Lakers still laughing off Nuggets


The Lakers haven’t been exactly awesome against the Western second place Nuggets this season. They’re 0-2 against Denver this season, and the games haven’t exactly been down to the wire.

But still, the Lakers are nothing if (over-)confident. And despite the fact that we’re now entering the part of the season where they say the games “matter” (as opposed to the rest of the games this season which don’t count towards playoff seeding, apparently), the Lakers’ hubris is as strong as ever. The blessing of being the defending champs, as it were.

Via Kevin Ding’s Twitter account, we get this jewel from Lamar Odom:

They really look forward to playing us. … We just saw it as one more game.”

Well, then. As long as you’re bringing your A-game, Lamar.

And after reading the deep smattering of dismissals from essentially everyone on the Lakers not named Josh Powell from Chris Tomasson, it’s apparent that LO is not the only Laker that refuses to admit the Nuggets may be a legitimate rival.

Tomasson notes that it will take a loss in the playoffs for the Lakers to take Denver seriously, which is spot on. The Denver series was about the least competitive six game series you can have. But this season seems different. The Nuggets are deeper, and have been more impressive in their wins over LA, even if they were in the regular season.

The Lakers can coast as long as they want as long they turn it on when April comes around. Still, you have to wonder, yet again, about the mental intensity of the team if they sleepwalk their way through every game with a contending team.

Then you remember this team got taken to the woodshed in three games against the Rockets (two without Yao) and still won the title. This isn’t a dominant team. And that ring on their finger means they’ve earned the right to dismiss anyone they want for now.

Lucky? Klay Thompson reminds Doc Rivers which team lost to Rockets

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There’s this overplayed angle talked about by some fans and pundits suggesting the Warriors just got lucky last season — for example, they faced a banged-up Rockets’ team in the conference finals then a Cavaliers’ squad without two of their big three through the Finals. Then there was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers saying the Warriors were lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs in the postseason.

The Warriors are sick of hearing they were lucky.

Friday Klay Thompson fired back at Rivers, via

– “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”
– “If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year (Warriors 3-1). I’m pretty sure we smacked them.”
– “Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly. So haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1 too?”
– “Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny. That’s funny.”

Warriors big man Andrew Bogut phrased it differently.

If you think the Warriors just won because they were lucky — you are dead wrong.

They were the best team in the NBA last season, bar none. They won 67 regular season games in a tough conference, then beat everyone in their path to win a title. Did they catch some breaks along the way, particularly with health? You bet. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant didn’t win a title without catching some breaks along the way, either. Nobody does. Luck plays a role, but it was not the primary factor in why the Warriors are champs.

All this talk of them getting lucky is fuel for the fire they needed not to be complacent this season. Way to give the defending champs bulletin board material, Doc.

Dwyane Wade serious as mentor, teaching Justise Winslow post moves

Third day of Miami Heat camp 10/1/2015
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Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.

Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.

Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.

“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.

“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”

This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.

It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.