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Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 at 8:45 am  |  126 responses

Post Up: Lakers Threepeat

Though they won’t be celebrating much.

by Adam Figman | @afigman

New York 111, New Jersey 100

THE BATTLE OF TH…yeah, nevermind. With the relatively easy win in Jersey, the Knicks move to 10-9, which is their best 19-game opening since they were also 10-9 to start ’01-02. Amar’e Stoudemire beasted for 35 and 9, though he didn’t do too well on the other end, allowing Bropez to score 36. Besides that little tidbit, this one was all New York, as Wilson Chandler went for 27 and 11 and Raymond Felton continued to come to his own—he dropped 21 to go along with 10 dimes.

Philadelphia 88, Portland 79

The Sixers—who shot exactly 10 percent better than the Blazers—might not have had the better stat lines (no one scored more than Elton Brand’s 18, and no one rebounded more than Brand’s 7), but they did what was needed to get the win. Philly was behind by eight late in the third, but turned on the jets and rode Brand and Jrue Holiday in the fourth, storming ahead and dominating the last quarter. Portland has now dropped four in a row, and it’s not gonna get any easier—they’re in Boston tonight.

Boston 106, Cleveland 87

(Segue game proper.) Led by Rajon Rondo’s 23 points and 12 assists, the Celts went into Cleveland and had their way, jumping ahead in the second quarter and cruising from there. Kevin Garnett went for, while Big Baby scored 17 and grabbed 11. The Cavs need to hurry up and get back to work, because they welcome the King back tomorrow night. Don’t know if “welcome” is the best term to describe what’ll take place, but that’s OK.

(Also, I’ll give the Cavs a day off from the comic sans torture. Seems like they had a rough enough night, you know?)

Orlando 90, Detroit 79

Damn, where can a dude get a close game? This one was kind of tight, until the Magic had their way early in the fourth, and then, well, it wasn’t. Rashard Lewis scored 20, and Dwight Howard only had 9 in 40 minutes, which I can’t really explain. Didn’t matter too much, I guess. Orlando’s now won four in a row, meaning tonight’s game in Chicago should be a good one.

Indiana 107, Sacramento 98

The Pacers are suddenly a lively squad, while the Kings haven’t exactly fit that description this season, which showed. Sacto simply had no answer for Danny Granger, who scored 37. Indiana’s now won four out of five (that one L was an overtime loss in OKC), but they’ve got a tough stretch ahead, as their road trip continues with Utah tonight and Phoenix on Friday.

Memphis 98, L.A. Lakers 96

Game of the night! By a lot. These two battled back and forth all game, but the Grizz, behind Mike Conley’s 28 points (see guys, worth every penny), were able to hold on. Kobe Bryant dropped 29, and the only mandatory point of discussion here is the contest’s last 10 seconds, which I’m saving for MOTN…so check below for more on that. The Lakers have now lost three in a row (panic!), but will try to get that sorted out in Houston tonight. A prediction: They will.

San Antonio 118, Golden State 98

How far in advance is it appropriate for opposing big men to circle Golden State on their schedules? Two weeks? One month? A year? Something tells me Tim Duncan was looking forward to this one, and he proved it, recording a 15-18-11 line—his first triple-double since 2003. The Spurs rolled, of course, and Manu Ginobili’s mid-career resurgence continued, as he led the team with 27. Steph Curry managed to put in 32, but it was a lost cause—this competition was all but wrapped up by the time the fourth quarter began.

Performance of the Night: Timmy D: 15 points, 18 boards, 11 dimes, 2 blocks.
Moment of the Night: (The video below is a full game highlight, but this link should take you straight to the vid’s crucial moment.) A quick recap: Lakers ball, down two. Seven seconds to go. Kobe pushes the ball up the court. Opts against the timeout, instead trying to get to the rim and maybe get an open look or draw a foul. No luck. Dishes it out to RonRon, who, instead of giving it back to Kobe for a final shot, forces a jumper over Rudy Gay—all while Kobe is standing at the top of the key, flailing his arms and asking for the ball back. Said jumper never gets fully over Gay, who blocks the ball before the clock expires. Game, blouses. Was it the right move by Artest? Should he have returned it to Bryant? Tough to tell, and even tougher to know what you’d do in the situation, with the clock ticking and the spotlight shining.

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  • themis

    definetely he should have passed the ball

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    The Lakers are done. End of discussion.
    Say hello to the Western Conference champion Spurs.

  • tuxo

    @eboy oh cmon eboy, I want the spurs to win the wcf too but it’s still to early…

  • letsmotor

    a little presumptuous, Eboy? but the west isn’t as clearly owned by the Lakers as I thought it would be. for a while I didn’t see anyone challenging them, but now, I think the Spurs could be a real challenge for them (as could the Mavs).

  • matt the jazz fan

    say hello to either eboy’s sense of humour.

  • matt the jazz fan

    or a hundred people not realising that is what it was… (i guess?)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Oh wait…..it’s only 20 games in the season? I’m sorry….I just assumed that every other team that goes on a losing streak and looks like sh*t can be written off like other teams.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    matt’s smart. Most Jazz fans are.

  • http://masterx1983@hotmail.com marchalmadness

    was that Artest with the shot? damn what a bad shot

  • http://bugmarley.com LeoneL

    The spurs might win the west, who cares? it’s all about the playoffs, and the Lakers will get there no matter what. Does anyone really believe the Spurs will beat the Lakers in a 7 game series (ft. Bynum/ or even without him). Dream On.

  • jahmai

    wtf? I just posted under LeoneL? what the hell happenned?

  • letsmotor

    touche, Eboy. touche. for the record, though, I’m not writing Miami off. i’ll wait until January for that.

  • http://www.slamonline.com KulchaKris

    And with that, Eboy makes the obligatory reference to the Heat’s early season struggles.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    KulchaKris…..how do you know I wasn’t speaking about the Cavs or the Nets?

  • http://www.slamonline.com KulchaKris

    @Eboy….You’re a funny guy. First, you’re a documented Heat fan. Second, neither the Cavs nor the Nets are “contenders” playing below expectations. I would argue that the Cavs are exceeding expectations at this point.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    I try to be funny sometimes. Most people don’t get it. I’m an idiot. Sorry. (I’d make a sad face emoticon but the comment wouldn’t show up for an hour.)

  • http://www.slamonline.com KulchaKris

    @Eboy…You’re a funny guy. First, you’re a documented Heat fan. Second, neither the Cavs nor Nets are “contenders” playing below expectations. I would argue that the Cavs are exceeding expectations.

  • jahmai

    Doesn’t sound like the real Eboy to me…

  • http://www.slamonline.com ShadiestBen

    Because for those two it’s a season long struggle.

  • Bruno

    damn Lakers are losing games they weren’t supposed to, hope the bench plays better today

  • http://www.slamonline.com KulchaKris

    Sorry for the double post…As a documented Heat fan, what’s your opinion on Riles coaching the team? I contend that he won’t this year, because he knows the team (as currently constructed) can’t win a championship.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Very cool MOTN, Adam. Doing a nice job on TPU, keeping it fresh with Anton. Thoroughly enjoy watching whole sequences unfold.

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    jahmai, I’m glad you corrected that, cuz otherwise I wouldn’t be able to direct this to you: you a dang fool son.

  • ClydeSays

    Nice win by the C’s. Rondo & the bench came up big. The Lakers/Griz game was fun to watch. The Mike/Rudy/Marc combo is a good one. After looking at the expanded standings, I realized the Lakers have been feasting on a soft schedule. They’re 11-2 against -500 teams and 2-3 against +500 franchises. Still early though! (That’s for you, Eboy)

  • http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/ Anthony

    Manu has a +/- 31 in 30min, just lol.
    And i’ll stop worry about the Lakers when they’ll lose 4 games in a Playoff serie, till that happen they are the NBA Champion so those regular season loss are meaningless to say the least.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    “But seriously: Who’s better at beating bad teams on the road than the Knicks?” Someone just can’t be objective when it comes to the New York Knicks, who with their HARD WORK and IMPROVED CHEMISTRY have won 7 out of their last 8 games, and just improved to 10-9 for the season! Hey didn’t the Knicks beat the Bulls on the road? That’s right… oh, but it was allegedly a “fluke win” according to some of the experts that peruse SLAM. Oh well, I just keep moving and grooving and while my Knicks keep grinding and finding W’s!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    @ jahmai….it’s me. @ KulchaKris, he won’t coach. No way. He won’t put himself in that position unless the roster is constructed to his liking. In all likelihood that won’t happen until next season. Spo is about 85% a shoe-in to keep the job this year. Next year? I wouldn’t be surprised to see names like Mike Brown, Mike Fratello, Jeff Van Gundy and possibly guys like Bill Laimbeer and Brian Shaw get an interview. This would all hinge on how the Heat end their playoff run. If they can somehow pull off a title win (doubtful this season)Spo’s safe (obviously). If they fall flat in the second round, he’s as good as gone as soon as the last buzzer sounds. If they get to the conference Finals and lose a close series to another Eastern Conference power, then the interview process begins. Pat doesn’t want to come back. He built the team as the President. Part of his build and sell to Wade, Bron and Bosh was that the coach in place was capable and built to run the team in his model.

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    I hate it when fanboyism gets in the way of actual hoop knowledge.. the spurs can’t win a 7 game series against LA? Yeah well it’s not like they’ve done it before, except well oh they totally have.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Landry Fields…one of the biggest steals in the second round since Manu Ginobili.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    If the Spurs are healthy once the playoffs start, they will be the biggest threat to knocking the Lakers out. Book that.

  • http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/ Anthony

    I believe we have a decent shot at the Lakers if Splitter is joigning the party. We can score against them, that’s not the problem, but how will we contain Kobe, Gasol & Odom is going to be the key.

  • http://www.slamonline.com ShadiestBen

    Book that again.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Anthony, I’m assuming that you are a Spurs fan from your comment, the Spurs have a couple of things that can make the Lakers have fit too. Obviously, TP will destroy the backcourt the Lakers have and Dejuan Blair is going to be an X-factor for them. Kobe and Artest will have their hands full with Manu and Jefferson. So there’s matchup problems on both sides.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Spurs are a serious threat to the Lakers, and PJ’s mind games just don’t work on them. Coach Pop is very mentally strong, and his team is a reflection of that. I can’t wait to see what happens when the Lakers travel to San Antonio in about 4 weeks. That should be a statement game for the Spurs, but they won’t say it is.

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    IAMORANGE4EVER: for any other team I’d agree, but the Spurs don’t do statement games IMO. They just try to win every one, regardless of who against.

  • jahmai

    @Eboy, I mean there’s always a chance? but the spurs knocking off the lakers? Bynum,Gasol,Artest,Kobe,Fisher, 2nd unit: Character,Odom,Barnes,Brown,Blake. Unless Kobe decides he won’t pass the ball AT ALL, it’s not gonna happen.

  • jahmai

    And if I may correct myself, if Kobe’s hot in that series, they might still win, considering the damage kobe as a ‘one-man’ show can do to other teams.

  • http://www.slamonline.com ShadiestBen

    jahmai – In fairness he said they would be the biggest threat. As you said its not likely to happen, any impartial observer would say that the Lakers are strong favourites to come out of the West.

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    Eboy: Actually the key for the spurs against LA is this: defense. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but San Antone’s offense right now is about as high-octane as I’ve ever seen it. There was a time when they could string up 5 to 6 straight 80-point wins at anytime in the season. Now? They run guys out of the gym so effectively, I’m convinced Pop is about the best coach of our generation. He’s succeeding in transforming this team’s genetic makeup inside of one offseason. I sincerely believe they can outscore the Lakers, although only barely. That’s mindboggling. They need to stop Kobe though, but which team doesn’t have that drawn and circled on they’re blackboards when they face LA?

  • jahmai

    your right, but the idea alone.

  • jahmai

    you’re right*

  • http://www.dimemag.com Royal

    Its not gonna be a cakewalk for L.A…like most people thought. But I still think they will be ok.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    jahmai…..to be more cleat, the last two playoff runs the Lakers had, for them, they had a pretty favorable matchup throughout the Western Conference series’. They had some minor roadblocks (the Thunder especially)but really, they faced teams they matched up really well with. And they won each one, which is a testament to the team. HOWEVA….if they drew a playoff matchup like this, this season: Jazz, Thunder, Spurs….you can bet that their title run is going to be the most difficult they’ve had to face with this group. Again, this is months and months away, but it’s topical today so…..

  • jahmai

    @ melvin ely. If you think about last year’s playoffs, the Suns could hand with LA anyday offensively. I agree their defense isn’t as good as the Spurs’ and their coach, Gentry, isn’t nowhere near as good as POP, but the biggest problem is the Twin Towers from LA up front. Can they stop Bynum and Gasol? No team has ever done it, so I would say: NO. Do they have an answer for Kobe? Manu, offensively, defensively? No. And the Lakers bench is just too good right now. I don’t see LA losing in 7 games.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    The Lakers bench has been failing them for the last few games, so I’m not sure if that’s going to be accurate from now until May.

  • jahmai

    If I was a big time Laker fan, I’d be more afraid of the Thunder. I know, they’re inexperienced, young, bla bla. But the way Westbrook is playing (one of LA’s biggest weaknesses, the PG spot) and the fact that his buddy Durant leads the league in scoring, while he’s playing like crap right now. Serge Ibaka’s emergance. The youth (also an advantage), the speed. + they know they can beat LA. playing them tough last year.

  • jahmai

    If I was a big time Laker fan, I’d be more afraid of the Thunder. I know, they’re inexperienced, young, bla bla. But the way Westbrook is playing (one of LA’s biggest weaknesses, the PG spot) and the fact that his buddy Durant leads the league in scoring, while he’s playing like crap right now. Serge Ibaka’s emergance. The youth (also an advantage), the speed. + they know they can beat LA. playing them tough last year.

  • T-Money

    Spurs need TD to play at a high level for 42 minutes a game in a series to beat the Lakers. I’m just not sure if he still has that in him. He was decent in the playoffs last year but nowhere close to beast mode. I trust Pop though, he’ll give him as much rest as needed in the reg season.

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    Jahmai, I guess we’ll see when they first meet up bro. FWIW, I think LA is still the best team coming out of the west right now. But if I had to pick a team with the best chance to knock them out of the playoffs, it’d be the Spurs.

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    side note: is it jus me or did this Neal guy just came out of nowhere? How the hell does SA keep abusing the system like this?

  • jahmai

    @melvin ely, i guess that’s fair. But I’d put my money on LA any day of the week, especially if Kobe recognizes the nights when he’s not hot and realizes he has a great supporting cast, and decides to share the ball. Not sure, if that will ever happen. But I’d still take them. :P

  • Bruno

    if you were a big time Laker fan you’d be more afraid of the spurs and not the thunder … in that case any basketball fan’d be more afraid having his team against the spurs in a playoffs series

  • Bruno

    La’s bench before this 3 games was shooting really good. Brown, Blake and Barnes had it going but in the losses they’ve been missing a lot … so if this 3 are hot come playoff time I think there’s nobody in the west that can scared LA

  • JTaylor21

    See, the Lakers have been feasting on below average teams during the 13-2 start then as soon as they start playing good teams they begin to lose. For one Kobe tries to do too much when they are down which causes their offense to sputter, someone needs to tell him that this is not 05 anymore, he has a team good enough that he doesn’t have to carry the load. Let Gasol and Odom get more touches because them taking a 10 footer is better than Kobe chucking a contested 3 from 30 feet. It’s still all good in La La land because even with the spurs and hornets hot start, no team out west can really challenge the lakers in a seven game series.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    Anyone notice the same teams that put LA on this losing streak also beat Miami?

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    The Lakers lost to Utah and Memphis on the road the exact same way last year so the loss isn’t really on suprise also bc Memphis plays well agst LA whenever they play.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Kap, making excuses as to why the Lakers are dropping game? Nah…it can’t be!

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    Can we give some credit to Memphis in these comments here? They hung tough with Boston and beat LA and Miami. They’re starting to look like a prettier version of Hawks:West

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    If I was making excuses I wouldn’t mentioned they played without their defensive game changer in Bynum.

  • http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/ Anthony

    @jahmai, i dont understand why you think the Thunder are a bigger treat for LA than the Spurs but we can agree to disagree, no problem.
    @Eboy, yeah the biggest matchup for LA is Parker obviously, it might sound weird but id say Hill & McDyess D on Kobe & Gasol will be the X-factor. They’re our best defensive players with Duncan, the 2nd half vs NOH last week is there to prove my point. Remember last year when McDyess was guarding Dirk, i think he can handle Pau.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Anthony, I agree with you.

  • EnnBee

    “Can we give some credit to Memphis in these comments here? They hung tough with Boston and beat LA and Miami. They’re starting to look like a prettier version of Hawks:West”

    They also lost to the Magic, so Hawks:West sounds just about perfect. :)

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    Since the ’04 playoffs the Lakers have never really had a problem containing Parker and I don’t see Parker getting in the lane as effective with Bynum sitting back waiting on him either.

  • JTaylor21

    When did hell freeze over because Bynum has never been a defensive “game changer”. WOW, what’s next? He’s their Bill Russell.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Kap, you’re hanging your hopes on A) Bynum being fully recovered (again) and B)staying healthy for another 6 months. I don’t wish injury on anyone (including teams I dislike) but dude’s injury history would make me more uneasy than some other histrionic bulls*it the Lakers may or may not run into.

  • apeman

    Just wait till bynum comes back… I thought that quote would finally rest after last season, but here we go again

    You can’t take a player into the equation if he hasn’t played a game yet

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    @JTaylor…yes the Lakers are a totally different defensive team when Bynum is on the floor. @Eboy…unfortunately yes the Lakersnation hope hangs on Bynum returning healthy and staying that way.

  • Bruno

    I’m not waiting on Bynum

  • JTaylor21

    Kap, I understand but to act like he’s the second coming of Hakeem out there is downright ludacris. Didn’t LA win a chip with out him and just went 13-2 to start the season. That doesn’t sound like a team that “needs” his so-called defensive prowess that bad.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    I never said he was Hakeem or Russell but he does make scoring against LA in the paint tough when he is on the floor with Gasol or Odom. The kid is damaged goods but I wouldn’t trade him for anyone center besides D12.

  • Robb

    just like every year there are dumb people who are saying: “The Lakers are done!!!”, but in june we’ll be laughing at them as usual. Keep doing it, it’s fun.

  • The Fresh Prince of Nsam

    Will Bynum even play this year?

  • Tim

    @Adam: Come on man, the Knicks-Nets game was at MSG. How are you going to spend your time talking about the Knicks winning games on the road and not even know it was a home game? Also, if you thought the game was in NJ then you clearly didn’t see any of the game, in which case, how are you going to give an opinion on a game you didn’t even see? Do your homework, kid.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Let the real Laker fan talk. As a Laker fan I do not fear the old Spurs team or the young Kevin (shoot them out of games) Durant. As a Laker fan the two teams I fear most in the West is Denver and Dallas, they have good bigs and stars at the small forward spot with good complete point guards. So people saying Spurs and Thunder are way off. Plus I see Dallas putting the Spurs out and Denver putting the Thunder out or vice versa if the season keeps going the way it is going now. Just like last year Dallas and Denver, LA main competition got put out early, which gave LA an easy rode to the NBA Finals, but I see them winning their 1st round series this year. BOOK IT!!

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Kobe shouldn’t have jumped in the air with nowhere to go then thrown and desperate pass to Artest. Everything that happened after that was Kobe’s fault not Artest’s because he made the original boneheaded decision.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    If you fear Denver you’re a fool. That is the most undisciplined team in the League not named the Clippers.
    The Nuggets lack the smarts and execution to even have a competitive series with LA. San Antonio lacks the size and depth. The Thunder lack the size and experience. The Lakers are still the clear favorites, even without Bynum and if he’s healthy I expect them to return to the Finals fairly easily. The Lakers had one of the best offseasons, have one of the best benches and have one of the best cores. They are easily set for the next two to three years barring injury.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    All these late game problems are just gonna make them better late in the season and in the playoffs. It’s good to be challenged early.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Word, Allen. And the Spurs arent a threat come playoff time. I sat here and watched the Wolves bigs tear their front line apart, as have a few other teams. Theyre not strong enough in the frontcourt to beat LA four times.

    The difference between the Lakers first 20 games of the season after winning back to back titles and the Heats first 20 games together period is pretty significant. One of them has earned the benefit of the doubt.

  • jahmai

    @Anthony, I explained why I consider the Thunder the biggest threat. Russ Westbrook playing great basketball at PG (One of LA’s weaknesses), KD still leading the league in scoring, while his percentages are really bad, and he just not playing up to his potential right now. Serge Ibaka is developing really nice, as is Maynor. And they’ve got the feeling they CAN beat LA, since last year’s playoff series almost went to a game 7.

  • whoooo!

    how is it Duncan’s first triple double since ’03? he had one against LA in ’08. for some reason, all the video recaps i’ve watched, and now SLAM as well, only want to refer to regular season triple-dubs (3), even though he’s had 4 in the post-season (including a near quadruple-dub). i’ve never heard anyone else’s triple doubles get classified into ‘regular season triple doubles,’ they always talk about ‘career triple doubles.’

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Last season’s series against the Thunder has an asterik because of Kobe’s knee. Clearly it was bothering him a lot because once he had it drained, he started killing cats like the Kobe we all know.
    In that series, Gasol and Bynum completely neutralized the Thunder’s front line. Artest made Durant’s life a living hell, and even a hobbled Kobe was a problem for the Thunder defensively. Yes, Westbrook was brillant at times, but his effectiveness was greatly limited whent he Lakers put Kobe on him and played “Rondo” defense. I think Westbrook’s improved enough that he’ll be even more of a problem, but I’ve seen nothing to convince me that the other issues have been addressed.
    Seriously, the Lakers are the best team on paper, and they are playing like the best team right now. The only team in the league on their level right now is playoffs-Boston, which is different from regular season Boston. San Antonio and Orlando are a notch below those two teams, while Miami is back in the back. All of the other teams have some obvious flaws that will be exposed against the Lakers, even if they are not exposed against other teams right now.
    It’s no surprise that Memphis played the Lakers tough. 2-5, the Grizzlies have serious talent, and if Mike Conley goes off like he did, they are crazy dangerous. The Grizzlies should be WAY better than they are in my opinion, which is why I enjoy running with them on 2K11..

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    If Denver is in the playoffs the Lakers need to still fear them. Billups plays his best ball against us and Melo is always up to the game against Kobe and kills Artest. JR Smith is the XFactor. Denver is still a good team Also Dallas to me is better than the Thunder and Spurs. Dallas always gives the Lakers fits, so as a Laker fan playing Thunder or Spurs is a plus if don’t have to play the other two teams to a title just like last year. BOOK IT

  • whoooo!

    Allenp, the Lakers ARE the best team on paper, but how on earth are they “playing like the best team right now”? I do believe Boston is pretty much equal to them – they reloaded solely to nullify the LA frontline. if we thought Gasol/Bynum were ‘soft’ before, the O’Neals signings were meant to add more hard fouls/physicality (heck, even dirtiness) to an already big frontline. oh, and Perkins missing game 7 was HUGE.

    i’d also say that the 2nd tier a little bit below them right now are the Spurs, Magic, Jazz, and Mavs. but that 2nd tier is also very capable of pushing, if not upsetting the top 2 teams in the playoffs.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Whoooo
    I wouldn’t but the Jazz and Mavs on the same level as the Spurs and Magic. Dwight Howard is playig really well right now, and even without Wince and with Shard slumming, the Magic look tough. The Spurs have changed their entire blueprint and even though Duncan is feeling his age, Manu and Parker are killing while Jefferson and Gary Neal are spacing the floor and causing problems.
    Jazz and Mavs aren’t that tough, even with some of their impressive wins mainly because I see some issues with their personnel come playoff time.
    Boston and LA have both lost some games they should have won. I agree with you totally about Boston’s front line and toughness. I think that LA vs Boston would be even more competitive this year than last year if that’s possible.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    @whoooo…No one ever called Bynum soft buddy.
    @Seed…The Lakers always annihilate Dallas so I don’t know what he heck you are talking about.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Denver is not a good team. Melo is going through the motions, they play horrible defense and their frontline is paper thin. Even when Birdman and Kenyon come back they still won’t matchup well with L.A.
    Billups is shooting sub-40 percent on the year, and J.R. Smith isn’t much better. That whole situation is toxic right now because of Melo’s situation.

  • Jahmai

    @Allenp, I’ve already said ten times today that the Lakers are not going to lose in the Western playoffs, I just disagreed with some people on what team the ‘biggest’ threath is to the Lakers.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    IAMORANGE4EVER’s 9:34 am post made me LOL. Seriously, dude, your Knicks suck. And it was a fluke win. Get over it. And your team won 7 of their last 8 against the Kings, Warriors, Clippers, Bobcats, Pistons (in OVERTIME!) and Nets. Wow! Those teams have a combineed record of 33-72 for a combined winning percentage of 31%! Yeah, sorry. I’m not impressed.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Jahmai
    No problem, I just disagreed on your assessment of the Thunder. They really need some bulk.

  • AB

    Adam…just as a heads up Knicks were home last night

  • vtrobot

    don’t have time to read through everything so sorry if i’m repeating. didn’t pau and andrew break some record for most blocks by a duo, in one of the few games they’ve played together? seems like a fairly strong defensive presence to me. and BOS is LA’s biggest threat.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Mike Conley? More like Mike Jordan! Who’s with me?!

  • Jagster

    Though I agree The Lakers are the best team in the west, there are a lot of good teams with good records and skilled scorers or big men out there. It’ll be interesting to see if they play Dallas, Utah, San Antonio or Oklahoma in the Conference finals or along the way? I’m not a believer in New Orleans or Denver (and San Antonio may have a great record, but they may be too small to face the Lakers for 4 games). We’ll see?

  • Fortitude

    Watch out for Indiana Guys. Has Evan Turner fell this far? LA is finally playing a half way decent record now and their three point shooting, bench play and Pau/Odom has fell off. They’ll be back.

    Celts blew out Cleveland last night. But don’t be fooled. Celtic Veterans were taking it easy last night, missing shots and in foul trouble (first time that happen at the same time all year it seems) against Cleveland. So Rondo took over offensively and scored 11 points in a row when the Celts were down early to close out the 1st quarter and half. The Celtics never looked back and Doc kept Rondo in with the 2nd unit to stabilize the team on the road with a back to back the next day (then he got him out with enough rest). Smart move by Doc. Allen, Pierce and Shaq played 20+min and Garnett played 30. Rondo played 38. It was a blow out, but one of those games that too many good teams fall asleep on, till the underdog becomes emboldened and won’t go away easy.

    Rondo needs to do that more quickly (and not be too deferential to the veterans, wait till someone is injured or the playoffs like the past). When the other Celtics don’t have it, he needs to take over, till those guys come back to life when they realize they’re in a real game. With the game stabilized, he started passing more/again. He could of dropped 40+ on those guys last night.

  • Fortitude

    Watch out for Indiana Guys. Has Evan Turner fell this far? LA is finally playing a half way decent record now and their three point shooting, bench play and Pau/Odom has fell off. They’ll be back.

    Celts blew out Cleveland last night. But don’t be fooled. Celtic Veterans were taking it easy last night, missing shots and in foul trouble (first time that happen at the same time all year it seems) against Cleveland. So Rondo took over offensively and scored 11 points in a row when the Celts were down early to close out the 1st quarter and half. The Celtics never looked back and Doc kept Rondo in with the 2nd unit to stabilize the team on the road with a back to back the next day (then he got him out with enough rest). Smart move by Doc. Allen, Pierce and Shaq played 20+min and Garnett played 30. Rondo played 38. It was a blow out, but one of those games that too many good teams fall asleep on, till the underdog becomes emboldened and won’t go away easy.

    Rondo needs to do that more quickly (and not be too deferential to the veterans, wait till someone is injured or the playoffs like the past). When the other Celtics don’t have it, he needs to take over, till those guys come back to life when they realize they’re in a real game. With the game stabilized, he started passing more/again. He could of dropped 40+ on those guys last night.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    TIMMY WITH THE TRIP DUB. GINOBIILLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!! Spurs have all ingredients needed for another title. Deep bench, high quality shooters, healthy tim, tony, manu. Its looking real good. Lal have a few problems, one of which is their bench is comprised of jumpshooters, and not great ones. Blake is good, shannon is improved, but u die by jumpers. Spurs matchup very well vs lal. Kobe will have to guard all game, he doesnt like that. And bynum is a nonfactor. Matt bonner will stretch the floor when needed. Manu will be manu, and tony will have a field day with fish, help on his drives, someone will knock down a 3. Spurs look like champs.

  • The Philosopher

    Mike Conley Jr. is turning into a hell of a point guard.
    People are starting to see it .

  • Bruno

    spurs will have to do that 4 games tarzan and I prefer to have blake or brown before having bonner shooting from long distance … and to seed, as Kap said LA always has beaten Dallas always

  • Max

    @The Seed probably the worst analysis i have read in my entire 16 years of existence. I truly don’t know how you can bash the Spurs, yet still consider Dallas and Nuggets threats. What’s San Antonio record again 13-2? I know it doesn’t speak volumes about the team, but think about how they beat the Hornets down by 17 at half, then won by 15, and they were playing small ball. Nuggets are probably going to trade Carmelo, and Dallas will always be the Spurs punching bag in the playoffs. In truth, the Spurs backcourt will rip the sh!t out of the Lakers anyday.. Blake, Fisher, Brown, Bryant against Parker, Ginobili, and Hill, Anderson, and Neal.. i state again no chance.(Unless Kobe Goes off). Then the rest comes to team defense, Spurs are 10 deep 5 centers. In other words they are just like the Suns of last year except with better team Defense. btw Timmy D is only playing 29Mins…

  • Sarah

    “the spurs knocking off the lakers? Bynum,Gasol,Artest,Kobe,Fisher, 2nd unit: Character,Odom,Barnes,Brown,Blake. Unless Kobe decides he won’t pass the ball AT ALL, it’s not gonna happen.”

    Anybody who says this outs themselves as being someone who A) places a lot of weight on recognizable names, and B) hasn’t seen the Spurs play much this season (though you can’t really be blamed for that if you don’t have league pass & are out of region cause they’re pretty much never on national TV). Their bench – role players to rookies – is tough. Also, to answer the remark at the end of the article: no, it is not tough to know what I’D do at the end of the game. I give it back to Kobe so he can’t flail his arms, roll his eyes and shake his head at me if things don’t end well ;-)

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Spurs will dominate these playoffs

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Tarzan
    I respect your fandom, but if I was the Lakers I’d be pretty confident matchup frontcourt to frontcourt with the Spurs, particularly once Bynum comes back. And, while Tony kills, who gets to guard Kobe?
    Manu?
    Jefferson?
    Hill?
    Nah, Kobe may not be in his prime, but he’s a problem for whoever they put on him. It should be a good series, but I think the Lakers have a better team, at least right now.

  • Max

    It is called team defense bud, And I’m pretty sure it will be Hill guarding him, and to be honest the Spurs can live with Kobe being a scorer, it is just the facilitator role that can destroy teams. As for the front court I’d take Blair, Duncan, Mcdyess, Bonner, and Tiago over Gasol, Odom, and a questionable Bynum any day of the week. Sure my opinion is completely biased, but come on, The way the Spurs offense is flowing is ridiculous. It is just a matter of time before the defense catches up.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Max
    If the Spurs were killing because Duncan was beasting, I’d be more inclined to give them the edge. But right now Timmy isn’t doing much damage, which means Pau may not have to kill himself guarding Duncan, which means he saves energy for offense where he gets to feast after the Spurs scramble to guard Kobe.
    Right now, the Lakers on paper match up just fine with the Spurs and have an advantage. But, that’s why they play the games.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Negative Kreep

    Kudos to TD and the Spurs i hope it’s a Lakers Spurs WCF. As for the Lakers losing streak? Pau Gasols defense in the paint is a BIG problem right now.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Negative Kreep

    He’s been pouting allot of the ball and not finishing at the other end. I think it’s because he’s not getting the ball enough and never really did this season like Phil promised. All fingers point to Kobe,who had high assist #’s when they were wining but has started chucking the ball.. i can’t blame Pau for being pissed, but he’s playing defense like Sh*t backing away from dribble penetration & not making his presence felt.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Negetivekreep

    Forget the Spurs Dallas or Thunder what about the Clippers!!!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Negative Kreep

    This ^^ must be the same guy using B Craws handle with all the dung jokes. Wateva.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Allen, uh timmy went for 15 18 11 last night, thats beasting, on lee and biedrins. Sure kobe will be kobe, but spurs will be spurs. Spurs have a deeper and more effective front court, no question marks like bynum. Who does la have after pau and lamar? A rookie. Spurs have tim, blair, mcdyess, bonner, and splitter. Bonner will be very effective at spreading out las defense. Blair is the x factor, if he hustles like usual and outworks odom, spurs have a great chance. A big piece now is that kobe cant hide on defense, he has to guard manu or rj, id guess phil would put ron on manu, and hes too fast and shifty for ron. Kobe cant hide on bowen or bogans anymore. And tony will demolish whomever and get in the paint at will. Its unfortunate james anderson is out for a while, he looks solid. Gary neal is an incredible shooter. I like the spurs chances against anyone…….. If xavier henry can play good d on kobe with little help, and force him into tough shots, what do you think spurs d will do? A new twist is how fast spurs play now, lal are a slow team, parker will smoke them in the open court. Damn, I cant wait. This has been a great season so far, playoffs will be epic.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Id like to give some hard earned props to rudy gay, hit a game winner in brons grill, then blocks a potential game winner by ron, thats big time. Grizz are very solid. Conley is showing us all his paycheck is justified.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Negative Kreep

    @Tarzan, right now the Spurs are a better team than the Lakers. Without Bynum i could potenially see them beating LA in the WCF. IF they were to play D’ like they use to in the playoffs, I could imagine a senario like what happened to the Lakers in 08′ with Blair playing the role of Poe/Baby against a fragile Laker front. But that all depends on Bynum, he changes everything.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Y’all are underrating how good the Lakers are when Kobe passes the damn ball to Pau. That’s all I can really say. When Kobe doens’t chuck up wild threes and keeps the big fella happy, the Lakers operate like an efficient and well-oiled machine. When Kobe goes into gunner mode, things start to break down.
    And Timmy beased on David Lee and Andris. Come on Tarzan, you’re better than that.
    He’s averaging career lows and everybody is asking what’s wrong with him. Parker is great, I just don’t know if he can be the catalyst against the Lakers for 4 games. They need Timmy for that.

  • http://djflkf.com Jukai

    If I was the Lakers, I’d be most worried by Utah. I don’t care about the absolute collapse that Utah had last year, I was disapointed and mystified… but I’d still say Utah gives Lakers fits. Too big and too strong at the point, and Utah’s bigs are able to finesse their way to get buckets while still being tough enough to give them hell down low.
    And I know, no one to stop Kobe.
    But honestly? No one can stop Kobe anyway, no matter if they’re the best guard on the planet, so I’m not sure why that should be discussed.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Adam Figman

    Yeah, Knicks were home last night. My bad. Missed the game but could’ve sworn they were supposed to be in Jers. I’ll fix, but the statement stands…check their wins and you’ll see. And thanks, ‘Saber. Appreciated.

  • whoooo!

    assuming the continued continued level of play of role players like Hill/Anderson/Neal/Bonner, SA should give LA a good run for their money, but they are outsized. Duncan is playing so few minutes to stay fresh, and check his stats every year – they always jump up in the playoffs. i think Tiago Splitter will be a HUGE key, and whether or not he can be a significant contributor. Blair is unable to deal with the length of LA’s frontline, including Odom. there’s the potential for a lot of back n forth matchup games. i feel LA’s length and height will be the difference, i’d be rooting for the Spurs to pull off an upset.

  • whoooo!

    and i agree with Jukai about Utah. if Memo’s recovers from injury well and AK keeps up his play, they’ve got such an intriguing team that looks to match up with Utah very well. i actually think Dal would matchup very well against LA too. this is a very different Dallas team than before, with Chandler/Haywood anchoring the center instead of a lousy Dampier, Dirk being Dirk, and just having a lot of overall talent. Butler and Marion have had a full training camp to gel as well. those 2 teams are probably better MATCHUPS against LA than San Antonio, in my opinion.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    @Enigmatic: It’s sure gonna be fun this Christmas watching my Knicks slice and dice those pesky Bulls in the Garden! lol

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Allen, timmy can only play whos in front of him. So were going to disregard great play against an inferior team? Kobes 81 never happened, and countless other exploits against lesser teams by superstars. Tim is fine, hes in great shape, healthy and playing well. Remember, pop has tim only playing like 28 mins. In a sa vs lal series, I think blair vs odom will be very key. Utah has improved, al jeff is a nice upgrade over booze, and ak is playing great. Dallas has something I dont recall them ever having, two quality centers, chandler and haywood. That frees dirk to operate as he wishes without hving to wrestle with a center. The west is still the best, and there are four high quality teams, with okc just on the outside.

  • thegfunk

    I dont think Ron should shave hesitated and stepped to the side. I know Rudy has long arms but he had abit of space. As for Kobes reaction, I dont like it.

  • http://sdfklfds.com Jukai

    @Tarzan: Don’t discount the Suns with thei… oh f*ck it we’re screwed =(

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Jukai, sorry cuz, but the suns years of contending has come to an end. It was a nice run, better than most teams, good lluck with rebuilding around …..uh…..good luck with rebuilding.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    @whoo! very astute observations.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Wilson Chandler needs to be made a priority in the Knicks’ offense. Him and Amare will make a great inside/outside duo with Felton and Douglas running the show. Felton is doing a lot better than I expected, and I include Douglas because he’s one of my favorite players and is set to break out when given the minutes.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    @Bryan Crawford – Watch out! Eboy’s gonna go hard at you tomorrow about the Bulls, Boozer, et al. You can book that.

  • http://slamonline.com the underrated one

    artest not passing reminds of that fresh prince episode when carlton tried to make the winning shot

  • JTaylor21

    Someone check on BCrawford after the Bulls just got shellacked by the magics. I heard his been listening to some Nirvana and wants to Kurt Cobain himself.

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