Archive for the ‘Los Angeles Lakers’ Category

GAME REVIEW: Raptors at Lakers [Nov 30]

December 1, 2008

When you read other reports today that detail the Raptors’ loss to the Lakers, pay close attention to which ones focus on the ineffective play of Chris Bosh and the absence of Jermaine O’Neal …

FINAL SCORE: Raptors 99, LAKERS 112
Game Info

as the principal reasons for the eventual L, and which ones do not.

Yes, Chris Bosh, the Raptors’ best player, had a sub-standard performance [i.e. 36:54/MP; 4-13/FGM-A; 3-4/FTM-A; 12 Pts; 6 Rebs; 3 Ast; 1 St; 4 To]; and, yes, Jermaine O’Neal was missing from their line-up.

However, these are NOT the main reasons the Raptors lost yesterday’s game.


Beginning at the 10:00 mark of the 4th Q, in what was then a 6-Pt contest, this is the specific sequence of Possession Outcomes which determined the eventual outcome.


LAL 90, Tor 84

#1. LAK Poss 1 – Vujacic beats Kapono off the bounce; Makes twisting Layup slicing between Moon & Graham … LAL 92, Tor 84
#2. RAP Poss 1 – Graham Misses a Pull-up Jumpshot
#3. LAK Poss 2 – Odom fouled while posting-up vs Graham
#4. LAK Poss 3 – TO [Ariza]; Steal by Bosh
#5. RAP Poss 2 – TO [Ukic]
#6. LAK Poss 4 – Farmar Misses Jumpshot [vs Ukic]; Team Rebound to LAL
#7. LAK Poss 5 – Ariza Makes Turn-around Jumpshot/hook vs Moon … LAL 94, Tor 84 
#8. RAP Poss 3 – Ukic Misses Jumpshot
#9. LAK Poss 6 – Bynum Makes Dunk on lob pass; Bosh helping vs Odom [fronted by Graham] … LAL 96, Tor 84 
#10. RAP Poss 4 – Graham Makes Layup vs Farmar … LAL 96, Tor 86
#11. LAK Poss 7 – Ariza Makes Jumpshot vs poor switch by Moon [with Graham] on the ‘Post-Split’ action … LAL 98, Tor 86
#12. RAP Poss 5 – Graham Missed Turn-arond Jumpshot/Layup vs Odom
#13. LAK Poss 8 – Bynum Makes Dunk + fouled on rejected Pick & Roll with Farmar; Graham late arriving with weak side help [coming off Odom] … LAL 101, Tor 86

07:26 mark of the 4th Q … Calderon replaces Ukic; Bargnani replaces Graham


What should you have noticed from these 13 possessions?

In General:

* The Lakers were able to generate 2 extra possesions. One, when Odom was fouled, in the Low Post by Graham; and, two, from their Team Rebound.

* The Lakers were too quick, athletic and physical for the Raptors to handle [which ultimately resulted in a decisive Rebounding edge over the course of the entire game, i.e. Total Rebounds: LAL 54, Tor 36].


#1. Jason Kapono is an inferior NBA athlete, in comparison with Sasha Vujacic.
#2. Graham’s strength is not his Pull-up Jumpshot. As a perimter player, Graham is effective when he can ‘Catch & Shoot’.
#3. Odom vs Graham, in the post, is a mis-match [despite the fact that Odom picked up an offensive foul earlier in the quarter, in this situation]. Graham should not be defending Odom.
#4. Bosh is a capable Post defender … when he uses his quickness.
#5. Ukic is an inexperienced PG who sometimes makes poor decisions with the ball.
#6. Ukic is a solid NBA athlete at the #1-spot. The Lakers size & athleticism is difficult for the Raptors to handle … especially with Kapono [too slow vs Vujacic] and Moon [too weak vs Ariza] and Graham [under-sized vs Odom] on the floor together … the Raptors have difficulty gaining possession of loose balls.
#7. Ariza is too strong for Moon to handle on the block. Moon needs to check Vujacic. Graham needs to Ariza. Humphries needs to check Odom.
#8. Kapono cannot dribble the ball vs Vujacic. Ukic is a poor perimter shooter.
#9. Graham should NOT be checking Odom.
#10. Graham is a solid Low Post option for the Raptors.
#11. Moon is not a strong enough player to check Ariza.
#12. Graham is a solid Low Post Option for the Raptors. Odom, however, is too big for him.
#13. Bynum is among the VERY BEST ‘Aerial Finishers’ in the NBA. Graham should not be cheking Odom. 🙂 Graham should be checking Ariza, with  Moon checking Vujacic, and Humphries in the game, checking Odom.

At this point in the regular season … with these two player rosters assembled by their respective GMs:

* The Lakers are 14-1 and poised to amass 70+ wins; as forecast by this corner last season, prior to their predicted loss in the 2008 NBA Finals;


* The Raptors are 8-8, on pace to put up approximately 40 wins; and, in all likelihood, finish in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference.

Despite a less-than-stellar performance yesterday by the Dinos, the signs are there, however, that this group of players [at these positions] …

1/Calderon + 2/Moon [3] + 3/Graham + 4/Humphries + 5/Bosh

Key Bench Subs
1-2/Parker + 4/Bargnani [3]

Situational Subs
1/Ukic, 2/Kapono [3], 5/O’Neal [or a different veteran Big]

either [i] without JO altogether, or [ii] with him in a decreased role …

has the capacity to become a solid contender for a playoff spot in the EC, down-the-road, if those responsible for running the basketball operation at MLSE, in fact, [A] know what they’re doing, and can [B] begin to make the best use possible of the resources at-hand [i.e. current players & draft picks, plus coaches].  

In the NBA … every organization has access to a similar set of ingredients. What separates the performance of one from another is the manner in which their Head Chefs choose to combine those ingredients in their recipe.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

Worthwhile analysis of two NBA games

November 21, 2008

When Kelly Dwyer [BDL] gets the fat part of the bat on the ball … which is generally acknowledged to be the single most difficult action to do proficiently in all of team sports … there’s a good chance that said sphere is going yard.

Without an excessive reliance on hard & fast empirical statistics, i.e. either ‘new-age’ or ‘old school’, when he simply conveys what he sees happening on the floor, in a general sense, from each of the participants, and his arrows’ strikes are true … as they are in these two specific instances, concerning last night’s Celtics/Pistons & Suns/Lakers match-ups, respectively:


Behind the box score, where the C’s don’t let up and Detroit does
Exhibit A
Coaching matters. Stern decisions have to be made, and a lot of that “buck stops here” nonsense actually helps. It helps drive away excuses, and it helps to make you cringe should you have to spit out “we’ll get ‘em next time” after the game. If it hurts to say that, you’re on the right track. If you’re shrugging your shoulders, then something is missing. And I don’t care that the season is 82 games.

So when you see the Piston reserves acting like pampered former All-Stars, or Detroit failing to close out on shooters, or stepping into open lanes in order to make sure that the open lanes cease to be open lanes, you have to wonder when the buck is ever going to be able to stop.

This isn’t to say that Detroit played the same poor way the entire night, far from it. They just did it long enough to lose handily again. That’s the difference between a pretty good team that occasionally plays great and … the Celtics. The Celtics are just about always there.

Exhibit B
Winter is the architect of the Lakers’ offense, and likely the strongest principle of his famed Triangle offense is the way players are supposed to penetrate the defense. With a pass (preferably, because that means there is an open player somewhere in the teeth of that defense), a drive, a shot, or a rebound.

The last two may not seem like the best moves overall, because shots over the top of the D and ugly offensive rebounds don’t seem to go hand-in-hand with the spacious and aesthetically-pleasing Triangle offense.

But these things are important, especially when the player creating the penetration is among those (like, say, the Laker youngsters that come off the bench) who might not be the most structurally-sound Triangle denizens. There’s a reason Derek Fisher starts, you know.

So there LO is, shooting the ball, or getting into the lane for a lefty runner or hook that might not fall. Not only is his per-game numbers way down from last year, but his per-minute numbers have taken a dive as well. Even with all those chances to pad his stats among the bench corps. And yet, he’s helping. So, so much. Don’t let them convince you that he isn’t.


it’s a pleasure and a treat to read the man’s prose about the game, and how it works at this level of competition.

First-rate stuff, right there, by the one, the only KD.

Worthyfying Amare

October 21, 2008

If the question is …

Can Amare Stoudemire become a real life James Worthy [Lakers’ HOFer] clone this season for the Phoenix Suns?

Courtesy of TrueHoop

Goggles alone can not make Tha Man.

Goggles alone cannot make Tha Man.

Then the likely answer is …

Only if Shaquille O’Neal can also transform himself into a working version of a venerable Kareem Abdul Jabbar [the Lakers’ other bi-spectacled HOFer], circa 1987-1988, who regularly played 79-80 games for the LakeShow during the twilight stages of his historic NBA career, while still putting up solid numbers like these.


Then, again … considering this is a League Where Amazing Happens, on the regular, and Anything Is Possible … who’s to say what lies ahead this season, in the NBA, when The Game Happens Here.

Game Review: Raptors at Lakers, Oct 19

October 20, 2008

FINAL SCORE: Raptors 89, Lakers 112
Game Information

The fundamental inequities which exist between the rosters of these two teams were on full display in last night’s exhibition game.


At the 02:41 mark of the 3rd Quarter, the Lakers made 3 substitutions:

* Replacing V-Radmanovic with Lamar Odom,
* Replacing D-Fisher with Trevor Ariza, and
* Replacing A-Bynum with Jordan Farmar;

while, the Raptors made 1 substitution:

* Replacing A-Parker with Jason Kapono.

9 seconds later, at the 02:32 mark, the Raptors made a 2nd substitution:

* Replacing J-Calderon with Roko Ukic;

and leaving each team with the following line-ups on the court:

RAPTORS – Ukic [PG], Adams [OG/SF], Kapono [SF/OG], Bargnani [C/PF] & O’Neal [PF/C]

LAKERS – Farmar [PG], Bryant [OG/SF], Ariza [SF/OG], Odom [PF] & Gasol [C]

After Jason Kapono made 2 Free Throws to put the Raptors ahead, 72-70, the Lakers closed the quarter with a 10-4 run which put them up, 80-76. 

During the run, the Raptors made 1 substitution, at the 00:30 mark:

* Replacing J-O’Neal with Chris Bosh.

To open the 4th Quarter, the Raptors made no new substitutions, while the Lakers made 2 substitutions:

* Replacing K-Bryant with Luke Walton, and
* Replacing P-Gasol with Chris Mihm;

leaving them with the following line-up:

LAKERS – Farmar [PG], Ariza [OG/SF], Walton [SF/OG], Odom [PF] & Mihm [C].

Without bringing Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, or Andrew Bynum back into the game, the Lakers then outscored the Raptors in the 4th Quarter, 32-13, to seal their victory.

The following table indicates the substitutions made by each team during these respective phases of the game:






3rd Q



Calderon, Adams, Parker, Bargnani, O’Neal



Fisher, Bryant, Radmanovic, Gasol, Bynum

Calderon, Adams, Kapono, O’Neal, Bargnani



Farmar, Bryant, Ariza, Odom, Gasol

Ukic, Adams, Kapono, O’Neal, Bargnani




Ukic, Adams, Kapono, Bosh, Bargnani





4th Q






Farmar, Ariza, Walton, Odom, Mihm




Farmar, Ariza, Walton, Powell, Mihm

Ukic, Adams, Moon, Humphries, Bargnani







Farmar, Ariza, Yue, Powell, Mbenga





while the final table reflects the playing time alotted to each player for both teams who saw action during these two sequences of the 3rd and 4th Quarters: 



























































When assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the Raptors and the Lakers, it is comical to think that some other NBA observers are actually considering the current version of the Raptors:

1. To be a ‘legitimate’ contending team in the NBA this season; or,

2. To be a ‘legitimate’ contending team in the Eastern Conference this season.

As is … the cold, hard, reality is: 

I) When Jose Calderon is not in the game, the Raptors do not have a capable back-up Point Guard who they can use to run their team against a high calibre opponent.

[Note 1: In part, this is because they have shown little to no interest, thus far, in using Anthony Parker … a capable ball-handler and decision-maker … in this capacity.]

II) When some combination of Chris Bosh, Jermaine O’Neal and Kris Humphries are not on the court together, the Raptors are incapable of rebounding the ball in a way which is consistent with being a legitimate contending team in the NBA … given the deficiencies of their back-up players, like Andrea Bargnani [C/PF], Jason Kapono [SF/OG], Hassan Adams [OG/SF] and Roko Ukic [PG], in this specific area of the game.

III) The absence of QUALITY DEPTH on the Raptors’ roster is going to be an achilles heel for their team this season, in comparison with the other top flight teams in the NBA this season,

e.g. Boston Celtics, LA Lakers, Detroit Pistons, New Orleans Hornets, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers;

as well as, the other 2nd & 3rd tier teams that are in the ‘chase pack’ alongside Toronto.

2nd Comings in the Pacific Northwest

September 23, 2008

Q1. What are the reasons you have lost your mind and predicted boldly that the 2008-2009 LA Lakers will win 70+ regular season games and capture the NBA Championship?

A1. If you must know, it’s a two-part answer.

The Lakers have done a solid job re-assembling a 1st-class roster of highly talented, athletic, skilled, complimentary players around Phil Jackson & Kobe Bryant, two expert practicioners in their respective fields, i.e. ZenMaster Warlord, and his Most Trusted Samurai. On the heels of the experience this team gained last season, losing in the NBA FINALS, it is now poised to strike back with lethal vengence, this season … to provide the 10th NBA Title, as a coach, for their venorable Sensai; and, the 1st Ring (overall) for his protege, Black Mamba, unaccompanied by his former partner-in-crime, the Biggest-Shogun-of-All-Time. According to these eyes, this is THE season for these Lakers to make history, as a group. Here & Now. Next season? Who knows where Phil Jackson is going to be, at his age? Or, Lamar Odom? Or, Derek Fisher? Or, Tex Winter? Or, the rest of the Lakers’ extended family. The time for this group, to ‘Be In The Moment, as One‘, is NOW. 

“Life is fast; and, things happen quickly”.Derek Fisher

This MAN, right here …

is about to make his long-awaited debut, in the NBA, this season …


Q & A with Greg Oden What are your goals for the upcoming season?
Greg Oden: Just to win. To try to get out there and help my team win as much as possible. I’m not really worried about individual stats. For me, if my team can make the playoffs or we can win a lot more games than we did last year, then that will satisfy me.


and this corner just happens to believe that he is going to prove to be, in the long run, the closest thing this League has seen, in the LAST 40 YEARS, to the re-incarnation of The Great Man, himself … Mr. Bill Russell (figuratively speaking, of course, as the original incarnation is still going strong!) combined with Wilt Chamberlain (at his most powerful best) … in terms of his Commitment to REBOUNDING, Defense, Team & Individual Offense AND his overall attitude toward The Game (specifically) & Life (in general).

==================== You got to know the greatest big man in Blazers history, Bill Walton, a little bit. What advice has he shared with you?
Greg Oden: He’s just telling me if you go out there and play, you don’t have to worry about what people say about you in the news or the media. Just go out there and play your game and have fun with it. It’s just a game. You’ve got to understand that you’re a rookie. Don’t put any pressure on yourself that isn’t needed.


If the Lakers DO NOT win the championship this season … each year that goes by it is going to get more and more difficult for them – and the other elite level teams in the Western Conference – to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers, anchored in the middle by Gregory Wayne Oden, Jr., over the course of the next decade, or so.

When you find yourself standing squarely between a Rock (i.e. last year’s group of Boston Celtics) and a Hard Place (Greg Oden’s Portland Trail Blazers for the next 10-15 years) … it can do wonders to create an extraordinary sense of urgency, and R.E.S.P.E.C.T., for the moment at-hand. Carpe Diem!

Destiny Awaits! … THIS, specific Lakers’ team

… which will NEED to strike while the iron is hot … and, before the sparks ignite, full blown, up the Pacific Coastline, in the Emerald City.

Black Mamba speaks with Jim Rome

September 18, 2008

There’s nothing better on-line right now, concerning the current state of the LA Lakers, than this interview of Kobe Bean Bryant with ESPN’s Jim Rome:

Straight goods … from the best player, on what will be the best basketball team on the planet this season.

Eclipse of the Suns: Critically Acclaimed?

May 2, 2008

If you’re a regular reader of this space, you already know that the window of opportunity for this specific Group of Phoenicians was closed well before the recent goings-on in the Valley of the Sun

NBA 1st Round Playoffs

Gm. 1: SAS 117, PHX 115
Gm. 2:
SAS 102, PHX 96
Gm. 3:
SAS 115, PHX 99
Gm. 4:
PHX 105, SAS 86
Gm. 5:
SAS 92, PHX 87
San Antonio wins the series 4-1

and includes the goary details found right here …

A requiem for the S.S.O.L. Era in Phoenix 

… which re-traces expertly how it is ‘these Tragic players’ have arrived at where they are today, apparently, ready to dissolve their relationships with one another … permanently.

While the vast majority of the content in that specific piece is indeed accurate, there remains one central (three-pronged) notion with which this corner of the blogosphere must raise an objection:

Part A
“Well, that’s OK that they didn’t win the title, at least they were critically acclaimed!

Part B
In other words, it didn’t really matter that they never won a championship, … We would always remember them fondly and feel like they were more successful than they actually were.

Part C
Maybe the Suns didn’t win a championship, but we’ll remember them 100 times more fondly than the brutally efficient and hopelessly bland Spurs …

Au Contraire
When the NBA’s history books are written, and then re-visited again and again, generations from today, it will indeed ‘matter‘ a great deal that these Phoenix Suns were unable to win a championship and, in fact, never even reached a single NBA Finals.

In reality, each year that goes by will further dim the scorching light which emanates today from this form of ‘Sun(s) Worship‘ and instead will illuminate the (formerly and erroneously much-maligned) brilliant dominance of the San Antonio Spurs (winners of 4 NBA championships in 9 years, and still counting) and their transcendant Head Coach (Gregg Popovich, aka ‘Air Force One’) and (unassuming) Superstar Player (Tim Duncan, aka ‘The Big Fundamental’).

In no way, shape or form will the NBA’s history books ‘critically acclaim’ and/or reflect a reality other than this:

1. The NBA championship is won by the team that best combines the 3 Phases of the Game … i.e. Rebounding, Defense & Efficient Offense … in a balanced manner.

2. The League MVP Award was won in consecutive years (’04-05 & ’05-06) by the best Offensive Point Guard in the history of the NBA who … with outstanding ambidexterity, exceptional horizontal athleticism, supreme hand-eye coordination, spectacular ball-handling, passing & shooting skills … developed into the most prolific ‘Pick & Roll/Pop’ Artist the League has ever known, when allowed to ply his craft in a ‘Full Throttle’ Offensive Transition Attack and culminating in a dynamic ‘4 out/1 in half-court alignment’ (rarely ever used in the NBA), in conjunction with teammates who could shoot the ball proficiently and/or finish at the rim athletically.

3. The most ‘fondly’ remembered teams in NBA history are the ones whose names appear in the furthest left column on this specific list … NBA Finals: All-time Champions.

4. The San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers were the two ‘Critically Acclaimed‘ teams during the 1998-2008 era in the annuls of the NBA.

THE problem with the current Raptors

April 24, 2008

Let me ask you these two questions:

If you flipped TJ Ford for Steve Nash (let’s say in a fantasy world) … do you think the Suns would stand a snowball’s chance in h*ll of getting past the Spurs this year?

How about the Raptors vs the Magic?

If your answers to those two queries are a resounding,

No Way, Jose!


Like, for sure, dude!

then you’re beginning to see that the major problem with this team is that … unlike what happened in Phoenix when Colangelo, Jr. COMPLETELY LUCKED OUT that Steve Nash WANTED to return to the Suns when Mark Cuban cut him loose BECAUSE NASH’S WIFE & KIDS ALREADY LIVED IN THE PHOENIX AREA (not because BC is a top notch GM who knows what he’s doing) … THERE IS ONLY ONE STEVE NASH AND HE ISN’T PLAYING FOR THE RAPTORS, JUST YET.

Steve Nash is/was the architect of Phoenix’s rise from the ashes … which Bryan Colangelo orchestrated with their once-proud team … no one else.

Because Steve Nash wanted to live in Phoenix, he signed with the Suns when Cuban said, “Thanks but no thanks, Stevie boy, I don’t think you’ve got what it will take to Win a Championship for me with the Mavs, at the price you’re asking.” FULL STOP.

Because Steve Nash is the best ‘Pick & Roll/Pop’ PG in the History of the NBA (so sayeth an authority like Mark Jackson, during the Suns/Spurs Game 2 match-up) … when Colangelo fired Frank Johnson (who he had previously picked to run the Suns) and appointed Mike D’Antoni … IT WAS D’ANTONI WHO INSTALLED THE SUNS’ 4 OUT/1 IN OFFENSIVE SYSTEM, tailored specifically for Steve & Amare (who is the perfect under-sized but super athletic Center to run that system) and deserves 2nd billing on the Suns credit roll for their resurgence as a first-tier franchise in the NBA.

If not for Colangelo’s decision NOT to re-sign Joe Johnson … Phoenix might well have its 1st NBA title already.

Then … “when the going actually got tough” in Phoenix and daddy was out as the principal owner … that’s when the ‘Golden Boy’ decided to ‘Bolt the Ship’ and head for greener pastures … in mid-season 2006 (think about THAT for a second or two) … for the comfy ‘international’ confines in The Great White North, with free reign to call the shots AND a Big Ticket contract.

Want to know THE reason this version of the Raptors isn’t quite ‘tough enough’ to get the job done in the post-season?

When a fight breaks out (like it did in Phoenix) … what does a really tough ‘hombre’ decide to do … FIGHT or RUN?

(what did Colangelo, Jr. do in the Valley of the Sun?)

7 Seconds or Less … is the Coward’s way to play NBA hoops … and will never ever be rewarded with the championship.

The old Boston Celtics … with my MAN, Bill Russell at the CORE … and the ShowTime LAKESHOW … with my MAN, Earvin at the CORE … both shot it plenty quick enough to rack up devastatingly Big scoring numbers but neither operation would EVER have been referred to as TOO SOFT to get it done in the playoffs … cause their success was built upon a BALANCE between

OFFENSE … DEFENSE … and, most important of all … REBOUNDING,

not an “offensive philosophy of 100 shots per game”.

MLSE does not know what it’s doing AND should not be in the business of running ‘pro sports teams’ in Toronto … cause they KEEP HIRING THE WRONG PEOPLE to head up their basketball & hockey operations (e.g. see the current debacle with Anaheim’s GM, Brian Burke).

As the old Chinese Warlord could tell you from his personal experience … the strategy that works best when training an army of men … is decapitating the heads of the two most favoured concubines appointed to lead the masses in the first place.

(know who the concubines are in this case?)

It ain’t rocket science, to be sure … but, dem Chinese Warlords sure did know what they were doing … when it came to BUILDING & MAINTAINING their Dynasty.

Food For Thought … as always.


In Peace, Victory & Excellence.

Where sport & art come together

March 25, 2008

* J.E. Skeets, Ball Don’t Lie: Lakers’ Rhapsody song 

A tour de force which merits mass distribution …

Bar none … and, by far … the best NBA/youtube creation yet seen by this observer.

Pure … Youtube … Gold!