The Lakers shook off a slow first half to outscore the Sonics by seven in a mostly uninspiring 106-99 win. The victory successfully ended the Lakers season-long three game losing streak and generated much-needed momentum heading into Thursday night’s showdown with the Denver Nuggets and Sunday’s game with Eastern Conference powerhouse Orlando.
Kobe finally regained his shooting touch, scoring 35 points on 12 of 22 shooting to make up for a series of lackluster nights in which he has shot the ball poorly. Lamar Odom also played his best game since his 25 point outburst against Detroit almost two weeks ago, scoring 20 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Andrew Bynum met his double-double average with 12 points and 10 rebounds even though he was plagued by foul trouble for most of the night.
Coach Phil Jackson said after the game that he was not particularly happy with the process the team went through to win the game, but was pleased with the outcome. After a first half in which the Lakers appeared as if they were sleepwalking, L.A. came out in the third and quickly built a 15 point lead with solid energy and improved execution on offense. However, Jackson chastised the Lakers for allowing the Sonics to climb to within five in the final minute, blowing a once comfortable double-digit lead.
The Lakers coach said that the Lakers-one of the youngest teams in the league even before drafting another 19 year-old in Javaris Crittenton-are still taking their bumps as they grow into their roles and become more professional. Jackson said that it is primarily his duty to foster those attributes in the team before they are prepared to graduate to a more consistent team.
Continue reading ‘Lakers vs. Sonics Post-Game’
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Inactives for Tonight’s Game:
Lakers: Kwame Brown, Trevor Ariza
Sonics: Luke Ridnour, Robert Swift
10:06 The Lakers look a little out of sync on offense so far, but Andrew Bynum’s three point play just tied the game at five. The Sonics have no answer for Bynum’s size so the Lakers would be wise to continue to throw it into him deep in the paint.
8:52 Promising start for Kobe as he makes his second shot in a row to open the game. Kobe’s had a strong of games in which he’s shot an extremely low percentage from the field. Following the Lakers loss to the Nets two nights ago, Coach Jackson instructed Kobe to shoot and so far, it seems like he’s following orders well.
7:07 Chris Wilcox’s activity around the rim has caused the Lakers all kinds of problems so far as the Sonics center is already up to eight points. Before tonight’s game, Jackson predicted that Bynum could experience trouble against a faster player like Wilcox. With five minutes gone in the quarter and a 14-13 Sonics lead, it looks like he might be right.
Continue reading ‘Lakers vs. Sonics In-Game’
The Lakers are reeling after three consecutive losses to Eastern Conference teams, the last of which was particularly painful seeing as how L.A. blew a 12 point halftime lead against the Nets.
Before tonight’s contest against the Seattle Supersonics, Coach Phil Jackson said that Andrew Bynum misread his clip board on the team’s final play, originally designed for the Lakers center. But, Jackson revealed that the team only runs the out of bounds play in specialized situations, helping to explain Bynum’s confusion. Regardless, Jackson said that the game was lost long before Andrew’s misread or Kobe’s missed free throw. According to the coach, the sign of a good team is one that comes out with a killer instinct in the third quarters of games—especially ones in which teams enter halftime already up by double digits.
Jackson also gave an unofficial injury update on Kwame Brown, noting that observers have told him that they have seen improvement in the Lakers center. However, Jackson was not prepared to offer any predictions as to when Brown will rejoin the team on the court, but said the team will definitely miss him in games like tonight. Seattle forward/center Chris Wilcox has historically caused match-up problems for the Lakers as he is capable of running down the court with ease—a potential disadvantage on defense tonight with Bynum assigned to Wilcox. Bynum should have a sizeable advantage on the offensive end though according to Jackson.
Continue reading ‘Lakers vs. Sonics Pre-Game’
Somethings got to give tonight as the Supersonics ride their four-game losing streak into STAPLES Center to face the Lakers and their own three-game losing streak (tonight at 7:30 on FSN HD).
A visit from the 2-12 Sonics couldn’t come at a better time for the Lakers as they desperately need a win before facing upper echelon teams in their next three games–Thursday vs. Denver, Friday at Utah, & Sunday vs. Orlando).
LA TIMES: Odom blames self for on-court struggles
DAILY NEWS: Lakers’ mission is to find quick fix
OC REGISTER: Lakers’ Odom still adjusting
TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE: Durant downplays Kobe battle
Every Monday the Lakers.com BasketBlog checks the net to bring you the latest NBA power rankings.
This Week: 15 | Last Week: 8 | Diff: -7
The Lakers have dropped three straight with Kobe shooting .383 from the field over the three. Tuesday’s matchup with the Sonics should help fix that.
This Week: 11 | Last Week: 7 | Diff: -4
Surprise, surprise: Kobe’s Lakers go to Indy and make a trade right before tip-off . . . but J. O’Neal isn’t involved. Then they put up 134 points to rout Indy . . . followed by the season’s first alarm-sounding losing streak.
This Week: 14 | Last Week: 11 | Diff: -3
Kobe Bryant’s ears had to perk up when he read Jason Kidd’s comments about his potential trade to the Lakers last year. With three straight losses at week’s end — including one to Kidd’s Nets — Bryant could soon be pining again for more help.
Average Ranking: 13.33 | Last Week: 8.66 | Diff: -4.66
Phil Jackson is known for wanting his teams to work through tough stretches in games instead of bailing them out by calling a quick timeout to slow the opposing momentum. After today’s practice Phil elaborated on why.
“That’s probably part of what I’ve been doing ever since I’ve been coaching. I think sometimes the boos from the crowd are worth ten lessons that I have to give them or ten things I might have to say,” Jackson said. “You hear that crowd and they know how badly they’re playing and that somethings wrong. Then the lessons come a lot easier from there.”
Kobe Bryant missed a critical free throw that would have tied the game with seconds remaining as the Lakers fell to the New Jersey Nets 102-100. L.A. led by 12 points at halftime before being outscored 35-23 in the third quarter. The team appeared to regain its focus with under three minutes to go, assisted by Kobe’s sudden hot streak. But, in the end, the rally was too little, too late for the Lake Show.
Vladimir Radmanovic-starting at power forward in place of the usual Ronny Turiaf-had a forgettable night, going 0 for 10 from the field and missing a potential game tying shot at the buzzer after New Jersey’s Nachbar missed the second of two free throws. Coach Jackson said that the final play was not designed exclusively for Kobe as they were actually hoping to use Bryant a decoy to allow Andrew Bynum to get the ball.
Richard Jefferson continued his impressive play to start the season for the Nets, chipping in 27 points to go along with Vince Carter’s 19 and Jason Kidd’s double-double (15 points, 14 assists). The Nets took over the game in the third quarter as the Lakers seemed to lose most of the energy that built them their lead. Jackson said, “It was a matter of energy and a matter of sustaining effort,” both of which the team was unable to accomplish tonight. Don’t blame fatigue though as both Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom said that jet-lag was no excuse for losing a game they were clearly in control of at one point.
Continue reading ‘Lakers vs. Nets Post-Game’
12:00 Vladimir Radmanovic is into the starting lineup at power forward after Ronny Turiaf has started at the position for the majority of the season so far.
10:21 Richard Jefferson is already well on his way to his 25 points per game scoring average, knocking in the first two baskets for the Nets.
8:51 Quick start for Kobe after a string of slow starts to games…he’s got seven already for the Lakers. After the game in Boston on Friday night, Kobe said he’s played about eight poor games in a row. Looks like he’s ready to put an end to that.
6:04 Kobe’s doing more than just scoring…he just assisted Fisher on a wide open three for a 16-9 Lakers lead. Kobe’s successfully been able to strike a balance between scorer and facilitator for the L.A. in the first six minutes of the game.
Nice ovation for Marge Hearn during the timeout…it’s Chick Hearn Night at STAPLES Center tonight!
Continue reading ‘Lakers vs. Nets In-Game’
The Lakers are currently enduring a mini slump, dropping the final two games of their road trip at Milwaukee and Boston. The Lakers began their three game stint back east with an easy win over the Pacers and should have beaten the Bucks after controlling the game up until the fourth quarter. Tonight’s game versus the New Jersey Nets—the first in a stretch in which the Lakers will play at home in four of their next five games—could be the exact remedy the Lakers are looking for. However, like their game versus Milwaukee, the Nets are a potentially dangerous team whose subpar 6-7 record does not necessarily indicate how capable they are.
Prior to tonight’s contest, Coach Jackson said he is not concerned about the Nets’ abundance of All-Stars, alluding to the fact that it is often the referees, not the players, who over emphasize star power. However, he did praise perennial All-NBA guard Jason Kidd’s uncanny ability to rebound from the guard spot and push the ball up the floor. When asked about the possibility of Kidd’s trade prospects as the deadline gets closer, Jackson explained that he prefers not to deal with hypotheticals as 90% of trades that are discussed never happen.
Jackson also spoke about the Lakers emerging strength at the point guard spot, a weakness last season that prompted widespread speculation about Kidd being traded to L.A. The Lakers coach singled out Jordan Farmar’s excellent play to open up the season, disregarding his average game against the Celtics on Friday night. According to Jackson, Farmar hit the proverbial rookie wall around the Lakers 35th game last year, but has come out his year ready to earn more minutes. Jackson also made sure rookie Javaris Crittenton was included in the point guard conversation, revealing that despite the fact that he’s been “sheltering” Crittenton as he learns the NBA game, “He’s going to be a player some day.”
Continue reading ‘Lakers vs. Nets Pre-Game’
It was a slow day in Lakerland yesterday as the team used Saturday as a travel day; making the cross country flight from Boston back home to Los Angeles.
Most of the talk in the media surrounded Andrew Bynum and his continued maturation into a dominant big man. Like last season, Bynum seems to have taken another step in his progression and has impressed early this season, but has also struggled to stay on the court due to fouls.
For every two steps forward there is one minor step back as he continues to figure out how to use his 7-foot frame to his advantage in the NBA.
Friday’s game was an example of stepping back. Celtic’s Center Kendrick Perkins, more known for his defensive prowess than anything, went for 21-points and added a dangerous fourth to Boston’s already “Big Three”.
Continue reading ‘Lakers Today: 11/25/07′