Thursday, December 25, 2008

Lakers End 19 Game Winning Streak

December 25, 2008
Los Angeles Lakers (23-5) vs Boston Celtics (27-2)

All I really wanted for Christmas was this victory. Here I am thinking I was on Santa's Naughty List but evidently I wasn't.

There were many reasons why this game had tons of hype and anticipation. The #1 team in the East coming to Los Angeles to play the #1 team in the West, NBA Finals rematch, Christmas Day extravaganza, Celtics going for a 20 game winning streak, Phil Jackson has a chance to get his 1,000th victory and Bynum getting to play this time.

This game as expected was full of excitement and hi-lites. It was a showdown between KB vs KG. Kobe won this battle scoring 27 points with 7 assists. Garnett had 22 points with 9 boards. I still don't really see Phil's true intention behind starting Walton. I know he's more of a slasher than Radmanovic but I still can't see this being a big enough reason for starting position, especially in a big game like today's. Apparently it was a good move, risky but effective.

I tell you one thing, EVERY TIME I see Ariza on the floor it brings a smile on my face, a relief to see that we have someone besides Kobe that will finish strong. Trevor was all over the place, making plays, stealing the ball and finding open guys for easy shots. He was easily the difference in the game.

At times it got physical, as rivalries will bring but it also got a little mouthy among Boston teammates. Rondo and Allen were jawing off at each other which put another smile on my face.

In the end, Gasol scored 7 of his 20 points in the final 3 minutes which sealed the game. Lakers 92 - Celtics 83. Thank you Lakers! We can now officially say that we are better than the Celtics.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Four Away 'til Christmas Day

Before we meet our nemesis on Christmas Day we have to face four teams on the road. Will these games pump the Lakers up even more or will it it wear them down before the well anticipated one game rematch with the Celtics?

Friday, December 19th
Well, lets see. Lakers first game is against Miami who are currently sitting very safely at 500 (12-12) 3rd place in their division. I can tell you one thing, this game will not be easy. Yes we were without Gasol last night but we should have won by a much larger margin than two points against the Knicks. The always reliable D. Wade, the newly acquired Shawn Marion from Phoenix and lastly, Rookie of the Year prospect Michael Beasley are ALL reason to run and hide. Haslem has been playing inconsistently as his mind has not been in the game due to his Grandmother recently passing away. Her unfortunate death along two others in his family all occurred in the last month.

Saturday, December 20th
The next game will be against Orlando. Oh boy, this will easily be the toughest road trip game of the four. Magic currently sit comfortably in 1st place (19-6). Jameer Nelson will give Fisher one hell of a workout as Nelson is averaging 16pts. It will be a 3pt shootout. Turkoglu had a GREAT season last year however, his production has slowed down a bit this season but he is still deadly behind the arc with a hand in his face. Rashard Lewis, the team's No. 2 big man is averaging 19pts with 7 boards, a slight improvement from last season. The No. 1 big man, as we all already know thanks to his McDonald's commercials is Dwight Howard. Howard will never disappoint fans especially when they're at home. Howard was on the IL with a sore left knee for about 3 days but he is now back on the lineup. He's averaging 24pts with 14 BOARDS! Yes, I said 14 boards per game! This man is unstoppable, he will own the paint. As every player's coached response would be when ask the question, "How will you stop...", the Lakers response will only be to "contain" Howard come this Saturday.

Monday, December 22nd
The 3rd game will be in Memphis facing the Grizzlies. Memphis is currently 9-16. Don't let the record fool you, actually, yeah nothing to worry about here. This will be a game of brothers, the Gasol brothers to be exact. If Marc Gasol is given starter like minutes then Marc will give his older, much more experienced brother some competition statistically. This will be a night commentators will be using first names to avoid confusion. Rudy Gay is known to be quite the shooter with killer results, leave him open and he WILL hurt you. Rudy is averaging 20pts and rarely misses free throws as he's been 100% behind the line in his last four games. Hakim Warrick has proven to his team, if given some considerable playing time, will score and is not afraid to shoot the rock. Last but certainly not least, Mayo. O.J. Mayo, another Rookie of the Year candidate, is playing beyond his rookie year. He is the leading rookie in the points column averaging 21 PPG. I am drawn to like Mayo solely because of his catchy name but I choose to dislike his skills on the court. So, to contest this player, I will not drink O.J. nor include Mayo with my Subway sandwich for lunch on Monday.

Tuesday, December 23rd
The last road game is in New Orleans. I would typically choose the Hornets to be THE toughest team when faced on the road but I feel that Orlando is a bit stronger. The Hornets are currently 15-7. This game will be show testament of how ready the Lakers are for Boston. If Los Angeles wins this game then we are taking the victory Thursday. Let's start with the biggest player (at heart) on the team, CP3. This man is just plain ridiculous. He will penetrate through any defense and will score over any defender. We all know his potential game in and game out. Chandler's stiff neck is still bothersome and will affect his true jumping ability. This will obviously favor us. Peja's back spasms might still be an issue come game time. David West is averaging 20 PPG with 7 boards per game. James Posey off the bench gives the Hornets tremendous depth. As Lakers fans bitterly remember, Posey can get away with murder downtown. We CAN NOT leave him open when he comes off the bench.

This road trip will not be an easy one but if constructed successfully will give the Lakers an opportunity to show the Celtics how pissed off we REALLY are come Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lakers host the Knickerbockers

December 16, 2008
Los Angeles Lakers (20-3) vs New York Knicks (11-12)

The New York Knicks newly acquired Head Coach from Phoenix, Mike D'Antoni is known for his fast pace offensive tempo, so this game should be indicative of that. Lakers need to be ready for the Knicks who are eager to win from yesterdays loss against D'Antoni's old team.

The Knicks unfortunately, like many other teams Lakers have faced this season, have multiple injuries that will play a factor. Lets start with the BIG one, Cuttino Mobley had to retire this season due to his life-threatening heart condition. We wish him the best. The second injury to watch for is Quentin Richardson who is down with the flu and is day to day.

The good news for New York is Nate Robinson is back from a groin injury and is starting. Duhon has been playing great and shows a steady hand at the line shooting 87%. New York's big men, Al Harrington and David Lee will have to show heavy production against our boys Gasol and Bynum. Wilson Chandler is too inconsistent to be a major disturbance.

Bynum will dominate and have a career-high game. Yes, I called it. Kobe will play well as Nate will be no trouble to dribble around.

So to recap, Bynum & Kobe will have a GREAT game, Harrington & Robinson will be the reason why this game will be close. Lakers win 109 -101.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Never enough Lakers memorabilia

Why is it that every time I walk into a store, my eyes catch everything Lakers? I have a weakness for having to get anything and everything that shows the Lakers logo.

My office is perfect example. I am surrounded by things purple and gold such as, pictures, bobble heads, watches, stickers, banners, signed memorabilia, posters, figurines, videos, beach towels, pillows, cups, pens, caps, jerseys, clocks, calendars, magazines, trash cans, I can go on and on with this obsession.

Am I obsessive? I want to think that I'm not but the more Lakers stuff I grab at the local sporting store makes it seem otherwise. It's as if I'm a little boy again running around in the candy store with a dollar in my hand, in complete and utter awe of the choices I have. When I find an item that I don't have and is within my budget, my eyes get big with joy as if I found treasure. Sometimes, if it wasn't for a nudge from my girlfriend I would have no self-control.

Just the other day I found a Lakers Christmas gnome. A Lakers Christmas gnome! I had to have it but why? What is this gnome going to do for me but just stand there in his Laker hat and jersey. I just don't get why I have this need to obtain more Lakers stuff. I mean it's not like i going to collect EVERY Lakers merchandise out there. Or will I? Hmmm. I really do think if I won a huge cash prize of some sort I would ridiculously go crazy by buying Lakers memorabilia that would cover the walls of my new Lakers game room. A game room that would be built just to hold the crap I own. You're talking about Lakers stuff that I've had for many, many years that hold more value sentimentally than monetarily. Side note, I've always wanted a purple felt pool table that would sit center in my Lakers game room. One day, just one day. This would be the ULTIMATE of sanctuaries.

I know in today's economy money is tight. So in result, I have shown GREAT restraint not to purchase things like a Lakers Christmas gnome. Well, I must confess, I actually went back to the store but it was gone. This my friends was a sign. So now, my office still sits pretty with Lakers vibrancy just not with NEW Lakers vibrancy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lakers vs Kings - Part 2

Friday, December 12, 2008
Los Angeles Lakers (18-3) vs Sacramento Kings (6-16)

The Kings beating the Lakers this past Monday was like watching the De La Hoya vs Pacquioa fight, a complete devastation.

Who what of thought that the Kings being 5-16 at the time with having lost 8 straight games AT HOME would beat the Lakers in Sacramento? What a travesty to watch the upset unveil itself before my watery eyes, I was of course chopping onions at the time. Even the Kings were surprised to have won that game as their website showed the games hi-lites on their home page with an eye catching headline reading, "Did you watch the upset happen last night?". Good for them and maybe now fans can start ringing those cowbells louder with pride unlike before with the hushed and gentle ringing sound from those fans who were brave enough to stand out and show Kings spirit with having lost 8 straight.

Francisco Garcia was indeed the factor Monday night along side Salmons. Garcia might have to start again with Martin most likely not playing due to the soreness to his left ankle.

Tonight will be redemption for a game the Lakers should've won. A wise man once told me, "Son listen up, failure isn't failure if a lesson from it's learned", well those words stood by me for many years and I still can't find the meaning behind that saying...anyhow, the Lakers must find the lesson(s) learned from their performance last Monday night in order to avoid another upset in the making.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Martinless Kings will reign down

Tuesday, December 9th
Sacramento Kings (5-16) vs' Los Angeles Lakers (17-2)

Lets start with some unfavoring numbers for the Kings. The Sacramento Kings have lost 11 of its last 12 games with 8 straight losses at HOME. The fact that Kevin Martin (left ankle) will not be playing in tonight's game will put that final nail in the coffin.

Spencer Hawes, Kings PF has his hands full with Gasol but he has been playing well and will have to construct a great game in order for the Kings to be in contention.

The surprising King will be Francisco Garcia. He will be filling in for Martin's absence. Garcia is fresh off an injury and is wanting to prove himself and tonight will be an opportunity for him to do so.

Kings PG Beno Udrih is producing consistent numbers averaging just under 13 pts. but not the kind of numbers that will help contribute to the Lakers usual 4th quarter open door policy for possible upsets. D. Fish will handle him defensively.

Lets not forget about John Salmons here. This man can put up some high numbers and has been all year. Salmons is averaging a career-high 19.3 PPG.

With the firing of 3 NBA coaches already this season, Kings head coach Reggie Theus is under tremendous pressure to turn this team around. With this pressure, two things will happen, either coach Theus may have relentless hunger to orchestrate such a miraculous turnaround or he may have already just given up knowing the inevitable.

One thing is for certain, The Lakers will win tonight with a Bucks-like outcome.

Bynum is dominating!

After a brief injury scare, Lakers starting center Andrew Bynum is tearing it up in his last few games (see the graphic below). During this run he has averaged 17 to 19 points per game, and in his last two games he also got double-doubles, with a total of 24 rebounds. Perhaps most importantly for those of you who have Bynum on your fantasy teams, he is blocking shots once more. He has blocked five in his last three games.

Bynum's next game is tomorrow, in Sacramento, where starting center Brad Miller is stinking up the joint. How man blocks will Bynum get on the hated Kings?

On Wednesday this week Bynum will face off against former Lakers center Shaq O'Neal and on Friday Bynum will have another chance to slam the Kings, at the Staples Center. Then on Sunday the lame Minnesota Timberwolves are coming to town. Bynum will no doubt feast on the defenseless lobos!

If Bynum can stay healthy he is headed for a career year! Right now ESPN has him rated number 7 on their Player Rater Center rankings for the past seven days. I suspect he will finish in the top ten amongst NBA centers this year.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Do the Bucks have enough Buck?

Any NBA team poses a threat on any given night, just look at what happened last night with the Wizards almost pulling the upset. In saying this I am not going to look past the Bucks and their ability to put up a fight.

Now that Michael Redd is back on the roster healthy, Kobe will have to put up some major numbers. Redd can shoot the light's out in our light's out arena. Richard Jefferson is playing great consistently scoring 111 pts. in the last 5 games. Ariza, Radmanovic will have their hands full defensively. Bogut can be a surprising factor in this game if he's given minutes and his migraine headache is gone. Bynum should dominate the paint as Bogut is no threat defensively. Villanueva can give Gasol some trouble if his hamstring doesn't start to bug him again.

The key match-up will be with Kobe and Redd as these two players will score more than Hugh Hefner on Viagra. The Bucks Luke Lidnour isn't 100% healthy yet (back spasms) so Phil should take full advantage by having D. Fish and Farmar be more productive.

Something to consider as well, Bucks head coach Scott Skiles is not afraid to bench any of his players if they're not playing well so we might see the bench get more minutes. We all know that Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has heart and can easily showcase his shooting ability if given the minutes.

Overall, the Lakers should tally up win #17 however like I mentioned earlier, if the Wizards (3-14) can put up a fight then the Bucks DEFINITELY can give ticket holders a BUCK for their dollar.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wizards need more than magic to beat the Lakers tonight

Let's face it, the handicapped Wizards have no chance against the Lakers. If Michael Jordan came out of retirement...again, played for the Wizards...again, wearing #45, no, wearing #23, in his prime with Phil coaching him, Washington still would have no chance. Lakers have depth deeper than the Grand Canyon and team moral higher than Snoop D. O. Double G.

Here are the reasons why the Wizards have only 3 wins this season. Agent Zero is injured and has been on the IL since early September. Due to surgery on his left knee, Arenas will be out for 3 months. DeShawn Stevenson, the teams starting SG is only averaging roughly 9 PPG and is only shooting 67% from the line. The team statisticians will only be looking at Caron and Antawn. The team relying on these two players to carry the load offensively is taking its toll.

The fact that the Wizards fired Coach Eddie Jordan late last month after just 11 games into the season (1-10 record) and hiring team's director of player development, Ed Tapscott doesn't really help either.

So in conclusion, the only good thing that Washington currently has is President Elect Barack Obama.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How do this year's Lakers match up with the Celtics?

This year's Lakers are a completely new team - now that young stud center Andrew Bynum is back. So how do they match up with this year's Boston Celtics?

Well, let's take a look at how each of these teams performed tonight, Dec. 3. The Lakers faced off against the Sixers, in Philadelphia. They beat them up 114-102, on a night when start Sixers forward Elton Brand hobbled off after the third quarter with a bad hammy.

The Lakers "Big Three" were up to their usual tricks tonight. Kobe Bryant scored a game leading 32 points, with four assists, six rebounds, two steals and one three-pointer. Pau Gasol had yet another double-double, with 22 points and 13 rebounds, plus three blocks. And Bynum scored 18 points, but he had only four rebounds and no blocks.

Bynum has been scoring at least 18 points per game for some time now. But his blocks are way off and his rebounds are also falling. He has been playing through some pain over the past week or so due to a problem with one of his feet. But the fact that he is still scoring in the high double figures is a relief.

The Lakers "Bench Mob" scored 24 points tonight, with nine assists and 10 rebounds. Not bad! Starting point guard Derek Fisher had an off night with only seven points and four assists, so the bench production was definitely needed.

So how about those Celtics? They easily manhandled the Indiana Pacers, 114-96, at home. Don't forget that those same Pacers beat the Lakers this week, at the Staples Center, by one point on a night that the Lakers assumed the victory, then fumbled it away with far too many mental mistakes.

Paul Pierce, one of the Celtics' "Big Three" proclaimed this week that he is "the best player in the NBA," in Sports Illustrated. Well, tonight he wasn't even the best Celtic on the floor! Shooting guard Ray Allen exploded with six three-pointers and 31 points! And power forward Kevin Garnett had one of his better lines this year with 26 points, 14 rebound and four blocks. Pierce only had 16 points tonight, and he shot a lousy five for 17. But the Celtics are good enough to trash their opponents most nights, even when only two of their stars are playing well.

The X-Factor for this year's Celtics is their starting point guard, Rajon Rondo. He blew up tonight with 16 points and an outrageous 17 assists. Wow! His production has been way up this year. That makes up for a lousy bench that came up with only nine points and 12 rebounds tonight.

So how do the Lakers and Celtics match up this year? Pretty evenly actually, but the Lakers' Bench Mob is much better than the Celtics' bench. And the Celtics have a much better starting point guard in Rondo than the Lakers do in Fisher. But at least the Lakers have Jordan Farmar on the bench. The Celtics options at the backup point guard position are limited to aging point guard Sam Cassell, rookie point guard Gabe Pruitt and swing guard Tony Allen, who is limping right now with yet another injury.

If the Lakers can stay healthy, I they should be able to give the Celtics all they can handle if each team gets into the NBA Finals again.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Where the Lakers call home

Here's some information you may not know about Staples Center. As often as we visit the darn place we should attempt to bond with it.

Staples Center broke ground on March 31, 1998 and opened 19 months later on October 17, 1999. The cost of construction you ask? Just a mere $375 million, $359 million more than what it cost to build the old Lakers nesting ground in Inglewood. The arena holds seating for roughly 19,000 Lakers fans, 18,118 Kings fans & Arena Football fans and holds the most seating for concerts at 20,000. Just think, at one point Staples Center has probably seen more Celine Dion fans than Lakers fans...and there goes my appetite.

The owner and operator of this magnificent venue is the Anschutz Entertainment Group. These guys own many other venues, such as the Home Depot Center and XL Center to name a few.

Outside the Staples Center you will find three statues. Can you name them? I will give you a second...(for answers look an inch below) I saw that you cheater!

- Magic Johnson
- Wayne Gretzky
- Oscar De La Hoya? Yes, it was unveiled just yesterday

Here are some dimensions for you. Staples Center measures 950,000 square feet of total space with a 94-foot by 200-foot arena floor, just enough space for Kobe's baseline dunks. It also stands 150-feet tall also giving Vladimir Radmanovic just enough height for his jump shot. The Staples Center is adjoined to the Los Angeles Convention Center, home of the Auto Show, E3, Emmys and the Anime Expo.

Well, there you have it folks, a plethora of Staples Center knowledge.