From Actuarially Sound, Silver Screen & Roll: The return of Pau Gasol Friday night solidified the Lakers rotation which, barring further injuries, will likely remain unchanged the rest of the season. Unfortunately Gasol’s return also appears to signal the relegation of Earl Clark back to the bench. After playing at least 20 minutes per game for the last few months, Clark saw the court for only 7 minutes Friday night. With Kobe Bryant playing half his minutes at the small forward position, as the Lakers try to get shooters like Jodie Meeks and Steve Blake on the court, there simply aren’t enough minutes left to split amongst five front court players. Earl Clark appears to be the odd man out.
From Ben Bolch, LA Times: Mike D’Antoni laughed before the question could be completed, fully knowing where the query was headed. Was the Lakers coach referring to Kobe Bryant when he criticized his team’s defense on Trevor Ariza and its tendency to go one-on-one Friday during an appalling loss to Washington? “Am I talking about Kobe?” D’Antoni said Sunday, the first time he had spoken with reporters since his postgame rant. “I’m talking about Kobe, I’m talking about me, I’m talking about Dwight [Howard], I’m talking about Steve Nash, I’m talking about everybody. Now, will I say one is more guilty than another? Nah. It doesn’t really matter. It’s the Lakers’ screw-up and the Lakers are going to go forward and try to fix it.”
From Janis Carr, OC Register: An MRI on Antawn Jamison’s right wrist showed scar tissue, evidence of a previous injury, and a sprain, but nothing that suggested he shouldn’t play Monday. Jamison, who suffered the sprain in Friday’s loss to Washington, likely will wear a brace on his wrist and play at Golden State in the first of a four-game trip. “Each day, it’s been a lot better,” Jamison said after participating in non-contract drills Sunday to avoid bumping his wrist. “I’ve played through pain before, so the first two games of this road trip I might have to play with a little pain, but then I should be back to normal.” The Lakers listed Jamison as day-to-day and Coach Mike D’Antoni called him a game-time decision. “You’re always concerned,” D’Antoni said. “But if he says it’s fine. It’s fine. The biggest problem is if he reinjures it or gets hit again. It will sting for a while and there’s going to be pain and if it doesn’t hinder him, he will be OK and if not, he will have to rest it.”
From Mark Heisler, Lakers Nation: Saddle up, Goliath, we’re wading into another bunch of angry pissants who want a piece of us. We learned the Biblical story from David’s perspective but this season, the Lakers get to walk a mile in the big guy’s sandals, heading into another hot time in the old town tonight against the resurgent Warriors in Oakland. Ho, ho, ho, what’s that in your hand, a slingshot? How cute! Thud. By now, it should be clear that the Lakers have had more problems injuries, personality clashes and the transition to Mike D’Antoni. Their injuries have largely healed. Their starting lineup is once more whole. D’Antoni has been here four months, time enough to install his offense, then re-jigger when his personnel proved incapable of playing it.
From Brett Pollakoff, Pro Basketball Talk: In the aftermath of the Lakers’ embarrassing loss at the hands of the Wizards on Friday, any remotely astute observer could tell you that there was plenty of blame to be placed squarely on the shoulders of Kobe Bryant. It’s not a bad thing in Bryant’s eyes; he’ll gladly take all of the heat anytime his team loses. In this particular case, it was well-deserved. In addition to Bryant’s lack of team defense, which has been a consistent issue all season, his going into hero-mode offensively down the stretch made it easier than it needed to be for Washington to hang on for the victory. We all saw it, and Bryant’s teammates and head coach saw it, too. Just don’t expect them to go on record as saying so.
Basically there is no way to figure out what to expect from this group of guys (I’ve decided I won’t call them a “team” for the remainder of the season). With 12 games to go, and three behind the Rockets & Warriors in the loss column, the Lakers may have reached their high water mark of the regular season.
And I’m going to suggest this can be a good thing because I believe the Spurs will hold on to 1st place. Personally I believe this group of Lakers will have a better chance of winning a 7 game series on the road against the Spurs, then the Thunder, Clips, or Nuggets. With the injury to Marc Gasol, the Grizz would be the preferred foe, but I believe his injury will cost them 1st round home court.
Well let’s see what tonight brings vs the Warriors on the road. Too bad the Lakers don’t really have the personnel to test Curry’s ankle.
Let’s go Lakers.