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Old 04-15-2008, 10:56 AM   #1
SoCalMike
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Default Article: Los Angeles Times - Lakers can get in on conference call

Source: Lakers can get in on conference call

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The Lakers spent part of Monday morning signing jerseys and basketballs for charities and corporate sponsors, with the tagline for their memorabilia, and their season, to be determined at a later date.

Will they merely be Pacific Division champions? Perhaps Western Conference kings? Or maybe, way down the road, NBA champions?

Eighty-one games into the season, they've put themselves on the doorstep of home-court advantage throughout the conference playoffs. If they win tonight at home against Sacramento, the Lakers clinch the top spot in the West, an obvious advantage in the tightest regular-season race since the league moved to a 16-team playoff format in 1983-84.

They've overcome injuries (Andrew Bynum), ineffectiveness (they were 9-8 at one point) and indecision (the Kobe Bryant will-he-stay-or-go story line) and have one more ledge to scale.

Standing in the path of their upward diagonal is a rival from up north.

The Kings effectively took New Orleans out of the top spot with a 94-91 victory on Saturday. They could do the same to the Lakers.

"We're mucking it up," Kings Coach Reggie Theus told reporters. "You can't do anything but smile about it. We haven't given up."

Kevin Martin, the Kings' leading scorer, has been slowed by a knee injury, and center Brad Miller has been sidelined because of leg and elbow injuries, but Ron Artest has continued to be a factor on both sides of the court. He scored 22 points against New Orleans, including four three-pointers, and had eight rebounds and three steals.

Don't look now, but the Kings also beat the Lakers at Staples Center last month.

Bryant's fadeaway 18-footer bounced off the rim at the buzzer in the Lakers' 114-113 loss March 9. The Lakers were beaten by Kings point guard Beno Udrih, who had 25 points and 10 assists, and because of an off night by Bryant, who scored 26 points but had only six in the second half on one-for-seven shooting.

"It was an embarrassing loss for us," Bryant said. "We want to try and pay them back a little bit."

If they do, the Lakers can expect a first-round series against Denver or Dallas after they take some time to reflect, if not celebrate a bit.

"We overcame a lot as far as the training camp, the [Bryant] trade talks . . . and injuries during the year," forward Lamar Odom said. "To get the No. 1 spot in the West -- in the tough, tough West -- would be an accomplishment for all of us."

The Lakers would get the job done if they played with the same defensive drive they showed in the second half Sunday against San Antonio.

They held the Spurs to 32 points over the final two quarters of an emphatic 106-85 victory. The Spurs made three of 17 shots in the third quarter and two of their first 13 attempts in the fourth.

"It's important for the rest of the league to know that we can play as hard a defense as anybody and we can be as intense and as aggressive as anybody in the league," forward-center Pau Gasol said. "But we've got to prove it every game, not just for one or two games. We've got to keep it consistent."




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Old 04-15-2008, 11:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Article: Los Angeles Times - Lakers can get in on conference call

yeah buddy, here we go.... wow
can't belive it...
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Old 04-15-2008, 02:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: Article: Los Angeles Times - Lakers can get in on conference call

Playoffs here we come.
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Article: Los Angeles Times - Lakers can get in on conference call

I like that last statement by Gasol. That tells me what I wanted to hear.
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Old 04-15-2008, 04:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Article: Los Angeles Times - Lakers can get in on conference call

Life would be so much easier if we got denver in the first round, but im not complaining since other teams have it harder i.e. San Antonio and Phoenix.

Its time to play our hardest basketball knowing Bynum isn't probably coming back anytime soon. If we can win a ship this year, imagine with a healthy roster next year the damage that we can do.

I can't wait.
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Old 04-15-2008, 04:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Article: Los Angeles Times - Lakers can get in on conference call

Quote:
Originally Posted by lakerfreak
Its time to play our hardest basketball knowing Bynum isn't probably coming back anytime soon. If we can win a ship this year, imagine with a healthy roster next year the damage that we can do.


That's what I'm thinking too. Gotta have this win tonight against the Kings, though.

Even the air smells different. I smell playoffs!
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