From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Thursday afternoon in El Segundo, Derek Fisher was asked what accounts for the team’s strong second halves since the break, particularly against Oklahoma City and Minnesota: “[We] understand it’s a 48 minute game. I think we’ve done a good job of trying to win the game in the first quarter. I think there were times earlier in the season where we got impatient if we weren’t in control of the game right away. I think we’re doing a better job of understanding the mentality it takes to win tough games, close games, and not get over concerned what the margin of victory is. Just win the game. I think that’s allowed us to be really solid coming out of the locker room at halftime. We’ll talk about some things, make some adjustments, and come out with a solid game plan.”
From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Matt Barnes, perhaps unwittingly, revealed its existence this afternoon at practice, after I asked him what makes this run for a title different than others he’s experienced in the NBA, whether with Orlando or Phoenix: “Just the expectations, from a team that’s won two in a row, and really now the world’s against us at winning three. I’m trying to get my first. Just the way that everyone’s flipped the switch on (Note: emphasis added) since the All-Star break. The attention, the mindset at practice, just the whole nine has been completely different. It’s just fun to be a part of. I get butterflies just thinking about getting back out there, and once the playoffs come how special this opportunity is.”
From Wondabap, Silver Screen and Roll: Whenever the Lakers are involved in any trade rumor, it’s always Andrew Bynum that pops up as the trade bait. Never mind the fact that 99% of these rumors are fabricated PR moves used to pressure another team into trading it’s disgruntled superstar (especially when it’s Chris Broussard breaking the news), it’s always Drew. Bill Simmons ranked Bynum 38th on his trade value list, mostly due to injury problems, but what other player in this league whom has yet to make even one All-Star game has a much trade value as Bynum? Every year, some team is said to entertain the thought of trading for Andrew Bynum. The Lakers always say no. Unfortunately many Lakers fans are too eager to entertain the thought of trading him. Too many of us can be seduced by the big name superstar, and would gladly send the kid packing if it will net someone like Carmelo Anthony.
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: Miami signs Mike Bibby, Boston signs Troy Murphy, and the Lakers … welcome Matt Barnes back from injury? The Lakers stood still in the aftermath of another personnel deadline, declining to add any of the top veterans recently waived by other teams, though they seemed fine with it. Coach Phil Jackson said he wasn’t disappointed with the decision to avoid adding anybody. After all, he’s the one who historically hates adding players once the season gets past the halfway point, practically ignoring late pickups Jim Jackson and Ira Newble in recent years. He had no problem integrating Pau Gasol into the lineup in 2008, though that was an exceptional exception.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: The Lakers walked off the court in embarrassing fashion, reacting in all sorts of ways 2 1/2 weeks ago that indicated their 20-point loss to the Charlotte Bobcats hurt more than other defeats. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant avoided talking to reporters for the second consecutive game, the silence speaking louder about his disappointment than any cliche could provide. Center Andrew Bynum lamented his lack of minutes and touches, and questioned the effort of his teammates. And Coach Phil Jackson spent no more than five seconds offering a 140-character Twitter-type assessment on the team’s loss. As the Lakers finished up preparations Thursday at the team’s facility in El Segundo for their rematch Friday against Charlotte, that double-digit loss still remains fresh in their minds.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: The NBA trade deadline passed last week and the Lakers didn’t make any roster changes. Players became available on the waiver wire and things remained the same. And that’s fine in the Lakers’ eyes, with Coach Phil Jackson saying he neither expected nor feels disappointed General Manager Mitch Kupchak abstained from making any moves. “We’re still very aware of who’s been released and when Mitch gets back from Europe, we’ll talk about it, said Jackson, whose team plays the Charlotte Bobcats Friday and has a five-game winning streak. “There’s a couple of places we could use some backup help or insurance, but offhand there’s nothing that stands out that I would tell you.”