Monthly Archive for November, 2008

Page 5 of 11

Lakers – Bulls Pregame

Kobe – Rose doesn’t have quite the ring as Magic – Jordan, but it’s certainly enough to capture our interest. Unless, of course, you ask Phil Jackson, who wasn’t impressed with a pregame question from a Chicago media member comparing Rose’s fast start to that of Michael Jordan.

However, surely it’s a surprise for a rookie, even the No. 1 overall pick, to be the headliner and probable best player on a decent Eastern Conference team. But after averaging 19 points, 5.6 assists and five boards in 10 games, Derrick Rose is just that for the Bulls.

As for Bryant, he won’t be going at Rose too often (but rather guys like Ben Gordon and Thabo Sefolosha), but it’s certainly fair to expect a much better effort than his 12-for-30 performance in a losing effort against Detroit, particularly as Kobe took jumper after jumper from the perimeter.

Phil Pregame Notes:

  • Radmanovic, Vujacic and Fisher are not 100 percent, but are “ready to go.”
  • Jackson chose not to answer a question about Radmanovic’s place in the starting lineup.
  • Stopping penetration has been a focus in practice over the weekend, and Jackson again emphasized as much when asked about containing Derrick Rose on the perimeter.
  • At the same time, Jackson downplayed Detroit’s shooting from last Friday, suggesting that there are “going to be nights like that” sometimes.
  • Jackson talked about how the Lakers “should” pound the ball down low on the Bulls, who are “relatively thin inside.”
  • The Bulls still look the same as when Jackson coached there, drawing up a few memories for him.
  • Jackson said he has a “lot of favorite players,” but John Paxson, who’s currently running the Bulls, is one of them.

  • Bulls Banter

    So, how about those 5-5 Chicago Bulls? How good are they? Do they pose a serious threat to the Lakers Tuesday night at STAPLES?

    To get a better idea, I spent some time yesterday and today talking to two people who know much more about the Bulls than I do.

    First came Ben Shields, one of my best friends from college who’s been following the Bulls in Chi-Town for the last eight years. Second was Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw, who prepared L.A.’s scouting report for the game.

    The former can be heard on our Gameday page, and the latter on our video page.

    Previewing the Bulls with Ben Shields

    To preview Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Bulls, Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell called up his college buddy Ben Shields, who spent eight years watching the Bulls while getting his doctorate in media technology and society from Northwestern University. The co-author of a sports marketing book called “The Elusive Fan – Reinventing Sports in a Crowded Marketplace,” Shields also happens to have a silky smooth jump shot.

    The first part of the conversation focused on Chicago’s coaching change, the 5-5 Derrick Rose-inspired start to the season, the worth of Ben Gordon and Luol Deng and more. After talking hoops, Shields gave his take on Chicago’s hiring of veteran sports writer Sam Smith, who now writes exclusively for, marking a significant change in the industry.

    Stay Late, Meet the Laker Girls…

    …walk on the STAPLES Center floor, help a good cause.

    The Lakers will team with the American Red Cross tonight as they give fans attending tonight’s game Laker Girl Signingagainst the Bulls an opportunity to walk down to the floor at STAPLES center and get an autographed Laker Girls picture for a minimum $5 donation, all in the name of helping victims of the recent Southern California wildfires.

    “The recent fires throughout Southern California have brought such devastation to so many people,” said Jeanie Buss, Executive Vice President of Business Operations. “Much help will be needed in the effort to rebuild the lives of those affected by these fires, and we feel fortunate to be able to contribute in this way.”

    Head to the top of section 112 following the final buzzer to participate.

    In addition to tonight’s proceeds, the Lakers have pledged to donate $100,000 to the American Red Cross (ARC) Disaster Relief Fund.

    Daily Trivia: Silhouette

    Play the Trivia Contest on Lakers Courtside Connection every day (Monday-Friday) for your chance to win great Lakers prizes.

    Today’s question is:
    Which Lakers player’s dribbling silhouette is used in the NBA logo?
    (Answer Here)

    If you think you know the answer, login to Lakers Courtside Connection and see if right. Then come back tomorrow to test your knowledge on Lakers history again, while making a run towards really cool prizes.

    Courtside View Tuesday

    Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Bulls will be simulcast (whoa not like that Chick fans) on both Fox Sports West HD & Prime Ticket.

    You’ll get your normal coverage on FS West, with Joel & Stu calling the action, highlights, replays, and everything you’ve come to expect from the crew at Fox.

    Prime TicketOn Prime Ticket you’ll be getting the special “Courtside View” angle that includes cameras above each basket and five handheld cameras courtside. The low viewing angle gives you a unique view of the action apart from the traditional camera locations.

    Another added bonus of the Courtside View is the limited commercial interruptions. Aside from a few local commercials you won’t have any breaks in the action. During timeouts you’ll see the players in the huddle & the Laker Girls performing on the court–just like you would if you were sitting courtside.

    Watching the courtside view will give you a complete perspective on the ebb & flow of an NBA game. Besides, how many of us will ever get a chance to sit courtside? This is the next best thing.

    Coverage starts at 7:30pm with Bill Macdonald on Prime Ticket.

    Click here for the full press release

    Radmanovic, Vujacic Feeling Fine

    Both Vladimir Radmanovic (thigh) and Sasha Vujacic (ankle) said that they’re feeling fine after Monday’s practice.

    After Kobe Bryant told collected media that Radmanovic looked “great” in practice and didn’t show any signs of the bruise, Vladi said it “feels good and I’m ready to go.”

    Moments later, Vujacic told me that he’s fine, and is thinking more about Chicago than his ankle. He won’t even be listed on the injury report.

    Point guard Derek Fisher, whose ribs are a little sore, said he will play on Tuesday.

    Practice Roundup – Monday

    The message from Kobe and Phil at practice Monday was pretty simple: The Lakers are looking forward to finally having four games in one week that count.

    For whatever reason, only the Washington Wizards (seven) have played fewer games than the Lakers (eight), and there’s a palpable hunger to get playing regularly and find a rhythm, particularly offensively, in Laker Land.

    Here are a few other notes from comments by Jackson and Bryant; you can watch their respective post-practice videos on our video page.

  • When collected media members are looking for comments from players and coaches, often times the interviewees can simply be prompted with a statement, as they recognize the media song and dance enough to offer a quote that can be used for a story. Phil Jackson might give you anywhere from one to 1,000 words on the same question, depending on his mood and the setting. After a pretty good question about Chicago’s Derrick Rose that emphasized his early-season numbers, Jackson’s response, with a grin, was simply: “He’s going to be a good player.” Right. So the reporter followed up, and Jackson offered: “Do you want me to be expansive? I’m trying not to be.” He did expand, however, talking about Rose’s playmaking ability above all else.
  • Someone asked Jackson about interesting matchups against point guards Rose and Steve Nash this week, implying that the Lakers had trouble with Allen Iverson last Friday. Always careful to clarify, Jackson explained that Iverson really didn’t play much point guard, instead operating primarily out of the screen and roll. Phil did acknowledge that the Lakers “Have to have a little better defense on some of those quicker guards.” Yup.
  • The Lakers do plan on Andrew Bynum being more of an offensive force as the season goes on, though Jackson explained that the big guy simply isn’t getting many touches down low due to how games have played out.

    Then came a few questions about comments made by Shaquille O’Neal publicized over the weekend regarding Jackson’s role in the Kobe-Shaq interaction, not to mention Shaq’s “not ruling out” a possible return to L.A. when his contract expires after next season. Someone in particular seemed to be under strict orders from his news organization to ask everyone about Shaq’s comments, and it was funny to watch both Bryant and Derek Fisher literally laugh the question off.

    Phil, however, said he was “glad to have motivated Shaq,” and asked if Shaq thought he was responsible for the Diesel’s poor free throw shooting. Furthermore, Jackson explained that those teams had a lot of fun (“a laugh and a goof”) with the circus surrounding Kobe and Shaq until 2004, when it “was a little bit tense … a tighter time for us.”

  • Back to hoops, Jackson said the key to stopping teams from using small lineups to spread the Lakers out was containing penetration on the perimeter. Sure enough, the Lakers worked on that throughout practice on Monday, and will be tested in that area by both Chicago and Phoenix. An interesting metaphor Jackson offered was how in most sports, opponents are trying to get to a goal, and the closer they get to that goal, the worse off the defensive team is. Hmmm. Soccer? Check. Hockey? Check. Baseball? Check. Football? Check. It of course applies in this case, though in Friday’s case that penetration led to open jumpers after the ball got kicked back out.

    More from Kobe:

  • The loss to Detroit didn’t expose anything the Lakers didn’t know, and didn’t have any ultimate significance to Kobe: “We try to learn from all types of scenarios.”
  • One point he did return to twice was that L.A. needs to do better against teams like Boston and Detroit that have a shooting big man that stretches the floor from the center position when those teams go small (e.g. Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett).
  • Finally, as mentioned in a separate post, Vladimir Radmanovic (thigh) and Sasha Vujacic (ankle) fully participated in practice and are both fine.

  • In the Rankings: Week 3

    Every Monday, the Lakers Basketblog checks the net to bring you the latest NBA power rankings.
    This Week: 2 | Last Week: 1 | Diff: -1

    So the Lakers aren’t perfect (Friday’s loss to the Pistons was both their worst offensive and worst defensive game so far), but they’ll have the opportunity to stay close to it with this stretch where they play seven of eight games at home with only one back-to-back.
    This Week: 2 | Last Week: 2 | Diff: 0

    Seemed headed back to No. 1 after a back-to-back road sweep of the Mavs and Hornets. Yet that home loss to Detroit reminds you, amid all the runaway hype, that L.A. has lots to prove against teams that play physical.
    This Week: 1 | Last Week: 1 | Diff: 0

    Their perfect start ended at 7-0 with last Friday’s home loss to the Pistons, but Kobe Bryant & Co. remain the NBA’s gold standard at present. Now Kobe can turn his attention to Thursday’s trip to Phoenix and his former nemesis Shaq, who teased him in a rather “tasteless” rap song last summer.

    Average Ranking: This Week: 1.66 | Last Week: 1.33 | Diff: -.33

    Daily Trivia

    Play the Trivia Contest on Lakers Courtside Connection every day (Monday-Friday) for your chance to win great Lakers prizes.

    Today’s question is:
    What was originally used as the hoop and net when basketball was invented?
    (Answer Here)

    If you think you know the answer, login to Lakers Courtside Connection and see if right. Then come back tomorrow to test your knowledge on Lakers history again, while making a run towards really cool prizes.