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Sunday , Sep , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Should Lakers let Bynum play at 2010 Olympics?


Andrew Bynum has said he would like to play in the Olympic Games in 2012.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Los Angeles Lakers training staff must be cringing.

Credit Andrew Bynum for wanting to represent his country in London at the summer Olympics; however, the giant seven-footer has a history of injury and health problems.

Over the last three seasons, Bynum has suited up for an average of 50 games. And he seems to play with constant pain –like in the 2010 NBA Finals when he fought through significant knee troubles.

So Bynum’s body is rarely right. And repping for stars and stripes at an international tournament, while honourable, would tax his already fragile body.

Suppose Bynum plays in London. Suppose he tweaks a knee, groin, or back. How would owner Jerry Buss, teammates, and Laker-nation feel?

Buss may want a refund on the lucrative four-year, $60 million contract he signed him to. Teammates, who have supported him through an up-and-down career, would surely be frustrated.

And some fans would feel angry because they always stood by Bynum –like the time he was photographed at the Playboy mansion when he was supposed to be rehabbing an injury. 

The Olympics are a nice thought, but one Bynum and Lakers can probably do without.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.      
 

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Saturday , Aug , 28 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant:I`m ‘99.99 percent sure I’m finishing with Lakers‘

And KB24 finally said he’s “definitely” not playing for another team, or “99.99 percent sure I’m finishing my career with the Los Angeles Lakers.”

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: Not long ago, it seemed 99.9% sure that Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers would part ways.

Remember, he requested a trade. Twice. The first time he bared his soul to Stephen A, Smith on radio. The second time he met soccer star Ronaldinho in Europe, and then told vacationing Lakers owner Jerry Buss he wanted out.   

Along the way, he badmouthed Andrew Bynum to a pair of random dudes outside an Orange County strip mall, who happened to record the entire incident on cell phone.

Of course, this led to the organization getting extorted in a salacious story that belonged on TMZ. And Bryant was even booed by the Staples Center faithful during the 2008 home opener.

However, winning solves everything. The Lakers, through shrewd trades and astute free agent signings, have established a potential dynasty. They’ve won consecutive championships. A three-peat third could happen.

So Bryant is happy and will end his career a Laker. This is the way it should be. The best player of this generation embodies the purple-and-gold.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Tuesday , Jun , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Raptors offering Bosh and Jack to Lakers for Bynum and Odom?

"The Raptors would like to get something in a sign-and-trade for Bosh, but they likely won’t deal him in the East. The Lakers are expected to offer Andrew Bynum, a legitimate low post center, and Lamar Odom, and take back Jarrett Jack, whom the Raptors would like to move."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: All they can do is make the best of a bad situation.

After all, franchise face Chris Bosh seems destined to leave the Toronto Raptors as a free agent when the market opens July 1st. Executive Bryan Colangelo admitted as much at a recent press conference.

There's no easy way to lose a 26 year old superstar. However, there's an easier way.

For instance, if Chris Bosh joins fellow free agents LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade in Miami or Chicago, he'll likely leave a year and $30 million on the table. And the Raptors will get nothing in return.

If Bosh inks a deal with the Raptors as part of a sign-and-trade, he can get the longest term and most money available. And the club can get something back, which is better than nothing.

Enter the Los Angeles Lakers. The two-time defending champs are offering Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom for Bosh and Jarrett Jack.

Such a deal would achieve two things. First, Bynum is a legit five-man. His length, size, and ability to plug the middle would transform the Raptors into a more defensive side. And skilled post Andrea Bargnani could slide to the four-spot, his natural position.

Second, Bosh would be out west. He wouldn't be in the same conference. He wouldn't drop into Air Canada Centre several times a year with his new superstar teammates. He wouldn't win championships with the the Bulls or Heat. And all of this would allow the Raptors to save face.

Of course, the ball is in Bosh's court. As an unrestricted free agent, he holds most of the cards.

All Colangelo can do is offer a sign-and-trade. Joining Kobe Bryant and the NBA's best team may be enough for Bosh to re-consider his plans to partner with James and Wade, especially if he gets the maximum term and money.

This is the Raptors' only card, so Colangelo better do everything to play it.

Got thoughts?       

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Wednesday , Jun , 23 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

No surprise Kobe Bryant wants Raja Bell on Lakers

Kobe Bryant has become a strong advocate for Bell, a former nemesis. After missing most of the season with surgery to repair ligaments in his non-shooting wrist, Bell is still expected to be a coveted bench player among contending teams.

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: No surprise here.

Sure, Kobe Bryant and Raja Bell engaged in a bloody war when the Los Angeles Lakers met the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 Western Conference Quarter-Finals. And sure, they exchanged elbows on-court and insults off-court.

However, these two squashed their beef following that memorable playoff. Bryant and Bell use the same agency, so their paths were bound to cross and when it did they discovered they liked each other.

And Bell would be perfect for the purple-and-gold. He can defend. He can knock down three-pointers. And his intensity would ensure complacency does set in.

Best of all, Bell would make the Lakers’ nasty defense nastier. He could come off the bench to form a terrific stopper unit with Ron Artest, Bryant, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom.

Expect these former foes to continue their new found friendship as teammates. And the strong, the two-time world champion Lakers, will be even stronger in 2011.

Got thoughts on Bell and Bryant joining forces? 

Kobe’s Lakers won the title. It’s over. Vol. 2010 NBA Finals game 6
Thursday , Jun , 17 , 2010 J.N.

Kobe’s Lakers won the title. It’s over. Vol. 2010 NBA Finals game 6

What happened? The game was over when Kendrick Perkins got injured. The Lakers took their hearts. After Kobe questioned his teammates’ hearts, they proved that they had more than enough for game 6 in Los Angeles. Pau Gasol finished with a near triple double: 17 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 blocks. Derek Fisher didn’t need to do much. Kendrick Perkins is done. Rajon Rondo took a vicious elbow from Ron Artest that required stitches. The Lakers got this and Kobe got his 5th ring.

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Kobe Bryant brought heart and fire. Can’t do it alone! Vol. 2010 Game 5 NBA Finals
Tuesday , Jun , 15 , 2010 J.N.

Kobe Bryant brought heart and fire. Can’t do it alone! Vol. 2010 Game 5 NBA Finals

This is another episode in the long series called, “Can anybody other than Kobe score?” In the game 5 episode called, “The one where Kobe gets hot in the 3rd quarter,” Pau Gasol still has not shed the “soft” label. Ron Artest’s offense is crappy. People will make excuses for him not being familiar with the triangle offense. That is crap. Man up. This is the Finals. Boston’s defense is just that good to make him look dazed and confused.

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Monday , Jun , 14 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

The Big Four Deliver: Allen, Garnett, Pierce, and Rondo lead Boston to game-five win

It's looking a lot like 2008 again, with Paul Pierce carrying the Boston Celtics to victory in the NBA finals and leading them to the brink of yet another title.

Pierce scored 27 points -- his best performance of this year's finals -- and the Celtics withstood 38 points from Kobe Bryant to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 92-86 on Sunday night and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: On Friday, Kobe Bryant told reporters he was miserable because of his poor play. Tonight, he'll be miserable for a different reason.

The Los Angeles Lakers' superstar raised his play, even scoring an astounding 19 points in the third quarter; however, his co-stars all had poor nights, which was the reason for the game-five loss.

For instance, Ron Artest struggled on both ends of the floor; Pau Gasol's 12 points and 12 rebounds won't cut it in the NBA Finals; Andrew Bynum - wonky knee or not - should've been better than 6 points and 1 rebound; and Lamar Odom was a non-factor.

Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics won with balance. The Big Four delivered: Paul Pierce found his touch and had a team-high 27 points; Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo combined for 36 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists; and Ray Allen had an efficient 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting.

While the bench didn't repeat their game four heroics, they still contributed. Tony Allen, Nate Robinson, and Rasheed Wallace hit some shots, played tough defense, and, best of all, brought energy.

And this was the difference in game five. As a group, the Celtics seemed determined. Other than Bryant, the Lakers seemed flustered.

In the second half, Tony Allen gave the Celtics a surge with his tremendous weak side block on Pau Gasol. Then, in the closing moments, the 6-3 Rondo leaped the 6-10 Odom for an improbable tip-in basket to seal the win.

With the exception of Bryant, no Laker had a momentum changing moment or timely play. The purple-and-gold had too many passengers on this night.

Despite trailing in the series, the Lakers still have home-court advantage with game-six and seven at Staples Center.

The Lakers must improve, though. Or the Celtics will win the NBA championship and Bryant will be more than miserable.

Got thoughts on game five? Get at us in the comment box below.            

2010 NBA Finals Game 4 – Pierce punches ref’s face and Big Baby is good.
Saturday , Jun , 12 , 2010 J.N.

2010 NBA Finals Game 4 – Pierce punches ref’s face and Big Baby is good.

Come on Los Angeles. You’re better than this. Shout outs to Shrek and Donkey AKA Big Baby Glen Davis and Nate Robinson.  They stepped up when it mattered. Davis added 18 points and Nasty Nate provided 12 points. Lamar Odom disappeared as usual with 10 points in nearly 40 minutes of game time. Andrew Bynum could not get his game going, which resulted in Phil Jackson yanking him out early. The nagging injury is really affecting him.

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Friday , Jun , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Andrew Bynum the difference between L.A. Lakers winning and losing NBA Title?

Andrew Bynum said the swelling in right knee is the most it has been since he initially tore the cartilage April 30, but he is confident he will be back in action Sunday night for Game 5 of the NBA Finals. “It’s a little bit frustrating, but I’m going to play on Sunday, play hard on Sunday,” Bynum said after he played just 1:50 of the second half in the Lakers’ Game 4 loss to Boston.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: I see the difference. You see the difference. The world sees the difference.

The Los Angeles Lakers are a different team with Andrew Bynum playing -even if he's nowhere near full health. The young seven-footer anchors the middle with his length and size, which allows Pau Gasol to play the four-spot, his natural position, and embarrass opponents with his creative post moves and wonderful skill-set.

Consider Bynum's impact in the NBA Finals. With Bynum, the Lakers physically dominate the Celtics. Without him, the opposite occurs -the Celtics assert their will on the Lakers, especially in the all-important paint.

For instance, Boston's Glen Davis, at 6-8, probably doesn't dominate game four if Bynum, at 7-1, is playing because he'd have challenged and contested every 'Big Baby' shot and putback.

For the Lakers, it's a positive that Bynum will try to play in game five. Like it or not, he's the difference in this championship series.  

Got thoughts on Andrew Bynum?

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Friday , Jun , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Praise the bench: Glen Davis and Nate Robinson lead Celtics to game four win over Lakers

Backup Glen "Big Baby" Davis scored half of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Celtics bench as it pulled away from the Los Angeles Lakers to win 96-89 on Thursday night and even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

Game 5 is Sunday night in Boston. The Celtics' win guaranteed them a trip back to Los Angeles and averted a 3-1 deficit that has never been overcome in NBA history.

Kobe Bryant scored 33 points and Pau Gasol had 21 for the Lakers.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Down the stretch, the Boston Celtics needed a spark. And their bench answered the call, winning game four for the green-and-white.

With starters Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo struggling, coach Doc Rivers went with four reserves and first-stringer Ray Allen for most of the fourth quarter.

And this makeshift unit responded in the final frame: Glen Davis tallied 9 of his 18 points; Nate Robinson scored and set up others; Tony Allen forced Kobe Bryant left and made the game's best player work for every point; and Rasheed Wallace's length and physicality eventually wore on Pau Gasol.

Best of all, Ray Allen, Tony Allen, Davis, Robinson, and Wallace brought an energy that Boston was missing for most of the game.

The news gets worse for the Los Angeles Lakers: Andrew Bynum sat out the entire second half and only played 12 minutes because of his injured knee.

Bynum's numbers have been mediocre due to his poor health; however, his height and length has given the Celtics problems. Also, with Bynum on-court, Gasol can shift to the four-spot, his natural position.

However, give the Celtics credit. They capitalized on Bynum's absence. And their bench came through in the clutch.

Got thoughts on game four?   

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Wednesday , Jun , 09 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Height and heart: how L.A. beat Boston in game three

Kobe Bryant scored 29 points and Derek Fisher added 16 to lead Los Angeles to a 91-84 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night and give the Lakers a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

Bryant had 25 points after three but did not score for the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter. That's when Fisher took over, adding four key baskets after Boston winnowed a 17-point first-half lead to one point.

The Lakers regained home-court advantage they had lost when Boston took Game 2 in Los Angeles. Game 4 is Thursday night in Boston.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: In basketball, there’s a saying that ‘you can’t teach the height’. In game three of the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics couldn’t beat the Los Angeles Lakers’ height.

It didn’t matter that Kevin Garnett turned back the clock with an inspired performance. It didn’t matter that Rajon Rondo was brilliant. It didn’t matter that the green-and-white’s bench had a big second half.

It also didn’t matter that Kobe Bryant had an off shooting night or that Ron Artest struggled with foul trouble.

On Tuesday evening, the Lakers were bigger and stronger and ultimately better. For instance, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom were especially effective in the middle, disrupting passing lanes and contesting shots with their length.

Size was one factor. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce’s poor play was another.

Allen, who hit an NBA Finals record 8-three pointers in game two, missed every shot he took in game three, while Pierce wasn’t much better, going 5-for 12 from the floor, and ending with a disappointing 15 points.

This was Pierce’s second consecutive sub par performance and it came on the heels of his claim the Celtics ‘ain’t going back to LA!’

Of course, one of the Lakers’ smallest players, Derek Fisher, played like a giant. The veteran went 6-for-12 with 16 points, which included a courageous 5-for-7 shooting display in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory.

Yes, height was the difference in game three. So was the size of Fisher’s heart.

Got thoughts on game four? Get at us in the comment box below.

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Friday , Jun , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Will Dan Gilbert let LeBron replace Ferry as Cleveland’s de facto GM?

Danny Ferry is out as general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, choosing not to re-sign his contract that was set to expire in June. The decision comes as a surprise but was made days ago, and complicates the most important offseason in team history.

Ferry's departure Friday after five seasons occurred two weeks after the club fired coach Mike Brown following the team's second-round loss to the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs. It also comes as the team is making plans to try to re-sign two-time MVP LeBron James, who will be a free agent next month.

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: It's official. The inmate, LeBron James, is running the asylum -even if he has a foot out the free agent door.

Ferry's firing comes as a surprise because days ago reports indicated the retired forward and owner Dan Gilbert had essentially agreed on an extension.

Apparently, the stumbling block was authority. Ferry rightfully thought a GM needed control over basketball operations. He wasn't prepared to deal with Gilbert or James meddling in personnel decisions.

So he left.

Assistant GM Chris Grant will slide into the big chair in the executive suite. However, it remains to be seen how much authority Grant will have as the new GM.

Expect Gilbert to be very involved this summer. If James resigns, Gilbert and Grant will likely let the superstar pick the new coach and have a large say in all basketball related decisions.

This isn't the way to run a winning organization. For instance, Tim Duncan always defers to coach Gregg Popovich and executive R.C. Buford. The Los Angeles Lakers started winning when Kobe Bryant quit commenting to random fans outside of strip malls about swapping Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd and focused on basketball. And even the great Michael Jordan had little say in the happenings of the Chicago Bulls.

So Gilbert, who doesn't have James' name on a new deal, is taking a risk in re-structuring his entire organization to suit his free agent superstar.

Got thoughts on Ferry leaving the Cavaliers? Let us know in the comment box below.

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Friday , Jun , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lakers bang, bully, and beat up Celtics, win game one

So the Celtics want to play rough again? Kobe Bryant and the Lakers look ready this time around, and they barged into an early lead in the NBA finals.

Bryant scored 30 points, Pau Gasol had 23 points and 14 rebounds, and defending champion Los Angeles got tough in a 102-89 victory over Boston in the NBA finals opener Thursday night.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: After getting banged, bullied, and beaten in the 2008 championship series, the Los Angeles Lakers turned the tables on the Boston Celtics in game one of the 2010 NBA Finals.

The Lakers went inside early and often, using the size of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol to grab a half-time lead. Then Kobe Bryant took over with a strong third and fourth quarter to seal an easy win.

However, this game was decided in the middle. The Lakers' bigs showed up. Other than Glen Davis, the Celtics' bigs did not.

For instance, on one sequence in the final frame, Kevin Garnett missed two point blank attempts. The purple-and-gold corralled the rebound, found Gasol on the elbow, who then threw a bullet pass to the lanky Lamar Odom for an easy hoop. 

Boston better get physical on Sunday or they'll head home down 0-2. 

Get at us in the comment box with thoughts on game one of the NBA Finals.     

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Thursday , May , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Andrew Bynum amazed by Pau Gasol

Before he left Staples Center, Andrew Bynum stopped to chat with a locker room attendant, eager to describe what he witnessed from his spot on the bench late in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.

“Man, I have never seen anyone ever dominated a guy for six straight minutes like Pau did tonight,” Bynum said. “I mean, never. It was incredible.”

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HoopsVibe Call: As Andrew Bynum noted, there's nothing Pau Gasol can't do when healthy and focused.

The Spanish post missed the early portion of the year with a leg injury and even went public with his frustration over touches and shots.

However, as his game two performance showed, Gasol is hitting his stride at exactly the right time. And his fine play puts the Los Angeles Lakers on track to repeat as world champions.

Are the Lakers unbeatable when Gasol brings his A-game? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.

 

Liveblogging Game 1 of LAL-OKC
Sunday , Apr , 18 , 2010 C.Y. Ellis

Liveblogging Game 1 of LAL-OKC

I'll be taking quick notes as I watch the game here. Feel free to drop in your comments below. They update in real time.

- What is Andrew Bynum drinking? A pre-game shot shows him chugging a foaming red liquid from a water bottle.

- OKC tosses the ball to Durant for the first play.  He dribbles around for a few seconds before tossing up an awkward brick. Bad opening.

- Pau connects on a shot with so much arc the ball came down with snow on it.

- That red stuff is obviously working for Bynum, who connects on his first attempt.

- Durant botches an open layup. Let's hope that's a fumble and not a sign of the pressure getting to him.

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All or nothing: Cavaliers, Lakers, and Magic must win NBA Title or face major changes
Saturday , Apr , 17 , 2010 Oly Sandor

All or nothing: Cavaliers, Lakers, and Magic must win NBA Title or face major changes

The Quick Hit: For the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Orlando Magic, it’s all or nothing.

The all is having Commissioner David Stern hand over the Larry O’Brien trophy in two months and pronounce them world champions in a champagne soaked ceremony.

Only the all will do. Only the all will satisfy their demanding fan base. Only the all will satisfy their demanding owners, who have taken on multi-million dollar luxury tax payments for this precise moment.

While nothing, or falling short of an NBA Title, will force Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Orlando to make wholesale changes this off-season. Right or wrong, fair or not, these are the stakes when playing for a contender.

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