Friday, February 29, 2008

Lakers @ Trail Blazers

Okay Laker fans, your heart had to be thumping after last nights win against the Heat or you should maybe see a doctor, really, like soon.

Kobe Bryant scored 17 of his 21 in the first half when the Lakers took control and sealed their fate, 106-88. Jordan Farmar led with a career high of 24, and played an incredible game. The Lakers extend their winning streak to a season-best 10 games and will be looking for their 11 in a row.

On the subject of veteran Derek Fisher and his current struggle to perform on the court, certain consideration must be given to the reason why he came back to L.A., and that's the health of his daughter. With that being said, due slack is given to Derek ".04" Fisher and we know he will be back in the saddle again soon enough.

How many games do you think the Lakers have it in them to win in a row? answer the poll to the left and weigh in.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lakers vs Portland: Pre-Game Ramble (LIVE)

The Lakers lost last season's series with Portland 1-2 after splitting the 2005-06 season with Portland 2-2 for the eighth time in the last nine years. Portland has not taken a season series against the Lakers since the 1996-97 season (1-3) until taking the 2006-07 season series (1-2). At Stales the Lakers are 11-4 against the Blazers all-time and have won 10 of the last 12 games against Portland in LA. In the last seven regular season games against the Blazers, Kobe is averaging 39.3

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lakers Get A+, The Return Of Bynum, & In First Place

Lakers get an A+, check out this article.

Andrew Bynum may be coming back sooner than we thought.

This guy seems to think that the Lakers will prevail in the Pacific Division. (by the way he's right).

..And Phil Jackson has 40-20 vision.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lakers vs Suns: Who's Best in the West?

Some doubt the 35-year-old O'Neal -- who has been known during his career as "The Diesel," "The Big Aristotle," "The Big Daddy," "Wilt Chamberneezy," and "The Real Deal" and now the "Big Cactus"? -- the question is will he be able to keep up with his new teammates --or will he just stand there like a big cactus?.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who coached Shaq to titles from 2000-02, is among the skeptics, saying Shaq's responsibilities will involve "taking the ball out of bounds and waiting for the other team to get back," then added,"he's a jokester, and that's funny, very funny," Shaq said without smiling. "Ha-ha. Very funny." The Suns (37-16) -- who have a one-game lead over the Lakers (36-17) in the Pacific Division -- are convinced adding O'Neal could bring them their first NBA title. A win tonight would put the Lakers in a first place division spot ahead of the Suns.

Speaking of jokesters, check out this article about Shaq going to the Suns from the Onion.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pre-Game Ramble: Lakers vs Hawks (LIVE)

Okay Kids, you're probably already aware of the Jason Kidd trade going through, more on that in a future post.

I am writing this LIVE from Staples, (as I do most home games, make sure you bookmark this page or RSS).

The Lakers trail their current season series with Atlanta 0-1 after sweeping last season's series with Atlanta 2-0. The Lakers have not lost a season series to the Hawks since 1978-79 (1-3) but have split the season series with Atlanta 6 of the last 7 years. The Lakers are 5-3 against Atlanta all time at Staples Center and are 7-3 in their last 10 overall home games (14-3) in their last 17 home games). Hawks assistant coach Larry Drew played 2 seasons with the Lakers (1989-91), averaging 4.4 points & 2.assists in 128 games.

Lakers took a commanding lead in this game, leading at one point with more than 40 points, this one is in the fridge as there is less than 3 minutes left in the game with a score of 115 to, as I'm writing this Coby Karl dunks with his first points of the game....and the crowd chants..."Coby, Coby!"

FINAL SCORE: Lakers 122 Hawks 93

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kidd Trade Blocked by Ex-Laker George: "early Bird rights"

There's no crying in basketball

Jason Kidd has handles- on luggage packed-ready to shoot over to the Dallas Mavericks today -- until ex-Laker Devean George's contract did a 'shot block'.

Say what?

George was supposed to be among the players headed from Dallas to New Jersey, but he shot blocked it because of a virtual no-trade clause as part of a contract status called "early Bird rights." * (see below)

After Dallas beat Portland on Wednesday night, Mavs coach Avery Johnson said there was "zero" chance the deal would get done, but then added that was "as of now."

George then said there's still a chance things can be worked out. He was waiting to meet with his agent, Mark Bartelstein, to discuss their options.

"We're not trying to hold things up or be difficult, but just like teams make tough decisions all the time -- about cutting players or making trades -- they do what's best for their team, and it's my obligation to do what's best for Devean," Bartelstein said during the game. "You don't want to stop teams from doing their business, but we don't feel like it makes sense at this time."

Whether this is a setback or a deal-breaker will be determined in the coming days. The trade deadline is the afternoon of Feb. 21, and remember, the early bird gets the worm.

* (from above)

Larry Bird exception

Perhaps the most well-known of the NBA's salary cap exceptions, it is so named because the Boston Celtics were the first team permitted to exceed the salary cap to re-sign one of their own players (in that case, Larry Bird). Free agents who qualify for this exception are called "qualifying veteran free agents" or "Bird Free Agents" in the CBA, and this exception falls under the auspices of the Veteran Free Agent exception. In a nutshell, the Larry Bird exception allows teams to exceed the salary cap to re-sign their own free agents, at an amount up to the maximum salary. To qualify as a Bird free agent, a player must have played three seasons without being waived or changing teams as a free agent. This means a player can obtain "Bird rights" by playing under three one-year contracts, a single contract of at least three years, or any combination thereof. It also means that when a player is traded, his Bird rights are traded with him, and his new team can use the Bird exception to re-sign him. Bird-exception contracts can be up to six years in length.

Early Bird exception

This is the lesser form of the Larry Bird Exception. Free agents who qualify for this exception are called "early qualifying veteran free agents," and qualify after playing two seasons without being waived or changing teams as a free agent. Using this exception, a team can re-sign its own free agent for either 175% of his salary the previous season, or the NBA's average salary, whichever is greater. Early Bird contracts must be for at least two seasons, but can last no longer than five seasons

hermetically sealed and not ready for resale

Lakers vs T'Wolves: Pre-Game Ramble

9 cities, 9,000 miles later, and this road trip is almost over (the longest in franchise history, due in part to the Grammy's). It becomes clear why teams are scrambling around to defend against the Lakers recent trade aquisition of Pau, with the recent Jason Kidd trade (see below) and the Shaq trade last week, 57 points combined for Kobe and Pau combined. They are the dynamic duo as they average 44.2 points, 51% FG and 12.4 rebounds the last 5 games.

On whether he was ready to play tonight Kobe said, "Yeah, I'm ready, we have to take care of business tonight". Kobe also had a few things to say about playing with Gasol and their success together, "playing with Gasol he gives us a presence down low, somebody that can make plays, read the defense, a high basketball IQ, he can stress the floor by shooting the ball. but can also post up and get 'bigs' in foul trouble." When asked about his finger injury and him playing in the upcoming All-Star Game, he said he would like to get the injury better and healthy for the second half of the season ready to go. he added, "I can't wait to go home. I need a clean shave", let's win tonight Kobe, then take care of that shave.

6-2 on this road trip, we have a 17-10 record on the road this season.

Another Blockbuster Trade: Kidd Back to Dallas

Wow, in an attempt to strike championship gold there has been a frenzy of trades by teams to position themselves better. After each trade, it seems like it causes another one to happen, much like the "if a butterfly flaps its wings, it causes a tsunami somewhere else in the world." If that is true then there is still a storm a brewing somewhere in the NBA before the trade deadline, do you think we'll see any more 'blockbuster' trades?

If a tsunami is coming or not, this is enough of a storm after news of the Gasol trade, then the Shaq trade and now here are the details on the latest:
Jason Kidd and Malik Allen go to Dallas for 24-year-old point guard Devin Harris, Jerry Stackhouse, DeSagana Diop, former Laker Devean George, Maurice Ager, $3 million and two future No. 1 draft picks. In a second deal, the Nets send guard Antoine Wright to Dallas for a future second-round pick.

Do you think that Dallas is giving up way too much for an aging 35-year-old point guard. Let's forget about how much better Kidd is over Devin Harris, healthy even, and... the fact that they are losing Stackhouse and Diop? That's gotta hurt Dallas' depth. Those two are solid playoff performers.

What does this mean for the West?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Lakers vs. Magic: Pre-Game Ramble

1-1 with Pau Gasol, the Lakers fell apart on Wednesday against Atlanta, I know there will be some weariness after being on the road for so long, it can be tough. Then there of course is the long list of injuries, including the sore back of Gasol and the pinky finger of Bryant.

Kobe said that in spite of his shooting hand being injured that, "it has improved, and it will take some time getting used to playing with it," when asked if he will be using the same tape job he said, "no, I hated that, I threw that in the trash, it made me feel like a Trekie or something."

We'll have to see what happens tonight; will Phil sit Kobe down for extended minutes, re-arrange the startup, we'll have to wait and see.

Derek Fisher has been playin really well, his career high is 29, in the last 10 games his made 28 (his Laker high), expect a lot from him tonight.

Lakers have won the last 2 @ Orlando...lets make it 3.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Suns Are Diesel Powered

Now playing: Shaquille ONeal - Shaq Diesel

You may have heard that Shaq is on his way to Phoenix in a recent trade with Miami that attempts to retort the Lakers trade with Gasol just a few days earlier. I guess they felt pressured to make a move to stay competitive in the west and Suns general manager Steve Kerr said that Wednesday's three-player trade with Miami give them another offensive weapon and vastly improves their playoff prospects.

GM Steve Kerr said the blockbuster deal provides them with the missing piece in their playoff puzzle. "We decided to make this move based on our feeling it gives us a better chance to succeed in playoffs," Kerr said, adding, "He is one of the greatest players of all time. On all the great teams I played on there was a distinct pecking order and Shaq's presence is magnetic. I think he is going to energize our locker room."

Shaq may energize the locker room, but make them perform better in the playoffs, make them more competitive, and complete their puzzle?

"Shaq's got something to prove and plays best when he is a little angry. He wants a fifth ring," Kerr said.

Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said O'Neal passed his physical with flying colors on Wednesday and that a lot of his recent injuries just need proper treatment to heal.

"He is not going to come to Phoenix to lay an egg," D'Antoni said.

"Our medical staff thinks a lot of his problems are correctable. He is a basketball player and he knows how to pass and run. Why can't he fit into a group of guys that are really good?" Well. because they are quick, and lets face it Shaq was never really "quick", and as he's not getting any quicker at 36.

The Suns have not set a date for O'Neal, who has been out with a hip injury (replacement? ha ha), to play his first game. The Big Aristotle or The Diesel is unlikely to be ready in time for Sunday's game against Washington, Kerr said.

"He has been out a couple weeks so we have to fit him in," D'Antoni said. "Five days or 10 days, we don't know when he will play but we aren't going to rush it. When he is comfortable we will do it. But we want to get started soon as we can."

Okay a few things why this doesn't add up for the Sun's, Shaq is 35 going on 36 (next month), plagued with injuries (even when he was with the Lakers, with the toes, back, etc, etc). Don't even get me started on salary; 20 million he's owed next season and another $20 million for next season.

Okay, let's recap: Shaq is old, not the player he used to be, the Sun's are an unbelievably quick team, Shaq is slow and old, and the Sun's shell out $40 million over the next two years...Steve Kerr what were you thinking? I guess like the Cold War of the Reagan era, he felt pressured to arm himself against the recent arsenal stockpiling of the Lakers lineup with Gasol.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pau, WOW! Lakers Beat Nets 105-90

Okay, Lakers fans, I am officially "giddy" with excitement...yes, I said it, and I know if you are a true Laker fan, you know that we literally stole this guy from Memphis...are you freakin" kidding me? I still can't believe we got this guy and in the process dumped Kwame Brown (check out the video in a previous Post, this guy expresses my sentiments exactly). This is just a precursor of things to come. Now on to the good stuff...

Gasol had 24 points and 12 rebounds in his debut game as a Laker, helping the Lakers beat the New Jersey Nets 105-90 tonight despite a limited point contribution from Bryant who had a season-low six points, his first single-digit effort in more than a year. Gasol had only one practice and one shootaround with the Lakers, but was included into the starting lineup anyway and received a loud ovation when he was announced during introductions."I'm starting to realize how big the Lakers are around the country and around the world," Gasol said before the game. "I had a little bit of a feel when they coming (into Memphis) because I see more Lakers jerseys than Grizzlies jerseys in the stands. But that happens everywhere."

D-Fish matched a season high of 28 points to lead the Lakers, which improved their record to 3-1 on their nine-game road trip. Bryant shot just 3-of-13 from the floor, but had eight assists in his lowest-scoring effort since an eight-point game against Denver on Jan. 5, 2007. Fisher scored 10 points in the third quarter and the Lakers led 75-71 entering the fourth.

Super Tuesday (Gasol Debut): LA LAKERS (30-16) vs. NJ NETS (20-27)

Super Tuesday? Yeah, that voting thing, but also because Pau Gasol is expected to start in the center position tonight in his first game suited up as a Laker. He will give the Lakers a much different look (and a different look himself wearing a Laker jersey, but the same #16), after the Lakers took care of Washington and Toronto with no problem, with the help of the great playing of Kobe Bryant; and that's the key, Pau will be playing with the best player in the league...Kobe Bryant, and this should only elevate his game. Gasol is averaging 20.7 points and shooting 55.6 percent in his last three games against New Jersey.

One of the things bringing the Lakers down is the amount of injuries, take a look at the Lakers injury report:

Trevor Ariza: Fractured Foot - Out
Andrew Bynum: Left Patella Subluxation - Out
Pau Gasol: Sore Back - DTD
Chris Mihm: Right Ankle Bursitis - Out
Lamar Odom: Bruised Shin - Probable
Vladimir Radmanovic: Sprained Right Ankle - Probable
Luke Walton: Right Hip Pointer - DTD

While most are betting on their candidate to win, here's something else to bet's the line:
LA Lakers SPREAD -7-110 MONEYLINE -320 OVER/UNDER 209-110
New Jersey Nets SPREAD 7-110 MONEYLINE 260 OVER/UNDER 209-110
Favorite: LA Lakers

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Lakers 103 Wizards 91 - Gasoless

While most people are running around last minute for chips and dip for their Super Bowl party, the Lakers were playing basketball this morning at 9am against the Washington Wizards.

Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 30 points on 10-of-15 from the floor, and five Lakers were shooting in double digits as the Lakers won with ease in Washington.

Pau Gasol sat out this mornings road game against the Washington Wizards, as he wasn't quite ready to play for his new team because of a sore back, a mere 48 hours after news of his trade and an unfamiliarity of the triangle offense.

"We want him to practice first," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "He traveled back and forth across the country, up all night, short hours of sleep."

"This isn't a fair situation for him. We'll practice tomorrow and see how he feels. Play with the guys before we have him going into an NBA game with the 'Showtime' thing."

Gasol, the 2002 NBA Rookie of the Year and a 2006 all-star, averaged 18.9 points and 8.8 rebounds for the Memphis Grizzlies this season, his seventh with the team.

The Spaniard missed three of four games because of a bad back before Friday's trade. The Grizzlies got Kwame Brown, rookie Javaris Crittenton, two first-round draft picks, cash and the rights to Gasol's brother Marc. The Lakers also received Memphis' 2010 second-round draft pick.

"I didn't see it coming. I didn't know anything about it," Gasol said. "I'm trying to digest everything that's been going (on) with me the last two days, and get ready to rock and roll."

He wore jeans and a black zippered sweater for a brief news conference at the Wizards' arena - the first three minutes were in Spanish, the next four in English - then went to the visiting locker room to change.

Moments later, Gasol was out on the court for some shooting and low-post drills, wearing a purple T-shirt and purple shorts and standing near Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

When asked if this deal will put an end to the talk about whether Bryant would be traded, Jackson replied: "It depends on how well it works. ... It will give us a more complete game, a more fluid game. Kobe sees that it will give us some opportunities to come back in games."

The Lakers hope he can help them overcome recent injuries to Lakers starters, including up and coming Andrew Bynum.

"Pau gives us a strength in the post," Jackson said. "If Andrew becomes healthy again this year, it will give us a double post.

"We'll have the biggest front line in the West. That could be a factor. It's a great patch in the hole. It's a great way to shore up some of the things that were bothering us, that hurt us last year."

additional notes: ... Jackson talked about donating money to Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign and mentioned that he "put a plug out for Obama'' on his Los Angeles TV show. ... Butler's free-throw streak ended after an NBA season-best 73 consecutive makes; he missed one with 17.5 seconds left in the third quarter. ... The Lakers are three games into a nine-game road trip.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Grizzlies Fedex Gasol Overnight to L.A.; Sorry Memphis, No Returns

Gasol said he was struggling to take in the news of his move to the west coast.
"I'm up in the clouds, I still can't believe it," he said. "I'm still in a state of shock, but in personal and professional terms it is a huge boost for me and a huge opportunity.
"I'm going to fight to the death to achieve the team's objectives. In Los Angeles I will have a chance to win the title."
Gasol said the only downside to his move was that he would be leaving Spanish team mate and close friend Juan Carlos Navarro at Memphis.
"We knew it was a possibility that we had talked about over the course of the season and he said to me: 'I hope they transfer you to a decent team'.
"I know that he is very happy for me but we are both a bit affected by it."

The following article gives insight into the Memphis Grizzlies perspective after just one day after losing Pau Gasol, as it was definitely a big loss for Memphis and a huge gain for LA. As I read this article, Gasol is on his way from the Fedex Forum to the Staples Center (Gasol will undergo a medical exam with the Lakers today), and I get the sense that there is a bit of sellers remorse, what do you think?

Grizzlies begin moving on without Gasol, day after trade with Lakers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -The face of the Memphis Grizzlies franchise is gone, and so is some of the proof that he was a major part of the team.

The Grizzlies officially started their rebuilding Saturday night against the Utah Jazz, a day after trading Pau Gasol, the team's all-time leading scorer, to the Los Angeles Lakers for a trio of players and draft picks.

Gone are Gasol's pictures on the wall. Gone is his locker room space. Gone is the jersey hung near the rafters, promoting his Pau Amigos, his arm for the tickets for kids campaign. Gone are his 18.9 points and 8.8 rebounds a game.

"It's a sad time, and it's an exciting time,'' Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "It's going to be an exciting time for Pau. He's going to go to a place where I think he's going to be very helpful to their championship dreams.

"But it's also an exciting time for us because we feel we've got a chance to be flexible in the offseason and mold a new-look team.''

Javaris Crittenton, along with Kwame Brown and Aaron McKie, was shipped to Memphis in the deal. The Lakers also gave up first-round draft choices this year and in 2010, and the rights to Marc Gasol, Pau's brother.

Pau Gasol had been with the Grizzlies his entire NBA career. He was obtained in a 2001 draft night deal with the Atlanta Hawks, who drafted him third overall. He entered the NBA the year Memphis joined the league after the Grizzlies relocated from Vancouver.

Gasol leads the franchise in 12 statistical categories, including points, rebounds and blocks. He was the 2002 Rookie of the Year and franchise's only All-Star, selected as a reserve in 2006.

Besides the Gasol trade, Memphis released veteran point guard Damon Stoudamire recently, and is expected to trade forward Stromile Swift to the New Jersey Nets for Jason Collins on Monday.

"It's been kind of crazy,'' reserve forward Hakim Warrick said. "We've lost a lot of leadership these last couple of days and not to see (Gasol) is going to be weird. Just knowing he's not going to be back. Knowing he's at a different team. (It's) just a weird feeling not to see him in a Grizzlies jersey.

"It's a tough time right now.''

Like Warrick, other players acknowledged it was strange to see the team leader leave. Some quietly shook their heads about the move. Others saw it as an opportunity for more playing time. Most said it was a matter of sticking together and the team moving forward.

Rookie guard Mike Conley said he looked forward to the challenge of helping the Grizzlies start over and build a competitive team.

"It's almost a new organization trying to get back on its feet,'' Conley said. "We're definitely up to the challenge. We think we have the pieces to start rebuilding. Hopefully, we can get that done and get back on our feet.''

Crittenton, another first-year point guard, said the situation will be better for him than it was in Los Angeles, where he was stuck behind veterans and averaged less than 8 minutes a game.

The 20-year-old, who left after his freshman season at Georgia Tech, was the 19th overall pick last summer. He averaged 3.3 points in 22 games for the Lakers.

"It was a shocker, but now that I look at it, I think it is a blessing to be here,'' Crittenton said. "It's a better opportunity for me. In the Lakers organization, you had a lot of veterans, and it was tough to get playing time.

"This is a better opportunity for me to get out and experience the NBA.''

Friday, February 1, 2008

Lakers vs. Raptors.....and Gasol Update

If you are a devoted reader, you would have known about the trade this morning before anyone else, was the first to break this story.
Here is the latest report from ESPN this afternoon:

It is official...Gasol will be wearing #16:

Lakers are going to have a tough go of it tonight as Toronto has won the last 6 consecutive home games and 8 of the last 11, and with the trade, the Lakers are shorthanded without a center...time for Ronny Turiaf to step it up!

Lakers Get Gasol ...And Then Dump Brown

How do the Lakers spell relief? G-A-S-O-L...Thank Kupchak for gettin off the pot, and earnin' your pay...

...That's right folks, it's an exclusive story broken by that General Manager Mitch Kupchak plans to announce today that the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired forward Pau Gasol in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Lakers will also receive the Grizzlies second round draft choice in 2010. In exchange Memphis will receive forward Kwame Brown, guard Javaris Crittenton, guard Aaron McKie (who the Lakers signed earlier today), the draft rights to Marc Gasol and first round picks in 2008 and 2010.

Gasol, who is a 7th year player out of Spain, he averages 18.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.44 blocked shots per game this season. The 27 year old 7’0” forward/center has career averages of 18.8 points and 8.6 rebounds. A 2006 NBA All-Star and 2001-02 NBA Rookie of the Year, Gasol also won a gold medal with Spain at the 2006 FIBA World Championships while being named tournament MVP.

“We’re extremely pleased to be able to make this trade.” said Kupchak. “Pau is a proven player of all-star caliber in this league who can score and rebound and he’s still a young player. We feel this move strengthens our team in the short term as well as the long term.”

Here is some pre-trade stats...seems like a hellava deal to me...What do you guys think? Click the comments button below to weigh in on this...
Photo: Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol
Salary: $13,735,000 Years Remaining: 4
PTS: 18.9 REB: 8.8 AST: 3.0 PER: 20.55

Photo: Kwame Brown
Kwame Brown
Salary: $9,075,000 Years Remaining: 1
PTS: 5.7 REB: 5.7 AST: 1.2 PER: 9.87
HANDS: Too Small (like a baby elf)