Before tonight’s game against the Blazers, Coach Jackson said that the team was still unsure when injured forward Vladimir Radmanovic would return from injury. “Given his history, he hasn’t returned quickly from injuries,” said Jackson. “But, we hope that he’s back within five games.”
Jackson spoke at length about the heated race taking place in the Western Conference as teams enter the final quarter of the season. “Out of these teams, it’s probably going to be an injury that is the deciding factor for who will make the playoffs,” Jackson said. One major injury that could shake up the standings has already occurred with today’s announcement that Houston Rockets center Yau Ming will miss the rest of the season to a broken foot.
With twenty-five games remaining in the season after tonight, Jackson said that there are several viable recipients for the MVP award, noting that the Lakers’ own Kobe Bryant is one of the strongest candidates. “I think LeBron is another candidate. Kevin Garnett is obviously another candidate,” said Jackson. “Definitely, Kobe is having an MVP season. “The real value of a super player is that he makes other players better,” said Jackson, in regards to Bryant’s improved team play this season.
Jackson also addressed the increased role that Luke Walton will have to play in wake of Radmanovic’s injury. The Lakers coach said that despite Luke’s likely increase in playing time, there was no guarantee that it would continue after Vlade and Ariza return. According to Jackson, Walton is not a player that can be expected to contribute 30 plus minutes on the court due to his injury history.
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…
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.
As healthy as he’s going to be during the course of an 82-game season.
As healthy as he’s going to be during the course of an 82-game season.
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.
Continue reading ‘Road Trip Injury Roundup’
Before tonight’s game, Coach Jackson stressed not looking too far ahead into the future, both against the Knicks tonight and on the team’s impending nine-game road trip.
When asked about the importance of establishing momentum against New York tonight following three consecutive losses, Jackson said, “We hope to. New York’s really competitive. They came back in the second half of the game we played back at the Garden a month ago, showed some resolve to speak. They’ve played competitively the past couple of weeks.”
With the toughest part of the schedule looming, Jackson also said that certain players are not playing to the best of their abilities.
“Some guys are feeling the pinch of having to perform and not really going out there and playing hard, worried about making mistakes, worried about certain aspects of the game instead of just playing,” said Jackson.”
Continue reading ‘Lakers vs. Knicks Pre-Game’
With a 27-14 record at the halfway point in the season, the Lakers currently sit in the sixth spot in the Western Conference, but have proved throughout the season’s second quarter that they belong in the discussion of elite teams when at full strength. Kobe Bryant’s superior all-around play has continued to spark the Lakers’ high-octane attack, followed closely by Andrew Bynum’s no longer ‘secret’ potential. We’re approaching award season in L.A. so once again, Lakers.com divvies out its midseason awards.
Most Improved Player: Trevor Ariza
Since we gave Andrew the award for ‘Surprise Performance’ in the first quarter, we decided to give the honor for most improved to one of the Lakers’ newest additions, Trevor Ariza. After the trade that sent Ariza from Orlando to L.A., it took Trevor a good few weeks before he figured out how to maneuver through the triangle offense. However, upon finding his way, Ariza has become one of the Lakers’ top defenders and also shown solid explosiveness on offense. His shot is still a work in progress, but at over 52% from the field, it hasn’t been an issue so far.
Continue reading ‘Lakers Quarterly Report: Halftime’
The Lakers responded from their defeat against Phoenix last Thursday, drubbing the Nuggets 116-99. Derek Fisher led the way for the Lakers, coming up one point shy of his career high with 28 points.
“It’s a good win for us,” said Jackson. “We just can’t make too much out of anything and stay really close into what we’re trying to do.”
The Lakers entered the second half up by 10 points, but allowed the Nuggets to take the lead midway through the third quarter.
“We lost some momentum in that third quarter,” said Coach Jackson. “Came out and tried to do the same thing that was successful for us in the first half and we made some adjustments and got stubborn about our adjustments and it almost cost us the game.” However, Jackson praised the efforts of Fisher and Jordan Farmar (19 points) for reenergizing the team heading into the fourth quarter.
Continue reading ‘Lakers vs. Nuggets Post-Game’
As the injuries continue to pile up for the Lakers–Trevor Ariza the latest casualty–Coach Jackson said that certain players’ roles are bound to change. “It’s going to be one of those things,” said Jackson. “We’re just going to have to work our way through this. Unfortunately for Trevor, he was playing really well.” In Ariza’s absence, Jackson said the team will likely have to rely on Lamar Odom more at small forward.
However, Jackson did supply some rare positive news on the injury front, revealing that Vladimir Radmanovic has been able to participate in more exercises on the floor in recent days. While he has not begun running yet, Jackson said he is making solid progress. Injured center Chris Mihm has also begun more strenuous exercises and may be ready to return when the Lakers embark on their nine game road trip starting in Detroit.
In looking ahead to tonight’s game, Jackson said, “This is a game that is absolutely needed because this is a small team.” With the undersized Najera playing behind Marcus Camby, the coach said that tonight would likely present a “situation in which Ronny can play some center and probably well.”
Jackson also said he expects Kwame Brown to recover from being booed throughout the Lakers’ loss to Phoenix last Thursday. According to Jackson, there will no doubt be a certain amount of anxiety for Kwame, but the team’s willingness to look for him inside will not change.
Trevor made a visit to the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic compound today to meet with foot specialist Dr. Ken Jung.
The prognosis is that Trevor has suffered a fractured right foot that will keep him out approximately 8-weeks.
A mid-march return to the lineup would hopefully coincide with the return of Center Andrew Bynum and give each enough time to work themselves back into game shape before the post-season begins.
It looks like the treatment room at Lakers camp will be adding to it’s already illustrious lineup as the news of Trevor Ariza breaking his right foot makes it’s way around the net.
Lakers officials say the injury occurred during practice when Ariza came down awkwardly on the foot of Derek Fisher. Ariza was taken to the hospital for x-rays. A timetable for Trevor’s return will be determined after meeting with a specialist on Monday.
Centers Andrew Bynum & Chris Mihm both remained sidelined as well as forward Vladimir Radmanovic.
Coach Jackson addressed the status of injured forward Vladimir Radmanovic before tonight’s game, noting that “the possibility of him playing next week is good.” Sasha Vujacic, out with an ankle sprain, is struggling according to Jackson. However, the coach did say that Sasha’s physical therapist reminded him that it has only been eight days and bad sprains typically take at least two weeks to heal.
Jackson also spoke about Kobe’s decrease in scoring for the second season in a row in addition to a reduction in his minutes. Jackson said Bryant’s role as a scorer changes depending on the team’s needs on a given night. “I think that it’s game-by-game. It’s how well we’re playing as a group and how well we’re shooting the basketball,” said Jackson. The coach also said that Kobe’s decrease in minutes should bode well for the team later in the season and in grind-it-out type games.
Lastly, Jackson said he was pleased with the team’s current two-man combo at small forward with both Luke Walton and Trevor Ariza splitting minutes at the position. By not playing 30-35 minutes a night anymore, Jackson said that Walton is able to conserve his energy and significantly reduce his injury risk.
The Lakers start a two game roadie tonight at 5pm against the Memphis Grizzlies.
After practice yesterday Phil mentioned the possibility of starting Trevor Ariza over Luke Walton because of Trevor’s athleticism and familiarness with the Grizzlies’ Rudy Gay.
The Small Forward position is one that is getting overlooked around the league (or at least by Jim O’Brien after Sunday’s game), but the rotation of Walton and Ariza has been a nice complement to the starting unit of Fisher, Bryant, Odom, & Bynum. Each brings something different (Ariza-athleticism, defense; Walton-knowledge, ball movement, sporadic shooting) that allows Jackson to play the match ups and both have shown an ability to perform off the bench when needed.
Luke continues to play through an ankle injury he sustained in mid-December and hasn’t allowed him to work at 100% since.
Some days, Luke Walton said, his right ankle feels 90 to 100 percent healthy. Other days, the ankle feels 60 to 65 percent.
He just carries on, knowing that he is limited.
“It’s fine enough to play,” said Walton, who tweaked the ankle again almost 2½ weeks ago and hasn’t been the same since.
The last time the Lakers visited the home of BBQ and Beale Street, Kobe got nuts to the tune of 60 in a two point victory. While Bryant’s outside shot hasn’t been falling as regularly as expected, it’s been the supporting cast and the up-tempo style that has allowed the Lakers to sustain the offensive end and a commitment to defense that has helped win games.
For Memphis it’s a guy that used to be the man that is now the X-Factor.