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Maybe I was Wrong About the Lakers and Other NBA Items

Kobe Bryant

Bryant cannot carry the Lakers the way he once did. He needs help quickly.

Back in the early part of the 2012-2013 National Basketball Association season when everyone was pushing the panic button over the poor start by the Los Angeles Lakers, I was the voice of reason and calm. Now, I can see why there was initial panic and I can clearly see why there is now.

If the NBA Playoffs started today, which they most certainly do not, the LA Lakers would be 1.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. This is a long, grueling NBA season and there is much left to be played by concern has grown a great deal over this team and you should have the same feelings with just one little caveat. They’ve yet to play with a full compliment of their players under their current head coach Mike D’Antoni.

It’s D’Antoni’s belief that once Steve Nash returns to the line-up, the offense will start to click. His offense is predicated on having the former MVP run the show and with his injury plus the one to Steve Blake, the offense is sputtering. With more and more opponents deploying their ‘hack-a-Dwight’ scheme which has been working, the Lakers are really up against it. Kobe Bryant has 17 professional seasons on those legs and can only carry this team so often. Dwight Howard and company have to pick up more of the share especially on the defensive end where they give up about 99 points per game good for 17th in the league.

As the Lake-Show begins a four-game road swing that took them to Cleveland last night and then New York, this is a team I don’t feel comfortable wagering on too much so tread cautiously here friends.

Around the Association… The Lakers may have caught the Cavaliers just as Kyrie Irving was to return to the line-up from his injured finger. It would be a welcome sight for the 4-17 Cavs… Number one overall draft pick Anthony Davis was scheduled to return to action last evening after missing 11 games with a stress fracture in his ankle. The Hornets, errrrr, Pelicans were 2-9 over that span… Commissioner David Stern fined the Spurs’ Stephen Jackson $25,000 for his tweet ripping on Serge Ibaka of the Thunder after Ibaka got into a tussle with Metta World Peace, a friend of Jackson’s. What he should have been fined for was his English, yikes… Who would have thought that the best race right now is the one between the LA Clippers and the Golden State Warriors in the Pacific? They’re separated by a half of a game.

Games I like Tonight

Tony Parker

Parker and the Spurs face the Jazz who have won three straight.

San Antonio at Utah – The Spurs have won five straight while the Jazz have won three straight. Utah is fresh off of a win at the Staples Center over the Lakers and needs to keep playing well in order to keep Oklahoma City within shouting distance. Already the Jazz trail by 5.5 games and they’re in second place! San Antonio continues to be dominant on offense scoring over 105 points per game. I like the Spurs with just a little too much firepower for the Jazz.

LA Clippers at Charlotte – The first-place Clips are out East and played last night in Chicago so perhaps the Bobcats will be getting a tired team that also played Sunday as well. Let’s not get too crazy though because this is a Charlotte team that has lost eight straight after a promising start to the season. Take the LAC although it will be close.

Atlanta at Orlando - The second and third place teams in the Eastern Conference’s Southeast division hook up in Disney World tonight. The Hawks just finished a stretch of 8-2 over their last 10 games while the Magic are 5-5 over their last 10. The hot streak has gotten the Hawks to within 1.5 games of the Miami Heat while Orlando sits in third 5.5 behind Atlanta. Orlando is doing a pretty nice job in just about every facet of the game except scoring where they rank 28th in the league. Atlanta is in the middle of the pack in scoring and must improve their rebound numbers as well. This could turn out to be a bit of a defensive battle and either way I like Atlanta in a close game.

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