Kobe Bryant returned on Sunday night after missing about 8 months of ball due to an Achilles injury. The Raptors were without Rudy Gay who just got traded to Sacramento. The Lakers, well they were without an inside presence. And so they lost.
Here are the cons of the night: Pau Gasol sucked. He was muscles around, couldn’t get a shot off, and his body language was horrible. I’m glad this is his last year in purple and gold. He also made Amir Johnson of the Raptors look like Bill Russell. Johnson finished with 32 points and 10 rebounds. Another problem is Robert Sacre. Great Mark Madsenesque cheerleader, but this guy shouldn’t be getting any minutes at this level, let alone starting for the LAKERS?!?!?! They need to start Shawne Williams. At least he opens up the floor and can hit a 3. One more problem for those Lakers’ guards,, fouling jump shooters is a no-no. Basketball 101…
As for Kobe, looked a bit rustier than I expected. Too many turnovers (8) and was trying a little too hard to be a distributor. Seems like he also lost a step and the quickness is not there anymore. I’ve gonna wait ’till I pass judgment on him but I expected more than 9 points from him.
Pros: The Lakers bench, they finally have one. Nick Young and Jodie Meeks are instant offense. Jordan Hill is a hustler. I just don’t know why he can’t develop some post moves. Xavier Henry seems a little meatheady but 17 points in 14 minutes… D’Antoni’s gotta find a way to put him in the game. This team is not a contender for the finals. IF they make the playoffs, they will get swept in the first round. But at the very least, it makes the rest of the season a bit more interesting. I gotta admit though, they played a lot better with Kobester on the bench… I’m just saying… Makes you think about that 2 year extension.
If you’re wondering why the Lakers can’t get over the .500 hump, look no further then their biggest problem, coming from their biggest man, Dwight Howard. He’s shooting .485 from the free throw line. Called “free” for a reason. Called “charity stripe” for that same reason. Yet big Dwight, who runs up and down the floor so lackadaisically, just can’t seem to put it together. Imaging how frustrating it is to make a stop on the defensive end, come down with the ball, get it to the big guy who gets fouled, is sent to the line, and misses both free throws. And its not happening once a game, he went 3 for 14 from the line yesterday. I mean talk about demoralizing to the rest of the team. You can see it in Kobe’s body language. You can even see it in Nash’s body language. Missing freethrows has gotten contagious. I bet you didn’t know that Howard made 67% of his freethrows in his rookie year? Howard is a perfect headcase. You knew in the first quarter that he wasn’t gonna have a decent/respectable day from the line. You can see it in his eyes. Try to focus for pete’s sake. We’re not asking for much, just 50%. Just run up and down the court with energy. You have bad hands. That’s why people don’t pass you the ball often. You goaltend at least 1 shot a game. I’m frustrated. What good is it going to do for the Lakers to make the first round of the playoffs. So we can all watch them get swept by the Thunder? I’m predicting that they’re not going to make the playoffs so we don’t have to worry about it. The Lakers should’ve traded Howard before the deadline. Big mistake by Jimmy Buss. Then again, so was hiring D’antoni.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am pumped about the NBA season which is set to kick off Tuesday night! Maybe it’s because I’m a Lakers homer, but c’mon, you gotta admit Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant on the same team sounds intriguing? How about the Clippers adding Grant Hill, Odom and Jamaal Crawford? Will Blake’s knee hold up? The scariest move for me was the Heat signing Ray Allen. A consistent shooter on a dangerous team like that. I have them as favorites to win it all. I like what Boston did in picking Jason Terry but it ain’t gonna be enough. Not only are KG and Paul Pierce 1 year older, but they have no depth. I can’t wait for the annual Knicks’ Amare v. Carmelo drama to begin. With Harden gone from OKC (BIG MISTAKE), I can’t see the any legitimate threat for the Lakers in the west. Not even Iguodola in Denver is gonna make a difference. Then again, isn’t it true that every NBA team is 1 injury away from going to the cellar? Look what happened to D-Rose and Chicago. Truth be told, I don’t even think he’s coming back this year. Chicago might end up being a lottery team. Hang on folks, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!
Deja vu all over again…Los Angeles Lakers blew another 4th quarter lead tonight, just like they did in game 2. Instead of being up 3 games to 1, the Lakers just kissed their season and hopes of a Championship… GOODBYE. I blame Kobe for game 2’s loss. I blame the team for this one. Changing of the guard, well that happened last year when the Lake Show got swept by Dallas. This was just a reminder for all those Angelinos that thought that the Lakers were going to pull this series out. There’s something toxic, cancerous about this Lakers team. It reminds me of Shaq’s last year. Andrew Bynum was dominating the 1st half. 2nd half, M.I.A. Blame the others for not getting the ball to him. Blame Bynum for not getting open. Blame Mike Brown for not drawing up plays for Bynum. Pau Gasol, I’m done defending this guy. Step aside Dirk Nowitzki, here’s the posterboy for softness. Ramon Session, disappointing is all I can say. Lakers bench, what bench? Kobe Bryant, Kobe Bryant… Too many errors, too many mistakes, too many bad shots too, too many turnovers. How easy was it for Westbrook and Durant to score? GEEZ, James Harden looked like a superstar. The Lakers are gonna get blasted next game. I promise you that they will lose by double digits. As for the offseason, now would be the time for Jimbo Buss to make a name for himself. Put everyone on the block. Get some heart on this team. To have 3 all-stars on 1 team and no get past the second round for the 2nd year in a row is a joke. If this same team returns next year, you can expect another playoff torching. Buss should call Sterling and maybe join the two teams.
If you thought that the Lakers just didn’t have enough this year to compete, you weren’t the only one. Then something happened: they traded for pg in Ramon Sessions, got PF Jordan Hill, dumped the crap off their payroll (i.e. Luke Walton and Jason Kapono) and then willed their way to 3rd place in the West. Now they’ve beaten the Denver Nuggets twice…handily and are on their way to Denver to steal at least one of the next two games. The Lakers are the only team with 2 legitimate 7 footers that can go drop 20+ points and grab 10+ boards a game. We all know about Kobe. Their only glaring weakness is the bench. I’m concerned about Ron, I mean Metta World Idiot coming back and ruining their flow. Wish the league suspended him for the entire playoffs.
Just 1 week after Dwayne Wade broke Kobe Bryant’s nose and gave him a concussion in an All-star game, Kobe Bryant punched the entire Heat team right in the mouth. In what everyone (including myself) thought was going to be a beat-down by the Lebron led Heat, turned out to be quite the opposite. Bryant came out storming, with 16 points in the first quarter alone. He finished the game with 33. The big men also dominated, with each Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol posting double-doubles. I’m not gonna say it but I’m beginning to see Ron Artest, err Metta World Peace showing flashes of his Sacramento and Houston years when he was averaging close to 20 points again. Don’t count this Lakers team out. Everyone has been giving the crown to the Clippers and not giving the Lake Show a chance. Don’t look now but they have the 4th best record in the West with plenty of time to move past the Clips. Second half of the season should be sick.
So it seems like the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Let’s just say it works cap-wise, how the heck would New Orleans and Orlando basically hand the Lakers the Championship. The Lakers starting lineup would be Chris Paul at the point, Kobe at the 2, Ron Artest at the small forward, Dwight Howard in the middle and Derrick Caracter at power forward? In essence, the Lakers are going all in with this move, if it happens. I do like trading away Andrew Bynum. He’s had knee problems for a while and I don’t think he likes being a 4th option. I’d love to see how he is when he’s the man. Although I’d miss Pau Gasol, getting Howard will give the Lakers a physical presence in the paint. As for L.O., consistency has always been a problem for Lamar. Double-double one game, M.I.A. the next. Getting Chris Paul will finally give the Lakers a true point guard, one they haven’t had since Magic. I can see the Dwight Howard trade happening but not Chris Paul. Paul has made it obviosu that he wants to go to NY to play with Carmelo and Amare. Paul is not an LA guy. He’s East Coast. If the Lakers made this move, it would be the sickest every. Better than the Shaq signing, better than the Pau Gasol. Anyway, Lakers better be good if they want Santa to give them title hopes for the next 5 years…
Well, well, well… First, my apologies for picking the Heat in 6 (I meant to say Mavs). Second, congrats to the Dallas Mavericks. Sans Deshawn Stevenson, it couldn’t have happened to a better group of guys. I’m glad that Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki all were able to get a ring. They deserve it, they’ve been through a lot. They’ve been labeled “soft,” “over the hill,” and “selfish” among others. They did the Heat like the Heat did them in 2006. It must feel good to be this big of an underdog and come out on top, in convincing style. I didn’t really root for either team at first, as I thought both had been through a lot. But as soon as Wade and Lebron started pulling that coughing bullshit the day after a sick Nowtizki tore them up, my impartiality went out the door. I think the Heat need to draft some class. Their team of talented players have no chemistry. There’s no flow. I’m not going to blame coach Erick Spoelstra YET. But if they don’t win next year, time to kick him to the curb and bring in Riles, or dare I say Phil Jackson? Anyway, great series. I don’t have a problem with Lebron talking shit to the haters after the game. Remember, he’s only 26 years old. He did nothing wrong by leaving Cleveland. What he needs to work on is his killer instinct. If I was him, I pull some old Jordan tape and some Kobe tape, and watch it all off-season. Remember those stories of Jordan fighting with teammates during practice or Kobe elbowing them during timeouts… Well, I have a combined 11 reasons (1 for each ring) why it worked. I’m concerned that Lebron, with all the god-given talent in the world, will never be. He is very, very far from being Kobe or Jordan so please don’t us their names in the same sentence again. Anyway, forget about the self-proclaimed king/chosen one, the Mavs are on top of the World. What an omen that Jason Terry tatoo was. Good thing they one.
Shaquille O’Neil put the Orlando Magic on the map. He brought prominence back to the Los Angeles Lakers. He popped Dwayne Wade’s cherry in Miami. With that said, the last few years of his career were plagued with injuries, mostly from his weight and lack of conditioning. Sad to say, if Shaq wasn’t going to take care of his body, he should’ve retired years ago. That seems to be the classic trend with superstars in sports, hanging around 1 year too long. Going back to Shaq’s career, he got swept out of the finals twice in Orlando. Those were the days that Hakeem Olaujuwon used to dominate the paint. It took a couple years for him to get his act together in LA, but when he finally did, he netted 3 Championships in a row and a sad finals defeat at the hands of the Detroit Pistons. If the Kobe-Shaq fued never blew up, both these guys would’ve had a little more hardware hanging on their mantle. As for the run in Miami, we all know it driven by vengeance. The spite that brewed inside of him after the Lakers chose, I mean traded him away of Lamar Odom and some scraps. The bottom line is, Shaq was one of the most dominant big men in the league. Not by skill, but by brute force. He was too strong, too big for the league. His only move was the dunk. With that said, he was still unstoppable. All three of these teams should, must retire his jersey. Send the big guy off in style. He deserves it, he put them either on or back on the map. We’re gonna miss you big fella. The last of the true centers is gone.