Found January 17, 2013 on Purple and Gold Blog:
Nba_playoffs_los_e570
Thanks to Kobe Bryant's renewed commitment on defense, the Lakers (17-21) have been playing their best defense as a team the last 2 games, which coincedentally turned into 2 straight wins. A sign of good things to come for the Lakers? It better. Despite their improved defense, the Lakers are still 4 games below .500 and 3 full games behind the 8th seed Rockets in the west. And to make things more interesting, the defending champions Miami Heat (25-12) have come to visit and see just how much the purple and gold have figured out their "D". The Heat are coming off of a 92-75 thumping of the Warriors last night. But Miami are playing their worst basketball of the season losing half of their last 10 games. The Lakers, however, aren't expecting anything less from the Heat than their "A" game. And if they are to defeat the Heat, their defense also better bring the same. After missing the last 5 games due to a concussion suffered against the Nuggets, Pau Gasol will return tonight but is expected to come off the bench. His presence is indeed a welcome sight for the Lakers, but it remains to be seen if he can play enough minutes to be a factor. Lebron James became the youngest player to reach the 20,000-point plateau last night. Even if Miami has their "Big 3", James is the one the Lakers need to focus on defensively. It won't be remotely close to being easy since Lebron is averaging 30-points per game the last 6 times he's been at Staples Center against the Lakers. This is the first of 2 meeting against Miami. These teams won't see each other again until Feb. 10th at the American Airlines Arena. The Lakers have won 4 of the last 5 games at home versus the Heat but are just 2-4 overall since the 2009-2010 season. That's 1-3 since Lebron's "decision" to take his talents to South Beach for those of you counting. Matchup of the Game Dwyane Wade vs. Kobe Bryant: Neither coaches would want to have their best scorer defend one another. That is unless Kobe wants to take on the challenge of guarding Lebron. If not, then Bryant will turn his attention to Wade. Kobe can't allow him to be a factor offensively since Lebron will most likely get his tonight. And if he's having an easy time scoring, that means that Metta World Peace is struggling defensively. But judging how well Metta has been playing so consistently well on that end of the floor makes the scenario unlikely. This is going to be an intriguing game! Keys to the Game > Defense: Due to their lack of size and true post-players, the Heat are at their best on the run attacking he rim. If the Lakers can force Miami in the halfcourt a lot more than in transition, the Heat are going to struggle trying to defend Dwight Howard and Gasol while making sure Kobe, Steve Nash, Antawn Jamison, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark won't get their good looks at the basket. > Inside-Out Attack: A sound defensive game won't mean much if the Lakers doesn't force their strengths on offense. They've been sharing and moving the ball extremely well the last 2 games, so there's no reason for them to fix something that isn't broken. > Bench: Make no mistake, the starters for the Lakers will get tested tonight. Expect a close game, so the 2nd unit for the Lakers cannot afford to miss too many open shots or miss too many defensive assignments or this game will go out of hand for L.A. quickly. Watch Out For HEAT: Ray Allen: The Lakers or their fans shouldn't need any reminder on how dangerous Allen is on offense. This guy seems to be one of those players bred to play well against the Lakers. Definitely not someone to sag off of or lose sight defensively. LAKERS: Dwight Howard: He's nearly at 100% and what better team to see how much of his legs back than the defending champs? If D12 is aggressive on offense, the Lakers stand a great chance of taking the victory. Game Info Tonight vs. Miami Heat Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. (PST) Staples Center TV: TNT (national) Radio: 710 AM ESPN/1330 KWKW Injury Notes HEAT: None. LAKERS: Steve Blake (abdomen) could return within a week. Jordan Hill (hip) is out. Earl Clark (gastroenteritis) is questionnable.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES
ALL BY MYSELF

Kobe: Nobody beats me one-on-one

The Black Mamba says no one, not even LeBron James, can't take him in a one-on-one matchup, but he does say one current NBA player might give him trouble. 

Kobe Bryant wants his teammates to help him get easier shots

The Lakers’ latest attempt to turn their season around involves Kobe Bryant guarding every opponent’s best perimeter player night in and night out. That sounds doable for a 25 year-old Kobe Bryant. But Bryant isn’t 25 anymore; he’s 34. Not being able to rest of defense will quickly take its toll on Bryant. Which means that his play on the offensive end could be affected....

Kobe Bryant Going to His 15th Straight All-Star Game

Forget about the nagging injuries for a moment.  Forget about the Los Angeles Lakers' poor season so far.  Forget about the hole that Kobe Bryant single-handedly must dig the Lakers out of.  Forget about ti all and appreciate the man's game.  Love him or hate him, there is no denying his talent.  This is proven in Bryant's record 15th-straight All-Star Game selection...

Kobe’s New #CountOnKobe Nike Commercial

Have you seen it yet? If not, here it is, Kobe Bryant’s new Nike commercial.  This thing packs a punch, it’s such a solid commercial and really puts Kobe in a great light.  Bryant is having one of his better seasons thus far and this commercial really rewards him for such a performance.  Take a look:Kobe deserves a commercial like this, and it was very well put together.  We...

Kobe Bryant: “I played T-Mac. I cooked him. Roasted him. Wasn’t even close”

Kobe Bryant is one of the most confident athletes you’ll ever come across. So it’s no surprise that he would say that he’s the best one on one player of all time. In an interview with ESPN, Kobe told a story about how he beat Tracy McGrady in a game [...]

Kobe says he Hasn’t Studied Jordan’s Tapes since ’99

Kobe Bryant has modeled his entire career off Michael Jordan’s, so it comes as a bit of a surprise that Kobe (through his own admission) hasn’t studied Jordan’s tapes in years. “Wow, it’s been a while. Probably not since 1999. I used to watch a bunch, but that was a long time ago…for me the comparisons didn’t work because our situations were totally different. I came...

Kobe Admits It’s Been The Most Physically Taxing Season Of His Career

16-year veteran Kobe Bryant admits this has been one of the most physically taxing seasons of his career: “It’s the most challenging in terms of trying to figure out which button to push to try to get us turned around, from a leadership perspective,” Bryant said. “Physically, it’s probably the most taxing one.” But can he keep it up, at age 34, playing 39 minutes a game...

Kobe Admits Season Has Been Physically Taxing

Kobe Bryant has taken a bigger role on defense in recent games.

Tracy McGrady Denies Kobe Ever Beat Him 1-on-1

Kobe Bryant said he was the greatest one-on-one player ever in a Q&A with ESPN’s Chris Palmer while also claiming he “roasted” Tracy McGrady: “I played T-Mac. I cooked him. Roasted him. Wasn’t even close. Ask him, he’ll tell you. When I was about 20, we were in Germany doing some promotional stuff for that other sneaker company and we played basketball every day....

Kobe wants MJ one-on-one

One of my favorite things is reading personal interviews with athletes. The interviewer asks the typical questions like, “what were you thinking during this play?” or “how are you going to turn this season around?” but also asks about movies, family and any other random topics that show that athletes have lives outside their respective sports. Kobe Bryant recently sat down...

Kobe Bryant responds to LeBron James saying that the Heat endured more criticism than the Lakers

Remember back in the summer of 2010 when LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach?  Remember when the Miami Heat then held a pep rally and LeBron James himself stated that they’re going to win “not 2…not 3…not 4…not 5…not 6…not 7″ NBA championship titles?  They claimed [...]

Kobe Gets Most Votes As NBA All-Star Team Starters Revealed

Once again the “Black-Mamba” (still the coolest nickname in modern sports) led the way in the voting as “NBA.com” announced the starting lineups for next month’s All-Star Game in Houston, on Thursday night. Los Angeles Lakers veteran guard Kobe Bryant, will appear in his 15th straight All-Star game, a new Association record, as he breaks a four-way tie, he became part...

Heat/Lakers Solid on TNT, But Not Spectacular

The rivalry between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant was not as large a television draw as usual Thursday night. Thursday’s Heat/Lakers NBA regular season game drew 3.6 million viewers on TNT, down 14% from the [...]
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.