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Showing posts with label Lakers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lakers. Show all posts

Lakers turn it around despite injury plagued season


 

 After one of the worse opening to a season in franchise history,Los Angeles Lakers find themselves a half game back of the 7th spot of the western conference playoffs. It’s a position this franchise isn’t accustom to being in but after a dismal season that turned into a dogfight after the all-star break, the Lakers are just thankful to be where they are. They started the season with 11 straight losses, 7 of which dated back to the preseason. After the first four of the regular season, the front office terminated Mike Brown and brought in Mike D’Antoni who’s first few games weren’t exactly concluding that the problem was solved. Since the D’Antoni era the Lakers have had some tough months like January where they loss 11 of 15 games and 7 in a row. At that point no one including the Laker bench saw the playoffs in sight and they became the joke of the league, but only briefly. As the all-star game approach they would string together a few wins and call a few player meetings where they vowed as a team they will turn around this season. They have done just that and more. They have flipped a record around that was far under 500 to a winning record of just over 500 at 36-32.


               The Lakers as of late have won 8 of their last 10 and the wins are coming with some of their marquee players out due to injury. Lakers leader and the NBA’s 3rd leading scorer at 27 points a game, Kobe Bryant, has been out the last 2 games with an ankle injury suffered against Atlanta where Los Angeles would go on to lose. After that loss the Lakers would win 2 in a row impressively without the mamba. Although his return maybe sooner than many had expected, forward Pao Gasol has been out for weeks now with an injury to his right foot. Also earlier in the season veteran guard and 2-time MVP Steve Nash missed a few weeks with a foot injury as well and to add insult to these injuries, Lakers have already lost forward Jordan Hill for the rest of the season with a hip injury. Overcoming injuries is something this Laker team has been familiar with throughout the duration of this season. With just a few weeks left in the season, the 8th spot in hand and on the heels of the Warriors for the 7th spot, it seems like the playoffs are a definite but the question is can they stay healthy enough to make a stand in the playoffs against the powerhouses in the west? With the 4th easiest schedule according to the standings, the Lakers will look to build some momentum and conquer that 7th spot with more wins against under 500 opponents. Tonight they take on a Phoenix Suns team who is 23 games under 500, a Laker win is imminent.

Written by Functuay of iamtheinfluenc.com
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LEGENDARY Laker Owner, Jerry Buss Dies



 Los Angeles Lakers owner, Jerry Buss past away today at the age of 80. Buss, who had been battling cancer, succumbed to kidney failure early Monday morning. He took over as owner of the Lakers in 1979. From that point on he built a dynasty and a franchise that many regard as the most prestigious team in sports today. Before becoming the great visionary in one of basketballs prominent front offices, Buss dabbled in a few other lucrative endeavors. With a couple degrees under his belt, an educated Buss tried his hand as a chemist and eventually ventured off successfully into real estate before his journey took him to the NBA. In everything Jerry Buss set foot into he looked to win, and winning was his forte.
      
 After acquiring the Lakers from former owner Jack Kent Cook, Buss helped formulate a new era of basketball the NBA hadn’t seen yet. He took the pizazz of Hollywood, transitioned it to the hardwood and the Los Angeles Lakers would dawn the nickname “ShowTime”.  In his long stint with LA he would win 10 NBA Championship’s. It would all begin with a solid foundation built with players like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy. With these all-star caliber players Buss would have the Lakers competing for a title every year. Like everything else, all good things must come to an end and that first Laker dynasty would sail off into the sunset but another would eventually brew. To this day one of the biggest sports acquisitions in the history of sports is that of Shaquille O’neal. Jerry Buss would use Hollywood and of course a well-endowed pay day to lure the most dominate big man in the league from the east coast. After that Buss and GM at the time Jerry West, would steal a youngster by the name of Kobe Bryant from Charlotte in the 1996 draft. Together with a few veterans these 2 mega stars would run off 3 more Championships for Buss. The reign wouldn’t end there though; after the departure of O’neal, Buss and the front office would do some more wheeling and dealing and acquire a 7 foot, ball handler by the name of Pao Gasol for practically nothing. This new tandem of Gasol and superstar Kobe Bryant would capture not 1 but 2 more rings for Jerry Buss. The dynasty’s and the prestige that Buss has created for the Los Angeles Lakers will never be duplicated by another owner in the NBA and his legacy will set precedence throughout the history of professional sports forever.

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Lakers and Clippers: Unfamiliar Territory


 It was not too long ago that the Los Angeles Clippers were mentioned in the conversation as one of the teams who were among the laughing stock of the NBA, while their city mates, Los Angeles Lakers sat atop the western conference. To say the tables have turned is an absurd understatement. Lob city is not only the most exciting team to watch but one of the most complete teams in the league today. Without question, Gary Sacks and the Clipper front office outdid the rest of the league and secured an impressive bench to back up a superb starting 5. Clippers have assembled a 2nd team that could easily start for many other squads. Among that group of possible starters, they acquired Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, and Mr. sixth man, Jamal Crawford all this past summer. Led by arguably the best point guard in the NBA in Chris Paul and the new human highlight reel, Blake Griffin, the Clippers have the 2nd best record in the west, and at one point this season reeled off a punishing win streak that was just recently snapped at 17 games. Needless to say this new age Los Angeles Clippers team started to improve the last few years but this year they’ve been downright dominating.  Meanwhile in the other Los Angeles locker room, where the historic championship aura oozes from, we welcome the Los Angeles Lakers to the laughing stock conversation.
   


With the exception of the Boston Celtics, when you think winning franchises and championships, you think of the Lakers, it’s what their organization embodies. However this year they have not looked championship like in any games this season. At 17-24, they hold a record that isn’t exactly the worse in the NBA, but one that is embarrassing for a team of this caliber. Coming into this season the expectations were extremely high and the buzz around the league was that the Lakers now have the new super team. One that is formidable enough to knock off a powerhouse like the Heat, let alone any team in the west. As we creep over the half-way point of the season, the playoffs are nowhere in sight right now for Kobe and the Lakers. Acquiring hall of fame point guard Steve Nash and all-star center Dwight Howard, was the biggest acquisition this summer by any team but it hasn’t quite panned out at all. After a 0-4 start the front office dismissed Coach Mike Brown, passed on the legendary Phil Jackson and went with Mike D’Antoni. With an even more dismal record, and signs of a debilitated locker room, the Lakers have plummeted in all aspects. As if there wasn’t enough drama in Hollywood, rumors are now swirling about Dwight Howard’s future. Howard, who is technically still unsigned, is unhappy and supposedly wants out. Could a possible Howard trade be brewing before the deadline hits? Not to mention Lakers have been shopping forward Pao Gasol since last season. Laker GM Mitch Kupchak, dismissed the talks of a trade by saying that it’s too soon to be using the word trade. He and Coach D’Antoni have both stated recently that the Laker woes are not due to personnel but rather lack of effort.
  


 
  The Lakers have a lot of unanswered questions this season, but what is surely undisputed is that this is not the same winning organization we are accustoming to seeing. Consistently losing games, compiled with coaching changes and trade rumors are the makings of a rough 2-season finale for Laker great Kobe Bryant. Bryant who is currently the NBA’s 2nd leading scorer, has been frustrated with the team and let it be known. In a recent loss against Chicago, he said “I’ve been frustrated before, but this is a different type of frustration and that there is so many things going on”. Since the beginning of the season, things have continued to add to the long list of problems for the Lakers and as the season descends to the playoffs it will be interesting to see if they can pull it together and nab a playoff spot. The last team to win a playoff series with their current record of 17-24 was back during the 80-81’ season. One thing is for certain; their Hollywood neighbors have solidified themselves as a top seed. Lakers could be a couple winning spurts from being back in the hunt, or a couple losses from scouting draft picks; something o-so-familiar to the Clippers organization.

Written by Functuay of IAMTHEINFLUENC.COM   
   

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Kobe Hits 30K and is 5th on the list


As the league stands right now in this era, there is no question that the comparison to the competition around the league is as fierce as it’s ever been. Wilt, the Big O, and MJ all stood virtually alone when it came to scoring ability and domination. Today’s league features an onslaught of scorers such as Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Dewayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony to name a few. At age 34 and retirement knocking on the door, for Kobe Bryant to be able to not only still score with elite players in today’s league but lead them in scoring is nothing short of remarkable. This season he has already captured one spot on the 30,000 point list but at 30,016 if he stays on pace he will skip Wilt as well, who currently sits in the 4th place with 31,419. Headed into next season, which he says will be his last, and presuming he’s healthy, Kobe will need less than 700 points to past Michael Jordan for 3rd on the all-time scoring list. Accomplishing that feat with the type of superstars in this era should earn Kobe a few more votes in that “Kobe versus Michael”argument.



The age old dispute of whose better Kobe or Michael could go on forever, but one thing that will not be disputed is Bryant’s place among the scoring greats. Coming into last night’s game against the Hornets, Kobe would need just 13 points to grab hold of 5th place on the all-time scoring list. He would get that easily, finishing with 26 and becoming the youngest player to eclipse 30,000 mark. Just before the game Kobe was asked about joining the elite group of players with 30,000 and he said “I’m beyond proud, I’m happy and it’s a huge honor, to say the least. Whenever you hear those names and you think about the amount of players who have played this game, to be in that kind of company is always extremely, extremely special.” That company he is referring to is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Marlone, Michael Jordan, and Wilt Chamberlain.

 
 Bryant, who is currently the leagues scoring leader with about 28 a game, hasn’t slowed down a bit at his ripe old age of 34. Last season he nearly won the scoring title, but before the last game he decided to sit it out and hand it over to Kevin Durant, stating he much rather win a championship instead. Although the Lakers as a team hasn’t looked anything near impressive, Kobe has gone on another scoring terror, surpassing the 30 and 40 point mark a few times this season. 3 to 4 seasons ago many were starting to utter statements like he’s “losing a step”. He apparently was listening and took offense to those statements. He has shown us that although he may have lost a step physically, mentally he’s gain 2. Not only he is finding new ways to score but he’s making it look easy.



Written by Functuay of Iamtheinfluenc.com
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