Blog Entry

Lakers' scars more than skin deep

Posted on: December 27, 2010 7:11 pm
 
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – There was no direct evidence of the butt-kicking in practice that Kobe Bryant had promised. Head-butting, yes. But butt-kicking? 

“Not sure,” said Ron Artest, wearing the only tangible proof of what Phil Jackson called a “feisty” practice Monday in the form of a swollen cut under his right eye. 

Artest’s battle scar didn’t result from any contact with Bryant, who had promised after the Lakers’ listless loss to Miami on Christmas Day that distracted, unfocused, and unprepared teammates would be held accountable on the practice court. Artest’s wound, according to a source, resulted from a collision with Shannon Brown’s head during the 5-on-5 portion of practice, which was won by the second unit, an amused Jackson said. 

“Kind of fun and interesting,” Jackson said of the reserves’ victory. 

So the Lakers’ starters have now lost three games in a row – blowouts at home against Milwaukee and Miami, and now this. The impact of any tongue-lashings or motivational tactics from Bryant will be put to an immediate test Tuesday night in San Antonio, where the Spurs (26-4) are experiencing no such strife and enjoying the best record in the league – five games better than the two-time defending champion Lakers. 

“They’re doing something special this year and we have to understand what it is,” Jackson said. 

Bryant didn’t speak with reporters Monday; he was off the practice floor by the time media were allowed into the gym. But the simple fact that he practiced at all – he typically rests his 31-year-old body to save fuel for the championship run – should have sent a clear message. 

And apparently it did. The message was received, loud and clear, by Artest, who bristled at the notion that Bryant was pointing the finger at him during his postgame rant Saturday. The money quote from Bryant, “The game has to be the most important thing,” caused curious minds – including mine – to wonder if Artest’s championship ring raffle was deemed by Bryant to be an unnecessary distraction. 

After the game, Artest apologized to Lakers fans on Twitter, writing, “Every loss my fault.” On Monday, he shot down the notion that he was distracted Saturday and several times alluded to how “unfortunate” it was that Jackson kept him on the bench for most of the fourth quarter. 

“I didn’t get a chance to even let it be a distraction because I only played 20 minutes,” Artest said. 

With every teammate except Lamar Odom off the practice court, Artest said, “I’m the last one to leave the gym every day,” and urged one reporter to “pay attention to the surroundings.” 

"I work extremely hard on defense,” Artest said. “I’m the last one to leave every day. The game is extremely important.” 

Later, I asked Artest if his Twitter apology meant that he was responding to the notion of being singled out by Bryant. 

“If we keep losing, you’ve got to point to yourself first,” Artest said, aiming his thumb at the middle of his chest. “Always point the finger right there before you point the finger anywhere else. I point the finger at myself all the time. Even before I came here last year, I would point the finger at myself. I said, ‘If we lose, it’s on me.’ Before you point, you’ve got to look in the mirror first and say, ‘What could I have done?’” 

When asked about Bryant’s soliloquy about misplaced priorities on the team, Jackson said, “I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s been some distractions. … But we think that these guys are veterans and should be able to handle that.” 

When asked what distractions Bryant and Jackson may have been referring to, Artest said, “There were a lot of distractions, from my ring raffle to the green shoes. Nike came with the green shoes and adidas. There were a bunch of things going on.” 

It doesn’t get easier. Not only are the Spurs obviously a threat, but they’re beginning to put distance between themselves and the Lakers that will be challenging to close by the end of the regular season, when all-important home-court advantage will be determined. Clearly, before they get caught up in catching the Spurs, the Lakers have to get their own house in order first.
Comments

Since: Dec 30, 2010
Posted on: December 30, 2010 5:32 pm
 

Lakers' scars more than skin deep

The Lakers are getting old they have only 3 players under the age of 30. the Celtics on the other hand have just 4 players over 30. Most would think, Boston is older wrong.




Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: December 28, 2010 2:32 pm
 

Lakers' scars more than skin deep

The Laker's are going to be just fine, as long as they have Kobe Bryant. 



Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: December 28, 2010 2:04 pm
 

Lakers' scars more than skin deep

Nothing would give me more pleasure than seeing the Lakers fail miserably in their quest to win it all.  That being said. If you think they wont be in the finals because of their play right now, then you are 98% wrong.  Remember that those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.  If the Lakers are healthy when playoffs roll around they are the top threat to win it all.  I don't care if they come in at the 8 seed.  This team is built for winning championships.  The only person that can stop them is Kobe. If he reverts back to the Kobe of old with the terrible leadership skills, then they are toast.



Since: Dec 28, 2010
Posted on: December 28, 2010 11:51 am
 

Lakers' scars more than skin deep

Kobe is not a normal 32 year old he's been playing since he was 17 and yes Garnett has to but Garnett hasnt had a health season in some time now didnt he miss the playoffs recently to avoid this Kobe skips pracice no big deal he too is still 1st team all defensive the fact is that lakers are playing bad right and Kobe knows they have to improve befor the playoffs if they want to contend with the spurs and mav and he trying get everyone on that page



Since: Apr 4, 2008
Posted on: December 28, 2010 11:44 am
 

Lakers' scars more than skin deep

The loss was embarrasing.  It was a lack-luster performance in a marquee statement-making game.  Every player on that team needs to take a good long look at themselves in the mirror and make a commitment to work harder and compete in EVERY game in order to earn the championship.  Every one of them.  That being said, sll the nay-sayers who are counting the Lakers out now, are the same group who counted them out last year (and the year before).  They were wrong then.  They'll be wrong again.  Go ahead, count them out.  You'll sll be whining about the Lakers and the Celtics in the Finals at the end of the season.  "It's always the same teams in the Finals."  "We need more parity." blah, blah blah....  The Lakers are, essentially, the same team that won it ALL last year.  Say what you want.  I guess you gotta whine about something.

GO LLLLLAKERRRRRS!!!!!



Since: Apr 7, 2009
Posted on: December 28, 2010 10:38 am
 

Lakers' scars more than skin deep

How quickly people forget the history of this team. The exact same thing was happening the past three years. They were saying their too old, not this year its going to catch up with them, you cant sleep walk through the regular season and turn it on when you feel like it, or Kobe is too old, etc. The fact is that people want to believe that they are down and out come playoff time, because they know once the sleeping giant awakes its all over for everyone else in the west. 



Since: Sep 12, 2008
Posted on: December 28, 2010 8:07 am
 

Lakers' scars more than skin deep

Thinking you are good enough is much different from being good enough.
This Laker team reminds me alot of our 2007 Heat team.




Since: Mar 22, 2010
Posted on: December 28, 2010 4:03 am
 

Lakers' scars more than skin deep

This post is filled as always with excuses  from laker fans nothing new. Kobe does not nomally practice because of his old body, rofl. If 32 is old then all professional athlets should tell there coach that they cannot practice if they are 32 or older. Please don't waist my time by telling me because thay have played so many games the last 2 years that he is to tired during the regular season to practice. Jordon won 3 NBA championships when he was 33,34,35 years old and yes he did practice with his team. He was also voted in those same years to the all defensive 1st team which shows you he played as hard as he could every minute he played. I could go on and on about athlets in there 30's who had a run at championships in different sports but did not use it as an excuse not to practice. If I was a player on the lakers and I saw kobe crying about needing to save energy this early in the season and not practicing, I think it would not only effect me in a negative manor but my teammates also. Maybe that is odom's problem he is 31 maybe he just needs to rest. On the celtics team over the past 2 years the celtics have played a lot of playoff games also. Allen was 33 and 34 years old in 2008 , 2009, Garnett was 33 and 32, and Pierce was 30 and 31 during the 2008 and 2009 NBA seasons. Of course they were the NBA champions in 2008. The big 3 in Boston  is ray at 35, Garnett 34, and Pierce at 32. Do you think they practice, DAAA. kobe's speach did not do much for the teams starting five they got beat in a srimmage in the next practice by the 2nd team WITH Kobe practicing which was new for him this year. Kobe's rant about  players needing to make winning the game the most important thing, what about his shooting 6 for 16 against Miami. I believe 100% that Kobe was calling out Artest because of the raffle for the championship ring which raised over $500,000 to go toward helping young children with mental disabilities. Jackson said he praised Artest for his actions and even bought a few tickets for himself. I bet Kobe never bought a ticket. The only reason Kobe would bring it up (if that is what he was talking about which many people believe) is because it took the spot light off of him and believe me if anybody  dare take the spot light off of Kobe in the Lakers organization they will fill his wrath, Shaq found that out. If he had not got Shaq kicked off of the team Kobe would have at least 8 rings by now, but his selfishness cost him NBA championships.  I guess we will see tuesday if Kobe's calling out his team to play better helps. I think if Dallas and San Antonio are healthy at the end of the season the Lakers are doomed and if by some mirracle they make it to the finals either Boston or Miami will beat them. I guess I will see you all after tuesdays game with the usual Laker fans making excuses and blaming everything they can for the loss.



Since: Nov 23, 2006
Posted on: December 28, 2010 4:02 am
 

Lakers' scars more than skin deep

Wow! how quickly people for get to take the history into consideration, this is the same pattern for the Lakers over the past 3 years... come playoff time...they will get it done as usual.



Since: Mar 22, 2010
Posted on: December 28, 2010 4:01 am
 

Lakers' scars more than skin deep

This post is filled as always with excuses  from laker fans nothing new. Kobe does not nomally practice because of his old body, rofl. If 32 is old then all professional athlets should tell there coach that they cannot practice if they are 32 or older. Please don't waist my time by telling me because thay have played so many games the last 2 years that he is to tired during the regular season to practice. Jordon won 3 NBA championships when he was 33,34,35 years old and yes he did practice with his team. He was also voted in those same years to the all defensive 1st team which shows you he played as hard as he could every minute he played. I could go on and on about athlets in there 30's who had a run at championships in different sports but did not use it as an excuse not to practice. If I was a player on the lakers and I saw kobe crying about needing to save energy this early in the season and not practicing, I think it would not only effect me in a negative manor but my teammates also. Maybe that is odom's problem he is 31 maybe he just needs to rest. On the celtics team over the past 2 years the celtics have played a lot of playoff games also. Allen was 33 and 34 years old in 2008 , 2009, Garnett was 33 and 32, and Pierce was 30 and 31 during the 2008 and 2009 NBA seasons. Of course they were the NBA champions in 2008. The big 3 in Boston  is ray at 35, Garnett 34, and Pierce at 32. Do you think they practice, DAAA. kobe's speach did not do much for the teams starting five they got beat in a srimmage in the next practice by the 2nd team WITH Kobe practicing which was new for him this year. Kobe's rant about  players needing to make winning the game the most important thing, what about his shooting 6 for 16 against Miami. I believe 100% that Kobe was calling out Artest because of the raffle for the championship ring which raised over $500,000 to go toward helping young children with mental disabilities. Jackson said he praised Artest for his actions and even bought a few tickets for himself. I bet Kobe never bought a ticket. The only reason Kobe would bring it up (if that is what he was talking about which many people believe) is because it took the spot light off of him and believe me if anybody  dare take the spot light off of Kobe in the Lakers organization they will fill his wrath, Shaq found that out. If he had not got Shaq kicked off of the team Kobe would have at least 8 rings by now, but his selfishness cost him NBA championships.  I guess we will see tuesday if Kobe's calling out his team to play better helps. I think if Dallas and San Antonio are healthy at the end of the season the Lakers are doomed and if by some mirracle they make it to the finals either Boston or Miami will beat them. I guess I will see you all after tuesdays game with the usual Laker fans making excuses and blaming everything they can for the loss.


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