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Nuggets Run Lakers Ragged

26 February 2013 Leave a comment

The post- All-Star Game winning streak by The Los Angeles Lakers ends at 3 games, losing in the high altitude of Denver to The Nuggets, 119-108 (Recap). Too much speed, too much athleticism from Ty Lawson & Company: The Lakers falter after beating Dallas the day before in a mystifying performance that can only be expressed with one word… #Kobe! Defense faltered tonight, technical fouls rained down on the court to begin the game – and at 12-12 The Nuggets began to pull away to a 10-point advantage they sustained throughout. That The Lakers were horrible at the Free Throw line wasn’t startling to Lakers fans this year, just a bit surprising after clutch shooting at the charity stripe propelled them to a win 24 hours earlier. #annoying

The Nuggets played without Danilo Gallinari (replaced by another former Knicks player, Wilson Chandler, who had come over to Denver in last year’s trade that sent ‘Melo to The Big Apple) but it just didn’t matter: the speed & quickness of Andre Iguodola & Kenneth Faried & Corey Brewer was coupled with the veteran savvy of Andre Miller into an unstoppable force. Tonight, though was Wilson Chandler’s night: he played great! The Lakers didn’t show much in the way of a defense that could stop the fastbreak by Denver, nor did anybody except Kobe & Dwight show any interest in rebounding. #disheartening

The Lakers falter, fail, and now re-group in hopes of eventually gaining enough momentum to propel them into the playoffs. For now, they’re still on the outside looking in. I tried earlier today to apologize to Bomani Jones for calling him a #bandwagon Lakers #fan, but apparently he blocked me for comments tweeted as such to him while he was at The Daytona 500. It was stupid, I apologized: I was jealous, envious. #bummed But I was happy to hear Jimmy Johnson won the race!

This was a game that could have seen The Lakers reach the .500 mark, finally. This was a game that would have shown they could beat a team that will make the playoffs, instead of just winning against 3 teams that won’t likely make it into the post-season round of action. The energy from Earl Clark has been zapped. Metta World Peace isn’t even laying like Ron Artest. I wonder who else MDA might turn to on the bench for some help: Devin Ebanks? #whynot

C’mon, Lakers! Let’s go!

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Lakers Mystifying in Win vs. Mavericks in Dallas Today

24 February 2013 Leave a comment

I watched the game, today – and I couldn’t believe we were winning, practically rubbing my eyes in unbelief every time I turned my eyes to check how far behind we were. It was a strange game, except for those of us who have actually enjoyed the play of The  Los Angeles Lakers over The Kobe Bryant Era! Defensively, neither team was all that good, from start to finish. The Lakers had some great help off the bench from Jodie Meeks, defensively! And, Metta World Peace had about as bad a game as ever could be imagined; but, he made 1-2 Free Throws late to go with a Dwight Howard 2-2 effort late and a Dirk Nowitzki tech that Steve Nash sank the free shot from that represents the total margin of victory: 4 points. The Lakers won because of Made Free Throws! It didn’t hurt that Kobe Bryant paced our effort with 30-plus points with some huge, key shots from just about everywhere – including beyond the 3-point arc! And Nash was scrappy vs. his former team, with a Lakers best (for him) of 20 points after a disastrous previous game. Final: Lakers 103, Mavericks 99 (Recap).

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Lakers Shaky in Win vs. Portland Friday Night @ Staples Center

23 February 2013 Leave a comment

The emotional win by The Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday (due to the recent passing of their beloved owner, Dr. Jerry Buss), was almost followed up by a major “letdown” – as one could possibly assume might happen. It was pretty ugly, and not at all like the convincing style with which they dispatched their dreaded rival, The Boston Celtics in the previous game; but, a win is a win! Final Score: Lakers 111 , Trailblazers 107 (Recap).

Dwight Howard played fairly well, from the beginning; but, he did injure his bad shoulder again – late (this time, however, he endured the pain and remained in the game). But with the sorry shooting of Steve Nash, who even shot his worst effort ever at the free throw line, Kobe Bryant had to go for broke and start scoring more & more as the game progressed because Portland wasn’t going to just hand them a victory: The Lakers had to earn this one. None of the games that The Lakers have played this year where they have won have been easy wins, except for maybe the Boston game. Nicolas Batum played well, and except for Antawn Jamison & Kobe Bryant there really wasn’t much you would call “consistent effort” from anybody else. Their were spurts where MWP & Earl Clark had value, but the game seemed marred by sloppiness – mostly.

In the end, Kobe Bryant had one of his most efficient nights in a long time, going for a “quiet” 40 points on 16-23 shots! I know, right? 40 points! Quietly? Yes, there were some “isolation plays” that seemed to stymy ball movement, occasionally – in terms of developing rhythm, chemistry, in subsequent trips down the floor – Metta did the same thing, making a 3-pointer at one point when he probably should’ve thrown the ball inside to Dwight Howard – then coming down the court on the very next possession and heaving up another 3-point shot that had no chance of going in… In the end, defense seemed to win the game, as poise left Portland’s players when the referees chose to stop using their whistles the last 6 minutes of the game to let the players determine the outcome of the game. Attitudes got a bit testy, Batum frustrated by MWP, Wesley Mathews losing it when guarded tightly by Steve Nash and drawing a technical due to his burst of anger directed at the referees for a non-call that was rightly not called.

I didn’t like the game much, except for the final score. How about you? Off to a back-to-back road trip Sunday morning (Dallas) / Monday night (Denver). Life got a bit busy – hectic, even. But this family man is trying as best I can to still stay with a Lakers team that is nervously too close to be eliminated from post-season play if they don’t find their identity “now”! These upcoming games are “must win” games! Kobe seems to be willing to do whatever needs to be done to make it? Dwight Howard seemed to feel that way Friday night. Steve Nash won’t ever again have such a poor shooting night, will he? #unthinkable

Let’s go, Lakers!

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Lakers Shine in Victory vs. Boston @ Staples! #4JB

21 February 2013 Leave a comment

Lakers win! Lakers win! Dwight Howard had a monster game! Paul Pierce had an amazing 1st Half, too, to help keep Boston within striking distance. Earl Clark had a monster game! Kevin Garnett had a solid 1st Half. The Lakers played consistently well from all 5 positions. The Celtics left Courtney Lee out to lead them to victory down the stretch – yeah, right! The Celtics threw in the towel – Doc Rivers technical signaled the end of the game, about midpoint of 4th Quarter. Kobe & Dwight picked up a Tech each, too. Yes, these games are always “chippy.” However, @KobeBryant was involved in the most touching moment of the night, pointing up to where Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss would have been sitting and asking the crowd to observe a moment of silence…

JB-silence-moment-Kobe

Final Score: Lakers 113, Celtics 99 (Recap).

The Lakers went to Dwight Howard early & often – and it worked! Down 12-7 early, our beloved Lakers then tore off a 29-15 run to end the 1st Quarter! Yes, some games between these gladiators of the NBA might have had a Halftime score of 36-27; but, tonight – The Lakers were spectacular! Steve Blake had a steady hand all night long, and he seemed to have a connect with Dwight Howard in the 2nd Half that Boston couldn’t counter. Steve Nash had a similar thing going with Earl Clark that produced some EZ baskets, too!

But maybe the biggest key to a Lakers win came from Antawn Jamison with a great game off the bench! Metta World Peace was firing on all cylinders, to start the game (on offense AND defense) – perhaps Kobe Bryant was the least productive among starters, but check his stats! I’ll take it! If I had to complain, I would’ve liked seeing MDA allow Devin Ebanks some minutes late when he chose to allow Chris Duhon to get some time out there – who almost blew it for fans in attendance wanting free tacos!

Go, Lakers! Keep the momentum building for a successful push into the playoffs!

After a frustrating loss to The Los Angeles Clippers to proceed into the NBA’s All-Star Weekend festivities, the media hype swirling around Lakers trade rumors then took a turn for the worse with the news that Dr. Jerry Buss who owned The Lakers since 1979 passed away. The “JB” patches worn on Lakers jerseys commemorates his greatness as a pioneer in sports as possibly the greatest owner to have ever lived! Twitter has been abuzz with tributes to him as players and media reflect on what he had accomplished – a sports empire now left to his family, which I hope will still defer to the expertise of employees like Mitch Kupchak who has done a great job of building Lakers teams as did Jerry West before him. Patience may have allowed for intended product of management effirts to build a winner this year to finally appear in tonight’s game! Let’s hope so. No time to start winning like the present…

But nothing would have made Jerry Buss more proud than to know that his team, The Los Angeles Lakers, beat the tar out of The Boston Celtics tonight!

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Clippers Throttle Lakers

14 February 2013 1 comment

The Los Angeles Lakers failure to defend home court vs. The Los Angeles Clippers tonight wasn’t unexpected by many, and The Clippers definitely chose to take advantage of each & every opportunity afforded them by a lackluster effort on defense by the home team (?) – not that our stagnant offense was much better: Deficiencies as noted were best measured by the following – Kobe continues to mishandle the ball with too many turnovers, Dwight couldn’t stop anybody in the paint with heavy feet, and Earl Clark had his worse shooting night as a starter.

Jamison, Meeks & Blake shined to start a 2nd quarter run that got The Lakers within 3 points!  There was no other highlight, unless you count the dunk by Kobe Bryant over Jamaal Crawford when we were down some 20 points or so – late.  Otherwise, some streaky shooting from Metta World Peace was fun to witness after such a long streak of bad shooting nights; however, the overall effort by the team resulted in a very ugly game (see “comment” by another).

Next.  Right?  Game over.  “Game over” happened early with a 15-0 spurt @ tip-off by The Clippers.  The Los Angeles Clippers might just be the next best team in the NBA to the defending champion Miami Heat!  Playoff hopes are dimming for The Lakers…  It hasn’t been much of a #Lakeshow to be proud of this season – and there is no resemblance toShowtime!at all.  Of course, that’s an unfair comment if you are so precise as to think I was referring to the Time Warner SportsNet studio gang who have been superb, mostly!  All kidding aside (sorry, I was having a Dwight Howard moment), the insightful perspectives of James Worthy & Coach Dave Miller as well as some guests like Kurt Rambis help make Lakers broadcasts watchable when The Lakers players themselves are seemingly #unwatchable. As Worthy tweeted: “…Bad start too much to overcome…”

What will Lakers management choose to do, if anything, prior to the trade deadline?  I have no idea.  Is there anything that can be done without working a poor chemistry of players into an even worse predicament?  If Mitch Kupchak is being honest, and not just enjoying a great game of poker, then it sounds as if The Lakers will stand pat.

So, the only question remaining is: Will The Lakers current roster of players find a will within themselves to rise above the adversity of a “Reality TV” life of crazy scenarios & innuendos and start winning?  Will the fact that they are “safe” after the trade deadline inspire them to play at a 110% level where maybe they were holding back, playing at 85%, previously?  I still believe this talented group of NBA athletes is capable of making the playoffs. I wonder if they believe it, though.  It’s hard sometimes to find truth through troublesome times.  We’re about to find out the answer some very important things about our team…

Hopefully The Lakers have a renewed spirit to persevere through adversity as they come out from the rest of All-Star weekend.  Up next? The Boston Celtics!  Nothing like playing against your arch rivals to get you pumped up!

Let’s go, Lakers!  Let’s get back to forming another winning streak!

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Lakers Accomplished The Unexpected with An Awful Win

12 February 2013 Leave a comment

The 1st Half of this post-GrammyRoadTrip home game vs. The Phoenix Suns by our amazing Los Angeles Lakers was magical! Dwight Howard & Earl Clark commanded the inside, Metta World Peace even showed up – for the first time in weeks! Welcome back, MWP! But the collapse of The Lakers in the 2nd Half was – #unbelievable #unthinkable – downright scary! How can a team that can play better, and must win to keep its playoff hopes alive, play so poorly?

But whatever it was Kobe Bryant was attempting to do fizzled by halftime. Was that a “Kobe The Facilitator” game? I’m really not sure how to characterize it: It just felt like whatever he was trying to create was something he should never intentionally attempt to ever repeat, ever again! Ever. As in never, ever. #awful

Furthermore, if that was a Mike D’Antoni suggestion… follow the logic trail of the last paragraph. C’mon, man! Be reasonable: Coach, you are toying with MILLIONS of $$$ !!! !!! !!! Do you know what you are doing? I don’t think so. Is it me, or does every coach in the league make better adjustments at halftime than MDA does? Or, is that #duhs… Like, “I don’t know what I’m doing: I say go play, and they go out there and play.” The Suns just fired Alvin Gentry, and his fill-in (Lindsay Hunter) did a better job of making adjustments at halftime last night! The only thing worse than thinking about how The Lakers proceed as an organization is trying to figure out why on God’s great planet  anybody at ESPN thought it was good timing to hear from Mike Brown this morning! Say what? #niceguy #goodbye

I don’t know how a team that has played so lousy from the beginning of the year has any hope left of making it into the playoffs. I really don’t. But without the new, summer additions to this Lakers team there is not a “W” attached to this game. The 3rd Quarter was misery. It was atrocious: I don’t know that it can be called “basketball.” But somehow there was enough ignition by RonRon to get the Lakers tracking to start the 4th Quarter. Then, Steve Nash was able to take control of the game and he orchestrated a fine finish out of it (for once?), but only after re-engaging Dwight Howard into the flow of a scoring drought that Kobe Bryant couldn’t fix…

Final Score: Lakers 91, Suns 85 (Recap).

From the link comes this blurb: “…In a Lakers season jam-packed with ugly losses, statistical improbabilities and general weirdness, this victory will rank among the biggest curiosities. Along with Bryant’s disappearing act, they won despite managing just nine points in the third quarter, their lowest-scoring period of the season…”  I can’t state it any better than that. I said “Thanks!” to somebody on Twitter I don’t really know for assisting me to hold onto my sanity to even decide to keep watching as this dreadful game founds new ways to beworse than awful. One of my tweets said of it “This game is #unwatchable. Yet I still am?” Meaning: What’s wrong with me? Who puts them through such misery, over & over again? This is not too unlike the movie “Misery,” with Kathy Bates & James Caan – some think of it as a comedy. Me? Not so much. But the similarities with The Lakers are there. In other news…

Antawn Jamison was amazing, off the bench – again, this is not a win without Dwight, Antawn, Steve & Jodie – Jodie Meeks wasn’t great, but he was pesky enough to do just enough to add to the least amount necessary to accomplish an awful win.

Yes, The Lakers accomplished the opposite of an encouraging loss with an awful win.

Goodnight.

Oh! I almost forgot? Is there any chance The Lakers make the playoffs if they lose on Thursday to The Clippers? They must win every home game, period, to have any hope of a playoff berth (imho). I hope they are capable of playing strong & courageous, persevering through the self-inflicted adversity they have heaped upon their own shoulders. #smh

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Lakers Competitive vs. Heat for 2-1/2 Quarters! They Faltered Late: Lose 107-97

10 February 2013 Leave a comment

The Los Angeles Lakers lost. The Lakers had a chance to win vs. The NBA defending champions. They did! Really. But they blew it. And it gives me pause to remember a post-game review of a Lakers game earlier this season that touted something really strange. Truly one of the weirdest things I have ever heard – or seen in print – is somebody trying to explain how a professional team could possibly have their performance explained by these words: “An Encouraging Loss.”

The Miami Heat won. They were expected to win! Final Score: Heat 107, Lakers 97 (Recap).

There is very little that can be said about the value of losing, if you are into sports for marketing & profiteering. It’s all about winning! I get it: Time Warner Cable is trying to market a product – that’s normally a winner – by saying just about anything that will keep their sponsors from bailing out of providing them a lucrative income stream. Fine. But diehard Lakers fans deserve to know the wherefores & whys” of this top-performing NBA franchise, which “Backstage Lakers” and “Lakeshow” broadcasts don’t seem to provide. Or do they? I’ve heard John Ireland & Mychal Thompson speak of how they do not have access to Lakers practices, for some reason: plausible deniability? covert tactical changes, game to game? Who knows. However, “the truth is funnier than fiction” (something I say all the time), and losing only heightens the rhetoric of fans that are left “in the dark” (necessarily? for trade deadline reasons?).

There are problems with this team that are larger than injuries and coaching changes by Lakers management. It’s baffling to watch this team play effectively against some good teams, – even beating The Thunder! – and then only play semi-effectively at other times. If communication is key to their success, then I wish they would do that consistently! Lakers fans absolutely rule Twitter! I get blocked by Twitter myself, sometimes, for exceeding tweet limits! But the clamor of fans is amazing! And fans have some good insights, even great commentary sometimes – what can be said in 140 characters or less is amazing! I know: Brevity is not my forte! But the losing ways of this Lakers squad aren’t unlike the problems of any other team passionate about winning that will commit to doing whatever it takes to overcome adversity.

Losing only provides a basis of understanding of how much you need to do differently as a team to tweak your overall chances of winning! Who has done that on this team? Kobe Bryant! Who else? By necessity, D’Antoni had no choice but to continue to experiment with the roster to find a winning combo – and, lo & behold, Earl Clark emerged from the end of the bench! Why? Because MDA didn’t want to play Antawn Jamison, and Jordan Hill was lost for the season due to a hip injury requiring surgery! But beyond Kobe Bryant & Earl Clark, about the only thing joyful & uplifting about The Lakers recently is the opportunity to keep Chris Duhon on the bench with the re-emergence of Steve Blake! #silverlinings

Having been a coach once, I would say that all that can be gleaned from a loss is the particular play(s) – or attitude – of discovering which of your players indicate any ability to play with patience & perseverance through adversity from which to build expectancy & consistency in your approach to future games. If you are encouraged by this loss, perhaps you will enjoy the following article: at LakerNation.Com

I liked the play of Kobe Bryant & Earl Clark throughout the game. Otherwise, I am mostly critical of Metta World Peace on offense & defense (How can the falloff to his performance on the court be explained? Did he hit the rookie wall, again?). Of Dwight Howard, today his play was going well – sort of – in the 1st Half but doing a Houdini act in the 2nd Half was troubling. Of Mike D’Antoni, he still appears to be clueless how to utilize timeouts to make proper adjustment defensively, hoping instead to whimsically put a halt to a momentum swing by calling one. An interruption in time isn’t going to stop an opponent from exploiting you without countering and neutralizing that success! That team will continue to exploit weaknesses in your strategy until proper adjustments are made… #smh

Said differently: I believe Eric Spoelstra to be a great coach, and he showed us all an ability to make the right adjustments at the right time throughout the contest – unlike Mike D’Antoni, who doesn’t seem to understand how to matchup defenses to other teams, or when to substitute players in & out. It’s agonizing to watch the bumbling idiocy of what is allowed to happen on the court without any direction or effort to make moves that make sense. Timeouts aren’t necessarily only for players to catch their breath! Rarely will calling a timeout actually stop the momentum of an elite team, unless you do something intentionally to stop them from doing whatever they have been doing successfully somehow. #repeat

Both teams have had their challenges with starters playing poorly for long stretches of games: Ray Allen has been shooting as awfully as Metta World Peace, for instance. #blahblahblah

For The Miami Heat, Udonis Haslem gives them muscle, as does BirdMan (Chris Anderson?); Shane Battier plays tough, rugged defense and can still shoot. Mario Chalmers has improved, but he seems to still get lost in the success of LeBron James when he demands the ball. It’s hard to fault King James or Dwyane Wade for taking control of games by demanding the ball: they tend to exploit mismatches better than any other tandem in the league. And they were great today! #unstoppable

In their previous game, The Lakers played poorly against the worst team in the NBA for 2-1/2 quarters by barely beating a team that doesn’t know how to finish, and doesn’t have a go-to-guy. That was Friday vs. The Charlotte Bobcats. Today (Sunday): The Lakers played the defending champions in Miami and played them tough for 2-1/2 quarters but faltered late by forgetting to play a disciplined, intentional game vs. a team with 2 stars that can finish a game! Done. It’s over. Next. Bummed. Yes. Not even interested in watching The Grammys. But go ahead, if you want to. Enjoy.

If there is more to say, then I’m sure Steve Blake’s wife (Kristen Blake) would just urge us all to “shut up!” Not traveling with the team, it’s hard to determine whether communication is the key to their sorrows – unless reporters who travel with the team express it, and question them about it. But players seem to be getting tired of answering such probing questions. Quite possibly, “we the fans” need to give it a rest, to actually have patience for this team to develop better chemistry. Does that mean “likeability”? I will watch The Lakers, expecting management to make whatever changes need to be made for their self-interest! I don’t know that I need to know the “inside secrets!” Would I like to know? Sure. WHo doesn’t want to know “The Wherefore & The Why”? (Great song, by the way, by Gordon Lightfoot) What true fan of this team wouldn’t want to know the inside scoop? But it’s not important for my sanity, or the success of The Lakers that any of us know such things. #getoverit

If I am encouraged by anything, it’s this: In the last 10 games, The Lakers are 7-3! And winning will certainly change matters – a lot! Mostly, it will stop the incessant questions. “Time heals all wounds” – Hopefully “we the fans” will soon forget about this lackluster start to an expected winning season! What was it Mitch said when trying to explain the firing of Mike Brown: “This team was created to win now…” Hopefully The Lakers keep winning 7 out of every 10 games: Will it be enough to make the playoffs? I hope so! #keepthehopealive

Go, Lakers!

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