Archive for October, 2013

Lakers Humbled by Warriors after a Great Win to Start Season

31 October 2013 Leave a comment

After a FAN-tastic opening night victory over the favored Los Angeles Clippers, traveling north to play The Golden State Warriors proved that The Los Angeles Lakers are in need of the return of Kobe Bryant to be competitive against the better teams in the NBA. Of course, to start the game with 2 air balls never helps. However, a lot of things went wrong – as a loss by a score of 125-94 might say without need for further commentary.

If The Lakers will return to a .500 record or better soon, it may take a few more games: the next game, Friday night, at home, is vs. The San Antonio Spurs! They dismantled us in the playoffs last year. Literally. Figuratively. And in every other fashion…

But to go through the painful exercise of reviewing last night’s laugher, you gotta start somewhere. So, why not start with the highlights? Klay Thompson! That guy, yes, the son of former Lakers great Mychal Thompson, he was amazing! He had more points after the 1st Quarter than the entire Lakers team! At half, Klay Thompson & David Lee had more points combined than The Lakers team did. Thankfully, the 2-1 scoring differential lessened by the end of the game to a 4-3 ratio. But not much that The Lakers tried to do ever really worked.

Jodie Meeks started at Shooting Guard, since Steve Blake had to move to cover for Steve Nash who was kept on the bench (coach’s decision). Meeks can shoot, but, if you remember last year, dribbling into the paint for him is an adventure – to say the least! The ball is normally blocked or stripped away. However, if Meeks hadn’t scored 10 points by Halftime, this game would have been really, really ugly – and it was ugly, poorly played, in every facet, by The Lakers. Consequently, The Warriors had an easy night, coasting to victory, playing 12 guys, Klay Thompson leading the way with 38 points.

Jordan Farmar? Turnover City! Jordan Hill, mildly successful; but, he wasn’t inserted soon enough to help defensively – and he was taken out early, once the game was out of reach (not many minutes later). Xavier henry, who was amazing vs. The Clippers 24 hours earlier, was a bit off, especially in the first minutes he was inserted into the lineup – his stas were somewhat decent by the end of the night, but nothing to write home to mom about.

Hopefully what fans saw Tuesday night against The Clippers will be better remembered by the fans, and more characteristic of what The Lakers will do throughout the season – if not, it may be a very long season. When is Kobe Bryant coming back?

Go, Lakers!

Categories: Uncategorized

Lakers Win Season Opener vs. Clippers with Starters & X-Men Playing Great!

30 October 2013 Leave a comment

I know, right, The Los Angeles Clippers are supposed to be a great team this season – but, the balance of powers away from The Los Angeles Lakers is on delay! Who are these new-look Lakers? Don’t they know they’re under-achievers? Gotta love the underdog, the non-favorite – that used to be The Clippers role, trying to play spoiler, moving from Buffalo, NY to San Diego, CA only then to try to muscle into the Los Angeles fanbase. Not even a dreaded Bostonian in their new head coach Doc Rivers could change the fortunes of The Clippers last night. The Lakers sans Kobe were tremendous!

The starters were very effective, but played less than 3 quarters, since the benchplay for The Lakers was so awesome! Jordan Hill seemed to begin the pre-season still favoring a hip surgically-repaired last season, but he stepped up big in the last 2 games before the NBA’s opening night extravaganza on TNT! The competitive game between The Clippers & The Lakers probably helped salvage the embarrassment to the NBA of a blowout victory by The Miami Heat over The Chicago Bulls that delayed the tipoff of the late night contest. And what a coming out party it became for Xavier Henry! Who knew? Kaman said afterwards that he played with him elsewhere and knew what he was capable of. But all the trades that The Lakers made in the off-season have given Mike D’Antoni what he needed for his scheme to work. Kurt Rambis had the team ready, defensively, for anything that The Clippers tried to do. Wesley Johnson and Nick Young were far from spectacular, offensively; but d’Antoni praised them for keeping their head in the game and contributing in other ways – helping to spread the floor for other shooters, for efforts on defense, etc.

I was surprised that the bench was allowed to play the entire 4th Quarter without bringing any starters back onto the floor! Even so, Pau Gasol & Chris Kaman finished with great numbers for playing limited minutes. And what a relief that must be that young players can carry the load of a front end to back-to-back games allowing older, veteran players (starters) to rest up for the next game: tonight, vs. The Golden State Warriors! If it’s possible for The Lakers to beat not only The Clippers (whom I predicted to finish 7th in the Western Conference) but also The Warriors (whom I predicted as 3rd), what will that do to the professional writers minds trying to make any sense out of that? Even funnier will be listening to John Ireland, The Lakers play-by-play man on radio, change his prediction of over/under 41 wins back the other way! Marcellus Willey, I can’t imagine how uncomfortable it will be sitting next to Max Kellerman today!

Go, Lakers!

Categories: Uncategorized

Are You Ready, Lakers Fans? It All Starts Tonight! Without Kobe…

29 October 2013 Leave a comment

I last wrote about The Los Angeles Lakers as being a playoff contender, yes, this year! That was August 11th. That was about the time Lakers news became rather hush hush – especially concerning Kobe Bryant’s return to the roster this season. And that was well before he went overseas for a chronic arthritic right knee to have a platelet-rich plasma procedure repeated, which seemed to help him when he first had it done a few years ago.

Do I still think that Lakers fans will be able to enjoy the season? Yes! Do I still believe they can win 51 games? No. Will they make the playoffs? That’s a difficult answer right now, isn’t it? Think about it: With Dwight Howard, they had a tough time winning a game during the pre-season! Oh, that’s right: they didn’t. They couldn’t beat the weakened Dallas Mavericks at home to start the season! Then Steve Nash breaks his leg the next game, and the season fell apart – with each tear of Dwight Howard’s labrum.,.

This year, I am proud of this group of Lakers players for winning a few games during the pre-season! Yes, they played a lottery team, The Utah Jazz, a number of times; but, they beat them! And, they saw a lot from a squad that includes a much better flow of players off the bench than what they had last year. Will that translate into regular season wins? That depends on a starting lineup that has Pau Gasol as our starting Center – one that hasn’t been very productive, yet. I believe Pau Gasol will be the cornerstone of our success this year. Is he up to the challenge? I hope so! We won championships in previous years with him at Center! I had hoped to see Chris Kaman spell Pau Gasol at Center, and move to Power Forward if Jordan Hill got into foul trouble – but Hill’s hip injury seems to be problematic, still (not to mention D’Antoni got rid of him as a Knicks 1st Round pick once before, so he will have to play above expectations to start – possibly). So, I’m a bit uncertain if the plan is to start with Jordan Hill or Chris Kaman: does anybody out there, in cyberspace, know the answer? I wish I believed D’Antoni did. Did I mention I like the move to bring in Kurt Rambis to focus on the team’s defense? That’s huge!

The most ironic thing about the matchup tonight is that The Los Angeles Clippers are backing into the regular season with a poor showing in the pre-season, especially their last game against The Sacramento Kings. If the return of Kobe Bryant takes awhile, I can see us missing the playoffs if The Kings are as rejuvenated as they appeared last Friday. But The Clippers are either playing decoy, not showing anybody their true colors yet, or they are finding the system Doc Rivers is running  as difficult to figure out as The Lakers had struggled similarly to do with Mike d’Antoni’s system after the season started.

The Lakers appear to be a cohesive unit with a full training camp under Mike D’Antoni to learn his system, instead of trying to figure out parts of it between games last year. That we have some youth, some young veterans looking to improve on their status as NBA stars is self-evident: Nick Young, Wesley Johnson & Jordan Farmar have something to prove – and they have the perfect opportunity to show the world what they’re capable of! I hope they do. If they can come together defensively, then this version of The Los Angeles Lakers just may be a recipe for success!

When Kobe Bryant, the biggest questions remaining will be how to fit him into the rotation without negating the flow of whatever success the team may have developed. If he comes back, and his teammates just stand around watching in awe of him shooting over players, making difficult, desperation shots, then chances are that regression in the team’s win-loss column will be enough to spell disaster. But, if he comes back able to fit into whatever team chemistry has developed and increase their overall effectiveness, then it’s win-win! Right? No matter what happens, I’ll be watching! How about you?

Chris Kaman will help solidify defense in the post and he’s more versatile than most people think, shot selection, rebounding & defense are all consistently above average: plus, he can hit free throws! But that is our weakest position, the front court; but, I like our guard rotation. Steve Blake & Jodie Meeks are returning from last season, so that helps with continuity. Rob Sacre is back, and Xavier Henry seems to have impressed the right people in the organization.

I believe the EAST has been crippled by trades & free agency moves, especially PHI & ATL – but, there is still CHI, MIA, Brooklyn and Indiana; like always, the greater number of best teams are in the WEST – Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Memphis, Golden State, Houston, Los Angeles, losangeles, Denver… but Sacramento could be contending for a playoff spot.

The NBA is FAN-tastic! Go, Lakers!

Categories: Uncategorized