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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lakers 2007-08 Regular Season Preview

[Quick note: the fire here has been affecting things, and I wasn't able to post for a bit, including a recap for the last two preseason games. To update, the Lakers lost against Utah 102-81, and won against the Kings 101-97.]

The Los Angeles Lakers regular season is about here! On October 30, the Lakers open up the regular season against the Houston Rockets at home, followed by their first road game on November 2 against the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers schedule to start will be tougher than last year, when they started 26-13.

This season will be an interesting one, with many questions about the team. It remains to be seen what will happen with situations around Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, and others. And experts from ESPN are split about the Lakers making the playoffs, with 5 saying they will make the playoffs, and 5 saying they will miss them. The Los Angeles Lakers always have a lot of drama surrounding them, and this season will definitely be no different.

Monday, October 22, 2007

October 21, 2007 Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers Recap

The Los Angeles Lakers played their cotenants the Los Angeles Clippers, and lost 96-112. The Lakers didn't play very well in the second half. They shot only 40.5% on their field goals.

Andrew Bynum and Jordan Farmar were the top players for the Lakers. Bynum had 16 points on 6/8 shooting. Farmar was really impressive with 19 points on 7/10 shooting in 20 minutes.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

October 20, 2007 Lakers vs. Charlotte Recap

The Los Angeles Lakers returned to the Staples Center to play against the Charlotte Bobcats, and beat them by 20 points for a 113-93 win. The Lakers had 35 assists on 45 baskets and shot a whopping 57% field goal percentage and 56.2% on three pointers. The Lakers are now 2-2 in the preseason.

Derek Fisher had 13 points in 9 minutes of the first quarter in his first game back at the Staples Center in a Lakers uniform. Ronny Turiaf added 10 points. Luke Walton helped the team with 10 assists. Mo Evans had 13 points. Vladimir Radmanovic led the team with 14 points.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Catching Up With Mitch Kupchak

Lakers General Manager, Mitch Kupchak, talks about who he thinks is the most improved after last season, Javaris Crittenton's development, the depth chart of the team, the possibility of eligible players getting sent to the D-League, and more in part one and part two of his interview.


"Where is Javaris' development compared to a typical rookie? Too early to tell. We thought he had a good summer league and he has played well out here in pick-up games, but that is totally different than what he's going to be exposed to starting next season in Hawaii. We are pleased to have him, we didn't think we would be able to get him at 19, we thought he'd be gone in the top 15. He shows flashes of being a true point guard, which is a player that makes the other players around him better. He looks to make a pass first, although he can score, but that is not what he looks to do first."

"With regards to Larry Turner, Elton Brown, and Coby Karl, what are we looking to get out of them? Right now we have 14 guys on our team based on their contractual status that will probably make the team. You’re allowed to have 15, so there is a spot open. We may or may not carry the 15th spot. It depends on what happens in training camp. I think the players you mentioned, Karl, Turner, Brown, and perhaps another player we’re going to add in the next day or two, will be trying to impress us to make that 15th slot their slot. So one of those guys could make it, one of those guys could make it for a month or two, or one of those guys can make it and spend time between going up and down between the D-League the whole season. We just don’t know right now, but we do have space for one more player if we want to carry that player."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

October 18, 2007 Lakers vs. Seattle Recap

The Los Angeles Lakers played much better in their first preseason game back in California, and beat the Seattle Supersonics 126-106. Kwame Brown played his first game of the preseason after sitting out the first two while recovering from his injury. The Lakers had balance in scoring, with 8 players in double figures.

The five players that I was really impressed with this game were Jordan Farmar, Brian Cook, Ronny Turiaf, Chris Mihm, and Andrew Bynum. Farmar had 10 points and 7 assists. He made both of his three pointers, definitely showing off the work that he's done on his outside shooting. Cook got a hot streak going early in the game, scoring 19 points to get him out of his shooting slump. Turiaf also got going early, scoring 11 of the team's first 14 points and ending up with 13 points total. Mihm had a nice game after not playing in the first half, scoring 11 points on 5/5 shooting in 12 minutes. Bynum had a double double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, looking really good and aggressive in the game.

Catching Up With Jordan Farmar

Last season's first round draft pick, Jordan Farmar, talks about his goals for the season, what he's worked on in the summer, and his role. Check out the full interview here.


"What are your goals for this season? Just to come in and contribute, to help the organization any way I can, doing whatever the coaching staff and the front office want me to do. Just play my role."

"What have you specifically worked on over the summer? A lot of catch and shoot and defensive stuff. In this offense, the triangle, you get a lot of opportunities to just catch and shoot, but you don't get a lot of time to play with the ball and do stuff off the dribble. So I've really been working on my shot, making it more consistent and more efficient. We'll see how it works out."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Catching Up With Luke Walton

5th year forward of the Los Angeles Lakers, Luke Walton, talks about his summer, his new contract that he signed, last season's ankle injury, how far he thinks the team can go this season, and more. You can check out here, and here for another interview.


"Talk about your brief period as a free agent. It was nerve wracking. Even though it was short, it was the whole time period leading up to that. L.A. is where I wanted to stay, I made that clear to my agent, but we had backup plans with other teams. Meetings setup and stuff like that. My agent and Mitch called me that first day and we agreed on that offer that I felt was something I was satisfied with and something the Lakers were happy with then we might as well sign it and get it done as opposed to going and looking somewhere else.

I was actually in Las Vegas when I got the call at a good friend of mine’s bachelor party. We were all packing up, getting ready to get on a plane to fly back home when I talked to Mitch and my agent. We ended up cancelling our flights and staying for an extra night. It ended up being a pretty fun evening."

"If you guys stay healthy this year, how far can this team go? I think we can go all the way. I don't see why there's a reason we can't win a championship with the team we have now. He got [Derek Fisher] back, who is a very experienced point guard who has won before. We got young guys who have a lot more experience. We have the coaching staff that knows what to do. We have Kobe who is the best player in the league."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Catching Up With Javaris Crittenton

The 19th pick in the first round in the 2007 NBA Draft of the Los Angeles Lakers, Javaris Crittenton, talks about the similarities of his home of Atlanta, Georgia and Los Angeles, the coaches, the transition to the NBA, what he's been working on, and other things in an interview here, and another one here.


"What kind of things have you been doing off the court? Man, I’ve just been in the gym you know. I went to some of my teammates' houses, Andrew Bynum & Jordan Farmar, hanging out with those guys. I’ve been hanging out with Brian Cook, we did a commercial for Amare Stoudemire’s video game together. Hanging out with Kwame (Brown).

I’m just trying to get adjusted to my teammates and the city. I also had a little 'Welcome to LA' party, but that’s about it besides being in the gym and getting ready for training camp and the season. It’s a big season for me, it’s the NBA, there’s no room to take breaks like that."

"Are you looking forward to playing against him and practice and learning from him (Kobe)? Yeah, I'm a competitor. I compete with anybody. I'm looking forward to that. He's a great player - the best in the league in my opinion. I'm looking forward to competing against him and also playing with him."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Will Phil Jackson Sign An Extension?

Will Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson sign an extension? Will he still be here after this season is over? These have been the questions of people that are wondering about Phil Jackson's future with the Lakers. The main consideration of Jackson to return is about his health. He has had each hip replaced in the last two offseasons. He is still walking with a cane after his last hip replacement surgery.

Tex Winter, the triangle offense guru and Lakers assistant, says that Jackson is feeling a lot better. "He feels a lot better," Winter said. "He's much more animated this year than he was last year. He really came into the season last year not feeling very well. He is enjoying it now. He seems back to his old self." Winter thinks that the Lakers wouldn't necessarily have to be a championship contender for Jackson to sign an extension. "To a great extent, it depends on his health," Winter said.

According to Jackson himself, he told the media that he will decide within 4 weeks if he will sign an extension or not. Reasons from the article above that Jackson will sign the extension include him needing to scratch the competitive itch of coaching, staying for Jeanie Buss, and the possibility of winning a record 10th championship. Reasons that he will not sign the extension include his health, being able to spend more time with family, not needing the money, and his age. We will hopefully as soon as possible find out Jackson's decision.

Friday, October 12, 2007

October 11, 2007 Lakers vs. Golden State Recap

The Los Angeles Lakers didn't have the 21 point deficit at the end of the first quarter like in the first preseason game against the Golden State Warriors (it was a 3 point deficit in this game), but the Lakers ended up losing by more in the end with a 119-106 loss.

Luke Walton played after sitting out the first game, and Mo Evans sat this one with a hamstring injury that he sustained in the first game. The Lakers had good balance in scoring, with Derek Fisher and Vladimir Radmanovic each scoring 12 points, and Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant, and Chris Mihm each putting up 11 points.

Coby Karl played a lot better than the first game, and scored 9 points, all on three pointers. Andre Patterson did well in limited minutes, with 5 rebounds and 3 blocks in 5 minutes. Javaris Crittenton didn't do as well in his second game, scoring only 3 points, but had a nice dunk after splitting 2 defenders.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sights From Preseason

Plenty of things going on with the Lakers as everyone is together for training camp and preseason. Always nice to see the Lakers playing again after the offseason.

Lakers correspondent John Ireland thinks the new plan for the Lakers to do more running to get more scoring opportunities will be fun to watch, although he's not sure how well it'll work. He's also surprised by Ronny Turiaf getting more time, thinks Chris Mihm looks the best out of the centers, and says Derek Fisher seems more confident than his last stint with the Lakers.

Javaris Crittenton is learning the ropes and adjusting to the NBA life with the Lakers, and Jordan Farmar can relate. Just last year, Farmar was a rookie in the same position. He has given Crittenton some words of advice to help him out.

Vladimir Radmanovic has put last season out of his mind, and is focusing on this season. Radmanovic had career lows across the board after starting last season with an injured shooting hand, and later separating his shoulder during the All-Star break in a snowboarding accident. He was fined $500,000 for lying about it and doing something that his contract says he cannot do. His hand and shoulder have healed, and his shots are falling, giving the Lakers another shooter that they need and the reason they signed him for. He led the team in scoring in the first preseason game, scoring 20 points and hitting 5 three pointers. Phil Jackson was not upset with the one point loss, and liked Radmanovic's contribution in the first preseason game, telling him, "You redeemed yourself."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

October 9, 2007 Lakers vs. Golden State Recap

Nice to see Derek Fisher back in a Lakers jersey, and good to see Kobe Bryant on the floor. The Lakers trailed just about all of the game, trailing by 27 points at one point, but the bench got them back in the game, and the Lakers took the lead with less than 10 seconds left. But Troy Hudson hit the game winner for the Golden State Warriors, winning 111-110 over the Lakers.

Who I was impressed with in the first preseason game:

- Sasha Vujacic. Sasha really seemed to improve his game over the summer. He drove to the basket on a few occasions instead of just shooting stand-still jumpshots like he had been known for. His shot looked good in this game too, helping him to 15 points.

- Vladimir Radmanovic. I was really impressed by Vlad. I expected him to do a lot better this season, but he did even better than I expected. He was hitting his three pointers like they were layups, and he led the Lakers with 20 points.

- Javaris Crittenton. He really started to get hot in the second quarter, making all of his shots including a nice three pointer. Later, he threw a nice alley-oop to Andrew Bynum. He had 18 points in his debut. If he keeps up the good play, he will see some minutes in the regular season.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Lakers Preseason Begins

Lakers preseason begins tonight! For all those that have been waiting to see an idea of what this team is capable of, we will see the Lakers competing starting tonight against the Golden State Warriors in Hawaii. The pregame report for tonight suggests the Lakers will have a starting lineup of Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vlad Radmanovic, Ronny Turiaf, and Chris Mihm. The Lakers will also play the Warriors again on Thursday. Let's hope for a nice showing by all of the Lakers!

Monday, October 8, 2007

More On Position Battles And A Possible New Starter

As I recently posted about, the starting center and first point guard off the bench are still being battled for. Andrew Bynum is reportedly looking good with his rebounding and blocking, and Chris Mihm is able to play after missing all of last season. Kwame Brown is being held out of contact drills, but will have a chance to fight for the starting center position before the season opener on October 30.

All of the backup point guards, namely Jordan Farmar, Javaris Crittenton, and even Sasha Vujacic, who was used last season mostly as a shooting guard, went through shooting/rebounding drills in which one point guard would shoot, and the next in line would rebound the ball. The point guards have been pushing each other to get the best out of everyone, and trying to earn their spot to be the first point guard off the bench after Derek Fisher sits down for a rest.

News about a possible new starter has been reported. Phil Jackson has been reported saying that Ronny Turiaf may get the start at power forward. "I plan on starting him," Jackson said. "I really am seriously considering starting him. Those positions are so wide open. He's a guy that can bring energy to the game, the kind of start we need to have with a physical front. He's a guy that can block some shots." Turiaf starting would mean that Lamar Odom would shift to small forward, and Luke Walton would come off the bench, bolstering the second unit.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

With Fisher Returning, Different Role Awaits

Derek Fisher returns to the Lakers this season after a three season hiatus. But things will be different from his last appearance with the Lakers. Fisher will no longer see the familiar faces of such players as Robert Horry, Rick Fox, and Shaquille O'Neal. Horry and O'Neal are now with the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat respectively, and Fox is retired. Instead, he'll see a team that hasn't made it out of the first round of the playoffs the last two seasons.

Fisher probably won't be as big of a scorer as he was last time with the Lakers, but he still has the ability to knock down the big shots which he has done many times. Laker fans will never forget the huge, game-winning buzzer beater that Fisher hit in the 2004 NBA Playoffs against the Spurs. This will give the Lakers another option besides Kobe Bryant to hit big shots when needed. And Fisher is a big upgrade over Smush Parker, who was very inconsistent. The Lakers will have a more stable force at point guard, which will help the team in the long run.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lakers Banking On Bynum

The Lakers are hoping for Andrew Bynum, who was picked in the 2005 draft with the tenth overall pick, that he will turn out to be the franchise center that they expected him to be. The Lakers are expected to pick up the option for one more season soon. They must pick up the option before October 31, or Bynum will became an unrestricted free agent after the end of this season. Bynum will need to step up his game to help the Lakers get as far as they can this season.

In other quick updates, Kwame Brown offered an apology to his teammates for his arrest this past weekend. Phil Jackson and the Lakers are waiting for a full report of the investigation of the incident.

After Chris Mihm's first practice, he said his ankle felt a little stiff, but that he was okay. Also, the Lakers are planning on running a faster paced, more uptempo version of the triangle to maximize scoring opportunities.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Lakers Training Camp Preview

Training camp starts today for the Lakers, the official end to the offseason. The position depth chart for the preseason looks like this:

PG: Derek Fisher/Jordan Farmar/Javaris Crittenton

SG: Kobe Bryant/Mo Evans/Sasha Vujacic/Coby Karl

SF: Luke Walton/Vladimir Radmanovic/Andre Patterson

PF: Lamar Odom/Ronny Turiaf/Brian Cook/Elton Brown

C: Kwame Brown/Andrew Bynum/Chris Mihm/Larry Turner

There are 14 players with guaranteed contracts, leaving Karl, Patterson, Brown, and Turner to fight for the last roster spot. Out of the 4, Karl is the most likely to get the last roster spot.

The main position battles will be at center and point guard. The starting center position is up for grabs, and anyone can get it. With the exception of Larry Turner, who is a camp invitee, all of the centers have held the starting position at one time or another. For the starting point guard spot, Derek Fisher is almost a lock to start, but it will be a battle between Farmar and Crittenton to be the second point guard off the bench. Farmar started at the end of last season, but Crittenton has impressed the team from his summer league play.

The Lakers will hopefully start the season as well as they did last season, and keep it up. Injuries derailed the Lakers' nice start last season, so the Lakers will hopefully have an injury-free season and get a favorable matchup in the playoffs.

Kwame Brown Arrested

Kwame Brown was arrested early Saturday morning in Valdosta, Georgia at 2 a.m. for disorderly conduct and interference of an officer. Brown was the passenger in a car that was driving the wrong way on a one way street.

Brown was arrested when he got out of control during the investigation. "He would have been interfering with the investigation the officer was trying to conduct at that time," says Lt. Bobbi McGraw with the Valdosta Police.

Both Brown and the driver are out of jail on bond. Brown showed up for time for media day, and no punishment has been given to him by the team.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Lakers Sign Andre Patterson

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed free agent forward Andre Patterson, it was announced today. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.

Patterson, a former UCLA Bruin who transferred to Tennessee for his junior and senior years of eligibility, played last season for the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA Development League. In 50 games including 36 starts with the D-Fenders, Patterson averaged 10.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.62 blocked shots in 32.3 minutes.

Patterson also played for the Lakers 2007 Summer-Pro League team, averaging 4.3 points and 1.5 rebounds in four games. The Lakers preseason roster now stands at 18.

Kobe Shows Up For Media Day

There was initial confusion at the 10 a.m. start of the media day events, as all the players were there except for Kobe Bryant, who was missing. Things were cleared up when Bryant's spokeswoman, Catherine Sebring, cleared it up saying that he had a doctor's appointment. All eyes went to the door as Bryant showed up at 10:34 a.m.

Kobe said: "We purposely didn't say anything because we wanted to keep things to ourselves. There was just too much going on -- things get misconstrued. We don't need that. We don't need any distractions for the season. There was never a doubt I was coming to camp. They knew that, I knew that.

I was frustrated, so I blew up. Now, it's about taking this team that we have and take it to new heights. I think the important thing for everybody to understand is I want to bring a title back to L.A.

I'm ready to play. I'm in shape, guys look good. I'm ready to go. My job is to come out here on the floor, help us win ballgames.

I'm a soldier. It's not my decision to say whether or not we should fight the war. My focus and my mind has to be on this team. We have an uphill battle. I'm going to do all I can to help us win."