Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Blog Page 89

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Photo courtesy of Ronald Martinez from Getty Images

72-55 in favor of the Grizzlies in the third quarter. Oh these wretched road games! Arriving in Memphis, TN yesterday with a 7-14 record away from the Staples Center, the Lakers remain at a loss as to why they’re so dominant at home (18-2) but play so poorly on the road. And if they could lose two games in a row to the lowly Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, who knew what evils lay ahead in tonight’s game, even if the Grizzlies were playing without two of their best players in Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay.

The evils, apparently, were reincarnated in one Tony Allen and another Marreese Speights, not to mention “el tanque” himself, Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies didn’t need Randolph and Gay to defeat the Lakers. They seemed to be doing just fine with the back-ups that they had. In the first quarter, Tony Allen, who averages just about 10 ppg, had already rattled off 11 points on 5-9 from the field. By halftime, Marc Gasol had 12 points on 6-10, more than twice what his big brother, Pau who had barely produced up to that time (five points, two rebounds, two assists.). And then there was Speights, who seemingly came out of nowhere, and scored 15 points on 7-8 in the third quarter.

Despite putting in a 30-point second quarter to get within two points of a once nine-point lead going into halftime, the Lakers came into the third quarter and immediately gave up a 20-4 run to the Grizzlies to instantly fall behind by 17 points. The momentum that helped them catch up in the second quarter hadn’t yet shown up seven minutes into the second half and the Lakers seemed headed towards another road loss. Fortunately, they still had time in the game, not to mention some fight in themselves, and they countered that early quarter Memphis run with one of their own, a 16-8 surge that pulled them within striking distance going into the fourth.

After shooting almost 50% in the first three quarters and forcing 13 Laker turnovers, the Grizzlies went cold (38% cold) and relatively less aggressive, as the Lakers got hot in the fourth (61%), led by Kobe Bryant’s 11 points. The Lakers seemingly crawled their way up a hill in the fourth quarter; their final three shots getting them over the lead and then, after a game-tying jumper from Marc Gasol, forced the first overtime.

That’s right – a FIRST overtime in which each team scored six points apiece on a combined 5-16 from the field. And when Bryant’s final attempt didn’t go, they were forced to play a SECOND overtime, and though Memphis played twice as many possessions to take this game on their home floor, they were half as effective and efficient, and they fell 13-8 in the final five minutes.

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Photo: Getty Images

It is March 13, 2012 and the (25-16) Los Angeles Lakers are in the “Mid-South”, in the southeast corner of the state of Tennessee for a run with the (24-16) Memphis Grizzlies. The Lakers hit the road after an invigorating 97-94 win against the rival Boston Celtics led by 59 point, 30 rebound, 14 assist and 2 block performance by Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

Derek Fisher, Steve Blake and Metta World Peace combined for 25 points from the point guard and small positions. The purple and gold were able to survive 17 turnovers, 9 missed free throws and losing the offensive rebounding battle. The Lakers lead the current season series (1-0) with the Grizzlies after splitting last season’s series (2-2).

In the 90-82 win on 1/8/12, the Lakers were able to hold on to the majority of a 10-point lead and overcome 27 turnovers, 16 in the second half. The Lakers are 7-3 in the last 10 games overall against the Grizzlies. The Lakers have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games at the FedEx Forum.

In 55 career games, (48 starts) Kobe Bryant is averaging 24.8 points against the Grizzlies. The matchup of the Gasol brothers is always special. In 10 games, against his former team Pau Gasol is averaging 15.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.45 blocks. The Grizzlies are 15-5 at home. The Grizzlies, winners of nine of their last 12 games would hold the fourth seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers would hold the third seed in the Western Conference, if the playoffs started today.

As the trade deadline approaches, it is obvious that Kobe Bryant needs help on the perimeter; however trading Pau Gasol is not a move that makes sense at this time. The only significant player that makes sense for the Lakers right now is point guard Deron Williams. That move will probably will not happen. The Lakers would be wise to hold off on any trades at this time. The Lakers should be interested in a second-tier guard that can handle the ball, score, assist and rebound.

The Grizzlies are a talented young team that wants to play up-tempo basketball and run the Lakers out of the gym. The Lakers have to control the tempo, do a solid job of defending the pick-and-roll, get back in transition, control the boards and quickly rotate out to open shooters.

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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

  • After being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, Lamar Odom has not been the same. Did the Lakers see this coming?

Question of the Show: What do you think is wrong with Lamar?

Videographer: Ryan King

Editor: Colin Beatt

Take a look back at the initial thoughts the VOTN: Fastbreak crew had when the trade went down in late December…

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Photo courtesy of Stephen Dunn at Getty Images

There it was again, that unmistakable ear-to-ear smile coupled with the emphatic bear hug. He seems the happiest Laker when the game ends with a win, and the most excited to greet his teammates when the final buzzer sounds. Maybe it’s because he’s turning out All-Star caliber performances each night. Maybe it’s his double-double dominance that opposing teams don’t seem to know how to control. Or maybe he’s just glad to have lasted these 37 straight games in uniform on the floor rather than in street clothes on the bench. And if there’s anything the Lakers need this season to get themselves through, it’s this version of Andrew Bynum – the one on the active roster who is carpe dieming the heck out of his season.

The two road losses last week were more than unfortunate – they were downright embarrassing and preventable. But since time travel has yet to make its way beyond the world of Marty McFly and Doc Brown, there is no reason for the Lakers to dwell on what was, rather than what is, and what IS is the rest of this shortened season and they began anew, after the 1-2 road trip, today with their longtime rivals, the Boston Celtics.

The Lakers started out how they’ve usually started these last few games – dominant early, getting to a 15-point lead almost mid-way through the second quarter. Boston couldn’t get their offense going to start the game and the Lakers, despite shooting twice as well percentage-wise as the Celtics, could have capitalized if not for their turnover-happy afternoon. Before halftime, their lead had turned into just two points and two minutes into the third quarter, their lead turned into a deficit.

The third quarter was a constant back-and-forth with four ties and eight lead changes in 12 minutes, and the game came down, as the last few Lakers-Celtics contests have, to the final seconds. In the end, the Lakers took it.

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Photo courtesy of Doug Pensinger, Getty Images

The final buzzer sounded and Andrew Bynum, with a towel over his shoulders, elbows bent with fists tightly closed in front of his chest, approached his teammates coming off the floor with that childlike, Christmas morning smile. He greeted each player one by one with, “We got a win. We got a win.” It’s only been two losses since their last victory, but Bynum and his team have gone through a lot this week – embarrassing losses, trade talks continuing to swirl around their most prominent players, players venting to the media about their state. He knows they didn’t add any more championship banners with this win, and they didn’t get the road trip record they had anticipated when they left L.A. But they did win tonight, and they won playing the right away…in the second half anyway.

For a team trying to recover from back to back losses to two awful teams, the purple and gold sure came into tonight’s game with very little energy or purpose. What opposing team wouldn’t take advantage? Not the Timberwolves, who ran off a 16-6 lead in what seemed like a blink of an eye, as the Lakers sludged through the first quarter, looking poised to help Minnesota break their 18-game losing streak against them. All this without the services of Kevin Love, who sat out tonight’s game due to back spasms.

The Lakers looked listless on defense, failing to communicate, and thereby giving up uncontested layups and dunks. The rebounding reflected the effort (or lack there of), and the Wolves capitalized with a 12-2 advantage in second chance points. On offense, the Lakers were even worse, unable to hang on to the ball long enough to make a play. They had seven turnovers in the first 12 minutes alone and 11 for the half. It was one careless pass after another, and though they cut a 14-point Minnesota lead going into the half, there was still so much to adjust if they wanted to get out of Minnesota with a win…and they did just that.

They played a second half that looked the exact opposite of the first, which in essence means, they played how they should have been playing in the first place – with energy, ball movement, aggression and a little bit of smarts didn’t hurt either.

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It is March 9, 2012 and the (23-16) Los Angeles Lakers are in Mill city for a matchup with the vastly improved (21-19) Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers return home to the ‘twin cities’ where the franchise began in 1947 in the NBL. The Lakers, with George Mikan, won five championships calling Minneapolis, Minnesota home.

The Lakers had the appearance of a team turning the corner and playing with some momentum and swagger after a huge win at home over the Miami Heat. At 17-2, the Lakers tied for the second best home record in the league, but after 39 games played this season, 20 away from Staples Center L.A. have come out on top only six times.

The Lakers are not the same team on the road as their shot selection wavers, their execution falters and the reserves are not playing with confidence. The Lakers are playing in the finale of a forgettable three-game road trip, two terrible back-to-back performances, including a disappointing overtime loss to the Pistons and then losing to the Wizards after surrendering a 21-point lead.

Kobe Bryant is not solely to blame, but merely one of the culprits, shooting 17-57 over the last two games. The Lakers could greatly benefit from going back to running the triangle offense.

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Photo by Rob Carr | Getty Images

After yet another road loss that saw the Lakers fall to 6-14 away from Staples Center, Andrew Bynum was asked if the Lakers problems are fixable?

If we can be real with each other. Yeah.” Bynum said.

Alright Bynum, lets keep it real.

Kobe Bryant finished the night 9 for 31 from the field (29%).

Bynum shot the ball just eight times, one less attempt than the amount of shots Bryant had from the three-point line.

Bynum made six of his eight field goals (75%).

As someone who has watched the majority of Kobe Bryant’s games over his 14-year NBA career, that may have been the worst 2nd half I have ever seen him play.

He was 3 for 18 in the 2nd half (17%). Many of his shots were forced; he rarely (if ever) looked to pass.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Chambers at Getty Images

Well at least they beat the worst team in the league (Charlotte Bobcats). Then again, that was at home, inside the comforts of Staples Center where the Lakers are 17-2; a record that is almost disposable when placed against the team’s 6-14 record on the road. It’s one thing to lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat, the second and third best teams in the league. It’s an entirely different concept to lose to the Detroit Pistons and the Washington Wizards, the seventh and third WORST teams in the league.

After winning their first three games after the All-Star break, it appeared the Lakers were finally starting to gain some traction. They looked and played like a good, solid team completely capable of making a significant run in the post-season. The bench was starting to contribute, Metta World Peace was finally producing, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol looked unbeatable as a pair, and Kobe Bryant was playing like an MVP. But just like the large leads they so easily create, that feeling of accomplishment fades when carelessness, apathy and overconfidence sets in; when the well-being of the parts overrides the well-being of its sum, resulting in nothing but embarrassment and loss.

This was probably the Lakers’ most manageable road trip in the season, especially after such improved play going into it; one where they could have come home 3-0 after defeating two bottom-feeding teams and then one who they have beaten twice this season already. Instead they’re 0-2, with the result of Friday’s game appearing almost meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

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Photo by Jed Jacobsohn of Getty Images

13-26 – The Detroit Pistons are 13-26, almost the exact opposite of the Lakers’ record to date, and the Lakers STILL could not pull together a game to defeat them. After allowing the Pistons just 17 points in the first quarter on 33% shooting, and then driving up their lead to 12 points in the second quarter, the Lakers lost focus and allowed the Pistons a run that ended in a 28-17 disadvantage going into the half.

After a concerted defensive effort and focus in the third quarter, the Lakers appeared poised to finally run the Pistons over and head on down to Washington, DC to stomp on the lowly Wizards. Instead they opened the fourth quarter on the bad end of a 10-2 run and just couldn’t keep their foot on the gas long enough to make the drive worth it. Each time they gained any sort of lead, they’d allowed the Pistons to get right back into it, needing a Kobe Bryant buzzer beating jumper to force overtime.

All they had to do was play smart, if even in the closing minutes of the final 12, but it was one poor decision after another – being three points ahead with less than two minutes left in the game but continuing to attempt three pointers instead of higher percentage shots that could pad the lead further; not closing in on Rodney Stuckey who scored on back to back possessions; throwing behind the back passes when every possession should have cherished and capitalized on. In the end, the game was a hot mess that didn’t need to be one.

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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

It is March 6, 2012 and the (23-14) Los Angeles Lakers start a three-game road trip in the largest city in the state of Michigan, Detroit, on a cold 40-degree day that feels like 30 due to 23-34 mph winds to match up with the (12-26) Pistons. The Lakers have won eight of their last 10 games and are coming off a signature win against the Miami Heat.

Kobe Bryant set the tone doing most of his damage early with Dwayne Wade guarding him scoring 18 first-half points while burying D. Wade in the post. Head Coach Mike Brown preaching defense has paid off, on Sunday, the Lakers held the Heat to just 37.5% from the field.

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Photo by Harry How | Getty Images

World Peace had arguably his best game of the season as he scored 17 points, on 60% shooting. He also grabbed 7 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 assists.

Although he filled up the stat sheet, he also did a great job defensively on LeBron James. He was asked after the game how he was able to contain LeBron James when no other player this season has been able to:

“I’m going to answer this as honest as I can, I’m one of the best defensive players ever. I’m one of the best defensive players to ever play on the wing.” Artest said. “I think that’s the answer. Sometimes media hides away from that fact. [I’m one of the best] especially in the last decade.”

World Peace also talked about his offense:

“I was shooting nine percent from the three [point line] earlier [this season]. I could of easily gave up on myself and deferred, but that’s not my character. I gotta keep on goin.”

In the last two games, World Peace is averaging 16 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game. He is also shooting 52% from the field, and 40% from beyond the arc.

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Photo courtesy of Harry How from Getty Images

The buzzer sounded to signal the end of the third quarter. Frustrated with his last miss, Lebron James shoved the closest player in front of him, innocent bystander, Troy Murphy. Seeing this, Pau Gasol stepped in and pushed Lebron James back, which was followed by Udonis Haslem pushing Gasol. In came Metta to administer some World Peace. Gasol walked away, glaring at James on his way to the bench. Gasol and James were hit with double technicals as a result. Frankly, that was a technical well-spent for the resident Spaniard and the Lakers.

The Lakers had been bullied by the Heat in every contest since Lebron James arrived in South Beach with those talents of his. The purple and gold were constantly outplayed, outhustled and outsmarted by the most hated team in the league, and it’s taken Kobe Bryant’s broken nose and concussion to finally incite his team to take a stand with him. Today the Lakers played physically, unafraid to body up and get in the face of every black jersey on the floor. They were cunning, playing to their strengths and adjusting to Miami’s changing play. And they were tough, losing a large lead, but coming back strong each time to not only compensate, but to hang on until the very end.

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Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

It is March 4, 2012 and the (22-14) Los Angeles Lakers face the (28-7) Miami Heat who holds the third-best record in the NBA. The Lakers and Heat will be promoting Hispanic Heritage this month and will don their Sunday white ‘Los Lakers’ jerseys while the Miami dons their black ‘El Heat’ road jerseys.

This afternoon’s highly anticipated re-match is a game that the Lakers have been looking forward to playing after putting up no resistance in Miami and falling 98-87 to the Heat 1/19/12 on playing without Dwayne Wade. There is a strong possibility that Chris Bosh will miss today’s game.

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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.