Monthly Archive for November, 2007

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Lakers vs. Pistons Pre-Game

Having not beat the Pistons in more than one year, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson cautioned that tonight’s match-up with Detroit will not be an easy affair for his team. The Pistons are an aggressive, scrappy bunch that dictates tempo with ease–a potential problem that Jackson isolated as one of the keys to tonight’s game. Prior to scoring 93 points in their victory over Houston two nights ago, the Lakers were second in the league in scoring, an statistic that Jackson said is a testament to the new, faster paced offense he implemented prior to this season. Jackson also praised the contributions of the vastly improved Lakers bench.

The Lakers will be without forward Ronny Turiaf who would have made for a great match-up with Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace. Although Jackson said several important Lakers did not play in last year’s losses to Detroit due to injury, tonight’s game presents a relatively healthy squad, with the exception of Turiaf. In looking to tonight’s game, Jackson singled out the battle between Kobe Bryant and the Pistons Tayshaun Prince as the key match-up in tonight’s contest. Prince brings outstanding length and defensive instinct to the table, two traits that have caused problems for Bryant in the past.

Despite beating the Rockets only a few nights ago, Jackson was unsure whether or not there would be any carry-over to tonight’s game since the mood in the locker room after the win was more indicative of a loss following the narrow victory. If the Lakers are fortunate enough to build a lead tonight over the annual title contenders, they will have to display more of a killer instinct as Detroit is a relentless team that will not fall flat.

Pistons Injury Update

The Lakers will be without Forward Ronny Turiaf for tonight’s contest due to a sprained left ankle and it looks like their opponents will be shorthanded as well.

According to Pistons.com, starters Chauncey Billups & Antonio McDyess could miss tonight’s game. Both went down with injuries in Portland on Tuesday night and missed Detroit’s game Wednesday against Golden State.

Billups will be a game-time decision while McDyess is being listed as doubtful.

Click here for the full report from Pistons.com’s Keith Langlois.

Turiaf Injured in Practice

Lakers Forward Ronny Turiaf suffered a moderate sprain to his left ankle in practice Thursday.

Here’s what Phil had to say on the injury.

“I’m not happy about that. I just spent some time in there and chances are that he’s going to miss tomorrow’s game. The good thing is that we got on it right away and there’s not a great deal of swelling.”

Turiaf has started every game for the Lakers this season averaging 9.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in just over 24 minutes. His absence will be felt against the physical front line of the Pistons.

Jackson indicated that Lamar Odom would probably slide over to Ronny’s spot at Power Forward. When asked if Lamar is strong enough for that role after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery he said, “Probably more so than the spot he’s playing, he’ll probably be more comfortable there, but this is not a game in which playing Rasheed Wallace is a great option.”

Luke Walton is likely to return to the starting line-up at the Small Forward spot, but nothing has been officially decided.

Lakers Today: 11/15/07

“Free-throw defense” keyed the Lakers down to the wire victory in a game that they once led by 18. Rockets star Tracy McGrady left the game in the second quarter as the Lakers had a huge lead… and then the wheels fell off. Ya it was that weird a game. A strange game according to Phil Jackson.

Solid defense allowed the Lakers to sustain a 32-point second half (they scored 36 in the second quarter alone) with Kobe leading the way on the defensive end.

A few minutes later Bryant (30 points) was quick to remind a questioner that he has seven All-Defensive decorations to prove his worth on that end of the court. But his commitment to defense so far has undoubtedly been greater than in past seasons, perhaps carrying over from his defensive efforts for Team USA over the summer.

“It’s a thing that’s carried over for our team,” Bryant said. “They see me playing this hard defensively in practice, doing the same things, and I think it’s been rubbing off.”

Continue reading ‘Lakers Today: 11/15/07′

Lakers vs. Rockets Post-Game

The Lakers chose the seventh game of the young NBA season to make their great escape, narrowly surviving a furious last second rally from the Houston Rockets for a 93-90 victory. After falling behind by double digits in the first half, the Rockets staged an impressive comeback in the third quarter, squashing the Lakers 61-49 halftime lead and briefly taking the lead for themselves in the fourth quarter.

The Lakers poor play for most of the second half was borderline inexcusable considering the Rockets began the third quarter without one half of their superstar duo as Tracy McGrady injured his elbow in the waning moments before halftime and left for the hospital for an MRI shortly thereafter.

Despite succumbing to the Rockets scramble and dash style of play for the majority of the second half, Kobe Bryant’s steady leadership and series of clutch shots stifled the Rockets in the final three minutes of the game. Bryant finished with 30 points, eight rebounds, five assists and one super-sized block over Yao Ming during the height of the Lakers exceptional defensive first half play. Jordan Farmar also excelled for the Lakers, finishing with an uncharacteristic nine rebounds to go along with eight timely points. Bynum continued his impressive rebounding stretch over the past few games, pulling down nine more for the Lake Show.

Tonight’s victory, pushing the team’s overall record above .500 once again, should be looked at carefully, despite the fact that the Lakers were playing one of the best teams in the league. If Kobe and Co. hope to experience similar success against the other members of the NBA elite, they will need to cut down their turnovers and learn how to stomp on their opponents when they are reeling as was the case during the third quarter.

Nonetheless, a win’s a win and the Lakers needed this one badly following a disappointing showing against the Spurs and heading into two more tough games against the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls this weekend.

Get all your post-game information inside Lakers Gameday

Lakers vs. Rockets In-Game

After being shimmied out of the AT&T Center last night versus the Spurs, the Lakers head east of San Antonio to complete their Texas two-step against the Rockets. Houston is coming off of a surprising 105-99 defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies last night and should be more than ready to take out their anger against the Lakers. While L.A. has not fared well against Houston in its last three meetings, the Lakers should be eager to avenge their opening night loss to the Rockets and last night’s internal combustion against the Spurs.

As always, the Kobe Bryant-Tracy McGrady matchup should provide plenty of intrigue, but also keep an eye out for the battle between Lakers centers and Yao Ming. The Houston center has torched the Lakers in his last five meetings with the team, averaging 31.6 points and pulling down 11.8 rebounds to go along with 3.4 blocks.

Tonight’s Starters:

Lakers:
PG Derek Fisher
SG Kobe Bryant
C Kwame Brown
PF Ronny Turiaf
SF Lamar Odom

Rockets:
PG Rafer Alston
SG Tracy McGrady
C Yao Ming
PF Chuck Hayes
SF Shane Battier

1st Quarter:

10:59 Nice tip-in by Odom to open up the scoring for the Lakers. Let’s see how he fares when he’s forced to his right hand and so to, his injured pinky finger.

8:31 Nice three by Fisher over Alston with the shot clock winding town to give the Lakers an early half-dozen point lead. The team is shooting 57% to open up the game.

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Vote for Kobe, Luke, & Lamar

The NBA All-Star Candidates were announced today and three Lakers are in the mix for the Western Conference.

(Hey we’re six games into the season, why wouldn’t we want to start voting for the All-Star game… which takes place in February… MID-February. It seems like this process starts earlier every year. Next season I’m getting my voting done during training camp just to beat the rush.)

Here’s how the chances look for the Lakers.

The Lock
Kobe Bryant
Kobe has played in nine All-Star games, garnering MVP honors in the 2002 event in his hometown of Philadelphia and last year in Las Vegas. Bryant is consistently one of the top vote getters and last year was no different as he finished second in the West behind Houston Center Yao Ming.

In his nine All-Star appearances Kobe is averaging 20 points, 5 assists, and 3 boards in just over 29 minutes per game.

So far this season #24 is averaging career highs across the board. He’ll make it, he’ll start, and no one will be shocked.

The Lakers finish out the first half of their season at Minnesota, so booking a flight from the Twin Cities to the Crescent City seems like a safe move.

Continue reading ‘Vote for Kobe, Luke, & Lamar’

Lakers Today: 11/14/07

The Lakers took one on the chin last night against the Spurs, but have a chance to get right back to work tonight against the Rockets in Houston (6pm, KCAL/9, ESPN).

An 18-2 mid-game run put the Lakers in a hole that they weren’t able to work their way out of the rest of the night. Kobe never really got into a groove, but didn’t feel that him taking more shots was the way to get back into the game:

“To have that kind of approach is kind of the wrong approach for us in terms of offense winning games,” he said. “What we try to do here is try to have a defensive DNA, and that’s what I try to provide for this ballclub.”

Locking down Tony Parker wasn’t in the cards for the Purple & Gold as he went for 16 of his 26 points in the first half. Problems with dribble penetration (especially when it involves quick all-star caliber point guards… Chris Paul a week ago comes to mind) leading to open outside shots reared it’s ugly head again. The overall defense is considered “shoddy” by some (as was the execution on the offensive end).

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Lakers at Spurs Post-Game

The first 18-minutes were solid. The rest were not.

The Lakers held a one point lead before allowing San Antonio to take over in the final six-minutes of the second quarter. The Spurs didn’t give up control of the game for the next 30 minutes and ended up with a 107-92 victory over Los Angeles.

Turnovers continued to plague the Purple & Gold as they gave the ball away 19 times total (just over their season average). The majority of the turnovers were packed neatly into the first three quarters when it seemed as if the team wouldn’t be able to hold onto the ball for more than three minutes at a time.

Tim Duncan was held to just five points and five rebounds on 2/13 shooting, but San Antonio capitalized on the turnovers as well as dribble penetration that resulted in easy buckets and open shots. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 26 points and 9 assists and Bruce Bowen chipped in 23 points.

Bright spots for the Lakers were Jordan Farmar, who poured in 16 points, and Andrew Bynum, who notched his second consecutive double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

The Lakers won’t have much time to reflect on their ugly loss as they take on the Rockets in Houston tomorrow night. Houston is coming off a 105-99 loss at Memphis Tuesday night.

Lakers at Spurs In-Game

The Lakers get the first half of their double dose of Texas tonight at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

Sasha, Javaris, and Coby Karl draw the inactives tonight as the Lakers have 15 healthy players for the first time in more than a year. These aren’t surprising choices for the inactive list due to the size of Spurs front line.

Texas native Chris Mihm draws the start and the team will need a good showing from him on Tim Duncan tonight.

1st Quarter
10:19 Kobe puts in his second bucket of the night to take the lead 4-2. The Lakers have a nice mismatch on the offensive side of the court as San Antonio starts out with Michael Finley on Lamar. Turiaf is facing Oberto on the defensive end, but the Spurs decide to slide Oberto over to Chris Mihm when the Lakers have the ball.

7:58 Kobe gets a block to go along with his earlier steal. #24 has been showing a good defensive presence this season. The Lakers are holding the Spurs to 1 of 9 shooting, but can’t control the boards. Turiaf is doing a good job of help D on Duncan and even put his buddy Tony Parker on the ground earlier.

5:50 Out of nowhere Kobe comes over to get his second block of the night. A little questionable as it looks like it was on it’s way down. Lamar also collects his second travel of the game. The Spurs are committed to hammering the ball at Mihm so far, just trying to feed Duncan whenever possible.

Turnovers have been a consistent problem throughout the year and the theme is continuing tonight as the Lakers have six through six minutes. Turiaf’s got three, but he’s also got six boards already so you take the good with the bad.

Lakers down 9-8. Walton and Bynum check in for Turiaf and Mihm.

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