Tag Archive for 'Running Diary'

Lakers – Thunder Running Diary

WaltonAs 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 – Thunder Running Diary/Postgame
Lakers 105, Thunder 98: Postgame
Lakers – Thunder Running Diary 2-10-2009

Inactives
Lakers: Andrew Bynum, Sun Yue
Thunder: Desmond Mason, Malik Rose, DJ White

Starters
Lakers Fish, Kobe, Luke, Lamar and Pau
Thunder Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic

First Quarter
11:09 After Westbrook’s backdoor layup nearly incited a riot inside the Ford Center, Walton answered with an open baseline three to put the Lakers up a point. This here’s an extreme example of what we’ve seen throughout the season on the road: opponents truly getting up for the Lakers. Just add in some youthful vigor and a first-year crowd happy to have a team, and the noise level raises considerably.

Luke Walton8:56 What I didn’t mention in that last paragraph is the energy in the building is a good thing for the Lakers, who seemed to lull along with a deflated Target Center in Minneapolis on Sunday. It showed after Odom’s triple put L.A. up 10-2 as the Thunder really struggled with their defensive rotations.

4:46 Since the Lakers were scoring so easily off basic ball movement in the triangle, Kobe got a bit bored and leaked out into transition after a Gasol rebound. He then waited for Westbrook to sort of catch up before doing a modified 360 and throwing it down. It was more fun to watch than that description, and it put L.A. up 21-9.

2:22 Some more of that youthful exuberance here in OKC shone through when Westbrook found Durant for a large one-handed alley-oop in transition, an opportunity Durant used to stare at the adoring crowd for a few extra seconds. Point being, it was a nice play, but the Lakers still led 23-16 and were scoring easier than Bo Jackson in Techmo Bowl.

0:08 Jordan Farmar’s triple gave him a quick five points off the bench and pushed L.A.’s lead to 12, though Durant scored his 10th point on a last-second putback that made it 32-22 after one.

0:00 L.A. shot 59.1 percent in the quarter, including 3-of-3 from Walton, while the Thunder struggled to 9-of-24 shooting.

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Lakers – Jazz Running Diary

56703874As 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 – Jazz Running Diary/Postgame
Lakers – Jazz Running Diary 1-2-2009
Lakers 113, Jazz 100: Postgame

Inactives
Lakers: Shannon Brown, Andrew Bynum, Sun Yue
Jazz: Carlos Boozer, Kyrylo Fesenko

Starters
Lakers Fish, Kobe, Luke, Lamar and Pau
Jazz Deron Williams, Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Miles, Paul Millsap and Mehmet Okur

Kobe BryantIs anyone else as upset as I am that Ty Nowell’s not doing this diary? Unfortunately, he’s not on the trip here in Salt Lake City, meaning his general wit and sarcasm will stay in his mind back in L.A. Particularly upsetting is you won’t get to hear all about James Harden or Arizona State athletics. Let me apologize on behalf of Lakers.com.

First Quarter
9:35 Much like he did against the Thunder for much of Tuesday night’s game, Kobe spent some early time down on the box, using his strength advantage on Miles for two easy hoops that preceded a Gasol dunk – from a slick Odom pass – to give L.A. its first lead at 8-7.

8:04 My left eardrum popped when a crazy Jazz fan sitting two feet away from me screamed as if he’d fallen through the glass floor of Toronto’s CN Tower. What actually happened was Miles hitting a three.

6:02 Fisher for three and a 17-all tie as the boos rise steadily; Utah’s been booing Fish since he asked out of his contract in part to move to a place like L.A. to benefit his daughter’s health. Only a tad, tiny bit unfair, huh?

567039164:02 Utah would have one of the league’s better benches when healthy. On paper, here’s what it looks like: Andrei Kirilenko, Matt Harpring, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, Ronnie Price and even rookie Kosta Koufous. It’s deep, big and talented. But with Boozer and Kirilenko out, Millsap moved into the starting lineup at the four, with Miles playing the three and thus weakening the pine.

2:23 About a week ago, one of L.A.’s PR interns asked Fisher his least favorite place to play in the league. It took him all of 0.00003 seconds to say, flatly, “Utah.” That unique motivation accounted for eight points on 2-of-2 from the field and 3-of-3 from the line as he tied the game with a jumper.

0:02.6 Before the game, Phil Jackson mentioned that he’s been a fan of Jordan Farmar’s contributions of late. We saw it for ourselves with a good decision in the final second: Farmar made sure the clock dwindled nearly all the way down before dumping off to Gasol in the lane, resulting in a hard foul and 1-of-2 free throws to cut Utah’s lead to 31-29 at the break.

Bryant led the way with 12 points on efficient 6-of-8 shooting, while Odom stayed on his rebounding pace (actually a little behind) with four window cleans. The Lakers shot 52.1 percent from the field and turned the ball over three times in the period.
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Lakers – Cavaliers Running Diary

Lebron KobeAs 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 – Cavaliers Running Diary/Postgame
Lakers – Cavaliers Running Diary 1-19-2009
Lakers 105, Cavs 88: Postgame

Inactives
Lakers: Andrew Bynum
Cavaliers: Tarence Kinsey, Eric Snow, Delonte West

Starters
Lakers: Fish, Kobe, Luke, Lamar and Pau
Cavaliers: Mo Williams, Sasha Pavlovic, LeBron James, Ben Wallace and Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Like assistant coach Jim Cleamons told us before the game, the key for the Lakers is to get everybody involved. Cleveland’s too good in general, and particularly at home (undefeated…) for L.A. not to have everyone on their roster contribute in some way.

First Quarter
12:00 I liked LeBron’s introduction. After his name’s announced and the fans start to lose their minds, he does the double-hand slap and salute with each and every Cavs player.

11:20 After Kobe missed his first perimeter jumper, LeBron hit his. Maybe that’ll make King James feel like he has his shot going from outside and keep him out of the lane a little better?

10:41 Mo Williams for three, with his first “Thanks-for-leaving-me-out-the-All-Star-game-Mr.-Stern” shot. Odom would answer with a nice move around Wallace to make it a 5-4 Cavs lead early.

7:43 Bryant used a nice cut to get inside the defense on consecutive possessions, receiving nice passes from nice-passing Gasol and Odom. If you’re L.A., you love that triangle action.

4:45 What stood out most in the first seven minutes was how effective offensively the Lakers were against Cleveland’s vaunted defense. Lamar and Pau between them were 5-of-6 from the field, generally abusing Big Z and Big Ben, respectively, en route to 10 of L.A.’s 20 points. The Cavs, however, shot the ball well too (8-of-15) to see L.A. take a 20-18 lead into a timeout.

1:34 Ty pointed out that “The Q” (Quicken Loans Arena) has this on their scoreboard: “The Diff.” So, when Cleveland’s up 27-26, it says “+1.” Cleveland’s more of a liberal arts city than a mathematical one. Meanwhile, no team has yet to lead by more than three.

Center of Attention: A big difference, literally, between this game and L.A.’s 105-88 win at STAPLES was that the Lakers had their center (Andrew Bynum) and Cleveland was missing theirs (Z), which is no longer the case. And the Cavs weren’t shy about going to Z, who took eight shots and made five for 12 points; all but one of his shots was from the perimeter.

0:23.5 Wally Szczerbiak, he of the broken nose suffered last game, canned his first three despite having a big mask on his face before Bryant tied the game with two free throws. When Gasol was at the line on the previous possession, the Cavs put a Pittsburgh Steelers logo up on the jumbotron in hopes of inspiring boos. That was solid.

0:00 The quarter closed when Pavlovic converted a solid Anderson Varejao baseball pass for a last-second layup that gave Cleveland a 32-30 lead. Cleveland shot 50 percent, and the Lakers 54.5 in a well-played first quarter that looked nothing like L.A.’s opening stanza against Boston on Thursday. Kobe, by the way, guarded LeBron for almost the whole quarter and held him to 2-of-4 shooting for four points, without a free throw attempt.
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Lakers – Wolves Running Diary

Pau Gasol Post MinnesotaAs 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 – Wolves Running Diary/Postgame
Lakers – Wolves Running Diary 12-14-2009
Lakers 98, Wolves 86: Postgame

Inactives
Lakers: DJ Mbenga, Sun Yue
Timberwolves: Corey Brewer, Calvin Booth, Kevin Ollie

Starters
Lakers Fish, Kobe, Luke, Pau and Bynum
Wolves Sebastian Telfair, Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes, Craig Smith, Al Jefferson

First Quarter
12:00 This would have been a tricky game for the Lakers under normal circumstances, the first of a six-game trip in a cold city where the team’s record isn’t reflective of its current play, but with the OT loss vs. Charlotte on Tuesday, Kobe Bryant (who fouled out and was the opposite of happy about it) should have his squad well-focused.

11:07 After Fish opened the game with a long jumper, Jefferson grabbed his first offensive rebound, and stuck it back in to tie the score. Defensive rebounding is going to be a key throughout the evening for L.A., as not just Jefferson but also Smith, and especially Kevin Love off the bench, are quite effective on the offensive glass.

10:28 It’s a new Bynum, isn’t it? Taking advantage of his height for the second-straight possession, ‘Drew scored easily over Jefferson for a 6-2 lead. He just dropped it over Al’s head. Minnesota starts the smallest four-five combination in the league, in fact, and the Lakers know they need to pound the ball into the paint.

9:00 You knew Kobe was going to bring it tonight. He opened his early onslaught with a tough fade-away jumper off glass, plus the foul with Foye defending. He followed with a transition three, and then another tough jumper plus the harm for eight early points and a 14-5 lead.

6:52 The Bynum Project (his last five games) continued with another easy drop-in from the paint for his sixth early point and a 20-11 lead.

5:38 Remember, the Timberwolves had the league’s best record in January (10-3) before San Antonio beat Phoenix last night, and there’s a reason for it: the players are playing with a completely new confidence ushered in by head coach Kevin McHale. Seriously … try to find one basketball person around the Wolves to tell you otherwise. The confidence manifested in a quick 4-0 burst after Kobe and Bynum willed the Lakers to a 20-11 lead, which may not seem like much, but may have been enough for the Randy Wittman Wolves to give up.

3:11 With the Wolves simply out-hustling the Lakers, Ryan Gomes scored six-straight points – a triple and an and-1 – to give Minnesota its first lead at 27-26. Walton and Telfair would then exchange baskets to make it a 29-28 ballgame heading into a Lakers’ timeout with 2:34 remaining.

The Wolves have a few extra-motivated players tonight, due to respective All-Star snubs: Jefferson was left off the All-Star team, and Love the rookie team. Let me just say this: David West isn’t even close to Jefferson. Not only is Minnesota’s big man one of three players in the NBA averaging 20+ points and 10+ rebounds, but he’s the sole focus of opposing defenses (that’s when you reach star status). West scores because Chris Paul and New Orleans’ three-point shooters draw much of the attention away from him offensively, and he’s averaging only 7.3 rebounds. Ridiculous. I can understand Shaq over Al, but no way can you make the West argument, just because his team has a much better (pre-January) record. Love’s exclusion is even worse, as you’ll hear from Joel Meyers if you’re listening to the Lakers broadcast (is this too much Minnesota information? I’ll try to slow down).

2:14 Out of the timeout, the Lakers moved the ball well (with Farmar, Ariza and Odom on the floor) and got a triple from Lamar. Ariza’s inclusion on the floor is most notable here, of course, due to the worrying concussion symptoms from which he was suffering. Before the game, he said he was feeling “just fine,” and he looks … fine.

0:30 There’s Love’s first jumper, which Gasol conceded by not popping out off the screen and roll. Pau did counter by taking Jefferson easily on the low block to put L.A. up 33-31 heading into period No. 2.
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Lakers – Clippers 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.

Previous Lakers – Clippers Running Diary/Postgame
Lakers – Clippers Running Diary 11-05-2008
Lakers 117, Clippers 79: Postgame

Inactives
Lakers: Jordan Farmar, DJ Mbenga
Clippers: Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph

Rarely do we have pertinent news just before the game (e.g. talking about Madagascar a few games ago), but tonight’s an exception: Luke Walton is back in the starting lineup for the Lakers, and back to the bench goes Vladimir Radmanovic. Vladi’s expressed … how should we say it … complete disappointment after being put on the bench 20 games into the season in favor of Walton’s ball movement and general team play.

Starters
Lakers Fish, Kobe, Walton, Pau and Bynum
Clippers Mardy Collins, Eric Gordon, Al Thornton, Brian Skinner and DeAndre Jordan

First Quarter
11:54 Walton “christens” his start (Spero Dedes’ words, we’re listening to the broadcast) with a dunk after Gasol’s perfect bounce pass. Before I forget this stat, the Clips have lost 54 games to injury from their top four players this season, none of whom are playing tonight (Baron Davis, Zach Randolph, Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby).

10:05 Pretty good lil’ start from ‘Drew: 3-for-3 for six points, including two dunks and an offensive rebound for an 8-2 Lakers start.

8:01 The Lakers aren’t letting their opponent’s inferior talent affect their intensity, and have been getting any shot they want offensively, while holding the Clippers to perimeter jumpers save one Thornton dunk. Bynum hit again for his fourth bucket in four minutes, and Walton’s baby hook made it 14-6 Lakers.

5:30 Bryant gets his first two points of the game with two foul shots (his release looked good despite his heavily-bandaged right hand), and the Lakers first two points outside of the paint in an 18-12 opening.

3:52 It’s been all Bynum early on. After dunking on Skinner’s head for his 11th point, he destroyed a Mardy Collins layup attempt with a touch of nastiness.

2:19 Bynum, again scoring in the paint for a season-high 13 points in one quarter for the big kid.

An unrelated note: Two possessions earlier, Luke Walton pulled up in transition instead of feeding Gasol or Bryant, who weren’t quite far enough ahead of the defense to receive a pass. Walton bricked badly, but the ball went right into Pau’s hands for an easy layup. What’s notable wasn’t the play, but that the whole Lakers bench was quickly off the bench to make chatter at Walton. It’s always a good sign when your teammates are willing to get on you like that (translation: Luke’s teammates really like him).

0:29.8 Gordon’s three capped a quick 7-0 run to tie the game at 25 as L.A.’s defense grew a bit on the poor side.

0:01.0 How about a 9-0 run to close the quarter? Collins’ 20-foot jumper saw to that.

In short, the Lakers missed their last four shots, and the Clippers made four of their last five. Why? You can blame a slight drop in intensity, but I’m not sure it’s anything about which to worry about for L.A. However, if the Clippers are still hanging around after the second quarter … eh, that might not matter either. After the third? We’ll talk then.
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Lakers – Rockets Running Diary

Kobe BryantAs 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 – Rockets Running Diary/Postgame
Lakers – Rockets Running Diary 11-09-2008
Lakers 111, Rockets 82: Postgame

Inactives
Lakers: Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton
Rockets: Ron Artest, Tracy McGrady, Joey Dorsey

Pregame Notes
1) Lamar Odom will play. That’s certainly the most important note.
2) Tracy McGrady’s on the shelf for a few weeks, and even held a pregame press conference to talk about how he’s been playing hurt all year but didn’t want to come off the court. His health is certainly paramount to their playoff chances.
3) Yao Ming gave me his take on Sun Yue both as a player and a person, and I’ll have a story on that tomorrow.
4) D.J. Mbenga spent some time with me to talk about his relationship with fellow Congo native Dikembe Mutombo, whom he looks up to as a brother, and about their collective charitable work back in Africa. Mbenga’s primary focus is education, which I’ll also put something together about for tomorrrow.
5) Finally, two on-the-court points:
A) L.A. might be best served pounding the ball to Bynum and Gasol and letting the two seven-footers carry them offensively, since Bryant and Fisher might have to exert a good deal of effort in the absence of, basically, any other guards. Plus, Bynum’s had consecutive 20-point games, and Gasol’s due for a good offensive outing after struggling on Sunday.
B) Watch out for Aaron Brooks, Houston’s jet-quick backup point guard who gave L.A. fits even with Farmar and Vujacic in the lineup.

Starters
Lakers: Fish, Kobe, Vladi, Pau and Bynum
Rockets: Rafer Alston, Von Wafer (yup, that Von Wafer), Shane Battier, Luis Scola and Yao Ming

First Quarter
0:00 The Rockets were introduced with Biggy’s “Hypnotize” in the background, which I think should count for at least a point. Josh Powell would say “Bet” to that. However, since Houston’s mascot is a fuzzy grey bear (huh?), we’ll take the point away. What’s wrong with a Rocket?

10:35 Skip To My Lou’s triple gave the Rockets an early 7-2 lead. Tell me you watched the original And-1 Mix Tape … Alston was dirtier than a booger-picking third grader’s fingers.

6:08 L.A.’s best offensive player in the first six minutes? Vladimir Radmanovic, with seven points (including a triple). Vladi also grabbed four boards to build on his best game in a long time in Sunday’s win over Miami.

5:19 Former Lakers second-round draft pick Von Wafer drills a triple to give Houston a 20-11 lead as the Rockets shot an on-fire 9-of-12 (75 percent) to start the game.

3:47 Kobe’s deep jumper capped a quick 6-0 run to bring L.A. within three, despite L.A.’s poor shooting (6-of-14).

1:52 There’s Lamar Odom. We’ll see how he looks… Also checking in was Trevor Ariza, who did nothing against the Heat thanks in part to foul trouble on Sunday.

1:20 Odom took Scola to the hole on his first touch and missed, but Ariza was there for a put-back that made it 24-23 Rockets. One play is surely too early to judge, but Odom’s not moving gingerly or anything of the sort (I just judged I guess … whatever).

1:02 Let’s take this timeout opportunity to let Ty Nowell know that Houston does carry Dr. Pepper in its media room (not to mention Strawberry Fanta). Nowell’s always complaining that STAPLES has been consistently putting out root beer instead of Dr. Pepper.

50.5 L.A. takes its first lead on a Bryant jumper.

0:01 After Skip scored in the paint to put Houston back up 26-25, Bryant missed a jumper at the buzzer.

What Lakers fans shouldn’t like about the quarter is that Bynum struggled to 1-of-5 shooting with Yao’s length bothering him a bit (he even missed an alley-oop), though Pau was 2-of-3 and grabbed four boards. As a team, the Lakers shot 50 percent thanks to a better final six minutes, though Houston got through the quarter shooting 57 percent, led by Wafer’s nine points on 4-of-5 shooting. Well … he did can that corner three to beat Boston last week, so we’ll give him some credit. He’s also charged with guarding Bryant in the second quarter with Battier resting, which should be fun.
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Lakers – Pacers Running Diary

As 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 L.A. – Pacers Running Diaries/Postgames
Lakers – Pacers Running Diary 12-02-2008

Joe Crawford Goes Nuts For Defenders
Despite a 110-100 loss to the Utah Flash, Los Angeles guard Joe Crawford set a franchise record scoring 44 points on 15-of-25 shooting in the loss, the top scoring performance in the D-League.

Inactives
Lakers: Jordan Farmar, Lamar Odom
Pacers: Maceo Baston, Marquis Daniels, Jamaal Tinsley

Is there such a thing as a revenge game between teams that play just twice in a season? Sure. Why not. Particularly when that first game featured a buzzer-beating loss in a game your squad led by as many as 16 in the final quarter. The Pacers already have wins over L.A., Boston, Houston and other solid squads this season, and their 13-22 record is not necessarily indicative of their talent or capability. They give the Lakers some problems in particular because of mismatches like Troy Murphy, a power forward who shoots threes and killed the Lakers on the offensive glass, plus sharp-shooting, bigger wings in Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Danny Granger, who’s put up at least 35 points in three consecutive games.

But the bottom line for L.A.’s game plan should be the same as it was against the Warriors on Wednesday: Get the ball inside to Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, and let them go to work while not getting caught up in the opponent’s style of play.

Starters:
Lakers Fish, Kobe, Vladi, Pau and Bynum
Pacers Jarrett Jack, Stephen Graham, Danny Granger, Troy Murphy and Roy Hibbert

First Quarter
9:38 Bryant cans a tough, fading-away triple at the end of the shot clock. Decent.

8:59 Radmanovic three. If anyone needed to make a three at a certain time, it was a struggling-considerably Vladi in his favorite corner spot. The Serbian’s swish made it 11-8 Lakers.

7:20 Granger, who should be an All-Star this year, canned a three for his seventh early point on 3-of-3 shooting to knot the game at 15. Kobe’s guarding him.

6:10 Bynum’s 17-footer (he can make this shot consistently) gave him five points, the same total as Gasol on a combined 4-of-6 from the field and 2-of-4 from the line. Game plan in effect. No reason to stop pounding it inside anytime soon if you’re the Lakers. In fact, Gasol would score again on the next possession for a 20-18 Lakers lead heading into a timeout at the 5:32 mark.

If you read the last running diary, you know we spent some time talking about favorite actors, movies, and such from Bynum for an article that’ll go up this weekend or early next week. One thing I didn’t mention is that when asked about his top fives, Bynum generally responded as follows: “I mess with ___.” Meaning, if I asked him his favorite actors, he’d go, “I mess with Keanu Reaves.” So that’s fun.

4:32 Vladi from three again. Swish again. However, Ariza was waiting to check in at the scorer’s table, so we’ll have to wait and see if his rhythm continues later in the game.

3:46 Josh Powell in for Gasol, a substitution we haven’t seen this early as Bynum’s usually the big going out first. JP paid off a minute later when he collected a loose ball (he was credited with an offensive board, though it looked like a steal) and stuck it back in for a 29-27 Lakers lead. That’s precisely the kind of play Powell seems to make with the consistency that Butterfingers taste good.

1:50 There’s that JP jumper for which we’ve been waiting (swish from 19 feet).

0:01 After fouling a jump shooter (we like your aggression, JPeezy, but don’t do that), Powell exploded off the baseline for a layup as time expired to give the Lakers a 41-36 lead after one.

By the way — both teams were absolutely on fire in the first quarter, as in, 17-for-24 from the Lakers (71 percent) and 13-of-17 from the Pacers (76.5 percent). Since Indiana made almost everything they took, they grabbed not a single offensive board, while L.A. did manage three offensive boards … but only four defensive. The Pacers collected three defensive boards, which has to be some kind of season low. Furthermore, the teams combined for 34 points in the paint.
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