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#pounditTuesday, December 1, 2020

Articles tagged: Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers earn series win and Charles Barkley earns $100k by breaking broom

Charles Barkley

The Los Angeles Lakers earned a series win on Saturday night, and Charles Barkley earned himself some cash.

The Lakers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 131-122 in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series in Orlando, Fla. LeBron James and Anthony Davis were monsters in the win.

James scored 36 points with 10 rebounds and 10 assists, giving him his 13th 30-point playoff triple-double, according to TNT. Davis scored 43 points on 14/18 shooting and made four of six three-pointers.

Charles Barkley originally predicted on TNT that the Blazers would sweep the Lakers after winning Game 1 of the series. So after the Lakers won Game 2, Shaquille O’Neal snapped Barkley’s sweep broom.

Shaq repeated the stunt again on Saturday night and then challenged Barkley to break a broom for $100,000. He came through.

That was easy money for Barkley, and a smooth path to series victory for the Lakers after dropping the first game of the series.

This was also the Lakers’ first playoff series win since 2012. Better luck next time with your sweep prediction, Chuck. As for the Lakers, they will face the winner of the Thunder-Rockets series next.

Report: LeBron James’ Lakers, Clippers vote to end NBA season

LeBron James

The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers voted to end the NBA season, according to a report.

NBA players held a meeting on Wednesday night after three playoff games were postponed. The postponements were triggered by the Milwaukee Bucks deciding not to play what would have been Game 5 of their first-round series against the Orlando Magic. The other two games scheduled for the day were later postponed as well.

In the players meeting, the Lakers and Clippers reportedly were the only two teams that voted not to continue. LeBron James, the star player of the Lakers and league headliner, reportedly exited the meeting.

If the players on those teams decide not to continue the season, it will be hard for the NBA to actually conduct a valid remaining season without them.

Even the Bucks and Toronto Raptors, which were vocal in considering shutting things down, reportedly voted in support of continuing. It’s unclear what happens from here. NBA owners are reportedly set to meet on Thursday. A previous report said the NBA season was in jeopardy, and it sounds like that is definitely the case.

Note that ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski says the vote was more of a polling and not an official decision.

Thunder-Rockets boycotting playoff game, Lakers-Blazers may do the same

The Milwaukee Bucks became the first team to boycott a playoff game on Wednesday. They will not be the last.

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets will reportedly boycott Game 5 of their Western Conference playoff series, which was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Notably, Chris Paul, the star guard for the Thunder, is the president of the NBPA.

There was no word yet on the third game of the day between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers. However, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that those teams were also leaning toward boycotting.

The Thunder-Rockets contest marks the second game of the day to be boycotted in protest of police violence. The Bucks refused to play Game 5 of their series earlier Wednesday.

Lakers to wear Black Mamba jerseys to honor Kobe Bryant on 8/24

Kobe Bryant

The Los Angeles Lakers happen to be playing on Aug. 24 this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and they are taking advantage by paying tribute to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.

Since Bryant wore No. 8 and No. 24 during his Hall of Fame career with the Lakers, the team announced on Monday that they will honor him and Gianna by wearing Black Mamba jerseys for Game 4 against the Portland Trail Blazers. The jerseys feature a No. 2 patch, which was Gianna’s number.

The jersey was co-designed by Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash with Gianna and seven others on January 26, 2020. It features a snakeskin print on the outside. The initial plan was for the Lakers to wear the jerseys if they advance past the Blazers, but they will wear them on Monday.

Bryant played all of his 20 NBA seasons with the Lakers and won five championships with the team.

This is the latest tribute from the Lakers to Bryant, as some notable players offered theirs right away.

No. 1 seeds Lakers and Bucks lose Game 1 of playoffs on same day

Lakers logo

This year’s NBA playoffs are unusual, so it’s no surprise that they have yielded some unusual results over the first two days.

On Tuesday, three of the four playoff games featured lower-seeded teams winning their games, including the most notable ones: the No. 1 seeds from each conference suffered Game 1 defeats.

In the first game of the day in Orlando, Fla., the No. 8 Magic defeated the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks 122-110. Then in the final game of the day, the No. 8 seed Portland Trail Blazers beat the No. 1 seed Los Angeles Lakers 100-93.

This was the first time since 2003 that both No. 1 seeds lost Game 1 of the playoffs. Of course, this year is much different from 2003.

The NBA’s resumed season is taking place on a neutral court at Disney World in Orlando. There is no home court, nor will there be extensive traveling from city to city. There are no home fans chanting and screaming and trying to intimidate opposing players and referees. There are no home fans uplifting their players and giving them energy. This might turn out to be the purest playoff ever as a result.

So far, some of the results have been unusual.

In the first game on Tuesday, Nikola Vucevic was the story. He stood out for Orlando with 35 points and 14 rebounds. The Magic also went 16/41 on threes (39 percent) compared to 14/42 (33.3 percent) for Milwaukee.

In the last game, the Lakers shot a pathetic 5/32 on threes (15.6 percent), which played a big role in their loss. Damian Lillard was hot again with 34 points and even did a dance during the game.

Should Lakers or Bucks fans be worried? At least in the Lakers’ case, LeBron James has never once lost a first-round playoff series in his career (13-0). This would be one heck of a time for him to end the streak, and it will take three more wins from Portland, which won’t be easy.

Lakers planning to wear Black Mamba jerseys later in NBA playoffs

Kobe Bryant

The Los Angeles Lakers have plans to honor Kobe Bryant with special jerseys if they advance in the NBA playoffs this year.

The Lakers are set to face the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs for a best-of-seven series. If they advance, they plan to wear a Black Mamba jersey for subsequent rounds, according to the LA Times’ Brad Turner.

The jersey was co-designed by the late Bryant, who was among nine people who died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. The jersey features a snakeskin print on the outside and has 16 stars on the side panels, representing the Lakers’ 16 NBA championships.

Nike is making the jersey available for sale on 8/24, which represents the two jersey numbers Bryant wore during his career. The jersey was originally released in 2017 as part of the “Lore Series.” It has Bryant’s No. 8 on the front and No. 24 on the back.

Bryant played all of his 20 NBA seasons with the Lakers and won five championships with the team.

This is the latest tribute from the Lakers to Bryant, as some notable players offered theirs right away.

Lakers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Damian Lillard talks up Lakers in response to upset predictions

Damian Lillard

The Portland Trail Blazers clinched a postseason berth with a win over the Memphis Grizzlies in Saturday night’s play-in game, and many believe they have a great chance to knock off the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. Damian Lillard obviously thinks his team can do it, but he wants to remind everyone that the Lakers have the best record in the Western Conference for a reason.

Lillard led the Blazers with 31 points and 10 assists in their 126-122 win over Memphis. He told reporters after the game that he has heard all the talk about Portland knocking off the Lakers.

“I’ve been seeing everybody saying what we’re going to do to the Lakers,” Lillard said. “The Lakers, they’re the No. 1 seed in the West for a reason. They got the best player in the world on their team. But at the same time, we didn’t fight as hard as we fought in the bubble to just say, all right, we’re the eighth seed to go out there and just get beat up on.”

One of the biggest strengths of the Lakers is their frontcourt, led by Anthony Davis. They’re an outstanding rebounding and shot-blocking team, but Portland’s trio of seven-footers in Jusuf Nurkic, Hassan Whiteside, and Zach Collins could help contain L.A.’s bigs. Davis averaged 32 points per game against the Blazers this season, but Nurkic was out with an injury at the time.

One Lakers player recently admitted the Blazers will be a tough matchup for his team, and that is especially true since their top perimeter defender, Avery Bradley, did not take part in the resumed season. The Lakers will have their hands full trying to contain Lillard and CJ McCollum.

Still, the Lakers have LeBron James. Portland will have to play nearly mistake-free basketball to stand a chance at getting the best of LeBron and Davis, but anything can happen in what has been a highly unusual season.

Report: Clippers players want Lakers to have to face Blazers in playoffs

The Los Angeles Clippers clearly have their eyes on the rival Lakers as playoff seeding and matchups come down to the wire, and they even know who they want the Lakers to play in the first round if it were up to them.

According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Clippers players actively want the Lakers to have to face the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, as they believe the Blazers could actually beat the Lakers. The sentiment is strong enough that coach Doc Rivers reportedly heard his players discussing the scenario, either on the bench or in the locker room.

The Clippers could have helped increase the likelihood of such a scenario Saturday had they lost to Portland, but they ultimately won a game that led to some serious bad blood.

As of Sunday afternoon, Portland sits a game and a half behind the eighth place Memphis Grizzlies in the race for the final Western Conference playoff spot. Whoever gets it will face a Laker team that looks vulnerable, having gone just 2-4 since entering the Orlando bubble.

One can see why the Clippers would favor Portland, a team with two star guards in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum and a sturdy interior defender in Jusuf Nurkic. Ironically, the Clippers’ win Saturday may play a big role in preventing their preferred matchup from happening.

Why the road to the NBA Finals in the West goes through Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis

Regardless of how you feel about LeBron James as a basketball player, there is no denying the impact he has had on the NBA. Even off the court, James is always thinking multiple moves ahead of his opponents. When James’ 13-year playoff streak was broken last season during his first campaign with the Lakers, it surprised no one to learn that the King had concocted a new plan.

That plan was appeasing Anthony Davis’ trade request by acquiring the seven-time All-Star from the New Orleans Pelicans.

With “The Brow” donning purple and gold, James took on a new challenge in his 17th season, making the transition to being the Lakers’ primary point guard. James passed this new test with flying colors, as he sits poised to capture his first assist title, while also leading the Lakers to the top record in the Western Conference. When the postseason begins, the Lakers can rest assured that James will continue to deliver his Hall of Fame-level contributions on a nightly basis. Still, it will be Davis, who will ultimately determine their fate.

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Kyle Kuzma has message for long-suffering Lakers fans

Kyle Kuzma

Kyle Kuzma had a message for the long-suffering Los Angeles Lakers fans after the team’s win on Monday.

The Lakers beat the Utah Jazz 116-108 to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Anthony Davis had 42 points and 12 rebounds to help the team lock up the win and the top seed. Kuzma scored nine points in the win, and then shared a tweet for the “real Lakers fans”.

Ah, yes, we should all shed a tear for those down-on-their-luck Lakers fans, who have had to go 10 years without a championship. It must be tough for a fan base only having 16 championships.

Kuzma is only in his third season with the team, and they have gone from 35 wins to 37 last season to 51 this year. He wasn’t even part of the team for their four straight seasons of no more than 27 wins between 2014-2017, but he does think about them.

The Lakers are among the top contenders to win the championship this season.

Lakers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.