Tag Archive | "la lakers"

LBJ and “The Decision”


“The Decision”, a one-hour special on ESPN is the first network program to receive our Bitch-Slap-of-the-Week and it shares the honor with the show’s star NBA free agent, LeBron James who will be making his decision regarding where he will land and attempt to become, in his words, the world’s first billion-dollar athlete.

During the FIFA World Cup game between Spain and Germany, ESPN’s ticker tape “Breaking News” announced the show that in many people’s minds is nothing more than a network handing an egotistical, arrogant overpaid athlete their own one-hour special to announce to our recession-infested country, where he will be making his 100’s of millions of dollars.

That’s great, King James, now your audience can go climb up on a hot roof and nail some shingles for $800 a week or flip burgers at their second job so they can have electricity to pay for air conditioning this summer. Hope you enjoyed rubbing it in their faces and reminding them the reality of how overpaid pro athletes like you really are.

Kevin Blackistone of AOL Fanhouse wrote this about James in his article entitled, “Free Agent Circus Stains LeBron’s Image”.

“. . . all of a sudden [James] appears to be as egotistical and megalomaniacal as any of the most self-absorbed athletes we’ve come to know over the years. What a shame. Over the past few weeks, James has made himself as easy to dislike as he’d made himself over several years easy to like.”

In another article entitled, “ESPN Defends LeBron Special”, the network is quoted as they explain the purpose of the show. “We believe this is a unique program,” Norby Williamson, ESPN’s executive vice president of production said.

Yeah, it sure is. No network has ever wasted an hour of air time for an announcement of a free agent on where he will land.

The great champion NBA players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaq, players who have all WON championships, something LeBron has not come close to accomplishing, have discreetly made decisions and taken their $100 million contracts as quietly as possible.

Getting beat by Orlando two years ago and again losing to the underdog, aging Boston Celtics this year, I guess LeBron can accept this special as a consolation prize as opposed to the back-to-back victory parades that Kobe and his Lakers team had, the confetti Shaq was driven through in Miami and L.A. and the half dozen Michael celebrated in the Windy City.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

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Brian Shaw or Byron Scott next for Lakers?


If you had to pick a successor to Lakers coach Phil Jackson would it be the team’s current assistant coach, Brian Shaw or former Nets and Hornets head coach, Byron Scott?

That question just got closer to being relevant with the news on Tuesday morning about Shaw’s interest in the open coaching position with the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Is Phil done? His daughter and Luke Walton think so

Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported that Shaw’s representation sent out a text that said his client is “close to accepting a deal” to be head coach in Cleveland.

LeBron or no LeBron it’s a head coaching position, one of only 30 of its kind. It is available now, not dependent on someone else moving over to accommodate a successor. What’s that saying, “If you snooze you lose”?

Shaw, an assistant to Phil Jackson for five seasons isn’t just a clipboard holder. Like all Jackson assistants he was given responsibility for scouting a third of the league’s teams and game-planning when the Lakers were to face them.

He’s played in the triangle for Jackson, been a teammate of Kobe and Fish and now is a trusted adviser on the coaching staff.

Then there’s Byron Scott, perennially mentioned as a good candidate to slide into the coaching chair at Staples Center. Byron’s resume includes playing time as a member of the Showtime Lakers, during which he won three championship rings.

He returned to the team for his last year on the court which just happened to be during Kobe Bryant’s rookie year of 1996-97. The connection to Kobe is considered significant since it seems ridiculous to believe that Bryant wouldn’t be afforded the opportunity to weigh in on management’s ultimate choice.

As a head coach, Scott took the N.J. Nets to the finals twice in the last decade and weathered the chaos of coaching the New Orleans Hornets during the years they had no permanent home in the post-Katrina days.

He coached them all the way from an 18 win team to the second seed in the Western Division playoffs in 2008. For his efforts he won coach of the year.

But he never achieved the same success in the next season and rumblings turned into words that indicated Scott was out of favor with the team’s star point guard Chris Paul.It resulted in Scott’s firing early in the 2009 season.

Shaw has never been a head coach but his connection to all the current players is clearly superior to that of Scott and his preparation by Jackson has to count for something.

So there you have it ladies and gentleman. Not a bad pick between the two but the choice might come down to familiarity and trust rather than coaching resume. Polls are open at the bottom of this page here.

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles. 

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

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Don’t blame refs for Lakers loss to Celtics in Game 2


What happened to the Lakers in the final few minutes of game two of the NBA Finals? Rajon Rondo is the answer. But that’s starting at the end of the story.

The Celts 103-94 victory wasn’t inevitable. The game could have gone either way down the stretch, but let’s just go back to the beginning.

Ray Allen created an NBA Finals record of seven three-pointers in one half. He left the court at half-time with 27 total points. The rest of the big four were lagging way behind with most of it due to foul trouble and some Lakers defense.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were ineffective offensively and Rondo had not begun the heroics. The entire front line of the Celts was in foul trouble including back-up Glenn Davis, and yet the Lakers needed a three-pointer from Kobe Bryant to bring his team within six at half-time.

Thoughts for the home team at the half?

Well, how about putting a body on Allen, slow up on the outside shots that don’t drop and cause fast breaks led by Rondo, keep giving the ball to Bynum who was effective on both ends of the floor, send a search party for LO and tell Ron Artest to get his head in the game.

How did the boys in purple and gold do with that to-do list? Allen only had five more points the entire game, but managed another three-pointer, breaking the existing record of seven in an NBA Finals game.

Odom was still MIA, Bynum had a career night in a playoff game, Gasol and he blocked 13 shots between them and despite Artest dribbling more than a teething infant, the Lakers kept it close, even leading with five minutes left in the contest.

And then the Rondo show began. Kobe had five fouls and had to be as delicate as possible. The inside game of the Lakers was thwarted, turnovers were committed at the most inopportune times and Rondo was absolutely everywhere.

He was like Batman in “The Dark Knight”. You didn’t know what angle he was coming from but he was there to hurt you with scoring, passing and rebounds. With his second triple-double of the post season, Rondo made the Lakers pay.

Don’t listen to the critics who claim the officials tilted this game the Celts’ way. They punished both teams with fouls that were not there.

This was about no contributions from Odom and Artest, very little from Fisher, Kobe unable to score his average in the playoffs and Rondo emerging as the guy who can make the difference when two of the Big Four are absent offensively.

Now the scene shifts to Boston for Games 3, 4, and 5. The Celts haven’t defended home court as well as the Lakers this post-season and the Lakers have shown, against all their opponents in previous series that they can win on the road.

Game 3 starts Tuesday at 9 pm ET.

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles. 

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

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Thunder squash Kobe and Lakers to even NBA playoffs series


OKLAHOMA CITY, OK. – The Oklahoma City Thunder came to play on Saturday, out-rebounding the L.A. Lakers and thunder beat lakerstheir 7-foot duo, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum and thrashing the Lakers 110-89 to even the NBA Playoff series 2-2.

Kevin Durant scored 22 points and Russell Westbrook netted 18 and added 8 boards for the Thunder who are suddenly making believers out of their fans and opposition around the league.

After the game Durant was composed and seemed all business during a courtside interview saying, “It’s a seven game series.”

“We knew what we were capable of and how hard we play every day and how hard we practice every day,” said Durant. “With those attributes, I think that we can go far as a team. It’s all on us. We control our own destiny at this point.”

“A lot of people didn’t expect us to be here and once we got here, people were saying we were going to get swept.”

Kobe Bryant was held to 12 points and his decision to not take a shot for the first 15 minutes of the game, got his team in a 15-point deficit hole they could never dig out of.

The Thunder responded with a vengeance and the Lakers never got within double-digits after the first quarter.

“This is as big as a game can possibly be,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “You’re playing against one of the best teams in the playoffs on your home floor. Like I told the guys after the game, the Lakers did a good job the first two games. They took care of their home court. We did the same thing.”

Bynum and Gasol led the Lakers in scoring with 13 and Kobe took his 12 points to the bench, spending the entire 4th quarter there with 3 other Lakers starters.

“Our expectation is we wanted to win both of these games and be done with it. I think that’s every team’s mindset coming on the road being up 2-0,” Bryant said during post-game. “We’ve got a tough fight.”

Game 5 is Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax™

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Bulls Clinch Final Spot in NBA Playoffs


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose netted 27 points and Joakim Noah added 21 points and 13 boards noahas the Bulls took a win in Charlotte 98-89 to secure the final No.8 seed in the NBA Playoffs.

The victory comes at the heels of severe internal conflicts that included a physical confrontation between head coach Vinny Del Negro and GM John Paxton. Throughout this, the Bulls were able to stay focused and end the season with a three-game win streak.

Here are all the Eastern Conference and Western Conference match-ups for the NBA Playoffs.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

No.1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. No.8 Chicago Bulls

No. 2 Orlando Magic vs. No. 7 Charlotte Bobcats

No. 3 Atlanta Hawks vs. No. 6 Milwaukee Bucks

No. 4 Boston Celtics vs. No. 5 Miami Heat

WESTERN CONFERENCE

No. 1 LA Lakers vs. No. 8 Oklahoma City

No. 2 Dallas Mavericks vs. No. 7 San Antonio Spurs

No. 3 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 6 Portland Trailblazers

No. 4 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 5 Utah Jazz

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax™

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Lakers Kobe Bryant Agrees to Three-Year Contract Extension


LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Los Angeles Lakers just announced a three-year contract extension with Kobe Bryant. ThisLakers Kobe Bryant is the companion piece to a four-year extension for Pau Gasol announced in December, 2009.

The Lakers press release quoted General Manager Mitch Kupchak as saying:

” Kobe has been a cornerstone of the Lakers for well over a decade…and in the process developing into one of the greatest players in basketball history.”

The lack of an extension for Bryant was creeping back into sports analysts’ conversation as a result of the Lakers’ uneven performance since the All-Star game (13-8), most particularly the just concluded 2-3 road trip.

The level of uncertainty rose a bit more after coach Phil Jackson’s mysterious comments about returning next season. Kobe’s return was rumored to be tied to Jackson’s only adding to the paranoia of Lakers fans.

Despite Kobe being as clear as he could be after the team won the 2009 NBA Championship, the anxiety in Los Angeles was fueled by the memory of that horrible time in the summer of 2007 when Kobe demanded a trade.

Bryant told the assembled 100,000 people at the Lakers victory celebration last June, when asked if he was going to re-sign with the team: “Where am I going to go? This is my home.”

The team now has four of its starting five signed through the 2012 season. Ron Artest took a multi-year deal last summer and Andrew Bynum was given his big money contract at the beginning of the 2008 season.

Sixth man, Lamar Odom is under contract for the same time period after last summer’s mysterious standoff.

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles. 

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax™

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Lakers Great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Diagnosed with Leukemia


LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Lakers great, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the man formally known as Lew Alcindor, was diagnosed last December with chronic myeloid Kareem Skyhookleukemia.

Abdul-Jabbar, who was known for his unstoppable “sky-hook” shot is the leading scorer in NBA history, said his doctor conveyed promising news to him saying, “You have a very good chance to live your life out and not have to make any drastic changes to your lifestyle.”

Similar to how Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson brought awareness to HIV after contacting the disease in the mid-90’s, Kareem wants to do the same with his disease.

“I’ve never been a person to share my private life. But I can help save lives,” said Kareem. “It’s incumbent on someone like me to talk about this.”

Below is the cover of a March, 1969 Sports Illustrated edition after the young Alcindor led his UCLA team to the national title. 

SI Cover/Photo Credit: Rich Clarkson

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