Monthly Archive for December, 2010

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Lakers 80, Heat 96: X-Mas Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Christmas day game against Miami at STAPLES Center, the team’s second game at home after a 6-1 road trip through the Midwest and East Coast, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Heat: C. Arroyo, D. Wade, L. James, C. Bosh, Z. Ilgauskas

11:50 Well, it didn’t take long for things to get interesting … the Lakers opened the game with a pretty play, with Gasol setting a pick for Odom at the top of the key, Odom streaking to the hoop and Bryant finding L.O. for a two-handed alley-oop. It was a festive, playoff-type crowd at STAPLES, featuring Kanye West, Will.I.Am., Sly Stallone and Larry David courtside.

6:30 The Lakers did a solid job of keeping the Heat on the perimeter in the first six minutes, as Miami managed only 2-of-10 shots from the perimeter, though Bosh finally broke through with a dunk thanks to Wade’s penetration. That made it 8-7 Lakers, with L.A. getting better shots closer to the rim but converting only 3-of-11.

2:49 The shooting didn’t get any better for the Lakers, who saw Matt Barnes (in for Artest after two early fouls) and Derek Fisher miss back-to-back wide-open threes amidst a 13-2 Heat run. Gasol couldn’t get anything to go, literally, missing his first six shots while Bryant was 0-for-4. Despite L.A.’s offensive struggles (6-for-25, 24 percent), it got back well in transition and forced Miami to settle for jumpers, which equaled 8-of-22 Heat field goals and just a six-point lead despite Bryant and Gasol literally going a collective 0-for-11.

10:00 After continuing to struggle to get the good looks they got early, the Lakers finally got a dunk from Kobe, his first field goal, after a seal in the paint. Mario Chalmers, however, capitalized on good Heat ball movement with a three to open Miami’s biggest lead at 28-16, with the tempo favoring Miami.

4:15 After seven misses, Gasol finally got a shot to go, and a possession later found Bryant for his third straight field goal, the Lakers finally getting a bit of traction to force a Heat time out. The deficit was eight at 35-27, L.A. creeping up to 34.3 percent from the field.

0:00 Some sheer energy and strength from Ron Artest helped L.A. cut Miami’s lead to seven points late in the quarter before two more field goals from Bosh (8-for-12) found the Heat with a 47-38 lead at the break. Not a single Laker was in double figures, with Gasol and Bryant finishing a combined 6-for-21.
Continue reading ‘Lakers 80, Heat 96: X-Mas Running Diary’

Phil Jackson’s Friday Practice Comments

Here’s a summary of Phil Jackson’s Christmas Eve day media session with reporters in advance of Saturday’s game against the Miami Heat:

On if the Lakers expect Dwyane Wade, who missed Thursday’s win for Miami in Phoenix with a sore knee, to play:
Jackson: Yes. What am I going to say? No, I don’t expect him to play? Go home and have a nice Christmas? (#sarcasm)

On the interest in Miami:
Jackson: They’re a talented team. Basketball fans should pay attention. It’s a talented group of guys out there.

On if it’s important for L.A. to set a tone on Saturday:
Jackson: Well we’d like to, but we’ve really pointed at the games next week as being a challenge. Those are conference games (at) San Antonio and New Orleans.

On if there’s too much being made of the X-Mas game:
Jackson: We like it. It draws attention to our team and the players, so that’s great. Whether you’re going to set the standard for the championships in June, I don’t know.

On the last two days for center Andrew Bynum:
Jackson: I hope it’s gone well for him. I thought yesterday was good. Today was a modified shootaround, more or less.
Editor’s note:

On if he watched LeBron’s “Decision” and what he thought:
Jackson: I did not watch LeBron’s Decision, and my thoughts echoed out of what Michael Jordan and some of the other guys would say that they would never have done something like that. They would have anticipated their team would have built up the talent so they could get back to the championship. That’s kind of what everyone expected. Not too many players that gone to the Finals like Cleveland did three years ago would lose a player that has been there. They’d want to redeem that opportunity, or whatever, but that’s his choice and we’ll all live with it.

On if he were surprised by LeBron’s Decision:
Jackson: Yes.

On if the Lakers can take advantage of their size over Miami
Jackson: Yeah, I think our big line up could. I don’t think Andrew’s ready to start yet, or play the kind of minutes, but hopefully he will be in another week or two.

On Bynum’s ability to “multiple jump” when healthy:
Jackson: Andrew has a special feature as a big guy. He has the ability to multiple jump where the second jump is almost as good as the first one. That’s a big difference for a big guy when he can go up, maybe get the rebound, go back up and jam the ball. Or go up and knock down a pass, then go back up and block a shot. That’s the secondary jump or act there that we’re still looking for Andrew to be able to do as he comes back.

On if he has to remind the team about concentration:
Jackson: No. I really didn’t. They were very focused today. You can tell, you can read it, so I didn’t have to remind them.

On Ron Artest and Matt Barnes guarding LeBron James:
Jackson: You don’t do anything but try and contain them is all you try to do. Not let him run out off defensive rebounds and give breaks and solo run outs, and try not to let him take the whole team to the basket and dunk it on them. It’s mostly containment, and making him shoot shots on the outside.

Lakers – Heat Preview Podcast’s NBA contributor Kevin Arnovitz has seen every minute of Miami Heat basketball this season, which will of course happen when you’re the Editor of the Heat Index.

Arnovitz joined us for a podcast to detail the Christmas Day contest between the Lakers and Heat, discussing both the matchup itself and offering his take on both how the Heat have played through this point of the season and what he expects going forward.

To listen to our conversation, just click below:

Lakers & Heat X-Mas Factoids & Numbers

The Lakers – Heat game on Christmas Day at STAPLES Center may end up having nothing to do with matchups, statistics, scouting reports or anything so tangible and depend more on what type of effort the Lakers bring to the contest:

A: Fiery and inspired like against Boston for the 2009 X-Mas game, which resulted in a 92-83 win that snapped Boston’s franchise-record 19-game winning streak.
B: Less fiery and less inspired like against a hungry Cleveland for the 2010 X-Mas game, equaling a 102-87 loss.

But that doesn’t mean the numbers and facts aren’t fun to look at, so here are more than you need:

Lakers Christmas Factoids:
- The Lakers have played on Christmas Day 36 times, beginning back in 1947 when they beat the Ft. Wayne Pistons. Now in season No. 63, the Lakers have gone 20-16 (11-7 at home), tied with the New York Knicks for the most victories.
- Saturday’s contest will be the 12th straight X-Mas game for the Lakers, going back to 1999, though the Lakers have managed only four wins with seven losses.
- This marks the fourth Christmas game against the Heat, who have beaten the Lakers on each occasion: 104-102 (OT) in 2004, 97-92 in 2005 and 101-85 in 2006.
- Kobe Bryant will be playing in his record-tying 13th X-Mas game, along with Boston’s Shaquille O’Neal, to match the mark of Dolph Schayes and Earl Monroe. Bryant ranks second all-time on the Christmas points list behind Oscar Robertson (377) with 304 points.
- Phil Jackson played in 10 Christmas Day games as a player, and will be coaching his 18th (7-0 with Chicago, 4-6 with the Lakers).
- The Christmas day games will air in 215 countries in 43 languages, with 25 international players competing out of 18 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Congo, France, Great Britain, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey.

Field Goal Percentage:
Lakers: .464 (10th, led by Lamar Odom’s .584, 2nd in the NBA)
Heat: .474 (5th, led by Chris Bosh’s .504)

Field Goal Defense:
Lakers: .434 (4th)
Heat: .425 (1st)

Three-point Percentage:
Lakers: .382 (7th, led by Steve Blake’s .460, 9th)
Heat: .392 (3rd, led by Carlos Arroyo’s .512, 2nd)

Three-point Defense:
Lakers: .332 (5th)
Heat: .307 (1st)

Lakers: 44.8 (2nd led by Pau Gasol’s 11.1, 6th)
Heat: 42.6 (5th, led by Bosh’s 7.9)

Opponent Rebounds:
Lakers: 42.0 (18th)
Heat: 40.13 (7th)

Lakers: 23.0 (7th, led by Kobe Bryant’s 4.6)
Heat: 20.17 (22nd, led by LeBron James’s 7.2, 12th)

Lakers: 106.4 (5th, led by Bryant’s 25.9, 3rd)
Heat: 100.8 (12th, led by James’s 24.3, 7th)

Opponent Points:
Lakers: 97.9 (16th)
Heat: 91.5 (1st)

Point Differential:
Lakers: +7.59
Heat: +9.36

Lakers: 8.25 (7th, led by Ron Artest’s 1.61, 15th)
Heat: 6.80 (22nd, led by Dwyane Wade’s 1.52, 19th)

Lakers: 5.07 (14th, led by Pau Gasol’s 2.11, 8th)
Heat: 5.53 (8th, led by Joel Anthony’s 1.35)

Lakers: 13.75 (8th)
Heat: 13.33 (3rd)

Opponent Turnovers:
Lakers: 14.32 (17th)
Heat: 13.83 (22nd)

Lakers – Bucks Postgame Numbers

We highlighted some of the more interesting numbers from L.A.’s Tuesday evening loss to the Bucks at STAPLES Center that saw L.A.’s record fall to 21-8 on the season.

53.8 Milwaukee’s first half shooting percentage, as L.A.’s defense waned a bit in early energy coming off the six-game road trip. The Bucks would cool off in the third quarter, hitting just 40 percent, but nail 57.1 percent in the fourth (including 3-of-3 from three-point range) to run away with a victory.

22 More points in the paint for the Lakers than the Bucks. L.A. got 15 points from Pau Gasol, 12 from Lamar Odom and six from Andrew Bynum.

18 Second half points for the league’s shortest player, Earl Boykins, who always seems to stand tall when playing the Lakers. He finished the game with a team-high 22 off the pine, including four triples, all in the second half.

17 Assists for the Lakers, well below their average of 23 per game, in a game in which ball movement was certainly not a strong suit.

16 Shot attempts by Kobe Bryant in 32 minutes en route to 21 points, before No. 24 got tossed out for a double technical (arguing with officials) late in the fourth quarter.

13 The Bucks’ biggest lead, attained at the 4:26 mark of the fourth quarter when Andrew Bogut laid home a Boykins feed after an offensive rebound on the second of John Salmons’s missed free throw.

2 Three-pointers made by the Lakers despite 13 attempts. The Bucks, in contrast, made eight, while Boykins made two more himself.

Lakers 79, Bucks 98: Dec. 21 Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Tuesday evening game against Milwaukee at STAPLES Center, the team’s first at home after a 6-1 road trip through the Midwest and East Coast, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Bucks: K. Dooling*, C. Douglas-Roberts, J. Salmons, E. Ilyasova, A. Bogut

9:42 The Lakers coaches love it when Lamar Odom’s aggressive offensively, and they may as well have been watching Maverick in the final scene of Top Gun in the first two minutes, when Odom flew by Ersan Ilyasova for three layups off the glass.

5:46 The Bucks came into the contest averaging the fewest points in the NBA, but that didn’t seem to bother ‘em early as they made 8-of-10 shots to take a 19-14 lead. Andrew Bogut led the way with a perfect 3-for-3, all in the paint, as Andrew Bynum watched from the bench in anticipation of his first home appearance of the season.

0:00 After a sluggish opening few minutes that seem to happen often when teams return home from long road trips, the Lakers picked things up defensively, and used a 6-0 run at the other end to cut Milwaukee’s lead to 25-22 after the first.

8:33 L.A.’s bench has been terrific all season in part because the players have been more than happy to play Phil Jackson’s way. It was thus not surprising to see Matt Barnes come of the floor into a time out upset that he took a contested three, not happy that he subsequently converted an and-1 layup and a baseline dunk for five straight Lakers points that cut Milwaukee’s lead to one.

2:18 After L.A. momentarily took the lead, the Bucks reeled off a quick 7-0 run to reclaim a 48-42 advantage, the Milwaukee starters holding a 42-26 advantage over those of the Lakers.

0:00 Bynum had played the bulk of the second quarter, and was effective against Bogut, but the Bucks played loose to lead by as many as seven, taking a 50-46 lead into halftime. Milwaukee’s effort was shown through a 22-16 board edge, while 13 points from Ersan Ilyasova and 11 from Bogut led the way on offense.

5:57It’s a common sight to see the Lakers step up their defense in third quarters after relatively poor first halves, and that’s what we saw for the opening six minutes, LAL forcing four TO’s and keeping Milwaukee to eight points before taking the lead (59-58) on a Bryant fadeaway jumper.

2:56 Gasol’s jumper followed Bynum’s layup to tie the score at 63, as the Lakers used the twin 7-footers with Odom getting a breather on the bench. Milwaukee didn’t have much behind Bogut in the middle on paper, but were getting scrappy effort from everybody to keep things competitive.

0:00.1 John Salmons, who turned on his scoring in the third quarter after nine first half points, hit a buzzer-beating leaner to cap a quarter in which he scored the final four points to reach 17 and put the Bucks up 72-66.

7:47 The Lakers had picked up their effort, but were struggling to get over the hump, as witnessed by Earl Boykins collecting a ball twice blocked by Bynum on the same possession and sticking it back in. Still, a Gasol put-back had the Lakers within five at 77-72 with plenty of time on the clock.

4:51 Odom didn’t like it, but he was called for a foul on the driving Salmons nonetheless, which allowed Milwaukee its biggest lead at 83-72, the fans getting restless as Ilyasova gathered the long rebound when Salmons missed the second. Boykins then found Bogut for a layup, and the Bucks’ lead was 13 with 4:16 to play.

0:00 It didn’t get any better for the home team after that; the Bucks closed out the fourth quarter with surprising ease to win 98-79, holding the Lakers to 13 points in the final period. LAL just couldn’t match Milwaukee’s energy, as Phil Jackson openly worried prior to the game, and paid with a loss.

Lakers 120, Raptors 110: Dec. 19 Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Sunday afternoon road game at Toronto, the final of a six-game trek through the Midwest and East Coast, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Raptors: J. Calderon, D. DeRozan, L. Kleiza, A. Johnson, E. Davis*
Davis, a rookie, was starting for Toronto’s best player Andrea Bargnani (ankle), the former No. 1 overall pick who leads the Raptors with 21.4 points per game.

10:00 Maybe they like early starts after all? Generally a team that stays on Pacific time, Phil Jackson worries about how ready his team will be for 1 p.m. Eastern starts, such as Sunday’s in Toronto. But this time, the Lakers opened 3-for-3 from the field, as did the Raptors, for a 7-6 LAL advantage (Artest hit a three), this after Friday’s game in Philly when neither team scored for two minutes.

6:00 Playing without Bargnani, the Raptors did well to open a 15-13 lead thanks to their generally scrappy play. After all, a team with such limited talent probably shouldn’t have 10 wins. But on the next two possessions, Gasol got nasty at the rim with a one-hander in Amir Johnson’s face, and Bryant faked DeMar DeRozan out of his shorts before spinning for a baseline jam.

0:04.0 Andrew Bynum closed the quarter by grabbing his second offensive board and sticking the ball back in through traffic, bringing the Lakers within six at 34-28. Toronto had been on fire, making 15-of-25 field goals (60 percent) including Johnson’s perfect 6-of-6, while L.A. hadn’t moved the ball well at all, notching only three assists on 10 field goals. Bryant, playing with his sore pinky after scoring just nine points in Philadelphia, took seven shots often out of isolation sets.

6:00 Go back and check the last two running diaries and you’ll see this same type of sentence: L.A.’s bench was terrific to start the second quarter. Obviously, Bynum’s return has solidified the rotation, and in Canada, the Killer B’s plus Luke Walton (six points) and either Bynum or Gasol outscored Toronto 14-5 in the first six minutes of the second to open a 44-41 lead.

4:00 Great Canada Dry ginger ale from the Raptors media room. Yum. Wish Celine Dion had been present for “Oh Canada,” but what can you do.

0:01.4 Bynum concluded his best half of basketball in four games with a strong block of Calderon’s layup attempt against the glass, seconds after he’d hit his fifth and sixth free throws of the game to total eight points with two boards. His presence again affording Gasol and Odom extra energy, the Lakers outscored Toronto 29-15 in the second quarter, again getting strong play from the Killer B’s.

8:59 While the bench got L.A. on the right foot in the second, it was the starters exerting their will in the third, going on an 11-3 run to push the lead to a comfortable 16 points at 68-52. Bryant scored seven points, and fed Gasol for a wide-open look to get the two All-Stars to a combined 30 points.

8:35 What a way to pass Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon. Bryant, needing 18 points in the game to surpass Olajuwon for third on the NBA’s all-time franchise scoring list (with one team), got a three to fall after it hit the top of the backboard, giving him 19, the record, and the Lakers a 71-55 lead.

4:05 Taking advantage of some Lakers turnovers (L.A.’s bigs were left looking for calls with Toronto swiping away in the paint), Toronto reeled off an 11-2 run to cut L.A.’s lead down to six at 76-70. The Lakers would get the lead back up to 10 on two Barnes free throws, but Barbosa intercepted an inbounds pass with 1.5 seconds remaining and got a halfcourt buzzer-beater to fall off glass, making it 86-79 LAL after three.
Continue reading ‘Lakers 120, Raptors 110: Dec. 19 Diary’

Bryant Sprains Pinky, Says He’s Fine

UCLA Health SystemIn the first quarter of L.A.’s Friday night win in Philadelphia, Kobe Bryant sprained his right pinky finger while trying to catch a pass. Postgame X-ray’s on the finger were negative, and Bryant is not expected to miss any time. A “sprain” to Bryant is really like a “runny nose.”

Bryant, who said his finger was numb for about 20 minutes, finished the game making 3-of-11 shots for a season-low nine points, though his focus was not on scoring the basketball. He added four assists and four boards with three turnovers while having trouble dribbling the ball with his right hand.

At Saturday’s practice in Toronto, Bryant suggested that there’s no way a sore pinky is going to keep him out of a game, laughing at the mere suggestion.

Lakers 93, Sixers 81: Dec. 17 Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Friday evening road game at Philadelphia, the fifth of a six-game trek through the Midwest and East Coast, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Sixers: J. Holiday, J. Meeks, A. Iguodala, E. Brand, S. Hawes

5:51 It was a cold, snowy day in Philadelphia, and the two teams apparently felt the weather on the floor as they combined to miss their first nine combined shots. But while the Lakers got going, scoring eight straight points, the Sixers had yet to score a single point in the first 5:09 of action, prompting Coach Doug Collins’s first time out. L.A. was exposing a matchup advantage with Ron Artest being guarded by Jodie Meeks, since Meeks was too small to guard Kobe (Iggy took him).

2:33 The 76ers put Andre Nocioni in the game, and that matchup and energy change quickly led to a 15-6 run for Philly, leading to Phil Jackson’s time out. Philly has been playing quite well of late, winning three straight and 7-of-10, showing L.A. a lil’ something after the slow start.

0:00 Six turnovers and 33 percent shooting didn’t help the Lakers much in the latter half of the quarter, and a 21-18 deficit was the result. No player had more than four points, as the Killer B’s plus Odom and Andrew Bynum took the floor to start the second.

7:17 Remember how the Sixers couldn’t score at the start of the game? It happened again, this time thanks in part to Bynum’s presence in the paint, while the Lakers reeled off a 9-0 run capped by Odom’s baseline bucket. The Lakers’ second unit was simply much better than Philly’s, as should be the case on nearly every NBA night. Philly finally scored on a put-back after Bynum forced a miss, but Odom answered with two free throws.

2:04 The whistles weren’t coming for action in the paint, and Gasol didn’t like it after taking a shove. During a time out, he approached the ref, but Phil Jackson intercepted him and instructed him to go to the bench. Generally, Jackson likes Gasol to push back when he takes a hit, and generally, Gasol responds to whatever criticism or instruction he receives. Sure enough, he came out of the time out to score seven straight points, including a difficult and-1 despite a hard foul. That’s why he’s an All Star, and Jackson a Hall of Famer.

0:00 The Lakers went on their third big run of the game, this time at 9-0, to take a 44-39 lead into the half. Gasol and Odom combined for more than half of those points (24 total) while Bryant took only five shots, making two. L.A. held Philly to 37 percent from the field towards those 39 points.

5:57 While the Sixers got the best of the first half of the third, Bryant’s leaning jumper in the lane tied the score at 53, Philly having made up six points thanks in large part to Spencer Hawes, who had reached a game-high 16 points, and blocked Gasol twice under the rim. In came Bynum for his second stint, seeing if he could solidify L.A.’s paint as he had in the second quarter.

3:00 Perhaps due to a sore pinky that got cracked in the first half, Bryant hadn’t looked for his own shot at all, taking only 10 to that point and making three for nine points.

1:00 A super loud, impromptu “MVP!” chant broke out around Wells Fargo Center, but it wasn’t for Philly native Kobe Bryant. Nope, Eagles QB Michael Vick strolled in, and the crowd went absolutely nuts. As in, standing ovation, throwing adoration around. The Sixers used the energy boost to close the quarter on a 7-2 run, opening a 62-58 lead at the quarter break.

8:18 We probably haven’t given Matt Barnes enough credit for his consistently good play this season. He kept it right up in Philly, grabbing his eighth rebound in 19 minutes after hitting two free throws, and then sprinting to the other end to nail a corner three. That got him to 10 points, and gave the Lakers a 71-64 lead. Moments later, he’d give L.A. their biggest lead at nine by finishing a pretty cut to the hoop thanks to Odom’s pass.

5:03 It was quickly becoming the Barnes and Odom show for L.A., the collective energy on the wings propelling L.A. a 29-10 edge to open the fourth. Odom shot up to a season-high 26 points, with nine in the period, while Barnes was everywhere in scoring nine himself (15 total) plus grabbing five boards (nine total) in nearly putting the game away, the score at 87-72.

0:00 That would be all, the Lakers turning on the jets in a big way in the fourth by outscoring Philly 35-19 when it counted to win 93-81. That’s four straight road wins, improving the team to 20-7. Up next is the final game of the trip, in Toronto, before the team mercifully returns to Los Angeles. Until then, your numbers:

28 Season-high in points scored by Lamar Odom, who was terrific throughout the contest. Odom added eight boards and three assists, continuing to play the really good hoop he’d been offering all season.

18 Total points scored by Odom and Matt Barnes … in the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter … to put the game away for the Lakers.

9 Points totaled by Kobe Bryant, who appeared to have hurt his pinky in the first half trying to catch a Pau Gasol pass. He took 11 shots for the game, instead setting teammates up while drawing Philly’s attention, which Odom in particular took advantage of.

3 Three-pointers made by the Lakers in the fourth quarter after missing all 12 attempts in the first three periods.

2 Lakers double-doubles, from Barnes and Gasol, the Spaniard going for 19 and 13 plus two blocks and three assists.

Joe Smith’s First Lakers Interview

Joe Smith spoke to a few reporters at the team’s road practice site in Philadelphia on the day he joined the team after being traded for Sasha Vujacic and draft picks in a three-team trade with New Jersey and Houston.

Smith, the No. 1 pick in the 1995 draft, joins his 13th team in a 16-year career. He appeared in four games this season for New Jersey, playing a total of 24 minutes.

Below is the transcript:

On joining the Lakers:
Smith: It’s always tough going through a trade, especially when you have a bunch of young guys like we had in New Jersey that kind of blossomed towards me and I was able to help out a lot, but at the same time, at this point in my career this is probably a great move. This team has won two (titles) in a row and has a chance to win a third one, so hopefully I can be a part of that and try to bring whatever I can to the table to help us succeed.

On his impressions of Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher in particular during his 16-year tenure.
Smith: Winners. Phil has always been a winner, Kobe has always had a winning attitude and been a winner, Derek’s always been a winner. From afar, as an opponent looking in, that’s how we had to look at them, as winners. You have to bring your A game in order to beat them.

On the closest he’s been to winning a championship:
Smith: Eastern Conference Semi Finals with Cleveland a couple of years ago (2008). We lost to Boston in that series in (seven games). The excitement that we had in that series was something that makes you hungry to try and achieve it again. I think we have a good shot here, and hopefully we get it done again.

On if he thought a chance at a title had passed him by:
Smith: I did but I was still hopeful that something could happen like it ended up (happening) at a place like this. I was excited when I got the phone call, kinda sad and excited like I said, it’s kind of tough to leave a young group of guys that you’d grown close to, but at the same point you have to look at the bigger picture, especially at this point of my career.

On what he has to bring on the basketball floor and in the locker room:
Smith: Experience. It’s my 16th year, and I’ve been through all types of situations, winning and losing. I know what it takes to get through both. On the basketball floor, the same energy I’ve always brought throughout my career … defending, rebounding, knocking down shots when available.

On how his body feels physically:
Smith: It feels great. I haven’t had too much contact, I don’t have any injuries I’m nursing right now. Everything is holding up, I’m just ready to go now.

On why he wasn’t getting minutes in New Jersey:
Smith: They were trying to play the younger guys. We had four or five guys at one position: Derrick Favors; Troy Murphy; Kris Humphries. They were trying to develop them, and that’s why they felt that this would be a good opportunity for me to move on and try to do something special here in L.A.

On if he expected any trade was going to happen:
Smith: I didn’t, actually. I found out (while) we were playing Philadelphia Tuesday at home. I got a text from my agent telling him to call me a.s.a.p., that’s when I found out, about 50 minutes before game time. I heard “Los Angeles Lakers,” and I smiled the whole game.

On the triangle offense :
Smith: I got a quick tutorial, real quick. I wasn’t able to go through it with the players as of yet, but hopefully tomorrow everything will be cleared so I can do some physical stuff. It’s not as difficult as people think, but it does have its (tough parts).

On if moving so much gets any easier:
Smith: No, it never gets any easier. Somehow I accumulate more stuff when I get to a city than I ever expected. Yesterday was a long day with me packing, trying to get as much stuff in suitcases as I could. I still have some stuff back in Jersey, but hopefully I can get somebody to get the rest of it. (But) my family is in Arizona. That’s another good thing about this trade, being closer to my kids. My son is excited about it. He texted me like, “Are you really a Laker?” He’s 12. He was pumped up about it. They’re excited, I’m excited.

On going from a young team to a veteran team:
Smith: That’s key in this league, being on a team with guys that know what it takes to win games … sometimes it does get kind of frustrating when you come out with younger guys and you have a 20-point lead, and all of a sudden you see it vanish. On a veteran team that’s been through the wars, winning championships and things like that, they know what it takes to get to that next level.

On if he spoke to GM Mitch Kupchak or Coach Phil Jackson:
Smith: I talked to Mitch a little bit yesterday. Once the trade went through, we had a chance to talk a little bit. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Coach Jackson yet. Whatever my role is expected to be, that’s going to be what (I do).

On how he has no former teammates:
Smith: No, I don’t, this is the first team that I’ve been on that I have no teammate on. But Theo (Ratliff) and I, we’ve been (going at it) for years … and obviously just playing against these guys.

On if he remembers any specific games in which Kobe Bryant went off on his team:
Smith: He went off a lot … it’s not just one game, he went off a lot. He’s that type of player.