Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Makes Sense

This is a good article.

It mainly talks about how Kobe took the blame for last night, but how he has to stop being so stubborn (because he's stubborn, not selfish) and trust his teammates. I particularly liked this paragraph:

The Lakers can still beat them all, and that’s why they aren’t panicking. They played harder than in their previous two losses, but scouts will tell you they still look uninterested. That won’t last all season. Fans can light up the phone lines for L.A.’s talk shows, but deep down even they know each year in Lakerland is marked by four seasons: Kobe’s Mad at His Teammates; Kobe’s Shooting Too Much; Kobe Leads the Victory Parade; Kobe Receives his Championship Ring.

C'mon Man

I'm keeping this short and sweet for now. I really don't have much to say about the last two games.... Christmas I did expect them to lose mainly because they never play well on Christmas, so I wasn't surprised and therefore not upset. It was still frustrating of course, but whatever. Last night, I expected better from them. It was close at the half, 44-42 Lakers, and then they just fell apart in the second half. Kobe couldn't make anything, they didn't give the ball to Pau or Andrew enough, and just everyone kept missing shots. Their effort was definitely better, and they were feisty, but everything went against them. There were some awful no-calls by the officials and both Kobe AND Fish got technicals. Ugh. I'm praying that they win tonight against New's going to be tough, but they really need to. Oh and here's my facebook status from last night after the game. I still stand by it:

fucking lakers. stop being so frustrating and start playing some damn basketball!!! going 8-8 in the last 16 games against mostly shitty teams is unacceptable.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Classy Hobo (hahah)

I love Matt Barnes!! I can't believe how much he's grown on me.... such a hustler and good player, and seems funny to boot. This article was awesome and part of the behind the scenes look at the road trip the Lakers recently completed. Matty's quote is just hilarious perfect hahaha. Makes total sense. And I hope he and Lamar really do put on a fashion show during All Start Weekend :)

"Classy Hobo"
Published by Mike Trudell | December 19th, 2010 @ 2:50pm EST

"I like to define my dress as like a classy hobo. Not too dressy with a suit and tie, but still more than just jeans and a t-shirt. A nice mix in between sweaters, cardigans and ties."
- Matt Barnes

So, what does a 12-day road trip with six game nights mean to Matt Barnes? After the basketball (he did have 15 points and 10 rebounds in L.A.'s most recent win), of course, it's about carefully packing up some suitcases with his choice outfits. The NBA is, after all, one of the more fashion conscious workplaces there is. Combine a healthy income, a dose of swagger and television cameras constantly documenting player's appearances, and the importance of shoes, pants, shirts and accessories goes up.

A veteran team like the Lakers often conspire to leave Rodeo Drive impressions in the locker room, albeit with some personal touches as Barnes has joined Lamar and Kobe in establishing his own line.
Here's Barnes in one of his self-designed sweaters, a key component of "Classy Hobo."

"I work with a designer named Archer out of L.A. who used to be a big graffiti artist, but now he's kind of come to fashion," Barnes explained. "We come up with all kinds of wild stuff, just stuff that I think I'd like to see that isn't really out there. Since it's my line, I can do what I want to do."

The first-year Laker is already getting inquiries into his clothes from other athletes, and said he's looking to collaborate with Odom for a fashion show during the All-Star game in Los Angeles this February. It wasn't always like that for the former All-American wide receiver.

While attending his Sacramento high school, Barnes didn't own any brand name clothes, because he couldn't afford them. To get the Air Max shoes he so coveted, Barnes would save up lunch money for a month, and then, well…

"Once they got old and dingy I'd pop the air pocket and take them back for a fresh pair," he conceded. "I used to do that in high school, but in college I started getting per diem and stipend checks so it was a little easier."

Barnes likes to keep his accessories simple and classy as well. He likes smaller watches without too many diamonds and nice earrings, but he stays away from "iced out chains and iced out watches" because those to him are "a thing of the past, and nothing but trouble." He wears stuff that accentuates his outfit, but tries not to go overboard.


"Louis Vutton, Prada, Gucci," he said. "Chuck Taylor's are my favorite ones. I don't wear them all the time because I know that's not dress code, but I mix those three designers with Chuck's."

"He wasn't kidding about Chuck's being his No. 1 -- he owns 75 pairs of 'em.

"They have to be clean," he said, pausing for emphasis. "A white pair, you can probably only get two good wears out of them and then they're gone because those scuff marks don't come off. But the colored pairs with the different colored soles, you can just clean those off. I've had some for three or four years."

The UCLA product clarified that if he's "just hanging out," the scuffed Chucks are fine, but if he's wearing them to a game as part of an outfit, he doesn't feel they should be beat up. He'll just turn such pairs over to friends. And by the way, it's not just his friends outside of the game for whom he's looking out.

"I already have (rookie Devin) Ebanks under my wing," concluded Barnes. "We're going to have him talk to my stylist. He needs a lot of help, but he's young. He's cool with it, he understands that he's taking that next step. It's the best we can do to make him look good … we can't have him walking around the way he's been walking around lately."

Before long, there may be another classy hobo walking around in purple and gold cardigans.

Friday, December 24, 2010

My First Memory

My first memory has always been of watching basketball when I was about two- I remembered sitting in my dad's chair eating a cookie and wondering why the people on tv kept running back and forth. The only problem was I had no proof that this in fact happened....until a few weeks ago!! I was watching with my mom and sister and found a tape that we hadn't seen before and it had this. EXACT. memory on it! Yay for previously undiscovered home movies. I felt like my whole existence was vindicated hahah. It was just really neat to know that I hadn't made it up or romanticized it too much. It's hard enough to think of early memories, and I always have to double check that I haven't seen a picture or video of it first. Ironically it was the other way around this time :)

I also googled May 26, 1988 (the date in the video) and found out that Boston beat Detroit in 2OT in the Eastern Conference Finals… they went on to lose the series and then Detroit fell to the Lakers in Game 7. But yeah, it might be slightly egotisical but this video is awesome and makes me happy :) haha.

Milwaukee loss and Christmas thoughts

It was lovely being able to watch a whole game on Tuesday night; it was only the day after getting my wisdom teeth out and my mom had just driven back up to OC sooo I was sitting cozy on the couch, relaxing and watching Fox Sports West. Too bad the game wasn't any good. To be fair, the Lakers kept it within 4 for most of the night, but considering how many players Milwaukee had on the bench, we should have blown them out. Classic trap game, as the announcers kept saying. Kobe got ejected in the 4th for collecting two technicals and the Lakers lost by 19. Uglyyyy. Although Kobe's ejection did make me giggle, mostly because I could clearly see Kobe say "Fuck you" hahahah. I love reading athletes' lips on tv! And I don't think there's anything wrong with your best players/leaders getting a little feisty once in awhile. Maybe this game will light a fire under them and they'll come out blazing against Miami.

I can see tomorrow going one of two ways: the Lakers will get blown out, much like last year and it will suck. (They rarely play well on Christmas anyway). Orrrrr the Lakers will come out and eviscerate the Heat because of: their loss on Tuesday, the fact that they know it's a big game no matter what they say publicly, and the fact that they're pissed that everyone overlooked them this summer because of the "Big 3". I hope it's the second. Although I do love dramatic wins at the buzzer, but that might be too much to handle. And even though that would be fun, I'd rather embarrass Dwayne Wade and Co :)

Here is the shirt I will most likely be wearing tomorrow:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Kobe versus Lebron

via Lakers Nation: With the long awaited Christmas Day matchup drawing nearer, Fan Reporter Morgan Cohen takes a look at the Kobe vs LeBron debate. Who do you think is better: Mamba or the King?

Generally speaking, I can be pretty quiet when people first meet me. If someone else is dominating the conversation, I let them and I listen respectfully. At the same time, I’m a naturally loquacious individual who is more than happy to talk if someone will let me. Mention the Lakers in passing and I’ll jump at the opportunity to chime in. Or if you’re insane enough, dare to insult Kobe Bryant to my face and see what happens. It amazes me when I’m wearing Lakers gear at my favorite bar how many guys attempt to strike up a conversation by insulting my jersey. I guess it works, because I can never resist an opportunity for a good sports argument in general, or the chance to put a Laker/Kobe Hater in their place. While I don’t always convince them, I try to wear them down enough to admit their respect for Kobe’s game, no matter how begrudgingly they give it.

This summer, I received an email from an acquaintance about basketball and he lead with “I analyze sports for a living and there is NO WAY Kobe Bryant is better than LeBron James. Kobe might have a greater desire/will to win & have a better jumper, but LeBron is the most effective player in the league.” At first glance, I was ready to eviscerate him for even suggesting that LeBron is better is Kobe but I took a moment to really read and absorb what he wrote. Is LeBron more effective than Kobe? And if so, does that truly make him better? I thought about it and despite my instinct to defend Kobe’s honor against every slight, I conceded that LeBron was probably better… but Kobe is still best.

LeBron James is a freak of an athlete in the best possible way, and I used to really enjoy watching him play when he first entered the league. He was exciting, personable, and more than lived up to the hype surrounding his game. Somewhere along the line, the media started placing him on a pedestal above Kobe Bryant and that did not sit well with me- after all, where are his rings? Additionally, cracks started to show in LeBron’s kingly veneer and the image that emerged was not of an athlete with Michael Jordan’s killer instinct and Magic Johnson’s sparkling personality, but of a petulant, real-life Vincent Chase more concerned with having fun with his friends and putting up gaudy numbers than collecting rings. I want to respect LeBron, I really do. He’s incredible. But I can’t when he acts like a spoiled child so much of the time. More often than not, he relies on his supreme athletic gifts to get him where he needs to be, not his work ethic. Having your dreams handed to you on a silver platter will do that to a person.

The reasons Kobe Bean Bryant is best? The Mamba is more clutch, he's a proven winner, he still wants to win more than anyone on the planet except for maybe MJ, and he will do anything to make that happen. Besides my obvious adoration for him because he's on my home team and I've grown up watching him, I respect his dedication to constant improvement and his insane work ethic. Many of his Team USA teammates openly admitted that seeing Kobe’s work ethic and competitive intensity every day was shocking. It forced men who are already superstars in their own right to improve their own games just to compete at Kobe’s level. He was the catalyst for change on Team USA and his leadership and defensive mindset were the main differences between bronze in 2004 and gold in 2008. Everyone wondered if the game was on the line, if the gold medal was slipping away, who would step up? Would it be Dwayne Wade, who has a championship of his very own? Would it be LeBron James, the self-appointed “King”? Or would it be Kobe Bryant, the Closer with ice water running through his veins? With so many egos and alpha dogs on one team, would everyone fight for the last shot and the chance to be the man on the biggest stage of their careers? As it turns out… there was no contest. During the Gold Medal game versus an incredibly tough Spanish opponent, our entire team of superstars deferred to Kobe in the closing minutes to work his Mamba magic. Alpha dog issue solved as simply and organically as it ever will be. I love how coldblooded he is when the clock's winding down and the game is on the line.

Maybe it's not fair to compare them because Kobe’s killer instinct is so otherworldly, but one of the things I dislike most about LeBron is how silly he is. I don’t think it is wrong to strive to be an entertainer, but there is a fine line between electrifying basketball and putting on a theatrical show. I'll never forget when the Lakers played the Cavs this past January. After their abysmal Christmas Day loss to Cleveland, the Lakers were out for revenge and only down two with 23.4 seconds left. During the Cavs timeout, ABC showed LeBron rapping on the sidelines to an Eminem song. Really, dude?! That drove me insane. Yes, LeBron put up great numbers and had some clutch plays, but his shenanigans showed no respect at all for the competitiveness of the game. Do you think Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan would fool around like that in the waning seconds of a hotly contested game, ever? Not in a million years.

I also couldn’t believe that LeBron shot a left handed free throw last year in the playoffs! In Game 4 of the first round, Cleveland was winning but needed two free throws to ice the game and put the Bulls away. What does LeBron do? Miss the second because he shot it left-handed! Never mind the fact that he claimed it was due to an elbow injury that no one would have known about if he hadn’t altered his free throw. The very same elbow injury mysteriously disappeared almost immediately following the game. It certainly wasn’t as egregious as Paul Pierce’s fake wheelchair exit, but still fishy, somewhat annoying, and definitely unprofessional. Kobe doesn’t use injuries as excuses. He won a championship with a banged up knee and mangled finger. LeBron is gifted and has so much potential, but I think he's more intent on being famous than actually winning, no matter what he says.

I found a great article on, discussing many of the same points about why LeBron might be better but can never be viewed through the same spectrum as Kobe, or Michael Jordan for that matter. The author Tom7 claims that LeBron will never be as respected as MJ, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird or a number of other NBA legends “Because these NBA legends won more than just championships, their epic battles waged against worthy nemesises won respect, even from their opponents, and earned them their place in NBA history. Because if sports was just about the outcome and not the journey, we’d all stay home and get the scores off the Internet. Because being on top of a mountain earns people little respect, it’s the size of the obstacles they had to overcome in their climb that make these men so impressive.” By jumping ship and swimming over to South Beach, no title LeBron ever wins will mean as much to his legacy and the history books as a championship earned the hard way in Cleveland would have been. It was his prerogative to make that choice, but it is also ours as basketball fans to judge him for it.

Michael toiled for 7 long years in Chicago until he won his first -he was the promising, talented player who couldn’t win a title, but he never bolted. Kobe was the Robin to Shaquille’s Batman in the early years and morphed into the Dark Knight after being vilified for chasing championship dreams out of Los Angeles. I would argue that he was being the player he needed to be for the greater good: management needed pressure to bring in complimentary chess pieces for Kobe’s ultimate game. After all, Kobe was vilified in more ways than one in 2004 and it was unclear whether his legacy and legend would become permanently tarnished.

In the end, he became Lakerland’s shining hero once again- hitting game winning jumpers, learning to trust his teammates and leading them to three NBA Finals and two championships. He can move just as easily between jocular hero and grim-faced antihero depending on what the situation demands. I’m not trying to argue that Kobe was right to be petulant with his teammates or that he is the best player of all time. I’m merely trying to point out that what Kobe does is, in his mind at least, for the greater good. He a transcendent basketball player and one of the greatest to ever step on the court, thanks to a mixture of pure talent, preparedness, a dogged determination to constantly improve and a maniacal need to win each and every year. His mentality and approach to the game is unmatched. LeBron could conceivably get there one day, but he is not there now. And that is why he might be the most effective player in the league, but he is not the best player in the league.

The last scene of The Dark Knight is so powerful and the quote is one of my favorites. Commissioner Gordon tries to explain to his confused son that even though Batman hasn’t done anything wrong, they have to chase him “ Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So, we'll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Dark Knight.” Kobe is the guardian of the Lakers’ championship dreams for as long as he continues to play. LeBron could have been the Dark Knight watching over the desolate landscape of Cleveland. Instead, he took his talents to Dwayne Wade’s house, more than happy to use his God-given gifts in the guise of Robin.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I tuned into the game at halftime, after driving home in scary rain from the library haha. It wasn't looking that great, to be honest. Just a lot of the same problems they've had of late: sloppy play, mediocre defense, etc. The Sixers actually lead by 4 at the end of the 3rd quarter, but all of that changed in the last period. The Lakers closed out the game masterfully, as well all know they are capable of doing. They moved the ball, played unselfishly, executed, and most importantly got stops. The Lakers had a 21-4 burst to start the 4th!! Incredible. Lamar and Matt were playing extremely well, with Lamar getting a season high 28 points. They connected a number of times with good passes and ensuing makes, and created a lot on their own too. They each hit a 3, along with Steve Blake, after the team missed their first 12 attempts. Good time to get hot, I'd say :) After Steve's huge 3 which put the Lakers up by 15 with only a couple minutes left, Kobe had a huge smile for him, which I always enjoy seeing... Kobe doesn't smile a ton on the court. One of the most illustrative plays of the Lakers' improved ball movement and unselfishness in the quarter was a play with 4 of the Lakers stationed around the three point line, flinging the ball to each other around the court to the right corner and dishing to a wide open Lamar who drove inside for a layup. Perfect, beautiful execution. One of the most unusual but wonderful aspects of their 93-81 victory over Philadelphia? Kobe had 9 points on 3 of 11 shooting. 9 points!! And they still won by a large margin because of their ability to close out their opponent. Of course, he had his hand in a number of plays either by assists, steals or simply leadership, directing his teammates around the court. It was awesome. He hurt his pinky though, so hopefully that won't be a serious issue... They are 5-1 on their roadtrip with their only loss coming to the Bulls by a measly four points. I actually like the Bulls a lot, and they're also the only team they played with a winning record, so it's not the worst thing in the world.

Here's a good article I found about Michael Vick showing up at the game:
The Lakers were treading water, caught in a one-point game with the Sixers who had lost two out of every three games they played all season coming into Friday, when a most serendipitous ticket request paid off.

With just about two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Eagles quarterback Mike Vick entered the Wells Fargo Center, causing what can only be described as a delayed wave as Philly fans broke into a standing ovation section by section as the scrambling passer made his way from one corner of the arena to his courtside seats.

"You would have thought the president walked in or something," said Lakers reserve Matt Barnes.

An "MVP! MVP!" chant followed from the Philly faithful and then the sellout crowd of 20, 366 were singing the Eagles fight song.

As the crowd crooned, "Fly! Eagles fly! On the road to victory ...," the Lakers did just that, turning a six point deficit late in the third quarter into a double-digit rout by the midway point of the fourth.

"We just couldn’t seem to find it in the first three quarters," Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said. "I think it was when they played the Eagles fight song. I think that’s the thing that did it ... They were on a little bit of a run and I think that slowed that down a little, actually."

Vick wouldn't have even been there had it not been for Barnes. The former high school football star hooked up a couple of his gridiron pals.

"I gave Mike and [Eagles wide receiver] DeSean [Jackson] tickets," Barnes said. "I know DeSean back from Cali and Mike’s people hit me up. It’s good to have those guys here supporting us. I take care of people like that, so hopefully they can do me a favor in the [NFL] playoffs or the Super Bowl if we have some time."

The Lakers are football fans just like the rest of America and Vick has been a popular subject to talk about all season, be it from the Eagles fan Kobe Bryant, Giants fan Lamar Odom or Cowboys fan Derek Fisher.

Odom, talking about the upcoming Giants-Eagles matchup before the Lakers game even started was chatting in the locker room about how he's been a fan of Vick for years, being a fellow lefty.

"That goes to show you how much the fans appreciate Michael Vick and I’m pretty sure wherever he goes, whether it’s Philly or other places, people acknowledge him because people I think understand his story," Odom said. "I think a lot of people are ready to forgive him for what he’s done and appreciate his work. I think we all realize how good he is and how much he means to the world of sports entertainment."

After the game Barnes beckoned for Odom from the hallway as he was waiting with DeSean Jackson. "I know he's about to start some [stuff]," Odom said as he went to face some trash talk for his Giants fandom.

Bryant, the Philly native, relished in Vick's appearance.

"This whole place went bananas and I was one of them," Bryant said. "Everybody knows I’m a Yankees fan and I get a lot of [crap] for that here, but I love my Eagles so I was excited just like everybody else."

Seen in the locker room: Three Philly soft pretzels and a jar of spicy mustard waiting for Bryant at his locker after the game.

Matt Barnes with a signed jersey Vick gave him after the game for the tickets!

Funny story: I found a Lower Merion Kobe jersey on ebay for $30, in a size medium which would be good. I sent the link to my friend on gchat and he was "omg i want that" and proceed to buy it within 30 seconds. I was stunned!! They only had one medium and I told him that I hated him for taking it hahah. Then he felt really bad, but I told him it was fine. I'm sure there are more and I probably would have felt guilty for spending the money anyway. But I still want one :) A white one I think, as opposed to maroon, because all the pictures I found of Kobe have him wearing the white one.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kobe's Gym

Kobe recently donated money to his high school to build a new gym, and they named it after him and held a ceremony in his honor! Most surprising fact: he still wears Lower Merion shorts under his Lakers shorts every game! Here is most of an article written by Dave McMenamin on ESPN Los Angeles about the event:

LOWER MERION, Pa. -- He had silenced far more hostile arenas than this. He'd hushed crowds in the tens of thousands that were applying pressure so intense one could wear it like a backpack on his or her shoulders. He deflated opposing fans' spirits season and season again with the flick of a wrist and the snap of a net, signifying the aftermath of yet another one of his game-winning shots.

But this time, with half of the intimate crowd of approximately 4,000 at Lower Merion High School wearing his jersey and all of them bursting into standing ovations on several occasions at the gymnasium dedication in his name Thursday, Kobe Bryant was the one who was silenced.

"I'm actually nervous," Bryant said toward the end of his short but sweet address to the crowd on hand to get a glimpse of Lower Merion's most famous alumnus.

"Awwwwww," came back in response, a chorus of folks from the place he considers home, after the five-time NBA champion was so touched by the dedication ceremony that he couldn't even get through the five-minute speech without stammering.

"I'm just very thankful to be back here and very happy that you guys like the facilities," Bryant said of the gym and expanded athletic atrium full of interactive and educational displays, to which he donated $411,000. "This is where I came from. This is where I grew up. I didn't go to college, so this is my university. This is where all my memories lie."

Those memories were brought to life with a "This Is Your Life" feel, with presentations from various people who shaped Bryant's time at the school.

So much so that Lower Merion principal Sean Hughes apologized for the larger-than-life feel of the event honoring a guy who likes to keep his involvement with his alma mater out of the spotlight.

"I hope you'll excuse us for going a little above and beyond tonight," Hughes said. "Hey, it's not 'Showtime,' but we definitely like to throw a party."

The gym features billboard-sized photographs of the history of Lower Merion athletics running along all four walls interspersed with motivational words such as integrity, commitment, passion and pride. One image is of Bryant and his teammates raising the 1996 Pennsylvania state championship trophy; another is of his former coach, Gregg Downer, calling a play.

"You went to work, took no short cuts and tonight you come home to our beautiful new gym [as] the best basketball player in the world," Downer said.

Downer later revealed a secret that odds are only he, Bryant and Bryant's six Lakers teammates in attendance knew about: Bryant wears his Lower Merion shorts under his Lakers shorts during games the same way Michael Jordan wore his North Carolina shorts every game when he played in the NBA.

Derek Fisher, also speaking on behalf of Lakers players Shannon Brown, Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, who all came to the ceremony, took Downer's claim one step further.

"Many people have said here tonight that Kobe is the greatest basketball player in the world at this moment, and I don't think anyone can argue that point," Fisher said. "To expand upon that, by the time this man's career is done in the next four, five, six years, however many more years he decides to play, he will be in the discussion for possibly the greatest basketball player to ever play. Period."

Seven of Bryant's teammates from the state championship team were on hand as well. Jermaine Griffin told a story of how he and Bryant vowed to win the state title as seniors after getting knocked out of the playoffs sooner than expected as juniors.

"Next time we walk out of this gym [at the end of a season] is because there's no more games left to play, period," Griffin remembered.

Assistant coach Will Carter said the team evokes Bryant's name often to this day.

"He's the benchmark for hard work we point to," Carter said. "He did it with effort and commitment. He's the best player on the planet and he played in our program."

As much as the ceremony focused on Bryant's basketball gifts, it also concentrated on the influence he's had off the court.

Bryant's former English teacher Jeanne Mastriano, whom he affectionately calls "Mrs. M" and keeps in touch with regularly some 14 years after graduating from high school, delivered a touching speech.

"You sustain us, you inspire us, you gladden our hearts," Mastriano said. "I treasure that fact that you are a part of our family. I love you for that."

Said Hon. Wendell F. Holland, class of 1970, toward the start of the evening: "Lower Merion's mantra is, 'Enter to learn, go forth to serve.' Kobe Bryant epitomizes that."

*Makes me want to add a Lower Merion #33 to my jersey collection.... :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Behind the Scenes

I love stories like these: behind the scenes tidbits that you don't normally read about. This link in particular is a series of articles by Mike Trudell (a well known Lakers reporter) during their road trip. It's really fun, and interesting to see how things work!

Obama, and more Ron.

Another great Ron Artest article. He has some really interesting insights, and amusing ways of relaying them, about young players.

Also probably the greatest thing ever: Kobe and President Obama trash talking with each other! I just love how much Obama truly loves and understands basketball. Not to mention his love of comic books and Harry Potter haha... I just love when things I love collide :) Like Obama and Kobe, JT and David Beckham at Lakers games, etc.

This is what the Lakers should always look like.

The Lakers have looked really great the past two games! It was disappointing that John Wall was injured, but we were happy to have Andrew Bynum back on our team!! He only played a handful of minutes, but contributed some nice numbers. Honestly, just his presence is good enough right now; it gives the Lakers length, extra rebounding, and rest for Pau and LO. So it was good to see him on the court. There was a funny moment with Kobe in the third: he was fouled on a three point attempt (which he missed) and then went on to miss all three free throws. He later admitted that that had never happened to him before... so what did he do? He went on a scoring binge, scoring 12 consecutive points in two minutes. hahah. Gotta love Kobe.

Last night's game was even better; I think the Lakers were still smarting from Indiana beating them 94-91 in Staples last month, so they came out ready to put the smackdown on them. Did they ever!! The Lakers had a twenty point lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Of course the Pacers chipped away at the deficit, but it was more of a case of trading baskets. The Lakers shot over 50% for the night, and shot over 60% in the first half. They also played all four quarters of basketball, giving maximum effort throughout. I think it was easily their best game of the season so far, and really showed what they're capable of. In both contests, I believe Kobe only took about 20 shots and was very efficient- in both cases, he went off in the second half and scored most of his points in the 3rd quarters.

The other good news: Sasha is gone!!! So excitinggg. We're getting a former Number 1 pick named Joe Smith and a couple draft picks. Even though Smith is old, it'll be nice to have backup options for our bigs. And more leadership never hurts. I honestly didn't care if we got anything for Sasha, I'm just glad he's gone. Yes, he had a great season two years ago, and hit some of the most clutch free throws I've ever seen (11 seconds left in Game 7 of the Finals, Lakers up by two... his free throws iced the game and put us up by four). BUT for most of his tenure, he whined about playing time and everything else, he was annoying, and he never knew when to pick his battles (see: Phoenix series last year, getting into a shouting match on the bench with Brian Shaw). And his accuracy has been down as well... The Machine was looking a little rusty. Here's an example of the quintessential Sasha Vujacic play: hounding on defense until he picked up a foul and whined about it, then getting the ball on the ensuing possession and immediately hoisting up (and missing) a three. That was going to be one of the rules of the Lakers drinking game I was trying to make up last year haha. So yes, I am grateful to Sasha because he did have his role in two championship teams, but gratitude only goes so far. And we cut $7 million off our payroll. Plus, I don't feel bad about him crying at home to fiancee Maria Sharapova lol.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Road Trip

I haven't found anything really inspiring to write in here lately, to be honest. I missed the Chicago game because I was at a book signing in Long Beach (the author is Australian and the Lakers have at least 4-6 more months of bball... I think I made the right choice haha). Still, as much as I like the Bulls the outcome was very disappointing. I watched all of the Lakers-Nets game in bed on Sunday morning (yay computers!). Closer than it needed to be, but they closed out the 4th well. I'm interested to see how they'll look against the Wizards tonight. And I'll add my Obama thoughts to that post tomorrow, when I'm back at work and looking for something to do during my down time :) I have so many article ideas brewing in my head... I just have to commit them to paper. Easier said that done sometimes hah.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I never get tired of reading about Ron Artest. He's so lovably crazy. I just wish he would start playing better, and soon. lol.

Here are some of the best parts:
-"He's the kind of guy, if you give him specific, exact directions, he'll follow them," Bryant says. "But they have to be exact. But once you give them to him, he'll follow them even if he has to run through a wall."

Don't give him any ideas.

-"Because once I get into that gym, that ball is like a drug. When you see that ball go into the basket, that's like one of the best drugs ever. I'm addicted, and I hope the state of California illegalizes it."

-Ron Ron is carrying a large bag of food for his lunch -- all vegan. But Ron Ron is not entirely vegan. "About 80 percent," he says. "I like pork chops."

-In the Lakers' locker room, reporters want to know if Ron Ron will reject the shots of President Barack Obama when the Lakers visit the White House on Dec. 13.

"Oh, absolutely!" he says. "I will lock down anybody anytime, even the president of the United States."

-I ask Jackson why he's playing Artest fewer minutes this season. "I'm not," Jackson says. "Ron overheard [substitute forward Matt Barnes] asking me for more playing time, so he's been raising his hand just to get Matt more time."

Why, Ron Ron?

"Because we're a team. I just want to win another title. Who cares about minutes? Who cares about points?"

-I think this is my favorite : "I overtrained swimming this week," he said on the way to the game. "So I'm going to be really tired tonight. Which is kinda how I like it."


"I can be too strong for some small forwards, so they don't want to go at me, so I get bored. So sometimes I overtrain on purpose before a game just to see if I can lock a guy down with only half my energy."

-Now, he's happier (mostly) and doesn't drink (mostly). After winning Game 7, Artest stayed up for 48 hours straight. At 4 a.m. that first night, cutting a record with Dr. Dre (don't ask), he saw singer Chris Brown and gave Brown the jersey he hadn't taken off the entire night.

But why?

"I don't know. I think I was drunk."

The Hallway Series

Immediate reaction last night: DEREK FISHER!!!! holy shit. First buzzer beater of the season and it was scary and spectacular, just like they are supposed to be! I only watched the 4th quarter because I didn't want to sit in my room on my computer for 3 hours, but I'm so glad I tuned in at all. From what I've gathered, it was a pretty dismal performance with Shannon coming alive and bailing us out in the 3rd. Saw that ridiculous 57 foot buzzer beater too, he's so good at those! But yes, those last few minutes of the 4th: Lamar fouls out. Pau throws it away and I got really mad, even though I know he's exhausted. Kobe only has 4 points in the 4th but they are SO CLUTCH!!! And both off of huge steals on consecutive possessions by Ron. Huge huge huge. And THEN Kobe hit another jumper to take the lead, but the Clippers fouled him before (they had a foul to give) and the shot didn't count. It was gorgeous. And if that had cost us the game, I was going to scream bloody murder. Luckily, it didn't. Instead of the normal jumper to tie/win the game, D Fish got the ball and dribbled straight to the basket, laying it up AS TIME EXPIRED AND THE BACKBOARD FLASHED RED! My computer connection was preeetty good, but it was still hard to tell if it got off in time. Thank God it did- it was one of the closest calls I've ever seen. Holy shit, it was exciting!! My heart was racing for a good 20 minutes after the game ended.

I have this weird habit of plugging my ears and blocking out sound when I get nervous watching games... usually in the last few seconds, or minute. I think it's because I literally cannot take all the stimulation and stress out of nervousness, but I don't want to look away, so I take away one of my other senses instead haha. Don't remember when I started doing it, but it makes me feel calmer. My eyes were glued and my ears were plugged with my fingers for the last minute of the game. It really was almost too much to handle... those last five seconds felt impossible to keep watching. I wanted to blink or close my eyes or look away, but I would never forgive myself if I did. Sports fans need to man up when they watch their teams. I'm not one of those people that can turn the tv off and pace around. I. have. to. watch. Epic win or epic fail, I have to watch or I will feel like I didn't earn the right to celebrate what happened because I was too scared and didn't have enough faith in my team. That's also the main reason I try my hardest to watch every game, and to never turn it off unless we're down by 10 with 5 seconds left. What if I had missed Kobe's 81 points because it was a meaningless January game against the Raptors and we were down by 20 in the third? I live in fear of missing a life changing sports moment and consequently feeling like a bad fan.

Hahaha. I take this WAY too seriously, and I have way too much guilt mixed up in my sports allegiances, but whatever. That's the way it is.

Btw, Blake Griffin is amazing. I'd contemplate going to a Clippers game just because the tickets are cheaper and he is awesome.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I taped the game last night and might watch it when I get home... an inpromptu dinner with old college friends prevented my original plan of going to Borders, Target and home to watch the game haha. I really like John Wall and wanted to see him in action! Excited to see Blake Griffin tonight too. As is the Mamba apparently: “I’m very curious to see him up close,” Kobe Bryant said about Griffin, whose Clippers face the Lakers on Wednesday night.

And I always enjoy when players I love compliment other players that I like: About Wall — who had 22 points, 14 assists and three blocks in a losing effort against the Lakers on Tuesday night — Bryant said: “He’s good. He’s fast. He’s crafty. I thought he shot the ball very well tonight.” Meanwhile, here’s Wall on Bryant: “That’s somebody that’s the greatest player in the game right now.”

Unfortunately, it was a Lakers game through and through. Even though Kobe had 32 points, Pau practically had a triple double with 21 points, 14 boards and 8 dimes and Lamar had another stellar game, the Wizards kept clawing their way back. I read that they'd be up by 19, then only up by 5 a couple minutes later. They ended up winning by 7, but Phil Jackson summed it up nicely: "They really sucked the joy out of winning that one didn't they." Hahaha classic Phil :) I love it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Broken, but in a good way.

The streak has been broken!! I got to see the last two minutes of the Lakers' wonderfully lopsided victory over the Kings on Friday night... sometimes blowouts can be boring, but in this case I thought it was wonderful. I had to work from 5-9 that night, hence missing most of the game (I feel like I say that a lot unfortunately...). But I'm really excited to see them play John Wall and the Wizards tonight! I really like John Wall. And I'm going after work to pick up Simmons' revised Book of Basketball, so maybe I'll write a review of his new Kobe chapter! I'm going to start working on an article for Lakers Nation to convince Lakers fans that The Sports Guy isn't so bad (even though he's a Celtics fan), so I could include that. I'm also working on a Kobe-Lebron article that will be ready before the Christmas game. It's based on a conversation I had with someone, but beefed up with more examples beyond the normal boring arguments.

Also, I know that no one will care and if you don't personally know me this will seem very out of place on a Lakers blog, but I was SO EXCITED for the Patriots win last night!!! I've been a diehard fan for about 11 years now and while it's never quite reached Lakers proportions, it's getting close. I love this team sooo much this year. It's full of rookies, undrafted no-names, short players...and they all play out of their minds every night because of the chip on their shoulder. Even Tom Brady still plays like no one believes in him, and that is why I love him. He gets so fired up during games and on the sidelines and works harder than almost anyone. I think that's why I like him, and Kobe, so much: their work ethic is off the charts and even though they are arguably the best at what they do, they work as if they've never won anything in their life. But yes. I love Wes and I love Danny Woodhead and Deion Branch and our wonderful rookie tight ends Gronkowski and Hernandez and I love Patrick Chung and Vince Wilfork and Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis... I feel like I have a different favorite guy after every play, but with Tom and Wes Welker as the constants. That's how I feel about the Lakers too, but with Kobe as the constant. Anyway, sorry for the Patriots digression, but I couldn't help myself. They're playing more like the rag tag teams of the early 2000s than a team of superstars and I love it. Everyone comes prepared, comes to work, and does their talking on the field. And I've also viewed the Jets and the Heat as kindred spirits this season. No wonder I hate them so much! haha.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I can barely put my disappointment into words right now. I cannot believe that the Lakers have lost 4 in a row... all games that they should have and could have won btw. Kobe is going into one-on-one, shoot the lights out mode, Pau is tired from having to carry so much of the Lakers' weight on his back, the Killer B's are having growing pains, and Ron is wearing out his goodwill from last years' playoffs. Derek is Derek and Lamar is Lamar. Not much you can do about either of them I feel.

I'm just so frustrated with them!! I watched the game on my computer last night- funny story: used, which streamed via fox sports houston, which streamed via!! wtf hahah. Tons of British commercials and adverts for "Jets-Patriots, Monday at midnight". Hilarious and awesome. But yeah, watched on my computer and they didn't look great, but they looked decent and then just threw the game away. I turned it off wtih 20 seconds to go, which I rarely do, but it was already a lost cause. And then I cried for a couple minutes, just sniffling and feeling my hot angry tears run down my cheeks. I was so angry, and sad, and extremely disappointed and frustrated. I felt let down. And while I respect Shane Battier as one of the only players in the NBA who can actually guard Kobe, he had no right to go off for all those shots late in the 4th. He's not a scorer, he's a defender!!! I started shouting at my computer "F*** YOU SHANE BATTIER!" It's easier to blame the other team than your own, even though it was mostly the Lakers own mistakes that killed them. And who the hell is Kevin Martin and why was he hitting SO. MANY. BASKETS.


I hate when they lose. Sometimes it ruins my whole day. Luckily, I watched 6 eps of Parks and Rec on Netflix afterwards. I've just started season 2 and it is hilarious. It's hard to figure out when to panic and when to not over the Lakers. I know it's only December 2nd, so on one hand big whoop. But they're showing some serious flaws that need to be addressed asap and it is concerning me. They HAVE to beat the Kings tomorrow night. Jesus.

P.S. I was about to write some angry facebook statuses but realized that would be lame (I'm trying to move away from that) and that is what this blog is for anyway. Hah.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Power of Purple

I love reading about Bill Simmons and his kids: how he tries to brainwash them into liking sports, how he took his daughter to her first basketball game when she was 3, and how he's campaigning against her love of the color purple because he's afraid she'll grow up to be a Lakers fan. Granted, she was born and raised in LA and as he points out, he himself said that if you grow up somewhere with a team, THAT is your team. Apparently he's making an addendum that your parents' rooting interest can take precendence. I just love the "20 Rules for Being a True Sports Fan " article he came up with- it's one reason I'm so fanatical nowadays. But yes, even though I don't condone anti-Lakerdom, his new article is amazingly funny. Simmons talks about decorating his son's room in all Boston stuff and dressing him in Boston clothes and how he has no idea what it all means because he is only 3. That will be my child, but in all Lakers gear. I'm all for brainwashing... if it's for the right team ;)

Best Article I've Read in Awhile
(seriously, read it!)

*and on the flip side, here is a sobering look at the city of Cleveland. Lebron returns tomorrow and it is going to be insane. I'm definitely not missing that game. When I read about people that love their teams that much, for that long, without gratification... it makes me feel almost unworthy to be a Lakers fan. To care when they lose, because they never lose for long. To complain about anything related to them. I don't feel like I have the right when I read about places like Cleveland. It's also not my fault that I was born in California and that they are my team... but still. lol.

Game 18: We Should Have Won vs. the Grizzlies

Posted on Lakers Nation's facebook: Our resident Lakers Nation 'fan' gave her take on the Lakers struggles last night in Memphis. What needs to change for them to get back on track?

(I like being referred to as the "resident fan"!! haha)

Here's the article:

On the surface, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Memphis Grizzlies do not seem to have much of a connection; a casual basketball fan would remark that there is no storied rivalry, no bad blood, and that the Grizzlies haven’t even been in Memphis for very long (coming via Vancouver).

However, there are two storylines integral to Laker lore that entwines both of the organizations in vital ways. Pau Gasol played with Memphis for the first 7 years of his career before being traded to the Lakers in 2008. The Lakers received an All Star and the missing link to their championship hopes along with a 2010 first round draft pick. The Grizzlies on the other hand received the draft rights to his brother Marc, a few draft picks and three Lakers: Aaron McKie, Javaris Crittendon and Kwame Brown (good riddance). Many considered it highway robbery at the time and still do, but I’m not going to argue- the arrival of Pau brought with it three straight trips to the Finals and two championships, not to mention a number two option that Kobe trusts and respects.

The saga continues with Lakers hero Jerry West, also known as The Logo and Mr. Clutch. He is one of the greatest Lakers of all time, not only for his amazing contributions as a player but for his work in the front office as well. This is the man who orchestrated two separate eras of greatness, after concluding his own: Showtime in the 1980’s and Shaq/Kobe in the 2000’s. He is the one who traded a known quantity in Vlade Divac for Charlotte’s 13th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, seeing greatness and passion lurking underneath the skinny high school exterior of Kobe Bean Bryant.

He is also the one who will be honored with his own statue outside Staples Center next February to join the likes of Magic Johnson and the legendary Chick Hearn. While all of Lakerland was sad to see Mr. West leave for Memphis, he left an amazing legacy in Los Angeles and a great foundation for the team and front office. Mitch Kupchak has excelled for the past ten years due to the tutelage he received as an assistant general manager under Jerry West.

As for the game itself, I’m afraid it was terribly disappointing. I had originally planned to write a detailed, thoughtful recap of the Lakers-Grizzlies game, much like I did a week ago when they played Chicago. Unfortunately, I misplaced my diligent notes and had pretty much decided to ignore most of them anyway. I don’t see the need to dwell on a few amazing plays when the overall feel of the game and the outcome in particular was so dismal.

I thought the game started out well enough, but it was a telling sign for the evening that the only Lakers to score for most of the first quarter were Kobe and Pau. Derek had a nice little game; his parents had driven from his hometown in Arkansas, so perhaps he was putting on a show for them. I felt it was his most solid outing of the season so far. Ron also had a good game (we’ll get to the end in a moment); he was 2 of 4 from three point range, and 5 of 11 overall. He also had a number of hustle plays and just seemed to be working more diligently than he has. Even though the box score doesn’t reflect it, I felt very positive about his effort.

Barnes didn’t have a great game, and Shannon was struggling at first but he and Steve Blake became our second half saviors. Brown hit a beautiful, very long three pointer as the shot clock expired late in the 3rd, and followed it up with a fast break layup. Great energy, great plays.

Blake hit 2 threes in a row, and was 3-5 from beyond the arc. I felt like we had a great chance to win the game, especially after coming back from a 13 point deficit. Unfortunately, one of the problems was the number of shots that popped out of the basket. I couldn’t believe how many shots wouldn’t stay down; I don’t know if that is the fault of bad luck, of poor, flat shooting, or most likely a combination of the two.

The other problem was Kobe. Yes, I said it. I hate picking on Kobe, and I avoid blaming him for absolutely anything if possible. He gets a little too much leeway from me, but I just can’t help it: he’s my favorite and always has been. Last night though was terrible. 9-25. Airballs. One on five matchups. It was way too much 2006 Kobe and not enough 2010 Kobe. I’m not sure why he felt the need to take over as much as he did, but it seemed excessive.

I actually wanted the ball out of his hands a number of times… he would stop the ball movement and just start dribbling into defenders. Granted, his teammates didn’t come over to help much, but it just annoyed me. The one time I absolutely wanted him to shoot was at the end of the game. He had a great look, went up…. and passed to Ron Artest. I couldn’t believe it! No matter what Ron does, I will never say another bad word about him because he saved us in Game 5 against the Suns and of course Game 7 against the Celtics. That doesn’t mean that I want him taking the game winning shot if Kobe already has the ball in his hands and a decent look at the basket!

A little midrange jumper with a high arc, boom: Lakers win. But Kobe throws it to Ron. Ron’s attempt was blocked by Rudy Gay and the Lakers lost their third game in a row for only the second time since acquiring Pau in February 2008.

I’m not one of those fans who panics unnecessarily when the Lakers lose. I definitely get upset, especially if they lose a game I know they could have won. Last night was the first game of the season I felt that way. I was angry. It is one thing to feel as if the other team deserved to win, but it’s another issue to feel as if the game slipped through your fingers.

As much as I hate losing any game and convince myself that we can win everything on the schedule, I also know how unrealistic that is. The playoffs are what counts. Having said that, I do find it a bit troubling that they’ve now lost three in a row and five games overall. The Western Conference is looking much more difficult that I originally imagined, so playoff seeding and especially home court advantage is going to be crucial.

My heart would have sunk last year if I thought the Lakers had to win Games 6 and 7 in Boston. Maybe they could have, but it’s a frightening thought- one I don’t want to contemplate this coming June (knock on wood). The Lakers are known to slack off a bit in the early months and again in March/April, but they’ve been playing hard so far. I really don’t want to see them temporarily lose that competitive edge. It’s only five games, but it’s also already five games.

Tonight’s contest is going to be crucial. It will be interesting to see how the Lakers respond, especially in the second game of a back-to-back. The Rockets are tough opponents and it took a 3 from newbie Steve Blake to win on opening night. Hopefully the Lakers will buckle down, show up and play the great team oriented basketball we’ve come to expect from our guys.