Tag Archives: Paul

Lakers Get Big Win In Season Opener

By Kevin R. Linares

HenryThe Los Angeles Lakers entered this season with a lot less expectations than they faced last season. Dwight Howard is in Houston, Metta World Peace is in New York and Kobe Bryant is still recovering from his injury. Many people were just hoping the Clippers would not embarrass the Lakers on opening night. A starting line-up that featured a player that did not play at all last season and an aching Steve Nash would be no match for stacked team in the Clippers.

When the final buzzer went off and you looked at the scoreboard it said 116-103, in favor of the Lakers. A line-up that did not have the big names (other than Gasol and Nash) some might have hoped it would but had plenty of young players wearing the purple and gold for the first time had Laker fans smiling and Doc Rivers frowning. The Lakers bench was a big factor in the game scoring a total of 76 points, the third highest in team history. New Laker Xavier Henry led the team in scoring and posted his career high with 22 points coming off the bench. The next player with the most points was Jordan Farmar with a total of 16 points adding six assists.

The team came into the game playing with fast pace but the Clippers were looking like they could control the game. Blake Griffin was a handful and with a smaller starting line-up the Lakers were having trouble getting rebounds and protecting the rim. The game stayed close the whole way and it seemed as if perhaps Chris Paul will just take over the game and the Clippers would walk away with the win. Pau Gasol, who finished the game with 15 points, seemed to be the only player in the starting line-up to have a good game going leading to Mike D’Antoni giving the bench players an opportunity they gladly took. All of the bench players that played scored, five of them finished the game in double digits.

Nick Young struggled offensively in the first half but found his rhythm as the game went on scoring 13 points. Wes Johnson, who is expected to play an important role off the bench this season did not have a big impact in the game only scoring 3 points but it did not matter because his teammates picked it up. Farmar showed he can take control of a game as he did a few times in the preseason having a few big plays.

The Lakers will take on the Golden State Warriors tomorrow in what will be a similar match up as the Clippers in terms of their roster and style of play. The purple and gold will look to continue with the same energy and aggressiveness they had today and beat another team that is expected to be in the top of the Western Conference standings.

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Filed under Lakers 2014 season, Lakers News

Lakers Sign Shawne Williams

(NY Daily News)

(NY Daily News)

By Kevin R. Linares

The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that they have officially signed free agent forward Shawne Williams. It was announced today by general manager Mitch Kupchak but the terms of the agreement were not released although it is believed he will make about $1.1 million.

Williams last played for the Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets(now known as Brooklyn Nets). He was also on the Portland Trailblazers but did not appear in the game.

The 27-year old has played under coach Mike D’Antoni back when he was on the Knicks. He has averaged 5.7 points and 2.8 rebounds throughout his six years in the NBA. The former 17th overall pick played his college ball in Memphis where he was also born.

The signing comes on the same day forward Michael Beasley was waived by the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers had interest in Beasley and planned to acquire him after trading Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol for Chris Paul but the trade was later vetoed by David Stern. Talks were circulating around the web whether the Lakers should look to take a chance on the troubled forward after being waived.

Lamar Odom who has also run into trouble remains a free agent. Odom recently received a DUI and there have been numerous reports of him using drugs. Many Laker fans were hoping for Odom to make a return to the Lakers but it was looking less likely throughout the summer.

 

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Filed under Free Agency, Lakers News, Rumors

Biggest Threat to Lakers in Keeping Howard?

 (USA Today Sports/Craig Mitchelldyer)

(USA Today Sports/Craig Mitchelldyer)

By Kevin R. Linares

With talk about where Dwight Howard will end up next season growing, there have been many teams that have risen as possible threats to the Lakers. Teams that have been named include the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks  and even the Los Angeles Clippers.

Teams like the Warriors and Clippers would definitely love to have Howard playing for their team. How crazy would it sound to have Howard, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the Warriors? Or how about both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul on the Clippers? That would definitely make Laker fans “love” David Stern and his vetoed Chris Paul to Lakers trade even more. Realistically speaking, Howard going to the Warriors or Clippers would be a long shot. Both teams would have to make difficult arrangements to free up space as well as break up the teams they have now which are not bad at all.

The Mavericks, Hawks and Rockets are teams that would be able to bring Howard because of their free cap space or ability to free up cap space. The Mavericks have put themselves in a great position and are reportedly shopping around their 13th pick in the draft to make their run at Howard. With Dirk Nowitzki aging, would Howard give up around $30 million that the Lakers can offer more to go play with an aging superstar in Dallas. People will say he already is playing with an aging superstar in Kobe Bryant but how about that $30 million difference?

The Atlanta Hawks will have some edge with it being Howard’s hometown. With players coming off their payroll they will have enough cap space to bring in Howard. If Josh Smith, a close friend of Howard’s, intends to resign with the Hawks he can be the man to try and lure Howard. Again, will teaming up with Josh Smith in his hometown be enough to have Howard turn down that extra $30 million the Lakers will be able to offer him?

The Houston Rockets have been able to assemble some young and very talented pieces led by James Harden and coach Kevin McHale. This is a team that almost shocked the favorites in the West in their first year being together. Something the Rockets were missing was defense and bringing in Howard would definitely be a boost in that category. The Rockets can work to make cap space for Howard and might have enough in terms of talent to lure Howard away from the Lakers.

No team can offer Howard as many years and as much money that the Lakers can. Howard wanted to be in the spotlight and what better place for that than with the Lakers in Los Angeles. It would take sometime for the Lakers to bring in some other pieces to bring them back into title contention with them having an aging roster but if all healthy and in the same page they can be a threat. We saw a a glimpse of that in the second half of the 2012-2013 season. The biggest threat to the Lakers would be the Houston Rockets. The spotlight is definitely not as big, the money and years are not as much but the roster is something special. Howard will listen to what teams have to offer and coming to play with a young talented roster led by James Harden in Houston will be something he will take into serious consideration, for the Laker’s sake, hopefully not too serious.

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Filed under Free Agency

Best Western Conference Playoff Picture?

By Kevin Linares

The NBA playoffs are among us and it is always fun to look at all the possible and more entertaining match ups that we basketball fans can all hope for.  Of course every fan is going to want to see their team battling it out in the playoffs but what story lines will be the best? What teams offer interesting match ups? Will old friends become foes? Those questions will be answered here.

Lets start off by looking at what teams are seeded in the playoffs as of today.

Team

Record

Games Back

Conf. Record

Streak

 1.  San Antonio

48-15

26-10

Lost 1

 2.  Oklahoma City

46-16

1.5

31-9

Won 4

 3.  LA Clippers

44-20

4.5

27-12

Lost 1

 4.  Memphis

41-19

5.5

21-13

Won 3

 5.  Denver

41-22

7

27-11

Won 7

 6.  Golden State

35-28

13

19-19

Won 2

 7.  Houston

34-29

14

15-21

Won 1

 8.  Utah

32-30

15.5

18-19

Lost 3


The top five seeded teams which include the Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Memphis and Denver seem to be locked in the playoffs. The only thing that can really change there is teams moving higher or lower in the playoffs. The last three however can still be up for grabs if the Lakers, who are currently in 9th place, half a game behind the Utah Jazz, continue to chase after a playoff spot.

The Golden State Warriors can still fall out of the playoffs if they lose a large amount of the games they have left and the Jazz, Rockets, and Lakers win enough to push them out of the playoffs. The Warriors falling out of the playoffs seems unlikely. The Rockets have been looking better recently and are currently in the 7th spot, 2 games ahead of the Lakers. The Utah Jazz are at the 8th spot right now, the final playoff spot. Both the Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz are very reachable and can be knocked out of the playoffs making space for Los Angeles.

Now off to what can be a possible Western conference picture filled with story lines.

 1. Oklahoma City vs.  8. Houston
 2. LA Clippers      vs.  7. LA Lakers
 3. San Antonio     vs.  6. Golden State
 4. Denver            vs.  5. Memphis

I have Oklahoma City and the LA Clippers taking advantage of Tony Parker’s absence with the Spurs, bringing them down to the 3rd spot. The Lakers do not just make the playoffs but make it to the 7th seed after a season that could be looked at one of their worst in terms of early expectations and star power. Houston Rockets end up just making the playoffs and the Utah Jazz fall out of the playoffs.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets

A match that will certainly have many people turn on their televisions to watch James Harden take on the team that traded him breaking up their young core of Harden, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The Houston Rockets are a young team with great offensive power taking on a Thunder team determined to return to the finals once again but leave home with the trophy this time. Houston will have a tough time taking on the Thunder but I see an exciting match up with Harden’s scoring and showing the Thunder why they should not have traded him. Oklahoma City should be able to win this match up with Kevin Durant leading them and the caged tiger in Westbrook coming out to show how deadly he can be.

LA Clippers vs. LA Lakers

The battle for Los Angeles, the match up that everyone is wanting to see. Chris Paul takes on the team he should have been on to try to show what team runs Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant will show why they call him the “Black Mamba” and why his new nickname “vino’ should stick. Lakers might have the home court advantage at the 7th seed in this series unless the Clipper fans turnout to show if L.A. bleeds red or purple and gold. The Lakers will have their hands full taking on one of the deepest teams, if not the deepest team in the NBA. With the injuries the Lakers have been suffering will they be able to keep up? Will Pau Gasol be healthy enough to play? Will Dwight Howard show he was worth trading for? Will the Clippers finally dethrone the Lakers in L.A. and get their hands on a championship? Can the Lakers honor one of the greatest owners in all of sports in Jerry Buss by shocking the world and doing what many thought was ridiculous and impossible? Who will win the battle of Los Angeles? We will just have to wait and see if it happens.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors

The Spurs have been atop the elite in the NBA for quite sometime and year after year they go unnoticed. Golden State started the season off right but are showing inconsistency  as the season gets closer to the playoffs. Stephen Curry has been impressive after his All Star snub and would like to continue to show why he should have been chosen. Tony Parker is not mentioned as a MVP as much as he should be and plans on showing why he should be. Will the Warriors make some noise and challenge the veteran Spurs with one of the best if not the best coach in the NBA right now in Greg Popovich? Mark Jackson has not been doing so bad himself as coach and his Warriors will try to show the NBA that they are something to look out for in the future.

Denver Nuggets vs. Memphis Grizzlies

The two dark horses in the Western conference will be something exciting to watch. Memphis, with the big headline trade of Rudy Gay earlier in the season has much to prove. Denver has been a fast paced and exciting team to watch but are without an actual superstar to lead the team. Both teams lack a leader that can be the one taking those 4th quarter shots especially in the playoffs but have plenty of players willing to step up to the plate. There is only room for one dark horse this time. The question is which one will come out of this series?

The headlines and match ups are there but will they happen? For the basketball fans out there, the answer should be and probably is hopefully so. The West will have another exciting playoffs as they have been so many times in the past. The East seems to lack the competition to draw the attention the West can. The Heat have been impressive winning 15 straight games. The Pacers are there to give them a challenge but the Heat definitely look too big of a challenge for them. Who do you think will come out of the West to represent and possibly win it all? It is up for grabs.

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Filed under 2013 Playoffs Talk