Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  April 3, 2013

It hasn’t been a good season for the Los Angeles Lakers. We all know this. It has been chronicled every which way and will be chronicled some more before all is said and done. Some nights are are still about the win however and sometimes even more. The Lakers opened and closed the game strong, preserving a chance to make the playoffs. And to Mark Cuban’s great consternation, they basically ended that same chance for the Dallas Mavericks.

If ever there was a time for this year’s model to show up it was last night – Shaq was in the house to have his jersey retired, Phil Jackson was there to present the honors and Jerry West and other Laker legends were there as well to watch, witness and smile. There were subtexts aplenty and a shaky start to the third quarter as Dallas went on a run – I don’t even want to contemplate what a loss would have felt like given the circumstances. Credit Earl Clark for generating a run of his own – the Lakers did plenty of things right in the fourth and won it in a romp.

Dave McMenamin for ESPN, on Kobe’s maxed-out minutes – he’s had a total of 79 seconds rest on the bench over the past two games.

Ramona Shelburne for ESPN, on Dwight stepping up in crunch time and the challenges posed by Shaq.

On a night that saw fans cheering loudly for Phil Jackson, Kelly Dwyer for Ball Don’t Lie credits Shaquille for keeping things on point with a classy speech.

Drew Garrison for Silver Screen and Roll, recapping the Lakers win and Kobe’s triple-double.

Marc J. Spears for Yahoo Sports writes about the respect that Kobe Bryant now has for his former foe.

Kurt Helin for ProBasketballTalk, on Mark Cuban and his ‘first housewife’ dig at Phil Jackson.

Brian Kamenetzky for the Land O’Lakers, relives an iconic Kobe-to-Shaq moment in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Championship against Portland, with a classic Chick Hearn narration.

Serena Winters for Lakers Nation provides post-game clips from Kobe Dwight.

***

It was the closing seconds of the game and the Lakers were up by a ton. There was virtually no chance the Mavericks were going to mount a serious challenge – their plodding hack-a-Howard had run its course and failed to make a difference. Kobe was still in the game though and while his motivation to play so much and so spectacularly is understood, the question still becomes at what cost and why the gamble? The Los Angeles Lakers have been absolutely decimated by injuries this year. They are flying into the home stretch on shredded wings and fuselage.

Seven games left. The same win/loss record as Utah but the Jazz hold the tiebreaker. Thankfully, the Lakers have a couple days to rest before facing Memphis on Friday. Hopefully, Steve Nash will be back for the last leg of a season that has left most observers scratching their heads. Buckle them up for the end of a bumpy ride.

Dave Murphy

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24 responses to Wednesday Storylines

  1. All the focus has been on us passing Utah for the 8th seed but I’m keeping an eye on the Rockets as well. They are a young team that doesn’t play D and wins by just scoring a ton of points. They are currently 3 games up in the loss column but they still need to go to Denver, to Staples and host the Griz. Those are 3 tough games. They also go to Portland that can be tough at home. It’s very conceivable that they could lose all 4. And what happens if they do drop a couple in a row? Being young will they tighten up? Stranger things have happened.

  2. From Dwyer: Jackson, who was met with “WE WANT PHIL” chants during Shaq’s speech (Kobe reportedly and rightfully flipped off the TV in the Laker locker room when the chant rang out).
    The story I heard was that initially MD “flipped off” the TV, then Kobe “flipped off” the TV.

    From SSR: “If Jim Buss had been forced to take center stage, he probably would have gotten booed”.
    I think this was a safe bet why he let his sister handle it. An alternate theory is that both pairs of jeans that he owns, were in the wash at the time.

    With regard to the jersey being hung up backwards: Between Jim and Chaz, there is not a plethora of experience in haberdashery in the FO. They should have given this task to MD – he definitely dresses well. And I mean that sincerely.

    Hey – it is off day – I am allowed to have some fun : )

  3. Is it “flipped off the TV”

    Or “flipped the TV OFF”

    Makes a difference!

  4. http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/9131536/los-angeles-lakers-fix-mistake-shaquille-oneal-retired-jersey

    Officially going to correct the jersey. Supposed to have the back hanging, not the front. Stuff like this happens, I guess, since I’ve been to numerous international conferences where they had the countries’ flags mixed up or printed upside down, but still quite astonishing.

  5. Have I mentioned my new favorite team? Denver up by 13! Go nuggs.

  6. DENVER! watching this game denver could be a dangerous opponent in the ‘offs….the west is insanely tough…come on Karl & co.

  7. Ken, I’m guessing he wasn’t pressing buttons on a remote, haha.

  8. Randy Foye and Mo Williams 3 for 20.

    Thanks you Clippers!

  9. Hang in there guys, we took back the 8th seed. We need to WIN the remaining games especially Grizz, Clips, Spurs, Warriors and Rockets.

    Keep the Faith!!!

  10. The new Roy Hobbs!

    Even Fourier

    Who?

  11. Media is saying we have to go 5-2 on our last 7 games to make it to playoffs. Can we do it?

  12. Utah not going 6 and 2. 5 games on the road!

  13. I claim that Utah will go 4-3, so that means we have to go 5-2. It’s a tough road, but doable.

  14. Worst case scenario for Utah if they will go 3-4, the Minnesota game will be the game changer.

    @GSW and @Mem, and other against OKC is a pretty tough game for them.

    While LA will dug a deeper hole and have a very difficult schedule. If they win and make the playoffs especially the last game against the Spurs, I’m confident enough that they will make some noise in the playoffs.

    I’ll take my chances…

  15. With all that has gone wrong for us this season (Dr. Buss’ passing, Injuries, Co-Tenants winning the Division Crown, Struggling to secure the final playoff seed out West), the least we could’ve done was display a retired jersey correctly .. Real Talk.

  16. the Lakers have to beat better teams sooner or later or the playoffs don’t matter. they just have to win. it doesn’t matter who the competition is or which team is better. the Lakers just need to win.

  17. Way to go nuggets…5 and 2 should be enough for the lakers, can’t see Utah better than 4-2 over the last 6, since they have OKC at home and GSW on the road where they have struggled. Memphis game will go a long way to settling this. Need that one among others.

  18. And really 2-4 is a real possibilty for the Jazz, as even @ Minny is losable as Jazz have really struggled on the road, and Minny is much improved over the last 10 games or so. So Utah really could lose @ GSW, Memph and Minny and lose at home to OKC.

    Too bad about those 2 games after Pau’s and Kobe’s return where those 2 both really struggled and the Lakers lost winnable games and set off a bad spiral that resulted in the loss at the Bucks as well. But for that, the Lakers would be in real cruise control and vying for 6th.

    In retrospect I think that is why earlier Dantoni was saying Pau won’t be coming back prior to playoffs as he knew re-integrating Pau could cost a few games, that the Lakers could ill afford to lose, and so he was trying to play down the value of Pau returning prior to the playoffs. The good news, is that now that Pau is back and working very well within the system, and is starting to develop a real good two man game with Dwight, that big question mark about Pau and Dwight playing together seems to be getting answered.

  19. Shaq may have beaten Kobe to the rafters, but shortly after his retirement, Kobe will have a statue of himself unveiled outside of the Staples Center.

  20. The whole idea of surviving our way into the playoffs isn’t going to matter much once we’re in. The only shot we have is to put together a streak and build on it and it starts with Memphis on Friday. They’ve got 50 wins, we got 39. Lakers better be ready.

  21. Looking at the schedule, I have penciled in 3 losses – Clips, S.A., and the b-t-b @ Portland. If we lose to the Griz or Golden State, we probably don’t make the playoffs. If we get S.A. resting Tony or Tim, we might get lucky, but then I am being optimistic about Houston.

    My hope is that if the Clips game gets out of hand, MD rests Kobe – but that is an ABC game as well, so there is not much chance of that.

    I know I am being a bit of a downer, but this has been a really hard year and it is hard to see everything going right – with no further injuries – given our history and our odds. Still, three losses and still making the playoffs isn’t chopped liver.

    Somehow I would rather play S.A. than OKC or the Clips in the first round. Both those teams are super athletic and I would rather get in a playoff groove before playing them. S.A. may have a better record, but I think Pau and Dwight are a better combination against them, than the other two – for a first round series, that is.

  22. The Shaq jersey thing was not a big deal…but it certainly fits in with the rest of this season.

  23. Great post over at SSR about Howard’s defense.
    http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2013/4/4/4181960/lakers-breakdown-video-dwight-howard-defense

    This is why I believe that this team has a shot. His health is so much better now and he’s dominating games defensively. This, in turn, is trickling down to the rest of the team. Now Kobe is also starting to dial it up a couple notches on the defensive end of the floor. This team needs to stay at the 8th seed and play the Spurs. They can beat that team. Then, if they do…watch out for a Lakers squad that figures it out!

  24. Regardless of your thoughts on D’Antoni’s effectiveness as a coach, it must be have been pretty brutal for him to hear those chants. It must hurt him deeply to know that his best is just not good enough. I frankly don’t think he deserves it. Say what you will about the guy, but he is trying his best. He deserves plenty of criticism, but the chants last night were mean-spirited and, frankly, moronic.

    I don’t know what will happen in terms of coaching in the off season, but I can guarantee you the following: after last night, not a single free agent coach of high caliber is going to want to step into this organization until Phil dies.

    Beware what you wish for Laker fans… beware….