Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Word from Ryan #2

Ryan Ward is a passionate and opinionated sports writer that has dedicated himself to his craft over the past five years writing about all the sports he loves from the US and overseas, from International soccer to NFL football, but with an especially passionate interest in NBA basketball and the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Are the Lakers going to make a trade before the deadline?

This past Sunday the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers defended their home floor at the Staples Center in a NBA Finals rematch with the Boston Celtics. Even though the consensus was this would be a hard fought battle between two of the best teams in the league, the Celtics turned out to be the all around better team as they dominated the defending champs late in the game and came out with the convincing 109-96 victory.

Throughout the first half of this NBA Finals rematch, the Lakers and Celtics were going back and forth with neither team really taking control. Kobe Bryant started catch fire in the first two quarters as he led all scorers with 22 points heading into halftime, but the second half was another story altogether.

The Black Mamba did finish the game with his best scoring performance of the season with 41 points, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Boston Celtics who turned it on in the third quarter with Paul Pierce lighting up Ron Artest for a team-high 32 points. Along with Pierce dominating offensively, the Celtics were playing some of the best team basketball I have seen all season long.

The Lakers may have kept it close for most of the game, but the Celtics ball movement and inside presence was just too much for Kobe Bryant and company to handle. With arguably the best point guard in the league in Rajon Rondo getting everyone and finishing with a game-high 16 assists, the defending champs had no answer and were ultimately went down with a convincing win for their arch rivals.

One of the main reasons for the Lakers lackluster performance in a game they should have been extremely motivated to win was the disappointing performances of both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. With a combined 23 points and 13 rebounds, the Lakers’ bigs failed to show up in game where their clear advantage is with their size and length.

As a result of yet another disappointing loss by Los Angeles, Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak has started to consider making a trade before the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 25. Ever since the blockbuster deal that brought Pau Gasol to L.A. from Memphis, Kupchak has stayed relatively quiet during the NBA regular season as there has been no reason to make any deals with the Lakers being arguably the best team in the league over the past two years or so.

Unfortunately though, a team that has an average age of 30 is not going to stay fresh and dominant for long in a league filled with young superstars like Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls) and Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers). With that being said, the possibility of a trade to get this team back on track seems like it could be in the cards within the next few weeks.

There are a few names swirling around in NBA trade rumors right now like Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets), Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers), Richard Hamilton (Detroit Pistons), Chris Kaman (Los Angeles Clippers), Andre Igoudala (Philadelphia 76ers), Monte Ellis (Golden State Warriors), O.J. Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies) and Samuel Dalembert (Sacramento Kings).

Out of all these names I’m not sure many of them really fit mold for the Los Angeles Lakers, but one or possibly two of these guys could be in a Lakers’ uniform before the deadline if Mitch Kupchak pulls the trigger on a deal.

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