LA Lakers

I’m Free!

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I’m a free agent now. I can make my own decision where I want to play. Let’s see who’s offering me a contract!

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Lakers nick the Knicks

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In case you didn’t see it on the Livestream, meet the newest Knick: Paul Pierce. He started our recent game against the Lakers really well, scoring 7 straight points. I then pitched in 6 straight and we were rolling.

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Trial, Error and Frustration

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A couple more games under my belt, and they were just a run of  frustration. First up, the Pistons at home.

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Ruining the Lake Show

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I hate Kobe Bryant. He’s on my ‘bad’ list right now. We played the Lakers recently and it’s not even what he did in game that irked me. No, it was the post-game shenanigans he was involved with that make me so mad – but more on that later.

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The Big 3, Minus 3

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Just… dammit. Bosh got hurt in our latest game, leaving a lineup of me, Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller, Kurt Thomas and John Francis. Wow, huh? I would complain more, but that lineup just helped put away a big, bad foe – the Lakers.

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Ride’s Over, Everybody Off

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Let’s just take the suspense out of this right now and show you the above picture. Now, let’s find out how I got there (if I sound despondent, look above for the reason).

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I started out nabbing boards since the Magic didn’t seem to want them, and neither did my teammates.

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Once I had the ball, it was easy to find open teammates. They didn’t hit with any regularity, especially early on. The Magic,similar to with the rebounds, were matching us miss-for-miss. It was a slow start, to be honest.

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Of course, some of their misses weren’t just bricks. Sometimes I caught my man on a fast break for a LeBron-style chase down. I ended the first quarter with 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a turnover in eight minutes.

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In the 2nd, I had one good play. I cut past Rashard Lewis (I seem to be guarded by everyone but my man)…

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… pulled up and nailed a quick jumper.

We did have a play in the period that reminded everyone that, independent of the Best in the NBA argument, LeBron James is without doubt the most exciting.

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He caught a long bomb pass on a full extension, ran to the free throw line, spun around Jason Williams and threw down a two handed slam on J-Will’s head. I mean, look at Lewis in the pic above. It looks like he just wants to touch the man. For the record, that off target pass was from Wade, not me. If I’d thrown it he would have caught it in stride – and then none of the exciding pictures above would have happened. So, go Wade.

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He also pulled off a true chase down, just to show me how it’s done. I then committed the ultimate cardinal sin.

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Dammit. Just, dammit. There was one second on the clock until the half, and I tried to block Jameer Nelson’s near-half court heave for some cheap teammate rating points.

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“What, me? Foul? No way, I didn’t foul him!” Yes you did, genius. He didn’t hit the shot but he did pull them within one at the half by hitting all three freebies. At this point, we were up by one, were out shooting the Magic 42% to 35%, but had one free throw to their five. Hold on to that last thought.

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I came back after the half and showed that I can score – something people who who only saw me play in this game would probably not believe.

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I had space to work with, so I approached the three point line.

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I was met by Howard, who came to help Nelson. I was constantly harassed by Dwight whenever I approached the paint, so good job by him. I hate him for it, but good job by him.

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I double back as Bosh steps in to lend a hand (or shoulder).

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With Howard caught up on Chris at the three point line, I had a one-on-one with Jameer.

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I stepped back and pulled up for a clean shot. Now I just have to make it.

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No problem. This gave me six points in the game. In the third quarter. My poor offensive showing wasn’t me shooting poorly, it was my Alpha Dog mates attempting to win the game themselves. Normally I’d ride their coattails to success, but they were missing. Allot. Especially LeBron, who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.

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Ultimately, we lost. But you knew that already. Aside from my scoring (I finished with 8 points) I had a solid overall game. I contributed 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 block and a turnover on 40% shooting (4-10). Bosh led us in scoring with 17, Wade has 15 and LeBron scored 12. Bosh was 9-9, Wade hit 37% from the field (6-16) but LeBron only shot 28% (6-21). As a team we hit on 39% of our attempts, while Orlando only hit 36%. We hit five more shots over the course of the game, so we had the edge there. They also only made 1 more three then us (3 to 2). So how on earth did they beat us?

Free throws.

Remember, about midway up this post where I told you that they had shot 5 free throws at the half to our 1? By the end of the game that had ballooned to 19 makes for them versus 5 for us. That’s where we lost the game, and therefore the series, ultimately ending our season.

Now I have decide what to do with myself. If I get the opportunity, should I bolt for a team where I can be a leader? Do I take the opportunity to go home to Cleveland if it’s offered? Is there unfinished business here? Let me know in the poll on the site. I’ll leave the poll up for a couple days and tally the votes to see what the consensus is. Help decide my future!

In other news, the Magic are facing the Lakers, if anyone still cares.

- Rick Daniel

Failure to Perform

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I just has a really bad run of games. In Phoenix I scored four points with six assists and no turnovers as we beat the Suns. My six assists tied LeBron for the team lead for the game. Unfortunately, this would be the high point of my recent games.

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I had a miserable game in L.A. against the Lakers. I scored just two points with one rebound, four assists and a block while committing three turnovers. That was just half of the story, though.

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Our coach had me guard Kobe almost the entire second half. He’d shift me around to keep me on Bryant, and it worked just about as well as you would imagine it would. I gave up 18 points to him in the third quarter alone! I mean, I know I had a bad game but the coach has to realize when something isn’t working to try another angle. I was too slow and too small to stop Kobe. D-Wade and LeBron just milled about as he lit me up. Seriously, Wade was standing around with Will Bynum while I had to struggle with Kobe. Am I the only one who thinks that was a bad combination? I’m usually a fundamentally sound defender but when I’m athletically out-classed like I was, it’s time to send help or bench me. On a related note, we lost the game.

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The next game was back home against the Knicks, and I scored eight points on 50% shooting with a rebound and two assists, committing no turnovers. Just like last time we played them Amar’e was red-hot, lighting up Bosh and LeBron to the tune of 35 points and 12 boards. I started studying him and occasionally double-teaming off of my man to help when he was making one of his incredibly obvious post moves. You can see me in the above picture  forcing him to pass out of a shot. What was Bosh doing, by the way? Leave your feet, man – challenge the shot! Come on, at least put a hand up!! This is why he scores so well against us: Bosh tends to play matador defense on him. We won this game, but it was close as the Knicks starters out-scored our bench players by five in the fourth quarter to make it a game. It was Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, James Jones, a dude named Beverley and myself against Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Dino Gallinari and the rest of their starters, and Amar’e and crew just got a ton a second-chance points. Rebounding and interior defense are not our strong suits.

- Rick Daniel

10 Game Win Streak

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This picture of Vince Carter pretty much sums up our last month of games. Everybody’s confidence is sky-high right now because the whole team is clicking at the right time. Here’s a summary my last three games.

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We played Philadelphia first, and I had 27 points, four assists and four steals. I also hit 3-4 on threes. This would be my last good shooting game recently.

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Against the Pacers I scored 25 points, had 9 assists (again with the near double-double!) two steals and a block. I hit another three but I shot well under 50% in the game.

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The Lakers came to town yesterday and gave us a serious scare. By halftime we were down 21 points. I wanted so bad to get switched to shooting guard so I could defend Kobe Bryant, not because I really wanted to go head-to-head with Bryant, but because Vince Carter just couldn’t stop him. To my surprise, the Lakers moved Kobe to the PG slot, so they purposely matched him up on me.  I matched Kobe nearly shot for shot, and depending on your perspective, I may have gotten the better of him. He scored 29 points, had 1 board, two assists and a steal while I had 28 points, 1 board, four assists, 3 steals and a block. I also had this shot;

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The latest episode of Dunking on the Stars has Kobe on my latest poster. The best news is that – despite that 21 point halftime deficit – we won the game by four. This was in due no small part to my shutdown job on the Mamba. At one point I got up to him on a fast break and swatted his shot. Yes!

The big picture has us on a 10-game win streak, bringing our record to 43-31. We’re two games behind the Nets and only a half game ahead of the Hawks for the 4th seed. That’s right – we now qualify for first-round home court advantage. We only have 8 games left so this is the time to be peaking, and we are. Go Magic!

- Rick Daniel

Lakers Win, Magic Suck

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What would you say if I told you that game three in RDaniel_OerKobemy Magic career game down to me vs. Kobe in crunch time, and we almost won? Well, make that SHOULD have won. I’ll explain in a  minute.

I ended the game with 13 points, 16 assists and four steals (we’ve gone to 10 minute quarters this year), and was the catalyst for our offense. We were down by 18 points in the third quarter, but had tied it up with under a minute to go. The Magic utilize a facet of my game I’ve not had to flash since my D-League days: they play me at shooting guard half of the time. Of course, against the Lakers, that means I’m head-to-head with Kobe Bryant. He made – not counting two runaway fast break dunks – only four shots over the course of the game on me. When Jameer Nelson was on him, he lit him up for most of his 46 points. Ouch. Dwight pitched in 28 points and 16 boards, while Vince Carter contributed 27 points, but it wasn’t enough. It should have been, though.

Here’s how it went down. We were down by two with twenty seconds to play in the game. Nelson, for whatever reason, decides to dribble the clock out at half court before throwing it to me in the corner with 0.2 seconds left. I was 2-4 on threes in the game (including a half time buzzer beater) at that point, but c’mon, 0.2 seconds? When we started with 20? I have no idea why he stood at half court for 19.8 seconds, sealing our fate. Needless to say, I finished the game 2-5 on threes. We had a whole shot clock to make a two to tie or a three to win, but Nelson squandered it. I hate Jameer Nelson.

- Rick Daniel

Take the First Train Out of LA…

Not allot good happened in the last two games of my rookie campaign. We lost by 26 points to the Dallas Mavericks and got walloped by the Lakers by 20. The good news is, I took the first ticket out of LA and I’m now a member of the Orlando Magic (the Rockets, Grizzlies and Clippers were my other suitors).

Oh, as for the NBA Finals, the Spurs beat the Knicks in seven games. I knew you were wondering. Yes, the Knicks made the NBA Finals, besting the Cavs and Hawks in the process. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m in some whacko fantasy video game world or something.

- Rick Daniel

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