From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Dwight Howard tried to avoid talking about Andrew Bynum when the topic came up, and what he did say what right out of the “NBA cliché handbook.” Bynum on the other hand had no problem talking about Howard and the Lakers. He says he understands Howard’s challenges, because it’s not easy getting used to playing next to Kobe Bryant. It’s the kind of thing that could stunt a players growth.“I think Dwight’s a great player, but he’s going to have to get accustomed to playing with Kobe obviously, and not touching the ball every single play,” Bynum said…“Later I thought I was able to get the ball more and do more things with the ball, so I could definitely see how at the end it could stunt growth,” Bynum said. “Winning championships there was fun. But obviously my time there is done. Health is the main concern with me now.“I don’t regret anything. Personally, they traded No. 1 for No. 2 and that is what happened.”
From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen & Roll: As the weekend kicked off Pau Gasol revealed that he was pain-free and close to returning for the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, he called a return Tuesday against the Charlotte Bobcats ”questionable” and the Saturday contest against the Golden State Warriors ”probable”. It looks like that “questionable” is now an “expected”, per Los Angeles Times reporter Mike Bresnahan. The timeline makes a great deal of sense, as the Lakers’ next game after Tuesday night comes Saturday, providing them a window to see how Gasol responds to playing actual minutes on the floor while maintaining a cushion to allow him to rest and receive treatment on the tendinitis in his knees which has had him sidelined since December 2nd. With Jordan Hill also stating he is hoping to play Tuesday, the Lakers will happily accept adding bodies to their maligned depth. Especially in the form of Pau Gasol.
From T.J. Simmers, LA Times: His life has already been one of amazing accomplishment on and off the court. So it’s a thrill to meet him. I don’t get the opportunity often to talk to someone who is almost my age and still playing professional basketball, with plans following retirement to make motion pictures How inspiring to know it’s never too late in life; Steve Nash is now considered the savior to pull the Lakers out of a nose dive. Putting it that way, Nash says, “Hey, if I was in your shoes I know I wouldn’t want to bet the ranch on this guy either. But in my shoes, I still feel incredibly optimistic and inspired.” Nice speech. But didn’t your brother Martin play professional soccer? Your younger brother? How old was he when he called it quits? ”Thirty-five,” says Nash, who will be 39 in February. ”I know at some point my game has got to go, and my game is getting into gaps. And if I can’t get there anymore…” says Nash, his voice dropping off, which is certainly a lot better than the old guy nodding off. ”I’ve got a lot to prove,” says Nash, which is kind of funny to hear knowing the old-timer has already been acknowledged twice as the game’s MVP. ”I played basketball in October for the first time since April. I trained my butt off all summer, but I didn’t play basketball because I wanted to be fresh mentally. Now I’ve got six weeks of inactivity to overcome and I’m going to be 39.” Did I also mention the Lakers’ top shortcoming is defense, and their savior can’t play a lick of it?
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: The Lakers bottomed out in Cleveland, got a little better in New York, won ugly in Washington and then put a lot of pieces together Sunday in Philadelphia. The Lakers beat the 76ers, 111-98, and finished this four-game trip with the energy that Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has long been seeking. The Lakers also looked for one of the few times this season like a team having fun playing together, getting encouraging contributions from fill-in point guards Chris Duhon and Darius Morris while Metta World Peace worked for 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds while mostly playing power forward. World Peace’s previous high in rebounds came nearly seven years ago. But it was one of those games where things just went the Lakers’ way, with Kobe Bryant sharp (34 points) and improving the Lakers’ record when he scores at least 30 points to 3-11. It was enough for Bryant to speak of how enjoyable future success could be, with Pau Gasol and Steve Nash nearing injury returns. Bryant compared the Lakers’ season to a wonderful springtime “after a horrible winter.”