Archive for the 'DJ Mbenga' Category

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Lakers vs. Clippers Post-Game

The Lakers shellacked the Clippers 119-82, outscoring them by 29 points in the second half to bust open what was only an eight point halftime lead. Seven Lakers scored in double figures, led by Derek Fisher’s 17 (7-11 shooting) after struggling to find his shot for parts of the past two weeks. As a team, the Lakers held the Clippers to an abysmal 38% shooting from the floor while outrebounding them by a healthy 10 boards.

“Every body getting the chance to play kind of gives the team a good feel about playing basketball,” said Jackson.

Kobe Bryant added 16 points and Lamar Odom continued his outstanding overall play, scoring 15 points to go along with eight rebounds and four steals. In his return to the starting lineup, Vladimir Radmanovic chipped in 10 points, including two three point makes.

“It felt good to get back on track,” said Bryant. “During the season you’ll have games like we’ve had in the past, particularly when you don’t have that many practices, you can’t get that rhythm that you are used to playing with. It kind of deteriorates some what so we got a good practice under our belt, came out and executed well.”

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Road Trip Injury Roundup

Here’s a quick look at every Lakers’ health status as the team heads to Detroit to start the longest road trip in team history.

In alphabetical order…

Trevor Ariza
Still recovering from fracturing the fourth metatarsal in his right foot after landing on teammate Derek Fisher’s foot in practice on January 20th. Expected to miss another 6-7 more weeks. Did not travel with the team.

Kwame Brown
As healthy as he’s going to be during the course of an 82-game season.

Kobe Bryant
As healthy as he’s going to be during the course of an 82-game season.

Andrew Bynum
Still recovering from a subluxation of the patella and a bone bruise of his left knee that he suffered in the January 13th game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Expected to miss approximately 6 more weeks. Did not travel with the team.

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Lakers vs. Cavs Pre-Game

Before today’s showdown against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Coach Phil Jackson finally had some good news to share on the injury front; injured forward Vladimir Radmanovic will suit up for today’s game. Jackson also said that Chris Mihm will travel with the team on their upcoming nine game road trip and will hopefully return to the floor sometime around the middle of that stretch.

Jackson said that the team has yet to sit down and decide whether or not they will renew replacement center DJ Mbenga’s 10 day contract that expires after this Tuesday’s game against the Knicks, but did praise Mbenga for his attentiveness in the limited time he’s been with the Lakers.

Looking ahead to today’s game and the always exciting battle between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, Jackson said that no matter how many years a player has been in the league, it’s still difficult at times to resist the urge to go mano-a-mano against certain players. However, Jackson said that while Kobe is still baited at times, his individual play comes with more of a team mindset now.

Lakers at Mavericks Post-Game

The Lakers shot over 56% and yet came up short tonight. The offsetting negatives were turnovers and particularly points off turnovers at 20 for the Mavs and offensive rebounds, of which the Mavs got 13. The Mavs also penetrated often in the 3rd quarter, particularly Devin Harris, who got by Jordan and Fisher time and again early in the game, though less so in the 4th quarter.

Those two elements created a third quarter in which the Mavs scored 35 points and outscored the Lakers by 16. Even when the Lakers turned it around with the unit of Kobe, Jordan, Sasha, Ronny and DJ, and particularly the strong play of Jordan, the deficit was too much to overcome in the 4th quarter.

The game also had continuing struggles for Lamar and Luke, who each had 4 points, Otherwise, statistically, the Lakers were relatively strong across the board, leading the Mavs in most categories.

Going forward the team will have to figure out how to address third quarter energy, which was also a key in the San Antonio loss and also getting all their healthy players firing on all cylinders.

Lakers at Spurs Pre-Game

The Lakers and Spurs meet again and for the first time in a long time, it’s the Spurs looking up to the Lakers in the standings. One of the wins that got the Lakers to where they are was over the Spurs, though the Spurs were without Duncan and Parker and Ginobili was injured. Phil was asked if he watched that game video, or if it didn’t matter since their key players were missing. He replied, ”I haven’t looked at that game tape. The only reason I want to look at it was to see why Andrew was thrown out of that ball game. Ginobili grabbed him around the neck and Oberto hit him a couple of times and got in a cheap shot. I just wanted to see if the referees were staying on top of it. The season overwhelms you sometimes, this might be the third or so game that I haven’t watched this year.”

Andrew will miss the entirety of this game with his injury and one of the Lakers solutions was the signing of DJ Mbenga. Phil talked about if Mbenga was ready to play, “We”ll use him. If we have to in the game we certainly will. I anticipate using him. Obviously he won’t know many of the finer points of how to play with his teammates or move in the offense, but he’s got capabilities of doing some things that help out.”

The Lakers have 2 players, Luke and Sasha still working their way back from injuries. Phil commented on Luke’s struggles since he came back. “Well, you just have to watch that he’s not overplayed. I think that too many minutes is really going to hurt him, wear him out and tear him down physically. So guys have to share those minutes. I think that’s the reason that Lamar is going to have to move back from power forward and Kobe is going to have to move down from guard to forward. And we’re going to have to adjust a little bit to that.” Phil commented further on Luke’s struggles, “He’s struggling. Offensively he’s struggling, I think he’s doing a good job defensively for us. He’s capable of running the offense and keeping things going out there with the first unit. That’s helpful, but he needs to have a good game.”

Sasha also has struggled in his first game back, trying to win back his spot as the fourth guard, according to Phil, “For a second until he got into the game and got anxious out there in the second half and ruined some of our offensive timing. Then Jordan came back and played beside Fish and finished that quarter well. Sasha’s ability to do things helps us. He makes the defense extend as a 3 point threat. It helps our spacing.”

With Luke’s struggles and Ariza’s injury, we saw a new version of the backcourt with Fisher and Jordan together in the backcourt.. Their play will be helpful with getting
Kobe on the wing. Phil said, “The guard corps that we have, and it doesn’t have to be just Fish or Jordan, the guard corps can maintain what we’re trying to do. Kobe is very comfortable playing small forward. The only difference is that it changes hwo re rebound and defend that spot. It does make us small.”

Lastly, Phil commented on the Sports Illustrated poll of who players would like to play for a vote which Phil led with Mike D’Antoni of the Suns, to which he said, “I think the system of how you play ball is really important. I think Phoenix has a wonderful way of playing basketball. I understand that . I don’t know why anyone would want to play for me, I am too rigid and perhaps too confining with how we do things.

“I have no animosity towards mike. Absolutely none. I met him when he was a rookie coming into the league and my former teammates said that he had a really good basketball mind and would be a good coach and he’s become one.”

DJ Mbenga Quick Facts

Mbenga in the NBA
The 7′ 220 pound year-old Mbenga is a native of Congo who signed with the Mavericks as a rookie in 2004, appearing in 79 games over three seasons in Dallas. During his stint with the team, the 27 year-old Mbenga totaled 106 points, 75 rebounds and 35 blocked shots in 374 minutes.

During his rookie year of 2004-05, he averaged an impressive 4.10 blocks per 48 minutes played while improving to 5.00 blocks per 48 minutes in 2005-06. However, his development was put on hold after he was limited to just 21 games the following season after missing the first 16 games of the year with a left foot tendon strain and suffering a torn right ACL 2/7/07 vs. Memphis.

After recovering from the injury, Mbenga signed with the Warriors on November 17 after he was put on waivers by the Mavericks on October 30. In his brief 16 games with Golden State prior to his release on January 6, Mbenga averaged 1.2 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.63 blocked shots in 8.1 minutes.
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Lakers Sign Mbenga

The Lakers added some size up front to make up for absence of Andrew Bynum & Chris Mihm. The addition of DJ Mbenga gives the Lakers a shot blocking presence in the middle to spell Kwame Brown & Ronny Turiaf in the middle.

Los Angeles is the third NBA stop for DJ this year after being in camp with the Dallas Mavericks before getting cut just before opening day. Mbenga then moved onto the Golden State Warriors where he appeared in 16 games.

Mbenga signed a 10-day contract. The Lakers roster is now maxed out at 15 players.