If not for injuries, a swift coaching change and overlapping the agendas, the Lakers could be competing in the Western Conference Finals right now.
Instead, the Lakers are three weeks removed from an early first-round exit to the San Antonio Spurs, leaving them plenty of time on their hands. For Metta World Peace, that gave him an opportunity to play meteorologist recently on a Fox 11 telecast. The segment showed World Peace bouncing around, making goofy poses as he read off the temperatures of various cities that represent his teammates’ hometowns. Continue reading →
The hits keep coming for the Lakers, who announced Monday that Dwight Howard suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder and will be sidelined indefinitely. The team also said Pau Gasol has a concussion and also will be out indefinitely. Jordan Hill has a right hip injury and won’t travel with the team to Houston for Tuesday’s game.
When the doors to the Lakers’ practice facility opened Thursday afternoon and reporters were granted access to the gym, they were treated to the sight of Steve Nash working his magic with the basketball in his hands during the team’s scrimmage.
Nash ran away from Darius Morris’ defensive pressure and darted into the paint before passing to an open Metta World Peace for a jump shot that hit nothing but net. A few moments later, Nash set up Jodie Meeks for a 3-pointer that also was good.
Lakers center Dwight Howard either gave a thoughtful answer or a silly one when a reporter asked Monday if the worst was over for the team. Said Howard:
“Some of our players, we watch ‘Batman’ a lot. ‘The Dark Knight.’ There’s a point in the movie where he says, ‘The night is the darkest right before the dawn.’ Which basically means right now this is probably the darkest moment for our team. It’s not going to last forever. The sun’s going to come up. I think we’re going to be where we need to be. … We’re not playing our best brand of basketball right now. We’d love to be 20-0 or whatever it may be right now. Sometimes being 20-0 could put you in a position where you feel like you’re already there. We know we have to work out of this and we will. We can continue to get better at it and we won’t lose faith.”
So, wait, the guy known as Superman watches “Batman” movies?
Pau Gasol and Steve Nash practiced with their Lakers teammates Monday, with Gasol saying he might play Tuesday night against the Charlotte Bobcats and Nash saying he might be ready to play on Christmas Day against the New York Knicks.
Gasol said the tendinitis in his knee wasn’t as painful as it was and as if to show off his newfound health he ran a series of post-practice sprints before shooting a number of free throws. He said a decision about his participation will be made just before the tip.
“I’m happy with the practice and how I felt,” Gasol said. “We don’t want to make the decision quite yet. So, we’ll see how tomorrow in the morning how I feel. … It (a two-week layoff) helped, not just the rest but the work we did to strengthen the knees.
“I can move around much better.”
Nash ran without pain in his fractured left leg during what could only be described as a light practice, devoid of any contact. The Lakers went through a number of drills, but didn’t scrimmage as they prepared for Tuesday’s game against the Bobcats.
“We’ll see,” Nash said. “Hopefully, I can play by Christmas. We’ll see how it responds this week. Today we didn’t do anything 5-on-5 or with any contact, so it was just running and cutting. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes.”
The Lakers returned home Monday to practice at their El Segundo HQ and prepare for the arrival of the dreaded Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday at Staples Center. The Lakers have winning records against all but two NBA franchises. The Boston Celtics are one, of course. The Lakers are 123-153 all-time against Boston. Amazingly, incredibly, the Bobcats are the other. The Lakers are only 7-8 against the Bobcats, who began play in the NBA in the 2004-05 season. The good news is the Lakers get the Bobcats at home, where they are 5-3 all-time against Charlotte. They’re only 2-5 against the Bobcats at Charlotte, however.
Madison Square Garden isn’t really on Broadway, it’s a block over on 7th Avenue, but, hey, you get the idea. The Lakers played the Knicks on Thursday, on the figurative stage at the World’s Most Famous Arena, and got thumped. Then they got hammered in the court of public opinion. Here’s a sampling from TNT’s commentators.
Steve Kerr on the Lakers’ lack of confidence: “The Lakers have no offensive confidence, no rhythm. When you don’t play with a precision offense, you end up with poor spacing defensively. Maybe when the Lakers come back with (Pau) Gasol and (Steve) Nash and their offense improves, maybe their defense can improve as well.”
Mike Brown (you remember him, don’t you?) went on SiriusXM’s NBA show “Off the Dribble” Thursday and had a few things to say about his former employer and a few of his former players. Nothing earth-shattering, but it’s still fairly interesting stuff.
Among the highlights, Brown said of coaching Kobe Bryant: “I had a good time working with Kobe. I really felt like I learned a lot. He’s a guy that is extremely intelligent and extremely intense. In my opinion, when you’re around people like that, they only push you to get better and so being around him I really felt like he made me a better coach.”