Tony Parker announced last night that the team would fly straight from New Orleans to Los Angeles, but that was before plane trouble grounded them in Louisiana until this morning.
ESPN’s TrueHoop reports that there weren’t enough rooms available for the Spurs to stay in New Orleans, thus the team had to remain on the plane until their 7am departure this morning.
League sources confirm this report from French radio station RMC, who talked to Parker later in the night (in French) saying the team plane wasn’t ready to go, so the Spurs could not, in fact, get to their luxury beds in Los Angeles.
They also, according to this report from Parker, couldn’t return to their hotel in New Orleans, as the Crescent City was overbooked, apparently because of a large telecommunications convention.
So, Parker is quoted as saying, the team learned at about 2 am that they would sleep on the plane, and fly at about 7 am local time.
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The Lakers fly on the same type of plane and while it is as comfortable as any you could hope for, it wouldn’t be a lot of fun to spend a night on it.
Here’s a video of the layout of the plane we shot earlier this season.
The San Antonio Spurs had a Game 7 to take care of in New Orleans, but that didn’t stop them from making some advance plans.
With Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals scheduled for an early tip on Wednesday night, the Spurs will bypass a flight home to San Antonio and head straight from New Orleans to Los Angeles.
Just minutes after the Spurs’ 91-82 win over the Hornets, point guard Tony Parker told TNT’s Inside the NBA crew, “You want to know the secret. We going straight to LA. We packed already.”
It was announced by the team today that Center Andrew Bynum will undergo arthroscopic surgery on the left knee that he injured on January 13th against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Bynum suffered a subluxation of the patella and a bone bruise of his left knee when he landed awkwardly on Lamar Odom’s foot. The surgery will entail a cleanup of some rough spots and fraying on the underside of his kneecap.
The procedure will be performed in New York by Dr. David Altchek.
More information and a timetable are expected to be released Wednesday following the surgery.
Read the Full Press Release Here
The opponent won’t be known until Monday night after the Hornets and Spurs battle it out in Game 7 (5:30pm Pacific, TNT), but the schedule… we know that.
The Lakers won’t have the luxury of multiple off-days, like they enjoyed in the first two rounds, as the league holds true to an every other day schedule (even in the face of the Memorial Day holiday).
Game 1 is set for Wednesday night at 6pm Pacific with Game 2 schedule for Friday at 6pm, both at STAPLES Center.
The series then shifts to either New Orleans or San Antonio for games three and four on Sunday and Tuesday respectively.
If necessary the series will then alternate between LA and the visiting city for games 5, 6, & 7. Both games 5 & 7 at STAPLES Center are currently scheduled for 6pm tip-offs.
All games will be televised by TNT exclusively.
Game 1 – Wed May 21 NO/OR/SA at L.A. Lakers 6:00PM
Game 2 – Fri May 23 NO/OR/SA at L.A. Lakers 6:00PM
Game 3 – Sun May 25 L.A. Lakers at NO/OR/SA 5:30PM
Game 4 – Tue May 27 L.A. Lakers at NO/OR/SA 6:00PM
Game 5 * Thu May 29 NO/OR/SA at L.A. Lakers 6:00PM
Game 6 * Sat May 31 L.A. Lakers at NO/OR/SA 5:30PM
Game 7 * Mon June 2 NO/OR/SA at L.A. Lakers 6:00PM
Schedule is tentative and subject to change
The Jazz have only lost one game at home during the playoffs and just five since the season tipped in late October, yet with a chance to finish the series tonight the Lakers will try to accomplish what only four other teams have been able to do–win at ESA.
Still, with a game seven looming Monday at STAPLES Center it could be easy to take this one easy and cruise back home.
“We haven’t even allowed that thought to enter our head. We do that there are seven games in the series and on what date it would be on, but this is the one we want to get.”
Kobe Bryant slipped by the media throng after shoot around today (with a sweet assist from Pau), but according to Phil Jackson he looked good.
“He had a white warmup on and his shoes were polished. He looked really spiffy,” quipped Jackson.
In all seriousness, Bryant went out and shot with his teammates like he normally would and is as ready as he can be for tonight’s Game 6 with Jackson mentioning, “he seemed to be moving fine.”
Lakers Forward Vladimir Radmanovic’s play so far this post-season can best be described as erratic. In fact most of his season can be described that way.
The big man from Serbia has a tendency to ignite on the quick, but also is prone to prolonged slumps that can frustrate coaches and fans a like. When asked if he had a better idea to what Vladi will bring on a given night, head coach Phil Jackson replied, “Absolutely not.”
Some have wondered why Radmanovic still sees minutes with the first unit given the team’s other options at the small forward slot.
“This is one of the things I’ve been telling him, is that he doesn’t have to be a scorer for us,” said Jackson. “He runs the court well. He makes the spacing much better for that first unit. And ultimately Luke just isn’t a 40-minute guy.”
Radmanovic was a scorer in Game 5, totaling 15-points on 6/11 shooting and making three of his five three-pointers. That kind of play earned him a spot in the lineup during the fourth quarter that he hasn’t seen in a long time, but the matchups helped as well.
“Actually they started Kirilenko at the four during that period and it was a good matchup for us,” continued Jackson. “I’ve used Vladi in situations in the fourth quarter where he’s bailed us out of games with his three-point shooting and I thought it might be one of those kind of games.”
What Went Right:
• Although he wasn’t overly aggressive on offense, making 6-10 shots from the field, Kobe still played his way to 26 points and drew post-game praise from Coach Jackson for letting the game come to him.
• 43 combined points for Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol who, according to Jackson and Kobe, both made “big plays” down the stretch to help L.A. remain in front of Utah in the final minutes of the game.
• The Lakers led for the entire 48 minutes, repeatedly squashing down Utah’s attempts to take the lead in the second half. As a result, any momentum gathered by the Jazz rarely lasted more than a play or two.
• The slumping Jordan Farmar and Vladimir Radmanovic both showed signs of life in Gam 5 with Farmar chipping in six timely points and Radmanovic catching fire in the first half en route to a 15 point effort.
• Whereas the Jazz have owned the boards in this series, the Lakers have excelled at getting to the free throw line, doing so again by making 34-42 in Game 5.
• The Jazz’ normally precise, well-executed offense struggled a bit in Game 5 as L.A. forced Utah into a surprising 19 turnovers.
Continue reading ‘Game 5: What Went Right/Wrong’
Trevor Ariza’s second practice since being cleared to resume basketball activities went better than the first.
Trevor was back on the practice court Thursday afternoon working with the teammates that have been without him for almost four months as he recovered from a fractured right foot.
“I definitely feel more comfortable because I had a lot of time off so I’ve had a lot of time to watch and a lot of time to do everything,” said Ariza as the team finished up practice and hopped a flight to Salt Lake for Friday’s Game 6.
“I can’t even describe how happy I am. I’ve been out for almost four months, this is big for me.”
There is no definitive timetable for the Forward’s return and Head Coach Phil Jackson is looking for incremental improvement before throwing Ariza back into the fire of playoff basketball.
“We’ll just go a day at a time with this,” said Jackson. “By his own admission, he thought it take him a week. I was kidding about it probably taking two or three weeks to get ready to play and he said maybe a week.”
Getting back in the groove after missing so much time won’t be an easy task. “My foot feels fine, I don’t feel any pain in my foot, but as far as my wind and conditioning, that’s going to be the tough part,” said Ariza.
When asked if he had told Jackson of his desire to play Friday Trevor answered, “He knows how I feel and if he decides to play me I’ll be ready.”