Los Angeles Lakers: Luis Scola

Chat transcript

June, 13, 2012
6/13/12
8:38
AM PT
By The Kamenetzky Brothers
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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As I expected, lotta questions about potential offseason moves. Pau Gasol? Andrew Bynum? Steve Blake? Could all these guys be relocated?

Click here to relive the discussion.

The Forum: Offseason moves

June, 13, 2012
6/13/12
8:32
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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The Lakers want to make big offseason changes, but limited trade assets and no cap space makes "how" the $1,000,000 question. I break down potential approaches with Kevin Arnovitz and Dave McMenamin.

PodKast: Pau Gasol trade rumors, trade scenarios, and conspiracy theories

June, 2, 2012
6/02/12
12:12
PM PT
By the Kamenetzky Brothers
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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Once the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs, it took about 16 seconds for the Pau Gasol trade rumors to once again start swirling. A report stating Gasol's desire to land in Chicago -- one he denied -- was the first in what surely will be a flurry of "Pau-to-________" chatter this summer.

We start the show talking about this rumor (3:00), and how fans should look at every one of these reports with a critical eye. Information is rarely put out by "sources" without a reason.



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Next, we talk about a recent piece from ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard (Insider required), tossing out some hypothetical blockbusters, three of which involve Gasol or Andrew Bynum and returning stars from New Jersey, Atlanta, and Houston. (8:00) Are there big shakeups out there able to be realistically executed and also improving the team?

Finally, the Hornets won the NBA Draft Lottery Wednesday evening, and that means the conspiracy theorists who flock to the NBA like bees to flowers have something new to chew on. Is it possible the NBA rigged the outcome? (22:00)

Rapid Reaction: Lakers 108, Rockets 99

January, 3, 2012
1/03/12
10:15
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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And with that, the Lakers are back above .500 again. Here are five takeaways from the win:

1) Kobe Bryant shot the ball a lot again, but with considerably improved selection

Predictably, Kobe's 6-for-28 disaster in Denver generated the talk typical of games where The Mamba hoists a fair amount of shots to ill-effect. Specifically, people obsessed over the shot count, and whether, in this particular case, "28" represents too many. Among the questions asked... what's the "right" amount for Kobe, especially in a game where Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol (among others are hitting shots)... Will Mike Brown call him out... Will Kobe come out the next game "aggressive" (code for "hucking like there's no tomorrow") or facilitating (code for "allowing others to touch the ball")?


Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Kobe took more shots against Houston than Denver, but controversy won't likely follow.

But largely lost in the conversation was the true issue, which was the shot selection itself. For a natural scorer like Kobe capable of hitting from anywhere on the court, it's not necessarily how many shots go up, but where and how they're launched. Against the Nuggets, Kobe was reckless, launching without conscious, discretion or regard for the consequences. As a result, several possessions ended on empty notes, and the Laker D was constantly on its heels in transition.

But against Houston, Kobe was sensible and methodical about where he chose to let fly. More often than not, Bryant went to work down low, posting up the smaller likes of Kyle Lowry, Kevin Martin and other Rockets absolutely mismatched against his superior size. Whether taking it to the rim or turning around to pop a J before the double arrived, this was a controlled, relaxed scoring display. Yes, it took some time to get cooking, and Bryant finished the first half 5-14 with 15 points, but the shot chart was considerably more pleasing to the eye.

(As an added bonus, Kobe operating like this also meant fewer opportunities to get stripped in space or on an attempt to split a double. Thus, the ball was turned over only twice (against six assists), a decided improvement over Sunday's six gaffes.)

During the second half, Bryant caught heat. And down the stretch, we saw Kobe what's made him a legend: Make difficult shots to close out a game. But again, these monster buckets were generally set up and executed better, with Kobe backing down defenders and making quick, decisive moves, rather than jab-stepping himself to death in isolation. He ended the evening with a reasonably efficient 14-29 clip, but had he missed a few more, I wouldn't have had too many complaints (save one below), because it was generally difficult to find fault with the shots themselves.

All in all, Bryant's 37 points provided a great reminder about how the story isn't found in raw numbers. Context means everything.

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Lakers vs. Rockets: What to watch with Red94

January, 3, 2012
1/03/12
11:32
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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Tuesday night, the Lakers face a Houston Rockets squad that always seems to give them fits. While a few roles have been recast in Houston, starting with the coach -- Rick Adelman out, Kevin McHale in -- the basics of this year's team are similar. The Rockets remain an efficient offensive group with sneaky good weapons inside and out. At the point, Kyle Lowry (13.3 points, 11.5 assists, 6.3 rebounds, 2.5 steals) has been spectacular, and with Luis Scola (15.5 points) and Kevin Martin (19.3 points, 42 percent from beyond the arc), the Rockets are considered a potential playoff team out West, if things break in their direction.


AP Photo/Pat Sullivan
Through four games, Kyle Lowry has been a special kind of good.

"They're extremely talented, and they're young and athletic," Mike Brown said Monday. "They're going to be tough. Lowry right now, is in my opinion the catalyst for them. Defensively he's the head of the snake, and then offensively he's got to be averaging something close to 12 assists a game. They're tough, from top to bottom."

On the other hand, Houston lost its two road games by nine (Orlando) and 20 (Memphis), so they haven't quite figured out that end of things, yet.

For a little more insight into the Rockets, we hit up Rahat Huq of TrueHoop's Red94 with some questions ...

1. What is different for the Rockets under Kevin McHale?

Hut: Terrence Williams is getting a chance but the biggest difference is the result of Chuck Hayes' departure. Without Hayes' passing, the Rockets aren't initiating their offense as much from the high post and instead are running a more traditional guard-facilitated offense. The outcome is Kyle Lowry's sparkling statistics.

2. Kyle Lowry has been great in the early going. Where does he fit in on the list of high-end NBA point guards?

Hut: Behind Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo for sure. After that, I put him in the mix with anybody. The assist numbers speak for themselves, but beyond that, he defends and rebounds as well as any guard. Lowry's only major weakness is that he can't really create much for himself off the dribble in the way someone like Rose can. Because of that, his upside is capped from true elite status.

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Lakers vs. Houston: What to watch with Red94

February, 1, 2011
2/01/11
11:03
AM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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When this current five game home stand began, today's contest was pegged as the fourth easiest behind the cream puff Kings. A relative breather between Boston and San Antonio. Of course, that was before the Lakers actually lost to Sacto, much less Boston. For the time being, all bets feel decidedly off. Still, the Rockets are a team dealing with their own struggles these days, most notably the injury bug's vendetta. As usual, Yao Ming remains at the center of these health problems.

I tracked down Rahat Huq from True Hoop's Red94 blog for some thoughts on the Rockets, then added a thought of my own to each point. Here's what to keep an eye on when the ball is jumped:

Jesse Johnson/US Presswire
Lowry does a good job involving teammates.


Andy Kamenetzky: The Lakers haven't faced the Rockets this season with Aaron Brooksas a sixth man of sorts. How much different are the first and second units with Kyle Lowry (one of the NBA's most underrated role players, IMHO) and Brooks swapped spots? And where is Brooks physically?

Rahat Huq: To say that Aaron Brooks has been struggling would be an understatement. After the injury, he simply has not been the same player and has also had difficulty adjusting to his new role. Much of this can be attributed to his hampered physical condition but some have wondered if his uncertain contract status has played a role.

With the first unit, Lowry and Martin want to attack and draw fouls. Off the bench, Courtney Lee handles a lot of the ball-handling duties allowing Aaron Brooks to attack for himself off the dribble. While thus far unsuccessful, the latter has assumed the "Vinnie Johnson" role for this team.

AK's thoughts: Truth be told, Brooks' "Microwave" reinvention (or regression, depending on your outlook) strikes me as inevitable. As tough a cover and dynamic a player as Brooks can be, his point guard skills have never impressed me. What's going on in Houston reminds me of the situation in Detroit, where they've clearly decided Rodney Stuckey may be a part of their future, but as a two guard. Brook's move to be bench may not be successful yet, as Huq notes, but it does feel logical.

As for Lowry, his 33.41 assist rate among point guards playing 25+ minutes sandwiches him between Chris Paul and John Wall, which is pretty good company. He's a smart player. Not to mention tough and strong, a bulldog in the vein of Derek Fisher. Clearly, his place in the starting lineup isn't translating to wins, but underestimating the B-List name at the one for Houston would be a mistake. He racked 10 dimes against the Lakers in a Dec. 1 loss, and is capable of damage.

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Lakers 109, Rockets 101: One really impressive moment

March, 27, 2010
3/27/10
8:32
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Do not be fooled by the final score. In this case, objects in mirror were not nearly as close as they appeared.

Not after the first 12 minutes of play, at least.

Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images
Kobe Bryant did it all Saturday night against Houston, finishing one dime shy of the team's first triple-double of '09-'10.



In a lot of ways, the first quarter of Saturday night's game could easily have been the fifth of Friday's debacle in Oklahoma City. The Lakers turned the ball over five times leading to eight Rockets points, allowed easy buckets inside, and ignored too many shooters on the perimeter. After one, the Rockets led 34-27, behind despite shooting well over 50 percent from the floor.

From there, though, the Lakers raised their level far to high for the wee Rockets to reach. (Congratulations to those who saw the height joke coming.) Over the first six minutes of the second quarter, the Lakers scraped their way back into the game, erasing Houston's lead. Over the final six minutes, they dropped the hammer, outscoring the Rockets 20-2, the 20 coming unanswered. It was 360 seconds of total domination.

Here's how it happened:

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SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0