Monthly Archive for December, 2007

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Lakers Today: 12/28/07

Back to STAPLES Center it is for the Lakers tonight as they welcome in the Utah Jazz at 7:30 tonight. The last time the Jazz visited LA, the Purple & Gold sent them back to Utah on a rail. The Jazz returned the favor when the Lakers visited Salt Lake City.

The team might want to forget that last match up, but Phil Jackson isn’t going to let them forget it. Since that last meeting the Lakers have won 9 of 12, while the Jazz have lost 9 of 12.

Kwame Brown and Luke Walton are both being listed as doubtful for the game.

Trevor Ariza is starting to adjust to his role with the Lakers and becoming a fan favorite with his athletic play.

After Ariza dunked over Hill, a solitary voice from the courtside seats could be heard over the din of the crowd.

“Hey, Grant, will you sign my poster?” a fan yelled derisively.

Check out Lakers Gameday for all of today’s game-related info.

Click here if you want to see what we had to say about the site in TrueHoop today.

Things To Know: Jazz

Check out the Lakers Gameday Preview for injury reports, preview, and probable starting line-ups. Go to Lakers Courtside Connection to get today’s Scouting Report.

What You Already Know:
To say the Jazz have struggled after a strong start is an understatement as Jerry Sloan’s squad is in the midst of a downward spiral that has them on the outside looking in on Western Conference’s top eight. Since beginning the season at an impressive 12-5, the Western Conference runner-up has lost nine of 12 games to bump its overall record down to a mediocre 16-14.

Led by long-time Coach Jerry Sloan, the Jazz are usually unfazed by one or two losses, drawing on Sloan’s stern disposition to shake off defeat and focus only on one game at a time. However, for whatever reason, this season, the Jazz have been unable to fight through adversity, already the owners of a six game losing streak.

The Lakers and Jazz have split their two games this year with each team exchanging wins on their respective home courts. The Lakers were first at it in November, beating the Jazz 119-109 behind Kobe’s 33 points and Derek Fisher’s 19 against his former teammates. The Jazz got quick revenge three weeks later, trampling L.A. 120-96 despite the absence of Mehmet Okur and Carlos Boozer due to injury.

Continue reading ‘Things To Know: Jazz’

Second Returns

The second round of all-star voting returns were released by the league today and Kobe is still cruising to a starting spot in the West.

#24 remains way out in front as the West’s top vote getter. Thus far he’s garnered 941,716 votes to Yao Ming’s 813,305, and Carmelo Anthony’s 767,722.

Here are the full tallies for the West.

2008 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING WESTERN CONFERENCE

Forwards: Carmelo Anthony (Den) 767,722; Tim Duncan (SA) 722,059; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 686,853; Carlos Boozer (Utah) 281,299; Josh Howard (Dal) 251,756; Shawn Marion (Pho) 240,752; Shane Battier (Hou) 227,112; Luis Scola (Hou) 222,896; Kevin Durant (Sea) 191,542; Grant Hill (Pho) 152,898.

Guards: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 941,716; Tracy McGrady (Hou) 663,141; Steve Nash (Pho) 526,493; Allen Iverson (Den) 514,291; Manu Ginobili (SA) 220,620; Jason Terry (Dal) 200,693; Baron Davis (GS) 194,048; Chris Paul (NO) 189,646; Tony Parker (SA) 183,173; Jerry Stackhouse (Dal) 178,152.

Centers: Yao Ming (Hou) 813,305; Amaré Stoudemire (Pho) 463,916; Erick Dampier (Dal) 171,386; Marcus Camby (Den) 161,807; Pau Gasol (Mem) 118,759; Mehmet Okur (Utah) 85,715; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 69,691; Tyson Chandler (NO) 69,083; Andris Biedrins (GS) 67,862; Chris Kaman (LAC) 66,315.

Thursday Injury Updates

Lakers Forward Luke Walton did not practice today and is being listed as doubtful for Friday night’s game against the Utah Jazz.

Center Kwame Brown, who has been out since November 18th, practiced today, but didn’t show much. When Head Coach Phil Jackson was asked how Brown looked, he joked, “He looks old and decrepit even though he’s a young man. He’s still not quite ready for it. ” Brown is also being listed as doubtful.

Click here to watch the full post-practice interview with Phil Jackson and Trevor Ariza

Bynum 2nd in FG%

Lost in the shuffle of all the accolades being heaped upon Center Andrew Bynum is his freaky percentage from the field of late.

I’m not even going to go as far as anointing myself an amateur stat geek, but I do know that shooting 62.5% from the field is solid (and just .12 behind Andris Biedrins for the league lead). You don’t need a degree to figure that out.

In the month of December Bynum is throwing it down at a 67.62% clip, good for tops in the league among those taking more than four shots per game. That’s a whole lot of 8/10′s and 7/9′s on the stat sheet.

Last time out Drew started the game a perfect 7 of 7 before finishing up 11/13. His last three games have seen him make 27 out of 32 for an eye popping 84.38%.

The next two games will provide the big man a good test as Utah and Boston both possess the bigs inside to slow Bynum.

Andrew dominated the Jazz in their first matchup at STAPLES Center, finishing with 9 boards and 15 points on 6/7 shooting in just 19 minutes of play. Bynum didn’t fare as well in the second meeting as the entire Lakers team struggled to find their footing in the 120-96 drubbing.

Bynum found it tough to get going when the Lakers visited the Celtics and got thrashed 107-94. #17 led the team in rebounding for the game but was ineffective on offense and allowed Kendrick Perkins to go for 21-points–a real no-no when you’ve got the big three to worry about.

Lakers Today: 12/27/07

Slow day in Lakerville yesterday as the team was given the day off after working on Christmas day (or was it to celebrate Kwanzaa?).

The team continues to downplay it’s promising start. That’s a lesson that was learned from last year’s 42-40 finish that came after a 26-13 start (that’s 16-27 down the stretch sports fans).

Kurt from Forum Blue & Gold is subbing over at TrueHoop a couple times this week and just couldn’t help but bleed a little purple and gold onto ESPN’s pristine web space. Shouldn’t the nation learn to love Andrew Bynum as much as Lakers fans do anyway? Probably.

I’ve been meaning to give this it’s own post, but I haven’t and I can’t let it slide anymore. On Christmas Day the LA Times’ Bill Plaschke wrote a great piece about Magic Johnson that everyone (Laker fan or not) should read. It was so good that I even went out and bought a hard copy of the paper so my family could read it. First time I’ve bought a paper in 5 years. Check it out here.

The team gets back to work today. Check back later for the practice report and video.

Lakers Today: 12/26/07

A lot of excitement surrounding the 122-115 holiday victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps
LA Times | OC Register | Press-Enterprise | Daily News

Expectations for Bynum?
LA Times | Press-Enterprise | More Bynum

Everyone’s hoping Kwame can be back by Friday & Phil’s got a chance to pass Red against the Celtics.

The Lakers early season success isn’t escaping the national media and it’s possible that the West’s elite teams are starting to slow down a bit.

Lakers vs. Suns Post-Game

The Lakers took down the Suns 122-115. The stars of the night were Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum with an honorable mention to Trevor Ariza. Derek Fisher had a slow 1st Quarter, starting 1-5, but led the way in the 2nd, scoring 7 straight points towards the end of quarter. He carried the team into a tie at half-time. Kobe dominated the 3rd, getting 14 of his 38 points. The 4th quarter ended up belonging to Andrew Bynum, who capped off a career night with some key defensive stops and more dunks. Bynum finished with 28 points, a career high, on 11-13 shooting and 12 rebounds. He also forced Phoenix to change their line-up to keep Brian Skinner on the floor, as Amare Stoudemire was in foul trouble for much of the second half.

The Suns’ night mirrors their 3 point shooting. They started 2-10, then hit 8 of their next 10, but finished 0 for 4. That final stretch helped the Lakers to build their lead in the 4th quarter that they held to the end. Phoenix was able to get balanced scoring with nearly all 8 of their players (who saw minutes) getting double figures, only Boris Diaw fell short with 8.

Trevor Ariza gets an honorable mention thanks to his stellar performance in place of Luke Walton in the starting line-up. His task was to stop Grant Hill, which started poorly as Grant went 5-7 in the first half, but Hill finished with just 2 points in the second half. Ariza also repeatedly brought the crowd to its feet with an array of dunks, including the finest over Hill in memory, and a key block. His 14 and 7 rebounds were a key reason the Lakers now sit just one game behind Phoenix in the Pacific Division at 18-10.

Lakers vs. Suns In-Game

Inactive for today’s game:
Lakers: Kwame Brown, Luke Walton
Suns: DJ Strawberry

1st Quarter:

11:02 – Much is said in the first 2 baskets by each team. For the Suns, Amare makes a quick move and leaves Bynum standing still. On the Lakers end, Bynum receives the entry pass and Amare gambles on the steal and misses it and Bynum converts easily. It would appear that Amare is focused on using his quickness at both ends to negate Bynum’s strength.

7:14 – It won’t appear anywhere else, but Kobe more or less jumped over Nash in pursuit of a loose ball. The energy is pretty high from the beginning and #24 is clearly focused and ready.

5:20 – It’s 20-14 to the Suns and it’s pretty easy to see that the Lakers defense is not up to snuff tonight. Lamar has been guilty of letting his man get by too easily, at first it was Marion, but Diaw just took a sweet feed from Nash and rolled right by. Also, Grant Hill is getting to his mid-range spots without much difficulty. The Lakers should back off when he is at the 3 point line, but his mid-range game is his preferred weapon and Ariza hasn’t been able to stop him. Both teams have started going to the bench, Diaw and Barbosa for the Suns, Radmanovic for the Lakers.

3:38 – The foul must have been on the body, because it looked real clean up top. Nonetheless, Diaw is at the line and Lamar is literally hopping mad at the foul call.

Continue reading ‘Lakers vs. Suns In-Game’

Lakers vs. Suns Pre-Game

There are a few obvious topics that frame this Christmas tilt between the Suns and the Lakers. First is the Suns as a measuring stick. The Lakers at 17-10 have crept up the Western Conference standings, but there is still a gap between them and the top teams. A win today would pull the Lakers to within one in the Pacific division and they would even be getting close to San Antonio at the top of the conference. Additionally, the Lakers torched the Suns early in the season in Phoenix and a similar victory tonight would remove any thought that the Lakers caught the Suns before they got going. On an individual basis, this will also be another big game for Andrew Bynum. Andrew will have a tough match-up against Amare Stoudemire, but he has the opportunity to dominate physically. If he can do that, then he can cause the Suns to play more Brian Skinner or make then go ever deeper than they normally prefer into their bench. Both Amare and Bynum face foul potential that could affect their minutes and likely the outcome.

Second, the last game ended quite heated, featuring a few verbal blasts from Suns coach Mike D’Antoni. The recent history of these teams will continue to create extra friction as familiarity has certainly bred contempt. Lakers fans will doubtless take the opportunity to boo Raja Bell if his back spasms subside enough for him to play.

Third, as ever, is the respective injury reports for the teams. Kwame will not be playing. He’s getting closer, but Phil said, “I wouldn’t put Kwame out in this game, he isn’t ready.” Phil went on to talk about what Kwame could do, given the quality of the team’s play in Kwame’s absence. Phil said, “Kwame has the ability to play people one-on-one in the post. Boozer, that’s a guy he would play. The last time we played Utah he wasn’t there so it didn’t matter, but maybe he can play the other kid that killed us, Millsap. That’s the kind of effort he can give us.” On the subject of Lakers big men, Phil cautioned not to read to much into Mihm’s aggressive dunk against the Knicks. Luke hopes to return tonight, but it will be a game time decision. Were he to return, guarding Marion would certainly be a test of the ankle. On the Phoenix side, their only real injury at this time is Raja Bell, as mentioned above.

The recall of Coby Karl changes the Lakers bench composition somewhat, but expect him to be inactive for tonight’s game and likely to be used as one of the Lakers inactives once Kwame returns.

UPDATE: Luke and Kwame are inactive for tonight’s game, so Coby Karl is on the bench.

For more discussion on the tactics for the game, check out our Scouting Report