West Conference Finals game one: Devestating loss for Spurs
Posted by: SPQR on Thursday, May 22, 2008 - 03:46 PM
Overcoming rust, nerves, tissue paper defense in the first half and subpar performances by two usually reliable starters, the Lakers claw back from a 20 point deficit to pin a huge loss on the defending champions and enhance their own playoff aspirations. |
Basketball is usually divided into four quarters, but this time it was a game of two and half quarters vs a game of one and half quarters. The Lakers were so dominant in the one and half quarters they still won. The first game featured total domination by the Spurs. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan did whatever then wanted and did it whenever they wanted. The tone was set by a non existent Laker defense and Lamar Odom shooting layups like they were from 60 feet away. Tony Parker tortured Derek fisher and the Laker defense looked like a bystander as Bowen and company were shoot three point shots.
The game turned when Phil moved Kobe to the small forward and used Jordan and Sasha in the back court. This lineup, along with Pau and Vlad was just too quick and had too much energy for a Spurs team that could not match the high gear the Lakers shifted into. From this point on the champs looked like a team of aging veterans coming off a very hard seven game series.
Some of the bright spots in the win. Kobe in the third and fourth just manhandling the Spurs. Once he shifted into attack mode the Spurs had no answer for it. Expect this to be the case throughout the series. It is so very apparent that no team, no coach, no player has an answer to the Great Man.
Vlad came out on fire again. This time driving to the basket several times with energy and force like it was old news for him. You really wish he would do this more often. Three good games in row for Vlad. A huge plus for us.
Sasha and Pau again having their usual steady games, scoring when given the chance and keeping the Spur defense honest and under pressure.
Ronny did nice work in a short minutes. A great block on Duncan and three rebounds along with drawing a foul on Duncan going for another. This is the kind of effort on the boards Ronny needs to do all the time to maximize his effectiveness for this team.
JORDAN FARMAR!! Nice game for Jordan. He took another step up from his last effort against the Jazz. If he can provide us with this much help for the rest of the game in this series, it's going to hurt San Antonio alot. Its good that Parker is a small gaurd. You have the feeling Jordan was bothered terribly by the height and strength of Deron Williams and playing a smaller man is bringing back some confidence in his game and what he feels he can do.
The defense; from the moment Phil made the lineup change to the end of the game. The Lakers seemed like they had 6 or seven guys out there. They were all over the floor, contesting everything and crashing the boards. Given their effectivness and the energy this lineup brings, along with the Spurs age, this may be the lineup that ultimately takes this series for us.
Lamar having one of those games he used to show a couple years ago. He seemed completely out of sorts, missing one layup after another. I don't expect that to happen again.
Derek getting totally abused by Parker. I don't blame Fish. He's 33 years old trying to stay with an all star, NBA finals MVP at the height of his powers. Players in their prime are getting abused by Parker. If he can get his offense back for the rest of the series he will give this team plenty of help even if Parker wins the duel over the series.
Luke. When he comes in the game against these type of teams, I literally cringe. At that point we are playing four against five. The Spurs don't care where he is, don't care if he's open, because they know he's scared to shoot, and if he does, he will likely miss. I'm sure there will be plenty of talk about Luke in the offseason so I will leave it at that.
I am so glad we won this game for more than the obvious reasons. If we hadn't, the sports pages and ESPN and every internet site and paper would have been filled with psychological evaluations and guesses as to why Kobe was so completly unwilling to take a stronger hand until we fell behind by such a huge margin. I'm so glad this torturous subject was obviated by the win and we don't have to dwell on that unbelievably tiresome speculation. It would have just murder listening to all that after a loss of that magnitude. Talking basketball is so much more fun.
This loss was especially hard on the Spurs. To have a game won, and home field taken back to San Antonio, only to lose it after such a determined mental and physical effort is just so devastating. You only win so many games on a good teams home court and it's like the Spurs did it; only they have a loss to show for it. If any team can over come this type of mental distress it's the Spurs. But in the post game interview Coach Pops said the nature of the loss, "hurts like hell." The last time I heard him use that exact term was when Derek made the miracle shot against them in 2004. The Spurs did not recover from that "hurt".
Even worse, the first three and half quarters were the worst ones this Laker team has played in the playoff this year...and the Spurs played great. For us to turn it on for just a quarter and a half and obliterate all that went before it does not bode well for the champs. It really is hard to imagine the Lakers playing that bad again in this series. The fact that we won this game despite miminal contributions from Derek and Lamar is also ominmous. If I was a Spurs fan I would not be very encouraged by the implications of what I saw in this game.
One other large chunk of good news: Drew's surgery went very well and he is expected to be totally healthy and back to pre injury form by training camp next year. Lots of championships anyone? All in all not a bad day was it?
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The Road to the Finals: Lakers versus Celtics v.2008
Posted by: mambamonk87 on Thursday, April 24, 2008 - 04:53 AM
It's the beginning of the playoffs. At this moment in time, the Lakers and the Celtics are 2-0 in their respective playoff series against Denver and Atlanta.|
Over in Boston, a new chant emanates from the Boston Garden.
"Come on, Lakers."
A defiant battlecry.
In Los Angeles, a rebuttal.
"We want the Celtics."
The revival of a dormant rivalry.
But are we getting swept up by the hype? And if we are, is it a bad thing?
In my personal opinion, the answer to both questions is a definite yes.
Look, the Lakers and Celtics are each two games into a long postseason. Can either team afford to look ahead to June and simply assume that they'll be there? Let's check out the routes that both teams will likely take.
The Lakers are currently 2-0 against the Nuggets. Only through overwhelmingly stacked odds will the Nuggets pull this upset off.
We then face the winners of the Houston-Utah series. Again, only through a major upset could the Rockets pull this off. Thus, we assume our second round opponents to be the Utah Jazz. These guys are the best at utilizing home court advantage. Too bad the Lakers have home court for 4 out of 7 games in the series. But let's assume we can beat them. Will they put up a fight? It's very possible that we'll go all the way to game 7. The Jazz haven't played against our Gasol lineup, so hopefully it'll overwhelm them and we'll beat them in 5-6.
If we can pull that off, I'll go out on a limb and assume that the Spurs will beat the Suns, and the Hornets will beat the Mavericks. Spurs versus Hornets. Hardy experience led by Tim Duncan versus exuberant youth led by a scrappy young CP3. In this case, it doesn't really matter which team we face; both are tough teams, the number 2 and 3 seeds in a stacked Western Conference. I know a lot of you may say that the Hornets would be our best bet, but remember, our last game against them was a) at home, and b) they were in a slump. Right now they're rolling on all cylinders over the Mavs. They're not a team you want to mess with.
Lakers road: Denver => Utah => Spurs/Hornets
If I'm Phil Jackson, I'm not even thinking about the Celtics. We've got plenty to worry about on our road to the Finals.
As for the Celtics:
I'll go by my intuition and assume...
Celtics road: Atlanta => Cleveland => Detroit
Who has it worse? Right off the bat most would say that the Lakers have it much rougher, but look again. The Lakers are playing against one of the worst defenses in Denver. If we can sweep this series, it won't take too much out of us. Then there's the Jazz and the Spurs.
But then look at the East. Atlanta isn't much of a threat, so chalk them up to being slightly easier to beat than Denver. However, Cleveland isn't a terrible team. LeBron's already given the Celtics trouble in the regular season. And let's look at their season series. 2-2. Looks about even, right? WRONG. One of Cleveland's losses to Boston came when LeBron wasn't playing. The other loss came after a back-to-back for the Cavs. One of the losses for Boston came when KG wasn't playing. And uh, not to mention the huge trade that went down for the Cavs. The Celtics are playing an essentially revamped Cavalier roster, except that hey, LEBRON is STILL THERE. These two teams are wayyy closer than you'd expect, and I think LeBron might be able to pull this series to a game 7. Still, the Celtics have homecourt advantage, so let's give this to the C's.
And Detroit is always a formidable opponent. I don't think I need to go into detail; they've always had the same strengths. Excellent, and I mean truly excellent team chemistry, a versatile big man in Sheed, a sturdy defender in Prince, a great shooter in Rip, a poised leader in Billups, and the experience of being an NBA contender for most of this millennium. And their bench isn't shabby, either. Do they have what it takes to at least tire out the Celtics? I sure hope so, if the Lakers are going to meet them in the Finals.
Both teams have a ways to go. Neither team can afford to look ahead and assume ANYTHING. As appealing as a Lakers v. Celtics series is, we need to concentrate on the here and now, and only hope that our Lakers squad feels the same. Let's cheer hard for our Lakers right now, because they're going to need to bring it every night. Put your Laker gear on and settle in. It's going to be a long (and very memorable) playoff run.
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A Season To Remember.
Posted by: Lakers4Kobe on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 07:29 AM
This is my final blog of the regular season so I want to make it a good one. I hope you all like it.|
So it's all over. The Lakers season came to an end with a 124-101 victory over the Sacramento Kings, giving them the 1st seed in the West and the momentum they need heading into the playoffs. However, it did not come easily. These Lakers had to put up with hardship and turmoil as their season looked to be doomed when Andre Bynum went down with a knee injury on Jan. 13 against Memphis. But the problem was quickly solved as Mitch Kupchack pulled off one of the biggest steals in NBA history by grabbing Pau Gasol from Memphis for Javaris Crittenton and Kwame Brown plus a few draft picks.
While the end result is great, nobody could have expected it 5 months ago. Kobe was an outraged superstar and he opinions were clear in an amateur video in which he calls Dr. Buss and “Idiot” and demands that Andrew Bynum be shipped out. At this point Mitch Kupchack had some tough decisions to make, thankfully he made the right one by standing his ground and not trading Andrew Bynum. Laker fans everyone are giddy with the thought of a Gasol/Bynum tandem in the playoffs. It can be considered to be the biggest non-trade this millennium.
When training camp began everyone was still scared about what was going to happen. Kobe was avoiding any question about his outrage and some team mates of his seemed to look very upset. However, the regular season got underway and Kobe showed he was dedicated, scoring 45 points in the season opener against the Houston Rockets, the Lakers lost that game. But that game must have sparked something in this team as they won their next two games against playoff teams Phoenix and Utah, while absolutely destroying Phoenix 119-98. At this point Laker fans were feeling pretty damn happy about themselves. However, not all went to plan and the Lakers went on to a 9-8 start to season and many people starting calling the Lakers a “.500” team.
Yet something amazing happened. We met Andrew Bynum. The kid that Kobe wanted out of here for none other than Jason Kidd. Kobe would soon be eating his own words as Andrew Bynum raised his game tenfold and became one of the best young centres in the game. He became an instant double-double and eventually was averaging 13ppg and 11rpg. The Lakers went on a surge winning seven games in a row from the 4th of January to the 14th of January. However, in a 100-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, Andrew Bynum stepped awkwardly on Lamar Odom’s foot and went down with a dislocated knee. The Lakers were able to win the game but that was the last thing on their minds. Bynum came out of the locker room after the game on crutches and said he felt alright. This calmed many Laker fans until a few days later doctors determined that Andrew would be out for a minimum of 8 weeks. It was a big blow to the Lakers and many fans started preparing for next season.
The Lakers went 3-6 to the 1st of February when the miracle happened. Laker fans woke up in the morning to find that Pau Gasol was traded to the Lakers for scraps. Needless to say, Laker fans everywhere were giddy and so was Kobe. He celebrated by scoring 46 points in a 121-101 victory over the Toronto Raptors. Oh and Sasha must have been pretty happy to get another European on the team, as he chipped in 22 points of his own. It was the start of a new age for the Lakers. Everything looked that much brighter. Pau played his first game against the New Jersey Nets scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, not a bad debut. The incredible thing is that Kobe scored only 6 points and yet the Lakers still won 105-90. Oh, did I mention this was all during a 9 game Eastern Conference trip. The Lakers finished the road trip 7-2, one of the best records for a road trip of such length.
Laker fans everywhere were waiting for Gasol’s debut at Staples Centre. It was set for the 19th of February against the Atlanta Hawks. Gasol came out to the court and the Laker fans went crazy. Cheers would not stop and Gasol showed his worth scoring 23 points and grabbing 6 rebounds as the Lakers routed the Hawks 122-93. Kobe must have been pretty damn happy then.
From the 8th of February to the 28th of February the Lakers rolled off 10 straight victories and it was 20 days of great Laker basketball. The Lakers and the Rockets (who went on to win 22 straight) were the hottest teams in the league and they amazed the entire NBA nation.
The Lakers continued their wining ways with an impressive 120-124 victory over the Phoenix Suns, spoiling Shaq’s home debut, courtesy of 41 points from Kobe, 29 from Gasol and 22 from Lamar Odom (more on him later). It was an impressive victory to say the least. The Lakers next big victory came on the 2nd of March against the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs had previously won the teams on meeting thus far 112-105. Many people were expecting a good game with newly added Mav, Jason Kidd. What they got was one of the best games of the season. The Lakers won in overtime 108-104 and Kobe erupted for 52 points and 11 rebounds, destroying the Mavs. Gasol added a Lamar like performance with 17 points and 14 rebounds. It was definitely one of the best Laker games of the season.
The next big challenge for the Lakers was a four game road trip to New Orleans, Houston, Dallas and Utah. To say the least, this was going to be tough. Things could not have gotten off to a worse start as Pau Gasol injured his ankle in the 1st quarter of the New Orleans game and the Lakers went on to lose 108-98. The Lakers then became the 22nd and last victim of the Rockets losing 104-92. At this point nobody was sure when Gasol was coming back and Laker fans were dreading the next two games against Dallas and Utah, some of the best home teams in the league.
The Dallas game could not have had anymore ups and downs. The Lakers ended up building a 30 point lead only to have the Mavs decrease it to 1. However the Lakers were able to hold on and beat them 102-100.
The next game was against Utah, the best home team in the league. The Lakers went in with a purpose and dominated the Jazz on their home court winning 106-95. The exclamation point of the game came in the 4th quarter where the Jazz crowd was booing as loud as they could. On the previous play, Deron Williams converted a four-point play off of a questionable call on Kobe Bryant. Kobe looked pissed and the he got the ball. He drove pass the entire zone defence and jammed the ball home sending a message to the crowd. The next thing I saw was Kobe popping his Lakers jersey to the crowd. Sorry Utah, nobody can beat Kobe.
With that incredibly challenging four game road trip out of the way the Lakers had a relatively average schedule the rest of the way, with what seemed to be the only challenges against the Mavericks, Hornets and Spurs. However, the Lakers would have an unexpected end to the season, starting with back-to-back games against the Golden State Warriors. These games weren’t attracting much attention but little did everyone know, this would be one of the most exciting 48 hours of Lakers/Warriors basketball.
The first game was in Los Angeles and it did not disappoint. The Lakers went down by over 20 and yet they were able to fight their way back but weren’t able to come up with the win as Stephen Jackson traded threes with Kobe and the Warriors won 115-111. A special mention has to go out to Lamar Odom though. He scored 19 points and grabbed a career-high 22 rebounds.
24 hours later the teams were battling again, this time the Warriors were hosting. The game was very similar with both teams trading baskets throughout and leads being build and destroyed constantly. At the end of regulation the scored was tied at 111. Overtime came by and Lamar made a clutch lay-up with 9.1 ticks left. On the next play Derek Fisher drawed an offensive foul from Monta Ellis and Kobe hit two free throws to give the Lakers a 123-119 victory. Lamar had another great game with 23 points and 21 rebounds while Kobe scored 30 and grabbed in 11 boards of his own. Both games were fun to watch and definitely some of the better games of the year.
After these two games the Lakers were up against Charlotte and then Memphis. Obviously, all Laker fans were seeing these games as gimme games. What happened was some of the worst Lakers basketball this season.
Against Charlotte the entire team seemed out of wack and they played terribly shooting 41% and making 8-27 three point attempts. The 13 turnovers didn’t help either and the Lakers went on to lose 108-95.
The next game against Memphis was another poor team effort from the Lakers as Kobe took the role of scorer and put up 53 points but the Lakers came up short and lost 114-111. The Lakers attempted 45 three pointers and made only 15 of them for a 33% clip. They shot 39% from the floor and looked completely out of sync on the defensive end. Two embarrassing losses for the Lakers to say the least.
Something must have been said by someone because after these two losses the Lakers went on to finish the season on an 8-1 run. The teams defence improved dramatically and the entire squad seemed to be gelling and playing great basketball, the only loss coming against the Blazers at the Rose Garden…a jinx spot for the Lakers. There are four games that stand out in this final stretch.
The first one comes against the Dallas Mavericks. It seems that every time these teams meet there is always an interesting game. Things started out bad for the Lakers and they only got worse as the Mavs built more than a 15 point lead and the Lakers were having a hard time controlling them. However the Lakers hero came in from the one man nobody expected to save the day, Lamar Odom. When things got tough Lamar was there to score finishing 12-14 from the floor. He hit key baskets down the stretch and finished with a season-high 31 points. He outshined Kobe and Gasol and he was the saviour of the game, keeping the Lakers competitive throughout. The Lakers won the game and finished 3-1 against Dallas for the season.
The next game comes against the New Orleans Hornets. This game was advertised as the MVP match up with Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant battling it out against each other. The game started off great for the Lakers as they went up 63-33 off of a Kobe basket. However the Hornets clawed their way back and cut the lead to one. Things suddenly became interesting and the game went down to the wire. Through hard work and determination the Lakers came out of the game and won 107-104. Kobe finished with a near triple double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists while Chris Paul made up for a slow start and finished with 15 points and 17 assists. With this win the Lakers moved within half a game of the Western Conference leading Hornets.
The next game came against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. The Hornets had previously lost to the Kings 94-91 and they were tied for 1st place with the Lakers. A win would give the Lakers sole possession of the number one spot and a huge boost of momentum. At the end of the first half the score was tied at 53. Then came the second half. Complete and total Laker dominance. The Lakers allowed only 32 points in the half and went on to win 106-85. No player had an amazing game as everyone contributed to one of the biggest wins of the season.
The next game is the final regular season game against the Sacramento Kings. The game itself is not amazing in any way as the Lakers won 124-101. The reason I say this is one of the standout games is because of what it means. It means that the Lakers secured the number one seed in the toughest Western Conference ever and have silenced all their critics. Nobody expected LA to be in this position at the end of the year but my o my have we proved everyone wrong. The Lakers finished the season with a 57-25 record and stand on top of a Western Conference where a 50 win team has a chance of not making the playoffs.
So who is responsible for such a great season? Well there are many people and here are a few:
Mitch Kupchak: This guy was abused 24-7 by Laker fans in the off season and earned himself the nickname “Kupcake”. He was seen as a joke by everyone and people were begging for him to be fired and replaced. When the season started people were still mad at him until they saw who Andrew Bynum had become. After Bynum’s stellar play people were ready to forgive Kupchak but were not yet ready to say that he was a great GM. However, on February 1 he brought in Pau Gasol and turned the Lakers from a threat to Championship contender. After the steal, sorry…trade, people began singing Kupchak praises and he became one of the front runners for GM of the year. He is the mastermind behind this great season.
Derek Fisher: His leadership and talent are some of the biggest assets to this team. He is the level-headed guy who would take care of any dispute and he is a trusted friend of Kobe Bryant, something not many people can claim. While he wasn’t the best scorer or passer on the team, he provided the leadership at the point this team so dearly needed after the Smush Parker experiment failed. He also became a mentor and tutor to Jordan Farmar and because of him our team now has such great chemistry. Thanks Derek!
Lamar Odom: The unsung hero. He has had an amazing season and he has become one of the best third options in the league. Before the all-star break he was having an average season with a few big games here and there. However, once Gasol came to the Lakers he turned into a double-double machine. He finished the season 8th in the league in rebounding and has recorded over 40 double-doubles this season! He has been a huge factor in the success of this team. I cannot stress enough how under appreciated he is by some fans. Just before the deadline some fans wanted to trade him for Caron Butler and there were rumours going around it would happen. Luckily, nothing eventuated and Lamar has become one of my favourite players and a beloved Laker. He is the unsung hero of an amazing team. The Lakers would be making a huge mistake by not resigning him but let’s worry about that later.
Pau Gasol: Coming into this team he had huge expectations to handle and he has not disappointed. He is the perfect fit for the triangle offence and he has improved his play dramatically. Without him this team would probably be fighting for the 8th seed and this season would be another let down. He has been playing great since the trade and has had some great games, especially against Shaq and the Suns where he completely dominated Shaq. I can only imagine how good this team is going to be when Drew comes back from his injury. It gets me pumped just thinking about it.
The Bench: We are lucky to have one of the deepest teams in the league and the best bench. Most of our bench would be starters on other teams and having such depth has helped the Lakers enormously. The usefulness of the bench will come out during the playoffs when teams have to deal with defending two units who play two different styles of basketball. They have shown their worth and this season would not have been what it was without them.
And lastly but certainly not least:
Kobe “Black Mamba” Bryant: Kobe has led this team through an injury plagued season bad enough to envy the injuries of last year. He didn’t miss a game all season even though he has played with a shooting hand that requires surgery after the Olympics. He has shown dedication and passion to this team that I have never seen from any other player. He has learnt to trust his team mates, which is something he was highly criticized about before. He bleeds and sweats for the success of this team and his 28ppg, 6rpg and 5apg have led the Lakers to the number 1 spot in the Western Conference. He IS this seasons MVP and he has deserved it more so than ever. He truly is one of the greatest players ever.
The Lakers season has come to an end and yet we will have to wait until Wednesday to find out who they will be facing in the first round. However, this is the least of their concerns as they have overcome some of the biggest challenges and faced all the adversity they were given and yet they have come out on top of this ridiculously tough Western Conference. They have the pieces to go all the way and when all the injured players return this team is going to be scary. They truly are the best of the West.
I want to thank everyone for a great season at LTB. This community is one of the best and I cannot thank you guys enough. Every member has helped me expand my knowledge of the Lakers and without you guys I would be a bumbling fan. Thank you so much. I appreciate all the hard work you guys have put in to this site and your dedication and commitment is second to none. Thank you so much and continue to keep up the great work!
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Chris Paul & Kobe Bryant: A Tale Of Two MVP's.
Posted by: Lakers4Kobe on Thursday, April 10, 2008 - 05:04 AM
This season sure has been one to remember. The Western Conference has become so competitive that a 50 win team has a chance of not making the playoffs while in the (L)Eastern Conference a team can be under .500 and make the playoffs. Still, nothing this year has been more competitive then the battle for MVP. Numerous players have been called the MVP throughout the season with some dropping off (LeBron James), some coming out late (Chris Paul) and others staying right there throughout (Kobe Bryant). One thing is for sure, the MVP has still not been decided even though the regular season ends on Wednesday. So who is your MVP?|
LeBron James has had an amazing season…statistically. He has amazing numbers everywhere and one day he will be an amazing player. However, his team’s season is far, far worse. They have had little success and so far and they are locked up for the 4th seed in the ultra-easy (L)Eastern Conference. His team has a 43-35 record and if they were in the Western Conference they wouldn’t even be in the playoffs, as a matter of fact they would have been eliminated by now.
MVP Case: Dead.
Kevin Garnett has turned the Boston Celtics from a laughing stock to the best team in the NBA. Sure they are in the (L)Eastern Conference but that takes nothing away from their 62-16 record and the best single season turnaround in NBA history. He will forever be remembered as the saviour of the Celtics. However, he also has to thanks the two other all stars on his team; Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. They have contributed greatly to the team and Paul Pierce actually leads all three in scoring. While the Celtics are the best team in the league, they are also able to win without KG, a problem that KG would be glad to have but it will affect his MVP race.
MVP Case: Plausible.
Chris Paul has had an amazing season and he has saved basketball in New Orleans, with a little help from his team mates of course. Still, for a third year player he is having a season that can rival the seasons of Kobe Bryant & LeBron James. He has turned into the best PG in the league and he can destroy teams with his ability to get to the paint and to dish it out to his team-mates. He has taken the Hornets to the top of the Western Conference with a 55-23 record and they could just well finish with the number 1 seed. He has had an amazing second half to his season and he can definitely be considered a true MVP candidate.
MVP Case: Valid.
Then there is Kobe. This man is amazing. He has taken a team that was thought to implode on itself and has lead it to the top of the Western Conference. He has led this team with his unmatched ability on the basketball court and with his fierce and competitive leadership. In his twelve year career he has had some amazing seasons and while this is by far not his best statistical season it is by far his best individual season. He has learnt to trust his team-mates and he can now give them the ball in crunch time. He has led the Lakers to a 53-25 season and for the third year in a row he has scored the most points in a single game. So much for LeBron James…
MVP Case: Valid.
So that brings this whole MVP race down to two people. Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul. Both had lead their squads to amazing seasons and with just under a week left there is one game that is marked down on everyone’s calender. Friday 10th April, New Orleans Hornets @ Los Angeles Lakers. This game is going to separate these two players. While the final score will go in favour of one of them, that is the last thing to worry about. This game will show the only two viable MVP candidates lace it up against each other and go for it. We all know both players have an amazing range but who will come out on top? It will be a game to watch. It will be a second game of a back-to-back for the Lakers but that should be no reason for them to slow down. I’m going to make my prediction right now: Kobe Bryant will lead the Lakers to victory over this New Orleans team despite a great game from Chris Paul. This just might be the game of the year when it’s all said and done.
So as the NBA regular season winds down and teams prepare for playoffs no other players will be working as hard as Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant. With the MVP race to close to call, I can truly say it has been the most amazing race I have seen in a long time. But I have to pick a winner. I have to choose no other than Kobe Bryant for not just this season but his entire career. He sets new standards every time he hits the court and he is the greatest player in the game, and his peers say so also.
Ladies and Gentlemen: I give you your 2007-2008 MVP…Kobe Bryant!
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Bynum Is NOT Overrated
Posted by: JamFan on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 10:42 AM
Reprint from jtbataHK Blog, appeared in Fox Sports Fantasy Blog Section|
Apr 03, 2008 | 6:19PM | This year's Lakers are a much better team than that of the previous three seasons. It's been apparent to most fans around the country that Lakers stand a good chance of taking out most of their Western opposition in the playoffs, possibly even going to the Finals.
However, advancing past the Conference Finals will hinge on the health of one 20 year old, baby-faced giant in Andrew Bynum.
Fans of other NBA teams frequently bash Laker fans on this issue. They believe Bynum is overrated, and the reason he recieves so much love is that he plays on a big market team. That the kid will be nothing more than a Chris Kaman, Brad Miller. That he's injury prone. That even with a healthy Bynum, Lakers would not stand a chance against the Spurs or Celtics.
However, Bynum has become a much better player than most people think.
Numbers, by the month:
October: 4.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.0 BPG on 33.3% FG in 19 MPG
November: 11.4 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 1.67 BPG on 59.3% FG in 26.3 MPG
- Increased his scoring by 7.4 ppg, his rebounding by 6.7 rpg, blocks by 0.67 bpg, while increasing his shooting percentage by a massive 26% fg, while playing 7.3 more mpg.
December: 13.9 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.69 BPG on 66.1% FG in 32.2 MPG
- Another month, more improvement. His points went up by 2.5 ppg, his blocks by 1.0 bpg, his field goal percentage by 6.8%, in 5.9 more mpg, the most minutes he would play per game in a month this season. His rebounds would drop slightly from November by 1.8 rpg,
January: 17.3 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 2.33 BPG on 70% FG in 29.5 MPG
- Andrew's best month of his career, before his injury. He improved his scoring (+3.4 ppg), rebounding (+3.1 rpg), and field goal percentage (+3.9% fg), while averaging slightly less blocks (-0.3 bpg) and minutes (- 2.7 mpg).
Only those that have followed Bynum's growth this season (mainly Laker fans) would know this. He has improved, not just over the offseason (which is what people who don't watch the Lakers believe), but his overall contribution has improved every month this season. PJ's increasing confidence in him has allowed him increasing freedom on offense, other players besides Kobe were looking for him (Bynum stated that throughout the first 2 months, only Kobe made a conscious effort to get him involved in the offense), he has become a defensive prescence in the paint, and his minutes have gone up.
His drastic improvement OVER THE COURSE OF THE SEASON, from a slightly timid backup to Kwame Brown, to an All-Star caliber center, is something that has been obvious to Laker fans (whereas fans of other teams, who did not follow his development and just looked at his overall season stats, were oblivious to). His January numbers are bona-fide All-Star caliber numbers for a center, when compared to those of other centers in the league.
As a direct comparison, Dwight Howard will very likely be named to the All-NBA first team.
Dwight Howard: 21.2 PPG, 14.5 RPG, 2.28 BPG in 38.3 MPG, with 3.23 TO and 3.83 fouls
The "Beast of the East" has played consistently at this level all year.
Bynum's numbers from January, at 38.3 mpg, would be:
Andrew Bynum: 22.5 PPG, 15.8 RPG, 3.1 BPG in 38.3 MPG, with 1.95 TO and 1.95 fouls
In the past, the Lakers were blasted for not trading Bynum for Kidd. I personally felt it would be a bad move, but I too whined about the Lakers not trading Bynum for a star to complement Kobe. It just seemed that the kid didn't have the work ethic to realize his potential. I wanted him traded for Jermaine O'neal. Boy, was I wrong, especially after watching him dominate O'neal this season.
We may not win the cup this season (we may not even advance past the Conference Finals), but a healthy Bynum will instantly put us above every team, including the Celtics and Spurs, next year, especially when age becomes a factor for every one of the strongest contenders, in both conferences.
The Celtics' Pierce, Garnett, and Allen will be 31, 33, and 34 years old. The Pistons' Hamilton, Billups, and Wallace will be 31, 33, and 34 respectively. The Spurs' Ginobili, Bowen, Horry, and Duncan will be 32, 37, 38, and 33 respectively.
Even the Suns (Nash and Shaq will both be 35+) and Mavericks (Dirk at 31, Kidd at 36) will be weaker due to key players being on the downside of their careers.
The exception would be the Blazers and Hornets, who both have a relative abundance in young talent. Both teams also have athletic centers. However, at this stage of his career, Bynum is already as good, if not a better, player than Tyson Chandler, and Oden's future is uncertain. Out of all the young 7-footers in the game (Oden, Chandler, Howard, Bogut), Bynum has the most developed low-post game. He has the strength and length to deny all four in the post, and his newfound "every rebound is mine" mentality has made him a force down low.
It's no surprise that Laker fans believe he will be an All-Star in the future. This big baby definitely has the potential to be a 25-12-3 player, and one of the best centers in the game, in the VERY NEAR future..
Come back soon, 'Drew.
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7 Games Left, 7 Reasons Why The Lakers Will Be Champions.
Posted by: Lakers4Kobe on Thursday, April 03, 2008 - 03:27 AM
With seven games left in the regular season for the Lakers, I though I would try to think up of seven reasons why the Lakers would be champions this season. Given the last few games (especially against Charlotte and Memphis) I had to reconsider some of my options but here goes:|
1) Youth & Energy: The Lakers are the 4th youngest team in the league and they have a very bright future ahead of them. With players like Sahsa Vujacic, Jordan Farmar, Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza, the future looks very good for the Lakers. Even now the Lakers have, arguably, the scariest team in the league when healthy. Hell, even when they aren’t healthy they are still scary to go up against.
Because of their youth they are able to run opponents out of the gym. They are able to outlast almost any team with their one-two punch of the 1st and 2nd units, each playing a different style of basketball confusing the hell out of the opponents. Because of their youth, the Lakers are able to quickly adjust the tempo of the game. They can slow it down or speed it up, either way leading to the Lakers controlling the game.
2) Flawless Offence: The Lakers are one of the highest scoring teams in the league and they seem to be able to put on an offensive performance on any given night. Of course this helps when you have Kobe Bryant on your team but the rest of the team seems to step it up whenever they are asked to and this has been a big factor in the Lakers’ success this season. When they need to drive the lane, Kobe and Lamar will take care of it. When they need a perimeter shot the Lakers can get it out to one of their many great three-point shooters. When they need to feed the ball inside Pau and Bynum are there waiting for it.
3) Improving Defence: Most people are going to heckle me for this but I believe the Lakers have pretty good defence especially considering all the injuries they have gone through. Imagine having Gasol and Bynum protecting the paint and having Kobe and Ariza guarding anyone who is brave enough to jack up a perimeter shot. Unfortunately, injuries have restricted the Lakers from showing just how good they can be on defence, which is a shame because it would be amazing to watch. But still this team’s defence cannot be overlooked. They have been able to shut down teams when they needed to and have made key stops in pivotal moments of some games, just ask Baron Davis.
When the Lakers get Andre Bynum and Trevor Ariza back their defensive rating is going to significantly increase. Bynum is the big body this team is missing and Ariza is that perimeter defender that this team so dearly needs. When they come back, look out.
4) Veteran Leadership: When you have Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher leading your team there is not going to be a leadership issue. Derek Fisher has shown throughout his career that he is a level-headed guy that is known to help settle disputes. His leadership is a key part to this team’s success. On the other side of the coin, Kobe Bryant has not always been recognised as a player who makes his team mates better. He has been describes as a “Selfish ball-hog who cares more about his stats than the team.” Kobe has risen above these tags and has made his team mates ten times better then they were last year. I honestly think that his video sparked a fuse in theses players and made them want to show Kobe how good they could be. Who knew insulting your team mates could work for your benefit? Still, let’s hope it doesn’t happen again.
Kobe has not only shown he can make his team mates better, but he has also shown a whole new level of leadership. This year I have seen him fouled numerous times for defending a team mate or complaining about a call placed on a team mate. This, to me, shows just how much he has matured and how hungry he is to win the championship.
5) The Best Coaching Staff in the League: I don’t think anyone can argue that our HOF and 9 time champion Coach is anything but amazing. The Zen Master, Phil Jackson, has to be one of the greatest coaches ever. He has somehow stopped this team from imploding and lead to Lakers a season nobody expected them to have. Through his strange rituals and methods he has made this team one of the closest in the league and their chemistry is amazing.
I cannot forget to mention the assistant coaches; Frank Hamblen, Kurt Rambis, Brian Shaw, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Craig Hodges and Jim Cleamons. Throw in medical trainer Gary Vitti and this team undoubtedly has one of the best coaching staff in the league. Add all these guys with Phil Jackson and you have one of the best, if not the best, coaching staff in the league.
6) The Front Line: Any team that has to face a front line of Pau Gasol (7-0), Lamar Odom (6-10) and Andrew Bynum (7-0) must be very scared. No team can match up size-wise with this team. When these three finally get to play together the league is going to be in shock. Never before has such a long front line graced the courts of the NBA and it might be a while before we see another one. I cannot wait for these guys to play together. They will be unstoppable when the Lakers play the likes of Golden State and any other team that has a “Small-Ball” mentality. Basketball is a game of big men and the Lakers now have the biggest front line in the NBA. In a week or so Bynum will be back and then the league will be face-to-face with the three-headed monster of Odom, Bynum and Gasol. Good luck to everyone else, you’re going to need it.
7) Kobe Bryant: Is there any more that needs to be said? Kobe is the single most dedicated player in the game and his will to win is second to none. Nobody in the league has anywhere near the amount of dedication to success that Kobe possesses. He will work and work until he gets it right, no matter how long it takes. He is the epitome of what makes a champion. If you have Kobe Bryant on your team, you always have a chance to win, no matter who else is on your team.
It is amazing to watch Kobe take over games the way he does. He can single-handedly destroy opposing teams with his ferocious offence and he can destroy opposing players with his ridiculously powerful defence. Kobe can draw fouls from any player and it the amount of free throws he shoots is amazing. No wonder everyone is scared to go up against him.
What impresses me the most about Kobe is that if he makes a mistake he will come back and make sure he fixes it. I remember one game where Kobe missed a simple lay up on one possession and on the nest possession he came flying down the lane for a ferocious dunk. This is what makes him unique. Nobody comes close to the mental power that Kobe possesses and it will be a long time before you see anyone like him.
So there it is, my seven reasons why the Los Angeles Lakers are going to be champions this season. Sure, you can argue that they do not have enough experience or that they are too young but when you have Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum starting for your team, experience and age are not a factor.
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Winning Leads To Hatred, Perception & Fear.
Posted by: Lakers4Kobe on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - 02:15 AM
Winning feels good, really good. It feels even better when you know you have worked hard to achieve your goal and looking back on the road behind you cannot stop and reminisce on what led you to this point. For the Los Angeles Lakers winning is better than anything else. It has given the team an extra boost of energy and has given them the ability to be the best team on the court. But with winning comes hatred, perception and fear. Teams begin to hate you as jealousy fills their hearts and minds. People begin to have a different perception about your team finding anyway possible to account the winning as a fault of something else. Finally when the reality hits, people become afraid of you and your abilities. This is the story of the Los Angeles Lakers.|
The Lakers started the season with close to no pressure on them to succeed. Kobe Bryant’s off-season rants were still fresh in everyone’s mind and the team was thought to be dysfunctional. A 9-8 start to the season didn’t particularly help the situation but it did lead to the team to think about what was needed to get to that next level. Through some major improvement in Andre Bynum and the addition of Pau Gasol and Trevor Ariza the team has learn how to win, sporting a 49-22 record. However, while there is nothing but smiles in Lakerland, the rest of the league has something to say.
Hatred. No matter what you do, someone is going to hate you for it. This same principle applies to the Lakers. Teams have started to envy the Lakers’ success and it has lead to some interesting games where the hate is clearly seen. Unfortunately, the Lakers will have this hate so long as they are winning. But fear not, this team has shown numerous times that it is able to overcome the hate and have the mental will-power to push through and succeed.
Hatred extends out to the players as well. Kobe Bryant is hated by 90% of all non-Laker fans and there is no valid reason to this except that these fans have to see their teams dominated by the best player in the game. Luckily Kobe is one of the mentally strongest players in the league and he is able to shrug these things off without a second thought.
Unfortunately, hatred extends out to the beloved Derek Fisher also. Derek is one of the greatest guys in the game (as stated by anyone that knows him) and I am sad to see people hate on this guy. He came back to the Lakers so he could have more adequate care for his daughter so suffers from a rare form of eye cancer. When Derek returned to Utah, the team that let him go, he was greeted with a thunderous “BOO!” from the crowd. I lost a lot of respect for Jazz fans that night. I hope for Laker fans to never do something like that if one of our players had to leave because of a family matter. As the saying goes, family over work.
Perception. Every person has a different view of a winning team. If you are not a fan of the team you will rack your brains out thinking of any plausible reason to suggest how this team is “lucky” or how they have been blessed with “flukes” ala Houston Rockets 22 game win streak. When you win, you have to put up with this. My school’s senior football team (yes, football not soccer) had an undefeated season and students from other schools were thinking up of every reason possible to say how it was a “fluke” or we were just plain old “lucky”. No matter what your team does, they are always going to be subject to different perceptions.
Fear. Winning creates fear in your opponent’s hearts. It makes them dread meeting you throughout the season and it scares them even more when they realise they are going to meet you in the post-season. It is the best mental advantage you can have. The main reason the number 1 seed almost always beats the number 8 seed in the first round is the mental advantage they have over their opponents. However sometimes it is just skill and sometimes teams cannot make use of that mental advantage ala Dallas Mavericks.
Look at all the previous post-seasons and watch a few of the games. When you see a superior opponent going up against a sub-par foe there is always a look on their face that says “You’re going down!” Unfortunately for that sub-par team they are at the same time thinking “Oh Sh*t! We’re going down!!” Hence the mental advantage is a key tool for a winning team. It can be used to win games throughout the season but come the post-season it is their biggest weapon. This is why they succeed; they are smart, skilled and just downright scary.
So what does this mean for the Lakers of 2007-2008? Well it means that they are going to face more adversity as the season winds down and as the post-season begins they are going to have more pressure on them to succeed mores so than any other team. They can use this to their advantage or they will stumble and fall under the pressure to succeed; only time will tell.
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My O My How The Lakers Have Grown
Posted by: Lakers4Kobe on Saturday, March 22, 2008 - 12:51 AM
Last year the Los Angeles Lakers finished the season with a 42-40 record, finishing seventh in the west, and were bounced out of the first round of the playoffs by Phoenix in 5 games. In the off season Kobe Bryant expressed his disappointment with the team and demanded to be traded which he later backed off of. However, his outrage at the team must have sparked something in this team that have taken them from nothing but a first round exit to a championship contender and, when healthy, the scariest team in the West, if not the league. This team has grown tremendously in under a year and with 13 games left in the season the Lakers are 48-21, good enough to hold the number 1 record in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. So what had lead to this amazing turn around? There are two major factors that account to this teams success. First of all is each players will to win and dedication to the team which means they put in the extra hours of shooting, running and dribbling practice, all of which lead to an improvement in their game which shows on the court. The two players that have improved the most since last year are easily Andrew Bynum and Jordan Farmar. These two players have worked their behinds off all of the off season and it has shown this season. All the rest of the team has also stepped up especially Ronny Turiaf, Sasha Vujacic and Vladimir Radmanovich. The only player who had declined has been Luke Walton but his decline is nothing compared to the overall improvement of the team.|
Secondly, the improved leadership of Kobe Bryant. Kobe has gone from the best player in the league but not a leader to both. He has lead this team through the season and he has helped each player improve beyond recognition. Add this to the comeback of Derek Fisher who is a proven leader and it is not surprise how this team has such a great record. Last year people questioned Kobe’s dedication to the team this year but there is no question that he is the key reason this team has been so successful. That’s an MVP in my books.
The Lakers have also shown that they can roll with the big boys. The Lakers are the 4th youngest team in the league and they have the ability to beat any of the major contenders such as San Antonio, Detroit, New Orleans and even Boston. This is not because Kobe erupts in these games but it is because the team plays together and works hard the whole game and they never give up no matter what the score. I saw several games last year where the Lakers were down and they just gave up and lost a game which could have been won had they continued to play hard. However, I do not see that in the team this year and it shows. There have been games this year where the Lakers have been down and come back to win and there are games where they have lost big leads but still hang on for the win. Truly, this shows just how much this team has grown.
Another key factor to the Lakers success is their road record where they are 24-13. The best example of the Lakers success on the road would be the 9 game road trip in February where the Lakers went 7-2 with the two losses coming in games decided by less than three points. More recently is the Lakers four game road trip against New Orleans, Houston, Dallas and Utah where the Lakers went 2-2. But the record does not reveal the whole story. The Lakers lost Pau Gasol to an injury in the first quarter of the game against New Orleans which was a lost. The Lakers then became the 22nd and the last victim of the Rockets amazing winning streak. After the loss to Houston it is fair to say that the Lakers would have had low moral but somehow, someway they found a way to come back and beat the two teams with the best home records in the Western Conference, when many punters were writing in the Lakers for a 0-4 road trip, which leads me to my next point.
Despite what everyone has said about how this team could not win this year they have proven them wrong. The media saw the Lakers as a team that would not even make the playoffs. Now the Lakers are first in the West and have proven every single critic wrong. This team has been able to overcome the adversity they were face with and have been able to show the media and the league that they are not a team to be messed with. Each player on this team looks out for one another and I have seen more than a few examples of that on the court, most of them coming from Kobe Bryant which shows just how close this team is.
Finally, this team has become one of the most entertaining teams in the league and the best Laker team in recent history. They could even become better then the Laker team of 2000-2002 which one three straight titles and whose games and plays are all embedded into our minds. Who knows, when it is all said and done, this team might even be considered the greatest Laker team to play.
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Kobe vs. Lebron For MVP: Closest Race In Years
Posted by: Lakers4Kobe on Sunday, March 09, 2008 - 04:41 AM
Throughout this year I have seen nmerous Kobe vs. Lebron for MVP articles but these past few weeks they have been popping up on this site like chicken pox on a body. I can honestly say that this would have to be the most highly competetive race to the MVP that I have ever seen. When Kobe has a great game, Lebron will follow it up with a great game of his own. While I am completely for Kobe getting the MVP, Lebron is certainly right behind him.|
For the past couple of years there has not been this much competition for MVP. When Nash won the MVP award, I saw it coming, given Phoenix's regular season record (62-20). When Nash repeated I was a little suprised but all I had to do was look at their record again (54-28). While it isn't as impressive as the previous year, it is still worthy of the MVP award to the media. When Dirk won the award the Mavs finished the season at 67-15 which is a very impressive record, five off the best regular season record ever.
So what does this prove? Well, to me, it shows that if your team is lower than the 3rd seed there is no way that you can win the MVP award. Also, your team has to have at least 50 wins in the season. If you were to look at all the MVP's and see what their regular season record was I would guess that 90% of all thier teams had won more than 50 games in their season.
So what does that mean for this season's race to the MVP? Well it means that for Kobe to get into "official" MVP consideration, the Lakers will need to win at least 6 more games, plus a few more to solidify his status. Given the Lakers are first in the Wild, Wild West with a 44-18 record, it is going to be pretty hard for anybody to deny him the award.
So what does Lebron have to do? Well his team still needs to win 14 more games, which might be a bit much for Cleveland to handle. Given the fact that they are also 4th in the Eastern Conference, it will be hard for Lebron to get the "official" MVP consideration. At 36-27, Lebron has a lot of work to do and time is running out with each day.
From a statistical point, Lebron is having a better season than Kobe, averaging 30.8 ppg, 8 rpg and 7.4 apg. Compare this to Kobe's 28.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg and 5.3 apg, and you can see that Lebron overall is having a better statistical season than Kobe. But if the MVP award was based on stats alone, Kobe would have 3 of them already. So what else needs to be considered? Well first and foremost, a player's attitude plays a big part. An MVP has to be a leader and must know how to handle controversy and defeat and they must be able to bounce back and continue to fight, regarldess of what everyone else is saying. They will never stop until their job is done. Fortunanetly for both Kobe and Lebron, they easily fill out those stats, which makes this even closer.
So what else is there to consider? Well there is defence, which no statistical artist has yet to work out a equation for, unlike Hollinger and his ridiculously stupid PER ratings. So what can I say, well Kobe is definately a much better defender. From the start to the end of the game he will choose to defend the other teams best player, unlike Lebron who is only put on the best player in the fourth quater where the fatigue starts to set in, where Lebron's physical fitness and size come as an advantage. So who gets the upper hand on defence? I have to give it to Kobe.
So in the end all I can say is that this is going to be one of the most hardest fought races to the MVP award. This race will have media representatives scrathing their heads trying to decide who it should be. In the end though, the MVP award is for the player who makes his team that much better and this year, despite Lebron's great individual play, it is Kobe's teamwork and dedication that will make him this years MVP.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you your 2007-2008 MVP, from the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant!!
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Lakers & The Championship
Posted by: Lakers4Kobe on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - 06:01 AM
The Los Angeles Lakers seem to have turned a corner this year, showing that despite the eruption of their leader in the offseason they are still able to win. With the addition of Pau Gasol the Lakers are on a nine-game winning streak, and that is wtihout injured center Andrew Bynum. This has lead many people to wonder if the Lakers can hoist up the Larry O'Brien Trophy at the end of the post-season. However, to do so the Lakers will have a huge mountain to climb, a task with unsurpassed chaleenges and struggles that the Lakers will face along the way. This all begins with the Western Conference Playoffs. I will break down the teams that the Lakers are likely to face and how they will fare against them.|
As it stand right now, the Lakers are on top of the Western Conference with a 40-17 record. This feat itself is amazing considering the Lakers are two games away from tying their win record from last year, with 25 games still left in the season. This in itself merits coach Phil Jackson for the Coach of the year award, but that story is for another time.
At the moment the Western Conference looks like this:
1. Lakers 40-17
2. San Antonio 38-17
3. Phoenix 39-18
4. Utah 36-21
5. New Orleans 37-18
6. Dallas 38-19
7. Houston 37-20
8. Golden State 34-22
Lets assume the regular season finished today and the seeding looked like this:
8. Golden State
2. San Antonio
5. New Orleans
How do the Lakers fair? Let me break it down for you:
1. Lakers vs. 8. Golden State
While many people will say that the Lakers can sweep the Warriors because of their size, I still believe that Golden State can prove to be a very difficult team to beat. Despite their lack of size, the Warrioirs play with heart and are lead by B-Diddy who at times plays like the best point guard in the league. Defending Baron can be difficult, as seen by Kirelenko during last years playoffs, which means that Fish and Farmar will need to step up their defensive intensity. The Lakers will also have to look out for Capt'n Jack, who is having a great year and has helped the Warrioirs get those few extra wins they need to stay in playoff contention. However, if the Lakers can pick up their defence then the Warriors will prove to be chump meat and an easy defeat.
Lakers in 4 games.
After the First Round of the Playoffs, I expect things to look like this:
2. San Antonio
Utah has shown that it can be a great team and with Williams and Boozer leading the charge it can prove to be problematic for the Lakers. Boozer is an amazing player that can create his own shot and has a decent mid range game. Williams is a future all star and will be on of the best PG in the game for years to come. The Lakers will need to battle hard to make sure they win this but it is still possible.
Lakers in 6.
So After the second round who will the Lakers be facing next?
Oh yes, you see what I see. The Lakers and the Suns playing in the WCF. This is going to be my favourite series because I cannot wait to see what the Lakers are going to do to the poor, old Suns. However, as much as I want the Lakers to sweep the Suns, I don't see it happening. The Suns, while great to make jokes about, are still a very strong team manned by two-time MVP, Steve Nash. They have size and strength and they now have the Big Cactus to guard the post. This will be a hard series for the Lakers but it will be a lot easier for them if Bynum picks up his play against Shaq. Bynum can utterly dominate the former Laker and this will make the lifes of the rest of the team a lot easier. Of course we cannot forget about Kobe Bryant who makes anthing possible for his team so in the end I will give it to the Lakers.
Lakers in 5.
Well, that's the Western Conference finished so now let's have a look at the East. So once again, if the regular season finished today the East would look like this:
1. Boston 43-12
2. Detroit 42-15
3. Orlando 37-22
4. Toronto 31-24
5. Cleveland 32-25
6. Washington 27-30
7. New Jersey 25-32
8. Philadelphia 25-32
So this means that the Eastern Conference Playoffs would look like this
7. New Jersey
I see the Celtics in 4, Pistons in 4, Orlando in 5 and Cleveland in 7. Given that, the second round looks like this:
I see Celtics in 7 and Detroit in 7. This means that the ECF will be:
1. Boston vs. 2. Detroit
This will be a fun series to watch. Garnett and 'Sheed going at each other, Rondo and Billups battling it out. In the end the Celtics will win in 7.
So, the playoffs are now out of the way and we have come to the NBA Finals, where dreams come true. It would be great to see the Lakers and Celtics facing each other in the Finals again. It is going to be a hell of a lot of fun so let me break it down for you:
NBA FINALS 2008:
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics
This is awesome! Lakers and Celtics back where they belong! Oh how I hope this comes true. This will be the best Finals series in recent memory and it would be great to watch. So how would it turn out?
The Celtics went from a poor, lottery bound team last year to, arguably, the best team in the NBA. With Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce all playing on the same team, it is little suprise that they hold the league's best record. Add that to one of the most suprisingly good benches in the NBA and you can see how this team is where it is. So what do the Lakers have to do to beat the Celtics and claim the Championship for the Lakers?
Defence, Defence, Defence! The Lakers will be playing against the teams best defensive team and they will need to show that they can out play them on Offence and Defence. The Lakers will be playing as hard as they can and with no team that can effectively guard Bynum and Gasol, the Lakers will be able to seal the deal. I see the Lakers winning in 6 games and bringing back the Larry O'Brien trophy to where it belongs, in the streets of L.A baby!
So there you have it. The Lakers are the 2007-2008 NBA Champions and Kobe Bryant is regular season MVP and Finals MVP. This would be a great way to remember the Lakers' 60th year in the NBA.
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