Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsLakers

THE SECOND HALF | by Mark Heisler

January 06, 2008|Mark Heisler

QUOTAGE

NOW WHAT, PEERLESS LEADER?

Orlando Coach Stan Van Gundy, above, before Boston's 4-0 West Coast trip: "Their challenge will be when they get out on the road. We've played 10 West Coast road games already, which is I believe 10 more than what Boston has played."

THOSE WERE THE DAYS

Golden State Coach Don Nelson, lamenting the firing of his former player, Scott Skiles: "I drafted him [in Milwaukee in 1986]. He was in jail. I asked him what kind of shape he was in. He said, 'I can't do much running where I'm at, but I've been doing a lot of push-ups.' "

AS IF

Miami's Ricky Davis, after once more losing his starting job in his second tour of duty under Miami Coach Pat Riley: "It's tough. I thought I'd be coming here to compete for a ring."SOME FRANCHISE New York Coach Isiah Thomas on Eddy Curry, whom he once called his franchise player: "How can I say this? Simply put, we're 8-21 and he's not having an All-Star year."

SPYGATE

Boston General Manager Danny Ainge to the Boston Herald on the importance of spying in the NBA: "Remember the time Kevin McHale volunteered to give Hubie [Brown, coaching the Knicks in the '80s] our whole playbook? "He told him, 'Here, take it. You still can't stop us.' "It was at a shoot-around at Madison Square Garden. We ran into them as we were taking turns on the court and Kevin told Hubie he could have it. That was sweet."

LOOKING AHEAD

As Coach Phil Jackson noted with his Lakers facing five teams with losing records in the next six games, there's no such thing as an easy game. Of course, for some of Jackson's Chicago teams, the whole season was easy. After setting the record, going 72-10 in 1995-96, Jackson announced he wouldn't run his veteran team that hard again. The Bulls backed off the next season and went 69-13, tying for the second-best record in history. The young Lakers are more like the Bulls when Jackson was Doug Collins' assistant and Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant were breaking in. The Lakers seemed to have a remote chance of winning Kobe Bryant back when the season started. With good chemistry, they now look like they have a future. Now to see what kind of chemistry they actually have.

--

THE TIMES' RANKINGS

RANKINGS, COMMENTS (WITH LAST WEEK'S RANK)

AS IN DAYS OF YORE

1. BOSTON (29-3) Won't burn out Big Three trying to win 70 but looking good for best record. (1)

WAITING FOR DAYS OF YORE TO RUN OUT

2. DETROIT (26-8) Legends in their own mind do it on court, going 11-0, winning by 14 a game. (2)

3. PHOENIX (23-10) Doing something right if they say you're disappointing while on 59-win pace. (4)

4. NEW ORLEANS (23-11) Jerry West on Byron Scott: "The job he's done is unbelievable." (6)

WAITING FOR APPRENTICESHIP TO RUN OUT

5. SAN ANTONIO (22-9) 5-6 after 17-3 start as Ginobili sits out last five because of sprained left pinkie. (3)

6. DALLAS (22-11) Good news, sort of: Nowitzki, career 38% shooter on threes, at 29% last month. (9)

7. LAKERS (20-11) Good news, sort of: Doing this without real Kobe Bryant, who shot 42% last month. (5)

8. DENVER (20-12) Key piece: Kleiza shot 23% from three-point range in November, 41% last month. (10)

9. PORTLAND (21-13) Kids aren't up past bedtime yet: 2-1 trip makes them 16-1 since Dec. 2. (11)

10. ORLANDO (22-13) Still looking for their point guard as starter Jameer Nelson is benched. (7)

PLAYOFF CONTENDERS

11. GOLDEN STATE (19-15) Pietrus is available, on one-year deal, with Miami, Dallas seeking athletes. (8)

12. UTAH (18-17) Their lucky day: Giricek was a problem. Korver's not and shoots better too. (12)

13. CLEVELAND (16-17) Good luck finding taker for Hughes, making $12 million, shooting 34%. (13)

14. NEW JERSEY (17-16) Kidd Watch ends as 4-0 run puts them back in old neighborhood around .500. (20)

15. ATLANTA (15-16) Still looking for point guard. Doing this with veteran Anthony Johnson. (14)

16. TORONTO (17-16) No. 16 in offense doesn't look like Suns or even last season's No. 11 Raptors (15)

17. WASHINGTON (16-15) Well, it's good for him: Haywood at career highs of 10 points, 8.0 rebounds (17)

18. HOUSTON (17-17) Bad year for transition issues with nine solid teams ahead of them in West. (18)

19. INDIANA (16-18) Not quite turned around: Just lost five in row, giving up 104 a game. (16)

20. CHICAGO (13-19) Schedule eases up to let new Coach Jim Boylan start with 4-2 honeymoon. (23)

21. PHILADELPHIA (14-19) Cheeks must be wild about losing Korver to save money after going 8-3. (19)

IT'S GETTING DARK IN HERE

22. SACRAMENTO (12-20) Not their year: Artest injury means four opening-night starters now out. (21)

23. MILWAUKEE (12-20) GM Larry Harris lame duck going on dead as deal expires with no good news. (22)

24. CHARLOTTE (11-20) Doesn't look as if Jason Richardson and $12-million salary was great move. (24)

25. CLIPPERS (10-20) Just have to hold out two or three months longer for Brand and Livingston. (25)

26. MEMPHIS (9-23) With future far off, Conley starts, old starter Damon Stoudamire available. (26)

WRETCHED OF THE EARTH

27. SEATTLE (9-23) High point of season will be Durant's appearance in All-Star rookie game. (28)

28. NEW YORK (8-24) Not that they've quit, but they've been behind by 20 in last three at home. (29)

29. MIAMI (8-25) With Wade sitting out again, stick a fork in them. (27)

30. MINNESOTA (4-28) Touting Al Jefferson as All-Star, but someone has to score for bad teams. (30)

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|