Tag Archives: Kobe Bryant

NBA’s Western Conference Mirrors Crowded GOP Race

Kobe Bryant told Yahoo Sports that the Los Angeles Lakers could ‘absolutely’ make the playoffs this season. Sure it is mathematically possible for the Lakers to finish in the top eight of the Western Conference. What is more likely to happen is they fall short while battling in a competitive field.

Much like the 2016 Republican presidential campaign, the Western Conference is so fully loaded that teams with adequate talent will not make the playoffs the same way Governors Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal didn’t qualify for the first presidential debate.

45-37 was good enough for the Lakers to get the 7th seed in the 2006 season, but that win total wasn’t enough for the Oklahoma City Thunder to make the playoffs in 2015. After 21 victories last season, the Lakers can drastically improve, even double their win total, and it still may only be good enough for 9th place.

The Lakers will join the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trailblazers  in jockeying for position like Senators Lindsey Graham and Rick Santorum- except they have a better chance of making the playoffs than either of them have of getting the GOP nomination.

 

Lakers Last Supper Portrait for the 2010 Lakers album 'Purple Reign'

Lakers Album: Purple Reign

Intro:

 

Lakers World Order Theme:

 

2 Sweet:

 

Gunz Blazing:

 

Light’s Out:

 

The Greatest Show:

 

Lakehouse:

 

Downtown Live:

 

The Hotness:

 

Lakers Haters:

 

Outro(Fame & Fortune) / Never Give Up:


BONUS TRACKS

The Public Option:

 

Count On Me:

Warriors Use Pistons Game-plan Against Shaq in 2004 NBA Finals

It’s a page straight from the 2004 NBA Finals. Larry Brown chose to play Shaquille O’Neal with single-coverage on the way to a 4-1 series win over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Detroit Pistons chose to double Kobe Bryant instead and stayed at home with the rest of the shooters. Ben Wallace couldn’t stop O’Neal, who had his way with him, but it wasn’t enough to dominate the series. A younger O’Neal would have went for sixty each night if left alone. But the Pistons knew they were better off letting Shaq get his while shutting down everyone else.

LeBron James scored 44 points in Game 1 of 2015 NBA Finals, but only two in overtime. He continued to struggle with his outside shot, missing a fade-away three-pointer that would have won the game at the end of regulation. Steve Kerr decided not to double-team LeBron James, and as a result, the role players didn’t get open looks.The Golden State Warriors can’t stop LeBron from scoring, but they can stop him from getting his teammates involved.

J.R. Smith who has been huge in the playoffs thus far for Cleveland went 3-13, and starting shooting guard Iman Shumpert went 2-6. The Cavs had only one player with a field-goal off the bench. Kyrie Irving was productive on both ends of the floor, scoring 23 points and blocking Stephen Curry’s game winning shot attempt. But just like Karl Malone on the 2004 Lakers, Irving entered with a knee injury and will not finish the series after fracturing his kneecap.

At this point there is no need for Kerr to make any adjustments. James went 2-8 from the three-point line, and though still in his prime, no longer posses the athletic ability to dominate an entire series by himself. It was Shane Battier, Ray Allen, and Mike Miller who made multiple timely three-point shots during championship runs in 2012 & 2013. LeBron will need that same type of support to win his third ring. The Warriors look to cutoff the support and make LeBron carry the ailing Cavaliers.

Versus: Kobe v LeBron – Who Had More Help?

As LeBron James enters his sixth NBA Finals competition, the comparisons and contrasts with his superstar peers are made. Kobe Bryant has 5 rings with the Los Angeles Lakers, but many analysts do not credit his first three (2000-2002) as being a part of his individual accomplishments. Still, LeBron clearly joined Dwyane Wade and Chirs Bosh in Miami because he grew weary of trying to win it on his own, and collected back-to-back titles with the Heat.

Here is a statistical breakdown of Kobe’s three trips to the NBA Finals (without Shaq) and LeBron’s first three trips to the Finals along with their supporting casts numbers.

 

Celtics 2008 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (CELTICS 4-2)

Kobe 25.7 4.7reb 5.0asst

Gasol 14.7 10.2reb 3.3asst

Odom 13.5 9.0reb 3.0asst

(Bynum Didn’t participate in series)

 

Lakers 2009 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (4-1)

Kobe 32.4 5.6reb 7.4asst

Gasol avg 18.6 9.2reb 2.2ast

Odom 13.4, 7.4 reb 0.8ast

Bynum  6pts 4reb 0.6 asst

 

LAKERS 2010 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (4-3)

Kobe 28.6 8.0reb 3.9asst

Gasol 18.6 11.6reb 3.7asst

Metta World Peace 10.6 4.3reb 1.3 asst

Bynum 7.4 5.1reb


SPURS 2007 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (4-0)

Bron 22.0 7.0reb 6.8asst
MAVERICKS 2011 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (4-2)

WADE 26.5 7.0reb 5.2 asst

Bron 17.8 7.2reb 6.8asst

BOSH 18.5 7.3 reb 1.0asst

Chalmers avg 11.8 2.7reb 3.5 asst

HEAT 2012 NBA FINALS CHAMPIONS (4-2)

Bron 28.6 10.2reb 7.4asst

Wade 22.6 6.0reb 5.2asst

Bosh 14.6 9.4reb

Battier 11.4

Chalmers 10.4 2.6reb 4.0asst

 

Former Lakers Tyronn Lue and Luke Walton battle as coaches in the NBA Finals

Derek Fisher, Brian Shaw, and Kurt Rambis played meaningful roles with the Los Angles Lakers, combining for 12 NBA championships as players, and six as coaches. Shaw and Rambis were assistants on Phil Jackson’s staff, and Fisher is  currently head coach of the New York Knicks. But it’s two unlikely bit players in the Lakers Dynasties, Tyronn Lue and Luke Walton, who are now on the cusp of adding another ring.

Lue twice won titles in L.A. (2000 & 2001), and is most remembered for being stepped over by Allen Iverson in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals. He is now an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers after spending the past five seasons in Boston and Los Angeles on the bench with Doc Rivers.

Walton won a title with the Lakers in 2010, and had a stint as an assistant coach with the University of Memphis during the 2011 NBA lockout before joining Steve Kerr with the Golden State Warriors this season.

Both work closely in player development, each possessing a wealth of experience from having played on championship teams with MVP’s. Walton has an NBA father like Steph Curry and was tootled by Phil Jackson like Steve Kerr. Lue was teammates with Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan over a span of four seasons, and was a part of the Lakers team that won a title with a 16-1 playoff record.

Kerr spurned Phil and the Knicks to put the finishing touches on what former coach Mark Jackson built. But although his tenure as president has gotten off to a rocky start with the Knicks, there should be a degree off satisfaction for Phil Jackson seeing his former players compete in the roles of coaches for an NBA championship.

Jordan Clarkson should make NBA All-Rookie Team

Most coups occur in the middle of the night when regime change by force is unexpected. The Los Angeles Lakers executed one in plain sight during the 2014 NBA Draft with their selection of Jordan Clarkson.

Clarkson was the 46th pick in the second-round.  His 10 ppg average is more than the point-guards selected ahead of him, most notably lottery picks Dante Exum (4), and Marcus Smart (7), and LeBron James recruit, Miami’s Shabazz Napier (5). Milwaukee’s Tyler Ennis is averaging 3 ppg after being selected 18th, Detroit Piston Spencer Dinwiddie (4), and Houston Rocket Nick Johnson (2) were both selected ahead of Clarkson.  

Despite the Lakers’ forgettable season, Jordan Clarkson has taken it upon himself to remind everyone why teams had him as a first-round selection on many draft boards.

Clarkson recently scored a career-high 30 points against MVP candidate Russell Westbrook, drawing faint comparisons by Lakers Head Coach Byron Scott to the athletic scoring OKC Thunder point-guard.

Clarkson’s steal and furious slam dunk on Exum in a 100-97 Lakers win over the Jazz was evidence that he is further along in his game than the 19-year-old Aussie. Some may still believe Exum has a higher ceiling, but Clarkson’s college experience at Missouri is evident in his polished game.

After beginning the season in the shadows of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash,  and  Jeremy Lin, Clarkson is poised to finish at the controls. His dynamic play has earned trust from his coaches and teammates.

His statistical averages of 10 points 2 rebounds and 2 assists alone garner All-Rookie recognition. But Jordan Clarkson is providing Lakers’ fans with realistic hope for next year.  For that seemingly insurmountable task alone, he should be rewarded.

Jordan Clarkson is ready to be an L.A. Boss

 

It wasn’t simply Jordan Clarkson’s throw down dunk on Dante Exum. It was him stealing the ball from the Australian sensation beforehand which initiated the instant classic hi-lite. Los Angeles Lakers rookie Jordan Clarkson symbolically had his coming out party in a 100-97 win in Utah against the Jazz.

While the Lakers are racking up injuries, DNP-CD’s, and overall bad vibes, Jordan Clarkson infused hope for the future with one facial that will surely stay in rotation for seasons to come.

Clarkson has now earned league-wide credibility.  Players are wacthing YouTube, Vine, and are just as engaged on Twitter as any fan. Best believe the next defender will think twice about challenging Jordan Clarkson at the rim, lest they get Dante Exumed. There is visual evidence that he got game. Jordan Clarkson wants to be that dude and his chance has arrived.

Now this may not have been Jordan in the back-court Kobe Bryant dreamt of playing alongside in his fleeting thoughts to sign  with the Washington Wizards earlier in the decade. But Clarkson’s tenacity fulfills the prerequisite of being accepted by Bryant. After years of having to defend the other teams point guards, Clarkson’s athleticism should relieve Bryant of the burden for the remainder of his career. Defensively the Lakers can finally address Stephen Curry, Damian Lilliard, Russell Westbrook, and the long list of guards who dominate the Western Conference.

With four draft-picks this off-season, and the return of Julius Randall, Jordan Clarkson is poised to lead the youth movement in Los Angeles.

 

Steve Nash, Lakers, are having fun clowning around and beefing on Twitter

Just when you thought things could not become more weird in Lakerland, two-time MVP Steve Nash decided to joust with a Twitter user. In response to a Tweet, the injured Lakers’ guard replied “I’m the hardest 41 yr old you know Brodie. Watch your mouth or temecula.”

Steve Nash or temecula

Steve Nash warns fan about how hard he is

This comes on the heels of Nick ‘Swaggy P’ Young, Jordan Hill, Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin embarrassing this once proud franchise in a post-game interview after winning an overtime game against the Boston Celtics, ending an eight-game losing streak. Kobe Bryant appeared on The Jimmy Kimmel Show and had a classic “Kobe state” reaction to his teammates antics. Coach Byron Scott joined in Kobe’s lack of enthusiasm:

“Kobe’s reaction was pretty much my reaction when I was watching it,” Scott said. “I was just shaking my head like, ‘I can’t believe this. That’s not us as Lakers. That’s not how we act. It showed a lack of professionalism.”

This just may be the worst Lakers team in history, but that hasn’t stopped them from keeping social-media sites popping with their non-basketball chicanery. Steve Nash may have gotten the “lolz,” but I’m pretty sure Lakers’ fans would prefer to see him run pick-and-roll instead of his videos playing golf and talking about how “hard” he is on Twitter.

Can Kobe Bryant get born again?

The Los Angeles Lakers need deliverance. They must exorcise the demons of the past three seasons in order to receive restoration. Much of that depends on the return of Kobe Bryant for his 20th NBA season.

Bryant set down with Ahmad Rashad for an exclusive interview and discussed his killer instinct, and the desire to return to glory. He cited the San Antonio Spurs success, and said he wants his career to mimic their rebirth to championship form.

So can Kobe get born again? We discuss this in the latest chapter of P.A.G.E. 24.

 

Nick Young not happy with Swaggy DNP

Nick Young spent the second-half of the Lakers 99-87 loss to the Houston Rockets on the bench after a lackluster effort over two quarters. He went scoreless for the first time in his Lakers’ career, putting up 2 shots in nine mercurial minutes.

With Kobe Bryant out, along with injuries to Steve Nash, Julius Randal, and Xavier Henry, Young certainly has the green-light to put up shots. But Head Coach Byron Scott is known for his old school style of leadership, and accountability on the defensive end of the floor is just as important as scoring points. Scott alluded to Young’s disinterest as the catalyst to him being benched after halftime.

“It looked to me that he didn’t want to be here,” explained Scott.

“At halftime, we showed stuff on the tape where he was guarding Corey Brewer in the corner. I asked ‘What were you thinking on his play?’ The answer he gave me, I couldn’t figure it out. So I just felt with his body language that he didn’t want to play tonight, so I chose not to play him.”

“He’s the coach.  He’s seen what he’s seen.  It’s not my place to get into that really,” said Young a day after not speaking with the media following the loss.  “I’m not in a situation to go back and forth with the coach because I would never play.

“There ain’t a day that goes by that I don’t want to be out on the court,”he continued.  “I love being here.  I love playing basketball.  I get a joy out of playing and seeing the fans, hearing them chant ‘Swaggy P.’ That’s what drives me.”

Young has had trouble adjusting to receiving more attention from opposing defenses since Bryant’s absence.

“Last night the Rockets double-teamed me every time I came off pick and rolls,” said Young.  “It’s tough but we’ve got to go out there and still fight, still gotta give fans a show.  It’s a chance for other people to step up now.”

Young is shooting 37% from the field, the same as fallen teammate Kobe Bryant who had been ridiculed for his inaccuracy. Still Young is confident he can carrying the offensive load.

“Just give me the ball and get out of the way.”