Know questioning the Lakers’ collective hearts. Every player goes hard every night for head coach Byron Scott. However, unlike the legendary teams throughout the franchise’s history, these Lakers just don’t have the star-power, at the moment, to win close games down the stretch.
Leading 69-68 with just under six minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Lakers were outscored by Utah, 12 to four, and lost to the Jazz, 80-73. Utah held the Lakers to just 39 percent shooting from the field for the game.
“They definitely slowed it down,” said Lakers guard Jeremy Lin who didn’t score a point in 10 minutes of play. “They got us to play their game and we had to find a way to play ours.”
The Jazz (31-37) were led by Gordon Hayward who registered a game-high 22 points. Reserve Trey Burke added 17, Derrick Favors had 14 and was huge on the defensive end making a key block late in the game rejecting Ed Davis right at the rim and Trevor Booker chipped in with 10.
For the Lakers, Tarik Black registered his third career double-double and secnd as a Laker with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Wesley Johnson had 12 points and Carlos Boozer added 11.
This was L.A.’s ninth loss in its last 10 games and fourth consecutive defeat. The Lakers (17-50) now have the fourth worst record in the league with 15 games remaining and at this rate are a lock to keep their first round draft pick in this June’s draft.
The Lakers are back on the Staple Center floor Sunday when they host one of the three teams they’re chasing for worst record in the Association; the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Los Angeles Lakers play host to the Utah Jazz Thursday at Staples Center. Prior to the game, Lakers coach Byron Scott met with the media to discuss the Jazz. L.A. went into Salt lake City last month and beat Utah, 100-97. Scott also talks about some sort of hair line feud with injured guard Nick Young .
Dealing in what ifs in news and sports is the product of the 24 hour news cycle with both radio and TV capitalizing on it. It fuels all talk formats. Why? You have to fill time and there’s a lot of it. Further, speculation makes for great theater. A good example of this lies in the speculation that is fueling St. Louis in its efforts to keep the Rams this coming season. However, speculations aside, looks as if owner and Missouri native –Stan Kroenke – will move the franchise back to Los Angeles in time for the 2016 season.
This isn’t speculation. This is fact. It’s happening and there’s really nothing anyone can do to stop it from happening. And if Kroenke’s building it, it’s going to be the Rams’ eventual home base. If you think otherwise you’re dealing with fantasy.
Last week, a headline from INSIDESTL.com read: “If Kroenke Moves On, Who Could Fill Rams’ Ownership Void?” Shane Gray wrote the article because Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s stadium task force co-head Dave Peacock fired a shot on a St. Louis sports radio show randomly discussing the possibility Kroenke could be forced to sell his team. “The goal is to keep the Rams,” Peacock said during the radio interview. “Teams can be prevented from moving, but owners can move. Ownership can change within a team and that’s probably more palatable than actually moving a team. And I don’t know that Stan Kroenke long-term will own the team. I don’t know that. And I don’t know if Stan Kroenke knows that.”
So, Gray ran with it, discussing possible new owners in the event Kroenke was to sell the team based on Peacock’s theory (a theory conjured up, mind you, with not much evidence to back it).
Speculation can also add a measure of fantasy. Let’s put those two terms together and you have Specu-Fantasy. That’s what Gray’s article is; Specu-Fantasy. Here’s why: Kroenke isn’t going to sell the Rams and no one can force him to. His possible team-relocation back to Los Angeles isn’t a detriment to the league; it’s a benefit to it.
This is a fact (not speculation). Kroenke doesn’t sell any of his sports enterprises; he only buys them. That’s what Gray has written throughout this St. Louis stadium issue in regards to the Rams’ owner, and he’s absolutely correct.
Another important fact to keep in mind about the Rams’ owner as reported via some of Gray’s other articles follows: Kroenke likes to own the real estate and facilities his teams play in. That’s an absolute fact. This is why the NFL’s return to Los Angeles is happening. It’s all thanks to Kroenke. He owns the Rams and the land he’s building his stadium on in Inglewood.
Here’s another fact for you regarding Kroenke and the Rams’ Edward Jones Dome lease, specifically that Top Tier stipulation. Kroenke doesn’t have to fork out a red cent of his money to ensure the EJD becomes one of the top eight stadiums in the NFL. The state of Missouri and the city of St. Louis is responsible for every penny.
Here’s why the value rings in at nothing. For that Riverfront Stadium to be built, it will require Kroenke to fork over somewhere between $200 million to $400 million. What makes anyone think he would fork over that much coin for a non-existant stadium when the only stadium that matters is the one his team currently plays in, the EJD? And remember, the top tier stipulation in his EJD lease says he doesn’t have to fork over one red cent to make the EJD one of the eight best in the league.
Here’s another fact for you. It’s all about Location! Location! Location! Los Angeles- the home of Hollywood a.k.a. the Entertainment Capital of the World – is a much more desirable and valuable media market place than St. Louis ever was or will be. Period. If Kroenke’s going to shell out between a quarter of a billion to half a billion dollars of his own coin to build a football stadium, it stands to reason he’ll do that in a market place that will increase the value of his team minimum three times its current value which is dead last in the league.
That’s exactly what he’s doing with his real estate investment in Inglewood. Kroenke’s increasing the value of his team from dead last to top five in the entire NFL.
And let’s not go the “L.A. lost three teams because they couldn’t support them. What’s any different now?” route. That is nothing but a tired lie.
Nothing’s different. Los Angeles has always been able to support the NFL. The Rams first called Los Angeles home for 49 years prior to the move to the Mid-West in 1995. Georgia Frontiere moved the team not because there wasn’t a fan following, but because she was offered hundreds of millions of dollars by St. Louis and only after she purged the team of its best players driving the team into the ground.
These two franchises played for the championship in three out of four years in the early seventies with the New Yorkers taking two of the three meetings garnering the Knicks their only two titles in franchise history.
For the time being, not so much.
What was once the household names of Jerry West vs. Walt Frazier and Wilt Chamberlain vs. Willis Reed has digressed to the not so household names of Jeremy Lin vs. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jordan Hill vs. Andrea Bargnani.
Factor in both teams’ leading scorers and perennial all-stars Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony are out with season-ending injuries, Thursday’s game figures to have more of a Summer League match-up rather than a clash of two of the league’s storied franchises.
A little nostalgia from the benches is more what people are looking forward to when the lottery-bound teams meet Thursday at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Knicks rookie head coach Derek Fisher returns to face a Lakers team he helped win five titles as a player. Assisting Fisher is Kurt Rambis who teamed up with Lakers coach Byron Scott during the Showtime Era helping the Lakers wn three of their five titles in the 80s.
And of course there is Knicks first year president and ex-Lakers head coach Phil Jackson who still happens to be Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss’ man. Jackson guided the Lakers to five titles in this new millennium.
So much more drama seems to be off the court than on it for both teams which makes this match-up so intriguing.
The Knicks – losers of five straight – have the worst record in the league while the Lakers – who snapped a five game losing streak of their own beating Detroit Tuesday at Staples Center – own the leagues fourth worst record.
Although this east coast-west coast rivalry isn’t what it used to be, it can return to what it once was with both teams getting healthy through the draft and free agency. Something both teams are banking on.
To hear from Derek Fisher and Byron Scott, click on the video with this story.
Sports fans in Los Angeles have been spoiled listening to the play-by-play voices of the teams – both college and pro – that have called the City of Angels home.
Among the elite voices are the Dodgers’ Vin Scully, Bob Miller of the Kings and the late Chick Hearn of the Lakers.
The legendary voice of the Los Angeles Clippers, Ralph Lawler, is in that conversation as well of course. Currently in his 36th season calling Clippers games, he was honored with Lawler Night at Staples Center for Monday’s game between the Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Catch words or phrases like “Bingo!” after a three-point bucket and “Oh me, Oh my!” are what Clipper Nation have recognized all these years – good and bad.
How about “Lawler’s Law?” Late in the game Lawler, during Clipper telecasts on Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket after one of the teams gets its 100th point says, “First team to 100 wins. That’s the law.”
“Ralph is a true legend in Los Angeles sports,” said Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket Senior Vice President and General Manager Steve Sampson. “Monday’s celebration is a true reflection of his passion for the game and dedication to Clipper Nation.”
Scully, Miller, former Clippers players Gary Grant, Lamond Murray and Pooh Richardson among others were in the building to pay tribute to Lawler.
All fans going to the game received a special “Oh Me, Oh My” t-shirt. At halftime L.A. City Council President Herb J. Wesson presented a proclamation officially making March 9th “Ralph Lawler Day” in Los Angeles.
Lawler’s won three local Emmy’s for his announcing and has called 2.838 Clipper games (and still going) making him the third longest tenured broadcaster in the NBA.
To hear from Lawler and some current and former Clippers, click on the video with this story.
The Los Angeles Clippers (37-19) have won four straight averaging 118 points per game all without Blake Griffin in the line-up. The All-star has been sidelined with a staph infection in his right elbow since just before the all-star break and will, most likely, be out a few more weeks.
Los Angeles will be tested tonight when they host the Memphis Grizzlies (40-14) and their front line that includes all-star center Marc Gasol and former Clipper Zach Randolph. As a team, the Grizzlies give up just 92 points per game.
In the meantime, the Clippers have been able to weather the storm without Griffin thus far with a much more fluid offense. Shooting guards J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford have combined to average a little over 40 points per game sans Griffin in the line-up.
Center DeAndre Jordan has been putting up huge numbers since Griffin’s been sidelined. In the last four games the seven year veteran is averaging 21 points and 20 rebounds.
“I’m not playing any differently, “ said Jordan at the teams morning shoot-around. He continued, “I’m picking my spots letting the game come to me and I’m in the right spots at the right time.”
To hear more from DeAndre Jordan as well as Jama Crawford and Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, click on the video with this story.
This is the second meeting between these two western conference rivals this season. The Clippers fell to the Grizzlies in Memphis this November, 107-91. Tip-off is set for 7:30 at Staple Center.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis will miss this Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden in New York because of a right shoulder sprain that’s kept him of the line-up in New Orleans’ last two games.
You’d think Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan would get a call from the commissioner’s office as Davis’ replacement but that call never came. Instead, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki got the call to replace Davis on the West roster.
The Jordan snub obviously didn’t come unnoticed by his Clippers teammates and head coach Doc Rivers. They understand offense sells and defense doesn’t especially in the all-star game where it’s non-existent.
In his seventh season with the Clippers, Jordan has been putting up all-star numbers as, easily, the best defender in the league averaging double-figures in rebounds and scoring with his points coming off rebound opportunities and five block shots per contest.
What they do know is if the Clippers have a legitimate shot at winning an NBA title as soon as this season, Jordan’s defense and rebounding will be a big reason why.
“Next year I’ll just have to average 20 points a game,” said Jordan after scoring 24 points and pulling down 20 boards in the win over the Rockets. The third straight game he’s had at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in the absence of forward Blake Griffin out with a staph infection in his right elbow. “At this point there’s nothing I can do about it (the all-star snub). I’ve moved on. It’s cool.”
“There has never been a team that’s won a championship without being a decent defensive team or a great defensive team.” Said Rivers when asked about the snub. “The defensive side is always forgotten in the All-Star Game. I think they should include the best defender.”
To hear more from the Clippers on Jordan’s all-star snub, watch the video accompanying this story.
This will be Nowitzki’s 13 all-star game appearance in his 17th season in the league. He won’t replace Davis in the West’s starting line-up. Golden State rookie head coach Steve Kerr will pick Davis’ replacement as the starter on the front line.
Since the Rams and Raiders left Los Angeles in 1995, 22 of the 32 NFL teams have moved into new stadiums with all of them built at Los Angeles’ expense. That includes the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis where the Rams moved after the 1994 season.
The cost to the City of Angels is the privilege of being the home of a franchise in the biggest and most lucrative entertainment/sports industry: the National Football League.
Los Angeles – the second largest media market in the country also known as the Entertainment Capital of the World – has always been considered an NFL market.
For the last two decades L.A.’s game has been off the field being used as leverage by the owners threatening a move to the City of Angels in the process fleecing their current cities of taxpayer dollars to build these new multi-billion dollar stadiums. This has enabled the value of all 32 franchises to climb to an average of $1.4 billion apiece. That’s a total of $44.8 billion.
That “L.A. Leverage Game” for the league is a thing of the past with all these new cathedrals of the gridiron up and running. The St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are the three remaining teams needing new buildings. The Raiders and Chargers leveraging their respective cities with L.A. can’t work because the cities they call home and L.A. are all California cities and are thus subjected to the exact same laws. It’s absolutely known that all government entities in the Golden State will not earmark taxpayer dollars towards sports stadiums. It’s just no fiscally responsible.
For L.A. to get back on the field a stadium needs to be privately funded. Enter Rams owner Stan Kroenke. He’s partnered with the Stockbridge Group in Inglewood and is going to build an 80,000 seat stadium where the old Hollywood Park Race Track sits on his own dime. Plans are for it to be done in time for the 2018 season with the Coliseum or Rose Bowl a temporary home for a team – or teams – moving to L.A. in the meantime.
Estimates are an owner looking to relocate his team to L.A. will have to fork up a fee of half-a-billion to a billion dollars. Were that to actually happen, that cost would be passed down to the L.A. football fan paying outrageous prices for personal seat licenses; a voucher to get you a ticket inside the stadium. Then there’s parking, the actual ticket to the game as well as concessions for food and drinks that would undoubtedly be astronomical all because of this relocation fee.
A team owner willing to move his team to Los Angeles and the fans that have waited a generation to be able to attend an NFL game in their home city SHOULD NOT be subjected to a hefty relocation fee.
The 32 owners have made multi-billions of dollars using L.A. as leverage and will make a great deal more once a franchise or two calls Los Angeles home. That’s WITHOUT so-called relocation fees.
Making an owner pay a billion dollar relocation fee to L.A. pales in comparison to the multi-billions of dollars Los Angeles has netted the league over the past two decades as a leverage piece.
According to Forbes franchise values have quadrupled in the last 17 years when most of the 22 stadiums were built. The Dallas Cowboys top the list at $3.2 billion with the newly crowned Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots coming in second valued at $2.6 billion. Both play in two of the 22 stadiums built since L.A. has been without a team.
Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft purchased the team for $175 million in 1994 which is, coincidently, the last year Los Angeles was home to the Rams and Raiders. Kraft’s franchise is now worth some 15 times his initial investment. Thanks partly to the leverage game L.A. was forced to play.
On the field, L.A. has a rich NFL history with the Rams who called L.A. home for 49 years. They played 34 of them in “L.A. proper” at the Memorial Coliseum and the last 15 in Anaheim sharing the “Big A” with the baseball Angels.
The Raiders left their birthplace in Oakland calling the Coliseum home for 13 years before returning to the East Bay after the 1994 season. The Chargers inaugural season in 1960 was spent in L.A. before bolting south for San Diego where they’ve called home for over 50 years.
Since ‘95, if an NFL fan in Los Angeles wanted to see the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers among others in person, a two-hour and more than 125 mile drive to San Diego, or a five-hour 370 mile drive to Phoenix or an eight-hour drive or $200 roundtrip flight to the Bay Area have been the best options for L.A. fans to see these talents in person. That’s how L.A. used as leverage has affected the L.A. football fan.
Los Angeles has made multi-billions of dollars for all 32 NFL owners off the field and has a rich NFL past on it. Waiving any type of relocation fee to L.A. would be a reward for its football fans who have gone an entire generation without a team to call their own.
Injuries have cut short Kobe Bryant’s last three seasons with the latest being the torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder suffered in a loss in New Orleans last week. Monday he got a second opinion on the injury which confirmed the tear and now Bryant will have surgery to repair it on Wednesday.
“Rehab for a surgically repaired rotator cuff takes between four to six months,” said Dr. Alan Byer in a phone interview Monday. Byers, an orthopedic specialist at the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine California, said that time frame for rehabilitation is typical with this sort of injury which is usually associated with baseball pitchers.
Bryant came back from a torn Achilles tendon and a fractured knee enduring long rehabilitation in both cases. Now at 36 years of age, he finds himself with another long and sometimes painful rehabilitation process to get back on the court. Retirement is also a consideration for the 19-year Lakers veteran. That would mean leaving $25 million on the table he is scheduled to make next season.
“I don’t see Kobe as the kind of guy that wants to leave his legacy on these terms,” Lakers Coach Byron Scott said Monday. “I think he wants to go out on his own terms.”
Denver Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw – Bryant’s ex-teammate with the Lakers and later a Lakers assistant under Phil Jackson – weighed in on if Kobe can and will come back from this latest setback. To see Shaw’s comments click on the video with this story.
Bryant played 35 games and made $23.5 million this season, averaging 22.3 points but shooting a career-worst 37.3 percent, well below his career average of 45.4 percent coming into the season.
Kobe is expected to be around the Lakers training facility to help the team and will be quite active in recruiting up-coming free agents to play in L.A. next season, presumably Bryant’s last, to try to make one last playoff run and go after a sixth championship.