Tag: Los Angeles Lakers

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.



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 ………………..


Picture and slide show details below .


(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 ……..


NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

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NBA Schedule 11th May 2011


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

Do The Right Thing …………….. You’ve Been Bamboozled

Do The Right Thing …………….. You’ve Been Bamboozled

Did I miss something but since when did respected movie director Spike Lee become a conduit for the front office of the New York Knicks ? I know that he’s an avowed fan of this team but now it’s becoming somewhat ridiculous when Lee is now an intermediary for the front office as they seek to lure Denver Nuggets’ guard Carmelo Anthony. As we’re all now aware the front office of the Nuggets though they’ve to yet state it categorically that it’s their intention to trade the player. In the last year of his existing contract the Carmelo Anthony hasn’t stated his intent to re-sign with the team. The uncertainty for the Nuggets also stems with the growing concern of the health of coach George Karl . Having undergone chemotherapy for throat cancer the coach’s recovery has been slow but there’s a lingering concern that even with a full recovery there will be times when Karl’s mindset will not be completely about the game and that is totally understandable. At the same time there seems to be rumblings of discontent from the player though no formal statement has been made by him to that effect.


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Slide show for your perusal .

Given the possible upheaval and impending uncertainty one would’ve thought that the the organization would seek to trade the player now prior to the start of the season by looking to get an equitable return. The number of teams out there that would desire Anthony at this moment in time aren’t thought to be that many and with a number of them now having settled into their roster setups as they prepare to embark on their season . It’s extremely difficult to see which teams are seriously interested in making a trade for Carmelo Anthony at this juncture. Now as I alluded to earlier the New York Knicks it appears have been monitoring the situation closely and are intent on making Anthony their next acquisition. In joining the Knicks alongside Amar’e Stoudemire I don’t view the team as an immediate threat within the Eastern Conference . Most certainly however, they will improve but to my mind unless the complimentary players surrounding Stoudemire and perhaps the newly acquired Anthony actually step up their play this will be a team that will suffer the pitfalls expected of being forever perceived as a woefully inept team.

Knicks’ GM Donnie Walsh , owner James Dolan and head coach Mike D’Antoni no doubt want to facilitate this trade as quickly as possible. And with the start of the season merely a week away should this trade not go down then we are likely to see an organization showing a great deal of uncertainty and a team not knowing what their perceived direction ought to be. The trade deadline though early in the season it does create something of a dilemma should the Nuggets then seek then to trade away the player as it readily promotes the fact that they’ve already given up on their season. Granted , the nucleus of this roster is a veteran one with veterans such as Chris Andersen , Al Harrington , Kenyon Martin and Chauncey Billups. And though the team had an excellent postseason last year where they would succumbed to a more competitive and resolved team in the Los Angeles Lakers in Western Conference semi-finals who would then go on to win the NBA Finals .

Rosie Perez seen here dancing to the theme song from Spike Lee’s seminal movie ‘Do The Right Thing’ . Theme by Public Enemy ………. “Fight The Power”

While no one doubts that Nuggets would want to remain competitive it’s extremely hard to see them doing so were they to relinquish the services of Carmelo Anthony. But given the player’s reluctance to commit to the organization and to my mind the owner Stanely Kroenke his son Josh Kroenke , team President and their willingness to complement Anthony with players matching his talent and zeal then the possible trade of the player might well just be the best possible move that can be made that is acceptable to all parties. If nothing else it gives both groups the chance to start afresh .

Now if the perceived trade to the Knicks does happen then this doesn’t automatically change the overall picture within the Eastern Conference but it most certainly gives notice that the Knicks and their fans mean business. Granted the landscape within the conference still will revolve around the Miami Heat and their trio , along with the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic. How this all plays out will be incumbent upon the desires of the teams mentioned. The pressure will be on the Miami Heat led by Dwyane Wade , LeBron James and Chris Bosh. And with the organization’s financial combined commitment to the trio by team owner Mickey Arison said to be upwards of $200 million it is understandable to see how and why the organization is hoping for a quick return on that investment . Having lost in excess of $45 million in 2009 nothing short of an NBA title win will be considered anything less than their season being viewed as a success. The vast majority of teams who’ve the Heat on their schedule this season are said to be doing a blistering business in terms of ticket sales. And for the Miami Heat from a commercial standpoint the re-signing of Wade along with the acquisition of Both and James had led to a financial windfall of spectacular proportions. Both ABC/ESPN , NBA Tv and TNT Sports whose televised coverage of the NBA has become the staple for the fans of the game. Each of the broadcast outlets in question have not only beefed up their coverage of the Heat but they are also using the team as part of their overall marketing and promotional programming schedule.

Now while I’ve no doubt that the Heat are and will remain bona-fide favorites within the Eastern Conference and the thinking will be that they’ve but to play above average basketball merely to make their presence felt . I do believe that they’ll become complacent and it could very well lead to their demise. Overlooking this all will be team President Pat Riley and his subordinate coach Erik Spoelstra . Perhaps no other coach in the NBA will be under more pressure to achieve this season. And should Spoelstra and this team falter in any way then it wouldn’t at all surprise me to see Riley step down from his executive position and assume the reins from his protoge`. Behind that alleged calm persona of Riley belies and individual who’s a chameleon and a narcissist at heart. Nothing would give him more pleasure than to win another NBA title as a coach and then rub it in the faces of the press and public who view acquisition of both Lebron James and Chris Bosh as simply a PR stunt .



Picture gallery for your perusal .

For James Dolan and Donnie Walsh the big splash of landing Carmelo Anthony would make the Knicks more relevant as an organization and team within the NBA. Even if they are one the most valuable NBA franchises it means absolutely nothing when you’re still viewed as something of a laughing stock around the league. My own perspective concerning this all is that should this coup be pulled off and with Anthony joining the New York Knicks will that now enable Spike Lee to actually either become a an executive with the Knicks’ organization ? Furthermore what does that tell you about Lee as a sport’s fan if he’s able to make this happen when an alleged basketball mind in the guise of Isiah Thomas as an executive and coach simply wreaked havoc within the Knicks’ organization and almost brought it to its very knees ? Kind of makes you wonder who’s …….been doing the right thing and who’s been bamboozled here doesn’t it ?

Do you envisage Carmelo Anthony being traded at some point in the season and if so to which NBA team ? To your mind would he be a perfect fit within the Knicks’ organization should that particular trade ever take place ? Chime on in with a comment as you deem fit.

NB New York Knicks roster

NBA News

Alan aka tophatal …….. ūüôā


Rosa Acosta

A little bit of eye candy Rosa Acosta .

Now What’s The Dog And Pony Show Really About Anyone Care To Ask Members of The Miami Heat ?

Now What’s The Dog And Pony Show Really About Anyone Care To Ask Members of The Miami Heat ?

OK the hype has yet to be stop and it appears that we’re not liable to see it be come to a close anytime soon. Now it’s getting to the stage where David Stern views this as the ‘life blood’ that the NBA needs in order keep the brand omnipresent in the public’s eye. The Miami Heat and their triumvirate of stars are looking to take their show on the road this season. I’m sorry to say this but this could end up driving me to feel the same way I feel about Brett Favre and his repeated ‘retirements’ and ‘un-retirements’ . As we all know the player’s repeated cries to be loved by the fans and whomever else would be willing to listen was about as welcoming a dose of the ebola virus. Favre for his part while being a great ambassador for the NFL over the last few years has been about appealing as a member of Congress. Albeit that he’s continually viewed as the goose that laid the golden egg for cable broadcast outlet ESPN. Now here comes a ‘marriage’ created in heaven but now seems to be on its way to hell by way of the idiotic bunkum that LeBron James and the station felt was necessary to further widen the player’s appeal..


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Slide show for your perusal .

As I stated earlier simply making the Miami Heat and their latest escapades the sole reason why we ought to be tuned into the every move of the NBA is like waiting to hear or see what Congress can do for the country at large as it relates to the economy and other acute issues. Less we forget David Stern sought to sell us a ‘bill of goods’ when the NBA sought to borrow $250 million to several teams around the NBA in order for these clubs to remain financially viable. Amongst the recipients of the quarter of a billion dollars doled out was the Miami Heat, whose multi billionaire owner Micky Arison is amongst one of the richest men in the state of Florida and amongst the 250 richest people in America . What am I missing here as it relates to how the NBA hierarchy conducts its business and what we now know to about the owners ? The Miami Heat lost in excess of $45 million in 2009 and then the maneuver set in place to bring in both James , Chris Bosh and along with the re-signing of Dwyane Wade has now made the Heat the team to beat within the Eastern conference. Though it has to be said that the likes of the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls , Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks will be looking to make that target on the Heat’s back ‘ripe to be hit dead center’ and to be taken down.

Miami’s first preseason game against an NBA opponent will be against the Detroit Pistons and it will give Heat coach Erik Spoelstra a real chance to assess his much celebrated triumvirate alongside role players who will be looking to defer to these stars while at the same time complementing the team. Heat President Pat Riley , the Svengali behind this all as he’ll no doubt be looking to this team to make an allout assault on challenging the might of the Western Conference as well as being viewed as the team to beat within the Eastern Conference, it has to be said that there’s a great deal riding on this all. The stakes are high but given the fact that ticket sales have seen a twofold spike as well the executive suites and the sale of Heat memorabilia at AA Arena in Miami . These are indeed some bountiful times for the Heat on and off the court , at the same time it has proven to be profitable for the NBA as a whole. But none of that will mean anything should the team fail to make it to the NBA Finals and win it. Riley , the players and Heat front office may well play this all down but simply look at the access that the team has now granted not only ESPN but several international news and sports’ organizations as they seek to embark on this quest ? And while Pat Riley continues to play this all down by leveling his own criticism at those who’ve voiced their displeasure at the way James left the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Now we all know the travesty of the whole James departure from the Cavaliers played out like a rather idiotic Hispanic tele-novela . Now if you’ve viewed one of those shows you’ll understand they have know they have no plot-line but somehow they tend to attract a captive audience. And that now appears to be the case with LeBron James and his sojourn across the NBA . His supporting cast now happens to be the Miami Heat and even if it’s being viewed as Dwyane Wade’s team it will James’ every move that will be under close scrutiny throughout this upcoming season. And if you thought that James isn’t loving the grand stage of Miami then nothing could be further from the truth Over the past forty eight hours the player has been interviewed by various members of the world’s press elite as they want to know about his every move. Not to be left out of any of this are James’ cohorts Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as they’ve been part of this ongoing circus and the whole spectacle as it unfolds for the public’s consumption.

As enthusiastic as I am about the NBA and this upcoming season I have to admit that this spectacle concerning the Heat while it may lure a lot of discerning fans I do believe that it could well be bored by it all ! Now that’s not to say that it won’t be a profitable exercise in terms of the teams who’ll have the Heat as part of their regular season schedule . You’ve got to understand there’s money to be made and while there’s been a great deal of criticism from within and outside of the game here’s the caveat to it all who wants kill the goose that lays the golden egg ? This goose the NBA hierarchy will be around for years to come as we’ll no doubt soon see the departure of Kobe Bryant , Shaquille O’Neal , Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan from the NBA within the next five years.Their retirements are bound to leave a great void within the game and the fact that the NBA no longer has a rivalry that it can feed to the masses and the mere fact that there’s no dominant team other than that of the Los Angeles Lakers. And the perceived rivalry that many of us might’ve thought was back to its best with last season appearance of the Boston Celtics in last season’s NBA Finals had about as much revelry as watching Rosie O’Donnell strip to the music of George Michael , not exactly a wondrous sight at all but for others it might just do.

To the other aspirants around the NBA it has to be said that their time to step up will be during the season to show the fans what they’re all about. The Los Angeles Lakers while they’re still the reigning champions they know that this season until they’re actually dethroned no matter what ‘type of dog and pony show’ is on the road the true test will come from the team or teams seeking to dethrone them will still have a fight on their hands. While we’re now seeing the Heat now being regaled as if they were the reincarnation of the ‘Showtime Lakers’ I proffer this as a word of advice , this particular ensemble has done absolutely nothing as of yet to justify any comparison with any of the great NBA dynasty’s or teams of the past ,and until they do all we will continue to see are the likes of ESPN regaling us with their every move . Meanwhile in the background remains Stern and Riley simply grinning from ear to ear like cats who’ve come across several bowls of milk and a room filled with mice. Makes them happy no doubt but for some of us at present we’re simply being bored by this all.



Picture gallery for your perusal and by clicking on each frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size.

In the upcoming season is there a team within the NBA which you view as being capable of derailing the ambitions of the Miami Heat ? If so state your reasons why and also which team do you see as a prospective challenger to the Los Angeles Lakers as possible champions of the NBA ?


Alan aka tophatal ………… ūüôā _ ūüė¶


Veronica Vior

Eye candy courtesy of Smooth Magazine ….. Veronica Vior

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.





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.