Boston eviscerates LA: So far the fatal flaw is there.
Posted by: SPQR on Sunday, January 30, 2011 - 05:22 PM
So the big game has come and gone. The long awaited rematch from last year’s brutal finals finally happened. The game where the Lakers would show the league just how good they are when they really care occurred today. |
And now that it is over what do we know?
That last year’s finals is exactly that-last years. We also learned that when the Lakers really care, really want to win a game, and play against one of the east’s two elite teams, they can lose and lose big…at home, again. Miami showed us that a while back, but some of us just didn’t care to learn the lesson very well. Now after repeating that class, this time taught by the Boston Celtics, all grades are in and final.
When Miami humiliated us a while back, I heard some media experts and fans say that the Lakers just didn’t get up for that game. It was an excuse that I found hard to fathom or really accept. I mean, it was the Miami Heat, right? The super team that would win the next 8 world titles. The team that would depose those very same champion Lakers, right? Yet the Lakers somehow just were not up for that game? But just the size of the loss left certain basketball fans and pundits searching for excuses and answers. But in the game I watched, it looked like the Lakers came out on fire…but eventually got buried on both ends of the floor by the execution that Miami brought. That game sent off an alarm bell with me. It reminded me way too much of those 08 regular season games against Boston.
So now, today, we finally got to see the Lakers go against the team they care the most about: The Boston Celtics. In the end, they got out toughed, out gutted, outplayed, outsmarted, out coached and beaten up again on their home floor by 13 points. Will it just be a matter of time before someone comes forward and says the Lakers just didn’t care about this game too?
What did this game show? That in 2011, the new Pau Gasol still looks so much like man who took a time machine back to 2008 and is now THAT Pau Gasol. A man who flails away against Boston, looking for all the world like some old woman scared to death of a gang of hoodlums lurking in the street as she walks home. It’s not the NFL Pau, they really can’t hurt you, you know. Honestly.
That Phil Jackson wanted to win this game so badly that he singled out Ron Artest to the ABC interviewer in frustration as Paul Pierce exploded in the third quarter. That quarter signaled the end of the game and also any legitimate thoughts that LA is equal to the two elite teams in the east. And for our defensive stopper, it showed that stopping Paul Pierce ranks behind blogging, tweeting and selling items on the internet.
Lastly and most signifigently, it once again showed how Boston, this year’s Boston against this year’s Lakers, make us ultimately rely on Kobe Bryant to carry the day.
And one has to applaud The Great Man’s efforts. He did all he could to carry us to victory. He played a smart game and was effective giving us a sublime, desperately needed 41 points. Had it not been for his efforts, how bad would we have lost? By 18? By 20? By 25? And what was going through the warriors mind when Pau fell back against Garnett and threw up a fad away prayer, then compounded the mistake by not even running down the court to defend? Was Kobe disgusted? If he was, who could blame him?
But the bottom line is this: The game Boston wants to have against us is Kobe vs Boston. Because when the game devolves down to that equation, they will win 4 out of 6 games against us. And tonight, Kobe’s teammates forced it to be that way. They left Kobe hang out to dry in a valiant effort trying to do what the rest of them were unable to do: play four effective quarters against Boston.
Normally I don’t take any one game in the long NBA season to heart. But over the years I have learned to pick up some signifigent signs that can be a Rosetta stone in discerning the possible future. Back in 08, when Boston twice humiliated and deconstructed us from the top down on both ends of the floor it seemed to me proof positive that we could not handle them in the finals. This was borne out. What troubles me this year, like those two defeats did back then is that the top two teams in the east have waltzed into Staples and handled the Lakers with relative ease. If they were close, give and take games where either team could have won, it would not trouble me. But neither the Miami game nor the Boston game were that way. Both those games give me that uncomfortable 08 feeling of watching a lesser team getting run over by a superior one. This is not something that can be dismissed as just a regular season loss, just like those losses in 08 could not be dismissed by an observer.
I have been watching the Lakers since Magic Johnsons time. In all those years, I never remember a time when the east’s best teams came to LA and handled us so effortlessly over and over again, and then we went on to win the title. There are signs to be read here, lessons to be learned from the Miami and Boston games, and as much as I hate to say it, they are not propitious ones.
Because of what has transpired this year with the Heat game, with other things, and who our opponent was today, for me this was a true litmus test of our team and where we really stand. Not just another of 82 long games; but a gauge, taken on our own home court as to exactly where we stand in our hopes to get a second three peat. Letting the best teams in the east trample a path to Staples center and beat on LA like so many revelers whacking away at a piñata is not the method to winning a title. It doesn’t happen that way. Only in hopes and dreams, perhaps, but not the real world.
It was not test you wanted to fail if you have hopes for winning a title. Not now, not after what has happened so far this year, not against that team, not again at home.
But we did. And now we have to move on.
So what other signs can we now look ahead to in order to smooth and uncrease worried Laker brows? Well, I can think of a few. First off, the Lakers need to win that game against the Spurs at home this Thursday. We have to start winning some games against the other three elite teams. We have to start showing we can at least defend home court against them. The other signs to watch will be the road games against Boston and Miami. If we can win those, we show once again we belong. That we can repay the favor, that we have the drive and ability to beat the best teams..anywhere.
If however, we end up losing those games. If Boston and Miami blow us out at their courts, no amount of hoping that they are just losses during the long NBA season will change or mitigate the obvious truths that will be apparent. Because there are games that are signature events and a smart observer can glean a lot of information from them. If the Lakers lose those games, then as in 08, it’s just a waiting game to extinction. Because that’s how sports are when you just don’t have what it takes to win the title anymore.
Finally, apropos to today’s loss, here is an article that came out in this week’s Sports Illustrated about the Lakers struggles and the growing perception that magnificent run may be finally over. I will paste it and then the link:
For the first time in three years, the aging, aching Lakers aren't the favorites to win the conference title
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They are the two-time defending champs and have the third-best record in the league. But for the first time in three years the Lakers are on shaky ground in the Western Conference. Why? Because this season Los Angeles has combined the usual smorgasbord of problems—center Andrew Bynum's injuries, verbal volleys between coach Phil Jackson and his players—with a set of new ones.
The health of Kobe Bryant is the most pressing concern. Last July, Bryant, 32, underwent surgery on his right knee, his third operation in seven years. He told the New York Post in January that the knee was "bone on bone" and admitted he had not practiced with the team all season. At week's end he was averaging a career-low 33.2 minutes, down from 38.8 last year. The Lakers have limited Bryant to defensive drills and walk-throughs in practice, and scouts say he paces himself during games. In last Friday's 107--97 win at Denver, Bryant took just one shot in the fourth quarter. "He's not as aggressive," says a Western Conference scout. "You can tell he wants other guys to step up."
Other guys like, say, Ron Artest. Last season the mercurial forward slipped comfortably into a reduced role, averaging 11.0 points while successfully defending Kevin Durant and Paul Pierce in the playoffs. Artest's suffocating defense is still there, but the scout points out, "He is taking some bad shots at the end of quarters, and Kobe and Phil are looking at him like, What the hell are you doing? They can't control Ron right now."
Inconsistency on defense is also an issue. The Lakers held the Hornets to 88 points on Dec. 29 then gave up 104 to the Grizzlies four days later. This month they shut down the Cavaliers (57 points) one night, then gave up 110 to the Warriors the next. An inability to stop dribble penetration has been a major culprit, prompting Jackson to overhaul the defense a month ago.
Privately, the Lakers concede they most likely won't be able to catch San Antonio for the conference's top seed—at week's end the Spurs were 37--7, while Los Angeles was 32--13—but they still believe that, if healthy, they can beat the Spurs in a best-of-seven series. L.A. is just 7--6 against teams with winning records, including 2--5 on the road. Among the losses was a defeat at Utah in which the Lakers blew a 19-point lead, and they lost their only meeting with the Spurs by 15.
Nuggets coach George Karl attributes the Lakers' up-and-down play to the fact that their status as champs puts a bull's-eye on their backs. "They get the team they are playing's best shot every night," he said. "It's hard to do. It's hard to get to that mental level of commitment." Come playoff time, every game is like that. L.A. needs to find that level of commitment. Fast. Or their reign in the West could come to an end.
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Some half season thoughts on the Lakers, Drew and Lebron.
Posted by: SPQR on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 04:16 PM
With the year about half way gone, I have some thoughts about what I have seen from our team and a few other subjects.|
For the Lakers, after some very bumpy moments and losses that should never have happened, they seem to be playing better. They don’t strike me as a shoe in to win the three peat, mostly because of Boston and San Antonio, but they are certainly a serious championship contender who merits high consideration as the eventual holder of the championship trophy. The talent to win it is still there. If the mindset, effort and smart application of what they have follows in the second half of the year, chances are good we will get that final leg of the bling trifecta.
The Lakers seem to be reacquiring their sea legs and equilibrium again, after losing it so suddenly and inexplicably. Defense, energy, enthusiasm, offensive flow, teamwork; all seem to be coming back as if a returning memories to an amnesiac. If the Lakers can keep going with they have been showing recently, build on it, they will be in fine shape come playoff time.
I really have to say that Saint Andrew of Bynum’s continued resurgence and exemplary play gives me serious hope, not only for this year but even the decade ahead to our eventual Kobe less future. To watch him play like he did last night against Utah was terrific. He scored, rebounded, played defense and blocked shots all with equal facility. He was just sublime in all phases of the game. I thought it was by far his best game of the year. The oft injured 23 year old is beginning to show why he has such strong adherents, and why those adherents have always looked on with a certain amusement at those other fans who dismissed Drew as a talentless none entity.
If the Lakers do win the title again, it will be because this kid, who has fought through so much in his short career, will have continued to improve and be the tipping point that pushes us past the Spurs and Celtics.
On a personal note, one of these days, during one of these blowouts, I would love to see Kobe and the team really force feed Saint Andrew, kind of as a thank you and reward for coming back like he has and giving the effort he is. It would be great to see him pop for 30 or more points. It would be exciting for him, for the fans and the team. It would really be fun for the kid, too. I have no doubt if Drew were on a team that featured him, he would be putting up 24-30 points a night. It would be a very nice gesture for his teammates to let him really spread his wings once in a while. Do they owe it to him? No. But it would be fun to see it happen.
The Lakers are now only 3 games behind Boston and 6 behind San Antonio. We have caught everyone else. We have given away enough games in the first half of the year. It is time for this team to charge down the stretch and try getting that home court advantage. Despite our blowout loss to San Antonio, there remains in a feeling that they can be had by us even if they have home court. I think we will show that yet during our remaining games with them during the season. But as I have said before, the Celtics with home court in the finals do worry me, and I think grabbing that advantage from them is very important. If we are going to do it, now is the time to start that drive.
At the half way point of the year, I think only Boston has the ability to stop us. That’s how I felt coming into the year. So here we are, so much closer to the playoffs, under the same circumstances. At this point, I think that’s a pretty good place to be and I will take it.
Switching gears a bit to one of LTB’s favorite subjects: Lebron James. No matter what one thinks of him as a person or how he left Cleveland, his efficacy on the court is being shown in stark relief with his old team the Cleveland Cavaliers. Last night they lost their 18th game in a row. Yes, their 18th. Think about it. It seems almost physically impossible for a NBA team to lose 18 games in a row. They now sit at 8 and 37, another mind blowing number. Last year, with Lebron, they had the best record in the league. How much impact does Lebron James have? This gives one a pretty good idea. Did he deserve those regular season MVPs? It would appear he was as good and deserving choice as any player could be.
Carmello Anthony wants out. He wants to be with the Knicks. He is going about it a bit different than Kobe or Lebron did. Lebron just sat back and left when his contract expired. Kobe yelled and screamed in public that he wanted traded. Melo has not said anything, but has made it clear, sub rosa, to management, that he wants traded. Three different men who wanted out. Three different methods. Which one is right? Which one has honor or class? Which is old school and which is selfish?
If you are going for old style loyalty, pride and character in the face of adversity, I would posit that none of them are. I would instead use the example of Steve Nash. He is a two time League MVP who has played the game on a level few have ever reached. He is now on downside of his years, his end, a championship less end, is plainly in site. Yet he still plays at a high, great level. Has he screamed to the press about wanting out? No. Has he told management to trade him to a contender? Nope. He just goes out and plies his trade as hard as he can every single night.
So who really has the class? Who is really unselfish, old school, implacable in their manhood and loyalty to his city, organization and fans? No, not Kobe. Nor Lebron, forget it. Nor Mello. It’s the aging wonder, two time League MVP Steve Nash who is showing what pride and old school back bone are really all about.
Am I knocking the other three for what they did, tried to do, or what they are doing now? No. Everyone makes their own decisions in life. Am I even saying Nash is smart or admirable for staying put and not trying to engineer a trade to win a title at this late date of his marvelous career? Not even sure I am saying that. But what I am saying is when it comes to team class, to fan and organization loyalty, to that old that old time, out of date, forgotten ethos of a bygone time, those physically much larger, bigger stars can’t hold a candle to the little man from Phoenix. Steve Nash may be the smallest in stature of the group, but when it comes to grit, heart, loyalty and backbone, he has it more than any of them.
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Laker cook the Pistons: A great meal you know won't last
Posted by: SPQR on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - 11:39 PM
Once in a while, when you are traveling somewhere, you luck out and find a great restaurant. You know right away you are in for a rare, culinary treat. The first course tips it off. It is better than anything you can imagine. You know you have hit the jackpot for the senses. Each platter of food, each bit of the different foods they bring is better than the last. If you are in that area, you go back as often as you can because you know that when you leave town, you will rarely taste the likes of it again.|
Tonight, after being force fed the rankest of fast food for several weeks, Lakers fan finally found a gourmet delight in their team as they cooked up the Detroit Pistons with skill and zest only a master chef can bring to a basketball lovers palate.
The recipe for this great meal was very obvious to even the most jaded or callow of epicureans. Finally, after internal and external grumbling and complaining, the team spread the ball around. The endless, stale, same old recipe of endless jumps shots was abandoned for a new spicy mix of inside domination. A smart recipe for success Lakers Chefs have been loath to use or exploit all year.
The ingredients speak for themselves. Pau Gasol- 21 points. Lamar Odom- 16 points and Saint
Andrew of Bynum 13 points on 6 of 6 shooting. Combined these three men hit on 19 of 29 shots. That is efficiency. They scored 50 of the teams 108 points with that percentage. And that is the smell of sweet, easy victory that rivals any ones cooking.
The most impressive player was the one that his teammates, still to this day, refuse to use the most. Andrew Bynum, in his scant 22 minutes of play not only scored flawlessly, but added 6 rebounds and block, while altering numerous other shots. Even more impressive were the two great passes for assists he had. Showing that he is adding to an ever growing package of skills, even given the limited opportunities his less effective teammates always seem to begrudgingly grant him.
The young center, who has fought through so much adversity, once again showed, that if healthy and given a chance, can not only be a dominant ingredient for this team, but could actually be the most daunting, intimating and powerful spearhead of the offense. If only he had a coach who would put his foot down and make his teammates use him, or his teammates could put aside their considerable egos and embrace with joy what Drew could give them, instead of fearing what stats he may take from them.
Helping to make this new recipe work was Kobe Bryant. In a game where he scored 17 points, he collected 7 boards and 8 assists. It is no coincidence on a night when Kobe was pass happy to his big men, his assist total was high and our point output huge.
On the other side of the coin, Shannon Brown, a physically talented but not so smart player, who thinks he can be Kobe Bryant, shot 4 for 12 in a game where the real path to victory was clearly pointed out to him with every basket Pau, Drew and Lamar made.
What was the result of the new Lakers recipe? Of going big and inside instead of small and outside? A team that looked better (smarter?) than it has in weeks and a dominating 25 point victory, all done with devastating efficiency. This Lakers team put up 108 points so easy like other teams reach 80. It happened on a night they finally decided to play it smart and serve what we make best. When was the last time that happened? When was the last time our bench could play out the fourth quarter with no chance of blowing a lead?
Lakers fans can rejoice for a night at least. On this evening, the chefs did it up right. They knew the recipe, put in the right ingredients, cooked it to perfection.
Unfortunately, it took so many bad meals we and they had to swallow before they finally got it smart…and right. Why must this always be so with this team?
And past history tells us, that with the chefs involved with this team, those with their hands on the ingredients-Kobe, Fish-Brown- those who control the ball and therefore, what food gets made and what gets served in the end, the memory of this great meal will be short lived and replaced by a more dismal diet of bland jump shots and missed opportunities; leaving us gagging and frustrated and still ever so hungry, wondering why we can’t keep getting what tasted so good.
So enjoy what you saw now. Revel in what we could be…if we were always so smart. Because like a person sadly, wistflully leaving town and its great restaurant behind in the rear view mirror, so too will this recipe for easy success be lost again amid team ego and its individual personal goals and desires.
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Miami humiliates LA: A modern Christmas Carol.
Posted by: SPQR on Saturday, December 25, 2010 - 07:08 PM
It started in the Heat of the summer. Lebron James and Chris Bosh matriculated to Miami in an effort to not only win a championship with Dwayne Wade, but to build a super team, a dynasty.|
The media attention and predictions of excellence were overwhelming, even overbearing for some. In LA, the champions watched the development and hoopla with a jaundiced eye. They were the two time defending champions after all, and to forget about them, to cast them aside in favor of the new flavor was the height of disrespect and no doubt was met in the inner Lakers sanctums with high dudgeon.
And so on this Christmas day, all the confluences of the summer and the new season, expectations and rivalry met up at Staples Center for a clearing of the air at the only place such issues can be decided, on the court.
As in Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, today, on Christmas day, Staples was playing a modern, metal and concrete edifice of Ebenezer Scrooge, visited by the ghosts of the NBA past and present.
When all was said and done, the Lakers looked the ghosts of championships past, the Heat the ghosts of championships future.
When James and Bosh went to Miami, many people, me included were aghast at the possibilities and implications. To see two players like Wade and James, so athletic, so versatile and so accomplished teamed up in the prime of their careers could spell nothing but trouble for the Lakers and the league. Because you are talking about two of the greatest players in basketball history, not just great contemporary players of today.
And today, on Christmas day of 2010, the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA got a front row seat of what it means when two all time transcendent players perform their magic for the same team. Like Ebenezer Scrooge so long ago, the Lakers fans found something out on Christmas. And like Scrooge, the discovery was not comforting, but instead a terrifying and edifying reality.
It was not even close. The Heat seemed like they had 8 men on every defensive possession. They took the Lakers out of their offense like a man turning his small son over his knee to administer a spanking. The Lakers looked confused, slow and old, trying vainly to figure out a way to attack a Miami who looked so very fast and together and energetic. The Lakers are known as an offensive juggernaut, but on this day, the Heat frenetic defense turned them into something more resembling an inconsequential juggernot. And when a team can take LA that far out of their offense, with such ease and facility, it sends off alarm bells. It has not happened since Boston turned the trick over and over again back in 2008.
On the other side of the ball, the Lakers were just as abysmal. Miami ran and endless stream of screen and rolls against them, and the Lakers could not make rhyme nor reason of it or who to defend it. Miami’s ball movement was a thing of beauty: fast, concise, with purpose and always one step ahead of the Lakers flagging defense.
To add insult to mortal injury, our ace, our hole card, The Great Man, Kobe Bryant, was not even the best player on the floor. He was not even the second best. Lebron James and Dwayne Wade took those honors. When Kobe Bryant is the third best player on the floor, and the two best players are on the OTHER team, what chance do the Lakers really have?
And what happened to the part of our game so many thought so confidently in the summer would be the easy key for us in beating Miami: The inside dominance of Pau, Lamar and Drew? It was nowhere to be seen. Chris Bosh, who has been abysmal in rebounding all year, found a sure fire cure to his woes in playing the ‘great’ front court of LA, coming away with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
After the third quarter, Phil Jackson was asked by the reporter what was wrong with the mighty Lakers, what they could do to get back in the game. He paused, he stumbled, and he mumbled and sounded about as empty, bankrupt and devoid of energy and answers as his team looked on the court. A coach who seemed just as tired and out of touch as he the team under his charge.
In the end, it was all about Lebron and his triple double, Wade his injured teammate, Bosh and his easy pickings, and the cast of throwaways and nobodies who support them as they played with an intensity, teamwork and energy on both sides of the ball in a way it is becoming apparent that this Lakers team cannot hope to match.
This game was supposed to signal a message to the league…and it did. The Lakers showed with their second consecutive blowout loss that they are not in the championship mix. They have neither the will, the energy nor the execution to seriously play with the top teams in the league, and on certain nights, as with the Bucks, not even the bad ones. The Heat showed that after the a slow feeling out process to start the season, and even with the loss of Udonis Haslem, they are now starting to ride Wade and James’s brilliance into the super team many expected…and feared.
For the Heat, winners of nine straight road games and 13 of their last 14 battles, the future is so amazingly bright. For the Lakers, after their second stale, desultory, pathetic blowout loss at home, there are ever more questions raised about just what is going wrong here and what the cure may be…if there even is a cure.
For the Lakers and their fans, concerns must now run even deeper than current situation of their play and their ever sinking position in the standings against the league’s elite teams. Three of their biggest and brightest stars are struggling, not meeting the expectations we have of them, or the production we need in order to be a serious title contender.
Kobe Bryant, while still playing better than most players in the league can ever hope to, is not the Kobe Bryant we have watched all these many years. Nor is he a player right now, who can carry us to a title. His athleticism and ability to provide the brilliance, that ineffable spark of transcendent magic that made our last two rings possible seems to have faded into mere shadow. And shadow won’t be enough to get us through to that third ring. Whether it is because his knee is still not healed, or age, or both, he is right now just a pale shade of the Kobe Bryant this team needs.
Pau Gasol once again looked confused, enervated and at times frustrated and ineffective. This is unusual being that Andrew Bynum has been back for a while now and Pau had three days off coming into this matchup. He started off shooting horrendously, and he never delivered that great Pau performance we needed so badly on this Christmas day against this Heat team. Pau is running out of excuses. When does bad play just become bad play and not a by product of fatigue? And when does the bad play end? Or does it?
Ron Artest. A man you can’t help but like because of his toughness and tenacity, and all the good things he is doing with life off the court. But a player it is becoming harder to like on the floor. He still has stretches of defensive competence, but they seem fewer and fewer and his offensive droughts and missed layups seem to come with more and more regularity. At this point, Artest is a player who is hurting this team more than he is helping it.
If these three pivotal players can’t give us more than they are, if they can’t overcome their individual problems and demons that are plaguing them so far this year, the Lakers dream of three peat will end up like the Christmas dreams of Ebenezer Scrooge-Dream turned to nightmare.
These are not our only problems; but singular issues that must be addressed and corrected by each of these very important cogs in this Lakers team. The rest of the team must also dig deep to find the answers of why this team is so easily taken out of its game. Why both offensively and defensively they have become so lacking. And Phil Jackson, an 11 time NBA champion coach has to find out why, with a team thought to be one of his most talented ever, he can’t seem to find the right methods, the right buttons to push, the right strategy and designs, to get that talent to perform as it should.
Or after three consecutive title appearances, is this team played out? Just too emotionally and physically drained to sustain another championship run? Is it possible that it is finally, irrevocably over for Kobe Bryant’s championship career and this Lakers team?
And so the ghosts of champions past and future payed a visit to the Staples Center on December 25, 2010. The Ghosts of championship pasts came resplendent in the purple and gold of the Lakers, for they have indeed won the last two NBA titles. The ghosts of many championships in the future came in the red of the Heat, for as is very apparent, this ghost will indeed soon trample the league with dominance as it reaps many championships, very soon.
Today we all saw the ghosts of championships past and future. But where was the ghost of championship present? Is it too, Miami? Or Boston? Or San Antonio or Dallas? Perhaps. But one thing is for sure, right now, at this time, the Lakers have as much chance of being the present champion as they did in turning the tide against the Miami heat on Christmas day.
At the end of the novel A Christmas Carol, Tiny Tim says, “God bless us, everyone!” The way the Lakers are playing now, it would not be surprising if the same sentiment was not being uttered from Mitch Kupchak’s office, in Phil’s and in the homes of ever player on the team this Christmas day. If things keep going as is, they may soon need divine intervention if they want to salvage this season and their championship dreams.
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Lakers energized with Drews return. Phil questions fatigue.
Posted by: SPQR on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 09:41 AM
There is an article in today's LA Times about Drews return and our win last night over Washington. First a few of my thoughts, then the article.|
The team looked much more energized last night during the return of Saint Andrew of Bynum. They looked the way you would expect them to. Was it a coincidence? Who knows. Perhaps the return of Drew gave them a mental energy and excitment to knock them out of the fog they were in lately. This early in the season, there certainly was no reason for the lethargic play they were exhibiting, so one has to think they were mentally down during this stretch. It is possible that the vib and heat provided by their centers return snapped them out of their lethargy. We will see how things progress from here, beginning with Indiana tonight.
In a scant 17 minutes of play, Saint Andrew of Bynum had seven points, four rebounds perhaps even more importantly, two blocks. Yes two block by a guy in the post. What a novel and nice development for us. For the time he was off, the shape he must be in, it was a good beginning. Lets hope that as he rounds into shape over the coming few weeks, his production will increase accordingly with his minutes.
One thing that I couldn't help catch my eye was Phil Jacksons comment on Paus 'fatigue'. As most of you know, there has been a hot and heavy debate about that very issue here. Some saying that this early in the year, after an offseason of total and complete rest, Pau should not have been struggling as he was, first on defense, then eventually at the offensive end too. Others defended him by saying even at this early stage in the year, his heavy minutes predicated that he would be fatigued and exhausted.
In the article, Phil was told that some people question how Pau could be this tired after a summer of doing nothing but resting. His immediate response to that issue: "I do too."
That curt, quick, spur of the moment, honest response almost seems to me to indicate Phil was questioning either Pau's desire, or the condition he was in coming back to the team this year....or in other words, his lack of conditioning. Something that should not have happened with a veteran like Pau.
Anyway, it was certainly interesting to see hall of fame, 11 time NBA champion coach come down on the side of those who wonder why Pau could not carry the load asked of him for such a short period after a summer of recuperation after all the discussion we have had on that issue here on LTB over the last few weeks.
I also have no doubt that the acquisition of Joe Smith was not only a cost cutting move, but was also instigated by the Lakers need to deal with the 'fatigue' that Pau has exhibited this year. With the return of Drew and the aquisition of Smith, hopefully the fatigue Pau has been suffering, whether it is caused by a physical reason, or a mental one, will be a problem receding in the Lakers rear view mirror as they continue down the long road for a chance at their 3peat.
Here is the article and the link for those interested:
Andrew Bynum returns as Lakers defeat Wizards, 103-89
Center has seven points and four rebounds in 17 minutes in his first game since the playoffs and makes an immediate impact in a victory over the Wizards.
One player returned but another left the Lakers … for good.
Andrew Bynum was back in action, finally, putting in 17 minutes of work Tuesday in the Lakers' 103-89 victory Tuesday over the Washington Wizards.
As Bynum entered the fray, Sasha Vujacic exited in his seventh season. The Lakers agreed to trade him to New Jersey for veteran forward Joe Smith in a cost-cutting move that would save them about $8 million in salary and luxury-tax considerations while expanding their frontcourt depth.
The deal probably will be announced Wednesday and is contingent upon Smith passing a physical in his 16th NBA season.
The bigger-picture story, though, was Bynum's long-awaited return from off-season knee surgery, in case it wasn't obvious when Lakers fans, desperate for his return, began applauding at Verizon Center when he took off his sweats several minutes before he actually entered the game.
He had seven points, four rebounds and two blocked shots, showing bursts of power and also flakes of rust after his long layoff.
He entered the game midway through the first quarter and blocked Hilton Armstrong's shot 55 seconds later. Then he blocked Nick Young's shot a few minutes after that.
He had no problem going to the line, making five of eight free-throw attempts, but looked a step slow in transition and hoisted a few off-balance shots, making one of five from the field.
He reported no swelling in the knee after the game and said it would take him about four more weeks to round into shape and catch up to the speed of the game.
"I'm a little bit rusty," Bynum said. "I'm just out there, starting fresh. It takes time but I'm glad the wait's over."
So are the Lakers.
"He's going to get easy baskets just by the nature of his athleticism and his size," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "That's important for us, the easy ones."
Said Kobe Bryant: "It's been a long haul for him in his young career. So many injuries he's been dealing with. [His return] gives us more size, it gives us length. He makes a big difference for us."
Bryant was the reason the Lakers beat the Wizards, scoring 16 of his 24 points in the third quarter and making an efficient seven of 13 from the field. He did have a low moment when he missed three free throws after being fouled on a three-point shot.
Last week, the Lakers hung on for a 115-108 victory against the Wizards, but their job was easier Tuesday when Washington went without injured starters Andray Blatche and John Wall. That would be the same John Wall who blistered the Lakers for 22 points and 14 assists last week. And forward Yi Jianlian didn't return after spraining his knee in the first quarter.
The Lakers led by as many as 23 on Tuesday, allowing the focus to center on Bynum, including his missteps.
In the third quarter, he airballed an off-balance layup attempt after grabbing an offensive rebound and finding himself surrounded by defenders. In the fourth quarter, he missed a short jumper from the right side, had the ball stripped on a move to the basket and missed an alley-oop attempt.
Jackson said Bynum's return would help Pau Gasol, whose scoring and accuracy were down in recent weeks. He had 16 points on six-for-11 shooting Tuesday.
Jackson said the All-Star forward-center had been playing "poorly" and "really faltered" before Tuesday's game.
"I think we're .500 in the last 10 games," Jackson said, "and a lot of it's because Pau's kind of run out of gas and played too many minutes."
When told that some people question how Gasol could be tired after taking off the entire summer, Jackson said, "I do too."
Then Jackson stepped back a bit verbally and supported Gasol.
"He's getting everything thrown at him," Jackson said. "That's kind of like what's gone on around the league — attack Pau physically at both ends of the court. He's given up more points sometimes than he's scored and those are things that are remarkable for us. We value his play as an All-Star and it's been tough for him."
Bynum was back, however, and Gasol was definitely pleased.
"I'm glad to see him healthy, glad to see him playing basketball and obviously helping us in different ways," he said.
link: http: //www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-lakers-wizards-20101215,0,440383.story
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Lakers lose 4 in a row. Phil says not time to hit panic button
Posted by: SPQR on Thursday, December 02, 2010 - 09:42 AM
So, for the first time in Phil Jackson’s tenure here, the Lakers have lost four in a row. |
Driving to work this morning I heard Phil on the radio say it was not time to hit the panic button. In todays LA times, Kobe Bryant said that the Laker ship wil be righted. Based on the past history of this team, and the talent on it, I would agree. During the last two championship seasons, this team hit bad stretches that prompted us to vent our concerns here. And those teams only went on to win NBA championships.
But also because of the history of this team and the talent accumulated, a four game losing streak is not something to be expected, especially considering the teams we have lost to. It’s not like we played San Antonio, Boston, New Orleans and Orlando.
Whenever a team goes through a prolonged period of inadequacy, there are multiple reasons for it, both micro and macro. I would ask all the intrepid members of LTB, what are some of these reasons? What has changed from the great start we had, when the team looked so good, to bring us to the point where you wonder if we can beat anyone on any given night?
On the macro side a few things come into focus very clearly. The Lakers right now are as soft on defense as piece of toffee accidentally dropped and lost on a baking hot sidewalk during a 98 degree July summers day by a small child on his way to play with friends. They can't seem to guard shooters, nor stop penetration into the paint. The got killed on both these sides last night, as exemplified by Houston scoring inside and as the game went on, hitting more and more uncontested shots from outside. Shane Battier brought the win home for Houston last night with his outside shooting. Nobody seemed to care or make an effort to blanket him as the situation demanded. Even after it was clear he was doing damage.
The Lakers give up more points in the paint than any team in basketball. This would include even weak defensive teams with losing records. With 'defenders' like Kobe, Artest and Barnes on the outside, and a large, athletic big men like Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom inside, it is simply inexcusable. It bespeaks of a singular lack of effort or a total breakdown in their defensive scheme.
But if for some reason you can't play defense, you can always inundate and drown your opponents in a sea of points. That is another road to victory. And the Lakers were doing this for much of the young season, being the highest scoring team in the league, putting up 109 per game. Yet now, even that has gone by the wayside. In each of their four losses, the have not even broken 100. Had they kept up that profligate offensive output, they would not have all the losses they do now, or a four game losing streak. What happened to the offensive juggernaut we saw for such a long time this year? Where is the crisp ball movement that lead to unending open shots that we converted during our first 15 games? Where is the seamless execution that jumped us out of the starting gate on a pace to win 70 games?
If you’re not playing defense and you struggle to score, bad things can result. Such as a four game losing streak.
Last night all these various deficiencies reared their ugly heads in the loss. Houston shot 50 percent for the game and a whopping 60 percent in the deciding fourth quarter. The Lakers responded by shooting 33 percent in the second half and a paltry 22 percent in the fourth quarter. This was a microcosm of our offensive and defensive problems that have plagued us during the last four games.
On the micro side, certain players are sticking out for their failures. For me, Ron Artest may head that group. He is not scoring, nor playing any special brand of defense, and the latter is why he was brought on board in lieu of a very energetic, talented young Trevor Ariza. I honestly can't remember the last game where I thought, "Man, Artest really helped us win tonight." When a team is having problems, you would like to see a star player or two step it up and contribute, at least on one side of the equation, offense or defense, and Ron is doing neither. For a very long stretch. It is hurting this team.
Pau of course has been the subject of debate here for the last week or so. Is he fatigued? Isn't he fatigued? Should he be fatigued? Is he playing soft with no excuses, or playing soft with legitimate excuses?
Regardless of the answers to the above questions, he is not playing good defense. With Andrew Bynum out, his charge is to defend the paint and bang inside with some measure of alacrity and brio, to not give ground but to take and hold it. He is not doing this. And it is hurting.
Kobe is another who is found wanting during this losing skein. Kobe has a well earned reputation for taking games over, lifting his team up, willing them to victory when all else fails. He is the Lakers ace card, to be played in filling out a royal straight flush at the last second when the other team seems to be holding a strong, winning hand. Indeed, his ability to do this has helped build The Great Man's legend. For four games now, the ace card has turned out to be more of a two of clubs. Just another useless card in a weak hand that just leads one to fold up and leave the game as a loser.
On the Houston game day thread, a poster noted that in the fourth quarter, the Killer Bees had given us a lead of several points. Then Kobe came in, started holding the ball, started shooting, taking the team out of its offensive rhythm, which Houston quickly capitalized on to forge ahead. Kobe is known to do this on occasion. And when he has lightening in a bottle, when he is playing on that level only he can attain, it is the special formula for bailing the team out and winning tough games. But when he does this and can't make the magic happen, it is a prescription for a loss. Almost a guarantee of it. Last night, and for four games now, Kobe has lacked that old magic we have seen so much of over the years.
When you have three big stars-Kobe, Pau, Artest-who you expect to really give you something special, who are the engines that should be driving this team on, and they don't, you have a problem. And a four game losing streak.
These are just some of the elements- macro and micro- that has turned this team, at this point in time, from a sure fire three peat victory tour to a four game losing streak that has Lakers fans shaking their heads.
Today, Kobe said that there is nothing to worry about, that the ship will be righted. Phil says that it is way too early to hit the panic button. I agree with both of them. I think it is too early to hit the panic button and have little doubt the ship will eventually be righted.
But there is another long range consideration. And that of course is our old friend the Boston Celtics. We all know what would have happened last year if games six and seven of the finals had been played in Bean town. Right now, they would be the defending champion, not us. Championships are officially won during the seven games of the NBA finals. But titles can actually be won or lost with winning streaks, or losing streaks in November and December. If the Lakers continue this slide for too long a period, if they fall too far behind Boston now to make up the ground over the rest of the season, if they end up playing a healthy Celtic team in the summer for the NBA Championship, with Boston having home court, then we may in fact have lost that chance at a glorious three peat months earlier, as we waited for the ship to right itself.
It is imperative that Lakers stay close to the Celtics, now, during their struggles, this time of danger, so that when the team we all expect to see reemerges, we can still get that crucial home court advantage that we used over them to take the championship last year. It is intrumental to note that last year, even with the ups and downs we experienced during the long season, we captured home court against Boston in the finals. It is also worth noting that we needed every single bit of that home court advantage to eek out that seven game series win.
It is not time to hit the panic button. The ship will eventually right it self. But if it doesn’t happen soon enough, come the NBA finals aftermath, as we reflect on this season on LTB, we may all look back at the waning days of November and month of December as the time the three peat slipped irretrievable out of our grasp.
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Lakers-Bulls: The times they are a changin'.
Posted by: SPQR on Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - 10:37 AM
Come writers and critics|
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.
Years ago, Bob Dylan penned the song ‘The times they are a changin’. He was telling people to buckle up because things were not staying the same, a new reality was taking shape and you better be ready to deal with it.
Last night, the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers took on a young, talented, hungry Chicago Bulls at Staples Center.
Kobe Bryant managed to score only 20 points, Ron Artest and Derek Fisher combined for 1 of 14 shooting and Pau Gasol once again showed how a big, strong, aggressive, active big man-in this case Joakim Noah- can take him disconcertingly out of his game, limiting him to 3 of 10 field goals and pushing him around underneath.
So when it was over, how bad was it for the Lakers? What score did the energetic young Bulls win by?
They didn’t. The new look Lakers rode through those statistics to beat the Bulls 98-91. The times, they are a changin’.
This Lakers team is not predicated any longer on Kobe, Pau or star power to ensure victory. This Laker team is deep and deadly, with myriad pieces who can step up individually or as a unit to overcome even subpar performances by their marquee players.
Lamar Odom added 21 points. Steve Blake put in 6 and Matt Barnes another 10 in obviating any deficiencies from our starters. Shannon Brown continued to make his case for sixth man of the year with 20 points shooting lights out from the field. Brown has become so adept, so electric at attack the basket from near or far that one gets the impression he would average 30 points a game at 50 percent shooting if only he shot even more.
The second unit was once again a Rubics cube puzzle that their counterparts could neither fathom nor puzzle. The Bulls couldn’t even get hope to get one side of the cube to match colors, let alone the whole cube itself. It is a theme that is becoming more and prevalent with every team the Lakers play and baffle with what is looking like the most productive and destructive bench in the league.
Make no mistake, last year, two years ago, three years ago, this game goes down as a loss. Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic and company would have flailed and stumbled as the Bulls pulled away with the win. We know that old script, we have seen it before so many times: Missed shots, bad defense, attempts at individual play that only sabotaged the team; another loss and more complaining on LTB the day after. But not this bench, not with this team. The times they are a changin’.
This bench played with brio and synergy on offense and defense, throwing up obstacles that the Bulls, no matter how hard they tried, could not overcome. In the end, along with their defensive presence our bench outscored the Bulls 39-10. A 29 point swing is a large number for any team to overcome, pretty near impossible when you are playing the Lakers at Staples.
In years past, when the starters came up short, when we didn’t get a victory power game from them, Kobe Bryant had to bail us out with one his legendary monster games. The Great Man did it a lot, much to the gratification of the team and fans alike. It is after all, part of the Kobe Bryant legend. But failing that, we lost. Other teams knew that if it came down to our bench pulling their weight in a rough, tough, difficult night, odd were they would get the win. Not anymore. The times they are a changin’.
For the rest of the league, it means trouble with a capital T. When you take a two time defending NBA champion and turn their biggest liability into one of their biggest sources of sucre, you are looking at infinitesimal chances of beating that team in your limited games against them throughout the year. It is not hard to read between the lines and see what that will mean for the Lakers and all their opponents during the long NBA season.
Now when the bench comes in, the opposing team does not get hope, or reinvigorated intimations of possible victory, now they just get more of the same- an unending up hill struggle that is part of the new Lakers prescription to almost certain victory.
What a difference a year can make.
For the league and teams who had hoped to supplant the Lakers, who put their chances on exploiting our one weakness, the times they are indeed a changin’. And that chance seems to be blowing away in the wind that is consistently originating from the bench.
It seems the only thing that won’t be changing is the Lakers victory parade at the end of the year.
Because with this team, that’s the one thing that never seems to change from year to new year.
Bob Dylan wrote that classic song so many years ago, about things so unrelated to sports. But he understood the winds of change and their implications. In 2010, his song is just as applicable to what is happening in the city of Los Angeles with the dominant team that forces the league to dance to it’s very harsh tune. As Dylan sang back then, a new reality is taking shape and the teams in the NBA better be ready to deal with it. But in this case, it seems there may be no way to do so, even as they are forced to recognize the changing times.
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Greg Oden - A Victim Of The Curse Of The Sasquatch
Posted by: cuckooroller on Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 02:05 AM
PORTLAND, Nov. 18 (UPPI) |
John Kitzhaber, the Governor-Elect of Oregon, has called for a State of Emergency, and applied for Federal Disaster Relief.
President Obama, in a sudden decision, has despatched FEMA Hazmat Units to test the air quality in and around Metropolitan Portland. It is feared that the citizens of Portland, including members of the NBA Basketball franchise, the Portland Trailblazers, may have been exposed to air-borne substances causing generalized debility, and articular degeneration.
Sam Adams, the Mayor of Portland, has also elicited the intervention of local native-american shaman in the attempt to determine the presence of any curses present affecting the members of the Portland Trailblazers. Many fear that the curse of Portland may have been actively induced by followers of Voodoo, and Santeria. In another move, the Oregon legislature has been called into session by the Governor, for the purpose of making possession of voodoo dolls, a capital crime.
The newly constituted AWPM (Association of Worried Portland Mothers) are now combing their domiciles for the purpose of finding and sequestering any and all Portland Trailblazer sports paraphenalia possessed by their children, in the fear that wearing such paraphenalia may expose them to death and injury. The paraphenalia will be incinerated.
These events are the consequence of the discernment of a clear and present danger to public health, after the latest of a long line of catastrophic injuries to the members of the Portland Trailblazer basketball team. The latest members to be hit were the last remaining Center, Pryzbilla, career-ending knee injury, and a shoulder injury to the Star of the team, Brandon Roy, who will today undergo an MRI for the purposes of ascertaining damage to the shoulder.
UPDATE: It has now been discovered that Brandon Roy has no cartilage in his knees. Look for an early retirement.
Several politicians have however raised objections to the use of Federal Money to support an area that they consider to be hit simply through the forces of negative karma for the past excesses of the team, and therefore well deserved.
The frightened cry for help from the Portland Trailblazer FO to any and all Centers throughout the world entreating them to come to Portland, has been met with stony silence. One anonymous European Center responded "as soon as I knew it was Portland, I knew that it was best to stay as far away as possible. The evil eye is there". The fear is understandable. Portland is known as the place to go for Centers, if they want to end their careers. A Curse is the only explanation.
Prof. Emil Herschberg of the University of Edinburgh, gives a sinister interpretation to the recent events. Ever since the early 1970's in explorations carried out by Prof. Herschberg, and subsequently by other parapsychological researchers, in the most inaccessible regions of Oregon's Cascade Range, strange findings of difficult interpretation have been reported. In each case, a small banner with the Portland Trailblazer logo has been discovered buried under the stool of an animal of unsure identity. Surrounding these findings large footprints have been put in relation of an apparent circular path, perhaps ritualistic dancing. Prof. Herschberg states "the findings are indicative of some sort of primitive ritualized behavior, quite possibly by an unknown humanoid ape". He avers that the recent events do not, therefore, surprise him, and that they have been going on for decades. Apparently, he believes that they are the results of "The Curse of the Sasquatch".
Former Trailblazer Center, Bill Walton, offered the rather more laconic comment "let them eat meat. You can't build bone and muscle eating only Tofu".
UPDATE: Hikers in the more remote reaches of the Cascade Mountains worriedly reported hearing a primitive rhythm of tom-toms last Tuesday, November 16. Trailblazer fans all, they rushed back to Portland and frantically called the franchise Front Office to advise them of the threat, and pleading with them to put Greg Oden into suspended animation as a precautionary measure. They were too late.
The Curse of the Sasquatch has struck again. Greg Oden is now officially an ex-basketball player. Greg Oden is now officially the biggest bust in basketball history.
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Butter boy Bosh melting in Miami heat. Drew still here.
Posted by: SPQR on Tuesday, November 09, 2010 - 04:11 PM
Chris Bosh, the third member of the Miami superteam is usually the last of the three to garner headlines. But no more. The butterboy, who likes to take his large, HEALTHY frame as far out of the paint and contact as is legally allowed is now getting some heat for melting like a big stick of soft butter. Several articles are now appearing in the sports media decrying the large mans reluctance to venture anywhere near a rebound.|
On a team where size, rebounding and inside toughness was seen as the biggest impediment to championship glory, it was clear that Bosh was the one who had to step up and carry that load. Before the season even started, Bosh himself commented on how he would have to be meaner, tougher and more aggressive. He understood the charge he was under for his team to succeed.
But talk is one thing, its the doing that counts. It is hard for a tiger to change his strips, and in this case, harder yet for a this particular stick of butter to get rid of his paper thin wrapping in exchange for a harder carapace.
Right now Bosh is averaging an anemic 5.5 rebounds a game. If one didn't know better, you would think the butterboy was playing on a surgically repaired knee, but of course he is not. He is as healthy and whole as a freshly made stick of butter right from the grocery store freezer.
It is alarming that if this is best Bosh can do, then this is all that Miami will be getting in terms of toughness and rebounding from the gentle giant. And if this is all he can provide, then Miamis promise of greatness this year, indeed any real hope for a championship will melt down faster than Bosh is in the Miami heat. As Boston and LA both know and show, if you can't rumble inside with the big boys with effectivness, you might as well pack your bags and head on home.
This development also has implications on the Lakers, since Bosh was the little darling so many Laker fans wanted to trade Andrew Bynum for. Yes, the trade of Andrew Bynum for a large, gooey stick of butter named Chris Bosh.
If you think Bosh would be better, just ask Boston who they prefer to play: An injured Andrew Bynum who still has the guts, size, strength and tenacitiy to fight in the middle on one leg, or a soft, slick, buttery guy who melts out of that same paint as soon as the ball is tipped off? We got that kind of play back in 08, remember? We all know what Boston did to players like that too, don't we? Yes, Boston thrives on melting butter. We know. We saw it first hand. And yes, with Boston still hanging around with even more bigs on their team, that is exactly what we need, another big body who can't wait to disappear when he has to bang or rebound.
There is an old axiom: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Well, those who wanted to make this trade can say, "We know Bosh is healthy, we don't know how long Drew will even be in the league."
Yes, this is true. But sometimes axioms are oversimplifications. Sometimes, the two in the bush are so damn enticing, they are worth the risk. Most especially when you know the one in the hand is exactly the bird your biggest rival would love you to trade the two in the bush for.
Sometimes, the two in the bush can help you so much, be such a perfect fit for what you need, they are worth taking a chance on.
Life is full of risks. When the Lakers are as talented as they are, they are in the command chair. They can afford risks other teams can't. I would gladly risk Drew and his knees, with all it brings, than trade him for a Chris Bosh who will give us all memories of how not to win a championship from 2008.
The smell of melted butter has only just left Staples center from that debacle three years ago. We have just cleaned the goo and stickiness off our franchise with the last two championships. It was a difficult cleanup job. I am not in the mood to see another large stick of butter melt down for us just when we need toughness the most. I don't feel like going through that embarrassment again.
Soft, melted butter is great for popcorn and movies, but not so good when you want to get rebounds, hold your ground against bigs in the paint, or win titles......So let Laker fans enjoy theirs in the theatre, where it is a good thing, and let the Miami Heat deal with theirs on the court, where it does not taste nearly so fine, no matter how expensive the extra butter cost them to get.
I will take guts, strength and toughness any day.
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The Lakers: Ascendancy, Subjugation, Dominion, and Despair
Posted by: lakeshowsd on Wednesday, November 03, 2010 - 06:37 PM
The Lakers: Ascendancy, Subjugation, Dominion, and Despair|
An excerpt from the diary of a surviving member of the Memphis Resistance:
November 3rd, 2010 - Journal Entry #4
The preemptive strike against the Machines was a monumental disaster. Our presence must have been detected as we crossed through their perimeter enclave. They came like demons in the night; cold, unfeeling, and leaving only death and destruction in their wake. Half of us were wiped out before we even knew what hit us and as far as I know, I am the only survivor. I now return to Memphis with the sad news of our failure and with confirmation of our greatest fears. The Machines are coming for us all.
It looks like our intel was correct and our enemy has upgraded their forces in no small measure. Unlike in years past, they no longer rely so heavily on their elite model machines to exterminate us. It was terrifying to witness their new B-Type war machines in action, which display none of the same weaknesses of previous tier 2 models. I firmly believe that the Machines are now more deadly than ever.
Originally the Machines emerged from the land of lakes in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but their primary fortress now lies to the west in the city of Los Angeles. Still, because of their origins, we've come to know this mechanical nemesis as the Lakers. Over the years the Lakers have assimilated advanced technologies from all over the world. One of note is the Spanish design pG16, a war machine that easily lives up to its' fearsome reputation. The pG16 is long, lean, efficient, and almost graceful in its’ capacity for destruction. This ominous, towering construct was the first of the machines to assault our forward position, along with the versatile and comparably efficient LO7 model. They are a pair that has been known to work well in conjunction with the other elite model war machines, and the LO7 has never looked more formidable. Many of us were lost in the first wave of the Laker assault.
Normally the aB-17 model war machine accompanies the pG16 on the front lines, but in this battle the aB-17 was nowhere to be seen. Rumors suggest that the enemy is refurbishing the giant aB-17 with plans to re-release the behemoth war machine into the fold within the next several weeks. For our sake, I pray that the rumors are not true because the aB-17 monstrosity often defends all key points of the Lakers’ interior strongholds. The Lakers look unstoppable as it is, but if the aB-17 is operating at full capacity once again, I fear that all is lost.
Once the kB-24 model war machine entered the fray, I knew we were all dead men. The kB-24 is known to the Resistance as the Black Mamba, named after world’s deadliest snake. The reason is because the kB-24 utilizes an extremely deadly and venomous acidic compound in its arsenal. In the past, there were reports that the kB-24 seemed to almost single-handedly win battles for the Lakers. Last night, it was the utterly ruthless centerpiece of the juggernaut that is the Laker Machine army.
The DF2 had its’ targeting sensors fully calibrated and bombarded our forces from afar, as did the RA-15. We tried to regroup and launch a counteroffensive, but the RA-15 switched into a defensive mode and obliterated our forces with brutal and punishing methods. It was truly a massacre from the outset, but we quickly discovered that the worst was yet to come.
The B-Type Machines:
We were in full retreat when the Lakers launched their newest wave of destructive terror against us. The B-Type war machines were like a pack ravenous wolves on the field of battle, swarming, and devouring men as they tried to run. The mB-9 was like a wild, untamed beast; hacking, slashing and decimating our retreating forces. The smaller sB-5 war machine assisted the mB-9, and while the mB-9 was chaos and fury, the sB-5 was cold, calculating, efficient, and equally dreadful. Like a fearsome mechanical executioner, the sB-5 picked off any survivors left in the wake of its’ brutal counterpart. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, the sB-12 war machine moved in on our position and unloaded its’ powerful cannons upon us, unleashing a barrage of fiery death so accurate that none of my few remaining brothers in arms escaped with their limbs or their lives intact.
I don’t know why I was spared. Perhaps I am to be the messenger of our doom. I can only wonder if the Lakers have now discovered the power of fear and how it can be used as a weapon against us. Our Memphis based resistance cell was once proud, fierce and strong. We once called ourselves the “Grizzlies” but after this defeat we no longer resemble an animal of such power and strength. We are a scattered, fragmented, diminished, disheartened, and defeated people and our small part of the Resistance is all but destroyed.
It’s only a matter of time before the Lakers launch a counterstrike, which will deal a lethal blow to the Memphis Resistance. Even now the enemy forces move north toward the city of Sacramento. Though young and spirited, the feeble resistance in that city will not stop or even slow down the Lakers. Few of us possess the necessary resources to fight them for much longer, and our only hope may rest in the eastern cities of Miami and Boston, where the Resistance is strongest. Still, now that I have seen the enemy with my own eyes, I see the doom of us all. It is hopeless and there is no stopping these machines, these Lakers. They will come, we will fall, and they will hold dominion over all…
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