Monthly Archive for October, 2008

Spero on the Plane

Denver, CORegular season road trip No. 1 = Denver.

From the sky above Colorado* a few hours after I caught up with Mihm at practice, radio play-by-play man Spero Dedes and I chatted about the plane’s food, how his voice projects at altitude and why we’re not at all sold on the Nuggets.
*Yeah, the above picture isn’t exactly what we saw from the plane, but you get the point.

In other news, my Zach Morris costume idea went down in flames when the “Bayside Tigers” t-shirt I ordered to complement a pair of stone-washed jeans, hightops with the tongue sticking out and a wave in my hair ended up being too small to fit a skinny fourth-grader. But whatever, Happy Halloween and all that. Here’s the convo with Spero:

Mihm Travel Talk

Before we took off for Denver, I spent a few minutes with Chris Mihm on the practice court to get his take on the transition from practice to the plane.

Here’s what Mihm, who was the last Laker player on the floor as he worked alongside assistant coach Kurt Rambis, had to say:

Everyone’s Happy About An Extension

Andrew BynumThe talk surrounding Andrew Bynum’s contract extension was pretty much universally positive after practice today. From Mitch Kupchak to Phil Jackson to Andrew himself, everyone seems to think it was a nice deal for all involved.

Not only do the Lakers have another of their key pieces locked up long term, but now everyone can get down to the business on the court without having to worry about the business off of it.

“I think both management and Drew’s people understand that it’s probably as good a thing as can happen for both ends. For us as a team it’s really great because now he’s settled into the season and you don’t have to think about that anymore,” Jackson said.

As much as we’d all like to believe that these kind of things don’t effect a players performance, they can. Andrew admitted that it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but it would have been something he thought about.

“That would have added a little bit more pressure I think. It’s definitely a sigh of relief to get it off your shoulders, but it would have been my same philosophy–just go out there and play, everything will take care of itself,” said Bynum.

Andrew also reiterated his excitement for this squad and their potential. “To be a Laker, which I want to be for life, and to play with Kobe & Pau and the rest of the gang. It would be nice get three or four (championships) before Kob does what he does.”

On to Denver
Now that the financials are taken care of the team can focus on their trip to Denver. In their two games this season the Lakers have been nothing short of dominant, but this will be their first real game on the road as well as Carmelo Anthony’s first game of the season (Melo was suspended for the first two games due to a DUI conviction).

“They’ll be full of vim and vigor when he comes out there to play. He’s an emotional guy and has tremendous energy as a player. They’ll be on a back-to-back but they’ll still be ready,” said Jackson.

Kupchak on Bynum Deal

Mitch KupchakYesterday, I spent a few minutes on the phone with Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak to discuss the details of the multi-year contract extension given to Andrew Bynum.

Here’s the link.

To be honest, the whole situation is very simple: Kupchak and the Lakers know Bynum better than anyone, and thought it was well worth it to sign him for under what he would almost certainly demand next year. The risk factor of a potential injury would still exist should the Lakers have waited until the summer, when it seems obvious that several teams would have throw the max at L.A.’s center.

Alas, today at noon, Kupchak addressed assembled media members at the Lakers’ practice facility. We didn’t learn anything new from yesterday, but you click here to what Mitch had to say.

Fantasy Draft Chatter

With the tipoff of the NBA season two nights ago, fantasy hoops owners across the world began to look at box scores like Zach Morris looked at Kelly Kapowski.

Well, except those of us that thought our friends were taking care of setting up a last-minute draft time on ESPN.com … only to realize that all the good times were full. Accordingly, our Lakers staff league draft isn’t until after work on Thursday, while my college friends’ league won’t draft until Sunday morning. Crap. This stinks for a few reasons, but mainly because it blows the cover on certain sleepers that some of us were intent upon picking up in the late rounds that will now go one or two rounds earlier.

That said, my Lakers.com cohort Ty Nowell and I did “participate” in a NBA Team staffers eight-team league that was autodrafted on Monday. Prior to the draft, we were supposed to pre-rank our players, who were then selected automatically in snake order. So, I spent a good hour or so pre-ranking the top 200 players on my list, while Ty decided not to rank anybody (the league starts seven players, one at each position and two utility players). Here’s what happened after I drew the No. 3 pick and Ty the No. 5:

Round 1
Trudell: LeBron James (3)
Nowell: Chris Paul (5)

Round 2
Ty: Deron Williams (12)
Tru: Josh Smith (14)

Round 3
Tru: Al Jefferson (19)
Ty: Andre Iguodala (21)

Continue reading ‘Fantasy Draft Chatter’

Clippers Post-Game Videos

Video from the Locker Room following the Lakers 117-79 victory over the Clippers on Wednesday night.




Bynum, Ariza, Odom Post-Game




Pau Gasol 1-on-1

Postgame: Lakers Crush Clippers

And they did it by 38 points.

Easily the most impressive part of L.A.’s second-consecutive blowout win to start the season* was that the Lakers, collectively, did not let up on the crosstown Clippers for even a minute of the 117-79 annihilation at STAPLES Center Tuesday. A few bullet points elucidate that fact:
*L.A. beat Portland 96-76 on the front end of the back-to-back.

  • The Lakers had seven players in double-figures, led by 16 points from Kobe Bryant.
  • L.A.’s vaunted bench combined for an almost silly 55 bench points. And how about a 17-point run by the second unit in the second quarter?
  • Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant totaled 26 boards between them to pace a 51-32 Laker rout on the glass.
  • The purple and gold made 11 more shots from the field in holding the Clips to 38.5 percent shooting, highlighted by ceding a total of 30 points in the second and third quarters.
  • Second-chance points favored the Lakers 25 to six, thanks in part to 14 offensive rebounds.
  • Andrew Bynum was much better on Wednesday than Tuesday, posting 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting, grabbing those nine boards and totaling three more blocks, matching his swat total from the Portland win.
  • The Lakers canned 10-of-19 threes after making 7-of-10 yesterday. That’s a combined 58.6 percent from distance.

    Stay tuned on lakers.com for a 1-on-1 video interview with Pau Gasol, plus a montage of Lamar Odom, Trevor Ariza and Andrew Bynum.

    Later.

  • Clippers-Lakers Running Diary

    Wait a second – something seems different here at STAPLES Center?

    I’m on the opposite side of the floor … purple and gold has changed to red and blue … hmmm. Oh, Lakers road game. In L.A. Got it.

    Your starters:
    Lakers: Fish, Kobe, Vladi, Gasol and Bynum
    Clippers: Baron Davis, Cuttino Mobley, Al Thornton, Tim Thomas and Chris Kaman

    Your inactives:
    Lakers – DJ Mbenga, Sun Yue
    Clippers – Marcus Camby, DeAndre Jordan

    The key name there is Camby, among the league’s top defensive players, whom the Clippers stole from Denver because the Nugs didn’t want to pay him. Out with an injury, Camby won’t be in there to try and slow down Pau Gasol, who has barely missed a shot through the preseason and L.A.’s opening stomping of the Blazers last night.

    Check out Baron’s words to the fans on the mic at midcourt: “This here’s going to be a different Clippers team … just wait and see.”

    OK. Not in the first minute though … Gasol flipped in a pretty half hook from the baseline on possession one, and Bynum dropped a free-throw line extended jumper to make it 4-0. Tim Thomas pushed back with a layup before a driving Kobe found Fish wide open for a three. Swish, and a 7-2 Lakers’ lead.

    In other news, the Clippers have a full dance team, and some kind of performance team featuring male cheerleaders, which means there are like 96 entertainers on the floor at times. They might as well invite a few zoo animals, maybe some props…

    I’m thinking that Bynum’s going to have a nice game tonight. Last night, when he managed just eight points and three boards in 28 minutes, it seemed like he was pressing a bit … and that shouldn’t be a surprise. It was his first game since January that mattered, and all he’s been hearing all offseason is that he’s the key to L.A.’s potential championship this season. As such, he wasn’t able to relax and just let it flow against Portland. But tonight the spotlight’s off him to an extent … though we’ll be watching.

    As it were, Bynum put back a Gasol miss, then drew a foul on the next possession to give him six points in the first seven minutes. Like it.

    After the Lakers opened up a nine-point lead, Baron Davis began to bring the Clips back mostly by swiping his hands at Kobe and not getting called for it, leading to six points in transition. At least one of those had to be a foul, but the refs are letting things go thus far. Don’t call me presumptuous when I guess that this didn’t please Kobe, and he’s definitely going to score on the next possession.

    OK, I was wrong. Bryant scored the next four points. 22-17, Lakers. Mamba.

    Davis just crossed Vladi over and banked in a jumper just because he can. Though that play couldn’t have been more different from my favorite BD play ever, do you remember this UCLA behind-the-back jam?

    Continue reading ‘Clippers-Lakers Running Diary’

    Jackson, Powell Pregame Audio

    Before the first of four “Battle for L.A.” – eh, on second thought, that’s kind of a lame phrase – takes place at STAPLES Center, we put a mic in front of Lakers head coach Phil Jackson and forward Josh Powell.

    To the media, Jackson emphasized his team’s need to continue what was a terrific defensive effort on opening night, and said that he and his staff think they understand what the Clippers are going to bring to the table.

    Afterwards, I spent a few minutes with Powell (and Young Geezy) since he played for the Clips last year, even though only five players remain from their 2007-08 roster.

    Here’s Phil & JP:

    Clips Play-by-Play: Brian Sieman

    It’s tough to get a terrific grasp on the 2008-09 Clippers, mostly because they have just five players from last year’s squad still wearing red, blue and white … And because they’ve been beat up all preseason and we have yet to see the full complement on the court.

    That said, Clippers play-by-play radio voice Brian Sieman – with whom I used to work while with the Timberwolves – knows more than pretty much everybody else. That’s why I gave him a buzz Wednesday morning, to commandeer thoughts on his L.A. team, and to preview tonight’s game at STAPLES Center.

    You can listen to the full interview on our Lakers Gameday page.