From Sebastian Pruiti, NBA Playbook (with video): The Los Angeles Lakers seem to be one of the only teams that can run the triangle offense successfully. The triangle is an interesting set because there seems to be two basic motions, and then that’s it. There is a lot of freelancing off of these two motions, as players are simply asked to maintain the principles of the triangle. A system like this really relies on the players being able to play every spot on the court, understanding spacing principles, and most importantly, being able to read defenses.
From Mike Trudell, Lakers.com: Mercifully for all those eagerly awaiting the commencement of L.A.’s quest for a three-peat, Sunday marked the second-to-last practice into Tuesday’s season opener against Houston. We’ve put together comprehensive individual player breakdowns in our Lakers.com Season Preview now up on the website, but Sunday’s session in El Segundo was primarily about injury updates: Kobe Bryant responded well to a preseason-high 34 minutes in Friday’s win over Golden State, and doesn’t consider the right knee upon which he had offseason surgery an issue heading into Ring Night. He simply called his knee “good” after practice and left it at that.
From Mike Trudell, Basket Blog: The respective right knees of Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum have understandably been the two items of most keen interest leading into the 2010-11 Lakers season, and while Bryant’s set to start in Tuesday’s season opener, it’ll be a few more weeks yet for Bynum. The recent news on L.A.’s 22-year-old center has been primarily positive, however, as Bynum shared with us in a quick state-of-his-knee address prior to Friday’s preseason game in Ontario. “Everything is going well with the knee, he said. “I started doing a lot more cardio stuff, lifting legs, getting back into shape. When I come back, I want to be ready to go, so I’m working really hard to get there.
From Mark Stein, ESPN.com: My man J.A. Adande has been trotting out a good line about the Lakers: Kobe Bryant’s knee will have a far greater impact on L.A.’s ability to win another championship than all the concerns about Ron Artest’s state of mind this time last year. But the defending champs, as always, are accorded the deserved honor of starting the new season atop ESPN.com’s weekly NBA Power Rankings, no matter how panicky Lakerland dwellars might be about the wear and tear Kobe’s limbs have absorbed over the past 15 years and the corresponding annual fretting about Andrew Bynum’s health.
From Dave McMenamin, ESPNLA: With the curtain set to go up on the Los Angeles Lakers’ season on Tuesday, the team was assured Sunday that it won’t have an understudy manning the sidelines. Lakers head coach Phil Jackson returned to practice after missing the team’s final two preseason games Thursday and Friday with flu-like symptoms. Assistant coach Brian Shaw filled in during his absence, guiding the Lakers to two wins against the Golden State Warriors. The rest of the team seems to be following its coach’s example when it comes to speedy recoveries. Lakers center Andrew Bynum is progressing quicker than expected as he rehabilitates his right knee, which was operated on in late July. Bynum ran on the treadmill Sunday with his full body weight on the knee, graduating from an altered gravity machine that he had been using to ease himself back into playing condition.
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: With Andrew Bynum probably coming back around Thanksgiving, many eyes have shifted toward the return timetable for another player. A healthy one. Kobe Bryant played seven of the Lakers’ eight exhibition games but averaged only 12.6 points and, of greater concern, shot a gruesome 28.2%, making only 24 of 85 shots overall, five of 29 from three-point range (17.2%). Bryant, of course, said everything was fine with his surgically repaired right knee and didn’t blink when a reporter asked whether he could play 40 minutes in the season opener Tuesday against Houston. “Sure,” he said Sunday, typically tight-lipped about his physical status. He offered little else on the subject of his knee. “It’s good,” he said when asked about it again.
From Broderick Turner, LA Times: The bar has been raised for Pau Gasol — by Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and assistant Brian Shaw. They want him to be more of a force for the Lakers when the regular season starts Tuesday night at Staples Center against the Houston Rockets. Jackson and Shaw maintained that Gasol has to be The Man for perhaps the first month of the season because, as Shaw said, “We’re kind of limping going into the season.” They want to see more from Gasol in the regular season than what he displayed during the exhibition season, when Jackson lamented once during training camp that the All-Star has “been on vacation.” Shaw, who was in charge of the Lakers the last two exhibition games because Jackson was home with flu symptoms, didn’t shy away from critiquing Gasol.
From Mark Heisler, LA Times: The West isn’t a Lakers lake, as it was in the ’80s when they reached eight NBA Finals, beating five Western finalists, 32-7.Nor is it the land of titans it was in 2000-2002, when the Lakers won three titles while finishing No. 2 in the conference to San Antonio in 2001 … and No. 2 in the Pacific Division to Sacramento in 2002 when the Kings and Spurs were 1-2 in the West. Injury issues and all, the Lakers are favored to come out of the Western draw for the fourth season in a row over … whomever. No new rival at the Lakers’ level has emerged, although the young Oklahoma City Thunder has its own ideas about that. Athletic as the Thunder is, with Jeff Green, who’s 24, the only starter over 22 and a willowy front line, their future may not be quite yet.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Lakers Coach Phil Jackson stayed at home, with flu-like symptoms keeping him in bed. But he still felt healthy enough and interested enough to catch on tape the Lakers’ last two preseason games — a 120-99 victory in San Diego on Thursday over Golden State followed by a 105-102 overtime win in Ontario on Friday over the same opponent. He liked that the Lakers had won handily Thursday but argued “they were lucky to win the game” in their preseason finale. Jackson lamented the injuries that kept Lamar Odom (sore left thumb, tight back, beat up nose), Theo Ratliff (swollen left knee) out of the lineup Friday and Luke Walton (aggravated right hamstring) back onto the sidelines after playing only four minutes. But he expressed relief that Odom and Ratliff will likely play in the Lakers’ season opener Tuesday night at Staples Center against the Houston Rockets, while indicating that Walton will remain sidelined for an undetermined amount of time.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Lakers forward Ron Artest remained in the locker room as the team took the floor. The Lakers were about to receive their 2008-09 championship rings just before their season opener last fall, and Artest believed he wasn’t deserving to observe the events. He played for the Houston Rockets the previous season and had taken on the Lakers in the playoffs. Viewing the ceremony would bring up hurtful memories about a Houston season fallen short. And he wanted the awkward separation to serve as motivation for eventually partaking in a ring ceremony.
From Elliot Teaford, LA Daily News: Finally, the Lakers are counting the days. They watched Andrew Bynum run on a treadmill Sunday, and Lakers coach Phil Jackson came as close as anyone to naming a specific date for the 7-foot center’s return to the active roster. Jackson said he was thinking Thanksgiving would be a “reasonable” date for Bynum to rejoin the starting lineup. It means Bynum could be sidelined for at least 15 games after undergoing offseason surgery on his right knee. Bynum had a procedure July 28 to clean up damaged cartilage.
UPDATE: In the final installment of our league wide previews that were organized by Celtics Blog, we offer up the Southwest Division. Enjoy: