Friday, November 28, 2014
Blog Page 97

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Photo by Jed Jacobsohn | Getty Images

The (7-4) Los Angeles Lakers are in the 45th state to join the union, Utah, to battle the (6-3) Jazz. On Tuesday night, Kobe Bryant erupted against the Phoenix Suns scoring 48-points on 18-of-31 shooting. Clearly, the black mamba doesn’t like the Suns.

Kobe’s 48-point outburst was the most ever by a player in his 16th season. In the words of Kobe Bryant, the future hall of fame player who refuses to be counted out or disrespected “not bad for the 7th best player in the league”. In fact, three of Kobe’s six highest scoring games were against the Suns.

The Lakers needed Bryant’s huge scoring effort with 37 points from the front line and only 14 from the bench. The biggest questions going into tonight’s match up are; can Kobe keep up this torrid pace? What will Kobe Bryant do for an encore?

Bryant is averaging 29.5 points per game this season, but in his last five-games, he has increased his average to 36 points on 51.4% shooting while attempting 9.4 free throws.

There will be people who will say that Kobe has returned to having the mentality of a gunner. The truth of the matter is that Kobe is getting much more comfortable in Mike Brown’s offense. Brown’s offense is a lot less restrictive than the triangle offense and it turns Kobe loose to be able to dominate the ball and become much more difficult to stop.

The Lakers are 4-6 in their last 10 regular season games at Energy Solutions Arena. The Jazz are an improved team that is currently on a 5-game winning streak. The Lakers have a one-game lead in the season series, in the first game L.A. got their first win of the year by completely dismantling the Jazz.

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Attention Nation!

We’ve partnered up with fanlime.com to build and connect the Laker Nation like never before!

Show your Laker pride wherever you watch, talk, or share all things “Laker”, by printing the sign below and taking your best #ImALaker photo. Upload the photo to the virtual collage: fanlime.com/LakerNation and share with your fellow friends and fans!

Each week the most liked photo becomes a finalist, and at the end of four weeks, the Nation will vote on the ultimate fan photo.

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Kobe Bryant scored 48 points on Tuesday night, the most by any NBA player this season.

In the postgame press conference, Kobe Bryant was asked if after scoring 48-points against the Phoenix Suns did he at all consider ‘Tebowing’ at the end of the game:

“I didn’t think about it.” Kobe laughed. “But I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it!”

This is the second time in a week that Bryant has spoke about the polarizing figure that is Tim Tebow.

When asked about Tebow beating the Steelers, Bryant in so many words said that, “The guy wins!”. He also added that if Tebow were any ‘meaner’ he would tell people to go ‘pound sand’. For the actual quote check out Kevin Ding’s Twitter.

For those that don’t know, “Tebowing” is to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different. It has even started a movement over at Tebowing.com where people submit pictures of themselves “Tebowing” around the world.

Bryant is known for his support of the Philadelphia Eagles, who missed the playoffs this year at 8-8.

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In crunch time with the Lakers up 89 to 82 against the Phoenix Suns, Bryant had the ball on the right wing in an isolation set against Grant Hill. He would rip through and use a quick first step to get around Hill and slam it home for his 40th point.

On the very next possession, Bryant attempted a three pointer that rattled in and out. Luke Walton grabbed the board, swung it to Matt Barnes at the top of the key, and Barnes lobbed it up to Bryant for a reverse dunk.

Watch the sequence below:

Bryant scored more points than any player in the NBA this season against the Suns on Tuesday night. Bryant finished with 48 points, shooting 18-31 from the field, and 12-13 from the free throw line. Bryant also grabbed five rebounds, and dished out three assist.

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Getty Images | Stephen Dunn

Derrick Caracter is still recovering from off-season surgery. Josh McRoberts is still nursing a sprained toe. Troy Murphy has the stomach flu. Jason Kapono is at home with his family, enjoying the company of his newborn twin girls. They probably could’ve used Shannon Brown actually, if he weren’t wearing a Suns uniform, because were the Lakers shorthanded? Yes. Did they let it affect their game? Absolutely, positively not, especially when they’ve got Kobe Bryant on their team and especially when they’ve got dependable teammates to lean on. Tonight, the Lakers needed both and both succeeded to the victorious end.

Much was made before the game about this season’s Phoenix team playing more defense than they have in seasons past. The Suns have been an offensive-centered team for years, and with an elite point guard like Steve Nash leading a crew of talented shooters, they’ve proven to be a dangerous team with which to contend. If their defense has been a more vital part of their game this season, more power to them! Unfortunately, there’s a player who loves to scorch them in every meeting and the Suns still don’t have an answer for him. Kobe Bryant’s got a special spot in his game for Phoenix. He may have forgiven that elimination in 2007, but he will never, ever forget.

HIGH POINTS
Black Mamba Mode – It was like a lion, okay fine a snake, just freed from his cage and devouring everything in sight. That’s what Kobe Bryant looked like tonight. He devoured the Suns defense, most notably Grant Hill, who went just 1-12 for the game, most likely due to fatigue from chasing Bryant all night, and partially due to former teammate, Matt Barnes’ defense. After one quarter, Bryant was 8-11 from the field for 17 points. At the half, he already had 23 points. Halfway through the fourth quarter, with the Laker lead hanging by a one-point thread, it was Kobe Time. He sank 4-4 from the free throw line, then later scored on a bank shot. Alone in the corner with Hill, he stuttered back and forth and then blew by the 39-year old and lifted off for an uncontested dunk. Two possessions later, he received a lob from Matt Barnes and scored on a reverse dunk. Another fadeaway and jumper later, and Bryant was standing on 48 points on 18-31. 58% shooting from the field, 12-13 from the free throw line, five rebounds, three assists, three steals and just two turnovers. “Not bad for an old fella,” he said to Chris McGee in his post-game interview. Nope, not bad at all.

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Photo by Harry How | Getty Images

Kobe Bryant and the (6-4) Los Angeles Lakers conclude their 3-game homestand tonight by hosting Steve Nash and the (4-4) Phoenix Suns. Several people prematurely counted out the Lakers in the pre-season and predicted a disastrous season. Saying that the Lakers could be in peril this season would have been more accurate, but you can say the same for all 30 teams.

The above-mentioned point, proven both emphatically and painfully last season. No team has played more in this season’s first two weeks than the Lakers, after dropping their first two, have won six of eight. The first two-day break for L.A. will not happen until next week. The Lakers are a work in progress and still learning Mike Brown’s system.

There was never a doubt that the Lakers could score, but the benefits of Brown’s system defensively has been evident from day one as it has kept the Lakers in every game this season. The Lakers beat the Grizzlies behind Kobe Bryant’s 26-point, 9 assist effort and 51 points from the front line.

The Lakers won last year’s season series versus the Suns 3-1. The Lakers have taken four season series from the Suns. The Suns not only won a game in the season series, Phoenix pushed another to three overtimes in the process of overcoming a 21-point deficit before losing by two. The Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 games versus the Suns. The purple and gold are 17-7 all-time against the Suns at the Staples Center.

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Photo by Kevin C. Cox | Getty Images

The “Magic” date is March 15th, the NBA’s Trade Deadline.

In 1996 the Magic let Shaquille O’Neal walk as a Free Agent and got nothing in return. One would think the franchise would not make the same mistake twice.

However, according to Dwight Howard, he does not believe the Magic will trade him before the NBA’s deadline:

“I don’t think they are going to do anything right now because we’re winning,” Howard said after a 104-97 victory over the Sacramento Kings improved the Magic’s record to 6-3. “Even if this is the last season, let’s go out hard, regardless.”

When asked if he expects Orlando to trade him by the NBA’s March 15 deadline, Howard said: “I don’t think so.”

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Otis Smith confirmed Howard has not taken his trade request off the table and that Howard’s agent still has permission to speak with three, and only three, teams: the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Jersey Nets.

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Getty Images | Stephen Dunn

Let’s just get one thing over with – Phew! Andrew Bynum survived a Memphis Grizzlies game in January!

Okay, now about tonight’s game…

The Lakers are 10 games into the season, and tonight’s game has been their best collective effort yet. Led by Kobe Bryant, five Lakers scored in double figures, three had double-doubles and, despite the monstrosity under the turnover column, they played a very talented Memphis Grizzlies team tough (even without the injured Zach Randolph) and managed to come away with a victory.

HIGH POINTS

Great Distribution (in more ways than one) – Despite a great game from Bryant, tonight wasn’t just the Kobe Show. This game was won because of Pau Gasol & Andrew Bynum’s 30 rebounds and 28 points. The Lakers’ two big men have such an obvious big brother/little brother relationship and it showed today when, after sending a one handed behind the back pass Bynum (who scored), Gasol pumped both fists and hugged Bynum tightly, patting the younger teammate on the back of the head with pride. Gasol only attempted eight shots and converted on five, but he grabbed 15 boards and though he’s not getting as many attempts, with Bynum looking to contribute more of his offense, it doesn’t look like he minds. Gasol’s game is predicated on a lot more than just scoring. As seen tonight, the man’s awareness of the floor and his ability to set up teammates is just as valuable as his capacity to score, and his capacity, as we all know, is pretty amazing.

Bynum didn’t have one of his best offensive games, going just 5-14 for his 15 points, but he’s learning that scoring is not the only way to help his team, and the 15 rebounds and two steals showed he’s catching on. He’s still having issues playing in the middle of or playing out of a crowd. Whether he should score or pass the ball seems to be a decision that Bynum still grapples with when he’s faced with a double, and sometimes triple team. His five turnovers were the result of his indecision.

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Photo by Stephen Dunn | Getty Images

With Andrew Bynum beginning to emerge as an elite center in the NBA this season, it’s hard to exactly pin the person who is most deserving of credit for Bynum’s transformation from perennial injury concern to bonafide all-star.

Is it Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who helped develop Bynum’s big-man repertoire during his time as a special assistant coach for the Lakers?

Nope.

Is it Bynum himself, finally maturing both physically and mentally after his Game 4 catastrophe in the Dallas series last year that saw him exiting American Airlines Arena shirtless?

Of course not.

Is it Mike Brown, whose reliance upon Bynum in his offensive system is finally giving the Laker big opportunities?

Not a chance.

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Photo by Jeff Gross | Getty Images

The (5-4) Los Angeles Lakers are back to work at the Staples Center tonight to host the (3-4) Memphis Grizzlies. A strong second half, Kobe Bryant’s 39-point outburst and a season-high 16 points from Matt Barnes (18 points from the small forward position) were enough to overcome a sluggish first half and outlast the Warriors.

The Lakers continue their three game home stand against a Memphis team that split last year’s season series 2-2. The Lakers lead the all-time series 44-16, but are just 22-15 since the Grizzlies moved to Memphis, TN.

Memphis has been very competitive against Los Angeles and these contests have given the Laker nation a few forgettable moments. The Lakers are 7-3 overall against the Grizzlies in their last 10 games, but just 3-3 in their last 6. The purple and gold are 4-1 in their last five home games versus the Grizzlies, 6-4 in their last 10.

The Grizzlies considered a second-tier playoff team this season after a strong showing in both the regular and post seasons. There was a lot of talk last season that Rudy Gay was bad for the Grizzlies chemistry. An idea that sounded absurd, gained momentum, when the Grizzlies made it to the second round of the playoffs without him.

The biggest problem for the Grizzlies was the lack of depth behind Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. The problem has recently gotten worse seeing as Randolph is now out for 6-8 weeks due to injury. The Grizzlies made a trade with the 76ers to acquire center Marreese Speights.

The Grizzlies are young, athletic team that wants to get out in transition and run. Memphis is a better team with Tony Allen and Rudy Gay in the starting lineup. The Lakers have to slow Mike Conley. Conley is an undersized point guard, a good spot-up shooter with great straight-line speed.

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Aziz Ansari of Parks and Recreation fame stars in Nike’s latest Kobesystem spot. Rocking the new Kobe VII System Supreme’s, Aziz looks ready to take on Detlef Schrempf.

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No one will mistake the 2011-12 edition of the Los Angeles Lakers for the “Showtime” teams of the 80’s, who were known for their high-flying, up-and-down, entertaining pace. Through the first 9 games of the season, the Lakers average just 8.9 fastbreak points per game, good for 25th in the league.

Lakers guard, Kobe Bryant, says that this should not be a surprise to anyone:

I mean we’re not a transition team by any means so you wont see some of the fluidity that you see from other ballclubs…we’re a very slow team so you’re not going to see fastbreak points, things like that so a lot of games are going to be ugly”

The Lakers open court woes can be attributed to a couple of factors. Number one, the age of the core members of the team. The average age of Lakers players who actually play significant minutes is just over 30 years of age (30.1 to be exact), which easily makes them one of the oldest teams in the league. Number two is their head coach, Mike Brown. Brown is a disciple of San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich, who is known as a defensive-minded coach who preaches a tough, ground-and-pound type of offensive pace that at times have garnered his teams’ the label of “boring.” Brown took that same philosophy with him to Cleveland where his Cavaliers were one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, while boasting one of the more snooze-worthy offensive attacks.

Age and offensive philosophy notwithstanding, at the end of the season all Laker fans will care about is the number they see in the win column, no matter if the final score is 135-120 or 75-70.

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Getty Images | Stephen Dunn

Kobe Bryant looked over his shoulder, his left hand dribbling and his right hand pointing and seemingly directing. Pau Gasol took notice, took the direction and caught a pass from Bryant as he cut to the basket. Score! As they ran back on defense, Bryant pointed his right index and middle fingers at his eyes, mouthing something we can’t hear but shouting volumes in the process. Look to me. I’ll guide you. And that is what he did.

After losing in Portland last night (yet again), the Lakers had a meeting with the offensive-minded Golden State Warriors with new head coach, Mark Jackson. Despite playing without their young talent, Stephen Curry, Golden State still had scoring machine, Monta Ellis. Despite a sluggish and pathetic effort from the Lakers in the first half, Kobe Bryant led a surge in the third that the team managed to hang on to until the end.

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Photo by Jonathan Ferrey | Getty Images

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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.