Monthly Archive for November, 2007

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Turiaf: A Multicultural Warrior

Lakers.com features extraordinaire, Jeff Skibiski, sat down with Forward Ronny Turiaf to talk about his journey from the Caribbean island of Martinique, to Paris, to Gonzaga, through open heart surgery, and finally to his adopted home of Los Angeles.

Click here to read all about Ronny’s journey to the Association.

D-Fender Possibilities

The Lakers D-League team, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, open up their season tomorrow at 2:30 against the Utah Flash.

The D-Fenders recently set their opening day roster of 10 by cutting former UCLA guard Brian Morrison and Laker training camp invitee Andre Patterson. But that roster might get a couple additions in the form of some Lakers rookies.

D-League rules dictate that first and second year players on NBA rosters are eligible to be sent to their team’s D-League affiliates. This means that of the current Lakers, Jordan Farmar, Javaris Crittenton, and Coby Karl are eligible for assignment.

Farmar spent time with the D-Fenders last season when he wasn’t getting much playing time in the Lakers rotation. Farmar ended the season as the Lakers starting point guard and has solidified himself as a key backup to Derek Fisher. Jordan is currently averaging more than 10 points in 21 minutes per game and doesn’t look to be destined for anything less than the starting point guard spot spot on the Sophmore team at All-Star Weekend.

Crittenton and Karl are a different matter. Both have played sparingly in the Lakers first 12 games and could benefit from the extra playing time.

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Lakers Today: 11/24/07

The Lakers 107-94 loss didn’t exactly re-spark the classic NBA rivalry that’s laid dormant since the late 80s.

Boston gave out “BEAT LA” shirts at the door and, thanks to the Lakers shooting just 25% in the first quarter, the shirts looked to be prophetic.

Boston’s new “Big Three” got theirs, but it was Center Kendrick Perkins that killed the Lakers with 21 points and 9 boards.

Lamar Odom continued to look out of sync just two nights after critizing his poor play against the Bucks. Odom remains in his own state of Training Camp after missing the team’s practice sessions while recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.

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Lakers at Celtics Post-Game

The Lakers were tied with the Celtics for sixty-two seconds and trailed for the other 46:58 (by as much as 22 at one point).

LA trailed by 18 at the half and wasn’t able to put together a run that would cut the deficit to less than nine in the second half. With 5:02 left in the game Celtics Guard Ray Allen, a career 88% free throw shooter, missed two from the stripe and allowed the Lakers to cut the lead to nine after a Jordan Farmar three pointer.

“We got in down to nine with just under three minutes left. Yeah, we were in the game then. But we still didn’t have the momentum that I would like to see,” Phil Jackson said. “But that was probably the only time between the beginning of the first six minutes and the end of the game that we felt like we were in the game.”

Jackson also cited poor defense and an inability to execute the offense as reasons for the loss. The Lakers shot poorly the majority of the game, but had many easy chances around the basket that they couldn’t capitalize on.

Kobe Bryant led the way with 28-points, but only shot 43% from the floor. Vladimir Radmanovic logged his fifth consecutive double digit scoring effort, scoring 18-points on 7-12 shooting. Vladi remained hot from three-point land, making 3 of 6 and upping his season season average to 52% (24/46) from deep.

Lamar Odom struggled for the second consecutive game, scoring only four points on two of seven shooting. Lamar has only made one of his fourteen shots from behind the arc this season.

The Celtics big three of Pierce, Allen, & Garnett combined for 59-points, but it was Center Kendrick Perkins who killed the Lakers tonight. Perkins averages less than seven points a game, but matched that total in the first quarter, and finished with a season high 21 and was a plus-30.

Center Andrew Bynum was in foul trouble throughout much of the game, only playing 26 minutes. Chris Mihm logged 14 minutes, but was largely ineffective. Kwame Brown, who was injured last Sunday against the Bulls, continues to be missed on the defensive end.

The Lakers will spend the night in Boston tonight and use Saturday as a travel day before meeting the New Jersey Nets on Sunday night at STAPLES Center. They’ll have to wait till December 30th to get revenge on the Celtics.

Lakers vs. Bucks Post-Game

Poor execution down the stretch doomed the Lakers in tonight’s frustrating 110-103 loss to the Bucks—Milwaukee’s third straight victory over L.A., ending its four game winning streak.

The Lakers controlled the game for the first three quarters, but fell a part in the latter half of the final quarter when they succumbed to the Bucks’ red-hot shooting and near perfect percentage from the free throw line in the game’s final minutes.

The Lakers fell in love with the three pointer down the stretch and aside from a Radmanovic make, were unsuccessful in the majority of their attempts. Moreover, L.A. essentially shot themselves in the foot by firing up too may long shots early in the shot clock when the deficit was only between four to six points with plenty of time to go. Both Lamar Odom and Kobe Bryant in particular were ineffective down the stretch for the Lakers, relying on ill-fated jumpers instead of driving the ball into the paint.

On the bright side, Andrew Bynum continued his monster stretch of rebounding for the team, pulling down 13 rebounds to go along with 16 points. However, it should be noted that a whopping 10 of those rebounds came in the first half where Bynum seemingly had his way with the Bucks’ big men. The second half was a different story though as Charlie Villanueva and Andrew Boguts’ finesse games caused all kinds of problems for the Lakers.

While Michael Redd contributed his usual 25 plus points (26 tonight), it was the rest of the Bucks who proved pivotal in the fourth quarter. Specifically, guard Mo Williams (18 points) sparked the team in the final minutes, squashing the Lakers comeback attempt. Yi Jianlian also contributed to the Buck’s victory with 12 points and six rebounds.

If the Lakers hope to compete with the Boston Celtics this Friday, they must shore up their holes on the defensive end, as they were completely inept at stopping the Bucks when it mattered most tonight. L.A. will also need Odom to step it up after another sub par night, especially against a Celtics team that features three bona fide All-Stars.

Lakers vs. Bucks Pre-Game

After last night’s slaughtering of the Pacers, the Lakers need to come out equally focused for tonight’s game versus the Milwaukee Bucks. Many times, young teams like the Lakers tend to get overconfident after they come out of the gates winning seven of 10 games.

The Lakers must be especially careful though as the Bucks are on a three game win streak of their own, including an impressive, confidence-building victory over division rival Cleveland last night. As always, the Lakers are faced with the difficult task of stopping All-Star Bucks guard Michael Redd who has lit up L.A. in the past.

On the Lakers end, Bynum and Mihm will go against Andrew Bogut at center, a player who is known almost exclusively for his offensive skills. In other words, the chances of Bynum continuing his streak of productive games are pretty high.

The Lakers will also get their first look at newly acquired forward Trevor Ariza who passed his physical and will be in uniform for the team tonight. On the opposite end of the floor, L.A. will get its first look at much talked about Bucks rookie Yi Jianlian who has showed flashes of brilliance for Milwaukee in their nine games thus far.

Like the Lakers, the Bucks are a balanced squad who present scoring threats at almost every position. But, if L.A. can hold Redd in check and continue to get exceptional results from its bench, the Lakers should be able to extend their four game win streak and avenge the two losses they suffered last year at the hands of the Bucks.

What # To Wear?

Many people’s first reaction to the news of the Lakers trade for LA native Trevor Ariza was probably to head out and make sure they were ready for his home debut on Chick Hearn Night with a crisp, clean, brand new Sunday White Ariza jersey.

Those early go-getters are on the cutting edge of Lakers fandom for sure, but could be making a grave mistake because of Trevors eclectic uniform past.

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Lakers vs. Pacers Post-Game

The Lakers took to the road Tuesday and achieved a similar result: a resounding victory. The Lakers obviously saved some energy from their mandhandling of the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night as they blew out the Indiana Pacers 134-114 and established a team season high in points in the process. Eight Lakers scored in double figures, led by Kobe Byant’s 32 points in only 31 minutes and Andrew Bynum’s 17 points and 10 rebounds. Bynum also excelled on the defensive end, shutting down the Pacers Jermaine O’Neal while blocking four shots. Jordan Farmar played his second straight outstanding game, scoring a career high 18 points for L.A.

The Lakers “bench mob” was at it again Tuesday, chipping in a healthy 53 points. Even seldom used Coby Karl got in on the action, scoring his first two NBA points. In all, eight Lakers reached double figures including all five Lakers starters and three men off the bench.

Ronny Turiaf returned from injury to play 17 minutes, scoring one point. The Lakers will need him to contribute more in the next two games with Kwame Brown out indefinitely.

Recently traded forward Brian Cook, apparently unable to catch a flight out of Indianapolis, showed up at the game to say goodbye to his Lakers teammates, sitting behind the Lakers bench. Although Kobe acknowledged that the news was difficult for the team to accept, he said the time to mourn was after the game. Judging by the final score, it looks like the Lakers kept their focus just fine.

Details On The Ariza Deal

Why Make the Deal?
Trevor Ariza brings a defensive presence at the three spot that no one currently on the Lakers roster can match. While Lamar Odom creates a mismatch on the offensive end for opposing teams, he sometimes has trouble guarding the quicker small forwards in the league, an area were Luke Walton also struggles.

The deal also clears up a glut at a couple positons for the Lakers.

“We thought we had some duplication on the roster—particularly at that Power Forward position between Vladi Radmanovic and Brian Cook,” General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. “I also thought that we had duplication in the backcourt and although Maurice was a backup player I thought he might not get the minutes he felt he needed.”

The deal takes the Lakers roster number down to 14 and will give Sasha Vujacic, Javaris Crittenton, and the Lakers’ other backcourt players more of an opportunity to play.

Kupchak added, “Trevor is very young, but it is his fourth year in the league. We think there is a lot of upside there as well.”

Ariza Ecstatic
Ariza is local to Los Angeles having played his high school ball at Westchester High School and collegiately at UCLA. He also maintains a residence in LA and is looking forward to returning to the area.

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Lakers vs. Pacers Pre-Game

The Lakers announced earlier this afternoon that they have acquired Orlando Magic forward and former UCLA standout Trevor Ariza in exchange for forward Brian Cook and guard Maurice Evans—a subplot that will surely carry over into tonight’s game versus the Indiana Pacers.

Tonight’s rematch between the two teams that battled it out in the 1999-2000 NBA Finals already had plenty of intrigue on its own with widespread speculation that the Lakers and Pacers were in discussions this summer that would have sent All-Star forward-center Jermaine O’Neal to Los Angeles in exchange for a package built around Kwame Brown, Lamar Odom or Andrew Bynum.

Nearly six months later and no substantial trade talks since then, the Lakers are sitting pretty with a 6-3 record with the aforementioned Bynum blossoming off the bench for the Lakers. O’Neal meanwhile is struggling, averaging just over 13 points and eight rebounds—numbers that are well below his career averages. However, the Pacers player said before tonight’s game that he is nearing 100% health and is ready to assume his usually role as one of the league’s preeminent scorers. Hopefully the Lakers won’t fall victim to his newfound motivation in tonight’s game.

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