Sprung: How the Lakers are surviving without Kobe and Nash

1 Comment

BROOKLYN – How many NBA teams could survive the loss of their starting backcourt for nearly a quarter of the season? How many NBA teams could survive that loss when those two players are future Hall of Famers like Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash?

SteveBlakeNashSH1Through 17 games, you can count the upstart Los Angeles Lakers among those teams. Thanks to an unlikely effective backcourt rotation quartet of Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, Jordan Farmar and Nick Young, the Lakers are 9-8 and hanging around a ruthlessly tough Western Conference.

Would Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni have taken this start knowing Bryant wouldn’t have played a single minute?

“I would have taken it,” he said. “I love this group of guys, they’re playing as hard as they can play and they play well.”

The Lakers didn’t have it easy Wednesday night in Brooklyn but held on for a 99-94 win after blowing a 27-point lead.

Pages: 1 2

Bernucca: With fundamentals, Spurs making NBA look like AAU

1 Comment

We are all familiar with the Spurs and their uncanny efficiency. Are you familiar with AAU basketball? benched spurs

I have coached it at the high school level for the last three years. And one thing I have learned is that with just four hours of weekly practice time followed by four games every weekend, if you don’t have definitive, well-drilled schemes on both offense and defense, you have no chance to compete.

However, if you have a group that is committed to a specific style of play on both ends of the floor, you can consistently compete with, and even beat teams that are bigger, stronger, quicker and more talented than yours.

Gregg Popovich has the San Antonio Spurs committed to a system. At its roots, that system is grounded in the fundamentals that are preached – and often ignored – at every level of basketball, from AAU to NBA. On defense, pressure the ballhandler to make things difficult. Commit to playing defense as individuals and as a team. Box out and don’t allow second shots.

On offense, get the ball quickly upcourt and look for early offense. In the halfcourt, set solid picks and make hard cuts. Trust your scheme and your teammates. Give up a good shot to get a great shot.

These are the basics of the game. And right now, with these basics as their foundation, Popovich and the Spurs are making the NBA look like an AAU tournament.

Pages: 1 2

SH Blog: Kobe Could Return In November; Pierce Says Nets Are Angry; Nash May Contemplate Retirement

1 Comment

KobeWe all knew it would be sooner rather than later.

It always is with Kobe Bryant.

As improbable as it was for him to tear his Achilles in April and return by the first month of the NBA season, here he is, practicing like he never left. In today’s story of the day, Kobe Bryant discusses why a November return is not out of the question. So really, why should we question him? 

Pages: 1 2 3

SH Blog: Knicks To Pursue Kevin Love; Pelicans Sign Childress, Amundson; LeBron Not Happy With Teammates; Pacers Expect Granger Back This Week

1 Comment

nashAs the NBA season kicks into high gear, two stories surfaced on Tuesday that should come as no surprise.  And of course, they are centering around none other than, traditionally, the leagues two most popular teams: the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers.

In just two weeks, both teams who are annually expected to compete for a title, and at the very least, the playoffs, have turned into the leagues biggest trainwrecks.

Pages: 1 2 3

SH Blog: Emotional Nash out for minimum of two weeks, Gasol calls out D’Antoni’s fluctuating rotation

2 Comments

It has been a tough road for Steve Nash since leaving the Phoenix Suns to join the Los Angeles Lakers last season.

Aside from all the scrutiny his team has faced due to a lack of success with what was supposed to be a championship roster, he has not been the same player he once was since breaking his leg last season.

When he did come back, his impact on the game diminished as he adjusted to playing next to Kobe Bryant without the ball in his hands. This season, however, has been a different story. With Bryant out without a timetable, Nash was supposed to run Mike D’Antoni’s offense and help carry the team. That, unfortunately, has been anything but the case for the point guard, with good reason.

STORY OF THE DAY:

Steve NashNash has been a shell of himself this season due to what he believed to be nerve damage from the broken leg he suffered last season. He went to get it checked on Monday, and his suspicions were on the dot. Sam Amick of USA Today has details:  

Pages: 1 2