off, partly because they weren’t all won dominantly. To critics, a Laker win isn’t enough. A win against a good team like Miami didn’t count because they were without Chris Bosh, or against Memphis because Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay didn’t play. Two wins against a still formidable team like the Boston Celtics has been waved away by some analysts because they’re no longer considered one of the “elite” teams in the league. Even in tonight’s win, against the scrappy New Orleans Hornets, the Lakers will surely be chastised for having to work so hard to win against a now 10-33 team. But as Derek Fisher told John Ireland in a post-game interview, they don’t really have a recipe yet for winning on the road, but if they have to claw and scratch to get there, they will. Amen, D-Fish.

On the second night of a back-to-back, after a double overtime victory over the Grizzlies, the Lakers, not surprisingly, came out sluggish, shooting just 38% in the first quarter and falling behind by 14 points going into halftime. They barely managed to score 40 points in those first two quarters and couldn’t quell the Hornets, who shot 62%. The break between halves, however, seemed equivalent to a power nap, as the Lakers came into the third and outscored the Hornets 30-16 on 65% shooting to tie the game going into the final 12 minutes; where they again ended the game tied after Gustavo Ayon fouled Kobe Bryant behind the three-point line and Bryant, of course, hit all three free throws. Another overtime – unbelievable.

In OT (it only took one, this time), it was all Bryant on offense and all Metta World Peace on defense. It’s not a bad recipe for victory.

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Its March 14, 2012 and the (26-16) Los Angeles Lakers ride a three-game winning streak into tonight’s game against the (10-32) New Orleans Hornets. Laker all-stars Kobe Bryant & Andrew Bynum combined to score 71 points. The Lakers were able to overcome a 17-point deficit for a come from behind 116-111 double-overtime victory on the road with playoff implications.

The Lakers sit alone as the third seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. Tonight will be the first meeting between the two teams since the Lakers eliminated the Hornets 4-2 in their first round playoffs series last year. The Lakers swept last year’s season series against the Hornets (4-0) and won the 2009-2010 series (2-1). The Lakers are 8-2 in their last 10 games against the Hornets and have won seven of their last eight overall.

The Lakers have gone 9-3 in their last 12 games at New Orleans Arena. The Hornets do not match up well with the Lakers front line. Andrew Bynum has averaged 26 points and 12 boards in the last five games while shooting 72-percent. It would be wise for the Lakers to capitalize on that and provide their big three of Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol twenty shots apiece. The Lakers need to give Bynum & Gasol enough touches to affect the outcome of this game.

The Lakers have the opportunity to establish Bynum & Gasol in the painted area and allow them to go to work; the low post scoring in concert with the defense the Lakers can effectively end this game by halftime. Despite tonight’s game being a back-to-back road game the Lakers need to play with a high energy level, with a sense of urgency, continue to use solid ball movement, good player movement to find high percentage shots attacking the basket and do a much better job of taking care of the basketball to decrease their turnovers.

The Lakers have to communicate of defense, do a solid job of defending the pick-and-roll play, control the tempo, get back in transition, control the boards and quickly rotate out to open shooters. It is imperative that the Lakers win the points in the paint battle, win the offensive rebounding battle and their reserves need to outscore the Hornets bench.

The Lakers have to tighten the screws of their defense and make sure that they do not underestimate this team or allow a player that normally scores under 10 points per game become a star overnight.

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, M. Peace, P. Gasol, A. Bynum
Hornets:
J. Jack, M. Belinelli, A. Aminu, G. Ayon, C. Kaman

Tip-off: 5:00 PM PST

Television

  • Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Bill Macdonald & Stu Lantz)
  • New Orleans: Cox Sports Television (Bob Licht & Gil McGregor)

Radio

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
  • New Orleans: KMEZ 106.7 (Sean Kelley & Gerry Vaillancourt)

Injuries

Lakers:

  • Kobe  Bryant (Nasal Fracture, Concussion) Probable
  • Steve Blake (Costochaondral Fracture) Probable
  • Andrew Bynum (Bruised Right Knee) Probable
  • Luke Walton (Gastroenteritis) Not with the team

Hornets:

  • Eric Gordon (Atroscopic Knee Surgery) Out
  • Emeka Okafor (Sore Left Knee) Out
  • Carl Landry (MCL Sprain) Out
  • Jason Smith (Concussion) Out

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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 Wednesday. Here’s how you can win:

We want you to write tomorrow’s headline for Anna’s Lakers vs. Hornets post-game report.

Too simple? Here’s the twist:

We want you to write it before the game actually happens.

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 (5pm PT, 3/14).

Following the Lakers vs. Hornets showdown tonight, 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.

Good luck, and while you’re trying to come up with your submission, be sure to check out Phiten’s entire NBA collection and follow them on Facebook for exclusive discounts and savings on hundreds of great products.

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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.