Los Angeles Lakers (44-15) host Denver Nuggets (39-19)
Injuries: Lakers: Sasha Vujacic-Sprained Right Shoulder (Out for 2 weeks), Luke Walton, Pinched Nerve in the Lower Back (Out indefinitely). Denver: Kenyon Martin - Left Knee Contusion (Day to day)
Regular Season Series: Denver 2-0
Streaks: Lakers won 1, Nuggets won 3
Time: 3:30PM EST - TV: ABC
Denver has our number this season. November 13th, Melo scores 25 pts, two more than the Lakers scored in the entire second half. Denver wins 105-79. February 5th, Denver without their star player, decide to go with Chauncey Three-ups as their arsenal. He ends up with a season high 39 pts going 9-13 behind the 3 point line. J.R. Smith also had a big night scoring 27 pts.
Now is the time and only chance to tie the season series by winning today's game and possibly on April 8th. Lakers need to stop Carmelo put up season average numbers and play better defense around the perimeter forcing Billups to his midrange game. Both Chauncey and Carmelo continue to dominate and are having career high seasons. The Nuggets have the depth to close the season strong and carry that momentum into a successful postseason.
Kobe's numbers have dropped a little but his assists are elevating. He will need to shoot above his season average today and play his signature defense against Denver's shooting front line. Gasol is playing great and his height is a must for not only his scoring but more importantly rebounding. Bynum is getting back to rhythm and is showing confidence again. Lakers are a rebounding nightmare with their twin towers. Their recent production will be required to help balance the load. Artest will have his hands full with Melo. Lakers should try to match Denver's 3 point shots. This might be the opportunity for D Fish to show his high arc masterpiece. J.R. and Chauncey will have their shots, lets just hope the Lakers will have theirs too. Lamar is also playing well and his lengthth defense will be needed against Kenyon (if he plays).
Finals thoughts. The Lakers bench can not afford to be outplayed by Denver's second unit. J.R. Smith is a known shooter and will flat out score so L.A. has to match his efforts in order to maintain the lead or hang in striking distance.
Los Angeles Lakers (43-15) host Philadelphia 76ers (22-35) Regular Season Series: Lakers lead 1-0 Streaks: Lakers & Sixers lost 1
If Lakers don't take this one I will...
...okay, let me start over, Lakers should have an easy victory over the laboring 76ers. The Sixers are struggling due to several reasons. Elton Brand has yet to show Philadelphia fans his true all-star potential since the 2008-09 season when he was brought on to play a key role and be the go-to guy. Due to unfortunate injuries and aging (critics say) his game that Clipper fans got the best of has been (temporarily) abandoned.
Allen Iverson who I personally thought would be the one to turn this team around has gotten back on a path that only leads to HUGE disappointment. If you remember, a choked up Iverson was signed back to Philadelphia after a very bitter separation.
His NBA career was almost to an end and heading to the European League was becoming a bigger option as the days passed. Then team President Ed Stefanski reached out and pulled AI from his self made hole and re-signed him. Iverson showed great progress coming back to his NBA playing roots in December and January. It all started to crumble down for him this month. He was constantly in and out of the line-up, and subsequently his minutes were reduced. This effected Iverson and it ultimately led to suspicions of him leaving the team for good. AI has only played 3 games this month.
The Sixers fate remain in Iguodala, Dalembert, Brand (If he gets his confidence back) and their younger players. Definite rebuilding is to come.
The champions are the counterpart. They have an already proven structure that works. Phil's philosophy has convinced critics. The Lakers are in no need to justify any longer. THIS is why we should beat any team that is off-course and in our way to our commonplace, the NBA Finals.
Los Angeles Lakers (43-15) lose to the Dallas Mavericks (37-21), 96-101. Regular Season Series now tied: 2-2 Streaks: Lakers lost 1 - Mavs have now won 5
Lakers end their road trip with a loss against the Dallas Mavericks. They conclude with a 1-1 road record. Lakers could not get a shooting rhythm and seemed to always be down by 5 points. Dallas played great and surprised the Lakers with their not so secret weapon in Jason Terry. Mr. 6th Man came off the bench scoring 30 points. What a luxury to have with the Jet as a back up plan. I like Terry and sometimes wish he was a Laker. He's one of those players who plays with all heart and shows his appreciation to the fans by hanging out after the game to sign autographs. Mavericks leading scorer was Dirk with 31 points. Kidd did his thing by scoring 14 pts., 13 assists & just 3 rebs short from his triple double. Marion and Haywood played well together by crashing the boards and being an inside nuisance.
On a high note, Kobe just needed 2 points to pass Reggie Miller (25,279) as the 13th all-time NBA leading scorer. Congrats Kobe for yet another milestone distinction this season! He scored the 2 points needed just 3 minutes before halftime. He had a total of 20 points. The Candy Man was the teams leading scorer with 21 pts. and played an over-all great game, especially during the stretch. It just wasn't good enough to beat a strong Dallas team at home. Bynum had his second double double of the month having 10 pts and 11 rebs.
Lakers as a team shot better than Dallas at .487 but played poorly defensively. This at the close cost them the game. I like what Bynum said in his post game interview with John Ireland about the officiating. He said, "Its hard playing 5 against 8". I've never heard that before and I thought it was funny. I'm sure a fine is coming his way.
Side note, Johnny our Texas correspondent was at tonight's game to witness history yet again. He was at the last Dallas game to witness Kobe score his 20,000th point and now tonight to be part of Kobe becoming the 13th NBA all-time leading scorer.
Here is tonight's box score courtesy of Yahoo Sports! (Click to enlarge)
Los Angeles Lakers (42-14) vs Memphis Grizzlies (28-27) Regular season series now tied 1-1
Lakers welcome back team captain with open arms and win over the Memphis Grizzlies 99-98. They win the first away game of a two game road trip. Next are the Mavericks. No time to celebrate, only time to get back on the plane to fly over to Dallas and play against a very strong offensive team who just gained shooting power with the addition of the McDonald's straw chewing Caron Butler.
Now to Kobe. I personally had him scoring low as it was his first game back since February 5th. I was mistaken. He scored 32 pts, 7 rebs & had 6 assists. What a welcome back game for Kobe! He was tonight's leading scorer and ended the game in classic Kobe fashion by scoring the games last winning bucket, a 3 pointer to have a 1 point lead that silenced the Memphis crowd. The Grizzlies had several seconds to make a game winning shot but OJ Mayo missed his jump shot leaving us Laker fans jumping up with joy, still in Kobe shock.
One thing that may fly under the radar because of Kobe's antics is Dereck's accomplishment. D Fish walked into tonight's game just needing 3 points to have a career 9,000 points. He completed his objective by scoring 10 pts.
Pau Gasol won the sibling rivalry by having his 23rd double double game this season. He had 22 pts & 13 rebs. His brother Marc ended up with 8 pts & 11 rebs, just 2 pts shy from having his double double.
OJ Mayo was his teams leading scorer with 25 points and Zach Randolph was his usual self. He had his 7th consecutive double double night with 20 pts & 14 rebs.
Here is tonight's box score courtesy of Yahoo Sports! (Click to enlarge)
SLAM has been with Kobe since his rookie year and continue to follow him throughout his roller coaster path as a Laker champion. Through the ups and downs SLAM has focused on the positive and exposed Kobe's real competitive side, ignoring the bad if any. This is the side true Kobe fans know and appreciate to see.
Its refreshing to know that there's a reputable magazine out there that follows athletes in a way that almost leads the reader to forget all the negative static about that athlete. SLAM definitely accomplishes this with all of their spotlight athletes. I'm glad Kobe endorses SLAM and helps support their message by showing face, literally.
To visit SLAM Magazine online and read their article on Kobe please click below:
Since I can remember I've always had Sports Illustrated magazines lying around and to this day I wish I would've kept the Laker SI covers for framing. I own several current issues that our in frames now but I would've had a massive collection if I wasn't so naive and young back in the day. So, since it would cost me an arm and a leg to purchase the Laker covers that I've lost throughout the years I've made it my personal mission to at least find them to share them with you.
I did some research and collected many of the Laker-related SI covers. Enjoy! Click on the gallery link below for viewing:
Kobe Bryant gives the new NSW (Nike Sportswear) Collection N98 Track Jacket the championship look it thirsted for. With its championship roots, the NSW Collection N98 Track Jacket is the ultimate interpretation of the classic created for the 1998 Brazilian National Team. GORE –TE X® composite, RiRi zipper, laser–cut vents, and a high ribbed collar are just some of the ways we took this staple of sport style to a level never reached before.
The N98 Track Jacket is $75.00. For more information and purchasing click on the link below:
Usually I write about the players and how well or bad they played the previous night. Now its time to pay my respects to the one man the Lakers saved their 14th spot for, Mr. Gary Vitti.
When most NBA teams have 14 players on their rosters to cap out their talent, the Los Angeles Lakers have only 13. Why would the champs not fill their 14th spot? Well, to have the best training staff in the league, that's why. Gary Vitti has been with the Lakers for over 25 years now making him the leagues longest active tenured athletic trainer.
Since the Lakers are among one of the most injury prone teams in the NBA, Gary Vitti definitely has had his hands full throughout his career. Even though critics have said in the past that he has on occasion mishandled and misdiagnosed player injuries, Vitti has worked diligently since day one to help condition players for a quick recovery. Gary being the exclusive Lakers athletic trainer for this long speaks for itself. His professionalism and composure under enormous stress to somehow magically fix these athletes overnight through several Laker dynasties is why Vitti holds the 14th spot. He is as important and as the players themselves and the Lakers organization knows that.
Its not hard to think of Gary Vitti and include him into your Lakers memory museum as he's been with the team since the "Showtime" era. His entire career has exclusively been devoted to the Los Angeles Lakers. He won the Trainer of the Year award back in 1991 and has quite the collection of Laker championship rings for being team trainer.
He's bandaged all the Laker greats. From Magic to Kobe, he's been there through the aches and pains. The one memory I have of Vitti is when he had to pull Magic out from I think Game 2 of the 91 NBA Finals. This season, Gary has helped Gasol, Bynum, Sasha, Luke, Artest and especially Kobe from their injuries already this season.
Los Angeles Lakers (42-13) host Boston Celtics (33-18) Season series: 1-0 Lakers Streaks: Lakers won 4/Boston won 1 Time: 7:30PM PST - TV TNT
Lakers really do not need much adjustment for this game with the way they've been playing since Kobe's absence. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" and if the Lakers continue to play this well, they WILL come out victorious. Let's face the music, even though Boston won two night's ago against the Kings (not impressively btw), the injured Celtics are still a struggling team that have yet to find their usual dominating selves. Their shooting percentage is low and any team who plays tall will be a defensive nightmare.
Here is Boston's light of hope. Paul Pierce is coming off his biggest game this month scoring 17 pts. His helping shooting hand to win in Sacramento that broke the teams 2 game losing streak and a recent NBA All-Star 3 Point Shootout title will be his riding momentum flying into L.A., back to his home town in Inglewood. Also look for Rondo to bounce back from one of his worst games this season after scoring a dismal 4 pts. He always plays well against the Lakers. Remember he had 21 pts with 12 assists last time we met. Lastly, Rasheed Wallace is also coming off one of his better games this month, scoring 17 pts in just 23 minutes.
When is Kobe returning? This seems to be the big question that has everyone thrown in a loop, especially his teammates. Shannon Brown had a career high 27 pts with 10 boards the other night against the Warriors and he didn't even know he was going to start for Kobe until minutes before tip off. It's such a great feeling to know that when your superstar player is out, his teammates can pull through on a last minute's notice and just flat out play great basketball. The Lakers have shown their championship level depth that defines how truly skilled they are as a clear cut favorite to win games without Mr. MVP. This speaks volume on how respected this Laker team has become since emerging Kobe-less 51 games into the season.
ESPN: The adage in Los Angeles is that everyone needs a car and anything worth seeing is 30 minutes from downtown. But next year, when the city hosts NBA All-Star weekend, the longest trip anyone might have to make from hotels to events and parties is across the street.
The 60th NBA All-Star Game will be played next year at Staples Center, with the NBA All-Star Jam at the adjacent Los Angeles Convention Center. The recently built L.A. Live, a 4 million-square-foot, $2.5 billion complex across the street, includes a Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott and more than a dozen restaurants, bars, clubs and theaters.
The only reason to leave downtown Los Angeles during next year’s All-Star Weekend might be to soak in the sun-kissed twists and turns of the Pacific Coast Highway or visit Mickey and Minnie at Disneyland. It will be a far cry from Dallas, where American Airlines Arena was a 10-minute drive from the media hotel, the Dallas Convention Center was a 15-minute ride and Cowboys Stadium was a 30-minute trip without traffic. That was, of course, for those who actually made it to Dallas after a snowstorm delayed and canceled hundreds of flights into the city. Apparently this was news back in June. Wow, I just got word. Sorry guys for the delay. I'm pretty excited that the NBA All-Star game will be in my neck of the woods next year! Tickets are already on sale. Mark your calendars, the 2011 NBA All-Star game is on Feb. 20, 2011.
Why? Because the D-League's Dunk Contest showed more excitement from their players who actually wanted to participate. What happened NBA Dunkers? I mean, you are the worlds greatest players who play professional NBA basketball. After the contest was over I was left feeling somewhat violated, you know the same feeling you got after you watched the hyped up M. Night Shyamalan's, "The Happening".
If I'm off here, I apologize but I have to get this off my chest. As I sit in my living room working, I also take my periodic breaks to peek at this weekends NBA All-Star festivities. I see the H.O.R.S.E game, the Skills Challenge, 3 Point Shootout and the Dunk Contest but something seems to be missing. I guess I was spoiled by the energy given from past NBA All-Stars that wanted to be there. Is it too much to ask for? I would see broken smiles from forced bodies. Players were just there to get it over with and their efforts never transcended into something remotely exciting to watch.
The H.O.R.S.E game was boring. The Skills Challenge and 3 Point Shootout grabbed my attention and was the prefect segway for the always awesome Dunk Contest, especially when our boy Shannon Brown was participating. The Dunk Contest comes around and Shannon Brown's dunks were NOTHING compared to the dunks we've seen him make in the regular seasons. What happened? It was as if he didn't want to win. The majority of the dunks were all have beens and already done by past dunkers. I felt really bad for the fans who were there to see a great show because from my living room the only show I got was from my occasional screensaver. This year's pre All-Star festivities were a BIG disappointment and I sure hope that today's All-Star game will save the NBA All-Star experience not only for me but for the world-wide fans.
Who is the greatest dunker you're asking? He's not even a pro baller. He's a street baller and plays for And1. His name is Taurian Fontenette, he was the guy who shared the photo op with Nate Robinson when he held his 2010 Dunk Contest trophy. This goes to show that when you play with all heart your efforts reflect that. Taurian's nick names are, "The Air Up There" and he also goes by "Mr. 720" and let me show you why...the first EVER 720 dunk!
Los Angeles Lakers (40-13) visit the Utah Jazz (32-18) Streaks: Lakers 3 straight wins and end Utah's 9 game winning streak Regular season series tied 1-1 Final Score 96-81 Lakers
To answer your question Mr. Boozer, the Lakers are playing this well without Kobe and Bynum because they're playing their best TEAM basketball so far this season. Let me explain.
Gasol was just one rebound shy from having his 20/20 game and possibly grabbing Barbara Walters attention at the same time. LO had another double double night with a season high 25 pts with 11 rebs. Farmar had 18 pts and went a perfect 4-4 behind the 3 point line. Shannon Brown had 11 points with another dunk contest preview. DJ Mbenga even got off his turn tables and got intn the action by scoring 4 points. Why the big fuss about his whopping 4 points? The last date he scored any points was 1/15. Sasha was given 15 minutes tonight and had 3 steals and played well. Last time he had this many minutes was 1/3. Even though Gasol will most likely be the Western Conference player of the week with his ridiculous production, Lamar should get game honors with his tempo setting early on. He played strong and has been since Kobe's absence.
Utah was left dumb-founded and never really had a chance to recover from an early Laker statement until late 4th quarter. After tonight, the Kobe-less Lakers will have a new found respect among its NBA peers. What a great win entering the NBA All-Star break! Go Lakers! Go TEAM Basketball!
Here's tonight's box score courtesy of Yahoo Sports! (Click to enlarge)
Sprite Slam Dunk 2010 will take place on NBA All-Star Saturday Night, Feb. 13, at American Airlines Center (8 p.m. ET on TNT) in Dallas, and fan voting via SMS TXT message and at NBA.com will help determine the winner. For more details, you can visit the official Sprite Slam Dunk Website: http://www.nba.com/dunk/
Mozilla Firefox recently introduced a new feature allowing it's user's the freedom to design their own custom personas. What is a persona you ask? Personas are easy-to-install, easy-to-use themes that change the look of your Mozilla Firefox web browser.
We jumped on this opportunity and designed the official LakerLiker persona open to the public. If you use Mozilla Firefox as your web browser and want to show your Laker Purple & Gold spirit click on the link below. It leads to the Mozilla Firefox persona page where you can upload and wear the official LakerLiker persona.
After tonight's impressive victory over the (29-21) San Antonio Spurs I almost forgot that Kobe wasn't playing. Let me first give the answer to this silly question, uh NO! Lakers are hands-down MUCH better when Kobe is playing. We need his presence to set the tempo, create shot opportunities, and we especially need him when he makes his shots and takes over games with his leadership...HOWEVER based on the last two games where the Lakers seem to be playing better team basketball, such a silly question arose itself from the forbidden suggestion box. To avoid disrespecting Kobe I will be using "seems" often. It seems that the ball movement has been unrecognizable with it's newly found touches. It also seems that statisticians are marking on unfamiliar territory, and the team as a whole seem to be moving faster as if unleashed after being caged for so long. The court also seems much larger and not as restricted for certain Laker players. Their outer shell left behind alongside their warmups.
Just last month, Lakers lost to Portland (Kobe went 14-37, 2-8 behind the arc) and the Lakers continued the Rose Garden Curse but for some reason the team came out victorious over the Blazers (in Portland) two nights ago without Kobe to end the (coincidental) curse. Lakers also lost to San Antonio last month but again the Kobeless Lakers beat the Spurs tonight to tie the regular season series.
Listen, I love Kobe and we are so fortunate to have the BEST NBA player in L.A. but I'm not going to sit here and watch these past couple of games and not state what needs to be stated here. It seems that the Lakers are playing much more comfortably and seem to be distributing the points quite evenly among other players that don't typically get to see no hear the sweet sound of leather hitting the nylon outside of scrimmage ball. I'm not going to put out unfavoring numbers, I will however provide the box scores from the last two games. You be the judge.
(Click to enlarge)
2-9-2010 - Box Score against the Spurs tonight (Final Score 101-89 Lakers)
2-6-2010 - Box Score against the TrailBlazers (Final Score 99-82 Lakers)
Either way, the Lakers are winning and that's what ultimately matters coming into the All-Star break. Let's just hope that this new Laker squad will close games early and not leave it up to a last second buzzer beater because without Kobe being there for the clutch, we're screwed. Look at the open 3 pointer Artest had for the win over the Grizzlies! He should've made it. Kobe set him up perfectly for the last second buzzer beater. Kobe IS THE BEST closer in the league, PERIOD!
We here at LakerLiker are excited to announce a new Lakers blog (est. June 2008) among us. The site was created by Don, needless to say a big Laker fan, who shows his Lakers loyalty from across the globe. With-Malice.com definitely represents how hardcore a Laker fan can be based all the way from Japan.
With-Malice.com is beautifully designed and the second you enter it you'll realize how big of a Laker fanatic he really is. In just one year of existence, With-Malice.com went runner up for best Basketball Blog in it's blogging platform (Bloguin) in 2009.
Just like LakerLiker, With-Malice has an editorial team whose Laker memories start with the "Showtime" era.
Take the time to visit With-Malice.com and show Japan's #1 Laker fan some Purple & Gold spirit!
First Kobe Bryant, now the Zen Master. Congrats to Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson for passing Pat Riley as the All-Time Winningest Lakers Coach. He received his 534th Laker win over the Bobcats, 99-97.
PJ is currently the NBA's all-time winningest coach but now he can add this new accolade to his already legendary resume. If you were to open up Phil's NBA resume (Both Player & Coach), this is what you would find:
NBA All-Rookie First Team (1968)
2 x NBA Champion as a Player (1970, 1973)
10 x NBA Champion as a Coach (Most in NBA History)
NBA Coach of the Year (1996)
4 x NBA All-Star Game Coach
NBA All-Time Winningest Coach
Chicago Bull's All-Time Winningest Coach
Los Angeles Lakers All-Time Winningest Coach
Most Conferences Championships won as a head coach (6 Eastern/6 Western)
Most Wins in NBA Playoffs History
Only Coach to ever win 70% of his games
Top Ten Coaches in NBA History (1996)
Some critics say Phil was just extremely lucky to have been able to coach the greatest NBA players of their time. This is why he was so successful.
Yes, I agree, PJ is extremely lucky but that definitely does not discount the success he's had coaching them. He's earned the respect among the players he's coached throughout his career. Phil does not need to prove himself to anyone. He's already done so.
Congrats goes to THE BEST NBA player actively playing, Mr. Kobe Bryant! He is now the most prolific Laker scorer ever to wear purple and gold by surpassing the Laker great Jerry West. Kobe scores his 25,183rd Laker point against the Memphis Grizzlies! He ended up with 44 this game. Here is a video of all his points scored. Look for the unselfish dish off by Farmar to Kobe for the moment he passes Mr. NBA logo himself, Jerry West.
This monumental Kobe diem was however over-shadowed by a close loss to Memphis. Kobe ends up dishing the last shot opportunity to an open Ron Artest brick. I see the intent but I don't see the reasoning. I don't care if Kobe is double teamed, triple teamed, heck the entire team could've been defending him, he should've attempted the last shot (and he knew it as he walked away). It's okay, a loss to end the longest road trip of the season didn't feel as bad. I guess beating Boston in Boston and Kobe becoming the all-time greatest Laker score might've been at fault.