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From Kevin Ding, OC Register: One of the oldest teams in the NBA, the Lakers are absolutely not prioritizing building for the future. That’s why there is only one player in their current playing rotation you could accurately describe as an up-and-coming player. He’s Shannon Brown, who showed again Tuesday night what progress he has made from being a player on the rise only in terms of his vertical leap. Yes, the Lakers’ number of up-and-comers will double to two once Andrew Bynum comes back from his latest knee surgery. But don’t mistakenly believe that is coming as soon as Thanksgiving.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Their 118-107 victory Tuesday over the Milwaukee Bucks needs to be taken with a dose of perspective, considering the Lakers initial eight-game winning streak invited questions about breaking the 72 regular-season mark and their two-game losing streak brought up concerns that their early-season success was a mirage. Losing three games in a row — which has happened only once since the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol in February 2008 — would open the floodgates up even more. More importantly, the Lakers started off a three-game trip on a good note and they displayed a few positive developments detailed below.
From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Something about the Lakers makes teams shoot the lights out, it seems. The Bucks, not exactly noted for their outside gunning, came out red hot from the perimeter, making five of seven 3-pointers in the first quarter, part of a 12-for-19 outburst that included a ton of long jumpers. Milwaukee kept it up through the first half, really. But rather than get impatient, the Lakers kept doing what they needed to do offensively. They didn’t fall in love with the three, taking most of their looks from downtown off passes from the interior or penetration. Meanwhile, Pau Gasol was a steady force inside, scoring 14 first-half points. Artest put himself in the post, as did Bryant. Lamar Odom did good work there, as well, and as a team the Lakers piled up fouls against the home team, earning themselves 19 trips to the line in the first 24 minutes (they’d finish with 29, making 24).
From Dave McMenamin, Land O’ Lakers: Before you start calling Shannon Brown the NBA’s Most Improved Player or the Sixth Man of the Year, here’s another nickname that fits and he doesn’t need a media vote at the end of the year to earn it. How about Mr. Fourth Quarter? Everybody knows how supremely clutch Kobe Bryant is at the end of ball games, but if Bryant is Mariano Rivera, then Brown is one heck of a set-up man. Brown scored a season-high 21 points in just 22 minutes of playing time, going 7-for-9 from the field, 4-for-5 on 3-pointers and 3-for-3 from the foul line. He also added three rebounds and a steal.
From C. A. Clark, Silver Screen and Roll: I don’t remember exactly where I read it earlier today, but some idiot was talking about how tonight’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks was going to be different than most of the contests the Lakers have seen so far this season. Different, because unlike most of the opponents the Lakers have faced so far, Milwaukee is a superior defensive team (ranked #1 coming in) and a terrible offensive team (ranked #29 coming in), so the Lakers might struggle to score a bit more than usual, but should come through with some decent defense.
From Michael Hunt, Journal Sentential: Someone actually asked Phil Jackson on Tuesday night if his Los Angeles Lakers could learn something from the Milwaukee Bucks. The Zen Master could’ve said the 17-time champs have won more titles in the last 16 months than Bucks have in 42 years. He could’ve said Brandon Jennings was 11 years old when Kobe Bryant was fitted for the first of his five rings. But he didn’t. Even if Jackson can knock down the sarcastic barb like Kobe does the occasional game-winning shot, the man with more NBA championships than anyone understood where the question was going. The Lakers haven’t been playing Lakers-like defense at a time when the Bucks have been defending like they’re guarding the last bucket of water on Earth.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Andrew Bynum was asked Tuesday if he was still on track for his hoped-for Thanksgiving season debut. “Sounds about right,” Bynum said. Bynum, recovering from offseason knee surgery, was reluctant to divulge much, saying: “I don’t want to change expectations.” It’s possible Bynum was only remaining agreeable to the Thanksgiving estimate, which would mean playing Nov. 26 in Utah, and wasn’t in position to pick a new date. But Bynum, who is needed additionally because center Theo Ratliff is out at least a month because of knee surgery, added that he had a lot to say when he was ready to talk formally.
From Terry Foster, The Detroit News: As Kobe Bryant stood at the free-throw line at The Palace during the Lakers’ visit last season, Michael Lampp stood, cupped his hands and screamed: “MVP! MVP! MVP!” Not an unusual scene, by any stretch. But it is considering Lampp was rooting against his hometown Pistons. “To me he is a legend,” Lampp said. “He is the best player in the game. I know a lot of people will say LeBron James. I think Kobe is in a different category. He lives to take that last shot. He is the most clutch athlete I have ever seen and I cheer for him every time he comes around.” Tonight, when the Lakers visit again, there likely will be hundreds of purple-and-gold Bryant jerseys in the stands.