Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2 losses

Well I've been dropping the ball a bit... I'll be getting back on track though! And I don't find it pleasant to dwell on losses hah. One of the perks of being home for Thanksgiving has been the ability to watch KCAL Laker games. I watched the Jazz game with my parents the other night and it started out fantastic: 20 point Laker lead. I was skeptical though because the Jazz have made a habit this season of coming back from double digit deficits, and unfortunately this game ended up being no different. LA's three point shooting was abysmal; they made one the entire game until the end of the 4th quarter, when Kobe hit two in a row to bring the Lakers back. I had forgotten how thrilling a Kobe comeback can be- luckily we hadn't had to have one yet this year! But yeah, he hit the first and I clapped. He hit the second and I thrust both hand into the air. It was fantastic. Hit some free throws, and it was looking good, but we ended up losing. I didn't get to see the Pacers game on Sunday night because I was visiting my old roommates in LA who don't watch basketball. I honestly thought it would be an easy W. When I checked the score on my phone, I couldn't believe it: 41 points from Kobe and we lost by 3. Apparently he had the chance to tie it at the end but missed two good shots. I can't be mad about it though because he's hit sooo many shots for us in the past that he definitely gets a free pass this time. I heard Matt Barnes had a good game at least. Not happy to hear that Ron and Phil are apparently butting heads a bit, but I'm sure that will be resolved. Ron is a rhythm shooter, and he hasn't been getting as many minutes, so he's cold, so he goes to the bench, etc. Vicious cycle. It'll work itself out. Glad to hear that Andrew should be back in time for Christmas.

I'm very excited to watch the Cleveland-Miami game on Thursday btw, it should be a scene and a half. And I really wish this commercial was real. Epic.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Game 15 vs. the Bulls

In which I got my very first article ever published, on Lakers Nation!!! Should have posted this a few days ago, whoops. Here is the article:

When the Lakers face off with the Chicago Bulls, it is usually guaranteed to be a good game: the Bulls are young, athletic, and fast and always come to play. There are also a myriad of storylines surrounding any Lakers-Bulls matchup, including (but not limited to) a rematch of the 1991 Finals, Phil Jackson winning his first six rings with the Bulls and his last five (and counting) with the Lakers and the media’s quest to compare Kobe with MJ.

This time around, we are able to add to the mix: Chicago native Shannon Brown facing the team he loved growing up, a Bulls team that is currently first in their division (this deep into the season) for the first time since Phil left and of course, the Kobe Bryant-Tom Thibodeau connection. I only just learned of it and thought it was fascinating! As an assistant coach in Philadelphia, while Kobe was at Lower Merion High School, Thibodeau was there to witness scrimmages between Kobe and NBA players set up by 76ers coach John Lucas. Thibodeau says he saw something special in him at that early age. Kobe himself credits Thibodeau with helping him learn about preparedness and the fundamentals of the game, calling him crucial to his development - quite a compliment coming from the hardest working man in the NBA.

As for last night's game, I though it was a well-fought contest; the Bulls brought everything they had against the Lakers. Coming into the game, both teams were two of the top rebounding teams in the league and at the top of their respective divisions as well. Kobe started off hot, scoring seven points in the first two minutes; including a spectacular left handed scoop shot between three defenders! LO had a good start in the first quarter as well, with seven points and three boards of his own. Unfortunately Pau’s perfect game did not carry over in any respect; Joakim Noah had a lot to do with it, being the manic scrappy defender that he is. Noah is so energetic and is really the emotional heart of his team - his tremendous hustle and defense is often more important than the double doubles he routinely registers.

The Bulls definitely beat the Lakers on boards and hustle for most of the night, but they were unable to capitalize on them due to turnovers and missed free throws. Ron-Ron had another quiet night, getting into some early foul trouble followed by a cold stretch of shooting in the third. I kept expecting at least one or two of them to fall, but the ball stayed stubbornly out of the basket.

The real stars of the game were of course the "Killer B’s." With one second left in the first quarter, Shannon hit an extremely long three and the first thought that crossed my mind was “Downtown Shannon Brown”!! That’s my vote for his individual nickname; although I’m also partial to “What can Brown do for you”, but “Downtown” has a good old-fashioned ring to it. That was just the start of Shannon’s hot shooting: he racked up 15 points in the second quarter and had 18 at the half, after starting out four of four from the 3-point line. Factoring in a missed dunk that would have brought the house down, and a speed race with Derrick Rose all night, his entire arsenal of athletic ability was on display once again.

Quick digression to talk about D Rose: the man is incredible! He has to be one of the fastest point guards in the NBA, and he had some crazy circus shots last night. Two of them were back to back beautiful layups under and around the basket. Rose also utilized his floating, eight foot runner for much of the night as well. He basically did whatever he wanted in the paint.

But yes, the Killer B’s went on a run in the second half and really put the game away for us. Kobe and Lamar contributed to the run as well, with the Mamba hitting his patented fadeaway jumper as the shot clock was down to three and Lamar converting on an insane over-the-shoulder shot in major traffic. LO had a sweet spin move for an and-one that the Lakers were desperate for at the time. To cap it off, Lamar slammed home a put back dunk off of a Gasol miss to tie the game with 55 seconds left in the third. Lamar and Shannon ended the game with 21 points each to lead the Lakers. The Lakers' ball movement was excellent, and just one extra pass from Barnes allowed Shannon to hit a huge three with a hand in his face to put the Lakers up by one. Not long after, Steve Blake hit his first shot of the game (a three with six minutes left in the 4th). Next Lakers possession: a three from Matt Barnes! And immediately following that, another three from Blake! It put the Lakers up 95-83 and they never looked back. I loved when Patrick O’Neal interviewed Lamar in the locker room after the win and asked him about the play of the bench:

“What do you guys call them, Killer B’s?”- Lamar
“Yeah. Or the Renegades.” –Patrick O’Neal
“I like the Killer B’s.” –Lamar, smiling

Phil used a short rotation in this game, which I thought was a smart move. Only eight guys were utilized, besides rookie Derrick Caracter playing a couple early 4th quarter minutes to give Pau some rest. He did well, accumulating a rebound and basket to clean up a miss, and on the ensuing possession he blocked Luol Deng’s shot. Not a bad night for the rookie. It was the Lakers’ seventh consecutive victory over the Bulls, with a final score of 98-91. The real heroes were of course the bench, which outscored Chicago’s 39-10. More importantly, they came through at critical moments in the game, and during his press conference, Phil mentioned the great defense by the Lakers in the fourth quarter. Kobe only took 18 shots, but he made eight of them and kept his teammates involved. That’s how I like the Lakers to win.

Overall, the game was very entertaining and I really enjoyed watching the two clubs battle. I really think the effort of the Bulls was what kept them in the game, as opposed to the Lakers, who are prone to laziness. That wasn’t the case in this game at all. I also enjoyed seeing Kobe talk to Rose and Noah after the game, as Stu Lantz said that Kobe respects anyone who works hard and gives maximum effort at all times; which those two certainly do. I can’t wait to see what the Bulls do in the Eastern Conference this year, and especially in the playoffs. I’m hoping for another epic series like the Chicago-Boston one a couple years ago – the best non-Lakers series I’ve ever watched!

I’m also looking forward to see how the Lakers respond against Utah. We beat them handily last year in the playoffs, but they seem like a different team right now and I’d be lying if I said their penchant for double digit comebacks wasn’t a little scary. I’m confident our boys will step up to the challenge though.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pau just had to upstage Matt Barnes hahah :) Another perfect game!! I taped the game because I was out at my friend's pre-thanksgiving Thanksgiving feast (delicious btw), but once I heard it was such a rout, I didn't end up watching it. Funny story though: I was watching Sportscenter before I went to bed the other night and they showed a quick clip of the game, and Kobe in particular, and when I saw him my first thought was "I miss him!" hahaha. It's been at least a week since I've seen a live Lakers game and I miss my boys, so I'm even more excited for the game against the Bulls tonight than normal. I think 13-2 is within our grasp for sure. The Bulls are a good young team though, I love watching them. The Bulls-Celtics first round series two years ago was literally the BEST series I've ever watched (that wasn't related to the Lakers hehe). Every game was so incredible, so hard fought, so many overtimes!!! The best one was obviously Game 6; I remember I came home and was bummed I'd only catch the 4th quarter. And then, the game went on to triple overtime and last two more hours. AND the celtics lost that game! Great sequence at the end, with Joakim Noah blocking a shot and then getting a dunk and one on the other end, and then Derrick Rose blocking a last second shot attempt to seal the win. Only time I've ever been screaming on my feet for a non-Lakers, non-Olympic moment.

Also, here is a really fascinating article about how Michael Jackson was a huge influence on Kobe, especially about his work ethic and determination. And Kobe talks in depth about his motivations and why he really understands now what it means to make teammates better.... it sounds like he's grasped "The Secret" haha (from The Book of Basketball).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Game 13: Massacre of the Wolves

Matty Barnes!!! You have officially been moved off my "Cautionary Love For New Lakers Probation List" onto my "I Love You Because You're Officially a Ballin' Laker" list! Saw the replays on SC and he scored 24 points on 7 for 7 shooting, 5 for 5 from 3 point land! BAM. Throw in 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals and you have yourself an exemplary game, especially by a bench player. Everyone else seemed to do their usual work, and Lamar particularly went to town on his Team USA compadre Kevin Love (0 points?! boo...bad for my fantasy team haha). Kobe had an aaaamazing, Jordanesque reverse layup in the third, which was so beautiful.

Oh and good news: I FIXED MY HOME INTERNET CONNECTION!!!!! Finally figured out how to disable the proxy settings, which means I can now watch all the Laker games I want thanks to atdhe.net (amazingly good quality for free streaming live sports- it's how I watch football at work lol). AHHHH SO EXCITEDDDD! Besides now I can use my instant view on Netflix and just do whatever I want. Love it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The (Main) Reason Why I Love The Sports Guy

I love Bill Simmons. I love that he is so passionate about sports and his teams, I love his random pop culture references, and I love the hilarious stories and quotes from his wife. He is by far my favorite columnist and my day is always better when I find a brand new Sports Guy article on espn. Most people find this funny because he is a Bostonian through and through and hates the Lakers with a passion... BUT the reason I love him is that he loves good basketball and respects the sanctity of sports more than he loves his Boston teams (if that makes sense). Yes, he hates the Lakers but he respects what they bring to the NBA, what Magic and Kobe bring to the history of basketball. Every once in awhile, he'll even write a whole paragraph about LA with nary a negative comment in sight. Rare, but it happens- like in today's retro-preview rankings of the Western Conference


Preseason Prediction: 56 wins (2nd)
Revised Prediction: 65 wins

I thought for sure the Lakers would have one of those "We already have a couple of rings, our guys are a little banged up, let's just get through the regular season and turn it on in April" seasons, just like the 2008 Spurs (57 wins), 2003 Lakers (50 wins), 1991 Pistons (50 wins) and 1989 Lakers (57 wins) did before them. Wrong. Both the Celtics and Lakers seem to be playing with a similar chip on their shoulders: We're tired of hearing about Miami. You're pissing us off. The road through the title still goes through us. If you could tell how much the Celtics relished beating Dwyane Wade's Miami Heat that second time -- with Paul Pierce's "just got finished taking my talents to South Beach" postgame tweet symbolizing everything -- just wait until the Lakers get their hands on Wade's team Christmas Day.

Upon further review, the Summer of South Beach gave the Lakers an edge that's atypical for most two-time defending champs. Three Lakers are playing their best basketball ever: Pau Gasol (doing an '86 McHale impersonation), Lamar Odom (a top-20 player this season) and Shannon Brown (outstanding off the bench). Kobe seems more invested than ever. Their bench is better thanks to Steve Blake and Matt Barnes. They're 10-2 without Andrew Bynum, and like Boston, both their losses came in the final minute. When you watch Miami, it's like watching a White Stripes concert -- tons of talent, great music, but still just a little bit gimmicky because it's only two people. The Celtics and Lakers are trotting out full bands. You might hear a lead guitar one song, a sax player the next, an acoustic song, a hard rock song, a blues song … you just don't know. They can go big, they can go small, they can play fast, they can play slow. They have an answer for everything. Miami does not.

Wade and his sidekick LeBron were right about one thing: By joining forces, they did affect the Finals. They just won't be playing in it. Not this year, anyway.

Reason No. 14,736 I love the NBA: The rubber match. June 2011. It's coming.

*side note: I'm super excited to buy the paperback edition of Simmons' "The Book of Basketball"! He's added chapters on The Decision, "what if" featuring Kevin Durant and Greg Oden, and bumped Kobe a couple spots up his Best Players Ever Pyramid :) It is a fantastic book if you're a basketball fan; really intriguing look at the history of the league and the players with great anecdotes thrown in as well. I plowed through it and found myself immersed in stories about players I had never heard of, or games I didn't know I cared about. Really fantastic, and classic Simmons (tons of pop culture references and footnotes). Naturally, I got a severe case of strep throat the day before his book signing at my local Borders in Mission Valley... I was soooo bummed! I had really been looking forward to it, but hopefully I'll catch him some time in the future. I have signed books or letters from all of my other favorite authors, which is something I'm quite proud of :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Game 12 vs. Detroit

Once again, I was unable to see any of this game but I wanted to add a couple things in any case. Pau and Lamar have become reliable double-double men every night, which is so fantastic! And Kobe had one of his most efficient games of the season, going 11 of 20 from the field and practically getting a double-double of his own. I have so much confidence in this team, and I think that is the main reason that I won't flip out much when they lose. I know that they'll get it done when it counts. I felt that way most of the time last year, and this year's bench is so vastly improved that I don't think I'll ever truly doubt them. I find it hilarious that Shannon is having a twitter contest to pick a new nickname for himself haha. I like "Downtown Shannon Brown", it has an old school ring to it.

The funny thing about the Pistons is I constantly forget that they beat us in 2004 for the championship (I think I block it out of my mind most of the time haha). The Lakers were imploding, Karl Malone was old and hurt, Gary Payton was annoying and the Pistons took advantage. I remember exactly where I was when we lost Game 5. I had just come back from my senior trip to Knott's Berry Farm and went to Rubino's (the local pizza place by my high school) with Josh, Ashlie and...my sister I think. Possibly Katie too. But yeah, I just sat there in stony silence with a scowl on my face- Ashlie took a pretty hilarious picture, although it didn't seem funny at all at the time. Went to the pool after that even though it was nighttime and that was that. It sucked. And the Lakers sucked for the next 3 years. It's not often tough to be a Lakers fan, but it really truly felt difficult during that period of time. Yeah, we only missed the playoffs one year, but then Phoenix knocked us out the next two. Everyone hated Kobe still because of Colorado, and because he "forced out" Shaq. I still loved him, but yeah. Difficult.

Anyway last night in Detroit was a fairly easy win. I'm glad the Lakers have been stepping up to the challenge the past couple games against somewhat inferior teams. It's always good to win on the road. Their defense has still been pretty abysmal, but I'm sure the kinks will work themselves out.

One last thought: I know we need Andrew Bynum because of his size and his skill, the fact that he gives Pau and Lamar some rest, and to compete against Boston and Miami specifically....but I still don't care that much when he comes back. Just that he does eventually. He's never been my favorite, although I thought it was amazing and I totally appreciated how much he put himself through during the playoffs and especially the Finals last year. However, I hated that he postponed his knee surgery during the summer. Then I just found out he was going 110mph in his Porshe in LA? Seriously? I know you're only 22 with millions of dollars, but come on. He doesn't always show me that he's focused, and that's what I want out of my favorite athletes: focus. Also, he looks eerily like Tracy Morgan. But anyway, haha.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I feel like a terrible Lakers fan...I've only seen bits of the 4th quarter in their last three games :( I was watching football on Sunday night and went out to dinner with my family last night- if only the game hadn't started at the ridiculously early 5pm!! And tonight the game is on at 430, on KCAL. And I'm sick, so I really shouldn't be going out to a bar to watch it. I know not that many people read my blog, and it really is for my own enjoyment, but I feel like it's been a letdown recently. I'll work really hard on getting it back up to speed! I was very proud of the game Shannon had last night- 16 points in the 4th quarter is ridiculous! And as far as the Sunday game goes, we should have had that. And the stupid new technical rule reared its ugly head against Lamar in a crucial part of the game. The defense has been super sloppy lately, but I'm really not that worried about their performance in general. It's very early. Sad news about Theo Ratliff being done for 6 weeks, hopefully he'll come back better than ever.

Go Lakers!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Game 9: The Thuggets

Here's my post, one day late hah. Even though Kenyon Martin and Chris "the birdman" Andersen didn't play, I still like referring to Denver as the Thuggets haha. First loss of the season... even though I know it's inevitable to lose a good number of games, I still hate it every time it happens. I feel like the Lakers have the talent to win every night, but sometimes the other teams have just as much talent, simply want it more, or get some lucky breaks. Surprisingly, I didn't take this loss too badly. Mainly because the Lakers haven't been playing well despite the wins and sometimes they need a good kick in the ass to get going again. Plus like I said, losses are inevitable. Apparently Denver won the season series last year 3-1, but look who the champs are :) The Lakers didn't play them in the playoffs last year, but the year before beat them in 6 games (Trevor Ariza steals! Last second shots! Whoooo haha). I got to go to Game 2 and watch from the 7th row right next to the tunnel as Kobe eviscerated the Nuggets with 49 points and 10 assists!! It was insaneeeee. Got crazy close pics of Pau and Luke Walton too. And got to see AI and Melo in person. I love basketball :)

Anyway, I had a lot of fun watching this game overall. I thought the Lakers looked good in the beginning. Pau ended up with a double double and Kobe had a season high point total, but they collapsed down the stretch and shot waaaay too many 3s. It was ridiculous, and would have made much more sense to draw fouls by getting points in the paint for 3 point opportunities. Fish drove me crazy once again and was just throwing up brick after brick... clutch Fish did not show up hah. Shannon Brown was fantastic though, he had a number of heads up plays and a monster dunk of course, but continued to hit outside shots. Watching him this game made me seriously consider adding a purple and gold #12 to my jersey collection! He's been impressive and I've always liked him. Plus, I've been wanting a purple Lakers jersey.

It was disappointing to lose a game that it looked like we were in control of, but I'm sure the Lakers will reset and be ready for Phoenix on Sunday. Can't wait to watch that game! And yes, this is the most positive you will eeeever hear me after a Lakers loss, and it's only because it's so early in the season ;)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Random: Joakim Noah, and some quotes from Black Mamba

Besides Ron Artest, I think Joakim Noah is my favorite source of amazing soundbites in the NBA. From SportsCenter Rundown:

"Kevin Garnett will not -- will not -- get a Christmas gift from me...He's a very mean guy...Where's the love? None at all. Ugly, too." (Joakim Noah of the Bulls doesn't seem to like Kevin Garnett of the Celtics very much.)

I laughed a lot reading that! KG is actually one of the only Celtics I can tolerate, but lately I've heard enough about him picking on young guys and European players that I can believe his mean streak. Kind of a bully.

And there's the always classic "I don't know about Cleveland, man, there is nothing going on," Noah said Sunday, lamenting the options for his off day on a typical cloudy and chilly spring day. "It's bad, man." When asked if his dislike for the town would motivate him more in the series, Noah continued. "What, that Cleveland really sucks?" Noah said. AWESOME! Players are rarely so candid these days, more worried about PR and whatnot than saying what they really think. I love players that speak their minds. There was also a really interesting article about Noah in last week's Sports Illustrated, about how he's grown as a player and become an important part of the Bulls. Good read.

Just found an amusing short article with Kobe talking about the bench, "Killer B's and KB" by Arash Markazi:

One of the biggest reasons Kobe Bryant is averaging just 31.8 minutes per game this season has been the stellar play of bench players Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Shannon Brown, who have been nicknamed "The Killer B's."

Bryant wasn't familiar with the nickname when he was asked about the trio Tuesday.

"The Killer B's? Barnes, Blake and Brown?" Bryant said. "Sounds like a law firm."

Barnes and Brown are each averaging 9 points off the bench for the Lakers while Brown and Blake are both hitting 50% of their three-point shots. Blake and Barnes, who are each averaging 2.4 assists per game, have adapted to the Triangle offense quickly in their first season with the Lakers.

"They're playing really, really well," Bryant said. "Our bench is solid with the three B's. The Killer B's implies they're small in stature and I don't think any of them would be OK with that. Especially Shannon, he's got a small man complex."

If Phil Jackson decides to bring Andrew Bynum along slowly off the bench when he returns to the team next month, the Killer B's may have a new B on the team, but for now there are three coming off the bench and one in the starting lineup.

"Don't go grouping me in with them," Bryant said. "My B stands for 'Black Mamba.' No 'Killer B' over here."

Aww Kobe hahah, I heart you!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Game 8, where we almost got eaten by Wolves

I know that we're 8-0 but (to steal a phrase from Chris Berman) cmon man!! That is the second game out of the last three where the lakers looked genuinely sloppy and lazy. The rebounding wasn't there, and neither was the defense. First quarter started out alright with good ball movement, Kobe hitting beautiful shots and Pau with a sweet ball fake and scoop under the basket. The Wolves were hanging in, but the game looked good at that point. I tuned back in during the 3rd quarter (stupid DVR was recording too many things, so I watched Glee haha), and was shocked to find the score tied!! What the eff... Joel and Stu kept remarking on what a bizarre game it was and I believe them. It didn't help that Lamar and Ron were both in foul trouble. Lamar has been such a huge factor in the team's dominance so far that it was easy to see the difference with him on the bench. Of course he chipped in 7 key 4th quarter points, which was great. Huge 3 plus an and 1 play (missed the FT, but whatever). The Lakers went on a run in the 3rd quarter at one point and seemed poised to pull away, but they couldn't shake Minnesota all game. Kevin Love was a beast, putting up 23 points and 24 REBOUNDS!!! He's such a great talent... I was thinking last night that he seems like the new version of Kevin Garnett, inasmuch that he's very talented and stuck on a crappy Minnesota team. I hope he doesn't languish there in his prime like KG had to. That would be a shame. I love that Bill Simmons is trying to start a Twitter keyword #freekevinlove hahaha.

- a couple plays that I liked:
-a steal and fastbreak by Matt Barnes; made the layup but missed the free
throw. Still, good extra effort.
-the Pau ball fake and shot I mentioned earlier, plus finishing from an extra
pass sent his way via Shannon Brown and a beautiful soft touch baseline layup.
-the 3rd quarter buzzer beater by Minnesota, just because buzzer beaters are
cool unless the other team hits one at the end of the 4th or OT to win hahah.

I was struck by how many graceful shots Pau had during the game. He always does, but I guess I just noticed it more this time. And one of the most beautiful things in my opinion is Kobe's pull up jumper. I love seeing him swing the ball, jab his foot and just pull up and swish the basket. Gorgeous. His game fell off a bit in the second half, but that happens. I did NOT like how much Luke was shooting the ball. 1-5 from 3 point. That's a bit excessive in my opinion, but I'm not the biggest Luke fan in general. Also, thanks for the airball at the end of the game, Fish. Jesus. I wasn't thrilled with all of Steve Blake's turnovers either, but he's still new and has been so great the first 7 games that he gets a free pass haha. I miss Kurt Rambis being on our staff by the way, so it's always bittersweet to see him during the season now. He would have been a good Phil replacement, but I think Brian Shaw will be excellent. Assuming he eventually gets the job (which I think he will).

Also... UTAH BEAT MIAMI IN OT!!!! Paul Millsap was going off last night, I saw the replay on Sportscenter. Three 3s in the last minute, and a put back two at the buzzer to send the game to OT. Seriously insane.

And here's another classic interview by Ron Artest. "I ain't goin' back to sleep," Artest said. "Freddy's scary as (heck)." hahah made me laugh so hard at work. He was saying how the Lakers fell asleep during the game and Freddy Krueger got into their dreams and scared them awake. Or something like that :) He does make some intuitive observations about Brandon Roy, which was pretty cool.

So yeah, the Lakers escaped what would have been a very embarassing loss. I doubt the Lakers are going to underestimate Denver or Phoenix this weekend, so hopefully they'll come out looking good. LO and Fish were so pissed during their postgame interviews! You could tell that they knew the team hadn't played as hard as they should against Minnesota. I liked Lamar drawing attention to the great game by his USA teammate Kevin Love, that was awesome. I'm also stoked that New Orleans is good again this year, I love Chris Paul and think a Lakers-Hornets series would be fun!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Game 7 vs. Portland

So I've come to discover that my blogging adventure might be a little more difficult than I first imagined... it's hard coming up with interesting or exciting things to say about every game! It does, however, give me a chance to work on my writing skills and to follow through with something I've promised to do.

In any case, the game against Portland! I had momentarily forgotten that it was in LA so going into the game I was a lot more nervous about it. The Lakers do not fare well in the Rose Garden for whatever reason, and the Blazers are a tough team despite their constant injury issues. Brandon Roy is pretty great. And when I saw Greg Oden on the bench in a suit, I just started laughing. I didn't know that he REINJURED himself AGAIN! Super ridiculous. I don't think I've ever seen him play and this is his third NBA season. But yeah, Lakers had this one in the bag, they were up by double digits the entire game. It was really great seeing Pau continue to flourish and get a triple double. Really sweet dunk off a Steve Blake backboard pass in the third quarter! Kobe had a bummer game, but when you have other guys stepping up and giving MVP caliber performances, it's not nearly as big a deal as it would have been in the past. His finger isn't as bandaged as last year either, which will help his shooting I'm sure. He has this nifty little finger sweatband thing with "24" stitched on it also haha.

Since I'm a fan of reminiscing in my posts, I taped another Lakers Classic game, Game 7 vs. Portland in the 2000 Western Conference Finals aka Road to Modern Championship #1. I don't have very clear memories of that game compared to other games, but I know I watched it and remember how incredible it was to come back from 17 down to earn a trip to Finals for the first time in my "adult" memory. The iconic image of that game is the Kobe to Shaq alley oop of course... and how pissed Scottie Pippen was afterwards, knocking down that stack of towels on the way to the locker room. To be honest, I forgot for a couple years that the game was in LA, which made the comeback win even sweeter. I can't wait to go home and watch the game now :) I love Kobe with the 'fro haha.

In conclusion, bear with me if my posts aren't always that exciting. There are still 73+ games to go ;) Just wait until that first buzzer beater of the season... I'll probably type my post in all caps!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Game 6: when we almost got eaten by the Raptors

Well that was an ugly game: No defense, completely outrebounded, sluggish... but the Lakers came out with a W. Offensively things were alright, with Pau getting 30 and Kobe doing relatively well. Steve Blake came off the bench to hit his first four shots, all of which were 3s. But Lamar had his worst game of the young season, and Pau had rebounds in the single digits- how does that happen when you're over 7 feet tall?! Oh well. Everyone's entitled to an off night. And the Lakers hadn't been challenged much thus far, so they were due for a "slacker game" I guess. Watching the boys play complacent basketball during the regular season is nothing new, but I never enjoy it. They allowed the Raptors to stay in the game all the way until the last few minutes, but like I said, it's early in the season and at least we got the win. Way too many uncontested layups, but Kobe got a really sweet block from behind at the end of the game. I liked that LakersNation had a status update on facebook that said "The game comes to a merciful end in Los Angeles" hahah so funny. And also " True Fans are the Ones that Can Watch a Game like tonight's Game vs. Toronto". I couldn't agree more :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

81 points

They replayed Kobe's 81 point game last night on tv, and I definitely taped it. It all went down in January 2006 vs. the Raptors (with Chris Bosh HAH and Jalen Rose! I didn't remember he still played as recently as 4 years ago). And the thing that struck me the most as I watched the game this time around was the score: the Lakers were down by 12 in the 3rd quarter when I turned it on! They were down for most of the game in fact, and absolutely no one on the Lakers was able to do a thing about it besides KB24. I mean this was the period of Smush Parker, Kwame Brown, Brian Cook, Devean George, Chris Mihm, Lamar.... gag me. What a terrible lineup. At the time, I would defend them to anyone but only because they were wearing purple and gold. Now, I can appreciate how truly awful and useless they really were. But anyway, Kobe was trying to get the Lakers back in the game and only regained the lead towards the end of the 3rd- he already had 40 or 50 something points by then, which is crazy in and of itself. He was hitting the sickest shots from all over the court. I saw him hit at least three 3's in a row at one point, one of which was so far out it looked like his body folded into itself from the follow through of his arms and the kick of his legs. Lots of free throws too, which weren't exciting save for the fact that they added to his RIDICULOUS point total and helped the Lakers win. Just incredible. It's hard to believe it happened, and watching it again didn't make it that much more believable haha. The points quickly and somewhat quietly accumulated until everyone realized that something insanely special was unfolding. I can't wait to go home and finish watching the game (I got way too tired last night, and I figured staying up til 1am watching a taped game from 4 years ago was a little much...even for me). He literally carried the entire team on his back to erase the deficit, get a W and etch a new place for himself in basketball history. Love it.

*side note: my mom just texted me "I had a dream last night that you got a HUGE double Lakers logo tattoo that covered your whole back! It was insane! I was glad when I woke up and it was just a dream! haha". OMG what an awesome dream!! I wonder what my tattoo looked like exactly :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Game 5: I still wish there was a real rivalry

Whenever the Lakers play Sacramento, I'm transported back to the glorious days of the first three peat. Earlier this century, the Kings (or Queens as I liked to call them) were worthy opponents who clawed at the Lakers and gave them a run for their money. Starting with that first playoff run for a championship and including 2001 and 2002 as well. There wasn't a team I disliked more than Sacramento; I hated them with a passion. Mike Bibby the Baby, Vlade the Flopper (I had a great shirt with Sacramento Queens on the front and Flopper on the back with Vlade's number 21), Peja with his pesky 3's, Bobby Jackson, Chris Webber and of course, Doug Christie. My two favorite Lakers-Kings memories:

-the preseason game where Doug Christie and Rick Fox got into a fight on the court two minutes into the game and both got ejected. Then you saw Rick sprinting through the tunnel and coming out the other side to pound on Christie as he headed to the visitors' locker room. Both benches were involved and both players were suspended for a number of games. I freakin LOVED it! Fights are always fun in sports and the feistyness and bad blood evident between the two teams was on full view. Great things for a rivalry.

-Robert Horry's iconic game winning shot in Game 4 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals. I remember I was at my grandparent's house during a birthday party for my sister. It was looking dire and I took everything so seriously back then, even worse than I do now, so I was getting pretty upset. But watching that ball bounce around, then Vlade hitting it out to the arc, and then Big Shot Rob picking it up and swishing a 3. It was literally one of the best moments of my life, and one of the first iconic Lakers buzzer beaters that I remember with perfect clarity. My eyes welled up with happy tears for the first time- I had never cried over something happy before even though I do it quite often now haha. I actually found a replay of the game on tv a couple years ago and tuned in during the 4th quarter. Even though I knew what happened and knew that we went on to win the championship, it was absolutely terrifying to watch a second time. It felt brand new, and my heart was pounding like I didn't know the shot would go in. Who does that happen to except weirdo Laker fans like me?! hahaha I got caught up in a REPLAY that was at least 6 years old at the time! Lordy lordy lordy.

But I digress! On to last night's game:
- It's hard to think of things to say that I haven't already said about the Lakers thus far, so I'll keep it short and sweet- they are looking scaaary good this season! It's incredible; the shots keep falling especially from beyond the arc, and the Pau-Lamar tandem is doing work in the paint. They work so well together and Lamar looks like a new man. I honestly think Phil should have Andrew come off the bench when he comes back. No need to mess with what's working. Also, really sick dunk by Lamar in the third off a feed from the Mamba!
-Ron added 17 points along with Pau and Lamar's double doubles, and Derek came out of nowhere to ice the game in the 4 quarter, hitting that magical 3 of his and driving through the lane to draw the foul. That play in particular reminded me of his monster game 3 last year in Boston, when he ran down the court, got swallowed by three Celtics and still hit the running layup. Awesome.
-Kobe got a triple double!! the 17th of his career. And he made it look so damn easy while he did it. They really seem unstoppable when Kobe is playing that well because it allows the rest of the team to thrive too. He was three away from tying his career high in assists, which is awesome. And he was taking good shots, which is always nice to see. Circus shots are fun, but I hate when he's forcing things too much. He also got in a little scuffle with one of the Kings players, can't remember who.... Head, I think. Kobe got fouled, and Head got in his face and didn't back down. The officials ran over of course, but I respect players that get in Kobe's face and I know he does too. Plus like I mentioned before, I like confrontations :)
-It was the first back to back of the season and the Lakers did really well. Up by 20 at one point, got whittled down to 8, but they kept the lead in the whole second half. Only 6 turnovers the whole game, which is crazy. But yeah, nice to stay unbeaten against a feisty team.
-The Kings have some good young talent, and they're fast; it was more of a game in the first half, but they definitely kept the whole thing interesting even though it was a mini-blowout. I was entertained the whole time. They gave the Lakers some headaches last year, and who could forget Kobe's buzzer beater from the corner in Sacramento. Beautiful shot, and remarkably uncontested. They somehow let Kobe get wide open in the corner and he drained it in front of the Kings' bench. Loooove it.

Alright, this was longer than I thought haha, but mainly because I reminisced quite a bit. Man, I love my boys. I still can't believe the summer went so fast and that basketball is back. In some ways, it felt like it never left. And my stress levels are still low, luckily.... for now!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Games 3 and 4, and a Disclaimer

I probably should have written this disclaimer in my first post, but it didn't cross my mind until the other night haha. For whatever reason, I don't get Fox Sports West on the tv in my room, so I can only watch those games in the living room. My roommate and I dvr a lot of shows though, so if we're recording two at a time I can't watch the game. And I can't watch ANY games that are on Kcal :( Stupid Orange County channel.... once I get my internet to work properly again, I'll be able to but until then I might miss a few parts of games... and I'll be posting a bit late as well.

I've been taking notes as I watch, and even brought a notepad with me to the bar on Halloween, so I'm trying my best to be diligent! Anyway, onto condensed reviews for Games 3 and 4 (versus Golden State and Memphis, respectively)-

-I tuned in to Gasol Brothers showdown at the beginning of the second quarter and found the score sitting at a comfortable 38-23 lead. Matt Barnes already had 7 boards on his want to a 16 pt, 14 rebound performance, and the Lakers were shooting a delightful 6 of 9 from beyond the arc. The excellent 3 point shooting continued throughout the game.

-Lamar had a record setting night of his own, becoming 10th fastest to 11,000 points with 6,000 rebounds and 3,000 assists; nice to see someone other than Kobe recognized for an amazing achievement, not to mention his continued fantastic play stemming from his Team USA stint. He's playing the way we always expected him to play. Great to see. Speaking of, Kobe committed to playing in London in 2012 for Team USA!!! Excitedddd.

-ummm so at half, the score was a ridiculous 73-46! Can't even believe it. Hardly anything to criticize the whole game, except for a number of turnovers once again. It's really good to see the Lakers playing hard and playing focused as opposed to playing down to their competition like past years. I'm sure it'll happen eventually, but so far everything is looking good. Kobe was in a groove, Pau got another double double, the bench continues to be crazy good (loved that alley oop pass from Steve Blake to Devin Ebanks! so awesome). Bench combined for 50 points and Kobe got to rest for practically the whole second half. Even though it's not always super exciting, it's good to see some concentrated blowouts and quality minutes for the bench and rookies. It's scary (in the best possible way) how deep our team is!! I'm really starting to love Matt Barnes and Steve Blake, and my love for Shannon continues- it's encouraging to hear how hard he worked over the summer on his outside shot. I think Theo Ratliff adds a great presence as well, especially in the locker room. It's been awhile since I've truly loved 95% of our team (I'm excluding Sasha as usual hah). I'm always willing to support them against outside arguments, but I can't say that I'll ever miss chris mihm or mbenga or some players like that.

-loved this quote from Stu Lantz talking about Kobe's arsenal of moves: "Most players have A, B, C. Kobe's got the alphabet, he can take you all the way to Z."

-random thoughts:
- I love this article about Lebron's sense of entitlement and how Pat Riley is cracking down on him.

-I also love this video of John Wall dancing during team introductions! The fact that he missed a triple double by 1 steal and a quadruple double by two turnovers makes it even more awesome and ridiculous. I'm so excited to watch him play!

-My roommate is a die hard Giants fan, which I think I've mentioned, so I've been watching tons of baseball and really getting into it (which I didn't think was possible haha). We were out for part of almost every game during the playoffs and watched Game 6 at Millers. I really felt like I was in San Francisco; there are sooo many people from Norcal down here that it made it a really fun crazy atmosphere. After they won, it was pandemonium and the enthusiasm was infectious. It really made me wish I had been out in public for Game 5 versus the Magic and Game 7 last year.... in both instances (ESPECIALLY game 7), I was too frightened of losing and consequently crying in public hahah. But I should have had more faith in my team and gone out. I won't make that mistake again :) Game 5 I watched by myself and Game 7 with a few people, and that was hard enough. But the payoff of that crazy experience would have been incredible. I watch enough games in public though, especially during playoffs, where I do feel the energy of the crowd a lot, but clinching the title would be a whole other thing. I'll be brave and ready for the three-peat this year!

P.S. Kobe knows what he's doing. And he's still sarcastically hilarious too haha.