And so here we are. The tail end of the regular season, the last of the three game series against the Spurs, and the return of Kobe Bryant after seven games off. The team has played well in his absence, and is certainly an emerging contender for another title run.
Andy Kamenetzky at the Land O’Lakers, has five questions about the return of Kobe.
Brian Kamenetzky at the LOL reports on Portland, possibly making a run at Mitch Kupchak.
Wondahbap at Silver Screen and Roll writes that the Lakers seemed primed for a serious playoff run
Dexter Fishmore at SSR wonders if the MWP rebirth can survive Kobe’s return.
Theshmoes at SSR writes about the western conference seedings.
Kevin Ding at the OC Register says it’s mostly fascination by association, but offers a peek inside a sportswriter’s life.
Interesting piece from Mark Heisler at Sheridan Hoops, about Kobe’s long and winding road.
Mike Bresnahan at the L.A. Times writes about the need for balance, with Kobe’s return.
Jabari Davis at Lakers Nation, on MWP and Matt Barnes as the Lakers’ renaissance men.
A game preview from Quincy Scott at the excellent Spurs blog, Pounding the Rock.
Adrian Wojinarowski at Yahoo Sports writes about the union leadership battle between Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher.
Tonight’s game is an impossible one to predict – there are simply too many variables. The Spurs are bound to be more prepared at home than they were for the last Lakers visit. And the Lakers need to have more resolve and desire than they did at home on Tuesday. And of course, everybody’s asking the Kobe question. My own sense is that he’ll go with the flow, find his spots, and be an assassin. Beware of Mamba.
Haven’t read the linked articles, so this may have been pointed out already, but we seem to be in some bizarro parallel universe – last couple games of the season, and Lakers fans are concerned about the Clippers winning out, which could result in a lower seeding for the Lakers.
Look around – does everyone suddenly have a goatee?
“Tonight’s game is an impossible one to predict” states Dave M, the writer. We may not hear a truer statement today. Both teams won in easy fashion in their two recent meetings. It’s unlikely we’ll see Tony Parker score 29 w/ 13 assist or Bynum grab 30 rebounds. In other words, I think we’ve learn very little from those two previous meetings. Besides, Kobe didn’t play in either.
Both teams need a win to maintain their current playoff positions over the Thunder & Clips respectively. Interestingly enough, a win by either team actually improves their chances of meeting in the 2nd round. An option the the Lakers may prefer more than the Spurs.
Pop can be unpredictable at times, and tonight could be one of those times. Would anyone really be surprised if Duncan or Manu only plays a half or not at all? One thing we do know, Coach Brown has to see how Kobe & the “new & improved Lakers” mesh.
With that said, I’m expecting a Laker win tonight.
Talk about bizarro… Howard is out for the season and Bynum is the dominant NBA big man who can’t get hurt even in a condensed season. Oh… And this…
@mcten: Bynum’s in a 3-pt contest with Goudelock and is making them consistently, for what it’s worth
Nice piece by Heisler on Kobe
after paul allen fired rich cho after 1 year, who would want to work there?
08 season til now Kobe’s played in 452 games of 468. Missed 9 games in 2010.
Lakers are 2-1 when Kobe comes back in that span.
Kobe is 13 – 19, 8 – 23, 6 – 19. 44%
Lakers will play to win tonite. Especially Andrew Bynum who wants to demonstrate consistent domination.
Will Dwight Howard’s injury and Bynum’s productivity increase pressure on Bynum to play on olympic team?
Wouldn’t want to be Bynum if he was healthy, didn’t play and the US some how lost. He can make the US team better … but will likely screw him up for the Lakers next season.
Is a U.S. gold medal worth it?
yes in my opinion.
I don’t think Bynum is invited to the Olympic team.
Its a multi-year commitment, and Bynum hasn’t been on the international team before this year.
Reports were today that Chandler will be Howard’s replacement.
Re: Bynum on the National Team
Andrew already declined last summer. He has been asked twice over and both times said he would rather spend his summers training and improving his game.
@ #7, Treylake. I also wondered if A.B. will get a call to play in the Olympics now the D-12 is out. While it would be a great honor, I’m hoping he doesn’t get the call. The U.S. doesn’t need Bynum to win the gold, however the Lakers do need him to win a title. It will sound selfish, but I would really like to see Bynum “shut it down” after the post-season until NBA training camp opens in Oct. Remember, Bynum doesn’t have a contract next season. The team has a $16 million plus option for his services. If he’s healthy, it’s a no-brainer. If he’s not…
Cdog is probably right. Chandler played in the Worlds IIRC.
Chris J says
I want no part of Bynum and the Olympics, unless he’s there as a fan. He should spend the summer in Las Vegas again, working out with Alex Ariza just like he did last year.
I’ve been to a dozen Olympic basketball games, and the officiating is off-the-charts inconsistent. Those games always feature international refs who too often allow things to go on at the expense of the team said refs may not favor.
The last thing the Lakers need is for Bynum to spend the summer getting hit with cheap shots that some refs choose to ignore for whatever reasons motivate them to eat their whistles. A dominant big man playing for the United States may as well have a target on his back there.
30 rebound, 30 point game, followed by D12 injury may prompt USA basketball to give Bynum another jingle.
Would prefer he not play as well.
Tyson Chandler is nice, but he is not Andrew Bynum. Without his presence USA is not sending its best team.
I did a nice preview for tonights spurs lakers matchup where we will see if kobe can make this team better while at the same time letting other players use their full potential! http://nbawagers.com/2012/04/kobe-set-to-return-as-lakers-visit-san-antonio/
Craig W. says
What we all fail to remember is that Olympic basketball is different from the NBA. With the lane and officiating, the dominant, inside, big-man is not the force as in the NBA. Chandler would probably be a better choice, if only because he is much lighter on his feet and very good at moving over to cover up another’s mistake.
I prefer to not talk about any player’s injury.
KBB has an off the chart basketball IQ. He’s sat out these games watching the Lakers play and will insert himself into the offense to propel the Lakers towards an extended postseason.
Lakers get a win tonight if they dedicate themselves to defense. On offense, they need to pound the ball inside to the post players. Additionally, when the ball is kicked out to perimeter players early in the shot clock. They need to be patient and allow Andrew or Pau to re-post before sending the ball back to the post.
Defensive players need to lock in on their OWN assignment and be opportunistic on doubling down or shooting the gap for steals.
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back…Kobe!
Go Lakers, go Lakers.
Everyone… Read my post above… Andrew has been asked multiple times the last five years to play on the National team and has turned them down both times saying he would rather work on his body and his game. I doubt they will ask him again since he has made it known he doesn’t care about promoting his brand (the main reason NBA stars play on the national team.
@#12 Chris – Yeah and a 33 year old Kobe Bryant who can’t handle the rigors of an NBA season any longer has EVEN LESS business being involved in this Olympics stuff particularly when you consider he has already earned gold in the past.
Time to pass on this stuff Kobe.
T. Rogers says
I think Chandler is a good addition because he would be there for defense and rebounding. He is not a scoring center like Bynum. But I don’t think they need that. They have a few guys who can score from PF spot. Bosh and Love can do it. Plus, Durant and LeBron can shift to the four as well. Chandler just needs to be a clean up man.
Assuming this will be Bynum’s first injury free season in a long time I think he needs to take it easy this summer. He is a young man. If he stays healthy he will be able to represent his country in four more years at the ripe old age of 28.
the upcoming hornets@clippers game ought to be entertaining. the hornets have been playing quite well of late. a healthy eric gordon will be out for revenge.
Craig is correct. Also, it is not as if the US Olympic team will be short on scoring. Chandler would work very well.
Selfishly, as a Lakers fan, I do not want Bynum to go if asked. Kobe wants that second Gold, and repping Spain and playing with his bro is a huge deal to Pau, so I can live with that.
That Hunter vs. Fisher story is something. Looks like Billy doesn;t want his business out there…