Lakers and NBA News - December 20

For a pair of frames, David and Goliath actually appeared to be engaged in a competitive fight. Between an effective second quarter zone D and Phil Jackson's liberal- and perhaps jarring- use of the bench, the New Jersey Nets (our metaphorical "David," for the benefit of the thick) finished the first half up by a bucket and had perhaps discovered an exploitable weakness in the Lakers' game plan. Or maybe just lulled their guests into a bored slumber and riding it out for another two quarters was a possibility.

No such luck.

Once the third quarter kicked off, an eventual 103-84 Lakers victory was conceived through a formula tried and true. Pau Gasol, these days just a multi-colored mane away from being Rodman in his prime, snagged fourteen rebounds to compliment fourteen points and six dimes. A stifling lockdown was employed, limiting the Nets to just 36 over the second half. And then there's that Kobe fella. 29/10/5, plus the standard "MVP" chants on another coast. The natural order was once again restored as the hometown squad fell to an opponent Devin Harris labeled "one of the better" in the league. Way to gush, Dev.

In the meantime, as Jersey drop to 2-26, it's safe to say that every victory, no matter how small or trivial, counts for something. And as ESPN's accompanying video highlight reveals: Sean Williams 1, Marv Albert, 0. Drink it up, Nets fans!


-Hoopshype.com's Gery Woelfel takes a look at the "sung" career of Lakers guard Derek Fisher.

-Pau is on the verge of a contract extension and Kobe is basically a given to follow suit, but PJ remains ambivalent for the time being.

-The Los Angeles Times' Mark Heisler finds the "rivalry" between Kobe and LeBron James to be something of a manufactured concept. After all, as CBSsports.com's Ken Berger notes, LeBron still has a lot to accomplish in his career (like, say, a title), while Kobe is in a position to make lapping MJ a legit goal.


-The Cavs could be in the wheelin' and dealin' business.

-Team Nate has officially asked Team Knicks for a relocation. The wee guard is taking Mike D'Antoni's playing of Jonathon "back in the league after a four year absence" Bender before him as a hint of sorts about his future role.

-It's now Sebastian Telfair's turn to be the Clipper unhappy playing for Mike Dunleavy.

-Unlike Homer Simpson, Timberwolves President David Kahn has no problem playing the waiting game.

-Has former Laker Trevor Ariza fallen too in love with the downtown stripe?