Tag Archives: Los Angeles Lakers

Sports Blog Movement NBA Preview: Pacific Division

SBM NBA crystal ball - Copy

With the NBA season right around the corner, we here at Sports Blog Movement are doing exactly what you would expect a bunch of sports bloggers to do; pretend like we know what the fuck we are talking about when it comes to what this campaign may bring us.  With that, here’s my rundown on the Pacific Division, complete with five good questions that may make or break each team’s year.

1) Golden State Warriors

I know that with the impending demise of the Lakers, the Clippers have become the sexy pick to reign over this division. I just don’t buy it. There’s a host of reasons why, but I will get into those when I get to the section on the Clippers. Right now, I’d rather point out the five questions that with the right answers point to the Warriors winning the Pacific.

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SBM Exclusive Feature: Sports Doppelgangers, Volume 1

Welcome to a new exclusive feature available on on Sports Blog Movement. Today marks the first episode of what we like to call Sports Doppelgangers. This is an exercise in pointing out look-alike relationships in the sports world you may not have thought about before.  We would call it a public service if it weren’t a bit too pointless to be of any civic value.  But what the hell, this is a blog, not the Nobel Prize committee.

dantoni monopoly frame

For our inaugural episode, we offer the following Sports Doppelgangers: Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni and the Monopoly Guy.

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TALES OF DEPRESSION AND SORROW: THE 2012-2013 LOS ANGELES LAKERS‏

The Lakers' credit score is not very high at the moment

The Lakers’ credit score is not very high right now

by Ryan Meehan

By now, all of us have developed our own little theories as to why the Lakers are not living up to expectations this season.  People blame the decision to have Mike D’Antoni.  They blame Dwight Howard for being overrated and not playing up to his potential.  There are so many things wrong with the Lakers with the current roster they have that it’s hard to blame just one.  It’s also inaccurate to do, as each of those compontents have given us the sub-average level of basketball we’re seeing from a team that was assembled by someone whom we can almost clearly assume knows better.  Continue reading

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The Dubsism NBA Post-Mortem: The Indiana Pacers and the Los Angeles Lakers

The NBA tends to fall off off my radar sometime after the two teams I watch have their seasons end.  The Lakers are the team I grew up watching and the Pacers are the team I now see every day since I now live amongst the Hoosiers.

Indianapolis and Los Angeles in many ways are worlds apart.  Indiana’s capital is a small city with a distinctly midwestern flavor not far removed from its bucolic roots, whereas Los Angeles is a cosmopolitan megalopolis whose roots as remote outpost of orange groves and date farms seems as distant from the present as the surface of Mars.  Indiana has the blessings of the four traditional seasons, whereas In Los Angeles the four seasons are sunshine, wildfire, monsoon, and earthquake.  Indiana is the kind of place where it is perfectly normal for a complete stranger to walk up to you in the supermarkert and strike up a conversation, in Los Angeles, such an act could get you maced.

Despite the differences in their home cities, the Pacers and the Lakers are opposite sides of the same “enigma” coin.  As for being on the same coin, I really can’t figure out what these two teams really are, except for the fact which makes them heads and tails.  One one side, the Pacers are a team with depth that lacks a star; on the other, the Lakers have a star and lack depth. Both teams are an easy bet for the second round of the playoffs just as they were this year, but the Pacers are young with a future; the Lakers can see their window closing.

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Can’t Build Around Bynum

Andrew Bynum isn’t even 25 years old yet.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been waiting for Andrew Bynum to mature for the past 5 seasons. He finally broke out this year as the 2nd best center in the NBA, putting up 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game during the regular season. Dominating numbers from a dominating physical presence. But don’t let his physical stature and the numbers fool you, Bynum still possesses the mind of a child.

That mind is not going to change.

Andrew Bynum has been somewhat of an enigma all season for the Lakers. The infamous 3-point shot that sent him straight to the pine encapsulates most everything that Bynum is and has been for Los Angeles. After the benching, Bynum sulked for much of the game, refusing to join the huddle in team timeouts and subsequently played some uninspired 4th quarter basketball. He reacted to the situation like a petulant child.

Immaturity is a good excuse for only so long. Continue reading

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Are New Look Lakers Now Contenders?

While Kobe Bryant said it was 'difficult' to see Derek Fisher leave, the addition of Ramon Sessions (left) could help the Lakers.

After a long trade deadline process, the Los Angeles Lakers made the decision to keep starting power forward  Pau Gasol. With his name being mentioned throughout this whole process,  Gasol has delivered despite the trade rumors. At the end of the day on Wednesday March 15th, point guard Ramon Sessions was a Laker along with Center Jordan Hill. Sadly the Lakers parted ways with veteran guard Derek Fisher, but that also saved them oodles of money. Luke Walton and Jason Kapono were also dealt to Cleveland along with a 2012-13 draft pick they also DON’T have to pay. In acquiring Ramon Sessions the Lakers definitely improved at that point guard position that deeply needed maintenance. Personally, I’m ecstatic that Gasol remained a Laker, and now Pau along with Kobe Bryant are the captains of the team. Its been thrown around on ESPN and at any local barbershop, that the Lakers have moved into contention for an NBA title. With that being said I too believe that L.A. will be playing in June, that was a totally UNBIASED (those of you that know me know I’m a Laker Fan) answer. Futhermore, I’m going to reveal the reasons why I believe the parade may be in Los Angeles this year.

The first, and most important reason is the fact that Kobe Bryant is still in a Laker uniform. To add, the Lakers also obtain the largest frontcourt in all of basketball, (which is why I’m happy Gasol was not dealt) by keeping Pau Gasol the Lakers obviously want to play to their strength which is their SIZE. Andrew Bynum has been impressive a bulk of the year, and was named Western Conference Player of the Week 3/13/2012 thru 3/18/2012. During that span Bynum went bonkers averaging 27.5 ppg, 14.8 rpg, also”Drew” shot a notable 66.5% from the field, while corralling 1.6 bpg. Quite deserving of the honor needless to say.

People speak about the Lakers offense mostly, but we do need to recognize their swarming defense as well. Los Angeles ranks seventh in the NBA in points allowed at 92.6 ppg, and that’s good enough for second in the Western Conference. Again, their size allows them to alter a galaxy of shots and their quick enough to get in passing lanes for steals. One thing Mike Brown does preach is defense, even dating back to his days in Cleveland he was recognized as defensive orientated. But…that’s another topic.

With the Big Three in tact, and adding that key ingredient in Ramon Sessions the Lakers are aiming to cause turbulence out West. Trailing only the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs, the new look Lakers are third in the West standing at (28-17), Home (19-3), Away (9-14). If the Lakers get solid production out of Metta World Peace, and the bench plays kosher, title #6 for Kobe is within arms reach.

*Since acquiring Guard Ramon Sessions the Los Angeles Lakers are 1-1

Razor Ramon played his first game as a Laker March 16, 2012, that night he posted seven  points to go along with five assist, and scrapped up four rebounds. Lakers beat the Timberwolves 97-92,  Sessions didn’t look so hot in the 103-99 deficiency against the Utah Jazz, he tallied 10 points, but shot a nefarious 1-7 from the field. Sessions did manage to distribute 6 assist and took first-class care of the ball with 0 turnovers. The Lakers travel Tuesday night to Houston taking on the Derek Fisher-less Rockets.

Why the Lakers are now Contenders:

No team in the league can match their size down low, the Lakers were a defensive liability at the point guard position nightly. With the addition of Sessions that is no longer a debate, now the Lakers are able to match Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and San Antonio’s Tony Parker. Oh and not to leave out Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers (step-brother). Am I saying Sessions will hold these guards score-less NO, but he is quick enough and strong enough to be quite disruptive on defense.

*Ramon Sessions is  6 foot 3 inches tall and weighs 195 lbs.

Offensively, Sessions can give you anywhere from 10-13 points a game and makes commendable decisions with the basketball. Also, Ramon is bona fide athlete who is quick off the dribble and can finish at the rim with either hand. Not mentioned in a  defensive light very often, but Sessions can stay in front of the quicker guards Lakers have struggled with containing in the past.

The last Laker point guard who could generate his own shot was retired guard Nick Van Exel. Kobe has never had a backcourt counter-part that was athletic and could handle the ball quite like Sessions. The Lakers have compiled all the necessary components needed to make a legit dash for a championship this season. More importantly the team is buying into Mike Brown’s system, and players are adapting to their new roles, it won’t take much time for the Lakers to gell in my opinion.

Another advantage the Lakers have along with the rest of the 28 teams, is this breve stagione. This has given the older teams time to rest those ancient bones, franchises such as the Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. Extra rest means a lot come playoff time, that’s when the game becomes more slothful, and teams need to  execute in half court sets. Again that will play to the Lakers advantage, because they are a half court team.

The achilles heel for the Lakers has been the production from the bench. Without Lamar Odom, or Shannon Brown coming off the bench Lakers personnel has been looking for answers. Producing one of, if not the lowest total of bench points in the league is this Lakers gang. Steve Blake, and Matt Barnes, make up 66% of the Killer Bee’s now that Shannon Brown has been emancipated. Strange enough the bench blossoms in front off the home crowd at the Staples Center, its away from home that causes the headaches. If the Laker bench can put up standard numbers life would be a lot easier

Point blank period the Lakers are contenders in the Western Conference no matter how much you try to down play it. When playoff time rolls around this new look Lakers team will be put to the test. Most people want to throw Oklahoma City in the Finals, but believe it or not folks Los Angeles is equipped to make some serious commotion come playoff time.

*Follow me on Twitter @JdotBras also be sure to check out my additional sports blog at thesportsoutlaw.com please stop by sportsblogmovement.worpress.com and see bio and get a good read  a host of different writers including myself.

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Consumed By Linsanity

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The Knicks are a car accident to watch. It’s such a frightening mess and I know it’s bad to look at yet I still drag myself to a television set to watch this pathetic mess almost every night.

Last year they couldn’t play defense, this year they forgot how to score.
Bill Walker is a lackadaisical mess. Toney Douglas gets too trigger happy. Amare Stoudamire is the black David Lee (I told everyone this when he was signed but no one listened to me). Carmelo Anthony has no scoring help and all Mike D’Antoni could do was sit around and watch.

I wanted D’Antoni fired last year for his constant lack of detail, I wanted him fired this offseason for a defensive coach like Mike Brown, I want him fired this year because I’m sick of seeing him and his mustache.

Yet none of this matters right now in New York because Knick fans are on cloud nine thanks to a 6-3, 200 pound, undrafted point guard from Harvard that has become an overnight sensation.

His name is Jeremy Lin, and he is a gift from the heavens above.

Ok maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but jeez not even last year’s acquisition of Melo brought this much buzz an joy to the basketball Mecca that is the NYC.

Lin’s emergence came at a time when the Knicks desperately needed some good news. At 8-15 and flirting with a disastrous season that would’ve surely ended the D’Antoni era for the Knicks, Lin has caught fire and has led the Knicks through their best stretch of the season.

He’s been the missing piece that the fast pace D’Antoni offense has needed to get going. A pick and roll point guard with excellent vision and passing skills that is able to create shots for his teammates as well as fend for himself offensively.

Funny thing was that he was almost released to make room for the return of Baron Davis, I guess that won’t be happening now.

Ever since he stepped onto the court against the New Jersey Nets Lin has created a buzz across the league and has turned skeptics into believers.

He schooled Deron Williams and ran circles around him two Saturdays ago, he treated Devin Harris like a rag doll, he embarrassed John Wall with a sick crossover and dunk that was replayed over and over on Sportscenter, his performance against the Lakers last Friday will be talked about for years, and he showed toughness and moxie in gutting out a win in Minnesota.

He’s done it all from knocking down clutch free throws, reigniting Tyson Chandler’s game and leaving Derek Fisher flat-footed as he spun by for a highlight worthy lay in.

Yeah, I’m in love with this guy. But it took me a while to get into him.

Like most people I had to actually see him to believe him. Watching highlights of Lin didn’t tell the whole story. Yeah it was nice to see him drive at will against Utah and destroy the Nets already grim confidence but I wanted more.

I wanted to know three things about Lin while everyone was already crowning him the next big thing:

1. Can he handle the mounting pressure that comes with being an athlete in New York?
2. How does he deal with failure in a game and can he still stay on point when he’s not on his A game?
3. How will he play with the return of Stat and Melo (yeah, forgot about then right?)

My first question got answered on Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The last few times the Lakers have hit The Big Apple it’s been Kobe Bryant’s town without question. He has carved his own name into Madison Square Garden lore with huge performances like scoring 61 points in a game there just years ago.

It was the perfect test for my Lin theory, play arguably the best player in the game and keep the Knicks on pace with the Lakers.

That was the first full time that I actually got to watch Lin, safe to say I was shocked by what I saw.

He didn’t just keep the Knicks in the game, he controlled it. He dominated the pace and flow of the game by continuously attacking the rim, floating lobs to Chandler, coming up steals on the defensive end and destroying Fisher and Steve Blake when the ball was in his hands.

He looked like a younger Steve Nash, honest to god. Just his style of play and the way he maneuvered around the Lakers reminded me of the two-time NBA MVP.

Every time the Knicks needed a big play or a big shot the ball found its way to Lin. He never backed down and always came through. 38 points & 7 assists later I was starting to get sold on the NBA’s Tim Tebow.

(yep I made a Tebow reference but all of the similarities and hype and mass coverage are there. The big difference? Lin can ball out, Tebow’s a bum… Just saying.)

The next test came the next night against the Timberwolves in a hyped up battle versus Ricky Rubio.

The main reason I wanted to see him fail is because I wanted to see if he was more like Eli Manning or Tony Romo.

When things don’t go Manning’s way his demeanor doesn’t change and he pressed on. For Romo he panics and loses his cool. I wanted to see if when things get too tight of Lin folds or rises to the occasion.

(yeah I fit an Eli reference in there, so what? By the way did you know that the New York Giants are Super Bowl Champions? God that makes me happy)

The T-Wolves game was a game of two halves. Lin was his usual self in the first half 7-12, 4 dimes and running the offense efficiently. In the second half Lin was totally taken out of rhythm. He only hit 1-12 shots and the Wolves forced him into bad shots and 4 turnovers.

However, I got the impression from Lin that even in tough stretches he still doesn’t get rattled.

Even with all of the turnovers and with his shots not finding the net he still continued to set up his other teammates including Steve Novak’s game tying three with less than a minute left. He also scored the winning point from the free throw line after being fouled getting to the basket.

Even without a dominant performance Lin still found a way to pull out a win for the Knicks. That was enough to make me even more of a believer.

Now the third and most interesting task is at hand… Can Lin, Melo and Stat all work together to be effective?

Carmelo Anthony has received a lot of bad press in the last week with all of the Linsanity spreading through NY.

It’s as if we forget that we wanted Melo here in the first place, it’s not his fault that the Knicks traded the farm to get him (thanks James Dolan). Melo has always needed a point guard to stabilize this offense to make more effective. Sorry Toney Douglas wasnt the answer.

With Lin’s emergence Melo and Amar’e for that matter now have a lot less pressure on their shoulders to score.

The main question is can Melo let Lin run the offense without asking for the ball too much?

As dynamic of a scorer as he is, Melo holds onto the ball for too long in too many stretches of the game. With Lin at the point now Melo will have to find his rhythm in the game and let it come to him.

Besides elevating Chandler, Landry Fields has found his game and confidence and Novak has become a reliable shooter off of the bench. The Knicks have gone from a two horse team to an actual team with a good rotation.

If Melo can stay dominant while letting this mix still cook then the Knicks will be making noise come playoff time.

If not then he’ll be the one taking most of the criticism if the Knicks go back to struggling.

The next stage of Linsanity is upon us. He won’t be throwing up 25 shots a game any more or dropping 38 on defenses, but I believe that after watching Jeremy Lin he is the answer to a lot of the Knicks woes.

Lin has dazzled America, balled out on every opponent that he’s faced and is getting better by the day.

In a city consumed by sports with the Giants winning Super Bowls, the Rangers leading the NHL and the Yankees always on the back pages, the Knicks have wiggled their way back into the minds of New Yorkers.

Linsanity is here and hopefully it’s not a flash in the pan.

Kevin Howard is The Brooklyn Buckeye because he is from Brooklyn, NY and is a graduate of The Ohio State University. Follow him on twitter @brooklyngohard and on his blog site at brooklynbuckeye.wordpress.com

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