Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from LakerLiker

We here at LakerLiker want to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving! Here are the reasons to be thankful:

1. Family and friends
2. XBOX 360 and Modern Warfare 2
3. Having great jobs
4. Great health
5. Last but certainly not least, the Champion Los Angeles Lakers! Damn right!

Lakers are currently ranked #1 in the league by ESPN and are finally a whole with Gasol back in the lineup. I am confident to say that we can beat any team out there right now. My mixed emotions about Artest being are thrown out the window. I kinda like the guy and his role as the starting SF fits him well. He makes his 3's and plays great defense.

Final note: Remember when you attack the turkey and all that great Thanksgiving food, you won't feel as bloated if you wear your loose fitting jeans.

Let us know what you're thankful for.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nov. 24: Los Angeles Lakers vs New York Knickerbrickers

November 24th, Season Game 14: Los Angeles Lakers (10-3) vs New York Knicks (3-10) @ Staples Center. 7:30PM PST. TV: MSG, FSW

PRE-GAME

The way New York is playing right now, Kobe just might make a repeat MSG performance and score 61 points. Lets face it, Larry Hughes cant stop Kobe, actually there's only a selected few that can slow him down. The bigger problem for the Knicks is internal issues they need to be resolved before anything else. This Nate vs D'Antoni drama is hurting the team. Nate needs to direct D'Antoni's well known Phoenix fast pace offense and a lack of a PG to set the tempo is killing them. Now that Iverson isn't going to NY, something or someone needs to step up and be the bigger man and fix this before even the loyal New York fan base abandons them.

New York has high expectations for the Knicks this year. Yankees are the MLB World Champions and Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind is off the charts. New York is the place to be and the only missing piece is the usual buzz around town on how well the Knicks played the other night among New Yorkers.

Knicks have the capability of being a great basketball team but their team chemistry is holding them back. They have 5 players averaging in double figures. David Lee is averaging 18 pts, 10 rebs. al Harrington is averaging 20 pts. Hughes is averaging 13 pts a game, Wilson Chandler with 12 pts, 6 rebs a game and Danilo Gallinari is playing great with an average of 14 pts. He's made eight 3 pointers in one game this season already and needless to say is a shooting threat. The Knicks also have the skills to keep up with any high scoring opponent, averaging over 100 points a game. The only unfortunate temporary set back is Nate Robinson. He averaged 17 pts last season and is off to a very slow start this season.

All that being said, the Lakers will have no problem towering over the Knicks tonight. kobe should have another field day and both Bynum and Gasol should out rebound and plain outscore the Knicks big men. Artest will contain Danilo with his brut strength and Odom off the bench will pretty much be the last 1-2 punch New York wont see coming.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

November 22nd: Los Angeles Lakes vs Oklahoma City Thunder

Nov 22nd, Season Game 13: Los Angeles Lakers (9-3) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (7-6) @ Staples Center. 6:30PM PST. TV: FSW. Lakers lead season series 1-0.

PRE-GAME

You can count on this game being a high scoring one. Thunder lit it up with 127 points beating the Wizards this past Friday. Kevin Durant is currently ranked 4th in the league in points with 360 just behind Kobe's 362. Durant is also the team rebound leader averaging 7 rebs. The key match-up tonight will be with Durant and Artest. Now that Gasol is healthy and in the starting lineup, Lakers seem to be in their designed roles and playing great. Artest plays better at the 3 spot position behind Gasol and Lamar Odom is more effective coming off the bench. Our bench needed Odom since Luke is on the IL for 6-8 weeks with a pinched nerve in his back.

Another Thunder player to look out for is Russell Westbrook averaging 17 pts with 7 assists a game. He's currently ranked 7th in the league in assists above CP3 at the 8th spot.

It's clear now that we have Pau Gasol back, the very big Lakers will most likely dominate their opponents inside the paint. This will stand tall especially against the the Thunder. Jeff Green is there inside go to guy (averaging 15 pts & 6 rebs) but unfortunately for Oklahoma City Jeff doesn't pose a desperately needed inside threat against the champs. Look for Bynum and Gasol to patrol around the key and wait for the all too familiar alley-oop. This play is drawn so much, both Bynum and Gasol are often calling for the same alley-oop ball just like you'd see baseball outfielders with pop-ups.

Look for the Lakers to close this game out late in the 3rd quarter to rest their starters for the 4th.

POSTGAME

Click on the link for the box score courtesy of Yahoo Sports: Lakers vs Thunder 11/22/2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Los Angeles Lakers: 50 Amazing Years in the City of Angels

Get this amazing book encapsulating the Lakers in L.A. Foreword by Coach Phil Jackson, stories by L.A. Time sportswriters and photos from Getty Images.

Order Information:

Click on the link provided to order online: 50 Amazing Years in the City of Angels or order by phone at 1-800-247-6553

(Special offer until 1/1/2010: $26.95 plus shipping and handling)

LakerLiker has no affiliation with this book nor intends to make any money from selling it. Promotion intent only.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

November 19th: Los Angeles Lakers vs Chicago Bulls

Nov. 19th, Season Game 12: Los Angeles Lakers (8-3) vs Chicago Bulls (6-4) @ Staple Center. 7:30PM PST. TV: TNT

This will be by far the biggest game for the champs this early season. Its not due to the actual match-up with the visiting Bulls, it's due to two BIG moments that will happen. Let me start off with Gasol's HIGHLY anticipated return. Gasol has been sidelined with a strained right hamstring and has yet to make his NBA 2009-2010 season debut. If he plays according to his average he should contribute with 19+ pts and 9+ rebs. This will severely help the Lakers. With Bynum playing great ball, averaging 20 pts with 12 rebs, the Lakers inside game should be unstoppable! What can I say, Pau is the Lakers Jerry Maguire, he completes them.

Now on to the core reason why tonight is going to be Kobe's biggest night as a Los Angeles Laker. As we all know Mr. Bryant recently scored 40 pts for his 100th time. His Lakers points total is now 24,161, leaving him 16 pts shy of surpassing the greatest center that ever played the sport, Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Kareen has a whopping 24,176 points with the Lakers. Stamp it! This night will be forever in all sports history books. The legendary Jerry West is the one Laker to beat with 25,192 pts. This record will also be passed by Kobe this season leaving Kobe the greatest Laker scorer ever! Wow! That sounds fitting to me.

PRE-GAME

No, the game isn't moving in fast forward, it's just the pace this game will be in tonight. The Chicago Bulls are quick, very quick. It's a rare sight to see Derrick Rose being Chicago's speed bump, but his ankle injury is definitely slowing the team down. He's only averaging 13 pts. The Bulls are waiting for his normal contribution to become a consistent stitch. Lakers will dominate in the paint tonight. Joakim Noah can't do it all by himself and Brad Miller certainly hasn't really helped. The Bulls need muscle rather than hustle. They can run all they want but the Bulls will not be able to stop the alley-oop to Bynum or Gasol. Size does matter. Lakers will keep up with the Bulls tempo and will heavily rely on their shooters to keep them in the game.

Chicago's leading scorer is Deng averaging 17 pts with 9 rebs. Something is missing for Chicago. I'm sure they're missing Ben Gordon's ppg average @ 20+. Lakers have Deng's production average covered with Bynum, averaging 20 pts with 12 rebs. That leaves Kobe alone to have a field day. With Pau back, the starters should clock out at the end of the 3rd quarter giving the bench scrimmage time.

POSTGAME

Lakers win 108 - 93. What makes this victory even sweeter is that the Suns lost which leaves us just a half game for the top of the division. I still can't believe we're battling Phoenix for the top spot in the Pacific. Kobe surpasses Kareem Abdul Jabbar as the Lakers 2nd all time scorer, at the free throw line. I guess, a little disappointing as I was hoping Kobe would commemorate Kareem with a skyhook when passing his record. Man, I just realized I am never satisfied! LOL, congrats to Kobe!

Click on the link for the box score courtesy of Yahoo Sports: Lakers vs Bulls


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Episode 2: Kobe's Circus Shots - 11/17/09

LeBron James will never be a Laker

Before I start to vent like I usually do on this blog, please be reminded that I am by far no expert. My thoughts and opinions are strictly mine and are based from years of bleeding purple and gold. Okay let me begin. It drove me crazy to see this story make cover (LeBron is misspelled BTW) of the Sports section from a legitimate newspaper in L.A. It struck me how serious this briefly spoken topic had transformed itself into something more dominant than the H1N1 flu virus.

I've heard the possibility and all of the hypotheticals surrounding LeBron becoming a Laker when he hits his free agency this off season. Listen, as much as I was caught up with the media's muppet show of Kobe and LeBron playing in the finals last season (never happened) I'm not going to fall victim to their silly game yet again. Fool me once shame on you but to fool me twice? Uh uh, not again. I can't help it though, my Dumbo ears do get bigger when I hear "Kobe" and "LeBron" in one sentence. The fascination of these two epic NBA stars never leaves my system. Let's face the reality of this talked about fantasy, and it is just a fantasy. LeBron coming to L.A. will NEVER happen. LeBron will NEVER be a Laker and I'm going to tell you why.

Reason #1 - Media attention

I've said it many times, one spotlight isn't big enough for two HUGE star athletes on the same team, i.e. Shaq and Kobe. Yes, there were three championship years that came out of this but the collapse of these two almost ended the organization. I'd hate to see King James and The Black Mamba hash it out and have another potential Laker dynasty ender. Their mutual respect is something to embrace not destroy. LeBron's presence alone will drive the media insane. This will cascade into an uncontrollable frenzy that will disarray from the focus of the team. A subtle helping hand would be great for the Lakers but to bring on board a massive giant for aid would be a bit drastic. The L.A. media has a tendency of over-exposing and portraying any new Hollywood relationship as a good one (Kobe & LeBron) and then twisting it around to expose the ugliness of it to only kill it as quickly as it started. Lakers do not need this Hollywood publicity stunt to help the team, the team just needs better chemistry among their players.

Reason #2 - Lose more than gain

Let's just say we throw away reason #1 and really consider the options in order to make this fantasy into a reality. To get a monumental monster of a player such as LeBron, the Lakers would need to obviously prepare to lose a heck of a lot. They would need to lose at least 3 key players and maybe a future first round pick up. Can we afford that physically and financially for that matter? You just can't break up a team that was built by years of hard enduring work and expect the best outcome. The demand for LeBron coming to the Lakers would ultimately red line the organization in the long run. It will take at least one evolving season for it's true championship level to start. What? You actually think LeBron and Kobe will instantly take off as expected? Look what happened with the Lakers in 2003-2004. You're talking about the "Lakers Reloaded" here with Gary Payton, Kobe Bryant, Devean George, Karl Malone, Rick Fox and Shaq. Everyone and their Mother had this Laker squad winning the championship. Even Chick Hearn from above was screaming to us down below, "The lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter's getting hard and the Jello jiggling!" but the jiggling Jello had melted in the end. Many broken hearts were given that ugly off season. I'm scarred for life from that experience as a fan.

Reason #3 - Limited flooring space and minutes

The hardwood floor isn't big enough to hold both LeBron and Kobe. Team Captain needs his space to do his magic and so does King James. I already see the headache Kobe gets when Artest decides to, but fails at every attempt, to take over the game because of the pressure he's feeling from the media to play better. I hate to say this about our boy, but Kobe is selfish when it comes to sharing the ball and space. When he is put on the floor to do his job and other teammates get in his way, you can see how frustrated he gets. This is my only conflict with Kobe but I've grown to accept it because over the years, his teammates didn't help and Kobe was left to fend for himself to win games. He's gotten accustomed to that role and sometimes fails to turn that switch off when need be. LeBron and Kobe will definitely, but not intentionally, duke it out amongst themselves. Kobe will not accept any lesser role and I would assume LeBron wouldn't either. Last time I checked, there's 48 minutes in an NBA game. This isn't enough time for two teammates to average well over 28 ppg, each. Kobe is already averaging 31 pts and LeBron is already averaging 28 pts in this young season.

Let's leave this possibility to us nerds who play Fantasy Basketball. To have both LeBron and Kobe on your fantasy team is killer but to have them both on one team outside nerd heaven just can't happen. It's against the rules.

Another bit of information to consider: The only good thing L.A. has ever gotten out of Cleveland, Ohio was The Drew Carey Show.

We would love to hear from you. Please leave your comments about this epidemic. Do you agree or disagree? Do you think LeBron would be a good addition to the Lakers?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Season Game 11: Los Angeles Lakers vs Detroit Pistons

November 17th, Season Game 11: Los Angeles Lakers (7-3) vs Detroit Pistons (5-5) @ Staples Center. 7:30PM PST. TV: FSD, FSW

PRE-GAME

I apologize for my previous blog. Uh, I was wrong, so wrong. Lakers got their asses handed to them. Rockets did start off on the wrong foot as I had guessed but the Lakers failed to keep the lead and lost momentum defensively. Who forgot to guard the 5-9 PG? Who would've thought Aaron Brooks would choose to have his career high against the champs? Brooks went 11-23 scoring 33 pts! OUCH. This goes to show that you can not take anyone lightly, no matter how he appears to be on paper.

Okay, now on to tomorrow nights match-up. I would bet you if Detroit had 3 wishes, the first one would go to avoiding their upcoming road trip. They start off by playing this game against the NBA champs, then to Portland, and then to finish off their road trip with back to back games against Utah and Phoenix. Somebody needs to seriously fire the travel agent who allowed this to happen.

Let's face it, Detroit has no significant big man. The aging Wallace is near retirement, Kwame is putting up similar numbers that reminds us why we got rid of him in the first place. Their only chance is in Villanueva who is capable of scoring but not rebounding. He averages just 6 boards a game. Their skills lye at the 1-2 spots. Detroit has Will Bynum and 50 Cent look-a-like Rodney Stuckey. When Stuckey isn't at the club with a bottle full of bub, he's playing DEEETROOOIT BAAASKETBAAALL, averaging 17 pts and matching Villanuevas 6 rebs per game. Bynum is averaging 14 pts. He scored a total of 47 pts in his last 2 games. Don't forget about, man I forget his name, BEN FRIGGIN GORDON! I constantly have to remind myself he's with the Pistons now. I always assumed he would be part of the Chicago Bulls Franchise. That's the NBA for ya! It's a rare sight to see players stay with one organization nowadays. Ben is averaging 22 pts.

One thing these two teams have in common is expected returns by key players. Pau is yet to make his NBA debut and Richard Hamilton is expected to return from his sprained right ankle. Will Gasol and Hamilton return tomorrow night? My bet goes to Hamilton.

Click on the link for the Box Score courtesy of Yahoo Sports: Lakers vs Pistons Box Score

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Season Game 10: Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets

November 15th, Season Game 10: Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets @ Staples Center. 6:30PM PST - TV: FSH,FSW

PRE-GAME

This is will be the second time the Lakers play the Rockets already this season. First time, Lakers win a close one in OT. This time around it won't be so close. Houston is a small team with their 6-6 Center Chuck Hayes, Scola being the tallest at 6-9, Power forward position. The Lakers will not lose tonight coming off the embarrassing loss to the Nuggets. No way, no how. The old familiar question still stands, is Gasol going to play tonight? Well, like I've been saying all season long, when he returns, the opposing team will have no chance in winning. The one fiber, the one ingredient the champs are missing is the Spaniard.

Key visitors to consider: Scola has been playing great averaging a double-double with 15 pts with 10 rebs. Shane Battier is coming into this game hot with his biggest game so far with 23 points on Friday. Trevor Ariza is still playing great consistent basketball averaging just under 20 points a game.

Key Lakers to consider: Andrew Bynum fresh off his elbow strain has averaged 23 pts and 15 rebs in his last two games. Team Captain, Kobe Bryant is the leagues leader in ppg average with 31. Don't forget his defensive skills either, he is currently tied 4th in the league with 19 steals.

The Rockets have a bad tendency of having bad starts, giving their opponent 14 point leads early on. If the Lakers start off hot then, Houston we have a problem.

POSTGAME

Um, yeah I was wrong. Los Angeles, WE got a problem. The nice part about this game was Trevor's personal ring ceremony. It was a class act to have waited for the Rockets to come to town and not give the ring to Trevor when we played in Houston back on 11/4.

Click on the link for the box score courtesy of Yahoo Sports: Lakers vs Rockets-Box Score

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Season Game 8: Los Angeles Lakers vs Phoenix Suns

November 12, Season Game #8: Lakers (6-1) vs Suns (7-1) @ Staples Center. 7:30PM PST, TV: TNT.

PRE-GAME

The best in the west face off. Suns only have one loss, Lakers only have one loss, but just one team is meeting its expectations. The champs are expected to play well and be the best not only in the Western Conference but in the league but to fathom any thought of the Suns playing like they're playing right now is ridiculous. Suns are playing their signature team basketball. Every game with 100+ points. It's basic Phoenix fundamentals, play with a high pace tempo, pass the ball to the open man and pick & roll. Success at its best.

I'm telling you right now, it is no coincidence the Suns are playing so well. Like I constantly tell me best friend Tim who is a die hard Suns fan and lives near Phoenix (by the way, Happy Veterans Day and thank you for serving this great country as a Marine), when the Suns picked up Shaq, like the tumble weeds in Arizona, the Suns franchise blew away. It was a very sad scene in Phoenix, watching a championship caliber team lose almost everything in just one season. I know the uncontrollable act of having to lose a key player had to happen but to think Shaq still had it in him to help turn the team around was a bit looney. With such a fast offense, Shaq only had one speed, slow. Evidently this was a bad move that cost the organization dearly. Now that Shaq is in Cleveland the Suns have nothing to slow them down. It's as if the leash has either been loosened or entirely taken off, I guess we'll have to see as the season progresses.

This will be a game that pretty much determines who really is the best in the west. Yes, a bit premature but who cares! I'm just amazed it's the Suns who will battle the Lakers early on and not the Spurs.

Due to Gasol still being out, there really is no easy decision of who will be the victor. I personally don't understand why Gasol is yet to suit up. He's been cleared to play and he is playing well in practice, what's holding him back? And now, Phil told the media today that they are now aiming for around Christmas for Gasols debut? Come on Coach, seriously, if this was any other decade, Gasol would be out there contributing already. Yes, I'm only 5-9" with a vertical leap that just clears a speed bump however I am also not a professional athlete whose job it is to play basketball. If I missed as many days at work as these athletes miss games I wouldn't have a job and my 5 readers would be subjected to more torturous blogs as time wouldn't be an issue. I love Gasol but he's making 15 million this season to play and not sit out when cleared. I just hope his prolonged unnecessary absence (in my opinion) doesn't cause the Lakers to collapse and fall into a hole that they can't climb out of. Christmas? Are you kidding me Phil? Really?

Lakers needs their starters back in order to beat the red hot Suns. If Bynum plays well right off the tip ball in his return game from his strained elbow then we have a chance to win this game. Just with Bynum's presence, the Lakers play better.

Sorry, I'm just venting my frustrations because I feel like I'm being tossed around with Gasol's return date. I'm done with the ETA's, I need an EXACT time of arrival not an estimated time of arrival...plus Gasol is on my Fantasy team which is probably the core reason for my frustrations.

The usual 2, 3 positions will have to play A+ ball tomorrow night against Phoenix's Jay Richardson, Dudley and Hill. D. Fish will obviously have his hands full again Nash and his 20 assists per game (2 times this season already). I've said it before and I'll say it again, Nash is THE best PG in the league. Why? Simply because he controls the Suns fast tempo offense that many teams can't keep up with and his peripherals are like no other, always finding the open man with passes that only he can make. He can pass unselfishly and turn the switch the other way and score selfishly anywhere on the floor. And I thought he was heading to early retirement, someone slap me in the face for that one.

This will be a great opportunity for the champs to prove to not only the media but to themselves that they can beat the elite teams in the NBA while hurt.

As always, I will post the final numbers and thoughts here when available.

This picture says it all. (Nash moving forward leaving Shaq behind)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Season Game 7: Los Angeles Lakers vs New Orleans Hornets

November 8th - Season Game 7: Los Angeles Lakers (5-1) vs New Orleans Hornets (2-4) @ Staples Center. 7:30PM PST - TV: CST,FSW

PREVIEW

Let me start off by saying CONGRATULATIONS to the Phoenix Suns for giving the Celtics their first loss of the season last night! Now there are no undefeated teams. The best teams (Lakers, Suns, Nuggets, Celtics, Heat, Magic) have only one loss. The Suns and the Lakers are currently tied for first in the Pacific. Hey, any team who beats Boston is on my fave list.

Okay, on to tomorrow nights game against the Hornets. The big question remains, who will be the starting five for the Lakers? Will Gasol and Bynum play? If so, Lakers will crash more boards which will result to second shot opportunities. The Hornets Emeka Okafor is among the top rebounders at 64. Lamar Odom has 54 and Andrew Bynum has 53 rebs.

The key player to always look out for when the Hornets are playing is Chris Paul. CP3 is currently ranked #3 in assists with 59 and ranked #4 in points with 171. Where as the only Laker that has considerable number of assists is Lamar at 28 and as expected, Kobe is ranked #1 in points with 207. Derek Fisher needs to defend well against Paul and not allow him much penetration. By doing so, this will avoid having to receive defensive help from another Laker and not leave a Hornet open for a high percentage shot. 9 out of 10 times, CP3 will recognize this and dish the ball to that open player, hence his 59 assists. Chris Paul's ability to lose defenders quickly opens up shot opportunities for other teammates and thus the reason why he's one of the top 3 PG's in the league. D. Fish showed some light in his previous game with 7 assists. Not great but a definite start for the veteran and maybe his momentum will coincide into this game.

Now Paul can't do it all. He does get help at the big spot positions (PF/C) but lacks the help at the 2 & 3 spot positions (SG/SF). David West is a big man with quick hands. He already has 10 steals this early season. He's also among the top 10 ranked PF's with an average 17 pts & 6 rebs per game. Peja, in my opinion, is not getting the minutes he deserves. I know it's his 14th season and he's slowing down, but he can still shoot the ball. Listen, it comes down to simple math, the more minutes for Peja the more points he'll give you. His biggest game this season (26 pts) was when he was given the most minutes he's had so far (32 min). Bobby Brown has been playing considerably well the last couple of games for the Hornets but nothing to really worry about. I guess it's really his prerogative if he wants to play well or not (Sorry, I had to do it).

This game will be another one of those nail-biters so buckle up and get ready!

As always, I will include post game numbers and thoughts here when available.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Kobe Bryant will be on Lopez Tonight this Monday, 11/9

George Lopez has his new talk show on TBS, "Lopez Tonight" and it debuts this Monday, November 9th. Among his first guests will be Ellen DeGeneres, Eva Longoria Parker and last but not least, Mr. Kobe Bryant himself.

George's guests are all linked to the NBA. Kobe for obvious reasons, Eva is married to Tony Parker from the Spurs and Ellen once maneuvered a cross over to score on the other side...of the court.

Okay, to recap. It's Lopez Tonight, TBS, 11/9, at 11:00PM. Don't miss it! George Lopez is hilarious!

For more information about the show, click here: www.lopeztonight.com

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Season Game 6: Los Angeles Lakers vs Memphis Grizzlies

November 6th - Season Game 6: Los Angeles Lakers (4-1) vs Memphis Grizzlies (1-4) @ Los Angeles. 7:30PM - TV: FSW

PREVIEW

Lakers return to the Staples Center counting their lucky stars that they've only lost one game. Each victory with less than a 10 point margin. Let's face it, the Lakers are in dyer need of the Spaniard's return. This might be a possibility tomorrow night as Gasol's hamstring is fully recovered, Doctors say. His season debut couldn't have come at a better time since Bynum's shoulder is now hurting. Andrew might be sporting a tie to give his shoulder some rest from the beating it took last night against the Rockets.

I say Bynum should just pull a Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon and bang his shoulder against a wall to put it back into place. Come on Andrew, if you can carry a playboy bunny on your shoulders with a bad knee you can definitely do this...see clip.


Okay, now to the opponent, the Memphis Grizzlies. On paper, this team should be at the top spot in the Southwest. Marc Gasol averaging 18 pts & 12 rebs, O.J. Mayo is averaging 20 pts, Zach Randolph, 20 pts & 10 rebs, and Rudy Gay at 20 pts with 8 rebs. You'd think this kind of production would result to a killer team but unfortunately it's been the opposite. The Grizzlies are still in the manifesting process and haven't quite gelled yet.

The two notable newbies on the squad to look out for are Zach Randolph & Allen Iverson. Zach is playing great basketball just as if he's been in Memphis all his career. He's produced a double-double in his last two games. AI is just starting to contribute but still isn't quite there yet. Iverson's personal expectations as a new Grizzly is being battled by Coach Lionel Hollins. Allen wants the starting PG role but Coach Hollins wants Iverson coming off the bench as the sixth man. Needless to say, this has caused a major problem not only for AI but for the team with only having one win. AI should get the minutes he wants and when this happens, well, we all know what he's capable of, regardless of age. Allen's heart has no age.

If Bynum doesn't do a Mel Gibson like I've suggested earlier, then the Lakers will need Gasol to suit up. Phil will most likely put Gasol as Center and put LO at the PF position. Brother against brother and LO against Zach. Kobe squeezing OJ and Artest physically with Gay. Wait, that didn't come out right...you guys know what I mean. Derek will have difficulty defending AI. D. Fish is yet to have an explosive game. The buzz on Sports radio today is about how Farmar should be the starting PG. I disagree, D. Fish has better defense and physically can close the gap quicker than Farmar. Farmar will most likely put more points on the board but I just personally feel more comfortable seeing D. Fish control the ball rather than Farmar. Maybe I'm wrong, but there's something about Derek's poise & presence on the floor plus ability to control the ball and not turn it over leaves me liking his starting role. Besides, with the way these games have been decided in the final seconds, I'd rather see D. Fish out there for the clutch. Remember, he was the one who stole the ball from Trevor Ariza in the final seconds of OT last night to get the win. Ariza made a 3 to take the game into OT and he could've easily made another to win the game if it wasn't for Derek's quick hands.

Don't let the Grizzlies 1-4 record fool you, this squad is ready to burst through the seams and it just might happen tomorrow night against the champs.

Here are the final numbers to the game:
(Click to enlarge)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Season Game 5: Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Lakers

November 4th - Season Game 5: Houston Rockets (3-1) vs Los Angeles Lakers (3-1) @ Houston.
8:30 pm EST, TV: KCAL, FSH

Preview:

Back to Houston to end the Lakers 2 day road trip. Lakers pay a visit to fellow Laker champ and former teammate, Trevor Ariza, killing two birds with one stone by personally delivering Ariza's ring at the same time. Trevor is playing great and fitting right in with the Rockets lineup. Aaron Brooks is collecting many assists thanks to Ariza's production. The Lakers leading assist man is Odom? Yes you heard it right, Lamar is the teams assists leader with 7 per game. Houston's Brooks has 9 per game.

Houston will grab more boards than Los Angeles. Houston has 9 players that have 10+ rebs in the early season where as the Lakes only have 4. The reason why Houston is playing so well is due to their all around production from the entire team. L.A. heavily relies on their starting 5 for production for right now until the team gets the early jitters out.

Lakers, on paper, should outscore the Rockets, with both McGrady and Yao out. Lakers have the talent to do so but also need to watch out for Chuck Hayes as he's taking the steep role as Houston's Center. He is capable of having a good night on any given night.

The champs will need to up their defense around the perimeter against the Rockets high octane 3 pt offense. They've made 40 three pointers already this season, more than doubling the Lakers 17. As we all know, Lakers are known to leave a man or two open behind the arc and this can't happen against Ariza and Brooks.

Post Game:

In just their second road trip match-up in an early 5 game season and the Lakers find themselves in their second OT game. 2 Away games & 2 OT victories. This was a game where the champs were behind throughout. A game of plenty of opportunities for the champs to cut the deficit closer and to possibly take the lead. A game of exhaustion and pure endurance.

Mr. Kobe Bryant has yet another one of his Kobe games. He is simply the best. His performance tonight was just inspiring. Recovering from flu like symptoms and he finds the strength to carry the team to another victory. His 41 points were desperately needed as his teammates seemed to be lost at times towards the end of regulation. Actually the Lakers had a 3 point lead but Trevor Ariza out of all people makes a 3 pointer to tie it up and send the game to OT.

Bynum had a big game tonight, especially in OT. He was butchered by the Rockets defense or lack thereof and making clutch free throws in the end. Bynum had a double double, 17 pts & 17 rebs. Artest played well too. He's starting to show his comfort as a Laker now. He looked good out there and I am starting to like him...so far. He didn't lose his cool at times where he should've and he kept his composure at times I expected him not to. The only technical given was to Kobe. My philosophy is this: Less whining = More winning. Stamp it folks, it's official.

Lakers come out a perfect 2-2 from their first road trip as expected but they weren't easy victories. I still have one concern, where is the Lakers bench contribution? The starters need the help and I feel the bench is not as deep as they were a season ago.

Other BIG sports news tonight, Congrats to the Yankees for becoming the 2009 MLB World Champions beating the reigning champion Phillies, 7-3.

Here are the final numbers to the game:
(click to enlarge)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Season Game 4: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Los Angeles Lakers

November 3rd. - Season Game 4: Oklahoma City Thunder (2-1) vs Los Angeles Lakers (2-1) @ Oklahoma City.
8:00 PM EST; TV: KCAL,FSOK

The champs first road trip of the season. It's short and sweet. Lakers should have no problem being 4-1 after this 2 day getaway. Let's start with this game first. Lakers are obviously the stronger team in the paint, that's an easy discovery, however where the Thunder can beat us is in at SF position with Durant. Artest will have his hands full against Durant. Hopefully with the way Artest has been lifting up his defensive game, this will be a great opportunity to shut down one of the leagues best. The Lakers need Gasol NOW to help Bynum dominate the Thunders void down under...the rim. I have to say though, Josh Powell looks great out there. His shots are going down and he seems to be really poised out there when given minutes. I like his confidence.

Gasol is expected to cut his 6 week healing process in half as the Lakers need his NBA season debut sooner that Doctor's orders. As you know, Gasol was injured during a training camp practice a few days after playing in an exhibition game against the Golden State Warriors. He said he felt pain in his hamstring, but didn't think it was too serious so he finished the workout. Unfortunately the pain increased. The pain lingered longer than expected, maybe a residual of playing consecutive off seasons with the Spanish national team.

Post Game:

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy basketball game for the champs. Even though they take the victory, they're still yet to play championship level ball. A game with 46 turnovers, Lakers with 25 of them, not an impressive win but they'll definitely take it in OT. OKC Thunder just didn't have the capability of maneuvering an organized play. Near the end of regulation, after an OKC T/O, Tie score, with plenty of time left for a drawn out play to lead to a high percentage shot, Durant ends up settling for a shot 5 feet away from the 3pt line? Huh? Sloppy. Lakers are really lucky to come out with a W tonight.

Final note: The champs need to be more in sync to dominate the Western Conference. The Boston Celtics are cruising by their opponents, winning by an average of 21.6 points in their first 5 games. Currently ESPN has the champs ranked #3 in the NBA! #3?! The champs? Hell no! I know its early and we have no Gasol, however we should be playing tighter defense and run the triangle much smoother than what we're doing now.

Here are the final numbers to the game: