Monthly Archive for January, 2009

Page 3 of 11

Lakers 110, Bobcats 117 (Double OT): Postgame

Who knew that both the nuttiest and grittiest Lakers game of the season would come against the Charlotte Bobcats?

Clad in dark blue and orange, the ‘Cats strode into STAPLES with a newfound swagger, employing the old Larry Brown method that had produced five wins in seven games of consistent defensive effort. Yet and still, did anyone in attendance really give the visitors a chance, even if Charlotte had beaten L.A. four of the last five times they’d met?

They certainly should have.

Charlotte controlled the game from the outset, riding their superior team energy to ultimately win in double overtime (L.A.’s first OT game this season) after nearly giving the game away by missing five free throws in an entirely dramatic final two minutes.

Their head coach couldn’t have been happier.

“That was a heck-of-a-win,” said Brown. “It was a heck-of-a-performance. We made it tough on ourselves missing free throws down the stretch but in overtime it was pretty neat. And then we had a lot of guys that really stepped up.”

And so they did, namely two players that both narrowly missed triple-doubles: Boris Diaw (23 points, nine boards, nine assists) and Raymond Felton (21 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists).

Even so, L.A. had it’s fair share of chances to win, thanks to fourth quarter heroics from Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, and overtime dominance from Andrew Bynum, who completed his fourth-straight outstanding effort with 24 points, 14 boards and a season-high seven blocks. Here’s how it went down…

Clutch threes first from Bryant and second Fisher, the latter with 14 seconds left on the clock – tied the game at 93 and forced the first overtime. Then the Lakers built a six-point lead and looked to be running away with the game before the ‘Cats battled back, ultimately tying the game on a Boris Diaw three 32 seconds left to force a second overtime.

In that second OT, the Lakers were without Bryant, who fouled out on a touch foul with 39.8 left in OT1, while the Bobcats had been without Gerald Wallace, who left the game late in the fourth after a hard foul by Bynum. It was Bynum to whom the Lakers turned to carry them offensively, and that he did, making 3-of-4 shots and his only free throw for all seven Lakers points in the second extra session. Bynum was also outstanding defensively, blocking three shots as his confidence soared, but the Bobcats simply wouldn’t be denied as they out-rebounded the Lakers 6-1 and made 5-of-6 free throws to seal the win.

“We were fortunate to get back in the game, they had to miss foul shots for us to get back in the ballgame and so you know we really almost stole the ballgame,” said Phil Jackson. “But we should have won and so I think sometimes justice prevails and I think that happened tonight”.

Indeed, if you’re the Lakers, you simply tip your cap to the Bobcats, and play harder in the first three quarters next time you see ‘em. Sometimes in the NBA, the effort level simply isn’t there on a given night, and it’s hard to flip a switch when another team doesn’t drop it’s shoulders in the least. We certainly saw that take place on this Tuesday evening, which is perhaps a good message for L.A. to learn the hard way heading into a six-game road trip that concludes in Boston and Cleveland.

A few numbers:

Points in the paint for the Bobcats, compared with juts 38 for the Lakers.

Points for Kobe Bryant on 15-of-28 shooting, including 26 points in the second half and first overtime.

Three-point percentage for L.A., who couldn’t find the range in double overtime (0-for-4) after seeing Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant hit two big ones down the stretch in regulation.

Charlotte’s edge on the glass, 53-42.

Blocks for the Lakers, led by seven from Andrew Bynum.

Lakers – Bobcats Running Diary

Andrew BynumAs always, feel free to refresh your browser for live updates throughout the game … On second thought, I guess they wouldn’t technically be “live” updates since you have to press refresh. But whatever.

Lakers: DJ Mbenga, Sun Yue
Bobcats: DJ Augustin, Sean May

The Los Angeles D-Fenders rallied back from a 17-point deficit to defeat the Idaho Stampede, 106-103, in overtime at STAPLES Center on Tuesday evening.

Random Fantasy Post
Anybody else play fantasy hoops? My excuse for having three separate leagues is that I’m literally researching for my job by paying so much attention (valid???). Alas, here’s the top five list for ESPN standard leagues:

1) Chris Paul; 2) LeBron James; 3) Dwyane Wade; 4) Danny Granger; 5) Dirk Nowitzki

The top three are no surprise, nor is Dirk, but Granger’s presence is pretty impressive (thanks not just to being fourth in the league in scoring but his solid numbers in threes, rebounds, steals and even blocks). In fact, there isn’t another player who hasn’t already been an All-Star in the top 11 fantasy players this year. As for the Lakers, Kobe Bryant is 8th, Pau Gasol 23rd and Andrew Bynum 49th. All three could certainly be higher were they needed to do more on a nightly basis. Charlotte’s top player, Gerald Wallace, is 30th. OK, time of the game.

Lakers: Fish, Kobe, Luke, Pau and Bynum
Bobcats: Raymond Felton, Raja Bell, Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw, Emeka Okafor

First Quarter
12:00 Kobe Bryant must have the most simple, least involved starting lineup entrance in sports. He literally does nothing but walk at normal speed through his teammates slapping low fives, and doesn’t punctuate it by the now extremely popular jumping up and hitting backs. Solid.

11:40 The Lakers open the game with an alley-oop for Bynum from Fisher. We’ll see if that marks the start of Bynum’s fourth consecutive big game. His second hoop came off a tough offensive board in traffic that preceded a smooth 15-foot jumper to put L.A. up 6-4 with about two minutes played.

8:48 Bynum again, off to another great start. This time Walton drew his defender off the block, dumped off nicely and gave Bynum an open dunk for six points, plus three boards.

6:33 Opposing Western coaches can not be happy to see Bynum very easily continuing his roll. After another bucket and board, he’s on pace for 64 points and 32 were he to play 48 minutes.

At the same time, the Lakers didn’t seem quite as interested in defense, as Charlotte made 6-of-12 shots and didn’t turn the ball over to stay within a point (14-13) at the first timeout.

3:21 Wallace, who just dunked to get to eight points and give the ‘Cats a 19-16 lead, is trying to get into the Guiness Book of World Records for “Farthest A Mouth Guard Has Ever Been Worn Outside The Mouth So It Can Be Chewed Upon Fiercely (FAMGHEBWOTMSICBCUF).”

2:14 As Wallace scores again to join Bynum with 10 points, I’m wondering why he doesn’t just put something more tasty in his mouth? The guard never actually enters his chomper. It’s amazing.

0:05 Bynum aside (5-of-6), the Lakers shot horribly from the field, and by that I mean 3-for-17 (a.k.a. 17 percent). Gasol and Bryant put up a combined 1-for-11, and the Lakers scored just 16 points on 34.8 percent. The Bobcats, meanwhile, made 11-of-24 shots (45.8 percent) to take a 23-16 lead after one.
Continue reading ‘Lakers – Bobcats Running Diary’

Lakers – Bobcats Pregame

The marketing slogan in Charlotte is “Play the Right Way.”

It would seem that the Bobcats have been doing just that in winning 5-of-7 games, and going 11-12 since acquiring Boris Diaw and Raja Bell from the Phoenix Suns after starting the season 6-13.

In short, head coach Larry Brown has his team playing defense for the full 48 minutes, which has made a team that isn’t necessarily the league’s most talented squad into a grind-it-out, effective bunch with wins over Boston, New Orleans, Phoenix, Detroit and Utah.

To break down a team that’s found a way to beat the Lakers four of the last five times the two teams have met, we enlisted Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw.

Bynum Named Player of the Week

Andrew BynumLakers center Andrew Bynum has been named the Western Conference Player of the Week for the week of January 19th-25th.

Bynum’s week started with a solid effort against the Cavaliers before exploding Wednesday night for 42-points and 15-rebounds against the Clippers.

Drew followed those performances with consecutive double-doubles in games against the Wizards and Spurs.

In Sunday’s against San Antonio Bynum limited perennial All-Star Tim Duncan to just 15-points while recording a season high four blocks.

Here’s the breakdown of Andrew’s week from the press release:
Jan. 19 vs. Cleveland: Recorded 14 points and six rebounds in a 105-88 win over the Cavaliers.

Jan. 21 @ L.A. Clippers: Posted season-highs in points (42) and rebounds (15) in the Lakers’ 108-97 win over the Clippers.

Jan. 22 vs. Washington: Scored 23 points and added 14 rebounds in a 117-97 victory over the Wizards.

Jan. 25 vs. San Antonio: Posted his third-consecutive double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and tied a season high with four blocks during a 99-85 win over the Spurs.

Continue reading ‘Bynum Named Player of the Week’

Phil Jackson After Practice

After practice today head coach Phil Jackson talked about the Lakers recent troubles against the Charlotte Bobcats and how that squad has changed recently. He also took time to talk about Jordan Farmar’s return to the court and the upcoming six-game road trip.

Farmar Feels “Great” After First Game Back

After missing 17 games since injuring his knee on Dec. 19 at Miami, Jordan Farmar returned unexpectedly on Sunday in L.A.’s 99-85 victory over San Antonio.

After coming back to the Lakers in half the expected eight weeks, Farmar contributed heavily in the form of 14 points (5-of-7 shooting), two assists and a steal, while his presence allowed Derek Fisher to play only 25 minutes.

Following Monday’s practice, Farmar was asked how his knee responded to his first live action since before Santa came.

“I felt great,” he said. “We went today, no problems. It feels just like the other (knee). I just put ice on it to be cautious (and for) maintenance.

I know the structure of the knee now. I got a little model and everything. There’s nothing wrong with my knee joint – everything is stable and in tact and ready to go.”

Next up for Farmar is a date with the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday at STAPLES Center, leading into L.A.’s first of two long road trips that commences Friday evening in Minnesota.

In the Rankings: Week 13

Every Monday, the Lakers Basketblog checks the net to bring you the latest NBA power rankings.
This Week: 2 | Last Week: 5 | Diff: +3

Jordan Farmar’s (productive) return was a pleasant surprise on what turned out to be a pretty good Sunday for the Lakers. The win over the Spurs was Andrew Bynum’s third straight double-double, a run that began with 42 and 15 against the Clippers on Wednesday. The 42 points was 14 more than Bynum’s previous career high.
This Week: 2 | Last Week: 3 | Diff: +1

So do you think the Lakers — fresh off toasting the Spurs and fully healthy for the first time in weeks — are secretly freaked because they’ve played more home games and fewer roadies than anyone else? Us, neither
This Week: 1 | Last Week: 4 | Diff: +3

Their NBA-low total of 17 road games is about to increase in a hurry. After Tuesday’s game against Charlotte in Los Angeles, the Lakers play their next six games on the road. That trip ends with visits to Boston and Cleveland.
This Week: 1 | Last Week: 3 | Diff: +2

Lakers bounce back with 4-0 week; Bynum averages 23.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.3 blocks.

Average Ranking: This Week: 1.5 | Last Week: 3.75 | Diff: +2.25

Lakers 99, Spurs 85: Postgame

If the Lakers were looking to make a statement against the West’s second-best team on Sunday afternoon at STAPLES Center, the fact that Kobe Bryant sat and watched the fourth quarter with ice on his knees certainly qualified as a shout.

If it weren’t already official after L.A. stormed through the Western Conference playoffs last season and won 34-of-42 games to start this season, as of January 25, 2009, the Lakers are officially the best in the West.

“(The Lakers are) a hell of a team and it’s going to be a hell of a team for a long time,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. “They’re young, athletic, long, and deep, inside game, outside game. It’s a hell of a squad.”

A bit sluggish in the first half in their first early start of the season, the hell-of-a-squad still managed a six-point lead at the break before opening up a 15-point lead in the third quarter that would grow to as many as 21 in the fourth.

There were positive signs aplenty on this Sunday afternoon as the Lakers again protected their perfect record while wearing white jerseys, most notably in the form of Andrew Bynum and Jordan Farmar.

Bynum backed up consecutive terrific efforts against the hapless L.A. Clippers (42 points, 15 rebounds) and Washington Wizards (23 points, 14 rebounds) with 15 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and some tough defense on Tim Duncan in only 24 minutes of action. And, while Bynum’s level of play is of paramount importance for L.A.’s second half of the season, perhaps more impressive on this day was Farmar’s performance after coming back from a knee injury in half the expected time.

After missing the last 17 games and barely practicing, Farmar totaled 14 points, two assists and a steal in 17 minutes on the court. He made 5-of-7 shots, including 2-of-3 three-pointers, and seemed to already have his burst back. So that surgery went well, huh?

“(We miss Farmar’s) tempo change in our ballgame,” said Phil Jackson. “I think the effect is to open games up and to put pressure on the defense, particularly while we have starters like Fish and Kobe on the bench. It helps us a lot.”
Continue reading ‘Lakers 99, Spurs 85: Postgame’

Lakers – Spurs Running Diary

Ducan BynumAs always, feel free to refresh your browser for live updates throughout the game … On second thought, I guess they wouldn’t technically be “live” updates since you have to press refresh. But whatever.

Previous Lakers – Spurs Running Diary/Postgame
Lakers – Spurs Running Diary 1-14-2009
Lakers 111, Spurs 112: Postgame

Lakers: DJ Mbenga, Sun Yue
Spurs: Malik Hairston, Ian Mahinmi, Jacque Vaughn

Early Bird Gets the Worm?
This is L.A.’s first “early” game of the season, which piqued my interest regarding how the Lakers preparation changes. Before the game, we asked assistant coach Jim Cleamons how it went down, and Clem explained that the Lakers simply include shootaround activity within the previous day’s practice. So, while going through regular practice drills, Phil Jackson and his staff may employ more team-specific activity regarding their coming opponent that might not be incorporated to the same degree if the next day’s game were at night.

One other note: Because the two teams have a bit of extra time on the court while ABC’s first game (Boston vs. Dallas, Celtics win), we saw some half-speed 1-on-1 between Kobe and Josh Powell (actually, it was Powell laughing and playing token defense while Bryant pump-faked 30 times before shooting) and Vladimir Radmanovic and Pau Gasol (lots of foul calls).

Lakers: Fish, Kobe, Luke, Pau and ‘Drew
Spurs: Tony Parker, Roger Mason Jr., Michael Finley, Tim Duncan and Matt Bonner

First Quarter
12:00 The Pink Panther delivers the game ball. Literally, all dressed up in the costume and all … Just thought you should know.

11:37 After the Spurs win the tip, Duncan banks in his patented 17-foot jumper over Bynum, who will guard him whenever TD’s on the court even though Bonner’s listed as the starting center.

10:21 A good early sign as Bryant hits his first perimeter jumper from about 19 feet away, over Parker. As Walton had scored from Bryant’s assist on the previous possession, it was 4-2 L.A.

9:27 Mason Jr. picked up foul No. 2, bumping Kobe on a jump shot, to bring Bruce Bowen into the game. Bowen’s appeared to slow this season, and is playing only 20.5 minutes off the bench. Joel Meyers, sitting next to me as ABC has exclusive rights to the game, mentioned that his lack of minutes also reflect the fact that Gregg Popovich is saving him for later in the season and the playoffs in particular.

7:14 Bynum’s first bucket of the contest came on a nice baby hook over Duncan that made it 10-6 Lakers. If Bynum can maintain his level of play from the last two games, it’s a whole different Lakers team.

The Spurs responded by putting in their playoff lineup: Manu Ginobili and Kurt Thomas alongside Duncan, Parker and Bowen. The first shot, from Parker, was destroyed by Bynum, who got his second bucket minutes later on another little hook in the lane.

5:34 Another good sequence for the Lakers came on Bynum’s second block, which preceded Bryant’s third jumper, another swish. ‘Drew’s playing terrific defense, Bryant’s finger appears to be feeling all right (3-of-3 shooting) and as a result, the Lakers took a 16-9 lead.

3:55 A solid move from Duncan nets him his second make in five attempts to cap a 6-0 Spurs run. Worse for the Lakers was Bynum committing an offensive foul on the other end, his second, to bring Lamar Odom off the bench. One other note: Gasol’s had only one field goal attempt, while Fisher’s missed four jumpers. Last time these teams met, Gasol made five consecutive shots in the first quarter.

2:32 Newly-checked in Vujacic left Finley in the corner all by himself to help on Parker, and Finley predictably nailed the triple to bring the Spurs within one. On the next possession for San Antonio, Thomas hit a jumper to put S.A. up 20-19. However, Ginobili joined Mason and Bonner on the bench with two fouls.

0:51 Another questionable defensive possession in which the Lakers didn’t switch on a Finley pick and roll, the former Wisconsin Badger hit another three to make it 23-22 Spurs. Ariza had converted a three-point play for L.A., but that was the Lakers only field goal in the final 5:33 of play.

Perhaps it’s too early for these guys? Both teams shot below 40 percent from the field, making a combined 16-of-41 field goals, and negated one another with two turnovers each. The Spurs had a 13-11 edge on the glass, while the Lakers got to the line nine times (making eight) to just four attempts (three makes) from the visitors. That evened out with Finley’s two threes, while the Lakers missed all four attempts from deep.
Continue reading ‘Lakers – Spurs Running Diary’

Farmar on Active List, Could Play

The title pretty much sums it up…

In his scheduled pregame media session, Phil Jackson said that Lakers backup point guard Jordan Farmar will be on the active list for Sunday’s matinee matchup against the San Antonio Spurs.

Farmar could play for the first time since Dec. 19 in Miami, when he tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee. He was expected to miss approximately eight weeks after the surgery, but has healed at nearly twice that pace.