Posts Tagged ‘Paul Gasol’

Lakers Need Goudelock To Back Up Talk


EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — As two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash walked away from Friday morning’s shootaround sharing very little confidence of being able to play in tonight’s Game 3 against the San Antonio Spurs, newly crowned D-League MVP Andrew Goudelock strode in high-stepping over his own swagger.

Goudelock said the plan is for him to start tonight at point guard if Nash is unable to go. Nash said he’s feeling better, but is a “long way from being NBA-ready.” With Steve Blake out indefinitely, Jodie Meeks doubtful and Kobe Bryant on crutches, L.A. will likely be without its top four guards. Goudelock and Darius Morris would run the backcourt.

That means the 6-foot-3 Goudelock will draw San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker on the defensive end. How does Goudelocke, with 425 minutes of NBA action under his belt, plan to do that?

“Just stay in front of him,” Goudelock said, matter-of-factly. “He’s a really quick guy, don’t let him get anything in transition, stay up on the pick-and-rolls. He’s got to guard me too, so I’m not really worried about Tony Parker.”

Goudelock averaged 21.4 ppg in the D-League and he has 175 total points in 41 career NBA games, or the amount Parker has scored in his last games — and that was playing through nagging injuries.

“I’ve always been a scorer, put the ball in the basket,” Goudelock said. “I lost a lot of weight so I’m a lot quicker. I just bring a lot of energy. Those guys don’t really know me, so I can bring something unexpected. With my scoring ability I think I can help a lot.”

The Lakers could certainly use it. They’ve scored 79 and 91 points and shot 43.2 percent in falling in a 2-0 hole

As the point guard, Goudelock said he can pass the ball, too, and find Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol for looks inside. He had never played the point until this season, but he says he’s a greatly improved passer. The Lakers players, although they haven’t seen much of him this season, expressed confidence in Goudelock’s game.

Kobe had already nicknamed him “Mini Mamba” for his scoring ability and attack mentality.

“People have to always honor my scoring, so it makes it easier to pass the ball because I get so much attention because they know that I can score and they probably don’t think I’m gonna pass it,” Goudelock said. “I’ve seen scouting reports from other teams that will be like ‘he’s not going to pass it.’ So it makes it that much easier for me to get 10 or 11 assists in the D-League because I’m getting double-teamed, getting so much attention, they know I can score, so it makes it easier for a guy like me, whether if I wasn’t a scorer as much it might be a little bit tougher because guys might be able to sag off me or do some other things.

“But being able to score and add that scoring punch takes a lot of load off my shoulders.”

That will be Parker’s problem, apparently. But one thing Goudelock will have to watch when he’s guarding the shifty Parker is the ticky-tack-type foul that he picked up during his brief appearance in Game 2.

“It’s going to happen. I’m a young guy, they don’t know me, they’re going to call that,” Goudelock said. “I’m ready for it. I’m ready for all of this. It doesn’t matter. I’ve been doing this since I was about 5 years old. It’s no different from if it’s Tony Parker or a guy in the D-League. They’re going to have to guard me, I’m going to have to guard them, it’s all basketball.”

Goudelock certainly talks the talk. The Lakers now need him to walk the walk.

Will Phil Jackson Follow Pat Riley And Open A New Chapter?

If Phil Jackson heeds the “We want Phil!” chants dropped like an anvil by the Staples Center crowd Friday night, the Zen Master will follow again in the footsteps of that other multi-title-winning Lakers coach — Pat Riley.

Rewind to the 2005-06 season. Riley’s return to the Miami Heat bench 21 games in doesn’t mirror the current circumstance that has fallen into Phil’s lap, but it’s not all that dissimilar either.

No, Jackson isn’t the president of the Lakers organization as Riley was and remains with the Heat when the then-60-year-old Riley horse-collared Stan Van Gundy into resigning nine days before Christmas.

Still, Jackson’s aura eternally twinkles above the Lakers franchise like a magical puff of — oh, you get the picture. Seven years ago Riley couldn’t resist the urge to return to the bench and coach a team he built not only to contend, but to win. The question in front of Jackson, now 67, is does he have the irresistible urge to return?

The suspense is palpable as the stage is spectacularly set for a hero’s return to save the day.

In the summer of 2004, Riley acquired Shaquille O’Neal in his divorce from Kobe Bryant, seeking a championship companion for his own young star, Dwyane Wade. Van Gundy and the boys won 59 games and advanced to the East finals against Detroit, only to lose Game 7 at home.

When the Heat sluggishly opened the ’05-’06 season 11-10, Riley returned, and the rest is history.

His team won 41 of the next 61 games, knocked off the Pistons in six games in the East finals and then oversaw one of the more remarkable comebacks in Finals history, rallying from a near-certain 3-0 hole to beat the Dallas Mavericks in six games.

With Kobe running short on time to capture a sixth title and catch Jackson’s original star pupil with the Chicago Bulls, the Lakers seized the offseason, trading for the second coming of Superman, three-time defensive player of the year Dwight Howard, and sure-fire hall of fame point guard Steve Nash. With Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace, the quintet is easily the most decorated starting unit in basketball.

The results, 1-12 counting the preseason, shoved the bespectacled, mouth-agape Mike Brown out the door before Veterans Day.

It’s seems apparent: the job is Phil’s if he wants it. Other candidates are out there. Mike D’Antoni changed the face of offense in the NBA and, if not for injuries and bad luck, just might have won a title or two with Nash in Phoenix. The great Jerry Sloan is also available.

Yet there is really only one man for this job. The only man with 11 rings. The only man larger than even the star-studded starting five he’d oversee.

Riley did what he believed he had to do, and he achieved the fairy-tale ending.

We’ll soon know if Jackson wants to re-open the book and begin a new chapter. He’s had a long and brilliant career.

Happy endings aren’t always guaranteed.

Kobe And The Lakers Go To Princeton

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Kobe Bryant‘s championship window with the Los Angeles Lakers is closing, but it’s not shut yet. Especially not with Steve Nash coming on board next season.

Nash, whose teams led the league in offensive efficiency for nine straight seasons from 2001-02 to 2009-10, will clearly improve the Lakers’ offense, which ranked 10th in efficiency last season. But L.A. isn’t only counting on a new point guard to get them back into title contention.

As Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes, the Lakers will be switching to the Princeton offense next season and hiring Eddie Jordan as an assistant coach to run it.

Jordan happens to be the foremost Princeton authority in the NBA, the heir to architect Pete Carril, and that’s an immense part of why the Lakers are moving toward an agreement to hire Jordan as an assistant coach. Jordan sold his vision of the offense to a most willing subject, and ultimately Bryant departed for these Olympics convinced that the Lakers have a sound plan of action for the 2012-13 season.

“It’s a great offense,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports. “It’s exactly what we need. It takes us back to being able to play by making reads and reacting to defenses. It takes a great deal of communication, but that’s where we’re at our best: Reading and reacting as opposed to just coming down and calling sets. Calling sets make you vulnerable.

“There’s so many threats, so many options, it’s very tough to defend. Against the type of defenses that teams play nowadays, they load up on one side and are constantly coming with help from the weak side. The Princeton offense makes it very, very tough to lock in on one particular player.”


Turkey, Spain, France Roll on Day 2

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — They say styles make fights in boxing.

Same goes for basketball, in our opinion. And we can’t think of a better one than what we’ll see when Turkey and host team Lithuania lock up Friday. It’s certainly one of the most intriguing games, along with the Germany-France matchup, of the first phase of EuroBasket 2011.

But before we get a chance to enjoy that one, we have to catch up on all the Day 2 happenings. Our roundup …

Turkey 90, Great Britain 61 (Box Score)

It’s pretty obvious after just two games that Turkey has everything you need to make some serious noise in this competition. They have a strong inside presence, led by Omer Asik, Oguz Savas and bolstered by the likes of Enes Kanter. They have plenty of long-distance firepower, courtesy of Omer Onan and Emir Preldzic. And they have the sort of savvy veteran presence (that would be you, Hedo Turkoglu) necessary to survive a crisis. This one was over before it got started.

  • An early 3-point barrage (4-for-7) was the difference for Turkey as they rushed to a 17-3 lead and never looked back. Onan was 4-for-5 from deep and Preldzic 2-for-3. They led the winners in scoring.
  • Much like Dirk Nowitzki used to do in some of these competitions, Luol Deng will have to settle for being the most talented player on the court most nights. Great Britain isn’t quite deep enough or simply good enough to match a team of Turkey’s caliber.
  • Turkey went off on a 13-0 run in the second quarter, including nine from Kanter, and used a relentless 20-4 run to blow the game open. Kanter did his best work during that stretch, scoring nine of his 11 points. His offensive game is much more advanced than we realized. He was also one of four players to score in double figures for the winners.

France 85, Israel 68 (Box Score)

Watching Joakim Noah do his dirty work never gets old for us. The same fire he displays when playing for the Bulls was on display in France’s rout of Israel. Noah’s nine points and nine rebounds served as a nice tone-setter for a team that looked much better on Day 2 than it did in the opener. With Chris Kaman and Germany up next, followed by games against Italy and Serbia, France will need every bit of energy Noah can muster in the coming days.

  • Tony Parker is a cut above most any other point guard he will face in the competition and the first two days have done nothing to change our minds about that. Parker was knocking down shots from everywhere and his 21 points and eight assists led the way.
  • Mickael Gelabale, you might remember him from his NBA days in Seattle, looked good. He finished with 13 points and made all three of his shots from beyond the 3-point line.
  • France doesn’t have the most physically intimidating frontcourt rotation. That said, a combined 11 points and 16 rebounds from Boris Diaw and Kevin Seraphin is a luxury plenty of teams would love to have.


Dirk needs JET to step it up

Going the route of the solo act didn’t work out too badly for Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. The hits kept right on coming.

But now three games into The Finals, one look at Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki tells you that that path to success on the basketball court is always easier with a tight backup band.

While Wade has no doubt been the shining star in the spotlight, there’s plenty of harmony behind him coming from LeBron James and Chris Bosh … heck, even Mario Chalmers. On a night when he was once more out of rhythm after getting poked in the eye, Bosh hit the game-winning jumper from the left wing in Game 3 to cap off Wade’s 29-point effort.

Meanwhile, with the Mavericks, it continues to be all about Dirk all the time. The problem isn’t that he scored 34 of Dallas’ 86 points, but that he had to score the Mavs’ final 12 points of the game, while everyone else was singing off key, most notably Jason Terry.

Terry’s latest fourth quarter of all sour notes — 0-for-7 in the Mavs losses — prompted Nowitzki to call him out, according to Jeff Caplan of

“Jet hasn’t really been a crunch-time, clutch player for us the way we need him to.”

It was a simple declarative sentence, but Nowitzki could have tossed in some moon-walking and belted out a verse from “Beat It” to get his point across.