Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lakers Tier Up While Hornets Tear Up

AP
2011 NBA Playoffs - Round 1 Game 6
Los Angeles (2) vs New Orleans Hornets (7)
Final Score: Lakers 98, Hornets 80
Series: Lakers win 4-2

Post game

The reigning back-to-back champs level up and await the Dallas/Blazers series results. What a postseason for veteran Jason Kidd. After seeing the San Antonio game last night and seeing how many top teams are struggling (including us) there really is parity in the NBA now. You can start to see the changing of the guard. The unexpected aren't playing as expected.

Orlando is out of the picture losing to the bad boys in A-Town, and San Antonio is playing their age to the younger Grizzlies. Yes they won yesterday but barely, I mean barely won. The Grizzlies had the win in their hands but choked allowing Neal to make that 3 to force the game in OT. Why didn't Memphis foul Neal? Make him shoot 2 free-throws. Why is that so hard to understand? Yikes.

Tonight Andrew Bynum decided to have his best turn out of the series by scoring 18 and pulling down 12rebs (8orebs) from his comfort zone, the paint. By none By num (kudos to me for that play on) was the difference in tonight's win. Kobe matches his jersey # in points, Gasol mirrors Tuesdays numbers w/ 16pts and 8rebs, and LO adds 14pts and brings down 8 rebounds as the bench starter. We all know (thanks to Khloe and Lamar) when Lamar does well, his moocher friends do well.

Lakers as a team look great going into the second round but Kobe as a player looks even greater. He is in his zone and fans can't wait to see what he pulls out of his arsenal next.

This is random but did you know that the black mamba is the fastest snake in the world? Heck I didn't. All this time I thought Kobe's self given nickname was based from how venomous and long they both are but now with this newly found fact I'm liking the quick and venomous approach.

Venomous and...long? Really Eric? Wow...and yes I did just speak in first person.
Courtesy of NBA.com

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

There's no I in Team in Game 5

Getty Images
2011 NBA Playoffs - Round 1 Game 5
Los Angeles (2) vs New Orleans Hornets (7)
Final Score: Lakers 106, Hornets 90
Series: Lakers lead 3-2

Post game

The champs take care of business at home as predicted. Tonight was the best postseason team win yet. All five starters and 6th man score in double digits. Fisher 13pts, Kobe 19pts, Andrew 18pts, Pau 16pts, Ron 11pts and Lamar 13pts. This is what you call distributing the points.

As for New Orleans, they were 3 top heavy. Chris scored 20, Belinelli come out of the wood works and had a surprising 21pts, and Ariza for the second time this series clocks out with 22pts. Landry picked a bad time to have his worse game of the series. The Hornets could have used his average 17pts tonight.

Someone told me that Kobe had a strained left ankle? I couldn't see it and Kobe didn't either. I can't remember the last time I saw Kobe dunk like he did tonight. For those critics who continue to jab at Kobe's aging knees, look at tonight's highlights below and come up with a new hate plan.

Okafor and Landry need to come up BIG on Thursday if the Hornets plan to return to the Staples Center.
Courtesy of NBA.com
     

What did you jumpfor Okafor?

Getty Images
Here's a replay of tonight's Emeka Okafor facial. What sprained ankle?

Video provided by NBA.com

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lakers "Punk Out" to the Hornets in Game 4

Getty Images
2011 NBA Playoffs - Round 1 Game 4
Los Angeles (2) vs New Orleans Hornets (7)
Final Score: Hornets 93, Lakers 88
Series: Tied 2-2

Post game

Okay we got it Kobe, you can make an impact in the game without having to score as much. We need you to score as much now. We can't afford for you to score your first points in the 3rd quarter.

Never mind what I said before, these pesky Hornets do not want to go away and good for them for making this a series. Tonight's loss reminds Laker fans where the teams Achilles heel is, at the 1 spot. Our 1 guards D. Fish and Blake need to play quicker and tighter. L.A. needs to guard the parameter and not be so inside heavy defensively. Now in saying this, we defended well in the first half but fell apart in the second. Apparently Chris Paul got the same memo Kobe did and waited to score his first points until the 3rd quarter. After that he just went ballistic. CP3 took advantage of the disadvantage and got himself a triple double, 27pts, 15asts, and 13rebs. His sidekicks Ariza and Landry totaled 35pts which doesn't hurt when trying to tie a playoff series going back to the Staples Center for a game 5.

The champs could not defend the pick and roll. You see the play forming and yet you continued to see the picker get the open jay or dunk.

Phil Jackson said in his post game interview, "We punked out tonight". I really hope his comments get his players riled up. I'm seeing Miami/Philly, Boston/New York, Orlando/Atlanta, and everyone else around the league for that matter getting physical. Where is our ESPN clashing clip? Tonight got really close between Kobe and Chris but nothing too dramatic. I always come back to Magic's comments about the Lakers getting "Out-physicaled" when they lost to Boston in the 2008 NBA Finals. Where were our big men tonight? The game's leading rebounder was a 6 foot Chris Paul. 

I'm not sure what was more frustrating...the constant "Bee-Fense" chants or seeing Artest sit out for so long when he was playing well and was catching an offensive groove. Regardless a loss is a loss and this has officially become another OKC first round series. So much for getting some rest.

The scary moment of the game came late in the 4th quarter and it starred Kobe Bryant. Kobe tweaked his left ankle while defending Willie Green. The warrior in Kobe pained through the rest of the closing minute by choice as he denied a subbing Shannon Brown. Looking back maybe this wasn't such a great move after all. Coach Monty Williams took advantage of Kobe's heroic efforts and drew up a play to switch the defense on Chris vs a tweaked ankle bearing Kobe. This resulted to Kobe needing help defensively which left Jarrett Jack open for a last second mid range jay. His make put New Orleans up by 4 and sealed the game. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lakers 3's and D Take Game 3

Getty Images
2011 NBA Playoffs - Round 1 Game 3
Los Angeles (2) vs New Orleans Hornets (7)
Final Score: Lakers 100, Hornets 86
Series: Lakers lead 2-1

Post game

Lakers turn the switch and decisively take game 3. You knew before tip-off that the men who fashioned NOLA were in trouble. Kobe had his game face on and his crew in purple and gold were going to win no matter what. Four of the five starters had double digit nights. Kobe 30pts (4-7 behind the arc), Gasol (who btw made his 2nd 3 pointer of the season) 17pts 10rebs, Bynum 14pts 11rebs, and Fisher 10pts. LO did his usual NBA best 6th man of the year thing by scoring 13 and bringing down 9rebs.

Tonight's win served two purposes. The first and important one was obviously to gain the lead in the series and make it as short as possible. Secondly was to make certain all Laker fans rest assure knowing everything is going to be alright. As Kobe often says, "I got this".

One thing he also has is his young legs again. The best dunk of the night came courtesy of the Black Mamba. Shannon, Artest and Bynum chimed in with their own dunks but Kobe's one-handed monster reminded me of a poster I once had of him 10 years ago. There was no way Kobe was settling for the simple layup. His intensity directed him to the air. Take another look.


Just like game 1 for the champs, the Hornets kept digging in but never were able to be much of a nail-biting scare. N.O. kept hanging around but L.A. had a defensive and offensive answer when their lead was threatened.   

Lakers are only getting stronger by the game and I really don't see the Hornets winning any additional games. CP3 is the Hornets Kobe and the team cannot rely on him to beat the Lakers on his own like he did in game 1. He needs his fellow 1st string teammates to help carry the load. Ariza is scoring more, Landry has had a strong series but Okafor needs to step up defensively if there's any chance for them to make this a long one. Tonight Okafor did have his best 1st round playoff game thus far, he'll need to carry that momentum through Sunday and stay out of early foul trouble.

If the Hornets starters (other than CP3) cannot impact the game in a major way look for the champs to close them out on Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

6TH MAN, 16 PTS, 6 REBS, 6CCESS

Getty Images
2011 NBA Playoffs - Round 1 Game 2
Los Angeles (2) vs New Orleans Hornets (7)
Final Score: Lakers 87, Hornets 78
Series tied 1-1

Post game

It took the league's best 6th man to turn things around in L.A. to thankfully tie the series before heading to the not so Big Easy. LO brought his game, brought the energy, and brought back the spunk that exited the Staples Center on Sunday. He was the deciding factor in tonight's victory. Kobe and Gasol should graciously refill the Candy Man's pregame candy jar at every opportunity. For Odom's numbers look above.

If you were told before tip-off that the usual 1-2 punch in Kobe & Gasol would score a combined 19 points, would you have believed that the Lakers would win tonight? On Kobe's defense he wasn't trying to score but more facilitate toward his big men. Right from the get-go you knew the game plan was to dish the rock inside which was heavily criticized as being more outside in game 1.

We can't forget about Bynum and Ron Ron. The Kid brought in 17pts and 11rebs and Artest helped with 15pts but more importantly helped with his defensive presence. I can't stress how important Ron's role is to the team. Most of his contributions game in and game out are often neglected statistically. You can't mark high energy, hustle and physicality but you could definitely recognize it. Barnes also had a positive night scoring 8 in just 11 minutes. His push to move the ball and match the Hornets speed was key tonight. Thank you Matt for that needed spark off the bench.

During the game, Reggie Miller had mentioned the Killer B's, highlighting the Lakers bench but at the end of the night it ended up being more like the Killer BOA (Bynum, Odom, Artest). Whatever the next acronym may be among Laker players lets hope it results to another WIN (Win In New...Orleans). I guess that would be WINO. Never mind, you know what I mean.

For the Hornets, CP3, Ariza and Landry also had great games. L.A. held Paul to just 20pts, Ariza scored 22 and Landry had 12. The New Orleans bench were no where to be found and were outscored by 14 to their 2nd unit opponents. One thing I have to point out which the media did as well was Jarrett Jack's frustration to his teammates. He flat out drilled them at the end of one fast break play. I liked seeing that and I sometimes wish Kobe would do the same. Gasol could have used that kind of screaming leadership tonight as he seemed too laid-back and too idle for such a fast paced playoff game. Something is wrong with him and I hope he collects himself soon. On that same token I'm tired of hearing "Gasoft" and any other sly remark. We all know the Spaniard's game and he will bounce back like he always does but don't slam the man in the process. Remember he's a BIG reason why we're in this position to 3-peat in the first place. He's just off right now. It's human to be so.

Tonight was a great night, a great win and a great sigh of relief for fans around the world. I just hope my nails grow back out before Friday. My nerves need an outlet.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Lakers Switch Locked Out

2011 NBA Playoffs - Round 1 Game 1
Los Angeles (2) vs New Orleans Hornets (7)
Final Score: Hornets 109, Lakers 100

Post game

Dang you Stuart Scott! You jinxed it. Don't get me wrong I normally like favoring statistics found deeper than trapped miners but today during the ESPN/ABC pregame show Stuart Scott had to mention one stat that sounded great before tip-off but turned out to be a very annoying voice in my head throughout the game. Also playing in my head was the anticipation of the turning of the Lakers postseason switch. Was the switch ever turned on? Maybe the team was confused because I sometimes have issues with my porch light switch. When I think I've turned it on I actually turned it off. It's weird. Maybe that's what happened today.

Stuart Scott had to mention that when the Lakers win game 1 of their 1st round playoff matchups they move on to win the series. Apparently they're like 48-0 or something. Thanks Stuart for that awesome stat. Hey maybe you can have your ESPN research team find statistics that reward the Lakers for losing game 1.

Sunday is turning out to be a day of several upsets. San Antonio (w/o Ginobili) also lost their first game against the 8th seeded Grizzlies. New York almost  pulled the upset over Boston but the Knicks were downed by a game winning Ray Allen three. Ouch. Okay, the Spurs I see shrugging their shoulders without Manu but L.A. losing to the Hornets?

I can give you countless reasons why the Lakers lost today but any fan who watched the game knows what happened. Lack of effort, defense, execution, blah, blah, blah, we know. I'm going to point out the winning factors to the Hornets W.

N.O. said NO to every L.A. attempt at gaining the lead throughout the entire game. I think the Lakers were contained at best to just a 1 point lead. The champs kept digging but the Hornets kept swarming around with bugging results. Lets just call a spade a spade here, Chris Paul owned the Lakers. He had one of his best playoff games of his career reminiscing of Iverson's shutdown in game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals where he alone beat us with 48pts. That performance deserves a second look.


CP3 ended the game with 33pts. and 14 assists. He had help though. Jarrett Jack off the bench added 15pts. to the box score, Landry had 17pts. but more importantly held Gasol to just 8 measly points. Aaron Gray (who?) had a crowd silencing and momentum stopping 12pts. His role was very important and as bitter as I currently sound CP3 is a cool dude who humbly told the post game media that Aaron Gray was the player of the game.

Scary moments of the game (besides the game as a whole for L.A.). As you'll see below in the game recap, Kobe hit his head on a chair when he fell down after a made baseline jay right before Artest's half court bomb. He's fine. Also, Aaron Gray towards the end of the game sprained his right ankle pretty badly. He was helped off the court to the locker room. Results pending.

It's time for PJ to regroup and reevaluate his squad for game 2 on Wednesday. Something to be aware of, Okafor had early foul trouble and wasn't much of a factor in today's game. Look for him to redeem himself and come out strong next time around.

My glass is half full as this loss should serve a much bigger purpose for the reigning back-to-back champs. Now that the Lakers know what they're dealing with they should have a deeper plan and show no mercy. Let's close out the series only looking back to today's loss and not allow for yet another tiring round 1 experience like we had with OKC last year. Here is the game recap.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

2011 NBA Playoffs Bracket is here

It's that time of year folks. It's time to fill out your 2011 NBA Playoffs Bracket. We've designed an easy to follow bracket for you to download. Simply click on the bracket above or click on the link below to download our 2011 NBA Playoffs Bracket.

Download 2010-11 NBA Playoffs Bracket Here

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lakers, Bush, Playoffs, Anaheim Royals, Cavemen...and more

What's more confusing? Figuring out who the Lakers are playing in the playoffs based on tonight's victories/losses around the league or the fact that the Sacramento King's are becoming the Anaheim Royals?

Tonight if the Lakers win and Dallas loses and Portland wins and OKC loses then the Lakers play Portland, wait I mean the Hornets, wait...I'm so confused. My head hurts. Let me bring in the expert to better explain the importance of tonight's games.

Kurt Helin over at NBC Sports reports:

One day of games remain and five seeds still up for grabs in the Western Conference — and you say there isn’t parity in the NBA.

Okay, there isn’t parity. Not really. But for one day we can at least pretend because a lot of things can happen in the Western Conference. (The East is set, it got its act together a couple of days ago.)

Here’s how it breaks down:

San Antonio is the top seed, locked up. The Lakers control their own destiny, they will be the No. 2 seed if they win in what promises to be a very raucus Sacramento arena Wednesday (in what everybody thinks will the last game ever for the Kings in Sacramento, which sucks).

If Los Angeles loses and Dallas beats New Orleans, Dallas is the two seed (they will have one-more win) and the Lakers the three seed. If Dallas loses then they can do no better than finishing tied with Los Angeles, and the Lakers have the tiebreaker so they are the two seed no matter what.

If Dallas loses to New Orleans and Oklahoma City beats Milwaukee, then the Thunder and Mavericks will be tied, but Oklahoma City has the tiebreaker and gets to be the three seed, and Dallas falls to the four spot.

So, the Lakers will be the two or three seed, Dallas can be anywhere from two to four, and Oklahoma City can be the three or the four seed. Still with me?

Denver is the five seed, Portland the six, both locked in. New Orleans and Memphis are now tied for the seven and eight seeds, but New Orleans has the tiebreaker so they are the seven seed. If the Hornets beat the Mavericks, then New Orleans is the seven seed. If the Hornets lose and the Grizzlies beat the Clippers, then Memphis is the seven and the New Orleans the eight.

What will really be interesting Wednesday: The important Dallas vs. New Orleans game starts at 8 p.m. Eastern, two-and-a-half hours before both the Lakers and the Grizzlies tip off in their respective games. If Dallas were to lose then the Lakers incentive to play their starters at all goes away. If New Orleans were to lose — and Memphis wanted to make sure it lost and kept the eighth seed — it also could suddenly start pulling key players off the floor.

So, we all clear now? Oh, what if there is a three-way tie? The Lakers still get to be the No. 2 seed by virtue of the conference record tiebreaker. There, that should answer everything. I think.

Thank goodness for smart people who can figure this hard stuff out. Now that we have the scenario drawn out for you lets jump to the second headache.

If you live in a cave and haven't heard...

the Sacramento Kings are becoming the Anaheim Royals, well it's becoming closer to a realization by the day. I personally live in Orange County near the Honda Center where the Royals would call home and I've been phoned by the Honda Center for feedback about the idea and I've talked to solicitors outside my local Target store asking to petition the move.


Its real and its going to happen. This will give Southern California its 3rd NBA team.

The Sacramento Kings’ proposed conversion to the Anaheim Royals will be proposed to the NBA’s Board of Governors in New York tomorrow amid some powerful objections that are unlikely to delay the arrival later this year of Southern California’s third  team in the league.

There's more negative buzz than good going around about this move. One thing the Maloof brothers can count on is the strong and loyal O.C. fan base who will most likely embrace their arrival. Heck who are we to talk, we did the same thing for Ron Artest and most recently Matt Barnes when they came on board.

Well whatever happens in the post season, L.A. will still have no NFL team. What's up with that?

Kobe fined $100K for homophobic slur

One of Kobe's unfavoring labels is his constant complaining to officials whose whistle isn't blown to his every slashing outcry. Kobe-haters will exhaust and hold tight to this truth smiling to the grave as where true fans have accepted it and simply moved on...to Figueroa waiting for the annual Lakers championship parade.

Last night Kobe's verbal frustrations (shh...a bundle of sticks) came out to be a little costly. I say a little because his $25 million dollar salary laughs at the $100K charitable donation.

TMZ reports:

Kobe Bryant was just fined $100k by the NBA for his homophobic slur at the Lakers game last night.
Commish David Stern says, "Kobe Bryant’s comment during last night’s game was offensive and inexcusable."

He continues, "While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated.  Accordingly, I have fined Kobe $100,000.  Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society.”

Okay here's my "in the snow bare foot uphill both ways" complaint. Back in my day, if I said something stupid I would have to write down how stupid it was to say it in the first place 100 times on a sheet of paper. Kobe only has to pay $10 grand 100 times to match my sweat and tears? So who do you think learned his lesson the most?

Hey I'm just saying, money is extinguishable to those who make my salary with one dribble.

Lakers vs Spurs Game Recap 4/12/2011


Monday, April 11, 2011

Where the Lakers stand with just 2 games left before the "switch"

Oh my God people stop it already. Everywhere I turn I'm reading how horribly the Lakers are playing as of recent. Just as quickly as they became post all-star break headline favorites (remember those days?), they've become today's "Lakers continue to struggle" headliner.

There is a high power and by design the Zen Master is reserving his starters energy for the playoffs. We need to accept the fact that the reigning champs are not returning to familiar division top rank territory and gaining that important home court advantage. Even though there's a tight race for the No. 2 spot in the west between us, Dallas, and OKC, I confidently feel that the champs will finish strong by beating SA and SAC to claim the 2nd spot for the highly anticipated 2nd season. Site regular MAGICO said it perfectly when he said the Lakers are playing position ball right now.

It's all about strategy this late in the season. Do you think for a second that one of the smartest NBA organizations neglected to sit down and brainstorm on how to avoid lower playoff bound teams that have proven to be difficult playoff opponents? Lakers are "losing" to certain teams in the latter part of the season so that those teams can climb the ladder to higher playoff bracket life. This type of coffee brainstorming results to easier lower ranked opponents.    

PJ has since rested his first unit stars and allowed for his eager bench to be more involved late in games. This is partly why the Lakers have lost 5 straight. Lack of effort from the usual suspects is the other reason. To those nervous wrecks who freak out when the Lakers lose in consecutive order, do me a favor and just relax, sit back and watch these last two games of the 2010-11 season with the much bigger playoff picture in view. Where ever the champs are placed in the western division and who ever they are matched up with, we all know the switch will be turned and the championship caliber team we all know and love will shows its face.

ESPN has an early preview of what the 2011 playoff matchups would look like if they were to happen today. Click below to see:

ESPN CURRENT NBA PLAYOFF MATCHUPS

Lakers vs Thunder Game Recap 4/10/2011


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How much do you want to bet that the Lakers will three-peat?

The words "Betting" and "Lakers" have widely been associated thanks to Lakers owner Jerry Buss and his amateur professional poker game. Dr. Buss hosts his annual Mariani/Buss Poker Tournament benefiting the Lakers Youth Foundation. Gambling can be a good thing if done right and in moderation. Recently I've been introduced to online sports betting. After getting my feet wet a little I wanted to briefly talk about the misconceptions of the legalities of online betting. Here are some facts that should steer you to the right path. There is still no federal law that prohibits players from betting on sports when using an offshore sportsbook. Meaning you are in violation when you bet online using a company based in the United States. There is a federal law that makes it difficult for banks to process gaming transactions, but that has nothing to do with the player. If you win and make a sizable profit be sure to claim it on your taxes.


So if you had a spare Benjamin would you bet on the Lakers three-peating? Maybe early on in the season you'd choose to buy a pair of new kicks but now that the champs are playing like champs with their current streak of 17-2 since the all-star break you'll probably reconsider. Put your money where your mouth is.