Tag:Los Angeles Lakers
Posted on: March 5, 2012 1:39 pm
 

Baseline Awards: Lakers on the hunt

Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are playing their best ball of the season (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore


The Baseline Awards celebrate the week that was and give you a track of where the awards are at throughout the NBA season. Some are serious, some are not, but all took way longer than necessary to compile. 

Eastern Conference Player of the Week: Rajon Rondo

Three guys have had a triple-double like the one Rajon Rondo had Sunday against the Knicks. Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, and Rondo. That's the list. Rondo's 18-point, 17-rebound, 20-assist 3D is the stuff of legend. It's enough for him to win outright this week. We're a league absolutely obsessed with the pull-up mid-range jumpshot. We make a big deal about dunks, and we talk a big game about team defense, but really, what we care about is rising up and hitting a mid-range jumper with a hand in the face. That's what Jordan did, and many of us are colored one way or another by the Jordan era. What Rondo does is so phenomenally different in its style than anyone else's approach, it almost makes Sunday's game more impressive.

The Celtics need so much every night and Rondo continues to provide it. He wasn't even offensively efficient on Sunday. But he creates so much action on a per-minute basis that you're left wondering if he's the entire Celtics team, in reality. These trade rumors are nonsense, barring an unbelievable offer. Rondo's one of the best in the game.


Western Conference Player of the Week: Kobe Bryant


There's a perception that those that look at advanced metrics and efficiency "have it out" for Kobe Bryant. Or "are haterzzzz" or whatever. But as a guy who's a big fan of analytics and efficiency, I'm telling you right now, Kobe Bryant is playing his best ball of the season. Yes, better than the 40-point stretch. He's working in the flow of the offense, finding good shots, hitting them at a great clip, getting to the line, everything. He's been simply brilliant. He's creating for his teammates, he's playing better than usual defense (and his defense is usually above-average). These are the stretches for Bryant where you understand the constant calls for him as the best player in the world. That those are usually based on inconsistent and flawed data regarding "ringz" and "clutch" are irrelevant. The Black Mamba is striking everything right now.


The Puzzling Enigma Award: Strangest week from player or team


Phoenix Suns

How have they won three in a row? How? How is this possible? Schedule advantages aside, they knocked off a near-playoff team in Minnesota, a playoff team in the Clippers, and a feisty Kings team. All at home, sure. But that's three games in a row and they're within spitting distance of .500 and throwing distance of the 8th seed. Steve Nash is still doing this at his age. It's incredible. I have zero understanding of how they are even out of the basement.


The Horde Award: Team you should fear


Los Angeles Lakers

There are a lot of teams on impressive runs right now. But the Lakers are playing their best ball of the season. They're just tearing through teams right now. Sunday's win over the Heat was a statement game. The fact remains that if this team gets home court advantage they're going to be a killer out in the playoffs. With their size and wing defenders starting to play well, their only real deficit is at point guard and they're getting by. They're not the invincible Lakers of years past, but they're exceptionally good.


Cub Scout Troop Award: Team you should not fear


Portland Trail Blazers

It's a train wreck. The players are divided in the locker room by all accounts, there's rampant talk of Nate McMillan getting fired, and they're losing games along with the soul of their team. There isn't a more mentally weak opponent right now


Searching For Bobby Fischer Award for Stratagem:


Tom Thibodeau's late-game adjustments to San Antonio. Thibodeau recognized the damage perimeter penetration was creating and packed the lane against the Spurs, daring them to beat them on rushed shots from the outside against a super-long lineup. It worked, Tony Parker was stymied, and the Bulls got a big win over the Spurs.


Awkward Water Cooler Conversation Award for Coaching Struggle:


Doug Collins late-game scoring options

The Sixers need to seize on the wonderful season Andre Iguodala is having and put the ball in his hands late in games. He doesn't have to shoot it all the time, but Lou Williams is trying to go NBA Jam every time and opponents know it. They need to be able to close and even if Iguodala isn't a superstar he can play one for thirty seconds. Against the Bulls and Thunder the Sixers blew opportunities to get their daggers in by squandering possessions. Rare criticism for the presumptive Coach of the Year.


Blog of the Week: SilverScreenAndRoll.com

The Lakers have a pretty nutso fanbase, I'm going to be honest. All fans are nuts. Lakers fans think they can trade Luke Walton for Chris Paul and Matt Barnes for Andre Iguodala. To be fair, they've been on the receiving end of some of the most lopsided trades in history. But they take it far. Which is why it's great SilverScreenAndRoll.com exists. It's a site that clearly shows the Laker side of history but gives hones and open criticism, has a sense of humor about itself, and doens't stray into too much cheerleading or moping. It gives great insight into multiple ways to approach the game and should be essential reading for you.


MVP rankings:

1. LeBron James: Yup, even still. Sorry, I'm not going to throw out being the most dominant force on the planet for 45 minutes because he passes to an open man in the 48th. His legacy is compromised, his MVP resume is not.
2. Kevin Durant: Started chucking a bit against Atlanta, and falls back to the pack a bit. If James falls out because of the clutch nonsense or because they rest him, it's going to be a fight down the stretch between Durant and the two behind him.
3. Derrick Rose: Oh, hey Derrick. Good to see you back. What's that, you want to destroy all of us in a fire of impossible floaters? OK.
4. Kobe Bryant: If he does what he does and doesn't need as many bad shots to do it, this is the best pound-for-pound offensive player on the planet Earth.
5. Chris Paul: Hard to get the kind of assist numbers he should have when none of is guys can hit a shot right now.
6. Tony Parker: I'm one of the few who believes there's a big gap between Parker and the top five based on his perimeter defense. Parker ballhawks but too often is caught out of position. Which would be a problem if he hadn't been insanely brilliant this year.
7. Andre Iguodala: If I'm willing to say he's the DPOY (and I am), he should get a shot here.

(Honestly, this completes the list at this point.)


ROY Rankings:


1. Kyrie Irving: That Anderson Varejao injury may have cost us the chance to see Irving put the Fear of God in someone in the first round of the playoffs, Rose '09 style.
2. Ricky Rubio: If Rubio bounced a pass off his nose like a seal for an assist, would you be surprised? Me either.
3. Isaiah Thomas: Mr. Irrelvant is doing some special things in Sacramento, if you can bear to watch.
4. Kemba Walker: I was impressed with Walker's control during the Nets game, improving more than I thought he would.
5. MarShon Brooks: The re-emergence of Brook Lopez is giving him some issues in terms of flow. Just 20 points total in his last three games.


DPOY Rankings
1. Andre Iguodala: Night and night out the most versatile defender in the NBA.
2. Luol Deng: When Deng sticks you it's like getting snuggied by an anaconda.
3. Dwight Howard: He's so good his effort level is way down this season and he's still third.
4. LeBron James: Same deal as Howard.
5. Tony Allen: Dwane Casey called him "a pitbull." Here was his response.

Posted on: March 4, 2012 6:49 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 7:23 pm
 

Mamba strikes for revenge as Lakers top Heat

Kobe Bryant took it to Dwyane Wade and the Heat Sunday. (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore


Maybe all he needed was a reason to make it personal. Kobe Bryant has struggled against LeBron James over the past four years as James has risen to become one of, if not the best players in the NBA. Bryant's Lakers lost games to James' Cavaliers and both matches with the Heat last year, and one earlier this season. But after a hard foul from Dwyane Wade in the All-Star game gave him a concussion and broken nose which required him to wear a mask Sunday against the Heat, things changed. Despite Bryant saying that he didn't take offense to the foul, he certainly looked like a man possessed. 

Bryant scored 33 points on 23 shots, a model of efficieny as the Lakers downed the Heat 93-83 to improve to 3-0 since the All-Star Break. He hurt the Heat from every angle with every type of shot. He worked in the flow of the offense, something he's struggled with this season and which has hurt the Lakers' offense repeatedly. Bryant would never admit that Wade's foul on him during the All-Star game had an effect, but it was clear that Bryant was zoned in to win this game. 

It may not have been a revenge game, but it sure looked like it.

In the bigger picture, the Lakers bullied the Heat defensively Sunday, and that was the real difference maker. They shut off their transition opportunities and in the halfcourt bodied, shook, jarred and shoved them around. It was a physical contest and yet the Lakers were the more aggressive team overall. That tough defense only drew 15 free throws on 17 personal fouls versus the Lakers' 29 free throws on 23 personal fouls.

Most impressive may have been Metta World Peace, who has struggled the past two seasons, but had 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals, hitting 2-4 from the thraee-point line and a series of dagger turnarounds. Basically, if the world ended Sunday night you couldn't be all that surprised. MWP was everywhere defensively, badgering James and making steals and saves to dirsupt the Heat offense.

The size advantage for Miami was huge, especially with Chris Bosh missing another game due to personal reasons. The Heat had no way to stop or deter Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, and the twin towers pounded them on the offensive glass. Let me put it this way. In the fourth quarter, LeBron James was trying to wrap-around passes to Juwan Howard for finishes in traffic. You can imagine how that worked out.

The Lakers are playing the best ball of their season right now, the Heat on the third game of a West Coast road trip without Bosh. But it was a statement game for L.A. all the same, and one they needed.

The worst of the night has to go to Dwyane Wade, who shot 7-17 for 16 points and fouled out with five fouls, including one late useless bump on Kobe Bryant. Wade was frustrated with the physical play by L.A. all afternoon (Wade only shot two free throws), and seemed bothered by the intensity of the game and Bryant in particular. 

Turns out it's never wise to make a snake angry.
Posted on: March 4, 2012 6:49 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 7:23 pm
 

Mamba strikes for revenge as Lakers top Heat

Kobe Bryant took it to Dwyane Wade and the Heat Sunday. (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore


Maybe all he needed was a reason to make it personal. Kobe Bryant has struggled against LeBron James over the past four years as James has risen to become one of, if not the best players in the NBA. Bryant's Lakers lost games to James' Cavaliers and both matches with the Heat last year, and one earlier this season. But after a hard foul from Dwyane Wade in the All-Star game gave him a concussion and broken nose which required him to wear a mask Sunday against the Heat, things changed. Despite Bryant saying that he didn't take offense to the foul, he certainly looked like a man possessed. 

Bryant scored 33 points on 23 shots, a model of efficieny as the Lakers downed the Heat 93-83 to improve to 3-0 since the All-Star Break. He hurt the Heat from every angle with every type of shot. He worked in the flow of the offense, something he's struggled with this season and which has hurt the Lakers' offense repeatedly. Bryant would never admit that Wade's foul on him during the All-Star game had an effect, but it was clear that Bryant was zoned in to win this game. 

It may not have been a revenge game, but it sure looked like it.

In the bigger picture, the Lakers bullied the Heat defensively Sunday, and that was the real difference maker. They shut off their transition opportunities and in the halfcourt bodied, shook, jarred and shoved them around. It was a physical contest and yet the Lakers were the more aggressive team overall. That tough defense only drew 15 free throws on 17 personal fouls versus the Lakers' 29 free throws on 23 personal fouls.

Most impressive may have been Metta World Peace, who has struggled the past two seasons, but had 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals, hitting 2-4 from the thraee-point line and a series of dagger turnarounds. Basically, if the world ended Sunday night you couldn't be all that surprised. MWP was everywhere defensively, badgering James and making steals and saves to dirsupt the Heat offense.

The size advantage for Miami was huge, especially with Chris Bosh missing another game due to personal reasons. The Heat had no way to stop or deter Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, and the twin towers pounded them on the offensive glass. Let me put it this way. In the fourth quarter, LeBron James was trying to wrap-around passes to Juwan Howard for finishes in traffic. You can imagine how that worked out.

The Lakers are playing the best ball of their season right now, the Heat on the third game of a West Coast road trip without Bosh. But it was a statement game for L.A. all the same, and one they needed.

The worst of the night has to go to Dwyane Wade, who shot 7-17 for 16 points and fouled out with five fouls, including one late useless bump on Kobe Bryant. Wade was frustrated with the physical play by L.A. all afternoon (Wade only shot two free throws), and seemed bothered by the intensity of the game and Bryant in particular. 

Turns out it's never wise to make a snake angry.
Posted on: March 4, 2012 6:32 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 6:46 pm
 

LeBron James steps on lady's sandal video

LeBron James crushes a woman's sandaled foot. (ESPN Broadcast)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

Falling short late in games is surely frustrating, but that's no reason to pick on a defenseless woman.

On Sunday, Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James suffered a second straight defeat, as the Los Angeles Lakers emerged from a nationally-televised showdown with a 93-83 win at Staples Center. This after James had been ridiculed for passing on the game-deciding possession during a Friday night loss to the Jazz in Utah.

On Sunday, James' late-game folly was less about choking and passing and more about crushing and stomping. Indeed, James just demolished a gray-haired woman's sandaled foot during the game's closing minutes, rolling his left ankle in the process.

With a little bit more than a minute left to play in the game, James attempted to intercept an inbounds pass and went crashing into the courtside crowd. There, his foot landed squarely on the sandal of an elderly woman, who seemed none too pleased about it. James rolled around on the court briefly in pain but was able to continue playing. The woman, however, looked shocked, mortified and terrified, all in one.

James is listed at 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds so that's a lot of force coming down on the toes and toenails. He finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in 43 minutes on 12-for-26 shooting. 

Here's the video of Miami Heat forward LeBron James stepping on a woman's sandaled foot during the fourth quarter of a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.


Posted on: March 1, 2012 2:17 pm
 

Wolves shopping Beasley hard, Celtics interested?

 Celtics? Lakers? Rockets? Nets? Where will B-Easy end up after the deadline? (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

There's smoke around Michael Beasley right now.

No, not that kind of smoke. Trade smoke. Beasley's name has been popping up in trade rumors since the draft last June, and yet he's remained with the Timberwolves. But if you were wanting to bet on a player most likely to be moved before the March 15 deadline, you'd have a pretty good shot with Beasley.

There's already been noise surrounding a potential move to the Lakers, with the Lakers being hesitant to give up a first round pick for him. But as CSN New England reports, the Wolves are working hard to move Beasley:
"Beasley is being shopped HARD. T-Wolves very motivated to move him, and yes, the Celtics have some interest."
Fox Sports Ohio adds this:
"Wolves have already spoken with New Jersey, Houston and the L.A. Lakers about Beasley. While both teams are said to still be open to a deal, it appears Beasley's most likely landing spot, for the time being, is Boston."
The Lakers would indeed like to add a player like Beasley, who they feel they can straighten out with their veteran leadership. Problem is, it'll cost them money. It'll dig the Lakers deeper into the luxury tax. Beasley is making $6.2 million but with L.A. already over the tax line, he's basically making $12.4 million in terms of what they'd be paying. A hefty price to pay for someone that could turn out to be a headache.

Boston though makes a lot of sense. The Wolves really don't have a need for Beasley with rookie Derrick Williams coming along, but aren't looking to take back nothing in return. Boston has a few assets, and a few first round picks they could use, which seems like is what the Wolves are after.
Posted on: February 29, 2012 3:01 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 9:56 pm
 

Kobe clears tests, will play Wednesday

By Matt Moore

UPDATE: Kobe will play Wednesday, wearing a mask.

---

Kobe Bryant may not miss any action after all. (Getty)
You knew Kobe Bryant would do everything in his power to make it back to the floor for Wednesday night's game against the Timberwolves. And early reports indicate that's exactly what's happening. As part of the NBA's new concussion policy, Bryant had to clear a series of neurological tests as well as a series of performance drills without suffering any lingering symptoms of the concussion he suffered from Dwyane Wade's foul during the All-Star Game last sunday. 
Kobe has passed all of the tests mandated thus far (neurological, bicycle, Axon and treadmill).
via Twitter / @LakersReporter: Kobe has passed all of the ....
Bottom line is that if Kobe passes the 2-on-2 hoops test now, & another w/neurologist pregame, he may well be able to play.
via Twitter / @LakersReporter: Bottom line is that if Kob ....

 The Lakers also indicated that Bryant has been symptom-free since yesterday afternoon when the specialist he saw advised an additonal MRI and a visit with the neurologist. Those are all positive signs. While Bryant will try and push through, the team and league will be very cautious with their approach considering the nature of the injury and the fact that his symptoms lasted more than 24 hours. But, you know Kobe...
If Bryant is cleared by the neurologist before the game, he WILL start and play against the Timberwolves.
via Twitter / @LakersReporter: If Bryant is cleared by th ....

We'll keep you updated on Bryant's status before gametime.
Posted on: February 28, 2012 6:53 pm
 

Kobe still suffering symptoms from Wade foul



By Matt Moore 

Lakers' team reporter Mike Trudell is reporting that Kobe Bryant is still suffering from symptoms of his nasal fracture and concussion sustained Sunday after a hard foul from Dwyane Wade, and is being referred for an MRI. From Lakers.com: 
Kobe Bryant went to see ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. John Rehm on Tuesday after suffering a broken nose at Sunday’s All-Star game, and because Bryant is experiencing further symptoms, Dr. Rehm recommended an MRI and that Bryant see a neurologist.

Bryant, who did not practice with the team on Tuesday, is expected to see the neurologist and undergo the exam this afternoon; the Lakers will provide an update as soon as one becomes available.
via Kobe Bryant Injury Update « Lakers Blog.

With the NBA's new concussion policy stipulating that a player must pass a series of neurologic tests before being cleared for play, Bryant's availability for Wednesday's game against Minnesota in L.A. continues to be in doubt.

Wade told reporters Tuesday he "sent a message" of apology to Bryant during the All-Star Game, whatever that means. The Lakers face the Heat at Staples Center on Sunday. Bryant had told reporters he planned to practice Tuesday but obviously did not, and given the nature of the injury, it's likely that the team will be exceedingly cautious with regards to the injury.
Posted on: February 28, 2012 4:39 pm
 

Wade says he sent 'a message' of apology to Kobe

Posted by Royce Young



Pretty much everyone had the same reaction to Dwyane Wade's oddly hard foul on Kobe Bryant Sunday during the All-Star Game. What the crap was up with that?

In a regular game nobody would've batted an eye, but in the relaxed, fun setting of an All-Star Game, it definitely appeared out of place. Wade explained it afterward by saying he didn't mean to draw blood and was just getting Kobe back for some fouls on the other end.

But what ended up happening was that Kobe broke his nose, suffered a mild concussion and has to wear a mask for a little bit. So Wade feels a little bad now. And would like to say he's sorry. Via the Sun Sentinel, Wade says he sent "a message" of apology to Kobe for the broken nose and stressed he didn't mean any harm.
"I sent him a message, with my apologies. Unfortunate that happened to him, but that's all I could do," Wade said following Tuesday's practice at AmericanAirlines Arena, the first time he has commented on the incident since Sunday. "He knows it's no ill intent on me to do that. Did I take a foul? Yes, I took a foul. So, talk about me for taking a foul. But I never wanted that kind of outcome."

[...]

"It's unfortunate, obviously," he said. "You don't never want to hurt nobody, anybody in this game, especially on a freak play like that. So, you know it's unfortunate.

"I sent my apologies. But, you know, not intentional. If it's something I did intentionally, it's a different story. So it's unfortunate."
Wade really didn't have to apologize like that. It's basketball. Bloody noses, busted lips and black eyes happen all the time. When it does, you say, "My bad" and keep moving on. This only became something bigger because in the traditional manner of the All-Star Game, you don't see things like that. Wade said he was just "taking a foul" to stop play so he could talk to the ref about two calls he didn't get on the other end. It was an accident, end of story. It might've looked funny, but the fact Kobe got his nose broken wasn't the intention.

Still, people like TNT's Reggie Miller were extremely critical of Wade's foul on Kobe and called for him to apologize publicly. Wade isn't into that.
"Reggie don't know what was said," Wade said. "When I saw his blood, obviously I didn't try to do that. I don't know if anybody wants me to get down on my knees in front of the world and do it. I don't have to do that.

"Like I said, everyone has an opinion, everyone uses their opinion. Like I said, I sent my apologies to Kobe and I move on from it. It's unfortunate. It was not nothing that was ill intent, in a sense. But this will be the last time I talk about it from this point on."

And guess what, you guys? The Heat play the Lakers on Sunday. So that should be a little more fun now. If Andrew Bynum clotheslines Wade on a drive to the basket, I think you'll know why.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com