Tick-Tock: Lakers’ Brown must win now

Mike BrownOn paper, the Los Angeles Lakers have one of the best starting line up’s the NBA has ever seen. By adding  two-time MVP point guard Steve Nash and three-time defensive player of the year Dwight Howard, the Lakers added to an already stacked team that includes Pau Gasol and one of the best to ever play the game, Kobe Bryant.

Last season was a disappointment.

In a shortened season, the Lakers finished with a losing record away from the Staples Center. (14-16) Even though they won the Pacific Division for the 33rd time and earned the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, they were outrun by a young, up and coming team in the Thunder during the semi-finals.

Many of their shortcomings were put on the shoulders of first-year head coach Mike Brown and for good reason. It’s not easy to replace a legend and unfortunately it’s not going to get any easier this season.

During his introductory press conference Brown stated “We don’t play for second here, it’s as simple as that.”

The pressure started at that moment and now the lofty goals for the Lakers continue. While Brown had his excuses from last season there are none to be heard of this year.

Off to a slow start, the Lakers can’t afford to not gel in a timely manner.

With injuries to Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard getting back into shape the Lakers haven’t had the game experience yet.

What must worry Lakers’ fans, Last season the rotations Brown used took too long to mesh together and at many times he would randomly pick a player to give huge minutes to out of thin air. Brown must find the rotations to use and quickly.

The truth is if the Lakers are unable to unseat the Heat and bring home a 17th Championship the season will be a failure and Mike Brown will be the scapegoat.

2012 Fantasy Basketball: Top 5 Point Guards

Now on to the short men, my love for the point guard started when I found out Muggsy Bogues was shorter than my dad (by 3 inches, but every inch counts.) I consider point guards to be the second most important player on my daily fantasy teams, what they don’t get in points they make up for in assists and steals. Another thing that draws me to the point guard is the amount of minutes most of the big names get per games. Like I said in an earlier article, more minutes means more fantasy points. The Top 5 Centers were some big name guys, but in my mind the guards are the superstars. My Top 5 starts with a guy that was raised just down the road from me and in my mind he is the best point guard in the NBA.

Chris Paul: Paul was raised 15 minutes from my hometown. I first heard about Paul after he scored 61 points in memory of his slain grandfather at West Forsyth High School in Winston Salem and I knew at the time that he was a special player. Paul is not just a guard, he is a basketball player. With Paul surrounded by a cast of excellent players (Can we say Blake) he is sure to average 20 points 10 assist a game. He is also a guy that can play excellent defense at the point. On any given night Paul can have 1-3 steals. He will definitely be highly priced, but if you don’t get him, you can bet I will have him if you are playing me. He did undergo surgery on a thumb ligament last year, but this doesn’t seem to be a concern. He is a must play in limited leagues, pick-em’s, and salary formats.

Kobe Bryant: I am not a Kobe fan in real life, but I definitely am in the world of fantasy sports. Kobe equals production. The guy is a scorer and on some nights a big scorer. Even though the Lakers have added Steve Nash, Kobe’s point production will not struggle. Kobe is the Lakers’, until Lebron becomes a Laker in 2014 (HaHa prediction.) If Kobe can stay healthy all year he will average 25 points a night and get another 10 points due to assists/rebounds. Kobe may be 34, but he sure doesn’t play like it. I see him being cheaper than he has been in the past, which means he is definitely on my roster. Read more…

This week in sports: What you missed

If you were out doing something important with your life, here’s what you missed this week in sports:

  • The Los Angeles Lakers announced that they are constructing a statue outside of Staples Center for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  No word yet on when the statue of Kobe Bryant yelling at Smush Parker and the jersey retirement of Cedric Ceballos will be made, but Mark Madsen, Slava Medvedenko (I spelled that right the first time! I’m a nerd.) and Luke Walton did get permission to re-enter Staples Center after a ban of terrible white players was instituted by Jeannie Buss.
  • The NFL resumed contract negotiations with the locked out referees on Friday.  As the NFL and the Ref’s were walking to the negotiation table, the replacement refs called pass interference, holding, traveling, dropped third strike, and made up a rule of ‘Illegal Biceps” when referee Ed Hochuli made an appearance.
  • The Boston Red Sox agreed to a trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers that saved the Sox a quarter of a billion dollars.  Beckett celebrated by sprinting (yes, this is the first time he’s sprinted since 2007) to the nearest Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and chugged a 40 oz of Mickey’s.  Carl Crawford celebrated by getting Tommy John Surgery (no punch line there), and Adrian Gonzalez celebrated by being allowed to speak Spanish for the first time since he was a San Diego Padre.
  • At the tender age of 30, Andy Roddick is retiring from competitive tennis after the U.S. Open.  Roddick, now old and decrepit, leaves the game a beaten man with only 20 million dollars in career earnings, and he must go home to this.  Retirement is tough for everyone, and I, for one, feel absolutely terrible for him. Read more…

London 2012 Olympics have started, I think I’m supposed to be excited?

london-olympics-opening-ceremony
london-olympics-opening-ceremony

Photo : AP/JAE C. HONG)

The opening ceremonies are over and the 2012 Olympics are upon us as the eyes of the world turn to London.

Featuring 300 different events, 204 countries have sent their best to compete for a chance at a medal and Olympic stardom.

Here in the United States, we aren’t left with many options as July and August are two of the most boring months in sports, but at least the NFL season is on the horizon.

NBC would hate for me to ask but, how many of us would rather watch Eli Manning and the New York Giants take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots rather than primetime coverage of Rowing? I thought so…

30 sports are featured in the Olympics including these compelling must-watch events: Archery, Badminton, Cycling, Fencing, Trampoline, Table Tennis, and even Weightlifting just to name a few.

Please, don’t all run to your television at once.

Answer me one question, how many times in the last four years have you found yourself watching Table Tennis, Synchronized Swimming, or Handball?

There is a reason for that.

The evolution of the Olympic Games has resulted in several changes over the years, but more is needed. Sports such as Basketball, Gymnastics, and Swimming gain the most coverage while Archery, Sailing and Judo are great times to take a nap.

Why are these sports popular in comparison to others? Star power – Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lotche are names you know or will know by the end of the Olympics. Sorry, but you will not remember who won Gold for Archery.

In no way am I trying to take away from the athletes that give all they can for the U.S.A., yes even in Hand Ball, but the Olympic Games need an overhaul.

If Friday’s opening ceremony was any indication of how well NBC’s coverage will do of the Olympics, well then I am a buffoon. The opening ceremony was the most-watched for any Summer Olympics, with an average of 40.7 million viewers tuning in, according to Nielsen.

Although I can argue, it might have been the most impressive thing we see as it was directed by Danny Boyle who has directed a number of movies.

 

Is Kobe the real NBA G.O.A.T?

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers drives t...

Kobe Bryant has been called many things in his illustrious NBA career.

Kobe has been called the prodigy.

Kobe is a great player, and is top ten All-Time, but first Kobe needs to get into the top 5 before he can even dream of being Jordan.

Kobe 16 years = 29484 pts

Jordan 13 1/5 years= 32292 pts (one fifth of a season is approx. 17 games 1994-95).

Jordan retired from the Bulls after his father was murdered at 30 years old and took off almost 2 years when he was still averaging 30 plus points a game.

Jordan’s defense was and is unparalleled by any 2G in NBA history and is considered by most to be top 10 NBA All-Time at any position, Centers, Guards, and Forwards included.

Kobe was a sidekick for 8 years in the NBA, and came off the bench for years before he started.

Can you name any player considered top ten All-Time that came off the bench at any point of his career, let alone was second string for years?  Read more here…

Narratives in sports

Everyone has their pet peeves. Whether it be that you hate nails on a chalkboard, a fork on a plate, or just that annoying noise your significant other makes when  they sleep, we all have them. For me, one of the most annoying things in sports are the narratives that come along with it, mostly because they’re wrong.

Now, the word narrative is defined as a story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether true or fictitious. (Emphasis added)

So technically speaking, narratives in sports don’t even have to be true to be a narrative, but the issue I have with them is that people begin to accept the narrative as fact. “Kobe Bryant is so clutch!” is a common narrative, because every basketball fan remembers multiple games that Kobe hit the game winning jump shot as time expired. Now, what people don’t remember as frequently, regardless of what they’ll tell you, is how often he missed those shots. Conversely, people love to talk about how poor LeBron James is in clutch situations, and that’s entirely based on his final playoff series in Cleveland in 2010 and his poor finals performance in 2011. Based on the narrative, at the end of a close game you would undoubtedly choose Kobe taking the final shot over LeBron, right? Well, the facts don’t exactly match up to that belief. Here’s a thorough study that was done by Chasing23.com, and has been updated through May of 2012. The study only covers game-tying/game-winning shots, and while Kobe has taken considerably more shots, LeBron has been successful at a far higher rate. Read more here…

Is Kobe’s legacy threatened by LeBron James?

LeBron James hopped up and down on the sideline with a giant, child’s grin minutes before the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games to secure the 2012 NBA championship. It appeared as if about three Shaq’s and a Rosie O’Donnell had been lifted off the 27-year-old’s shoulders; it’s no secret that LeBron’s been steadily losing his hair over the last few years, but in that instant he went from looking weathered, worn out and rapidly aging to looking like an exuberant 27 year old who enjoyed basketball again. A couple more years of losing and I was afraid Lebron might have started looking more and more like Greg Oden (who was actually born in 1932).

And when it was all over, after LeBron James finally got his ring, he echoed the sentiment shared by all of us who call ourselves King James fans, and for that matter, NBA fans: “It’s about damn time.” My hope, however naïve, is that the incredible playoff performance, a championship, and a well deserved finals MVP award will quiet the rabid, irrational Lebron haters at least a bit. Over the last few years the tiresome anti-Lebron chatter of the sports media, Lakers’ fans, and Skip ‘Water-Pistol Pete’ Bayless have made me question the sanity of a great number of people who claim to be basketball fans (although I wouldn’t expect much more than irrational arguments and one-sided whining from the majority of the Lakers’ “faithful”, in quotations for a reason).

Going into the finals, many people thought the Thunder had the better team as a whole, and going into the series they were favored as such. After a game one victory OKC was favored by more than 2 to 1 odds. Before game a good friend of mine (I’m looking at you Neal Patel) asserted that Kevin Durant was a better player than Lebron James. The outcome of the series speaks for itself, with Lebron winning in just five games, playing on what many considered an inferior team. But there are a million other things that also make Neal’s statement so outlandish.

Durant is a better shooter, and right now in his career, that’s about it. The only other category the two can be even be compared in is scoring. Lebron is a much better rebounder, a hundred times better passer (one of the best in the league), and an élite defender. Nobody else in the league can effectively guard EVERY SINGLE POSITION, point guard through center. During the finals it seemed as if nearly all of Miami’s offensive possessions ran through James (seriously, watching that series, you’d have to say AT LEAST 75% of the Heat’s offense relied on James to make something happen.) Not to mention the incredible pressure that’s on him to perform night in and night out: if there are 100 sets of eyes on Kevin Durant every game, there are about 500 thousand sets of eyes – all of which have some form of high-powered microscope – honed in on Lebron.

I understand why “The Decision” and some of the things that James said after last years finals debacle rubbed many people the wrong way. But honestly, as a fan-base we’re relatively quick to forgive athlete’s for things like animal cruelty, physical assault, alcohol and drug abuse, and even manslaughter. Hell, I’ll admit right now that I’m no exception: I like Michael Vick. Randy Moss and Pacman Jones are two of my favorite players, and I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Chris “Birdman” Anderson.  That being said, I wouldn’t want any of those people to be role models for my children (which thankfully, as a 21 year old, I have none of). So why is James hated so vehemently?

Going to school in Santa Barbara, I have the unfortunate pleasure of coming into contact with a large number of Laker fans, nearly all of whom hate Lebron. It’s as if they fear that Kobe’s legacy is threatened by Lebron James’ greatness. Which it isn’t. I have no qualms expressing my respect for the passion Kobe Bryant brings every game, every season, and I am constantly in awe of what he continues to do on the court. But there’s a reason Jordan fans can point to statistics (I recommend checking this out) to demonstrate Jordan’s superiority over Kobe, while Kobe fans resort to subjective jabs at Lebron during any Black Mamba, King James debate: “Lebron chokes down the stretch” and “Lebron shies away from big games” are sometimes true statements, just like they are sometimes true statements about Kobe and probably every other athlete that is human. The thing about Lebron is that he’s the closest thing to non-human we have ever seen on the basketball court, so people expect him to be perfect.

After this year, Lebron James’ averages in 10 playoff elimination games are as follows:

31.44 ppg on 46.35% shooting, 10.22 rpg and 6.62 apg with a record of 4 wins and 6 losses.

Meanwhile, here are Kobe Bryant’s averages in 19 playoff elimination games:

21.47 ppg on 41.42% shooting, 5.79 rpg and3.47 apg with a record of 9 wins and 10 losses.

Those numbers are slightly better (23 ppg on 41.7%, 6.29 rebounds, and 3.76 assists) if you leave out Kobe’s first two seasons, which is fair because he received less playing time in those two elimination games.

We all know Lebron came up short in last year’s finals, but I would hope even the most ardent Kobe lover might have a hard time making the “big game choker” argument when looking at those numbers, especially in light of how they compare to Kobe’s. Of course it’s inevitable that the James haters will continue to hate. They’ll come back with the argument that “Kobe has four more rings”  (I’m very interested to see how many James ends up with) and say things like “Lebron still doesn’t have the ‘clutch gene” (would you please just shut up Skip Bayless.) All I have to say is if this year was any indication, Lebron James has finally found out what he needs to do to win, and from the look of that grin on the sideline he enjoys it quite a bit. Let’s revisit all the stats in seven to ten years, and then we’ll see how all the criticism lines up with the numbers. I think there’s going to be a lot of people who will look back and feel foolish.

Eli Pearlman is a writer for The Sports Blitz Network and can be contacted at EPearlman@TheSportsBlitz.com

NBA age rule: Change for the best?

LeBron JamesThe NBA is six years removed from the rule change in which the age limit in the league was raised from eighteen to nineteen and required athletes to attend college before entering the draft. Has there been a tangible difference, increase or decrease in NBA play? The eye test says no, but can the numbers support my hypothesis that the NBA has actually been hurt by the rule change, while universities are gaining from it.

With the successes of prominent high school to pro athletes, it is only logical for there to have been many candidates to try and follow. For every Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett, there are three more Jonathan Bender’s (you must be asking who is he – 5.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg).

Read more here…

Top 10 overpaid NBA players: Is Kobe Bryant No. 1?

Kobe BryantIs Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers overpaid?

Sports fans hold strong opinions about which pro basketball players deserve their massive salaries, and which ones don’t. One fan, however, has gone further than the average barstool commentator –– Southern Utah University economics professor David Berri.

According to Berri, NBA players are paid for high scoring, so the more points an athlete racks up, the more money he earns. Berri believes that this overlooks other factors that contribute to a victory, such as shots taken, turnovers, rebounds and fouls.

These and other elements are included in the “Wins Produced” algorithm.

“Wins in basketball are primarily about a team’s ability to get and keep possession of the ball and then turning those possessions into points,” Berri told CNBC.com in an e-mail. “In 2011-12, NBA teams paid $1.9 billion for 990 regular season wins. This means that the cost per win was $1.946 million. Given the cost of each win and knowing both how many victories each player produced and his salary allows us to see which players were overpaid.”

All salary information was provided by Berri, who used data from the NBA draft projection site DraftExpress.com and from basketball analyst Patricia Bender. All data was compiled by Berri’s colleague Arturo Galletti.
Check out David Berri’s 10 most overpaid players in the NBA.

 

The list:
10. Tyrus Thomas, Charlotte Bobcats (overpaid by $12,459,225)
9. Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets (overpaid by $12,784,867)
8. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks (overpaid by $12,851,295)
7. Corey Maggette, Charlotte Bobcats (overpaid by $12,862,248)
6. Mehmet Okur, Brooklyn Nets (overpaid by $12,988,657)
5. Chris Kaman, New Orleans Hornets (overpaid by $14,613,480)
4. Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Knicks (overpaid by $14,918,309 )
3. Antawn Jamison, Cleveland Cavaliers (overpaid by $17,402,350)
2. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (overpaid by $19,693,258)
1. Rashard Lewis, Washington Wizards (overpaid by $21,167,231)

Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Trapp’s Rant.

Top 10 NBA players drafted out of high school

As many would have guessed, The NBA Championship will host two of the most exciting teams in transition, Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder. Why most are focusing on Lebron James and Kevin Durant story for many reasons, one story line intrigued me the most.

You have two of the best small forwards playing the game now matched up. Lebron James, a special talent that was drafted right out of High School and took the league by storm. His talent is so rare because for all the rewards that he has one and now this will make the third finals he has appeared in. For most players straight out of high school, he has an impressive resume.

That made me search and find out who most people thought the top ten best players straight out of high school…

According to BleacherReport.com this is what they came up with.

10) Jermaine Oneal/Tracy McGrady: Both of these players were, at one time, right behind Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan as the finest wing scorer and power forward, respectively, in the NBA. Both of these players, however, were hobbled by injuries a little too early in their careers, and will ultimately be remembered for how much more they could have done with a few extra years of prime basketball.

9) Josh Smith: He can score (airborne or otherwise), rebound, defend, run the floor and even drop a pretty dime here and there. The only knock on him is still shot selection and, occasionally, motivation, in spite of which he’s one of the more sought-after players in the league whenever trade talks arise. By the time his career is over, Josh Smith has the tools to be remembered for a long time.

8) Darryl Dawkins: While Dawkins was not the first player ever drafted out of high school, he was the first to go straight to the NBA. Although he never really set the league on fire performance-wise—don’t go thinking he wasn’t a feared player—Darryl Dawkins is one of the more notable, recognizable players ever to skip college for the pros. Read the rest here…

Stan Van Gundy fired: Is he headed to the Lakers?

Stan Van GundyThe Los Angeles Lakers trail the Oklahoma City Thunder three games to one in the NBA Western Conference semifinals.  If the Lakers lose tonight on the road at Oklahoma City the team is likely headed for a major shakeup.  Rumors are already swirling as to the futures of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in a Lakers uniform but what if both are kept?  What if instead the Lakers bring in a new coach, an Xs and Os guy, someone who can bring this team together and make L.A. great again, someone like Stan Van Gundy.

According to ESPN.com Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith have been fired from the Orlando Magic.  In five seasons with the Magic Van Gundy went 259-135 with a Finals appearance in 2009.

Van Gundy has gotten the most out his teams wherever he has coached but because he and Magic Center Dwight Howard have publicized differences, Van Gundy’s firing was inevitable.

The question becomes where does he land?  If Van Gundy wants to coach next season the Lakers need to fire Mike Brown and bring this guy in.  Any team with Kobe Bryant, Gasol and Bynum should reasonably be expected to have more success than the Lakers have had under Brown this season.

If for no other reason the Lakers should hire Van Gundy to keep him from going to the Los Angeles Clippers.  With all the young stars the Clippers have, they are only a solid coach away from being an elite NBA team and Van Gundy would be a perfect fit there as well.

We’ll see how the dominos will fall after the Lakers are eliminated from the playoffs.  Let the Stan Van Gundy to L.A. watch begin.

Follow Aaron on Twitter @Da_Bear_Truth

Durant’s winning shot: The elder passes his torch

Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook

Game knotted up with under thirty seconds to go, Durant calmly receives a pass and crossover. Across him stands Ron Artest, one of the NBA’s top perimeter defenders and perhaps the strongest player in the league, as Durant serenely crosses over. He takes one dribble, sizes up, and drains the go-ahead three pointer to seal Game 3 for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

As Gasol, Bynum, and Artest stare at the replay, watching their father’s title hope fade in the distance. Lost to too many minutes, too many late night shoot arounds in the gym, lost to years of being the hardest player to ever play in the NBA.

Durant turns to Kobe after the game; the elder recognizes his time passing, and his title of best clutch player in the game with it. He realizes it’s only natural, the passing of time, a method of chronologically, dividing men and their contributions to their craft. The legend knows he has a few years left in him, but no year as productive as its former. The young superstar smiles as he carves his legacy on the very hardwood of his present foil. He stands on the crest of greatness, titles to be had, frustrated teams with hotheaded stars to beat, and a history to build.

The young man knows that his comrades remain the strongest and most cohesive group of twelve soldiers that one can assemble. He smells Florida, suddenly blocked by another aged western force with terrible power. With the abatement of his Floridian enemy, the only equal opponent left on the battlefield between he and his title was a great Texan general with the most efficient army.

Eric Eulau is an NBA Writer for The Sports Blitz.  He can be contacted at EEulau@TheSportsBlitz.com.

 

Why the Lakers should thank the LA Kings

Kobe BrantNBA Commissioner David Stern’s scheduling of back-to-back home playoff games for the Los Angeles Lakers-Oklahoma City Thunder series seemed like a death sentence. Although LA LA Land residents have heartedly disagreed, Mr. Stern had no choice but to schedule the Lakers one day after another for the sake of the Los Angeles King’s Stanley Cup title hopes and to allow Los Angeles’ other basketball team to be slaughtered at home by the blood thirty San Antonio Spurs.

The Lakers, and especially Kobe Bryant, finally summoned their championship gusto for longer than a quarter and the results were fantastic. Kobe and company didn’t smash the Thunder by any means, but the important elements of a lethal Lakers team with its back against the wall were there: Pau played aggressively on both offense and defense, Bynum actually hustled back on D and was clearly emotionally engaged in a positive manner, Blake and Sessions contributed when it mattered, and Ron Ron was in full War Chief mode.

Maybe back-to-back home games are the only thing that can save the Lakers from themselves. Statistically, Kobe plays terribly at Oklahoma and the game’s tempo always seems to be too fast for the aging Purple and Gold. The woes of this playoff run have been no different from the regular season, Los Angeles plays effective, energetic basketball at home and looks bewildered and exhausted when on the road. That being said, using the phrase “home court advantage” for the Lakers would be like calling LeBron’s public relations tactics below average. Lakeshow plays out of their minds when Jack sits court side and Timberlake is too cool to even look at the camera. Bynum even gets his evening lullaby from Mike Brown which makes back-to-back home games a win-win.

The LA Kings sit on the doorstep of the Stanley Cup, needing only six more victories to claim what has never been theirs. The fact that they receive priority scheduling for the Staples Center aides the Lakers in picking up two quick wins without having to think too much. With no off day to dwell on in-game failures, SoCal sports fans need to recognize that two quick wins could jumpstart this Laker team back into title contention. The mental lapses of this Lakers team were all too apparent late in Game 2, with Kobe committing two late turnovers and the defense not shoring up in time to preserve the win. Clearly Los Angeles does not enjoy the splendor of their Oklahoma City hotel. Playing and winning two home games in twenty-four hours, than picking up and leaving to fight again? Forget one nightstand, Hollywood does ‘em in two.

Eric Eulau is an NBA writer for The Sports Blitz.  He can be contacted at EEulau@TheSportsBlitz.com.

Lakers KO Thunder in Game 3 but can they do it again?

metta-world-peace-elbow

The Los Angeles Lakers hit 41 of 42 free throws and avoided falling behind 0-3 in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 99-96 victory in Game 3 on Friday.  Given the fact that no team in the history of the NBA has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit, the Lakers were in a must win situation and did exactly that.

The win for L.A. gave the Thunder their first loss in this year’s playoffs.  The Lakers will need to give them three more in order to make an improbable run to the Western Conference Finals. Can they do it?

As of now, the Lakers are definitely in this series and could easily be up two games to one.  Now, Saturday’s Game 4 is pivotal for both teams as either the Thunder will head home with a 3-1 stranglehold or the Lakers will defend home court and return to Oklahoma City confident with the series tied at two.

If the series returns to OKC tied, Los Angeles’ veteran presence will give them an excellent chance at advancing to the conference finals.  OKC is definitely the better team but when the Lakers find a way to win with Kobe Bryant shooting  9 for 25 from the field you’ve got to like their chances.

To tank or not to tank: When winning just isn’t all that important

Kobe-vs-DenverI was watching Lakers-Nuggets Game Five the other night.  You remember that game in Los the Staples Center where Kobe Bryant scored 43, yet his team still couldn’t close out the series? All anyone in the bar could talk about was whether the Lakers wanted to close things out that night, or whether it was more conducive for them to drop a game, let the series go a game or two longer, thereby allowing for the return of the oft-suspended, former defensive player of the year and recurring troublemaker, Metta World Peace. Peace (that just sounds so silly) was suspended seven games for catching the back of James Harden’s head with an allegedly, inadvertent elbow.  Accordingly, Los Angeles has had to play their opening series against the Nuggets without him.  After a Game Six loss, the series has gone a full seven games. Read more here…