From the LA Daily News: Lakers center Andrew Bynum underwent an MRI exam on his injured left Achilles tendon Monday, and the results were unchanged. He continues to suffer from a strain and there is no timetable for his return to the active roster, a team spokesman said in an e-mail. Bynum will continue to receive therapy from the team’s athletic training staff. He was injured while running back on defense in the third quarter of the Lakers’ victory March 19 over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He sat out for the eighth consecutive game Sunday, when the Lakers lost to the San Antonio Spurs 100-81. The Lakers are 4-4 without the 7-foot Bynum in their lineup.
From Land O’ Lakers: Some purple and gold news for the masses. First and foremost, Andrew Bynum’s MRI results are in and the original diagnosis remains the company line: Strained, not torn. Certainly good to hear, although no return date is included. Or even an updated time frame for a return. For now, everything’s up in the air like George Clooney. When it comes to these uncertainties, I’m actively choosing stay as calm as Pau Gasol during an earthquake. For example, I did some Sunday morning radio on 710 ESPN and was asked about a Saturday update (filed by yours truly), which had Drew “progressing,” but still unable to run and jump. (I don’t know everything about basketball, but even my hoops mind is sharp enough to identify those activities as fairly mandatory.) I noted how Bynum not being ready doesn’t necessarily mean he’s nowhere close to being ready. It just means he’s not ready as we speak, and that’s all we know for sure.
From Basket Blog: Andrew Bynum underwent an MRI exam on Monday and the results showed no tear to his Achilles tendon, as did the previous exam on Saturday, March 20. Bynum’s injury will continue to be classified as an Achilles tendon strain. No timetable for a return has been set for the 22-year-old center, and Bynum will continue to receive treatment and therapy from the Lakers’ staff, supervised by Athletic Trainer Gary Vitti.
An Open Letter from Silver Screen and Roll: So, you’ve just lost to Orlando, the team you obliterated without as much as breaking a sweat in the Finals last year. Remember that feeling, guys? Remember what it felt like to hold that Trophy, to know that you had finally gotten to the top of the mountain, that feeling that you had earned it? Remember the little details? You know, like Dwight sitting on the bench, dejected, watching you guys celebrate on his homecourt? Can you picture that look on his face? Well, get acquainted with it, as the way you guys are playing right now, if you even manage to scrape your way to the Finals, that’s likely the expression you’re gonna have to mimic. So, care to talk, guys? What’s going on, what’s wrong? A simultaneous case of Kwame-itis? A seeming lack of ability to run the offense? A lack of effort on the defensive end, which was really the only thing holding this team up through this season (#14 in offense, #1 in defense – is that your true identity, L.A?)? A sudden virus spreading through the team, making one’s vision blur at distances greater than 20 feet, leading to a seeming inability to even be respectable from beyond the arc? In inability to see any teammates standing on the block? A voodoo curse? No, I’m dead serious, guys, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!?
From With Malice: For the longest time, I – and nearly every other LA Lakers fan on the planet – was waiting for that “signature win”. Waiting for LA to burst forth from the lethargy that seems to dog them… I’ve been wishing, hoping to be reminded of Prince Hal in Shakespeare’s Henry IV part 1 where he declares:
Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wonder’d at,
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.
(Henry IV part 1, I.ii.197-210)
From NBA.com: Seven questions for the next seven days: Now that Kobe’s committed, how about the rest of the Lakers? Kobe Bryant left no doubt that he’s ready to go the distance in his career with the Lakers. Which begs the question: Are he and his teammates ready to go the distance into June to defend their title? Suddenly the reigning champions are looking quite vulnerable again with three losses in their last four road games and getting thumped at home by San Antonio on Sunday. Now the Lakers face a two-game back-to-back trip to Denver and Minnesota this week. The offense has bogged down, the defense is not intense and teams with athleticism (hello, Oklahoma City and Atlanta) have virtually pushed the Lakers all over the floor recently.
From The Association: Panic is everywhere, people are rioting! Run for your lives! The Lakers are headed for doom… DOOM I tell ya. They can’t shoot, they can’t defend, they can’t beat anybody. How is this team the #1 seed in the Western Conference? How??? All I know is that I’m picking (insert #8 seed here) to upset the Lakers in the first round. AAANNNNDDDD scene. (But not really.) I’ve basically summed up all the panic tweets, texts and blogs that I’ve read in the past few days. Panic is upon all of Lakers fandom, the ill-effects of an extended dog days has left NBA fans convincing themselves that the defending champs are prime for a major upset this spring. One of the most telling stats that was emailed to me was the Lakers record since All-Star break: a very paultry 14-9 with an average margin of victory of 1.2 points. Not really firing on all cylinders heading down the final stretch of the season, are they? But before buying into the panic, let’s actually break down each game since the All Star Game in Dallas (wins in bold, and * means I was actually there to, as some might say, witness the carnage):
From Lakers Nation: There is no question that sports is a topic that inspires much emotion. There are teams you love, teams you hate, and teams you just laugh at (See: Los Angeles Clippers). In sports there are many different roles that teams can step into, the lovable losers, the underdogs, the long-shot, the favorites, and the hated. Today we are going to focus on the hated, because the Lakers are arguable the most hated franchise in United States professional sports. The level of hatred towards a certain individual generally stems from fans of opposing teams who simply wish that player was a member of their own team. Why do you Lakers fans hate LeBron James so much? Just saying. Anyways, when a fans hatred is directed towards a certain team it is for the same general reason, that team is better than the team they love. This is why teams like the Lakers, New York Yankees, and even Duke basketball are despised by the rest of the country. These teams win, other teams don’t, other fans hate.
From the Los Angeles Times Lakers Blog: The timing couldn’t have been more coincidental. After Lakers guard Kobe Bryant signed a three-year extension, he’s followed up the past two games shooting 13 of 47 from the field. Those two games surely don’t overshadow Bryant’s storied 13-year career, which serves as the main reason why the Lakers wanted to secure him to a long-term deal. But Bryant definitely played along and laughed when a reporter joked that maybe management would reconsider the extension after such a poor shooting night last week against Utah. After breaking out in laughter, Bryant said stoically, “We’re pretty good at negotiating.” Bryant’s poor shooting isn’t entirely anything new. His aggravated right index finger led to a field-goal percentage of 41.2% in January, a figure that worsened partly because of his tendency to shoot the ball even more when his finger was hurt. He also went through a lapse after returning in late February from his left ankle injury that kept him sidelined for five games. After shooting putting together a dazzling 32 points on 13 of 19 shooting and his fifth game winner against Memphis, he came out the following three games with a 19 of 56 (33%) mark from the field.