Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Los Angeles Lakers [Print without images]

Thursday, January 13, 2011
New podkast: Matt Barnes, winning and 'Melodrama

By Andy Kamenetzky

The Lakers keep rolling. The K Bros keep talking. Here is the latest batch of ear candy. Among the talking points:

PODCAST
Andy and Brian talk about the impact of Matt Barnes' injury, the team's improved play and the insane growth of the 'Melodrama.

Podcast Listen
- The impact of Matt Barnes' absence. The surgery on his torn right meniscus was deemed successful and his time on the shelf estimated at eight weeks. (And I always remind everyone, eight weeks is the MINIMUM, not the exact return date.) Barnes has played beyond expectations,filling a specific void from last season, small forward depth provided by someone other than Kobe Bryant. How will the Lakers offset this absence?

Obviously, Ron Artest --trending recently in the right direction, despite a stunning lack of hops --  will need to step up in the face of increased minutes. I've wondered lately if Artest could gain some comfort without looking over his shoulder at a backup outplaying him. Also, varying degrees of slack must be picked up by Steve Blake (who needs to shoot more under any circumstances) Shannon Brown and Luke Walton, and Kobe (whose minutes hopefully won't rise too much).

- As we predicted at the time of Tuesday's recording, the Lakers managed to eke out a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. That victory made it five in row (a roll maintained against the Warriors), and the defending champs appear back on track. Whether you're talking defense, Pau Gasol or the team-wide execution, we agree everything is moving in a nice direction. Whether the previous issues were caused more by focus or basketball issues, however, is a matter of debate.

PODCAST
Andy Kamenetzky joins the Max Kellerman show, talking about whether the team has turned a corner.

Podcast Listen
- Finally, the insanity that is Carmelo's Anthony future with either the Nuggets, the Nets or the Knicks. We reveal how Donnie Walsh and a wacky Russian accent could prevent Anthony from winding up in a Nets uni, even though sabotage shouldn't be required. For the life of us, we don't understand why 'Melo would even consider hitching his wagon (and extension) to that team.

Also, I appeared on Max Kellerman Show to talk some purple and gold, if you'd wanna give second podcast link a click.