Monthly Archive for December, 2007

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Lakers vs. Spurs Post-Game

Lakers triumph 102 to 97, so it’s another taco night. The Spurs, without Parker and Duncan were able to make the game a tough run. Their success came from making the Lakers grind it out and hitting their 3′s, which enabled them to take a halftime deficit and turn it into a lead going into the 4th.

The Lakers were able to take the lead in the 1st half when the bench exploited San Antonio’s taxed depth. The game loosened up and that benefitted the home team. In the second half, the bench led the Lakers to the lead with good movement on the offensive end. The starters came in and controlled the 4th by matching San Antonio’s intensity, getting scrappy and forcing San Antonio to keep making shots.

Kobe had to work, but he led the team with 30 points.

The dominant undercurrent to the game were the no-calls by the refs. San Antonio used this to the fullest to get under the Lakers collective skins. Andrew Bynum was undone by this, getting a double technical in the 3rd. Lamar was pulled off the free throw line after the outcome was decided by Kobe to prevent him from getting a technical of his own.

On the whole, it was probably harder than it should have been, but you take a win over the defending champs anyway you can.

Lakers vs. Spurs In-Game

Check back after the tip for live in-game analysis from STAPLES Center. Hit your browsers’ refresh (or reload) button to get the latest entry.

Inactives for tonight:
Lakers – Kwame Brown, Coby Karl
Spurs – Tim Duncan, Ian Mahinmi

1st Quarter

It’s Luke, Kobe, Derek, Andrew and Lamar starting out to go against Bonner, Oberto, Ginobili, Vaughn and Bowen. It will be critical that the Lakers bench takes advantage of their opportunity when the time comes.

7:41 – The early returns are that the Lakers are looking ragged on offense. Shots have been drawing clangs and they haven’t been exploiting their match-ups, Lamar should be able to take Bonner off the dribble or post up Ginobili. The defense has been solid, except that Ginobili lay-up which likely precipitated this time-out. Overall, not a lot of early action, even the well executed break by the Lakers led to Lamar missing the dunk.

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Lakers vs. Spurs Pre-Game

The headline for this game is that neither Duncan nor Parker will be playing up tonight. Both had been questionable going into the game, each with ankle injuries, but the maybe not has become definitely not. It was the first question Phil answered pre-game, when asked if he was concerned:

“We’re worried and I’ll tell you why, because we went without Boozer and Okur in Utah and we got our shirts handed to us at the end,” said Jackson. “They really kicked our butts. So we’re concerned that we don’t have any letdown. These guys are capable.”

In their first match-up this season, Duncan was a relative non-factor (though the Lakers had Kwame Brown available for defense), but Parker and Ginobili shredded the Lakers perimeter defense and created the open looks that got Bruce Bowen 23 points. Not having either Parker or Duncan puts even more offensive onus on Ginobili, who has continued coming off the bench, even though Duncan has been out.

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First Returns

The NBA released the first All-Star Ballot numbers today and Kobe is crushing the competition in the West.

At first tally, Kobe has 569,302 votes. Nuggets Forward Carmelo Anthony is second with 482,127 votes.

Here are the rest of the Western Conference standings.

Forwards: Carmelo Anthony (Den) 482,127; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 443,117; Tim Duncan (SA) 423,608; Carlos Boozer (Utah) 175,248; Shawn Marion (Pho) 154,641; Josh Howard (Dal) 146,909; Kevin Durant (Sea) 113,314; Luis Scola (Hou) 101,981; Shane Battier (Hou) 95,757; Grant Hill (Pho) 83,544.

Guards: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 569,302; Tracy McGrady (Hou) 388,959; Steve Nash (Pho) 317,091; Allen Iverson (Den) 292,565; Manu Ginobili (SA) 141,891; Jason Terry (Dal) 121,397; Tony Parker (SA) 117,881; Chris Paul (NO) 110,688; Jerry Stackhouse (Dal) 103,307; Baron Davis (GS) 100,422.

Centers: Yao Ming (Hou) 439,125; Amaré Stoudemire (Pho) 286,401; Erick Dampier (Dal) 101,878; Marcus Camby (Den) 94,473; Pau Gasol (Mem) 73,461; Mehmet Okur (Utah) 51,017; Chris Kaman (LAC) 40,256; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 35,601; Tyson Chandler (NO) 32,595; Andris Biedrins (GS) 29,026.

Click here for the full list of returns.

Phil Makes It Official

Head Coach Phil Jackson made it official today by signing a contract extension to remain with the Lakers. The deal will keep Jackson coaching the Lakers through next season and also gives him an option for the 2009-10 season.

Get all the details here.

Lakers Practice Report: 12/12/07

INJURY UPDATE: Luke Walton practiced today, but Coach Jackson said that the forward did not look good on the court, struggling with his timing. Jackson said he anticipates Luke will be available for tomorrow night’s game though.

The Lakers completed their last practice before tomorrow’s nationally televised match-up against the San Antonio Spurs, ending three consecutive days without a game. Both Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom reaffirmed that the time off has been a good thing for the team as it has allowed many of the teams’ minor injuries to heal and provided plenty of time to strategize against a Spurs team that currently boasts the Western Conference’s top record.

Phil Jackson, while expressing gratitude for the rare extended mid-season break, also said he was a little nervous for the game since many teams who play one game in a week’s time often struggle with their rhythm and timing. Jackson said that the fact that the game is nationally televised will help the Lakers since there are longer timeouts and breaks in between quarters meaning the starters can stay on the floor for longer stretches.

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Lakers Today: 12/12/07

With back-to-back games looming this week and next week, Phil Jackson emphasized the need for the Lakers to perform well if they hope to secure one of the top four seeds in the Western Conference.

Cognizant that his team will play back-to-back games this week and next week, the Lakers coach took aim at two sad efforts in the second night of back-to-backs — a 110-103 loss in Milwaukee on Nov. 21 and a 120-96 drubbing by Utah on Nov. 30 when the Jazz played without Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur.

“We have to be able to play back-to-backs, and play well,” Jackson said. “A team that can do that is a valuable team…”

One of the main themes of the season so far has been Kobe’s unwavering praise of center Andrew Bynum after the third-year center has posted a double-double average in the team’s first 20 games.

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Lakers Practice Report: 12/11/07

INJURY UPDATE: Luke Walton, Kwame Brown and Lamar Odom all set out practice today. Odom is experiencing soreness in his right knee.

The Lakers refuse to look ahead at their schedule after this Thursday’s showdown against the Spurs, instead choosing to focus during practice on how they plan to stop Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. After San Antonio comes to town and the team plays the Warriors the next night, the Lakers will embark on a stretch in which they play five consecutive games against teams with losing records. However, two of the Lakers’ opponents — the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers — are much better than their paltry records indicate.

Both Phil Jackson and Andrew Bynum warned against taking teams too lightly, each cautioning that every team presents a unique challenge. Jackson said that the league is much more balanced than in past years and the margin between the last place team and the number one team has become much smaller. Looking ahead to the impending road trip, Jackson said that his team needs to continue to perform well in back-to-backs — something that has been done with great success by the Phoenix Suns. Bynum also said he was excited to go back to his east coast roots since his family will have the opportunity to see him play in person.

Jackson also commented on the progress of Vladimir Radmanovic whom Phil referred to as a space cadet last year for failing to grasp the triangle offense. This season, Jackson says Vlad has returned to Earth, but his free thinking ways still make him a wild card on the floor at times.

Lakers Today: 12/11/07

Andrew Bynum continues to garner league-wide attention for his vastly improved play to open up the season, highlighted by his dominating 20 point, 11 rebound, 5 block game versus the Warriors on Sunday.

Although there’s not much difference between this season’s start for the Lakers, compared to a year ago, Coach Phil Jackson’s current team has been turning heads around the league because of the play of center Andrew Bynum.

For Bynum, 20, the more he’s able to show Jackson that he can play against a variety of lineups is a plus with the increased number of NBA teams showing quick lineups like Golden State.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and San Antonio Spurs Coach Greg Popovich will wear microphones during TNT’s Thursday night broadcast of the Lakers v. Spurs game as part of a new league-mandated policy requiring coaches to wear microphones for nationally televised games.

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Lakers Quarterly Report: 1st Quarter

With a quarter of the season gone by, it’s been a season if highs and lows for the Lakers with the team coming out of the gates with an impressive 7-3 record before losing three straight games. After sweeping their two-game road trip to Minnesota and Denver this week and taking care of the Golden State at STAPLES, the Lakers stand at 12-8. Still on the verge of joining the next tier of teams in the Western Conference, but also close enough to the bottom that they should still be concerned about their playoff status. In true Hollywood style, doles out its quarter season awards:

Most Improved Player: Andrew Bynum
Determining the most surprising and the most improved Laker is pretty much a toss-up as both Farmar and Bynum fit well into either category. Andrew gets the nod here for showing up to camp in much better shape than last season, an increased sense of dedication that has led to a double-double average of 10 points and 10 rebounds per contest. The 20 year-old center has also established himself more on the defensive end this season, registering almost two blocks per game.

Most Disappointing Performance: Luke Walton, Lamar Odom
The voting committee just couldn’t seem to agree on this one (the same can probably be said for most Lakers fans), so both players take home the lofty title of most disappointing with one quarter of the season gone by. After Walton’s breakout season last year in which he was arguably the second best player on the court to Kobe Bryant in many games, Luke has not been able to assert himself on the offensive end, often seeming out of sync with a triangle offense that is apparently tailor made for his abilities. Last season, Walton showed uncanny confidence in his three-point shot; a year later and the forward looks afraid to shoot beyond ten feet in.

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