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[picappgallerysingle id=”3800274″]Otherwise known as Where Amazing Didn’t Happen At All.
After getting mauled by the bear that is the Cavaliers and gutting out a win against the Kings, the Lakers swoop into Phoenix to take in their third viewing of The Steve Nash Show. Will the Lakers rise above the ashes or Icarus their way to a scorching?
Artest remains out.
11:46 – Pau hits a nice turn around jumper from the right block. Great to see him start with good lift in his legs. Pau seemed a bit taken by surprise by the intensity of the Kings’ big men.
10:58 – Lakers run an atrocious “fast” break off a turnover. No spacing and the suns clog the middle.
10:06 – Grant Hill = Speedster? Hill beat the lakers down the floor for an easy bucket. LAL 2, PHX, 6
9:28 – The Lakers have turned into the Washington Generals. Derek charges down the floor and shoots an airball from 5 feet against Amare. This game is full of rec league hallmarks. Jason Richardson airballs a wide open three on the ensuing possession. I want to throw my face through a plaster wall right about now.
6:42 – Kobe gets smacked on the hand and it falls off! Just kidding. He’s in a little pain but he’ll hit the free throws. Lakers are settling down and figuring out how to use their height. Pau got a nice offensive rebound on a missed free throw by Bynum. LAL 12, PHX 10.
5:49 – Bynum gets a three point play. Rumors of his hibernation are being debunked a little here. He’s finding his height useful here against the smaller Suns players. Who would have thunk it?
1:55 – Jared Dudley throws a post entry pass to Josh Powell. I bet he wishes he had ctrl+z available there. LAL 20, PHX 20
1:30 – Whoa! Ammo nails a nice looking threeball. Sign him up for the three point contest at all-star weekend! Okay, maybe not yet. But hitting the long ball is helpful in opening up the middle for the bigs. LAL 23, PHX 20.
0:00 – Steve Nash pays himself some royalties at the end of the first after throwing a patented left-handed pass from the top of the key to Lopez who gets the shooter’s bounce as the lights go red. LAL 23, PHX 25.
Lakers defense has been pretty active but a few mistakes and missed communication have led to some easy layups/dunks. They’ll need to tighten that up and continue to find ways to improve the offense.
11:15 – Louis Ahmandson rides his bike to the scorer’s table to check in. Almost immediately he gets to watch Academy Award winning acting by Channing Frye as he mimes a tall person being hit by a sledgehammer in the chest as Gasol backed him down.
10:27 – The bench is doing well here. And by well, I mean they are struggling mightily. More ctrl+z material as Channing Frye tries the tomahawk. With furious anger he throws the ball down it goes straight up. And over the backboard. Dunk Fail. LAL 23, PHX 32.
9:12 – Farmar gets his Ariza on by knocking the ball out of a passing lane, takes the ball to the hoop. But then, he gets his Lamar on and throws the ball out of bounds. Farmar had Mr. Fantastic (Shannon) running with him but threw it about 4 feet behind him. LAL 25, PHX 35.
8:12 – A couple minutes ago, Lamar had his hand smashed in between his crotch and Barbosa’s backside (don’t ask) and has some sprained fingers on his right hand. We’ll see if Kobe points to his own broken finger and tells Lamar to man up. LAL 27, PHX 39.
5:02 – Bynum is forced to hold down the bench due to foul trouble.
4:48 – Kobe threw up a wonderfully ugly airball. It’s easy to blame the finger here. That finger should be admonished. Has one entry ever said the word ‘finger’ so many times?
3:16 – Suns shooting 41% so far, and brick it up nicely here. Hard to talk too much trash. Lakers are shooting below 35%. LAL 38, PHX 48.
2:30 – Kobe reattached his finger to his hand and immediately stroked two jumpers. Just as we should remember to appreciate Lamar, of course we should not forget Kobe’s evolution as a player and LAL 43, PHX 48.
1:56 – Amar’e dunks the crap out of the ball. Too bad the ball didn’t get the memo. It bounces out past the three point line. He and Channing Frye work on designing membership cards. LAL 45, PHX 48.
0:10 – It turned into the Amar’e and Kobe show here at the end. Kobe has hit 10 of the Lakers last 12 points and Amar’e has the last 10. Why did anyone else even suit up tonight? LAL 50, PHX 54.
0:02 – Lakers take Kurt’s advice and make Steve Nash a scorer. He obliges by drawing a foul on DJ Mbenga under the hoop with 2 seconds to go. Dear Mbenga, you don’t need to jump to block the shot of a 36 year old 6’0” point guard with no vertical. Shoot, I wouldn’t need to jump to block it. LAL 50, PHX 56.
11:10 – Channing Frye hits a beautiful shot from outside. He “nets” two points only, however, because his toes were on the line. LAL 50, PHX 58.
10:00 – Lakers and Suns are “hot” here to open. The teams have combined for only two misses in 8 shots. Mr. Nash had an unorthodox fading jumper from the wing. LAL 54 PHX 64.
8:58 – I enjoyed this possession. I’d characterize it like a nice red wine. With enough space and air, the offense worked well. Pau drew the attention of multiple defenders and Lamar took advantage by cutting to the middle. LAL 58, PHX 64.
7:37 – Adam Morrison looking like a seasoned veteran. Pau dishes the ball off to him block to block after Ammo recognizes he has Steve Nash in the post. It would have been fun to see Adam throw down a hammer there. I’m not sure he’s capable but I would be inordinately entertained. LAL 62, PHX 67.
5:15 – En tu Ojo! Steve Nash drills a three straight down the tube over the outstretched tentacle of The Spaniard. LAL 64, PHX 73.
4:51 – Derek loses his cool a little. After a blocking foul he pushes Nash out of the way. Good call. Nash hits the T. LAL 66, PHX 74.
3:58 – Lakers are reaching vaunted heights here. They’re going to give up a four point play. Channing Frye hits a three and fisher gets called for a foul underneath.
3:39 – A nice little run here for the Suns (if you’re a suns fan) as they are now up by a whole bunch after some sloppy play and a Jason Richardson three pointer. LAL 66, PHX 82.
2:48 – Lakers try and stop an 11-0 run as Kobe misses with his left but Odom tips in the putback. LAL 68, PHX 84.
1:18 – Kobe wins the battle with Frye but his face loses.
0:56 – OOOooo. Amar’e absolutely demolishes the rim with a dunk. He just ran by Bynum and then threw it THROUGH the basket. Actually reminiscent of Dwight Howard’s superman dunk a couple years ago.
0:00 – Kobe gets the ball (UGLY miss by “shooter” Channing Frye) with 6 seconds to go and races down the court. Unfortunately he’s not 19 anymore and his layup is blocked. Great hustle by three Suns players to get back and contest it. LAL 77, PHX 89.
11:55 – Chants of “Beat LA” rain down. Jared Dudley hits a nice corner three. Lakers are looking a little umm..sad out there. LAL 77, PHX 92.
10:39 – Dear Sasha, I’ll send you a postcard from the rim. Please give my best to my wake. I’ve left it for you. Regards, Leandro Barbosa. In two steps Barbosa had him beat so bad Sasha gave up and just went down to the offensive end.
9:31 – Timeout called. For those of you who believe in The Secret, now would be a good time to start Secreting or whatever it’s called. LAL 84, PHX 98.
9:21 – Jeebs! Dudley just rakes Bynum across the wrist and the refs call a jump ball. I’m not sure how that qualifies as a jump ball. It gets more awesome. Dudley has to go against Bynum but can’t outjump him. So he does what anyone who’s ever gone against a giant does. He waits for Bynum to tap it backwards and then intercepts it. I’m not sure what the rule is but the refs let it go. I’m not sure that the Lakers can complain about the refs missing two calls when they have barely shown up tonight.
6:40 – After a Dudley three and a Barbosa jumper it’s time to shut this thing down before I stab myself in the pancreas with a macbook. If the Lakers make some sort of miraculous recover, I shall make sure to update and credit to you Secreters. LAL 89, PHX 108
Happy New Year everyone! Don’t take this one too hard. It just wasn’t meant to be.
I’m at Staples and I’ll be chatting at ESPN’s Daily Dime live plus posting thoughts on the game here as it progresses.
Pregame notes: Phil Jackson strongly hints that DJ Mbenga will get the start. The key for him, he said, is not to get in foul trouble. He said in the preseason when DJ got a start they joked there was a pool on whether or not he would get four fouls in 10 minutes. He might break that tonight.
Also, Phil said that Artest may get time on Zach Randolph, so at some point the Lakers will go small. As for AI, Farmar will apparently get the first shot but if he can’t stop him Brown will get a chance. 30 minutes left to tip off.
• In the media room pregame, Mitch Kupchak was sitting and talking to the Memphis owner. (Insert your own joke here.)
• Almost halfway through the first quarter, and here’s what I learned: OJ Mayo can’t handle Kobe’s dream shake on the block, and the Grizzlies apparently have a philosophical opposition to help defense.
• I a very touching gesture, the Lakers just officially named the scorer’s table after John Radcliff, the team’s long time scorer and a great man. They also gave his family his championship ring from last season. Classy.
• Not a pretty first quarter of shooting — Lakers not named Kobe were 5 of 14. And it wasn’t the Griz defense that did it.
• Luke Walton gets in the air, without knowing what he wants to do far too often. But this last time he made up for it by not hustling back on defense. But his passing keeps him on the floor.
• Just a bad shooting half for the Lakers. The Grizzlies were by far the worst defensive team in the NBA coming in, but the Lakers shoot just 37.7% for the first half and trail by two at the break. Kobe shooting 50%, everyone else 33.3%. The only thing keeping the Lakers close, they have grabbed 51% of their missed shots for
• 7-0 Lakers run to start the second half changes the feel of the game. For now.
• A Fisher PUJIT makes it 10 for 16 from the floor for the Lakers in the second half, and they are up by 11.
• The Lakers go with the small unit (as I’d wanted, but with Powell as the center instead) and keep extending the lead. Lakers shoot 66% and score 38 points in the third.
• Sorry for the site crash, but we’re back.
• Post game, Phil praises Kobe for his shot selection, and calls Josh Powell the best sub the Lakers have had so far this season.
• In the end, this is what the Lakers needed, a comfortable win. Memphis is not a good team (despite a lot of good athletes) and these are the games the Lakers should win handily. They did. You can’t really knock a 16 point win with two starters out.
Welcome to the first nomuskles live blog of the year! It seemed like this day would never come!
Boston vs. Cleveland
Neither team looked incredibly impressive (it’s early) but two things stuck out about Cleveland. Shaq is pretty much his same self and Lebron is getting nastier and nastier. He continued his trend of incredible blocks from behind and hit some nice looking jumpers. That young man is unstoppable.
Championship Ring Presentation and Banner Unveiling
The Lakers receive their championship rings tonight because, in case you might have possibly perhaps forgotten, they beat the Orlando Magicians to earn the title of 2009 NBA Champions. That’s a phrase that never gets old. 2009 NBA Champions! How many times before that gets annoying? 2009 NBA Champions!
David Stern says something incomprehensible. Jeannie Buss stands next to him and says nothing. She has her umm…shall we say, “special occcasion” boots on.
The Lakers begin the ceremony with a few players from past Lakers championship teams. They are: Jerry West, Norm Nixon, Jamaal Wilkes, Michael Cooper, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, AC Green, Rick Fox, and Robert Horry. Kareem is introduced later as a member of the coaching staff.
Players I wish would have been invited as well: Shaquille O’Neal, Ron Harper, Byron Scott, Elgin Baylor, and Elden Campbell. Okay, not Elden. I also wish Wilt Chamberlain and Chick Hearn could have been at the event. Alas.
This is followed by an awkward moment in which Dr. Buss is given some love by Magic and he has to put his drink down and we all notice that he’s sitting next to an attractive young woman who can’t be older than 33. It makes you wonder what his kids might think. And then you realize that his daughter…okay mm yeah. I’m going to stop myself right there.
Then of course Adam Morrison gets his well-deserved ring. Speaking of which, does anyone know if there are formal rules for who gets a ring and who does not? For instance, I assume Sun Yue will get one. Does Radmanovic get one also? How about Chris Wallace? I think in this case, the Lakers should send him one. And when will Trevor Ariza and Sun Yue get theirs?
Very triumphant music being played. Fisher looks like he has tears in his eyes. Kobe comes out with some young man energy smiling and bouncing around. Haters/Cynics go ahead and insert your “he’s disingenuine/fake” comments here.
The new banner is unveiled like a giant game of peek-a-boo. Amazing. I’d like to offer my appreciation to everyone here and in the Lakers organization for letting me enjoy such a great season last year. Titles don’t come very often to “your team” everyday. I’m savoring the moment.
The TNT crew does a great job ribbing Charles about the fact that Mbenga, Powell, and Morrison have championship rings. They also mention such legen..wait for it…dary legends as Rich Petruska, Zan Tabak, and Mike Penberthy.
Lakers: Dfish, Kobe, Crazy Pills, LO, and Young Bynum
Clippers: Baron Davis, Baron Davis’s beard, Eric Gordon, Al Thornton, Chris “The Recently German” Kaman, and Marcus Camby
11:50 – Lakers control the tip, go into Bynum who enjoys the give in the new rims and gets a jump hook to fall….eventually. Only notable because it forces the bench to wait on it’s new first made field goal ritual as the ball bounces around the rim. I watched the Major League version, and the bench actually does it slightly differently. Lakers tap their right foot twice in contrast to the movie guys who tapped their right foot once and then their left foot once before crossing over. Check out the 1:36 mark on youtube. Also of note: Josh Powell got it right this time. Mbenga…not so much. We are officially underway in this season of possibilities. LAC 0, LAL 2.
10:59 – For those who care, the Lakers are wearing a special patch celebrating their championship win. It’s the Larry O’Brien Trophy next to a black and gold banner that says 15 on it representing the 15 championships won by the franchise (including the ones from Minneapolis). The Lakers have also added decals along the baseline touting the 50 year history of the Lakers in Los Angeles. They now have about five different fonts on their court. Design nightmare. The Lakers.com in front of the benches, the new decals, the Lakers under the baskets, the Lakers logo at the center, and the Staples Center wordmark. Can’t we stick to one or two fonts? LAC 0, LAL 5.
10:22 – Baron Davis’s Beard is no match for Kobe Bryant’s Fadeaway. LAC 2, LAL 7.
8:52 – Sloppy play. Kobe goes around the back in the back court in transition and loses the ball. Kaman ends up with the ball and the enforcer, DFish, takes him out at the basket. There was a pile of Kaman on the floor afterwards. Recently German hits one of two. We also find out that Kaman built a workout facility on his farm in Minnesota. Someone tell Kaman that building a workout facility doesn’t fix the ugly. LAC 7, LAL 7.
7:15 – B Diddy looks good. He’s quick and he can still shoot bricks with the best of them. LAC 8, LAL 9.
6:43 – Marv Albert is telling me about how teams fair on opening night after winning the championship. Thanks Marv. Totally relevant. My life is now complete.
4:49 – The crowd Oohs and then Ahhs when Fisher throws a wraparound pass to Bynum who proceeds to Kwame it out of bounds. LAC 15, LAL 18.
3:32 – Crazy Pill decided to shave more stuff into his hair. It’s amazing. Words can’t do it justice. Go find a picture. Run, don’t walk. He shoots a couple free throws and makes one. The announcing crew proceeds to have a banal conversation about whether Artest will accept his role as a third or fourth option. Miller insights this little gem, “well he’s going to have to.” Thanks Captain Obvious. I’m glad you make so much money telling everyone what they already know.
1:07 – I believe Mike Dunleavy just asked his assistant coach what a clear-path foul is. You can now watch Bill Simmons light himself on fire. LAC 19, LAL 28.
0:53 – B Diddy fell asleep trying to receive the inbounds in the back court and Farmar accepts the gift, flushing home a deuce. Clippers turn it over again and the Lakers get two more. 4 careless points right there. I imagine Mike Dunleavy is pretty happy with that. LAC 19, LAL 32.
0:21 – Ricky Davis banks home a three instead of holding for the last shot. Hard to argue with that but Lakers will now have plenty of time to get the last shot. The scoreboard crew is also a little rusty. They add three points to the Lakers’ score and then have to take it away and add it to the Clippers’ score. LAC 25, LAL 32. That’s how the quarter ends as Artest can’t make the wide open three. Kanye West interrupts and says, “sorry Ron, but Ricky Davis had one of the best threes of all time.”
Summary of Mike Dunleavy’s 1st break interview: We’re playing well except those stupid mistakes we made. Oh really? And I’m a good cardiac surgeon except for all those patients I killed.
Lakers open the period with Odom and Crazy Pills still in with Vujacic, Farmar, and Mbenga.
10:17 – Craig Smith is built like a tank. He scores underneath and then gets a steal and beats farmar down the court to get an easy layup. LAC 26, LAL 37.
9:27 – Eric Gordon’s nickname is Hobbit??? This is quite a well-read Clippers team we’ve got on our hands. I wonder if it’s a reference to The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings. LAC 29, LAL 39. Every time the camera gets a glimpse of Blake Griffin, he’s standing and walking around. He should probably not be standing and walking so much if he’s got a borked knee. He is the new franchise player, just sayin’.
8:30 – Mbenga is throwing up all kinds of trash towards the rim in hopes that…well I’m not sure exactly. Let’s just move on.
6:35 – Mbenga spikes the ball off Josh Powell’s face. Did he yell hibachi? LAC 33, LAL 40.
5:36 – Bassy Telfair hits a jumper to make it 37-40. clippers making a little run here with Kobe, Fish, and Jerry West on the bench. I imagine they’ll be back out there on the flipside of this timeout. On a positive note, that means Kobe got a long rest with the 5 minutes from the intermission plus the 6 and a half minutes of game time already elapsed in the second quarter. If Phil can afford to do that for the entire year, Kobe is going to feel like a spring chicken come the playoffs. All the starters come back except LO. Powell stays in.
3:45 – Kobe is playing center field off his man but when Craig smith reaches the paint and Kobe doesn’t rotate over in time, what exactly is the point? If you’re cheating off your man, shouldn’t you be in prime position to help? If you’re not going to help, then just go guard your man. Don’t stand in no-man’s-land.
The following is almost as sad as Phil Jackson’s hanging dap is hilarious: Khloe Kardashian sees herself on the jumbo tron and almost points it out to her sister Kim but then realizes that she’s supposed to be above such pedestrian concerns and stops herself midway through saying “hey look, that’s us.” You could literally see the SLOW progression of thoughts from “Oh I’m on tv!” to “oh I want to tell my sister” to “Oh, I should just pretend not to notice.” You aren’t a publicity fiend at all, Khloe. Not at all. We’re totally buying that you don’t care about being famous. Yup. Totally buying it.
1:32 – Bynum swallows up Rasual Butler’s shot and gets called for a phantom foul. So much for the regular refs being the saviors of the game. After the free throws, LAC 45, LAL 51.
0:27 – Reggie “Ferengi” Miller can finally stop talking about Khloe Kardashian when Kobe makes a nice over the shoulder layup. He articulates “Mmm..nice” Mmm nice, indeed, Mr. Ferengi. Lakers make another steal and get a Bynum layup with 1 second left. Nice way to close out the half. LAC 49, LAL 59.
Good to see Agent Zero back in action. He was hoopin tonight.
Both teams go with their starting lineups. Young Bynum put a sleeve on his bad knee at halftime. Something to be worried about?
10:50 – Clippers run a horrendous slow break. Baron Davis lets his beard make decisions for him and shoots a three with no one else around. On replay, it’s obvious that Baron’s shot was about a foot to the right of the rim. He tries to play it off like it was deflected.
8:29 – Clippers fans are now going to light themselves on fire. Baron Davis just earned his third foul in the past two minutes.
6:57 – Camby asks the Staples Center staff to shut the door after he throws up a 19-foot shot from 21 feet away. LAC 61, LAL 70.
5:31 – Reminder: it’s the first game of the season. Turnovers and bad shots abound along with the inability to corral rebounds. LAC 63, LAL 70.
4:24 – Great battle of young centers. First Kaman puts Bynum in the popcorn machine with a plethora of fakes and jabs but can’t finish. Then Bynum gets fed in transition and beats Kaman at the other end for a pretty layup. LAC 63, LAL 71.
1:26 – we might hear this a lot more this season “[insert point guard’s name here] blows by fisher.” LAC 70, LAL 74.
0:41 – Hooo weee. Telfair gives a great alley-oop to marcus camby from the wing! Great vision by the young New Yorker. LAC 75, LAL 76.
11:22 – Great defense by the Lakers. They are heavily pressuring the ballhandlers. OOOoooo. shanWOW breaks out the rocket pack and rises up in transition for a dunk after the Farmar steal. The German nudges him and takes out his legs and Shannon’s lucky not to get hurt. Brown was about to do a 180 degree reverse.
9:39 – LO! Kobe is trying to will the lakers to a win but misses the runner. Lamar grabs his 11th rebound and puts it back while getting fouled. He’ll try and pick up the 3 point play. He does. Big play right there. Did he learn how to close the deal from Khloe? LAC 77, LAL 82.
8:36 – Craig Smith (recall: built like a tank) has a full head of steam and Jordan Farmar (recall: not built like a tank) stands in the paint to accept the charge. I believe he breathed a gigantic sigh of relief when Smith wiggled his way around without any contact. Farmar immediately calls over the equipment manager for a change of shorts. Smith gets fouled at the rim but misses the free throws. LAC 77, LAL 84.
6:55 – It’s the Lamar Show! A couple seconds left on the 24 second clock and Lamar heaves up a deep three and it’s beautifully true. LAC 79, LAL 89.
5:35 – After Kobe throws up an ugly 27 footer that bounces straight to Bynum, Bynum deftly feeds Mamba on the move towards the bucket who draws the foul and hits the layup. Kobe gets a steal on the next possession and hits Ron Ron with a nice bounce pass for the layup in transition and the foul. Lakers are too deep and too strong for the Clipper Ships on this night of battle. LAC 79, LAL 94. …the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the jellooooo’s jiggling. This one is in the refrigerator.
0:27 – No one told the Clippers this game was over as they continue to play hard. Too little, too late. LAC 92, LAL 99 is your final.
Here is the Lakers chat from ESPN today that featured J.A. Adande and myself. Enjoy.