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Phillip Barnett —  May 31, 2011

From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: The Mike Brown Era officially begins Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m., when he’s introduced to the media at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. Don’t expect to be dazzled with wit or one liners. As ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst told us in a recent podcast, Brown isn’t someone who wins press conferences. Disappointing for us– when you cover them for a living, having people at the center looking to “win” is welcome– and perhaps for you, too. No question, L.A. as a city values entertainment and personality, something the guy Brown replaces certainly understood. Just one of the many ways in which the times they are a’ changin’.

From Mike Trudell, Lakers.com: Just logically it’s going to affect anyone that doesn’t participate in training camp. It all starts there. Coming into camp, we’re still doing rehab, so Kobe was behind all the time and could never really catch up, which has something to do with the surgery, something to do with the sheer miles of wear and tear and the attrition the game has on him. So when we do look at an entire season, we look at how what what we’re doing in October and how that will affect the player in February, March, April and so on. There’s no exact science to it, but it’s about having a feel for an NBA season and that player … and I’ve had Kobe since he was 17. He and I operate on another plane together where there’s trust, and he knows his body quite well, so through that we decided we had to hold him back from practices to look at the longer term. We didn’t want to leave what he had on the practice floor, so we could have it for games. And of course that was not ideal.

From John Krolik, Heat Index: The first three rounds of the playoffs put a lot of misgivings people had about the Heat to bed. Yes, they can beat elite competition. No, they won’t back down against a physical opponent. Yes, they can close out games — and LeBron James can close out games like nobody’s business. Yes, Chris Bosh is a legitimate third star, if not a superstar. And yes, the Heat have more than three players they can count on. Those are the questions the Heat have answered through their first 15 playoff games. In order to take home a championship, they will have to answer one more. The Heat got through the Eastern Conference by playing Eastern Conference basketball — tough, low-scoring games that came down to the wire and demanded that each player on the floor give it his all. In order to beat the Western Conference champs, the Heat will have to do something they didn’t have to do when they dispatched the 76ers, Celtics and Bulls — and this last thing is the first thing people assumed they would do when LeBron announced he was taking his talents to Miami nearly one full year ago:

From Ian Levy, Two Man Game: As a Finals matchup between the Mavericks and the Heat appeared possible, then probable, then certain, the story of a chance at redemption rose to the surface. The Heat’s victory over the Mavericks in 2006 has been The Elephant in The American Airlines Center the past five seasons, and a Finals rematch against the Heat would seem to give the Mavericks a chance to atone for previous shortcomings. If this redemption becomes reality, it will mostly be at the organizational level; only four players from that 2006 series — Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem — will be returning for their original teams. The legacy of each has continued to build on the foundation of the 2006 Finals, and will be, in large part, determined by what happens in this year’s Finals. However, the later chapters of several other NBA stories will be written in this series, stories that have little or nothing to do with the initial Finals matchup between the Mavericks and Heat.

From Mark Medina, LA Times: It’s surely a weird feeling for Laker fans today, firing up their grills, hitting the beach and honoring the veterans that make our country safe. That’s because for the first time in three years, the Lakers aren’t still playing basketball and competing for an NBA championship. Surely, Laker fans will still have plenty to talk about, such as the hiring of Mike Brown, who will have an introductory press conference Tuesday at 3 p.m. at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. But there won’t be the prospect of being able to watch a Laker playoff game on television like in years past. It’s always a good thing for Laker fans if their team is still playing through Memorial Day, but a look back at some of the Lakers’ performances on that holiday doesn’t always spark a lot of good memories. Below the jump are a look at the Lakers’ 2-2 record in Memorial Day playoff games.

From Mark Medina, LA Times: This scene didn’t come from a sports talk show, although it would’ve made for riveting television. It was from Abdul-Jabbar’s documentary, “On the Shoulders of Giants,” a 90-minute movie narrated by Jamie Foxx that focuses on the Harlem Rens (also known as the New York Renaissance) and the effect of that basketball team both on the sport and society. When Russell touted his 11 championship rings and claimed superiority over any former or modern NBA center, including the Captain himself, West immediately intervened and argued Abdul-Jabbar would’ve blocked Russell’s shots. When West brought up the Lakers’ five NBA titles in the Showtime Era during the 1980s, Reinsdorf argued that that accomplishment paled in comparison with the Bulls’ six NBA championships in the 1990s. And when Reinsdorf boasted that Scottie Pippen limited Magic Johnson in the 1991 NBA Finals, West then argued the outcome would’ve been different if Abdul-Jabbar hadn’t retired in 1989.

Phillip Barnett

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