Monthly Archive for January, 2008

Page 3 of 9

Lakers at Spurs In-Game

1st Quarter

11:46 – Phil mentioned in the pre-game that Luke needed to get in a good game. First possession he gets to the basket and gets the foul.

9:28 – Kobe powers through Bowen for the lay-up. Thus far there have been 2 possessions where the offensive player has gone through the defensive player (also Parker going through Fisher) and both times, no call or call to the offensive player. Surprisingly, the second didn’t ge the cheers of the first.

7:59 – Kwame is getting looks close in and finishing. Kobe is carving up the defense well to make that happen.

6:26 – The Lakers have been more energetic thus far and have an early 15-8 lead. The team has gotten penetration to set up some easy looks, both by and from Kobe. Defensively, Kwame has been stout on Duncan and they have kept penetration down thus far. Ginobili has just come in, so we’ll see how that changes the dynamic.

4:18 – It’s Mbenga time. Kwame got a foul at the offensive end wihle rebounding and just picked up his second defending Duncan.

Continue reading ‘Lakers at Spurs In-Game’

Lakers at Spurs Pre-Game

The Lakers and Spurs meet again and for the first time in a long time, it’s the Spurs looking up to the Lakers in the standings. One of the wins that got the Lakers to where they are was over the Spurs, though the Spurs were without Duncan and Parker and Ginobili was injured. Phil was asked if he watched that game video, or if it didn’t matter since their key players were missing. He replied, ”I haven’t looked at that game tape. The only reason I want to look at it was to see why Andrew was thrown out of that ball game. Ginobili grabbed him around the neck and Oberto hit him a couple of times and got in a cheap shot. I just wanted to see if the referees were staying on top of it. The season overwhelms you sometimes, this might be the third or so game that I haven’t watched this year.”

Andrew will miss the entirety of this game with his injury and one of the Lakers solutions was the signing of DJ Mbenga. Phil talked about if Mbenga was ready to play, “We”ll use him. If we have to in the game we certainly will. I anticipate using him. Obviously he won’t know many of the finer points of how to play with his teammates or move in the offense, but he’s got capabilities of doing some things that help out.”

The Lakers have 2 players, Luke and Sasha still working their way back from injuries. Phil commented on Luke’s struggles since he came back. “Well, you just have to watch that he’s not overplayed. I think that too many minutes is really going to hurt him, wear him out and tear him down physically. So guys have to share those minutes. I think that’s the reason that Lamar is going to have to move back from power forward and Kobe is going to have to move down from guard to forward. And we’re going to have to adjust a little bit to that.” Phil commented further on Luke’s struggles, “He’s struggling. Offensively he’s struggling, I think he’s doing a good job defensively for us. He’s capable of running the offense and keeping things going out there with the first unit. That’s helpful, but he needs to have a good game.”

Sasha also has struggled in his first game back, trying to win back his spot as the fourth guard, according to Phil, “For a second until he got into the game and got anxious out there in the second half and ruined some of our offensive timing. Then Jordan came back and played beside Fish and finished that quarter well. Sasha’s ability to do things helps us. He makes the defense extend as a 3 point threat. It helps our spacing.”

With Luke’s struggles and Ariza’s injury, we saw a new version of the backcourt with Fisher and Jordan together in the backcourt.. Their play will be helpful with getting
Kobe on the wing. Phil said, “The guard corps that we have, and it doesn’t have to be just Fish or Jordan, the guard corps can maintain what we’re trying to do. Kobe is very comfortable playing small forward. The only difference is that it changes hwo re rebound and defend that spot. It does make us small.”

Lastly, Phil commented on the Sports Illustrated poll of who players would like to play for a vote which Phil led with Mike D’Antoni of the Suns, to which he said, “I think the system of how you play ball is really important. I think Phoenix has a wonderful way of playing basketball. I understand that . I don’t know why anyone would want to play for me, I am too rigid and perhaps too confining with how we do things.

“I have no animosity towards mike. Absolutely none. I met him when he was a rookie coming into the league and my former teammates said that he had a really good basketball mind and would be a good coach and he’s become one.”

Things To Know: Spurs

Things We Already Know:
The Spurs are the defending champions and have won two of the past three NBA championships, but have yet to win the elusive back-to-back title. As one of the Lakers’ oldest nemeses dating back to the Kobe-Shaq era, L.A. fans should already be pretty familiar with the Spurs’ blue-collar style of basketball and the faces that run it. At the top is Greg Popovic, one of the most respected–and intense–coaches in the entire league. Pop consistently has his Spurs playing the best defense in the Western Conference, spearheaded by quiet superstar forward Tim Duncan.

The Lakers beat the Spurs 102-97 in their last meeting at STAPLES Center, but San Antonio was without Tim Duncan and Tony Parker due to injury. In their previous meeting in Texas, the Spurs dominated the Lakers, easily winning 107-92. In that game, Kobe and Odom were both ineffective as L.A. allowed Bruce Bowen to score 23 points. However, in all fairness, while the Spurs were without two of their best three players in the rivals’ last meeting, the first meeting on Nov. 13 came long before Andrew Bynum emerged into the mutli-dimensional force he is today.

Continue reading ‘Things To Know: Spurs’

Road Trip Preview: San Antonio/Dallas

In case the team didn’t get the memo prior to their loss versus the Suns last week, the easy part of the schedule is officially over. After a momentum-boosting win against the Nuggets at home on Sunday, the Lakers head to San Antonio for part one of the Texas two-step tonight. AT&T Center has historically been one of the toughest arenas to win in–especially if you’re the Lakers.

The last time Kobe and Co. faced off against the Spurs, they were without two of their biggest weapons–Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. San Antonio still managed to put up a valiant fight though, losing by five 102-97 despite an obvious lack of offensive punch. In their first meeting on Nov. 13, the Spurs manhandled the Lakers, showing what they’re capable of when at full strength. However, San Antonio has lost all five games this month against teams over .500 and suddenly looks more vulnerable than it has in years. As will be the case until Andrew Bynum returns, the Lakers need someone else besides Kobe to step up. Against Denver, Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar carried that torch in a balanced effort the Lakers need to repeat if they hope to beat the Spurs.

Friday’s battle against Dallas presents a new kind of enemy for L.A. as the team has yet to face the Mavericks this season. After a slower than expected 12-8 start, the Mavs have rebounded nicely, compiling a 27-13 record that is good enough for fourth best in the conference, one half game behind the Lakers heading into the game against the Spurs.

Many questioned how Dallas would respond this season after losing in shocking fashion to the Golden State Warriors in last year’s playoffs. However, after a slow start of his own, perennial All-Star Dirk Nowitzki has responded well, averaging over 22 points and almost nine rebounds a night.

Before embarking on the mini road trip, Coach Phil Jackson said the team’s goal was to win one of the two games and to remain close in the other with a chance to steal a second game. With the team still rediscovering its identity after recent injury news, Jackson’s expectations seems realistic.

Out On The Road

The organization has deemed us fit to travel so for the next couple days we’ll be cruising Texas with the team and filing regular reports on the day-to-day life of an NBA team.

Day 1′s journal is up along with some video of the players arriving and some footage of the team plane. Check it out here.

Luke’s Dog Needs A Name

Luke’s got a puppy coming home in a couple weeks and he needs help picking a name.

As Jordan explains in the video, Luke will be getting his new puppy around mid-February. If you’ve got any name suggestions email us and we’ll pass them along.

No guarantees than any of them get used, but don’t let that discourage you.

Lakers vs. Nuggets Post-Game

The Lakers responded from their defeat against Phoenix last Thursday, drubbing the Nuggets 116-99. Derek Fisher led the way for the Lakers, coming up one point shy of his career high with 28 points.

“It’s a good win for us,” said Jackson. “We just can’t make too much out of anything and stay really close into what we’re trying to do.”

The Lakers entered the second half up by 10 points, but allowed the Nuggets to take the lead midway through the third quarter.

“We lost some momentum in that third quarter,” said Coach Jackson. “Came out and tried to do the same thing that was successful for us in the first half and we made some adjustments and got stubborn about our adjustments and it almost cost us the game.” However, Jackson praised the efforts of Fisher and Jordan Farmar (19 points) for reenergizing the team heading into the fourth quarter.

Continue reading ‘Lakers vs. Nuggets Post-Game’

Lakers vs. Nuggets In-Game

Check back after the tip for all the latest happenings from STAPLES Center. Remember to hit refresh on your browser to see the latest entry.

Inactives for Tonight’s Game
Lakers: Trevor Ariza, Andrew Bynum, Chris Mihm
Nuggets: Chucky Atkins

1st Quarter:
12:00 It looks like the fans in attendance tonight listened to the Lakers after Kobe Bryant and other teammates chastised Thursday night’s crowd for booing Kwame Brown heavily in the team’s loss to Phoenix; Kwame just got a nice ovation from the crowd during introductions, with nary a boo bird in sight.

10:20 Derek Fisher finally scores the Lakers’ first field goal of the night–a deep corner jumper that hits nothing but net. The Nuggets still lead 8-4 though as Iverson and Anthony have come out for Denver.

8:45 Kwame just hammered home two consecutive dunks for the Lakers with authority, drawing a huge applause both times from the crowd. It’s great to see Kwame playing with such aggression early on following his debacle against the Suns.

Continue reading ‘Lakers vs. Nuggets In-Game’

Lakers vs. Nuggets Pre-Game

As the injuries continue to pile up for the Lakers–Trevor Ariza the latest casualty–Coach Jackson said that certain players’ roles are bound to change. “It’s going to be one of those things,” said Jackson. “We’re just going to have to work our way through this. Unfortunately for Trevor, he was playing really well.” In Ariza’s absence, Jackson said the team will likely have to rely on Lamar Odom more at small forward.

However, Jackson did supply some rare positive news on the injury front, revealing that Vladimir Radmanovic has been able to participate in more exercises on the floor in recent days. While he has not begun running yet, Jackson said he is making solid progress. Injured center Chris Mihm has also begun more strenuous exercises and may be ready to return when the Lakers embark on their nine game road trip starting in Detroit.

In looking ahead to tonight’s game, Jackson said, “This is a game that is absolutely needed because this is a small team.” With the undersized Najera playing behind Marcus Camby, the coach said that tonight would likely present a “situation in which Ronny can play some center and probably well.”

Jackson also said he expects Kwame Brown to recover from being booed throughout the Lakers’ loss to Phoenix last Thursday. According to Jackson, there will no doubt be a certain amount of anxiety for Kwame, but the team’s willingness to look for him inside will not change.

DJ Mbenga Quick Facts

Mbenga in the NBA
The 7′ 220 pound year-old Mbenga is a native of Congo who signed with the Mavericks as a rookie in 2004, appearing in 79 games over three seasons in Dallas. During his stint with the team, the 27 year-old Mbenga totaled 106 points, 75 rebounds and 35 blocked shots in 374 minutes.

During his rookie year of 2004-05, he averaged an impressive 4.10 blocks per 48 minutes played while improving to 5.00 blocks per 48 minutes in 2005-06. However, his development was put on hold after he was limited to just 21 games the following season after missing the first 16 games of the year with a left foot tendon strain and suffering a torn right ACL 2/7/07 vs. Memphis.

After recovering from the injury, Mbenga signed with the Warriors on November 17 after he was put on waivers by the Mavericks on October 30. In his brief 16 games with Golden State prior to his release on January 6, Mbenga averaged 1.2 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.63 blocked shots in 8.1 minutes.
Continue reading ‘DJ Mbenga Quick Facts’