Friday, October 24, 2014
Tags Posts tagged with "Dirk Nowitzki"

Dirk Nowitzki

0

April 4, 2014 — 7:30 PM (PST)
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

The Los Angeles Lakers return home tonight to face off vs. a Dallas Mavericks team who had a very impressive victory vs. Clippers last night in their first of two games at Staples Center.

PF Dirk Nowitzki has regained his old form after having a very poor season last year. Nowitzki, who has averaged 21.6 PPG, and 6.2 RPG, led the Mavericks last night by scoring 26 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to gain a crucial victory to stay alive in the playoff chase.

With PG Jose Calderon, SG Monta Ellis, and SG Vince Carter having the ability to drive to the basket and create their own shots, the Lakers have to make sure they stayed focused on the defensive end.

Meanwhile, the Lakers seem to always be short handed throughout the entire season. As this season winds down, more players will be sidelined.

C Pau Gasol and G Xavier Henry might be sidelined for the rest of this season due to Vertigo illness and a fractured wrist respectively.

Without Gasol available, C Chris Kaman and PF Jordan Hill will be counted on to fill in Gasol’s minutes.

Whenever PG Steve Nash cannot play due to his nerve issues, G Marshon Brooks might finally get some playing time at the point guard position since PG Kendall Marshall will be the only healthy point guard moving forward.

Projected Starters

PG - Jose Calderon Kendall Marshall [Advantage: Mavericks]

SG - Monta EllisJodie Meeks [Advantage: Mavericks]

SF - Shawn Marion Kent Bazemore [Advantage: Mavericks]

PF - Dirk Nowitzki Jordan Hill [Advantage: Mavericks]

C - Samuel Dalembert Chris Kaman [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Mavericks: G Vince Carter, F Brandon Wright, F Jae Crowder, PG Devin Harris

Lakers:  F Nick Young, C Robert Sacre, F Ryan Kelly, PG Steve Nash, F Wesley Johnson

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Mavericks: Out-G Gal Mekel 

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Probable-PG Steve Nash, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-PG Jordan Farmar , Out-C Pau Gasol

Bottom Line

The Lakers can play inspired basketball tonight knowing that they can spoil the chances of one of their Western Conference foes from making the playoffs. However, they are outmatched talent-wise, so they have got to play very well on both ends of the floor, especially shooting the ball well and boxing out their players to grab rebounds.

Prediction

Mavericks: 110-98

0
Pau Gasol / Dirk Nowitzki
Image: Ronald Martinez | Getty Images
Pau Gasol / Dirk Nowitzki
Photo: Ronald Martinez | Getty Images

January 7, 2014 —- 5:30 PM (PST)
American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

The Los Angeles Lakers (14-20) go on the road to battle the Dallas Mavericks (19-15) tonight and seek to shake off a very ugly loss vs. Denver Nuggets on Sunday. They gave up 137 points to the Nuggets. That number is unacceptable regardless of the opponent, especially the Nuggets who are not a very talented team this year in comparison to the rest of the Western Conference teams.

The Lakers will not win any games for the rest of the season if they continue to not put any effort on the defensive end. For Lakers fans, they find difficulty remembering the last time the Lakers scored 115 points in a game and still lose by more than 20 points.

The Lakers have also released F Shawne Williams today, in a cost-saving move to save the Lakers about $1 million.

However, the Lakers have many positive things working for them at this moment.

Lakers PG Kendall Marshall had another productive night, dishing out 17 assists while adding 9 points. Marshall has thrived in giving his teammates open shots and make great passes that only a true point guard can make.  Without another ball-handler available for the Lakers, they hope that Marshall will not get injured by playing too many minutes.

Also, the Pau Gasol trade rumor is finally over! For now. After multiple rumors that Gasol was headed to Cleveland Cavaliers for former Laker C Andrew Bynum‘s contract, the Cavaliers threw a major curveball, acquiring Chicago Bulls all-star Luol Deng.

Despite all the trade rumors, Gasol has looked much better on both ends of the floor, having more energy and looking as healthy as he has been in years. Forum Blue and Gold’s Darius Soriano mentioned that in Gasol’s last 10 games, he is averaging 18 PPG, 10 RPG, 4 APG, 2 BPG, with a solid 51% shooting percentage. Those numbers are very identical to his average during the Lakers’ championship run.

The Dallas Mavericks look to close out their 3-game home series on a positive note after losing their first 2 games. After overhauling their roster every season after winning the 2011 NBA Championship, the Mavericks have finally stabilized their roster by signing  starting PG Jose Calderon and starting SG Monta Ellis to multi-year contracts this off-season.

However, the Mavericks are still built around their franchise cornerstone, PF Dirk Nowitzki. Highly regarded as the best “stretch-4″ to ever play the game, Nowitzki has seemed to regain his old form after having a very poor season last year. Nowitzki has averaged 22.9 PPG, and 6.5 RPG, and shooting 49,8% from the field.

With Calderon, Ellis, and SG Vince Carter having the ability to drive to the basket and create their own shots, the Lakers have to make sure they stayed focused on the defensive end.

Projected Starters

PG - Jose Calderon Kendall Marshall [Advantage: Mavericks]

SG - Monta EllisJodie Meeks [Advantage: Mavericks]

SF - Shawn Marion Wesley Johnson [Advantage: Mavericks]

PF - Dirk Nowitzki Pau Gasol [Advantage: Even]

C - DeJuan Blair Robert Sacre [Advantage: Mavericks]

Notable Bench Players

Mavericks: G Vince Carter, F Brandon Wright, F Jae Crowder, C Samuel Dalenbert

Lakers:  F Nick Young, F Jordan Hill, F Ryan Kelly

Bench Advantage: Even

Injury List

Mavericks: Out-PG Devin Harris 

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

Keys for Lakers Victory

Defense, Defense, Defense: The Lakers failed on the defensive end vs. Nuggets allowing 137 points and clearly could not stop the fast break points, allowing 30 points, 22 of which came in the 2nd half. Now, we cannot expect the Lakers to give up 137 again, but if their defensive effort becomes as bad as it was on Sunday, tonight’s result vs. Mavericks tonight will result in a loss regardless of how well the Lakers play on the offensive end.

Bottom Line

Prediction

Hopefully the Lakers will play inspired basketball tonight knowing that Gasol’s still with the Lakers and that this season is not over yet. However, they are outmatched talent-wise by the opposing team again, so they have got to play very well on both ends of the floor, something they have not done so recently. Unfortunately, the matchup vs. Mavericks will not be much easier for the Lakers especially since the Lakers are trying to fix their defensive deficiencies.

Mavericks: 110-98

0
Image: CHRIS TROTMAN | GETTY IMAGES

According to ESPNLA.com’s Ramona Shelburne and ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst, the Lakers are focusing on rebuilding around the two biggest free agents for 2014 – Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony.

Image: Harry How | Getty Images
Image: Harry How | Getty Images

In accordance with ESPN.com’s Marc Stein’s prediction of a $62.1 million salary cap for the 2014-15 season, the Lakers will theoretically have about $51.5 million in cap space next summer.

Although the reality of pairing James and Anthony together is still a long-shot at this point, the Lakers have made it clear that they plan to try.

The Lakers have positioned themselves into making a realistic run at not just one superstar next summer, but possibly two in the same off-season.

By refusing to commit to any contracts past this upcoming season, the Lakers have maintained maximum flexibility to cash-in on the 2014 free agency frenzy.

A league source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN:

“It’s all wishful thinking at this point,” a league source said. “Teams are doing more wishing than LeBron is wanting right now.

“It’s not about where LeBron wants to go [to win]. He already has two rings. If LeBron moved to Reno, teams would come to him.”

James, who has an opt-out clause for next season, has not made it clear as to whether he plans to exercise his opt-out or not.

It seems that James has learned from his previous “decision” by refusing to discuss his future plans until the time comes.

Image: Jeff Gross | Getty Images
Image: Jeff Gross | Getty Images

In addition to James, Anthony also has an early termination option in his contract after this next season.

One source close to Anthony’s situation told ESPN:

“It would make sense for him to exercise the early termination option on his contract after next season to become a free agent and secure either a four- or five-year extension.”

Although the Lakers have tons of cap space next season, there is nothing concrete to sell potential free agents on.

As it currently stands, the Lakers do not even have any current marquee players, like they would have had had Dwight Howard re-signed this off-season.

Not even Kobe Bryant, who is in the final year of his contract, is guaranteed to be in the fold after next year.

Bryant has said recently that he plans to play another two or three more seasons, but would need to take a major pay-cut for the Lakers to maintain enough room to purse two max-level free agents.

Bryant, however, recently told ESPNLA.com’s Dave McMenamin that he intends to be involved in the Lakers’ recruiting efforts for 2014:

“It’s an open conversation, via text and also meeting in person and just picking up the phone and calling,” Bryant said of his involvement. “[The Lakers] have kept me in the loop pretty well.”

With Bryant at the head of the recruiting process, it could bode well for the Lakers’ pursuit of Anthony, in particular.

Image: Phil Walter | Getty Images
Image: Phil Walter | Getty Images

Bryant and Anthony developed a close relationship during their time together in the recent Summer Olympics, and have remained friends since.

The two superstars have also discussed potentially playing together in the past.

It should be interesting to see if the Lakers can in fact lure two max-level free agents next summer, in addition to re-signing Bryant at an affordable price.

The Lakers remain poised to do so, however, with Steve Nash ($9.7 million) and Robert Sacre ($915,243) the only players on the books for 2014-15.

According to the ESPNLA.com’s report, the new collective bargaining agreement would allow the Lakers to waive the final year of Nash’s contract, so they could potentially “stretch” his $9.7 million out over three years.

This would mean that only $3.2 million would count against the 2014-15 salary cap, giving the Lakers even more cap flexibility.

As a result of this cap rule, the Lakers could then grant Bryant’s wish and extend his contract for another few seasons at between $10-15 million per season.

Even with Bryant making about $10-15 million per season, the Lakers would still theoretically have enough room to pursue two max-level players.

In addition to Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, the 2014 free agency class potentially includes Dwyane Wade, Amar’e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Luol Deng, Danny Granger, Andrew Bogut, Dirk Nowitzki, and current Lakers Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, among others.

2

Dwight Howard is a seven-time NBA All-Star. Dwight Howard is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Dwight Howard is five-time All-NBA First Team player. Dwight Howard is not the future of the Los Angeles Lakers.

There have been many superstars throughout the history of the NBA. None of them have been as indecisive and immature as Dwight Howard.

As is often times the case in a results-driven league, Howard’s talent has caused many to dismiss his lack of maturity on the court, his child-like behavior off of it, and his overall lack of self-awareness in his constantly changing mindset.

Howard wanted out of Orlando, then he wanted to opt-in, then he wanted out again. He also only wanted to go to Brooklyn, then he was happy to be a Laker, then he was frustrated, and now according to ESPN, he wants to run away from difficulty again and head to Texas. But not before putting the blame on the Lakers, like he did to the Magic.

Howard’s major problem with the Lakers is the system that coach Mike D’Antoni employs… Howard also does not want to be second fiddle to Bryant for several more seasons.

Dwight is blaming the coach and the system for his shortcomings, this sounds familiar doesn’t it? D’Antoni in no way has done a good job with the Lakers, and his system is very much to blame for the short-comings we saw all season long, but for that to be the reason Howard leaves Los Angeles is ridiculous.

This is especially true when you consider the fact that Howard is looking at Houston as an option. You know, the team who launches three’s at a record-pace and runs exactly none of their offense through the low-post. Yet that system doesn’t seem to be an issue to Dwight.

imagesThe Dallas Mavericks also seem to be an option. A team with an aging star in Dirk Nowitzki that will be Howard’s team to call his very own a year from now. And to a self-centered man like Dwight Howard, being handed the keys to a franchise without delivering any results sounds like the perfect deal.

It’s time for Laker fans to face some realities. Dwight Howard is not the type of player to lead you to a championship, and in a city where success is measured by titles do we really want to hitch our fortunes to him? When someone shows over and over again that they refuse to accept responsibility for their decisions, that they refuse to grow up and act like the professional they are expected to be, they are not the type of player you want leading you into the future.

Do the Lakers as a franchise want to commit over $100 million to someone who has shown no commitment, and to some extent only shown disrespect to the greatest franchise in sports today? Howard’s contract will determine the immediate and long-term future of the Lakers, and could end up being one of the most important decisions the franchise ever makes. Do you really want to risk all of that on someone who you can’t trust to stick to a single decision?

Los Angeles has been spoiled with Kobe Bryant for the last decade and a half. Bryant is a superstar who takes challenges head on, who enjoys overcoming difficulty and who only wants to win. Howard is the complete opposite of that. He runs from challenges and criticism. Howard wants nothing but adulation from his fan base, regardless of the results he brings.

Dwight Howard wants all the praise that comes with being a franchise player, while playing like a secondary All-Star and acting like a child who is never at fault.

Even if he regains his pre-injury form, Howard will never be the type of player to lead you to a championship. The Lakers should let this spoiled brat tuck his tail and run to Texas.

Good riddance.

Belal Abdelfattah is a sports addict, sneaker junkie and Laker Nation contributor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ItsBelal_A

Social

Latest

2
After another setback during the pre-season, the Lakers announced today that Steve Nash will miss the 2014-2015 season due to ongoing back issues. Via Lakers: EL SEGUNDO...