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Brooklyn Nets

Image: Maddie Meyer | Getty Images

February 23, 2014 — 6:00PM (PST)
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

The Lakers enter tonight’s game riding some momentum and optimism for its on-court product for the first time in months.

The bench carried team to victory in its Friday’s victory vs. Celtics in similar fashion that got them off to a great start this season.

Now, their biggest ammunition from the bench, F/G Nick Young, will return to the floor for the first time in 3 weeks. Young, who suffered a non-displaced fracture of the patella, has arguably been the most consistent Laker this season, bringing instant scoring off the bench and a player who can close out games in absence of SG Kobe Bryant. Scoring 16.9 PPG this season, many voters would have highly considered Young as the front-runner to win the 6th Man of the Year award if the Lakers had more success this season.

Newcomers G Kent Bazemore and G Marshon Brooks, who the Lakers acquired in the PG Steve Blake trade, energized the crowd Friday night by playing with a lot of effort especially on the defensive end. Bazemore, who scored a career high 15 pts. in Friday’s win, will get the start tonight as the Lakers will play small tonight. G Jodie Meeks will slide to the Small Forward position while F Wesley Johnson will start at the Power Forward position.

The Brooklyn Nets are now a much different team since the last time Lakers and Nets played each other in November. The Nets now find themselves in the 8th seed as former Celtics F Paul Pierce and F Kevin Garnett have learned to adapt their game to the rest of the lineup.

Joe Johnson as lead the Nets to skyrocket up the NBA standings after getting off to a historically slow start that drew a lot of concerns throughout Brooklyn. Johnson can score at will at any point in the game, scoring 15.3 PPG on 43.9 % shooting.

Potential History-Making

Fans who watch tonight’s game might be witness to a monumental history tonight. C Jason Collins, who announced he is gay during last offseason, signed with the Brooklyn Nets earlier today on a 10-day contract. A 13-year NBA veteran, Collins will bring another asset that will help with team chemistry and still possesses the ability to guard and rebound the ball well whenever Head Coach Jason Kidd calls his number.

If Collins plays tonight, he will become the first openly gay player to ever play an NBA game.

Projected Starters

PG – Kendall Marshall / Deron Williams [Advantage: Nets]
SG – Kent Bazemore Joe Johnson [Advantage: Nets]
SF – Jodie Meeks / Paul Pierce  [Advantage: Nets]
PF – Wesley Johnson / Andrei Kirilenko [Advantage: Nets]
C – Pau Gasol / Mason Plumlee [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Nets: F Andray Blatche, F Mirza Teletovic, G Alan Anderson, C JASON COLLINS

Lakers: G/F NICK YOUNG, PG Jordan Farmar, G Marshon Brooks, C Chris Kaman, F Ryan Kelly

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Nets: Out-C Brook Lopez, Out-F/C Kevin Garnett, Out-C Shaun Livingston, Out-G Marcus Thornton

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-G Xavier Henry

Keys for Lakers Victory

Spark from Bench: The Lakers’ entire bench stepped up Friday, closing out the Celtics by playing the entire 4th quarter. Brooks and Bazemore definitely brought energy to a team that lacked any inspiration, engaging fans to the game as they showed appreciation to the newcomers. Although Bazemore will be inserted into the starting lineup tonight, the bench has to contribute as well as they did Friday. Young’s return will instantly boost the Lakers bench, who now have enough healthy bodies to put out on the court.

Bottom Line

If the Lakers stay relatively healthy for once and play with the same effort they did on Friday, they possess the ability and skills to close the rest of this season on a positive note in what fans otherwise call a “lost season”. Whether or Laker Nation wants the Lakers to not play well in order to receive a high lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft is up for debate.

For tonight, the Lakers definitely have the potential of coming away with another home victory.


Nets: 105-101

NOTE: Tonight’s game will be a 6:00 PM start instead of its usual 6:30 Sunday start.


Tired of hearing about the Dwightmare that seems to take a new turn every day?  Yeah, me too.  With the latest turn of events we see that Dwight Howard reportedly has said that he plans to play in Brooklyn next season.  This coming from a source close to ESPN basketball insider, Stephen A. Smith.  Here’s what the source said via BleacherReport:

A source close to the situation found that the Los Angeles Lakers center recently told Rudy Gay, “on the court,” that he made a mistake by getting traded to the Toronto Raptors.

D12 allegedly went on to say that the swingman “should have waited” until next year, when the two stars could have wound up in Brooklyn together.”

Notice the fact that the report says that Dwight spoke to Rudy Gay “on the court” regarding Brooklyn.  The Lakers haven’t played either The Grizzlies or The Raptors since the trade that sent Gay to Toronto went down.  This leads to questions of credibility about the source that gave out this kind of information.  Is it just another story to fire up the rumor mill? Does it have any clout in the sports world whatsoever?  These are questions that lead me to believe that these reports are highly exaggerated or fabricated entirely.

This was also taken from the BleacherReport article regarding Howard wanting to go to The Nets:

Ryan Ruocco, Smith’s co-host on the radio program, asked if Dwight was “delusional” by thinking he is still going to wind up in Brooklyn. Smith confirmed that D12 truly believes he will be a Net and that the star center thinks he can make something happen to get there in the near future.

It’s because of stories like this that make me nervous about where Dwight will be at the start of next season.  Whether or not the report is true about Dwight speaking to Gay on the court, it doesn’t cover up the fact that Dwight may very well have his sights set on Brooklyn and not Los Angeles.


That February 21st trade deadline is coming in hot, and who knows what moves (if any) Mitch Kupchak is going to make.  I feel if the Los Angeles front office isn’t at least 80% sure Dwight Howard will resign with The Lakers we need to trade him. The worst possible scenario would be Dwight leaving to free agency and Los Angeles getting absolutely nothing but the door shutting behind Dwight as he leaves Staples Center. However, it’s still unlikely that Mitch will make a move even if Dwight wants to leave due to the foot injury to Pau Gasol.  Gasol is still up to 7 weeks from returning to the lineup, and LA can’t afford to be without a big man until then.  The Lakers front office would have to trade Dwight for another big man such as Brook Lopez of the Brooklyn Nets in order for a trade to work without leaving The Lakers in a situation where they lack a front court entirely.

Personally, I hope Dwight Howard stays with Los Angeles; sure he’s not been the power house Dwight Howard we all knew, but he has the potential to be. Once all this hype over The Lakers dissipates and Dwight continues to heal and move forward from his back injury last April, he’ll come back to being more of his former dominating self. One thing Dwight needs to know is that when Kobe Bryant retires (unfortunately, he has to at some point), Dwight will become the centerpiece of

PhotoCredit:Noah Graham:NBAE:Getty Images
PhotoCredit:Noah Graham:NBAE:Getty Images

Los Angeles, it will become his team.  Kobe could play a few more years should he so choose, but if The Mamba sticks to his guns he plans on calling it quits at age 35.  His 35th birthday would land right before the start of the next and possibly final season for Kobe Bryant.

Can Dwight wait that long? Does he even want to be King in LA?  More questions about the Dwightmare continue to circulate and won’t likely cease until Dwight lands somewhere and inks a long-term contract.  I want to hear what you think, where do you think Dwight will end up after this season?   I suppose only time can truly tell.

Where do you want to see Dwight Howard play next season?

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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.
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