Some quick hitting links today…
- At practice on Monday, Kobe essentially said it’s time for the Lakers to pick up the pace: “It’s a marathon. You see the finish line, you tend to pick up the speed a little bit.” Here’s hoping they make their push with a tough schedule to end the year.
- Something that will help the Lakers play better ball in the closing months is the return of Matt Barnes. The Lakers’ swing man practiced on Monday.
- As Barnes starts to make his comeback, though, Andrew Bynum says that he’s still not quite all the way back after his surgery.
- Injuries or not, the games do start tonight with Atlanta coming to town. Over at Land O’ Lakers, Andy Kamentzky has tonight’s contest as his game of the week: “But ultimately, Atlanta gets top honors because it’s the first game immediately following the All-Star Break and a three-game skid low-lighted by an unthinkable loss to the Cavaliers. Lakers fans, not to mention the Lakers themselves, will be looking for quick signs the ship has been righted. No better time than the first opportunity to begin easing minds. The longer the wait, the worse it gets for all involved. The time for identity rediscovery is long past “nigh.”"
- Before we move forward, one last look back at Kobe’s Sunday performance as Sekou Smith tells us that Kobe’s not passing the torch just yet. And while we’re here, as a bonus you get a breakdown of all 4 ASG MVP performances by #24.
- Around the rest of the league, the long saga of the Carmelo Anthony trade is now over with the Nuggets and Knicks finally making a deal. The details of the deal are here.
- While this deal gives the Knicks more of the star power they seek and offers a player better than any of the ones the jettisoned, questions are still abundant. How good are the Knicks now? Are they contenders? Will they play any defense? Did this deal limit the Knicks upside? Who’s next to be traded and can the Knicks possibly land another big time player down the line?