Monthly Archive for January, 2008

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Things To Know: Suns

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.

Things You Already Know:
Nearing the midway point of the season, the Suns currently own one of the best records in the Western Conference at 26-12, just a half game behind the Lakers.

The Lakers have defeated the Suns twice this season already, once in Phoenix and the other at STAPLES Center three weeks ago. In their first meeting, the Lakers trounced the Suns 119-98 behind the superior bench play of Vladimir Radmanovic (19 points) and Andrew Bynum (14 points, 11 rebounds). In the teams’ encore battle, the Lakers won 122-115, with Bynum capturing national attention for his head-turning 28 points and 16 rebounds—both career highs for the center at the time.

The Suns high-octane offense has five players who average at least 16 points a night, led by Amare Stoudemire’s 22 per game, followed by Leandro Barbosa/Steve Nash’s 17 and 16 each for Shawn Marion and Grant Hill. However, anyone who’s ever played the Suns knows that it is Steve Nash’s 12 assists that really head Phoenix’s attack.

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Lakers Today: 01/17/08

I’m sure TNT was hoping that tonight’s game would be between the first and second place teams in the west, but after the Sam Cassell take over on Tuesday night, we’re looking at a matchup between the first and sixth place teams. Welcome to the Western Conference.

Still, plenty is at stake tonight. A win could put the public-at-large on notice that the loss of Andrew Bynum isn’t the end of the season. A loss puts the Suns back on top of the Pacific Division, the Western Conference, and gives them a shot to tie up the season series. It’s a big game (and aren’t they all) with a lot at stake, but we’ve got a long way to go in the season.

Phil Jackson indicated after practice yesterday that Chris Mihm is still at least a week away from returning to practice and even when/if he returns the Lakers could use some help on the front line. Losing Andrew essentially takes the Lakers back to the starting lineup from early last season (with an upgrade at point guard & deeper bench) that was pretty successful. Lamar Odom is looking even farther back, hearkening to the 2006 Playoffs where the Lakers.

Lakers trainer Gary Vitti spent detailed exactly what happened to Andrew’s knee and the recovery process.

It could be quite some time before Bynum can begin rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the muscles around his knee. The plan is to increase Bynum’s leg strength in order to prevent another kneecap injury.

“Right now, he can’t do a whole lot,” Vitti said. “He has a big, swollen knee joint. It’s probably full of blood, which is not good. Blood is not good in a place that it doesn’t belong. It belongs in your vessels. When it leaks out of there it has (bad) effects to other tissues. So we’ve got to get that out of there.”

Vladimir Radmanovic is expected to miss more time. The hope is that he’ll be available for the Lakers 9-game road trip that starts at the end of the month.

Lakers Today: 01/16/08

While the Lakers survived in Seattle, Coach Jackson wasn’t particularly pleased with Kobe Bryant’s 44 shot attempts and the repeated deferrals by Lamar Odom and Luke Walton.

“Try to get Lamar and Luke in a rhythm,” Jackson said. “Lamar just had an awful night and kept passing the ball. Fortunately for us, we found a way to win.”

Despite a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) in his first start since Andrew Bynum’s injury, Kwame Brown looked out of place on offense and appeared to tire as the game went on.

“I think he got tired and Ronny [Turiaf] had [too many] fouls, so he had to play through it…There was no one else to take his position,” Jackson said.

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Lakers Today: 01/15/08

With seven wins in a row–the longest active streak in the league–the Lakers currently sit tied with Phoenix atop the Western Conference standings after last night’s thrilling overtime victory over the Sonics.

“Tonight was just one of those games where I had to kind of read the mood of the team, and us being a little deflated with Drew going down and being on a back-to-back and coming on the road,” Bryant said. “It was just one of those things where I just wanted to be a little more assertive.”

Although news that Andrew Bynum will miss at least eight weeks due to injury may have distracted the team in last night’s game, General Manager Mitch Kupchak was happy the prognosis is only eight weeks.

“It could have been worse,” he said. “As long as I’ve been around, I’ve seen a lot of knee injuries. You never want a knee injury that alters a career. We’re fortunate that surgery is not needed and we’ll have him return this year.

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Kobe Named Player of the Week

Kobe Bryant has been named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played from Monday, Jan. 7 through Sunday, Jan. 13.

Bryant helped the Lakers to a 4-0 week, which included wins over the Hornets, Bucks and the Grizzlies twice. Bryant averaged 29.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 3.5 steals on the week. Closing the week with back-to-back 37-point performances, Bryant upped his season average to 27.0 ppg, second best in the NBA to LeBron James’ 29.1 ppg. The Lakers are riding a six-game winning streak and at 25-11, they own the second best record in the Pacific Division and the third best record in the Western Conference.

Click here for all the info

Talking With Mark Few

Ronny Turiaf’s alma mater, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, have been in Southern California this weekend to play Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine. We caught up with Head Coach Mark Few before Sunday’s game to talk about Ronny as a person and his development since he left Spokane.

Bynum Expected to Miss 8 Weeks

After going through an MRI and an examination by team doctor Steve Lombardo it has been determined that Center Andrew Bynum has suffered a subluxation of the patella and a bone bruise of his left knee according to a press release issued today.

With Chris Mihm already shelved due to complications with his surgically repaired knee, Kwame Brown becomes the Lakers best option at Center while Bynum recovers from the injury.

Ronny Turiaf is also expected to see more time in the middle after starting 10 games, and more recently being the primary backup, at Power Forward for the Lakers.

Bynum is expected to make a full recovery.

Click here for more information on Patella Subluxation

In the Rankings: Week 11

Every Monday the BasketBlog checks the net to bring you the latest NBA power rankings.
This Week: 1 | Last Week: 4 | Diff: +3

The Lakers have won six straight and 10 of their last 11, but the one game that tells me that they’re No. 1 right now is Wednesday’s drubbing of the Hornets in New Orleans.
This Week: 4 | Last Week: 4 | Diff: 0

Things must have been going too well. L.A. is 16-3 since Dec. 2, almost matching Portland’s 17-2 run, but the sight of Bynum going down is scary stuff, even for a team possessing the Lakers’ enviable depth.
This Week: 5 | Last Week: 5 | Diff: 0

They beat Memphis on Sunday to run their win streak to a season-high six and notch their 16th victory in their last 19 games. But the status of center Andrew Bynum, who sprained his left knee, is a big concern as they get set for a rugged upcoming portion of the schedule (beginning Thursday, they’ll face the Suns, Nuggets, Spurs and Mavs in a four-game stretch).

Average Ranking: 3.33 | Last Week: 4.33 | Diff: +1

Opposing View: Sonics

Kevin Pelton does as good a job as anyone of covering the Sonics for Before each game he talks to someone in the know to get the Opposing View on the game that night. Today we talked about the Lakers on their site and got Kevin to talk about the Sonics for us. Here’s what he had to say.

As we near the halfway point of the season, what have rookies Kevin Durant and Jeff Green shown you that you didn’t expect to see when the season began?
I would say their poise and maturity, but honestly that wasn’t a surprise. That was how these rookies were advertised to us coming into the season, and during summer league it was evident that they are beyond their years on and off the court. With Durant, I think maybe the biggest surprise is how much he has improved defensively over the course of the season. I think his potential to be an impact defender has been underrated, and he’s done a tremendous job this year considering he’s being asked to play on the perimeter for the first time in his career. In Green’s case, I’ve been surprised by his ability to translate his post-up game to the NBA despite playing against bigger defenders, including power forwards when the Sonics play in small lineups. As he develops this aspect of the game, it figures to become a weapon for the Sonics.

How do you see the Point Guard position shaking out between Earl Watson, Luke Ridnour, & Delonte West?
Because the Sonics have three players who can start at the point, this was an important position to evaluate going into the season, with Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo wanting to give each guy a chance to start and back up on a regular basis. Unfortunately, injuries have made it difficult to accomplish that, with Watson starting the majority of the season. We still haven’t gotten a good look at West as a starter and the new coaching staff hasn’t seen Ridnour in that role. Until all three guys get that opportunity, it’s tough to say who will emerge a the position.

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Things To Know: Sonics

Things You Already Know:
As predicted, the Sonics are one of the worst teams in the league records wise and haven’t shown many signs this year of improving anytime in the near future. One of the lone bright spots on the team has been rookie Kevin Durant who averages 20 points a night, but on only 40.6% shooting. Chris Wilcox is also having a solid year for Seattle, scoring 13 points and pulling down over seven rebounds per game.

The Lakers were victorious in their last meeting with the Sonics in November, winning 106-99 in a game that was not as close as the final score indicates. While Kevin Durant went off for a relatively quiet 25 points, Kobe scored a much more noticeable 35 points that was instrumental in the Lakers’ win. Lamar Odom also had one of his better games this season, notching 20 points to go along with eight rebounds.

Things You Might Not Know:
The Sonics are in the midst of an five game losing streak to open up the New Year and have lost eight of nine overall.

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