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So the Clippers are covering the Lakers banners?

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 in Lakers Analysis | 2 comments

So Doc Rivers didn’t waste all that much time adding his own wrinkle to the Lakers/Clippers rivalry*, deciding to cover up the Lakers’ extensive championship history with giant pictures of his best players** during home games for the LAC.

Reaction among Lakers fans has been a predictable and completely appropriate mixture of outrage and mocking. Really, the jokes write themselves, for those who are inclined. And should the Clippers pull off a significant mid-season trade, they might have to engage in some rapid redecorating.

I’m sure Doc understands all that. He knows he and his team will get made fun of, that they’ll be called some combination of petty, small, and disrespectful. He just doesn’t care, and nor should he. It’s not like the Clippers are pulling some collegiate style prank where they paint LAL’s banners red, white, and blue, or replace “West,” “Abdul-Jabbar,” and “Johnson” with “Korolev,” “Olowokandi,” and “Kimble.” Nothing is damaged or defaced, just covered up. Staples Center is no more the Lakers arena than the Clippers. Particularly when the Lakers aren’t even in the building. The Clippers have no obligation to honor purple and gold history during their home games.

Doc’s job is to do what he thinks is best for his franchise, including grand symbolic gestures he hopes will impact the culture. The LAC have for too long allowed themselves to be defined by comparisons to the Lakers, whether in the standings or the rafters. Covering all the banners won’t suddenly make people forget how incredibly lame Clippers history is in comparison to LA’s crown jewel franchise, but at the very least it means the LAC won’t literally have it hanging over them during home games. Home becomes that much homier. It might feel silly or desperate to Lakers fans, but they’re not the target demographic.

Honestly, the Clippers have needed to do something like this for a while. Good for Doc for making a change. Sometimes symbols make a difference.

*If you believe the history between the squads is too lopsided to call it a rivalry, pick your own word. It’s obviously something. 

**We’re left to wonder if Ryan Hollins thinks he got screwed. 

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Land O'Lakers Podcast: Does Dwight Howard stay or go?

Posted by on Jul 4, 2013 in Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, Mike D'Antoni, Opinion, Podcast | 8 comments

Hope you had a chance to pitch Dwight Howard this week, because if you didn”t, it”s too late! So while Howard clears his head/weighs his future in Aspen — likely picking up one of these bad boys while he”s there — we sat down for some jibber jab time to discuss it all. And after spending the opening moments recounting the less-than-Dickensian nature of our childhood, we hit the following high points…

  • The Lakers pitch to Dwight didn”t dwell on the past, and the incredible legacy of the franchise. Smart move, or a missed opportunity?
  • Which is actually the tougher decision, to stay or go? We react to a column by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, expressing the (not uncommon) idea that re-upping with L.A. may be harder, at least initially, but would ultimately be more rewarding. “I just know that if he stays with the Lakers, he”ll put the NBA on notice that he”s finally figured it out. If he stays with the Lakers, he”ll take the first step toward repairing his image, proving his loyalty and entering the exclusive club of legends who”ve been made there,” Berger writes. “He”ll be signing up for something hard, something challenging to live up to. It isn”t easy to win championships and be great.” Is he right?
  • How does Kobe Bryant factor into all this?… does that make Howard”s return more or less likely?
  • Does he stay or does he go now? (If he goes will there be trouble? If he stays will it be double?)
  • We break down the two big trades of the week, involving the Clippers and the Knicks. One was great, one was awful, and if you don”t know which is which, it”s probably best you don”t run a team.

Click above to play, or just download the show hereHope bluetooth wireless speakers
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you enjoy it. To subscribe to the show via iTunes, click here. You can also find us on TuneIn.com by heading here.

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Why Dwight Howard should see "This is the End."

Posted by on Jun 18, 2013 in Dwight Howard, Jim Buss, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, Metta World Peace, Mike D'Antoni, Mitch Kupchak, Opinion, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, This is the End | 1 comment

Last weekend, I saw “This is the End,” the new movie starring James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel and Craig Robinson. All playing themselves, the six attend a party at Franco’s opulent Hollywood home — filled with recognizable faces like Mindy Kaling, Paul Rudd, and Jason Segal — when the apocalypse arrives. For all intents and purposes, this sextet are the lone survivors left to fend off Armageddon… and often each other. Negotiating the end of the world brings out the worst in everybody above the title, and that self-centered behavior is displayed with a winking nod to each actor’s public image.

Franco eggs on a tabloid culture that’s painted him as a pretentious, artsy douche who may be in the closet. McBride presents himself as a somewhat better-spoken version of his “Kenny Powers” character. Hill is so relentlessly and condescendingly nice, Baruchel (self-righteously “anti-industry,” but also jealous of everyone’s more successful careers) eventually decks him. Rogen is a useless, selfish pothead. The flaky Robinson reacts to danger with a girly scream.

Audiences will hypothesize how closely the film versions of every actor who appears match reality — save perhaps Michael Cera, who by all accounts is nothing like the dude who spends his final hours snorting coke and slapping Rihanna’s ass — but that’s both beside the point and the point. A movie like “T.I.T.E.” can only be made if the participants are secure with that inevitability. Clearly, this cast ain’t losing sleep. The goal is to get laughs. And while the last 20-ish minutes are uneven, the movie is often hysterical because of everybody’s willingness to don a “kick me” sign.

Watching the film, out of nowhere, Dwight Howard popped into my head. Given how the center is at forefront of damn near every NBA conversation, particularly in Los Angeles, a day without Howard on the brain is unfortunately a rare luxury. But this was different. Seeing these actors mock themselves, it dawned on me how Dwight, despite his reputation as someone who “never stops joking around,” seems the least likely person on Earth to participate in a project like “T.I.T.E”

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Podcast: How long will Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard remain Lakers?

Posted by on Jun 18, 2013 in Dwight Howard, Jerry Buss, Kobe Bryant, Lakers News, Mitch Kupchak, Pau Gasol, Podcast, Steve Nash | 3 comments

p>In precisely two weeks, free agents and teams will be able to converse, and the NBA fireworks will officially explode. Until then, we drop a little “waiting game” ear candy. Among the talking points…

  • Before proceeding any further, be aware I”ve been battling a cough, and it acts up without warning. Should you hear the word “tornado,” immediately tear off your headphones to protect your ears. This is not a drill.
  • Per Ramona Shelburne, , which ends after the 2014 season. Should this be the case, what”s Bryant”s market value at nearly 36? Would he be wise to take a deep pay cut? Is playing alongside Bryant a strong or weak selling point for 2014″s marquee free agents?
  • Along these lines, would the prospect of additional years alongside Kobe perhaps steer Dwight Howard towards another team?
  • Word around the campfire is . That would require a sign-and-trade with the Lakers, who some think could be offered Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe in exchange. Is this a worthy haul? Would the Lakers ever trade a player of Howard”s caliber to their cross-building rivals? Should they?

Click above to play, or just download the show here. Hope you enjoy it. To subscribe to the show via iTunes, click here. You can also find us on TuneIn.com by heading here.

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Kobe Bryant sticking around… Does that mean Dwight Howard goes?

Posted by on Jun 17, 2013 in Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, Opinion | 3 comments

Insofar as Dwight Howard news is concerned the flashiest bit last week was word. Because, you know, why not? But the most significant came that afternoon, as ESPNLA”s Ramona Shelburne reported Kobe Bryant wants “two more cracks at it to win seven NBA titles at least.” Meaning next season won”t be Bryant”s last, and the “at least” part implies Kobe might want to stick around for even a third, assuming he can perform at a suitable level of Kobe-ness following his Achilles surgery.*

Good news for Lakers fans, but it might be enough to push Dwight out the door.

Not because Howard and Bryant hate each other — they”ll never be besties, but taking family vacations together isn”t a prerequisite for being effective teammates — but because as long as Kobe is a Laker, Howard”s ability to grow as a voice and a leader, something he claims to want, will be limited, his position always deferential. At the time of the trade, Kobe talked openly about helping teach Dwight what it means to be the face of the Lakers, then passing the torch. Well, as long as Bryant plays he keeps the torch. The Lakers are his, and everyone knows it. Speaking freely as it pertains to Kobe is the realm of a select few. Phil Jackson could. Same with Derek Fisher. Those guys aren”t options. Pau Gasol periodically dips a toe in those waters, albeit in more veiled, passive aggressive language.

Everyone else talks in the measured terms of an eggshell walker, or simply doesn”t talk at all. Criticizing Kobe, or even appearing to, simply isn”t worth the controversy. Bryant, on the other hand, has earned his way to the top of Mt. Purplegold and planted his Mamba flag. He says what he wants. Five titles and myriad other honors do that for a guy.

But Dwight Howard is 27 years old, with an impressive resume and skill set. Does he really want to genuflect to Kobe for another few seasons?

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