Tag: Andrew Bynum

Who Let The Dogs Out ………. ?


Who Let The Dogs Out ?

Well now that the fallout in the aftermath of the Los Angeles Lakers’ abrupt demise within the NBA Playoffs it appears that the repercussions and ramifications could be long lasting . We know that the team’s coach Phil Jackson will be stepping down and it’s presumed that a decision will be made by GM Mitch Kupchak in conjunction with the team’s principal owner Dr Jerry Buss as to who Jackson’s successor might be. Who could’ve foreseen the Lakers being swept in four rather lopsided games by the Dallas Mavericks in the conference semi finals of the playoffs ? The Mavericks now await the winners of the series between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals .

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Slideshow for your perusal .

In light of what we’re now hearing it could well be that the remnants of this team will be torn asunder and be completely revamped . This much we do know, the only piece liable to remain untouched could well be Kobe Bryant . But inasmuch as that is a certainty I do believe that Bryant , himself , will go a long way having his own input as to the personnel decisions that will most definitely have to be made. A successor to Phil Jackson will probably come from amongst the ranks of the assistants on this coaching staff of which the leading candidates appear to Brian Shaw and Jim Cleamons . It remains highly improbable that the hierarchy would go outside their stable of assistants to hire a coach unless it’s a high profiled experienced coach amongst the professional ranks . I certainly don’t believe that they’re liable to look amongst the collegiate ranks for a successor to Jackson !

It became pretty much clear that during this series the Lakers were mentally and physically outmatched and from a defensive standpoint this team was simply not there as a willing participant or competitor . The Lakers bench was never present and rarely did we see the best from Lamar Odom , Ron Artest , Matt Barnes and sparingly did we actually get a glimpse as to the consistency of either Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol . The one consistent factor throughout the series for the Lakers was in fact the player of Kobe Bryant who was the leading scorer on the team throughout the conference semi finals .

I do believe that if anything the Lakers’ players came in with the mindset that as the two time defending champions all they had to do was to literally turn up and that the Dallas Mavericks would quiver in their wake. Complacency and naivete had set in and if anything Phil Jackson was simply out-coached by his opposing number Rick Carlisle . But consistently throughout the series the Lakers simply didn’t have an answer for Dirk Nowitzki , the very astute and intelligent play of Jason Terry , Tyson Chandler , J J. Barea and the unselfishness of wily veteran point guard Jason Kidd . These aren’t your Mavericks of old as they’ve become resolute and very much more defensively oriented with the combined play of Chandler and utility player Shawn Marion as they’ve provided the team with that much needed one ….. two punch from a defensive standpoint.

Now any thoughts that NBA Commissioner David Stern might have had for a proposed Finals’ matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the presumed favorites to make it out of the Eastern Conference the Miami Heat , will now have to be placed on the back burner. The Heat are now looking to fully vindicate themselves by closing out their series against their heated conference rivals the Boston Celtics . Now 3-1 up in that series and with the Celtics ailing on a number of fronts it’s hard to see how Doc Rivers’ team will be able erase this deficit and actually come back and win this series outright. An aging roster of stars now seems to have met its Waterloo and this will most certainly have to be the last charge for Kevin Garnett , Ray Allen , Paul Pierce and Shaquille O’Neal .

As to the direction that may well be taken by the Lakers’ hierarchy as they look to rebuild I for one can’t really see them delving once again into the free agent market with the impending free agents that will come to the market . Granted , there may well be one or two desirable free agents but nowhere near the number that came to the market this past season . Mitch Kupchak will look to see where the deficiencies are on the roster and make the necessary moves to bolster a team that underachieved and that had performed well below the hierarchy’s as well as their fans’ expectations . This much we do know the this Lakers’ team of the 2010-11 season won’t in many respects resemble the one we’re liable to see for the 2011-12 season.

Game four of what’s now turning out to be an intriguing and suspenseful series brought a cumulative points total not often seen in an NBA playoff game . If I said you that the game between went into triple overtime and there’d be 256 points scored you would’ve probably thought that I was insane . But that’s what transpired on Monday night at the Fedex Forum in Memphis , Tennessee, as the Oklahoma City Thunder would defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 133-123 in a thrilling and exhilarating game . Russell Westbbrook and Kevin Durant would account for more than half of the Thunder’s output with the duo scoring a combined 75 points on their way to the team’s impressive win . Not to be outdone in all of this were Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol who each chipped in with 60 points between them for the Grizzlies.

Tonight’s game resumes the series in Oklahoma City in a pivotal game five where the victor take’s the reins and more likely than not will the upper hand in this series . To my mind for both coaches Scott Brooks and Lionel Hollins after this explosive and unbelievable offensive output where defense was simply left at the door I seriously doubt that the two teams will be able to reproduce another epic of this magnitude ! If anything tonight’s game should be somewhat less stressful for the discerning NBA tv viewer in terms of the suspense we could expect. Thrills and spills asides this series has indeed taken on a life of its own wherein the two teams seem to be evenly matched . Albeit that as the number eight seed in the Western Conference , few might have expected the Grizzlies to have made it this far in the playoffs . Should Randolph and his teammates prevail against the Thunder , then a much anticipated conference final’s match-up against the Dallas Mavericks awaits them.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As the postseason unfolds were you at all surprised by the Los Angeles Lakers’ exit from the NBA Playoffs ? And which series to your mind of those played so far has been the most exciting to watch in your opinion ? Simply offer a comment as to your thoughts on the topics raised within this piece and anything else you feel to be pertinent with regard to the NBA postseason .

Alan aka tophatal ………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) EL SEGUNDO, CA – MAY 11: Phil Jackson, coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, speaks during his last official Lakers news conference at the team’s training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Mavericks four games to none. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images …..

(2) Phil Jackson, coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, hugs a Kevin Ding reporter for the Orange County Register as he leaves his last official Lakers news conference at the team’s training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Mavericks four games to none. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(3) Lamar Odom (7) of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks during a news conference at the Lakers training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Mavericks four games to none. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……..

(4) Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks with members of the convened press at the team’s facility at the Toyota Center in El Segundo, California. Getty Images / Kevirk Djansezian ……

(5) Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, right, reacts to a dunk by teammate James Harden, left, in the second quarter of Game 5 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies in Oklahoma City, Wednessday, May 11, 2011. AP Photo/Alonzo Adams …..

(6) Oklahoma City Thunder guard Daequan Cook, left, shoots in front of Memphis Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo, right, and forward Zach Randolph, center, in the fourth quarter of Game 5 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 11, 2011. Oklahoma City won 99-72 . AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki …….

(7) Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins shoots as Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen watches in the second quarter of Game 5 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 11, 2011. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki ………

(8) Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, left, shoots in front of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka in the first quarter of Game 5 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 11, 2011. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki ……

(9) Oklahoma City Thunder forwards Kevin Durant, front, and Serge Ibaka, right, cheer in the fourth quarter of Game 5 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 11, 2011. Oklahoma City won 99-72. AP Photo/Alonzo Adams ……..

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NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NBA Stats (Playoffs)

NBA Schedule 11th May 2011

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If at all interested do take time to participate in the above mentioned poll .

It Never Rains In Southern California …………


 
 
 

It Never Rains In Southern California  …………. 

 

 

 

 

 

Well  after  last  night’s  euphoric   victory by the  Los Angeles  Lakers over their   fiercest  rivals   for  NBA supremacy  in the Boston Celtics. There’ll   now  be  many  amongst  telling us  that  the  Lakers  are  now  indeed  the  best  team  in the NBA. Record wise  and   statistically  that’d  prove  to be  the  case.    But the argument  does   continue  even  amongst  the  most   discerning  of  fans  of  not  just  the  NBA  but  amongst   both  teams’ legions   of  fans. 

 

 

 

Bryant and  Garnett  shake  hands  prior  to the  game  played  last  night  at  the TD Banknorth Center  in Boston,  Mass,.
Bryant and Garnett acknowledge each other by shaking hands prior to the game played last night at the TD Banknorth Center played in Boston , Mass,. ...............

 

 

Bryant  and Garnett  shake  hands   prior  to  the  game  played  last  night  at the TD Banknorth Center in Boston , Mass. ………..

 

 

 

 

But  as  the  title  of  this  piece  reads  and   it  can  be  attributed  to the  neo-soul  r&b  group Tony, Toni , Tone !  One of the  premiere  r&b groups  of the  late 80’s  and  early  90s, fronted  by  Raphael Saadiq.  An  accomplished   musician and  producer  in  his  own  right.

 

 

 

The game  itself  though  not overly suspenseful  did   pit   two  teams  who  as  of  late have been  playing  some  excellent  basketball. And  if  nothing  else  the   hierarchy  of the NBA  has  to  be  pleased with the way   the  season  seems  to  be  turning  out  thus  far.   We’ve seen  the  consistency  of  one   of  its  brightest  stars  in LeBron James  of  the  Cleveland  Cavaliers. Who’s  now  leading  them  to  great  heights   this season.  He’s  ably  abetted  by the  likes  of   Anderson Varejao, Mo Williams  and  others.   

 

 

 

Garnett looks to make  a move  against  Gasol   of the Lakers ................
Celtics' Kevin Garnett looks to make a move against the Lakers' Pau Gasol ............

 

 

Kevin Garnett  of  the  Celtics  looks  to  make  a  move   against the  Lakers’ Pau  Gasol.

 

 

 

 

 

But  it  is the  Lakers  and  Celtics    whom  the  league appears  to live and  die  by  when  it  comes  to  equating   its   success.  Especially   on the   business  side   of the  equation.  Anyone  who’d  think otherwise  clearly  hasn’t  seen  the  sort   product that the  two   teams  move   in  terms  of  merchandising,  not  only  domestically  but  also  internationally.  And  for  a  sport  that  now  generates  in  excess of  $8.5bn  annually  in  revenues.  One can  only   think  that this   brings a  smile  to  the  face  of  Commissioner  David  Stern  when  both  teams are  successful  and  sit  atop  of  the game.

 

 

 

(more…)

Kobe’ll Get His No Matter What ………


 
 
 
 
 

Kobe’ll  Get His No Matter  What  ………

 

OK  so  Kobe Bryant  has  proved  once  again  why he  might  just  be  the  greatest  offensive presence  there  is in the NBA today.  Not  only  has  he  lived up  to the  expectations  one  believed  his  talents   belied.  But  the  euphoria  over the player   now  borders  on  a  God like  status and  adoration of the  player. 

 

 

 

 

But  there  are  opponents  of  this  view   who  see  and   feel that   LeBron James  of  the Cleveland  Cavaliers may  well  be  the  better   player  at  this   juncture  in their  careers.  Well  last  night  night  Bryant   took  it  upon  himself   to  drop   61  points   on the  lamentable  New  York Knicks.  Whose   defense   shall  we  say  is   about  as  notable   as  that  of   the  Trojans’  defense  of  Troy  when  they   came   under  the  attack  from  the  Greeks.  Suffice  to  say there   was  no  wooden  horse  needed   here  to  break   down  the  Knicks’  defense   at Madison Square  Gardens  last  night. Bryant  and  the  Los Angeles   Lakers   had  their   way  with the  team. 

 

 

 

Wilson Chandler  of  the Knicks  tries to  defend  the Lakers' Kobe Bryant  ......picture  appears courtesy of  nbae/getty images/ Doug  Watts .........
Wilson Chandler of the Knicks tries to defend the Lakers' Kobe Bryant. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Doug Watts ..........

 

 

 Wilson Chandler  of  the  Knicks tries  to  defend  the  Lakers’ Kobe  Bryant.  picture  appears  courtesy of  nbae/getty images/ Doug Watts …………

 

 

 

 

Defense at   times   doesn’t appear  to  a  part   of   the  Knicks’  culture   under  the  Mike  D’Antoni tome  when  it comes  to coaching.   And  when  it   does   happen  it’s  something  of a  rarity   to  those  who   follow  the  game  as  well  as  the  Knicks  as  a  whole. Now  far be  it  for  me  to  say  that  the  expectations  perceived   when   D’Antoni   took  over  from the  woefully  inept  Isaiah  Thomas  would  be  high.  But  the  mere   fact   that   at this   point  of the season they’re close  to  exceeding  last  year’s  win  total  of  23  games.  That   does indeed  tell  you  how  far they’ve  come.  At  21-26  they  stand  a  full  18  games  behind the  Atlantic  Division leading  Boston Celtics(40-9).  But  there’s  hope  amongst their   most  ardent   of  fans  that  this’ll  be   the year  that  we’ll  see   a  turnaround  from  the  team.   They’ve  been  playing   well  but  not  consistently  well  enough   for  one  to  believe  that  they  can  make  the  playoffs.  The   jury  is  still   out  on  that  at this  juncture.

 

 

 

 

Last  night’s   game   however   was  a   thrill  a   minute   in  terms of the offense   that  was  on  display.   The  result  itself   speaks   for  itself   whereby  the  Lakers  won  the  game 126-117 with  Pau  Gasol   ably   supporting  Bryant   by  throwing   in  31 points  himself.  The   Lakers’  bench  combined  for  19  points ,  leaving   the  starters   to  produce  the majority  of  the  scoring  on the  night.  Through  each of  the  four   quarters  the  scoring  was   somewhat  even. But  it  was   Bryant’s  display ,  range  and   wide   variety   of  shot  making  that  had  the  fans  beguiled  and  no  doubt  the   viewing  audience  and analysts   alike   searching   for  the right  words   to  describe  the  player’s  feat. 

 

 

 

 

Duhon   tries  to  drive  the lane  under  the  defensive and watchful  eye  of  he Lakers' Kobe Bryant.  picture  appears courtesy of  nbae/getty images/ Doug  Watts .........
Duhon of the Knicks tries to drive the lane under the defensive and watchful eye of the Lakers' Kobe Bryant. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images / Doug Watts .............

 

 

Duhon   of  the  Knicks   tries to  drive  the  lane  under  the  watchful and  defensive  eye  of the Lakers’  Kobe  Bryant.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  nbae/getty images/ Doug  Watts  …………. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With  Bynum   going  down  injured  and   the  play  of Lamar Odom bordering on  being  nauseous  to say the least. It’ll  now be  down  to Bryant  and   whoever  is  prepared  to  step  and  take on  the  mantle  in adding  some added   offensive  and  rebounding  presence    on this   team .   Gasol   has  proven  that  he  can  do it.  But  nowhere  near  the   consistency   that  coach   Phil  Jackson  requires.  As  to  who  of  their   bench  players   would  be  capable  of  assuming  this  mantle.  The one  player   who  I  feel   might  be  well   suited  to   this  may  well  be  Trevor  Ariza. He’s  certainly   tenacious  enough  and   possesses  that  desire  and  will   to   succeed.   But  it’d  be  far  fetched  to  believe  that  he’ll  be  the  cure to   what  ails  the  Lakers  with  the  loss  of  Andrew  Bynum  for  an  indeterminable  period  of  time. But  if  nothing  else  it’s better to  have  Ariza   on  the court  than  anyone  else  on  their bench.

 

 

 

Wilson  Chandler  and David Lee trie  to  sandwich Bryant who's in pursuit of  the ball.   picture  appears courtesy of  nbae/getty images/ Doug Watts ...........
Wilson Chandler and David Lee look to sandwich Bryant who's in pursuit of the loose ball. picture appears courtesy of nabe/getty images/ Doug Watts ............

 

 

 

Wilson Chandler  and  David  Lee  look  to  sandwich  Bryant  of the  Lakers  who’s   in pursuit of  the loose ball.  picture appears  courtesy  of  nbae/getty  images/  Doug  Watts   …………….

 

 

 

 

 

As  to  Bryant , last  night’s offensive  output   was  a  record  for  a  game  played  between the two  teams.  And  it  certainly  now  adds  fuel  to the  fire  as  to  who  is  playing   the more  consistently   of  the  two, between  Bryant  and  James.  Both  players  have their   own  legion  of  fans.  And   both  are   equally  aplomb   of  showing   off   their   skills  as  and  when  they  wish. They’ve  both  taken  on the  leadership   mantle  for  their   respective   teams  and  if  nothing  else   this  may  well  be  down  to  the  fact  of  the  Olympic   experience  of  Beijing.  If  anything  the  influence  of  Mike  Krzyzewski   and  his    coaching  seems  to   have  rubbed  off   on  both  players. 

 

 

 

 

Ariza  of  the Lakeras  shoots  against  the  Knicks  with  teammate  Lamar Odom  looking  on .
Ariza of the Lakers shoots against the Knicks while his teammate Lamar Odom looks on. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Doug Watts ................

 

 

Ariza of  the Lakers  shoots  against the  Knicks  with  teammate  Lamar Odom looking  on.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  nbae/getty images/ Doug Watts ……

 

 

 

 

 

Over the  next  few   months  it  will   however be  interesting  to  see   how  the  Lakers  will  fare.  The  loss  of  Bynum  while  significant  oughtn’t  to  waylay   the  Lakers’  chances  of  making  the  playoffs.  However  it  does  make  them  somewhat  more   vulnerable.  And  no  doubt  many  of  their   Western  Conference   foes  will  look   upon  the  situation  to  inflict    further  pain  and  suffering   upon  the  team  if  they  can.  The San  Antonio  Spurs   seem to have   found their  footing. And though   Tim  Duncan  and  his   teammates  aren’t  viewed  as the    team  to  beat.  They’ve a  way   of  appearing   ominously   dangerous to   those  who’ll  view  them  as  nothing  more  than  a  team whose window  of  opportunity  has come  and  gone. It’d  be   foolish  to write  them  off  as  they’ve   seen  it  all  before   and  have   acquitted  themselves  well  as  and  when  needed.  But  after  last   year’s   bitter  loss  in the  conference  finals   to the  Lakers.  Nothing  would  be  sweeter  for them  than  to  exact    revenge   on the  team  deemed   everyone’s   favorites to win  it  all   in  the  West.

 

 

Gasol of  the Lakers   pulls  down a  defensive  rebound  with  the Knicks' David  Lee  looking  on
Gasol of the Lakers pulls down a defensive rebound with the Knicks' David Lee looking on. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Doug Watts ..............

 

 

Gasol of   the Lakers  pulls  down a  defensive   rebound  with  the  Knicks’  David  Lee  looking  on .  picture  appears  courtesy  of  nbae/getty  images/Doug Watts……..

 

 

 

 

 

 

So as  we’re  close  to  reaching  the  halfway   point of  the  season. What  seemed  to have  been  ordained   might   just   be  turning  out  to  be   something  of  a  thrilling   event  for  those  who’d   care  to  watch    what  will  happen  in the  ensuing  months.  Can  the Lakers   succeed  or  will  they   fall  because merely   because  of  the absence  of  Andrew  Bynum ?  He  was  sorely  missed  last  year.  And   no   doubt  this  time around  there’s  that  feeling  of   déjà-vu  once  again.   The  irony  isn’t  lost  on their   fans  or  the    organization  as  a  whole.