Monthly Archive for April, 2010

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Practice Video: Farmar 1-on-1, Etc.

Over at our Lakers.com Practice Report, you can always view the video(s) of the day, which after Monday afternoon’s practice included a 1-on-1 with Jordan Farmar, plus Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.

To check out the rest of the videos and to take a closer look at the impact of Bynum on OKC’s Russell Westbrook, click below.

Link: Lakers Practice Report: 4/19/10

You can follow Mike on Twitter via the @LakersReporter account for live updates from practices, games and more.

4/19 Injury Update: Mbenga’s Eye is OK

100419mbengaLakers backup center DJ Mbenga had some bad luck during both Friday’s and Saturday’s practices leading into L.A.’s first playoff game, first suffering a blow to the head and then getting poked in the eye, accidents that twice sent him to the doctor’s office.

Fortunately for Mbenga and the Lakers, the first visit showed that he hadn’t suffered a concussion, and the second resulted in successful emergency laser surgery to repair a retinal hole that Mbenga said immediately improved his vision after just 5-to-10 minutes.

“Now it’s cool, my vision is better and I have to (wear protective goggles) for the rest of the season,” said the fifth-year big man.

It’s still possible that Mbenga would be available for Tuesday night’s Game 2 against the Thunder, but first he’ll get re-evaluated on Tuesday morning.

“Tomorrow they’ll tell me if I can play or not,” he said.

While he certainly would like to play, Mbenga’s content at least for the day that he’s again able to see after a scary moment.

“I felt something, went down on the floor and tried to stand up myself to walk to the locker room,” he explained. “But it was kind of bad because I really didn’t have my balance so I had to go right away to the hospital.”

You can follow Mike on Twitter for live updates from practices, games and more.

Notes: Thunder Practice @ Clippers Facility

brooksAs some teams do throughout the regular season, the Oklahoma City Thunder held their practice at the Los Angeles Clippers practice facility in Marina del Rey, but not before holding a media session for assembled reporters.

First out of the gates was Head Coach Scott Brooks, who repeated his thesis from the postgame podium on Sunday afternoon.

“One adjustment we’re not going to make is to play harder,” he said. “(But we’re) disappointed because we thought we should have played better.”

Brooks went on to say that he’ll keep the team’s planned adjustments in house, though he did acknowledge that rookie center Serge Ibaka could continue to see increased minutes as he did in the second half of Game 1.

“Serge gives us a rebounder, shot blocking, toughness,” said Brooks of his 6-10 center. “We need to match their length and serge gives us a guy we can throw at then that can (do) that.

60199940Power forward Jeff Green also discussed L.A.’s length (OK … everyone discusses it), particularly with the return of Andrew Bynum, who missed the final regular season matchup with OKC due to his strained left Achilles.

“That’s another big that we have to keep off the boards, another guy that can give them 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds) on any given night,” said the Georgetown product. “It puts us in tough matchups because they can just lob it up to him; I think we did a pretty good job yesterday, we just need to maintain those second chance points a little more and try not to let him get such easy looks towards the rim.”

Green also addressed the first quarter extra curricular activity between him and Bynum that began when Green bumped into Bynum from behind and ended when Bynum bumped Green back with his shoulder as the ball was moving up court. After the contest, Bynum said he was simply retaliating to the first bump, opting to let Green know he wasn’t getting anything for free.

Yet Bynum didn’t seem too concerned about it, and Green on Monday confirmed that it is a non issue.

“I tripped over somebody’s foot and ran into (Bynum),” he said. “He got up and came at me … he did what he did, no call was made, it’s just the nature of playoff basketball. Everything’s more physical and I expect that. I laughed about it, it wasn’t a big deal.”

Stay tuned for a report from Lakers practice later on Monday afternoon.

You can follow Mike on Twitter for live updates from practices, games and more.

Lakers 87, Thunder 79: Game 1 Diary, Wrap Up

60198250Lakers – Thunder Gameday Page
The Lakers opened their title defense with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and we took a quarter-by-quarter look at the contest to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

Inactives
Lakers: DJ Mbenga (eye)
Thunder: Byron Mullins, DJ White

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum*
Thunder: Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic
*Bynum started his first game since March 19.

Lakers – Thunder Series Preview
For a complete series preview with the Thunder, we authored a player-by-player breakdown, sat down for a 7-minute on-camera interview with assistant coach Jim Cleamons (including Thunder clips and highlights) and more, which you can check out by clicking here.

60198160First Quarter
7:17 L.A.’s game plan worked quite well in the first five minutes (Phil Jackson’s coaching staff had put together one or two in the past), with the Lakers pounding the ball inside on offense and overloading the strong side defensively. That formula helped force OKC into 1-of-7 shooting, while L.A. missed two layups and still went 5-of-9 to take a 10-4 lead. More early good news for the home team: Andrew Bynum made two of three shots and was moving very well.

3:53 The Thunder managed to get four transition points (against which L.A.’s coaches warned) to stick around, but the Lakers responded out of a time out with a gorgeous play in which newly-checked-in Lamar Odom (Bynum had four points, four rebounds and a swat before being replaced) found Pau Gasol for an alley-oop dunk.

0:00 A terrific quarter, really, for the Lakers. It wasn’t so much the 27-13 score, but how they thoroughly controlled the flow. OKC struggled to get anything but contested jumpers on offense (5-of-19 from the field), while L.A. generally picked what it wanted to run, then executed quite well. The only Laker who struggled early, Derek Fisher, nailed three straight shots – including two 3-pointers – after missing his first four looks.

Second Quarter
7:45 With Kevin Durant checking back in after a 4-for-9 start, Ron Artest checked back in as well. His assignment was pretty clear, huh? Two Nenad Krstic free throws had made it 33-21 Lakers after a pretty and-1 bucket from Gasol, but Bryant immediately nailed a triple at the other end to push the lead to 15, getting himself into double digits with 10. What followed produced the biggest roar from STAPLES Center in a long time as Bynum first swatted Durant on D, then hammered home a huge dunk right on Krstic. I haven’t seen Bynum that pumped up in a long time, as witnessed by a plethora of hard high fives and chest bumps with each teammate into an OKC time out.

2:06 The Lakers were missing quite a few easy looks, including back-to-back tip back opportunities at the rim from Odom and Gasol, dropping the team’s shooting percentage to 43.6 percent. Yet they still led by 14 thanks to holding OKC to 37.5 percent. In unrelated news, the guys that made “Sonics Gate” were sitting behind the Thunder bench wearing Sonics retro kits and holding a sign saying “Seattle Drafted Durant.” They, of course, were rooting hard against the Thunder.

0:00 L.A.’s first poor stretch of the game occurred with Bynum on the bench as Westbrook, who had just two points in the first 22 minutes, scored eight straight as the Lakers’ lead dropped to eight. Fisher guarded him the same way he had with success early in the half, but the weak side help wasn’t there. Meanwhile, L.A. stayed cold from the field, making only 6-of-22 shots in the quarter (27 percent), but clearly had better scoring opportunities than the Thunder.
Continue reading ‘Lakers 87, Thunder 79: Game 1 Diary, Wrap Up’

DJ Mbenga Injures Eye

DJ Mbenga was hit in the eye during Saturday’s practice, and suffered a retinal hole injury.

L.A.’s backup center had emergency laser surgery on his left eye, performed by Dr. Ron Gallimore, later in the evening.

Mbenga will be out a minimum of 72 hours.

He is out for Sunday’s game and will be re-evaluated on Tuesday afternoon.

Sasha Vujacic’s Ankle (Ouch…)

sasha_ankle_1How bad is Sasha Vujacic’s ankle?

That bad.

In the final game of L.A.’s regular season, the guard severely sprained the pictured left ankle in the second quarter after being clipped on the way down from a jump shot.

You can see why there is no timetable for the Slovenian’s return, and why he’ll obviously not come back for the Lakers’ first round matchup with Oklahoma City. At least.

Thunder Preview Podcast

D072503015.JPGLakers coaching assistant Rasheed Hazzard, who’s been focusing on the Thunder all week, joined us for a detailed podcast previewing the first round matchup.

We went through position-by-position matchups, discussed how the Lakers’ coaching staff is approaching the team’s game plan and more.

To listen, click play below.

Bynum Looks “Great” In Long Practice

Lakers center Andrew Bynum participated in his first full practice since straining his left Achilles back on March 19, which assembled reporters saw first hand when Bynum remained on the floor for 5-on-5 full court drills at the conclusion of practice.

Judging from both his comments and the thoughts of Phil Jackson, Lamar Odom, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, the news is all good for L.A., as the Lakers were 3-0 against first round opponent Oklahoma City when Bynum played during the regular season.

Andrew Bynum: “I’m feeling really well. Feeling good. I thought that the inside of the ankle was going to hurt a little bit, but it feels good. I’m going to ice it and continue to do the therapy so it doesn’t revert.”

Phil Jackson: “We’re very pleased. He’s certainly not in any space where he feels totally like he’s back, but we’re pleased that he was able to run and play and look like he can participate … We wait until tomorrow and see how he reacts. We had a pretty heavy load, were on the court almost two and a half hours. I took (Bynum) out of the practice for one five-minute break and that was it.”

Lamar Odom: “He looked great. He had exactly what he needed: time off. He wasn’t limping or anything. Running good, running well out there. He should be all right.”

Kobe Bryant: “He looked good. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him too much about it but he didn’t seem limited.”

Pau Gasol: “Obviously Andrew’s a big help for us now. He does a lot of different things. He’s a big presence and will bring us physicality in the playoffs.”

Video Scouting Report: Lakers – Thunder

Assistant coach Jim Cleamons joined us for a seven-plus minute discussion centered on L.A.’s first round opponent, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Cleamons, who scouted the Thunder throughout the season, broke down OKC’s ability in transition, looked at individual matchups, talked about the merits of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green, discussed L.A.’s health and more.

Also notice the inclusion of a bevy of highlights for both teams, assembled and edited by Lakers.com’s Ty Nowell.

If you’re looking for some more Lakers – Thunder talk, you can head over to our Lakers – Thunder Preview page for a detailed breakdown of the individual matchups at each position.

4/15 Injury Update Part II: Andrew Bynum

D067513008.JPGL.A. got some good news as far as 7-foot, 22-year-old centers go:

Andrew Bynum worked out for about 40 minutes on Thursday morning with coaching assistants Chuck Person and Rasheed Hazzard, and suffered no ill effects, according to Lakers spokesman John Black.

The 7-footer, who missed L.A.’s final 13 games after straining his left Achilles against Minnesota on March 19, went through running, jumping and shooting drills, in addition to playing some 1-on-1.

Because Bynum responded well to the activity, he is expected to practice with the team on Friday.

Bynum has maintained for the last week that he will “definitely” play in Sunday’s first round opener against Oklahoma City, and Thursday’s news is the best sign the team has had towards that end.