September 26, 2010 |
The summer itinerary couldn't have been any better for Pau Gasol. Win an NBA championship in June. Go to South Africa a few weeks later to watch home country Spain win soccer's World Cup. Teach teenagers how to play basketball on an NBA-sponsored trip to India in August. Head to Spain for some downtime in September. A taxing summer it was not, by design. The Lakers forward didn't play for the Spanish basketball team in the world championships and didn't do anything competitively until some one-on-one a couple of weeks ago against his brother, Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol.
June 18, 2010 |
Shaquille O'Neal got the message. And he sent one back to Kobe Bryant . But unlike some of their past encounters, it was kind, even understanding. "Congratulations Kobe, u deserve it," O'Neal wrote on his Twitter account. "U played great. Enjoy it man. I know what ur sayin…" It was a response to Bryant's postgame declaration that it was important to win a fifth championship because it was "one more than Shaq." "You know how I am," Bryant continued after the Lakers' Game 7 victory over Boston.
June 16, 2010 |
They knew what was at stake. They knew what was on the line. And they knew they had not been performing up to par in the NBA Finals. For Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic, two guards the Lakers count on to come off the bench and be productive, they both knew they had to fill a void. Both of them did, playing solid in the Lakers' 89-67 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 on Tuesday night at Staples Center. "It doesn't matter what happened the entire year," Vujacic said.
June 2, 2010 |
Point Guards: Derek Fisher vs. Rajon Rondo. Fisher may be 35, but he has been solid once again for the Lakers in the playoffs. Rondo, 24, is the key for the Celtics. He's an elite offensive rebounder for a guard. He's a north-south penetrator. He's a poor jump shooter and free-throw shooter. But he's very good at getting steals. Advantage: Celtics. Shooting guards: Kobe Bryant vs. Ray Allen. Bryant is the best player on the planet. Since getting his right knee drained, Bryant has played perhaps the best basketball of his career.
May 30, 2010 |
Reporting from Phoenix -- Sasha Vujacic was demonstrating his … well, interaction with the Suns' Goran Dragic and clipped the tape recorder of a reporter in the Lakers' dressing room. The tape recorder, unlike Dragic, did not fall to the floor. Vujacic was called for a flagrant foul, type one, when he elbowed Dragic early in the fourth quarter, and the incident ignited the Suns and Dragic, and they went on a big run to put the game in question. Only a marvelous fourth quarter by Kobe Bryant prevented this series from going back to Los Angeles for Game 7, with the Lakers winning, 111-103, on Saturday night.
May 28, 2010 |
Late Wednesday night, long after the Lakers had completed their practice in preparation for Game 5 of the Western Conference finals against the Phoenix Suns, Sasha Vujacic went back to the team's training facility. Vujacic spent about 1 ½ hours shooting, doing all he could to be ready in case Lakers Coach Phil Jackson called upon him. And when that time came Thursday night, Vujacic was ready, responding with five points and getting into a little altercation while playing defense.
May 15, 2010 |
Pau Gasol was getting hit from all linguistic directions, questions about Arizona's new immigration law, and proved just as adept at navigating through a hot-button issue as he does handling traffic in the paint. Still, the Barcelona-born Gasol looked a bit relieved when the discussion steered away from Los Suns and Los Lakers, as someone supplied a semi-deadpan basketball out. "So how about that Suns' bench?" The conversational lifeline may take on a different tone once the Western Conference finals eventually unfold, because the Suns' bench, most assuredly, is not the short-handed, almost depleted group employed by the Utah Jazz.
April 14, 2010 |
Bad day for the Lakers, who lost another player to injury, got drilled by their cross-town rival and angered the All-Star forward on the team they'll face in the first round of the playoffs. Sasha Vujacic left with a severely sprained left ankle in the Lakers' 107-91 loss Wednesday to the Clippers and might not be available against Oklahoma City, which plays the Lakers in Game 1 Sunday at noon at Staples Center. Vujacic's injured ankle wasn't the Lakers' only problem. There was also Kevin Durant's injured ego. The star of the Thunder told The Oklahoman he felt insulted when Lakers Coach Phil Jackson publicly stated how often he got to the free-throw line this season, a hint Jackson obviously hoped would be digested by referees in the first round.
April 13, 2010 |
Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum watched Tuesday's game from the locker room. It wasn't long before they were joined by Jordan Farmar. The reserve guard left in the second quarter because of a strained left hamstring, another injury issue for the Lakers to address as the playoffs come closer to arriving. The Lakers held off the Sacramento Kings, 106-100, at Staples Center and moved within a game of Orlando for the league's second-best record with one game remaining. But nobody seemed to care about that.
April 11, 2010 |
There were many eye-openers Sunday at Staples Center — two missed free-throw attempts by Kobe Bryant in the final seconds and a last-second three-point play diagrammed for Pau Gasol — but Ron Artest's seat on the bench was also telling. He sat out the final 2 minutes 50 seconds of Sunday's game against Portland, giving way to Sasha Vujacic in the Lakers' 91-88 loss. "He had a tough night," said Lakers Coach Phil Jackson , who didn't like that Portland guard-forward Rudy Fernandez was too fast for Artest while coming off screens.