December 12, 2013 |
The Staples Center scoreboard, bearer of deliriously exciting news to Lakers fans in 2010 (Game 7 NBA Finals: Lakers 83, Boston 79) and 2006 (Kobe Bryant: 81 points), delivered a more somber dose of reality Tuesday. The malfunctioning monolith crashed in the first quarter and showed a bunch of zeroes where player stats were usually displayed. Made sense. Perfect metaphor for the Lakers' herky-jerky resumption of life since Bryant came back from a torn Achilles' tendon. The Lakers are 0-2 since his return and scoring 21 points fewer per 100 possessions with Bryant on the court than without him, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
November 28, 2013 |
The geography of the NBA conference alignment can't be changed. But it can be lightly debated in a "what-if?" way. The Lakers, long a member of the Western Conference, would just as happily be members of the East this season, where only two teams are over .500. That's right. Two teams. The Lakers are 11th in the West with their 8-8 record. They'd be tied for third in the East with Chicago. "That's the way it goes. It's been like that for a while," Steve Blake said.
October 31, 2012 |
Lakers fans showed up en masse, offering ear-bursting ovations during pregame introductions as Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and a semi-injured Kobe Bryant hit the Staples Center court for the first time. By the end of the game, it was quiet enough to hear a Cartier watch drop in the courtside seats. Despite the scoreboard proclamation amid the pregame cheers that this was a "NEW YEAR," the Lakers looked a lot like the people who set a team record last season by failing to score 100 points in 13 consecutive games.
October 28, 2012 |
Dwight Howard steps up to the free-throw line. Everybody knows what's usually next. Clang. If there's a nit to pick in Howard's game, it's at the line. He's a career 58.8% free-throw shooter, and it's not an upward trend. The Lakers' center was only 49.1% last season with Orlando, missing more free throws (291) than he made (281) for the first time in his eight-year career. So the Lakers have tracked every one of his shots from the stripe since they acquired him in August, even in scrimmages and after practice when players shoot individually.
October 17, 2012 |
The Lakers were already in midseason form, appearing 20 minutes later than scheduled for their exhibition game Tuesday. They arrived in plenty of time for tipoff, though their pregame rituals were rushed and the product on the court didn't come close to resembling the dominance that awaits around the corner. That's what Lakers fans hope, anyway. The Lakers lost to Utah at Honda Center, 114-80, and are 0-4 in exhibition play, losing by an average of 23 points. Unlike so many NBA teams, the Lakers thankfully don't come up with cheesy promotional slogans each season.
October 7, 2012 |
Kobe Bryant's right foot, the most discussed body part in Southern California aside from Dwight Howard's back, improved sufficiently to allow the Lakers star to participate in practice Saturday. Bryant had missed a pair of practices Friday because the foot was bothering him, leading to breathless speculation on Twitter about worst-case scenarios. It amounted to little more than wasted keystrokes. "He's fine," Coach Mike Brown said Saturday. "He didn't have limitations" in practice.