Kobe’s jerseys retired

Kobe Bryant was honored at half-time yesterday, surrounded by past top NBA players Karim, Shaq, Jerry West, Iverson, Worthy, Russell, etc., etc., adoring fans and current Laker and Golden State players. His two jerseys, numbers 8 and 24, were retired and hung in the rafters .  He and his wife and three daughters sat in floor seats at mid-court, watching the game and waiting for the half-time ceremony.  At half-time, Kobe’s “Dear Basketball” short film appeared on the jumbotron and then Magic Johnson talked for several minutes about Kobe and his Laker career, even identifying Kobe as the “Best Laker Ever”.  I’m not sure  I agree with that, Magic, but he was certainly one of the very best!   

I wonder what the young Laker players thought as they performed in front of so many great players and, of course, Kobe, and did so with excitement and desire, playing against the likes of Durant and Klay of the world champ Golden State Warriors.  They handled themselves very well, losing by only 2 in overtime.

After Magic’s introduction speech, Kobe stepped up and spoke eloquently and from his heart.  His main messages were to thank the players who came before him, to thank the fans and the media and his family and to stress that it’s not the destination but the journey that makes the dream a reality.

Thank you, Kobe, for the 20 years, 5 championships, 7 trips to the finals, one regular season MVP, two Finals MVP’s, six 60-plus point games, twenty-six 50-plus point games, 18 all-star games, nine All-Defensive First Team selections and, of course, the 81 point game vs. the Raptors in 2006.  You are an amazing defender, a great closer and all around one of the best players to ever play in the NBA!

Some people bring up his career shooting percentage in an effort to challenge his greatness, but how often did Kobe get a pass from  a teammate when the shot clock was about to expire?  Not that he minded, but it was often and hoisting up those late clock shots certainly affected his overall field goal percentage.

 

 

Lakers lose to Warriors at free throw line! again!

My December 10th posting discusses the Lakers poor free throw shooting (they are currently last in the NBA, shooting slightly under 70%!).  I provided stats in that blog to show how they could have won 5 more games if they would make most of their free throws.

Last night’s home game vs. Golden State Warriors is the clearest example of missed free throws costing them the game, which they ultimately lost by only 2 points in overtime.  The Warriors sent them to the free throw line often, but the young Laker players could not deliver.  They shot 22 of 35 from the free throw line (a terrible 63%).  If they shot better at the free throw line, the Lakers would have won in regulation.  The Lakers shot a higher field goal percentage last night (45% vs. the Warriors’ 40% and 40% from the three point line versus 32%), and the normally turn-over prone Lakers had fewer turnovers than the champs (12 vs. 14).  Yes, there was a large disparity in rebounding with Golden State getting 16 more rebounds than the Lakers, but that just helped the Warriors stay in the game; it didn’t give them the “win”!  But it does explain the Warriors’ low field goal percentage.

After the game I was waiting in line for an open stall in the ladies room and talking to my friend about how in the world the Lakers coaching staff can get better results from the players at the free throw line.  Behind us in line was an attractive 40-something blonde all decked out in Kobe regalia (it was the night of retiring Kobe’s jerseys) and she heard us talking and, without missing a beat, she started yelling at me “….Luke Walton needs to do something about their free throwing!!!!…this is all his fault…I’m sick of this…I can’t hardly watch them….they’re never gonna win if they can’t shoot free throws”!  At that moment, a stall opened up and I ran away from this overwrought female fan who continued to yell at me as I quickly ran away.

Luke, me and the blonde and obviously many more fans want to know what you and your coaching staff are going to do.  You have taught them to play fast, with considerable effort and desire, but all for nothing if they can’t shoot free throws!!!!!!

Lakers @ Cleveland – Calderon’s 3’s Cost Us the Game?

Another entertaining road game (although another loss) from the Lakers who lost 121 to 112.  There were times in the game where the veteran Cavaliers looked fatigued as the young Lakers flew from one end of the court to the other in a flash, so much fun to watch.  The Lakers owned the paint, scoring at the basket mostly from their fast breaks, and out-rebounding the Cavs by 10 (49 to 39).  The Lakers had 16 offensive rebounds which helped keep them within reach of a victory until late in the fourth quarter.

Brandon Ingram looked like the player we are getting accustomed to see (thankfully no similarity to his poor MSG performance).  My favorite BI moment was his beautiful three-point shot just before the buzzer announced half time.  He is becoming the Lakers’ closer!!  My personal vote for Laker player of the game is Josh Hart.  In his first start as a pro, Hart scored a double double (11 points, 10 rebounds) and played solid defense like a veteran.  He played strong and self assured as he guarded the likes of Lebron with skill and determination and even had a breakaway dunk with Lebron on his heels.  Lonzo Ball was active and led the  hurry up pace that is becoming the Lakers’ exciting signature style.  He was close to a triple double but needed 2 more rebounds to achieve that goal last night. I’m not going to talk about the problems Brook Lopez had on the court last night, but two consecutive air-ball free throws?  Yikes!!

I  don’t believe that the Lakers’ poor three-point shooting (9 of 31 or 29%) necessarily cost them the game; or their 18 turnovers (6 by Zo!), or Lebron scoring another triple double with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists.  Want to know how we could have avoided this loss?  Guard Jose Calderon.  He shot 5 of 8 from behind the three-point line and was able to shoot comfortably in rhythm with no Laker player in the same zip code as him!  I would think the Lakers coaching staff would have told the players not to leave Calderon open as he is shooting 51% from three this season (way up from his career 41%) although it didn’t appear so from the results.  It’s okay to leave Jae Crowder open but not Calderon!!!  Do you think this is far fetched?

Next up, Golden State, then the Rockets, then Golden State again.  Can the Lakers maintain their drive and “positivity” with this upcoming grueling schedule?  I hope so!

Monday I will be at Staples Center to cheer for Kobe as both his numbers are retired with what will certainly be an exciting half-time show and to watch the rematch against the amazing current world champs.  You can read about it here on my blog next Tuesday.  Go Kobe! Go Lakers!

 

 

LAKERS ON THE ROAD AGAINST THE KNICKS

I was disappointed by the overtime loss at MSG last night but thought the game was highly entertaining.  The score was 113-109 so, once again, the Lakers were in the game to the very end.  The main reason we lost was the Unicorn … Porzingis had 37 points (5 out of 8 three pointers!), 11 rebounds and 5 blocks.  We just didn’t have an answer for him (although I liked the trapping defense the Lakers tried on him from time to time).

It’s funny how you make assumptions during the game but the actual game stats don’t always reflect your assumptions.  I was sure the Lakers were considerably out-rebounded by the Knicks.  But, oh no, not true.  The Lakers had 52 rebounds last night … that’s right, 52! (20 offensive and 32 defensive); the Knicks had 49 to our 52 (15 offensive and 34 defensive).

I always look at the Lakers’ free throw shooting after their games because they are last in the league at making free throws, so it’s a real problem.  Against the Knicks, the Lakers shot 12 of 15, a very respectable 80%.  Randle missed 2 free throws at a pivotal time in the game and turned the ball over 3 times, but it was a team loss last night.

The Lakers’ best players last night were Kuzma with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and Ball with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 1 block.  Can you please tell me why KCP took 14 3-pointers last night???? he only made 4 of them.  I know Luke wants KCP to take 3-pointers but 14?  Really?  Maybe one of the biggest reasons for the loss?

Ingram struggled mightily with Porzingis guarding the paint most of the evening.  Porzingis had 5 blocks … were they all against BI??? And then BI’s jumper wasn’t falling either.  Finally, let’s talk about our young point guard, Lonzo Ball.  There was a moment in the game last night where I felt Zo became a legitimate NBA player.  Zo jumped high above the rim as a lob was thrown to him  and slammed it down like he’s been doing it for years.  It was the moment after that when Zo looked in the camera with a little grin before running down the court; that’s when he became a player who belongs in the NBA.  His entire body language changed after that play and, if he hadn’t hurt his knee, I’m quite sure this would have been his best game.  Note to critics:  Shut up about Lonzo Ball.  You’re going to look real stupid when people look back at your dumb comments!!!!

Finally, we were tied with the Clippers for 10th place at 10 and 15 for a minute.  But now the Clippers have moved ahead of us again as they win a game and we lose one.  I believe we will end the season with a better record than the Clippers for the first time in a long time.  Who agrees?  Who disagrees?  And why?

 

Making free throws wins more games – MY STATS PROVE IT

So far this season, had the Lakers made all their free throws, they would have been in a better position to close out several games, such as the New Orleans home game earlier in the season or Toronto or the Philadelphia home game or the Phoenix home game. NOW I KNOW IT’S VERY DIFFICULT TO MAKE ALL YOUR FREE THROWS BUT IT IS SOMETHING THE YOUNG LAKERS NEED TO STRIVE FOR.

If they had made all their free throws in the fifteen games they lost so far this season, they wold have won 5 more games.  That would have changed their record to 15 and 10 and they currently would be in fourth place in the west, only trailing Golden State, Houston and San Antonio and above the Timberwolves!!!!

Welcome!

This is the beginning of a very fun relationship between you and me.  (That is of course if you agree with everything I say.)  Who am I? I am THE #1 Laker Fan and retiree, Basketballlady.  We won two in a row on the road.  Can we make it three?  It’s sure fun in Laker land.  What other team has their own Zo, Zu and Kuz?  I’ll be posting my first “Basketball Show” on my new YouTube Channel, Lady BS, after the game on Tuesday, so look out for that here and be sure to subscribe. This is gonna be good!!

that’s a pom pom on my head!