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Archive for January, 2014

An 82-Game Season is Very Long When You Lose a Lot of Games Early

29 January 2014 Leave a comment

This grueling season of losses for The Los Angeles Lakers must really take a toll on players, I would think, because it’s getting awfully tough to write about each game as the losses begin to pile up. Normally, I would say something as soon as the game is over, or possibly the next morning; but, I am slipping from that effort – badly. It makes me wonder how reporters that follow bad teams have the stomach to stay with that team for more than a couple years: it must be a turnover prone profession. Maybe not, if it pays well. But, really, if you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing, then why would you continue doing it, even if the money is good. So, how does that translate into anything involving “The Lakers”?

The Lakers had battled The Indiana Pacers last night to a 49-49 tie at the end of the 1st Half. But their Achilles heal, the 3rd Quarter, was a damaging blow – again. The only game recently that I can remember them playing well in the 3rd Quarter was in Boston. But they seem to suffer breakdowns at the most inopportune moments, over & over again. Yet, The Lakers also show signs of brilliance, at times. Jodie Meeks had a decent game, so did Kendall Marshall. Maybe the bad news of Xavier Henry and Kobe Bryant being delayed in their comebacks was just too much of a psychological downer? Who knows.

Pacers 104, Lakers 92 (Recap).

Recently, The Miami Heat were gracious in defeating The Lakers by a score that was closer than it could have been – if they hadn’t coasted to victory. Believe it or not, I thought The Lakers, at home, had a shot at beating a better team than The Heat, yes, The Indiana Pacers. But those hopes were quickly dashed to dust. That’s frustrating. So, now what? Do I keep following “my” team? Yes. Do I keep writing about each game, watching each game, hoping to see them develop a winning formula, a team “chemistry,” a style that stymies an opponent and leads to an unexpected, enduring winning streak? Perhaps. If… When…

At every turn, it seems like The Lakers might only be a player, or two, away from developing a decent ability to win games – against anybody. Unfortunately, for now, the cold, hard reality is: I am enjoying young players develop into future stars. Last year’s team was supposed to be built for a run to grab the ring! but many of those players left, and not just Dwight Howard, but also others – like Antawn Jamison and Darius Morris (on the bench for The Clippers, doing very little?). If they play for The Lakers next year remains to be seen. Do they want to come back? Does The Lakers’ front office even want them back? Maybe the head coach of The Indiana Pacers, Frank Vogel, is right: “…It’s impossible for them to have played better than they have done (due to so many injuries that his team at a league best 35-9 has avoided.). Maybe so.

C’mon, Lakers! Let’s go!

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New York Knicks Improve to 17-27 with Win vs. Lakers @ MSG

26 January 2014 Leave a comment

The Los Angeles Lakers are hanging in there, trying to tough it out through a difficult season – and The New York Knicks are fighting some of those same battles themselves. One of the things that The Lakers did accomplish today was keeping themselves from being mentioned in the record book: Carmelo Anthony scored 62 points in his last game, to break Kobe Bryant’s scoring record at Madison Square Garden; but, he was unable to break a former Knicks scoring record of Most Points in 2 Games, Back-to-Back: Bernard King put up 104 points in that period of time! Melo ended with 97 points, only scoring 35 points with Kobe watching from the bench, still.

Knicks 110, Lakers 103 (Recap).

Jodie Meeks looked very good throughout the game, hitting most of his shots from just about everywhere. Pau Gasol had a decent game, it appeared – except for missing critical Free Throws down the stretch. The Lakers put up a strong effort in the 1st & 3rd Quarters: they played very well, for streaks of time. But defense wasn’t great for either team. The referees seemed to let The Knicks get away with some reach-in fouls to begin the 4th Quarter, and then they tightened up their resolve to blow their whistles shortly after that – which seemed to confuse J.R. Smith – not that he doesn’t whine at every foul call against him since he entered the league. But The Lakers were within striking distance, down 4 at Halftime, 2 with 12 minutes to go, and 4 points with 4 minutes to go. But shot selection, personnel decisions by the coach as far as player rotation was concerned, the inability to completely stop Carmelo Anthony problematic, it was really a matter of making shots and rebounding that sealed the victory for the home team.

If The Lakers shot more accurately, or if they had boxed out defensively on missed shots, and made their Free Throws, this game could’ve easily gone into Overtime. Unfortunately, The Lakers come home with a worse record now (16-29) than The New York Knicks. Fortunately, The Grammy’s is tonight; so, the road trip is over! Yippeee!!!! But, can they start a winning streak as early as Tuesday? Hmm… The Indiana Pacers are the best team in the NBA right now, better than The Miami Heat – and they were humble enough to let the score be close when we played them 2 games ago. Will Indiana totally annihilate us? They could. But, then again, they recently lost to Phoenix by a wide margin. So, you never know.

Go, Lakers!

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Didn’t The Lakers Win Some Games Recently? Not in Florida, Though

25 January 2014 Leave a comment

That game against The Miami Heat was an eye opener, LeBron James able to do anything he wanted to do at any time, totally unstoppable – yet Chris Bosh ended up with the more surprising numbers for the night! Yeah, it was close at the end; but, wasn’t that due to respect between superstars, Kobe Bryant sitting on the bench, still unable to play? What makes that game even more of a farce is that Dwyane Wade didn’t play, either. Would it have been “winnable” with Kobe Bryant, and other injured Lakers players, had suited up? Miami has been coasting, recently. They just seem to be trying to avoid further injuries before the playoffs start – the Eastern Conference so weak, and The Indian Pacers so far ahead of them, that they really have no need to be that aggressive in how they posture themselves for a playoff run. In the Western Conference, it’s a tug-of-war for the Top 10 teams to find their way onto 8 slots!

So, Thursday night fades into Friday, and The Lakers found themselves losing yet again to the other Florida team. Oh well. That wasn’t as bad as the Xavier Henry update of his condition sounding undescribable to anybody, or by anybody. I was busy painting my daughter’s bedroom last night, but I may still watch the replay. Ryan Kelly has been playing well, right? Will Kendall Marshall prove to be able to develop into a quality NBA Point Guard? He seems to flourish, then self-destruct, unable to find a consistent value to the team; but, his tutelage, ability does suggest he has raw talent – right? Is Mike D’Antoni the right guy to develop him? What might The Lakers look like next year with Kobe Bryant, Ryan Kelly, Kendall Marshall, Nick Young, and whomever else they are able to retain or acquire? It’s anybody’s guess. Is the Carmelo Anthony rumor worth paying attention to? Correct me if I’m wrong, but due to history between them, if Carmelo Anthony joins the team, then D’Antoni exits, even if he has to quit or retire – right?

I was fortunate enough to carve out some time to watch the replay of Friday night’s loss, after church the following evening: unfortunately, The Lakers looked like a tired team, struggling on the road to keep they’re composure. The 1st Quarter wasn’t bad, but they missed some easy rebounds, easier shots, and missed some easy defensive assignments that could have ballooned a lead after the first period to something like 38-20 instead of the still acceptable 32-28. The Orlando Magic are a rebuilding team, since Dwight Howard left that has shown some signs of coming together; but, it hasn’t happened for them yet. Yet, in the disarray that is a Lakers trademark this year (yes, they suffered through another “3rd Quarter Collapse”), the 2nd Half was a nightmare. Tied at 80-80, The Lakers were down 91-80 to start the 4th Quarter. And that was it: Game Over.

Should I be happy that The Lakers had a 2-game winning streak amidst the losses? Maybe I should be. But even this grouping of ragtag players has shown some signs of team chemistry, of desire to pull out victories against all odds – something normally expected only from team’s with superstar players who want the ball in critical moments. Instead, what “we the fans” see is kind of a progression of “Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back”! May I recommend a book? “Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back,” by Charles Swindoll. At any rate, “The Grammy Trip” is over, thankfully. Maybe The Lakers can regroup at home? It won’t be easy: Here come The Indiana Pacers!

Go, Lakers!

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Lakers Win Streak Stopped in Overtime at 2 Games in Chicago

21 January 2014 Leave a comment

The Los Angeles Lakers had a shot at arriving in South Beach with a 3-game winning streak, but The Chicago Bulls ruined that effort with some last minute defensive pressure to wrestle the game away from the visitors. Up 98-93, from a 93-93 tie at the end of regulation, The Lakers didn’t hesitate or relax as much as it appeared The Bulls stepped up their defensive pressure on every shot. Pau Gasol had 3 consecutive opportunities that failed to extend the lead, Nick Young missed a shot, but then tied the score with 5 seconds left with a big shot from the baseline that got Kobe off the bench, cheering. But, Taj Gibson ruined the chance of going into a 2nd OT with a layup with 0.9 seconds left (Of course, another fan on Twitter pointed out that Pau Gasol poorly played defense on a play requiring his undivided attention for less than a second, so…).

Bulls 102, Lakers 100 (Recap).

If you review the box score, if just one or two players hit just one more shot, or if they committed just one less turnover, the game turns out differently. They fought hard, against a tough team – regardless of the loss of Derrick Rose for the season a few weeks ago, or the recent trade of Luol Deng to Cleveland (who killed us!). Ryan Kelly has been playing well, but he seemed to defer to Pau Gasol in overtime even though he had a wide open shot for a brief moment. Kendall Marshall and Wesley Johnson did not have great games; and, similarly, most of The Bulls players didn’t play that great, either – except DJ Augustin, off the bench.

Perhaps The Miami Heat are still feeling generous, and they will continue to play rather mediocre, as they have over the course of their recent 4-game losing streak. It’s not like the Eastern Conference has anybody else to worry about, for them, except for an Indiana team that looks, well, unbeatable – at the moment. Is Dwyane Wade injured? Is the team lacking in a solid core of bench players by the loss of Mike Miller (released) or the aging of Ray Allen? I would suspect that this game won’t be an easy game to play, on their home turf.

Go, Lakers!

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Seahawks Will Now Play True Rival

20 January 2014 Leave a comment

There was a day when I could root all season long for my favorite football team, The San Francisco 49ers, of the national league, but also The Seattle Seahawks – of the american league. Back then, Seahawks fans absolutely, 100% of them, not stretching the truth at all, despised everything and anything involving The Denver Broncos.

So, if you are – like me – a fan of The San Francisco 49ers (only), but unlike me (who is also a Settle Seahawks fan when they’re not playing the 49ers – got it?)  then you only have a small fraction of understanding necessary to know just how much a Seahawks fan loathes all things Denver. Does the name Brian Bosworth mean anything to you? Hint: Google Search.

I was invited to a Super Bowl party in Seattle in 1987 when The Denver Broncos lost to The Washington Redskins – and I bet a couple guys $20 that The Redskins would win that game. They took the bet, with a few points demanded – thus forced to root for Denver! It was rather diabolical of me – and potentially life-threatening! It was fun, though. Especially when I got paid! 🙂 $$$

I went to the same high school as John Elway, so I am glad for him that he eventually won a game on the biggest stage of all, The Super Bowl. But not before he lost a few. But if you are a gambling man, in just two Sundays time I would say you could safely sit next to a Seahawks fan while wearing 49ers gear – but only if you were rooting against Denver. If you’re unsuccessful trying this experiment, I am not willing to be held responsible for your hospital bills. #sorry

Go, Seahawks!

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Lakers Road Win Streak Now Up To 2 Games

19 January 2014 Leave a comment

A Lakers win at Boston was fun, Friday night, absolutely; but, for The Lakers to then win in Toronto today was even more fun! And now they’re building momentum with guys that seem hungry for wins: Manny Harris is giving some speed & athleticism that is causing other teams fits defensively, and he hits open shots with a nice stroke. We seem to be weak up front, but Pau Gasol with Ryan Kelly seemed to be complemented well by Wesley Johnson & Jordan Hill – Rob Sacre & Chris Kaman not as effective as maybe hoped for but our guards are playing terrific!

Lakers 112, Raptors 106 (Recap).

Ryan Kelly started, and he played well -especially on defense, and on both ends of the court as the game came to a close. That Nick Young came back from a 1-game suspension and scored 29 points in 31 minutes was huge; but, again, the team chemistry of these new look Lakers seems to be happening all over again! Kendall Marshall and Pau Gasol were steady, as were Wesley Johnson and Jodie Meeks – for the most part. But, without “Shaggy P” and rookie (sensation?) Ryan Kelly stepping up to the challenge of an equally streaky Raptors squad I don’t know that The Lakers pull off the victory! Down 19 in the 2nd Quarter but whittled down to 4 by halftime, and then leading after 3 quarters (by one point), The Lakers again fell behind not due to DeMar DeRozan (hot in the 1st Half) but instead Kyle Lowry. The Lakers just held their ground, and kept battling – it was great to see.

Go, Lakers! Keep it going!

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To Watch The Lakers Beat The Celtics Never Gets Old

17 January 2014 Leave a comment

The Los Angeles Lakers have a new opportunity to impress people with the possibility of a new winning streak they began in Boston tonight, of all places! The return of Rajon Rondo from a Kobe-like injury suffered last season occurred tonight: he had a shot to send the game into overtime, but it caromed off the rim and the clock expired.

Lakers 107, Celtics 104 (Recap).

Instead of a Rondo vs. Kobe marquee game, The Lakers pitted rookie Ryan Kelly against their rookie Kelly Olynyk – and they put up similar numbers. But even though The Celtics put up 25 more shots, they succumbed to a relentless pursuit of a win that The Lakers were desperately in need of. Even as Wesley Johnson tied the score at 88-88 with a 3-point shot, and then the game went all Boston’s way during a 16-4 run that seemed to secure the victory for them, there was a sense that The Lakers might pull off the unexpected!

The balanced play of Pau Gasol and Kendall Marshall seemed to steady their play down the stretch, and these feisty Lakers gutted out a much-needed win in a most satisfying location! Nick Young should be a bit happier that teammates surrounded each other after one of them fell hard to the floor. Gerald Wallace had a startled look on his face, apparently clueless of the fiasco in Phoenix.

The Lakers still committed too many turnovers, but kept fouls to a minimum, and didn’t give up as many fast break points as I had expected. That’s improvement, right? But they gave up a lot of second chance points, although somehow winning the rebound battle by game’s end. The new guy Manny Harris got some time on the court, but Ryan Kelly battling inside where he posted better numbers than the combo of Sacre-Hill-Kaman was nothing short of very impressive!

Go, Lakers!

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