Lakers Back On Track

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – When the Lakers take the measure of their season, the entire season, those ugly losses to Charlotte and Cleveland before the All-Star break will barely register, if at all.

The Lakers we all expected to see this season have been on display since the All-Star break. The 8-0 record since then helps. But it’s the way they’ve been dismantling teams that really sticks out.

Andrew Bynum, the same one that folks were ready to ship out of town for Carmelo Anthony a couple of weeks ago, is playing inspired basketball these days. The Lakers are doing the same, no doubt a result of the beating they took from all angles — including the fans, competitors and former Lakers legends like Magic Johnson and Jerry West.

Those critics have retreated as the Lakers have emerged since All-Star Weekend, reestablishing themselves as the matchup nightmare that they’ve been for almost every team in the league during their last two title runs. Bynum is a dominant force rebounding the basketball lately, with 16-plus in three straight games.

If Bynum’s healthy March — 10.8 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.5 blocks — is any indication of what’s to come in the postseason, teams hoping the Lakers were finally vulnerable might have to do some recalculating. Not only will Bynum, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom make it nearly impossible to operate in the paint (as the Hawks found out last night), Kobe Bryant seems to have playoff focus locked in already as well.

The most refreshing thing about the way the Lakers have responded to their pre-All-Star Weekend case of the hiccups is the fact that they not only acknowledge their own missteps, but they understand them as well as what lies ahead, as T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times details:

“Our cockiness got in the way early in the season,” said Lamar Odom. “Now we go into every game knowing if we do the right things as a team, we’re going to win.”
Pau Gasol said the team is better because of “concentration,” while Kobe Bryant attributed it to defense, homework and following the game plan.

Now I suppose one could criticize Andrew Bynum for a drop off in his play. He had only 16 rebounds against Atlanta after having 17 against the Spurs and 17 the game before that.

“I had another one, but Kobe and I were going for it and Pau ended up getting credit,” Bynum said with a laugh. Bynum displaying emotion is another positive change.

Next up, the Cry Babies, and as big as the game with Dallas will be Saturday night, I just hope the Lakers don’t get caught looking past Miami.

That’s how far the Heat has fallen.

“It’s a perfect set-up for them to get back on track,” Bryant said. “They have no option but to fight. This is going to be a big challenge for us. They’re looking at this game as the game that’s going to turn things around for them.”

The last time the Lakers and Heat hooked up it was the Lakers that stood in our crosshairs. We knew they were a championship team but for whatever reason they weren’t playing like one on a consistent basis.

The roles will be reversed Thursday night in Miami. The Heat are suddenly searching for the right fix, the right chemistry. And the Lakers, meanwhile, are cranked up and playing like the juggernaut most of us assumed they would be.

Now comes word that Heat forward Chris Bosh wants more touches in the post and wants to establish himself in the paint. Clearly he said that without giving thought to who was coming to town this week.

Bynum, Gasol, Odom and the new-look Lakers are surely prepared to answer that challenge.

23 Comments

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  3. naro says:

    Agree. that was clearly goal tend by Big Z. though Kobe took two really bad shots down the stretch. However, the way the lakers are playing right now. I have no doubt they’ll 3-peat. They look just like that championship team I used to know

  4. Lakers4Lyfe says:

    wats the point of replay if they still call stupid calls, damn them refs…. kobe lost the ball but you see clearly wade grabs his arm and whats up with that goal tending. stupid ass refs

  5. mizzle says:

    that yaoless houston team ur talking about…was led by RON ARTEST..haha how does it feel..the fact is there is only 2 teams i can see that had a chance of beating LA.. boston ( no more perkins is gone ) and ORL but the small now they only got Howard.. the way Bynum is playing and the rest of lakers gl getting buckets in the paint.. odom gasol artest kobe bynum ( paint is shut we win )

  6. Miggy says:

    Yeah! Still I can’t get the point why they’ve traded their toughest and most legitimate center Perkins.. Because of shaq?whose foot got injured and can’t dunk the same way as before?
    I don’t know.. Boston is to greedy in terms of getting strong players for them. I guess their reason is not to get that good players by other teams specially their rival.. What kind of team is this? Hay.. Look what happened to nate robinson,did he get enough playing time?NO! And they (boston) just traded him to OKC. Whoa.. Celtics..prepare your eyes ’cause your going to cry again.. And heat..open your eyes. It’s not enough..
    We,laker fans.. Will always be here! We know our team,will be back on their ryt track! Hup payback time!

  7. Mike says:

    @ Jason 2 good streaks + beating Boston in Boston. BTW way to give up on your title hopes by trading your only legit C in Kendrik Perkins.

  8. Jason says:

    He who laugh last laugh BEST. One good streak doesn’t mean a guarantee for 3-peat. We will see comes the playoff.
    BOSTON ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!

  9. F-Lakers01 says:

    A Great Team (Lakers) is a that accept losses and recognises the talents of other teams. But it is more a team that can learn from its mistakes and makes the best of them. We lakers we have encountered losses we give credit to all those teams they did good!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now is our time. Please respect that. Don’t we deserve deserve that guys????????
    Don’t forget A Lion is a Lion even asleep.ah ah ah…

  10. lakers927 says:

    lakers fan were quietly smiling knowing that this will happen sooner or later… its hollywood baby we love the drama that builds up. and btw just becuase we were quiet didnt mean we were worreid we lakers have some ZEN in all of us. also we were complaining it was becuase we knew what out team was capable of. great teams make are best at making adjustments and figuring out opposing teams which what the playoffs is about hence why the nba play 7 game series. Now is the time to get back not at the teams we lost to but at the mistakes we made prior to now. tru fans dont cheer and boast becuase we doing it to upset opposing teams fan we do it out of sheer excitement at what we are seeing from our team so yes we are gonna be talking some smack now and watch closely it will be backed up. from fans of the lakers since immigrated to the USA 23 years ago and a fan of basketball, team sports and spirit of compettition!!! Goooo LAKERS!!! LAKERS NATION TIME TO STAND UP!!!!

  11. 24 !! says:

    @ sekou finally somethin about lakers from u i was waiting and waiting :) ohkie i have some question from guys with good reasons
    1) celtics wht the hell would they trade perkins they biggest advantage size they had is no more there shaq is too old for anybody he cant be wht he used to be
    2) spurs or thunders ??? for lakers in conference finals
    and about lakers being lakers as i said i wont mind a 20-5 after all star they are already 8-0 :)

  12. BKizzle777 says:

    Do anybody remember the second game the Lakers and Spurs played? The spurs would’ve never won that game if the ref called that charge on Parker which the league acknowledged that it was in fact a charge. So you Spurs fans chalk that up as your last win against LA for the year!!!!!!!!!1

  13. Zzanzabar says:

    Every year it is the same story with the Lakers: concentration. Three years ago, Boston embarrassed them in the Finals and they used that for motivation to get back and win it all. The next year, the ‘wake-up’ game was a Yaoless Houston taking the Lakers into the 7th game, after that they focused and won it all. The following year it was a young OKC challenging them in 6 games before the buckled down and won it all from the same Celtics in a come from behind win that left Boston crying (literally) in their own locker room and influenced Doc Rivers to postpone his plans to retire so as to spend more time with his son. This year it just happened just before the All-Star break when the lowly Cavaliers beat a tired and lackluster Laker team who tried to ‘mail it in’ for a victory. They haven’t lost a game since.

    In each case the critics cried ‘The Lakers are falling…The Lakers are falling…’ so I guess now everyone will be jumping BACK on the bandwagon, eh? As Charles Barkley (and numerous others) has said: “The only team that can beat the Lakers is the Lakers themselves.” This still holds true even after 3 consecutive trips to the NBA finals and back-to-back championships.

  14. Lakers Fans says:

    ya’ll blah blah blah.. You sound like a whining Heat player. Us Lakers fans were always here..

  15. heh8meN1 says:

    MEMO to the HEAT:
    No.Bawling.Allowed.

  16. GREEN MONEY22 says:

    OH OH, ITS EVERYBODY’S NIGHTMARE, MY LAKERS WERE NEVER BAD, THEY JUST HAD TO GET REFOCUSED. STILL GOT HATERS LIKE SPURS FAN SAYING “OH WE DA BEST, WE HAVE THE BEST RECORD, Y’ALL ONLY BEAT US ONCE THIS YEAR.” YEAH WHO R DA 2 TIME CHAMPS, HOW MANY RINGS DO U HAVE THIS DECADE, EVERYBODY ASK OURSELF THAT!!

    • CARLOS_07 says:

      You idiot! This is why I don’t like Laker fans. Ya’ll won one game against the Spurs. WOW!!!!! We beat the Lakers twice!!!!!! Then how many rings have we won in the last couple of years compared to say teams like the Heat, Jazz. You sound stupid.

      • trix says:

        your the one who sounds so stupid. We are comparing spurs to the lakers. Not the heat or jazz. Yea you beat us twice this year. We owned u once. Look at the playoff series this decade. Lakers beat spurs 4 times and spurs only won once.

  17. trix says:

    Where are all the haters at now?…This is what happens when the lakers put their mind into giving their best. Good luck heat!!!

    • CARLOS_07 says:

      Where were you fans at when ya’ll were losing? Ya’ll just want to talk trash when ya’ll are on a winning streak. When ya’ll start losing again, ya’ll won’t be found.

      • Lakers Fans says:

        ya’ll blah blah blah.. You sound like a whining Heat player. Us Lakers fans were always here..

        oh btw.. you just sound like a pathetic hilbilly

    • john campos says:

      yeah, trix- the haters will always be out there.. i’ve been a laker fan since i was in grade school and we got wilt chamberlain. then came the “showtime” teams, shaq and kobe at the turn of the century, and now our 3-peatin’ (barring injury) kobe-led team w/pau, bynum, fisher, et al… kobe said it all in an interview in espn magazine : “…perfection to me is championship rings.”. whatever the haters have to say about our man kobe bryant, they can’t dispute the fact he’s got 5 rings and nobody in the league has hit more big shots at the end of the game since jordan played… i can’t wait for the playoffs to start!