Monthly Archive for February, 2008

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Grammys Trip In Review


With their win Wednesday night against Minnesota, the Lakers pulled down an impressive seven wins on their season-high nine-game road trip. The win also marked the most victories for a team on a continuous road trip with nine or more games since neutral sites were eliminated in 1974-75. Moreover, the Lakers were forced to adjust to the acquisition of forward-center Pau Gasol halfway through a trip with limited practice time.

Although the trip started out a bit rocky with a one-point loss to the Pistons in a game the Lakers should have won, the team rallied to win their next three games, beginning with a 121-101 blowout of the Raptors.

Clearly energized by news that 2006 All-Star Pau Gasol was on his way to L.A., the team hammered the Washington Wizards behind 30 points from Kobe. Bryant in particular seemed to play with an extra step after hearing that a bona fide star was preparing to join him.

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Kobe Injury Update

The right pinkie that Kobe injured against the Nets last week appears to have gotten worse after he re-aggravated it last night in the game against the Timberwolves.

The official diagnosis is a complete tear of the radial collateral ligament, an avulsion fracture, and a volar plate injury at the MCP joint of the small finger of this right hand.

The doctor’s recommendation is surgery, which would shelve Bryant for approximately six weeks, but Kobe is taking a wait-and-see approach, hoping to delay surgery until after the Lakers season and this summer’s Beijing Olympics have concluded.

“My current thinking is to give my finger some treatment and rest for a few days, and hope I can still continue to compete at a high level after that rest,” said Bryant. “I would prefer to delay any surgical procedure until after our Lakers season, and this summer’s Olympic Games. But, this is an injury that myself and the Lakers’ medical staff will just have to continue to monitor on a day-to-day basis.”

Bryant is currently second in the league in scoring at 28 points per game. He also leads the team in assists at 5.3 per game.

Kobe will not participate in the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout, Dirk Nowitzki will take his place.

Here’s the full press release.

Dont Miss….

This is a couple days old, but if anyone missed On The Road with Ronny & Jordan be sure to check it out. The guys take a camera around the San Antonio River Walk and interact with the locals and teammates Lamar Odom & Luke Walton. It’s enjoyable.

Karl To D-Fenders

It was announced today that rookie guard Coby Karl will be sent to the Lakers D-League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, for the second time this season.

In his previous stint Karl posted solid numbers averaging 18.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 38.4 minutes while shooting .435 from three-point range and .492 from the field.

Click here for the press release.

Things To Know: Timberwolves

Things You Already Know:
The T-Wolves have one of the worst records in the league, only recently surpassing double digits in wins. At 10-40, Minnesota has the worst record in the Western Conference by a landslide and is only one game up on Miami for worst record in the league honors.

However, few could say their sub par play was unexpected as Minnesota made what was then considered—the Lakers’ recent trade for Gasol may have changed some minds—one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history this summer, sending their superstar franchise player Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics in exchange for a package primarily built around rising youngster Al Jefferson and prospects. The result was a roster filled with inexperienced players and no clear-cut stars aside from Jefferson.

Things You Might Not Know:
With little help around him, it’s safe to say that Minnesota probably wouldn’t even have half of their 10 wins without Jefferson to keep them afloat. At over 21 points and 12 rebounds a game, Jefferson has shown the potential to become a perennial All-Star once he gets some talent around him. While he’s certainly no KG, he’s no slouch either.

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In the Rankings: Week 15

Every Monday the Lakers.com BasketBlog checks the net to bring you the latest NBA power rankings.

NBA.com
This Week: 7 | Last Week: 6 | Diff: -1

With games in Charlotte and Minnesota before the break, the Lakers have a real shot at putting together a 7-2 Grammy trip. But we still await word on the knee.

ESPN.com
This Week: 3 | Last Week: 4 | Diff: +1

At 5-1 since the big trade and with Kobe clearly energized by the blockbuster move he’s been waiting for, there’s only one complaint in Lakerland: Pau won’t make his home debut until after the All-Star break.

SI.com
This Week: 5 | Last Week: 1 | Diff: -4

Friday’s loss at Atlanta officially ends their Pau Gasol-inspired ceremonial one-week reign atop these rankings. But they still had won five of seven on their epic nine-game road trip to keep the good vibe going.

Average Ranking: 5 | Last Week: 3.66 | Diff: +1.33

Things To Know: Bobcats

Things You Already Know:
Even with Michael Jordan at the helm in the front office, the Bobcats have been unable to achieve a better than .500 record since professional basketball returned to Charlotte. In a weak Eastern Conference, the Bobcats probably should have a much better record considering their roster includes known commodities like Jason Richardson, Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor.

However, aside from the one-two punch of Gerald Wallace (21 points) and Jason Richardson (20 points), the drop-off in proven NBA talent–not including Okafor, Raymond Felton and Nazr Mohammed—is steep.

Things You Might Not Know:
Kobe has averaged over 37 points per game in five career games against the Bobcats–his highest average against any team. While it pales in comparison to his 81 point game against the Raptors, Kobe had one of the greatest scoring nights of his career with 58 points in a 133-124 triple-overtime loss to the Bobcats in December 2006. Kobe’s newest running mate Pau Gasol has also run up an impressive track record against the Cats with a career average of 23.7 points.

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Things To Know: Heat

Things You Already Know:
The Miami Heat just completed one of the biggest, most stunning trades in years, sending former Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal back out west to the title-contending Phoenix Suns. In exchange, the Heat received versatile forward Shawn Marion and reserve guard Marcus Banks. While the blockbuster trade has been slammed by experts across the nation, almost all of the negative attention has been directed at the Suns, as Miami was not winning with O’Neal in the lineup anyway and they also rid themselves of Shaq’s atomic contract.

Unfortunately for the Heat, this trade is too little too late for this season as they currently own the NBA’s worst record at 9-39, including several prolonged losing streaks. Dwyane Wade has been one of the lone bright spots for the Heat this year, fighting through a host of injuries to average over 24 points and seven assists a night. Udonis Haslem has also been solid with 12 points and nine rebounds a game on a roster that is filled with unreliable and unproven players.

Things You Might Not Know:
The Heat average only 92 points per game—one of the worst figures in the entire league. Marion should energize them on offense with his array of high-flying moves, but the rest of the roster—aside from Wade—still seems largely inept at putting the ball into the hoop. Miami doesn’t help its case on defense where they give up over 100 points a night to their opponents. Marion should come in handy on that end too.

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Things To Know: Magic

Things You Already Know:
After signing former Sonics forward Rashard Lewis to a lucrative contract in the offseason, expectations in Orlando were off the charts. At 31-19 and an incredible 19-10 on the road, the Magic have risen to the occasion and currently have a commanding 6.5 game lead over the second-place Washington Wizards in the Southeast Division.

In their first meeting this season in Los Angeles, the Magic defeated the Lakers 104-97 behind Dwight Howard’s 17 points and eight rebounds to go along with 18 from Lewis. Kobe dropped 28 for L.A. and Lamar Odom had one of his better all-around games of the year with 19 points and 17 boards, but no other Lakers stepped up to the Magic during their pivotal fourth quarter run.

Things You Might Not Know:
Although he won’t be joining teammate Howard in New Orleans for the All-Star game, Hedo Turkoglu is having a career season for the Magic, averaging nearly 20 points, six rebounds and five assists per game. Moreover, Turkoglu has been an exceptional performer in the clutch this season as evidenced by his recent game-winning shot against the league-leading Celtics two weeks ago.

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Things To Know: Hawks

Things You Already Know:
The Atlanta Hawks are quietly having one of their most solid seasons in recent years even if their 20-24 record isn’t exactly awe-inspiring. Still, a sub .500 record is good enough to place the Hawks seventh in the Eastern Conference playoff standings, even if their fans aren’t noticing or caring (The Hawks are 21st in the league in attendance with just over 15,300 a game).

With 21 points, Joe Johnson—one of the most underrated players in the entire league—leads the Hawks on offense. Although Josh Smith is having his finest seasons to date, Johnson is the Hawk’s lone representative in this year’s All-Star game, picked as a reserve by Doc Rivers.

Things You Might Not Know:
Several Hawks’ players are having career seasons, with an athletic five-man core of Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Al Horford, Anthony Johnson and the versatile Josh Childress as a critical sixth man off the bench leading the charge. Smith averages 18 while Williams gets 17 a night, followed by Childress’ 12.

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