(US Presswire/Mark L. Baer)
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers have signed shooting guard Nick Young. There were earlier reports that the Lakers and Young had mutual interest but it was not clear if he would take the veterans minimum contract if there were other lucrative offers to him but he has now decided on the Lakers. His agent Mark Bartelstein said it was always a dream of Young to become a Laker.
The Lakers are full of guards now and Young is one that can play at small forward with his size if needed. Young will be a great addition bringing in youth and athleticism to a team that really needs it. The former USC Trojan was drafted by the Washington Wizards in 2007 and has played for the Los Angeles Clippers and most recently with the Philadelphia 76ers. Last season with the 76ers Young averaged 10.6 points per game and has a career average of 11.3 points per game. He is known to be a weapon offensively but has needed a lot of work on his defensive game.
Young will be the second player and second former Clipper that the purple and gold will bring in after signing center Chris Kaman to a one year deal with their mini mid-level exception. The Lakers still intend to sign point guard Jordan Farmar but are still negotiating a buyout with his team Anadolu Efes from the Turkish Basketball League.
There has still been no final decision made on the Lakers using their amnesty clause on Metta World Peace who has been linked to the New York Knicks if he were to be amnestied. Another free agent the team was reportedly targeting is former Laker Lamar Odom but chatter on that possibly happening has died down. Although he has not played the same since being traded by the Lakers to the Mavericks in the aftermath of the vetoed trade for Chris Paul he would be a great pick up for the team because of his ability to play more than one position.
An interesting perspective of these last three moves by the Lakers is that Dwight Howard left the team and money on the table for the Houston Rockets. Kaman, Farmar and Young have all chosen to come play for the Lakers with them having the possibility to make more money elsewhere.
(AP Photo/Ben Margot)
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers could not get it together against the Golden State Warriors losing 103 to 109. The Warriors, currently in the 6th seed, did not let the Lakers come close, leading by double digits almost the whole game. No one expected this game to be an easy win for the Lakers but after taking a couple days off there was no excuse for the way they played throughout the game.
Stephen Curry was questionable for tonight’s game but did play and leading his team in scoring with 25 points. Jarrett Jack gave the Lakers problems the last time they met and did so again off the bench scoring 19 points. The Lakers did make a push late in the 4th quarter but dug themselves in too big of a whole. Every time it looked like the Lakers could make a run the Warriors took over and widened the deficit. The little trouble the Lakers gave Golden State came from Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Bryant scored 36 points while Nash added 21, which was the same amount of points the bench scored all together.
Pau Gasol was in the starting line up for the second game in a row after coming off his foot injury. Gasol played limited minutes again scoring 7 points and still needs time to get back into rhythm. Antawn Jamison played tonight after suffering an injury to his wrist against the Wizards. Injuries are still hurting the Lakers and you can now add Metta World Peace as the latest victim. World Peace strained his left knee and after the game Mike D’Antoni did say there was a lot of pain but no word on whether he would sit out or not. World Peace did not give to many details himself when talking to reporters just saying that he would have to wait and see tomorrow. If World Peace were to miss a game, Jodie Meeks or Earl Clark might be expected to start.
The Lakers could have looked to secure a playoff spot with a win against the Wizards or Warriors but after losing both they are now closer to falling out of the playoffs if they do not find a way to win. The Utah Jazz are trailing the Lakers by just one game and the Dallas Mavericks are making a late run behind a game and a half. The Lakers play again on Wednesday taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves who will be finishing up back to back games in Minnesota.
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
By Kevin R. Linares
Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol returned to the line up after sitting out with injuries but the Lakers could not defeat the Washington Wizards falling 100 to 103. Another game that should have been an easy win at home became another disappointing loss in the Lakers disappointing season. The Lakers were up by 18 at one point in the game but could not hold on to the lead. Washington was led by former Laker Trevor Ariza who scored 25 points, hitting seven 3-pointers.
Kobe Bryant hit a three to tie the game late in the 4th quarter and would get another opportunity to send the game to overtime with seconds left when he received a pass from Dwight but the shot did not go down. Kobe did not have his time reduced even though he was returning from an injury. He led his team in scoring with 21 points and added 11 assists as well. Dwight Howard, Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison joined Bryant in scoring double digits. Dwight Howard scored 20 points and had 15 rebounds. Meeks scored 16 points and Jamison put up 11 points coming off the bench. As the two stars returned from injury, the Lakers unfortunately suffered another one as Jamison sprained his right wrist. Jamison received an x-ray after the game that came out negative and will have an MRI on Saturday.
Pau Gasol only played 20 minutes but did start in the game scoring four points. Gasol still has to work on his conditioning after missing about six weeks with the injury to his foot. There was much criticism on Gasol and Mike D’Antoni earlier in the season. There were questions whether Gasol would be able to fit in D’Antoni’s system and if Mike would be able to find a way of utilize the Spaniard. As Gasol continues to work back into game shape it will be interesting to see if he will continue in the starting line up or perhaps move back to the bench where he did provide a big boost. Gasol was not too happy coming off the bench but did mention that he would take the role for the season if the team needed him to this season.
With the loss tonight the Lakers could not take advantage of better securing the 8th spot as they remain ahead of the Utah Jazz by only a game and a half. Next up for the Lakers is the start of a four game road trip starting on Monday against the 6th seeded Golden State Warriors.
Image from bleacherreport
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers came into Atlanta with a four game win streak and it sounded like they would have it easy as it was announced that Josh Smith would miss the game due to a sprained knee. That was not the case, the Hawks beat the Lakers 96 to 92. Not only did the Lakers lose the game but they also suffered an injury. Kobe Bryant had trouble shooting tonight but put in 31 points and almost had another late heroic performance to lead the Lakers over Atlanta but fell short.
Kobe went up for a jumper to tie the game but fell missed and landed on Dahntay Jones’ foot. Kobe had x-rays after the game which came out negative. It was announced that he had suffered a severe left ankle sprain and would be out indefinitely. Bryant after the game told reporters that referees need to do a better job of protecting shooters. He also tweeted out saying “#dangerousplay that should have been called Period.” Kobe has played through injuries numerous times but when asked about the injury he said it was his worst pain since back in 2000. Dahntay Jones also tweeted after the game saying “Tape doesn’t lie. Ankle was turned on the floor after the leg kick out that knocked him off balance. I would never try to hurt the man.” Back in 2009 Jones received a flagrant 1 foul for tripping Bryant in a playoff series against the Denver Nuggets. The following is a clip from that play:
Now the injury happened right before the end of the game. There is no excuse for the Lakers losing this game especially playing an Atlanta Hawk team missing one of their best players in Josh Smith. Luckily for the Lakers, the Utah Jazz also lost their game to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 87 to 110. With both teams losing, the standings stay the same with the Lakers a half game over the Jazz in the 8th playoff spot.
Kobe’s injury might require him to miss a game or more. It is fair to say he should miss at least a game to rest and heal up. Aside from Friday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, the upcoming schedule for the purple and gold should not be too difficult, but who knows if the Lakers will continue to make games that should be won easy look hard. The schedule includes teams like the Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards. If Kobe needed to rest and heal an injury this would be the best time to do it.
The problem here is if the rest of the players on the team would step up to the plate. A team that has Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace in the starting line up alone should be able to win against the teams coming up, not including the Pacers of course. If Kobe were to miss a few games, Dwight Howard needs to be the Dwight Howard that showed up in Orlando just the other day. Steve Nash is not the same guy that played in a Sun’s uniform but he can still take over a game and needs to do so.
The Lakers are finally sitting in a playoff spot, for now. They need to find ways other than Bryant to make their playoff push. They have been hit with injuries all season and cannot seem to catch a break. With Pau Gasol possibly coming back next week maybe he can try and take some of the load off Kobe. For now we will have to wait and see if Kobe does need to take a game or more off. If he does, will Dwight, Nash and the rest of the team be able to keep it together?