Super team's been a super bust in L.A.


Super team's been a super bust in L.A.

The Los Angeles Lakers (17-24) are sinking fast despite a slew of splashy offseason moves that included adding the best center in the NBA, Dwight Howard, and two-time league MVP Steve Nash to pair with perennial All-Stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

As it turns out, it was another one of those too-good-to-be-true Hollywood stories.

Bringing together all that talent under one payroll is the sort of fantasy-league move you tend to find with the New York Yankees, who have made putting together the glitziest roster an every-year thing. It explains why the Yanks are consistently in the hunt to win the World Series.

But the Lakers aren't the Yankees, especially when it comes to building a super team. Because what L.A. has built is, well, not so super.

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It's easy to see why the Lakers thought it would succeed. It has in the past, especially in recent years in the NBA.

The Boston Celtics were going nowhere fast until they pulled off a draft-night deal in 2007 for Ray Allen, then traded for Kevin Garnett just a few weeks later and paired those two with perennial All-Star Paul Pierce.

That catapulted the Celtics from being a league joke into a juggernaut that brought home the franchise's 18th NBA title in 2008 and has them among the winningest NBA teams ever since.

Just a few years later, the Miami Heat took a page from the C's and added LeBron James and Chris Bosh to a roster that already included Dwyane Wade.

The Heat's Big Three have had two full seasons under their belt together, advancing to the NBA Finals each time and winning it all last year.

So the Lakers' thinking in itself isn't flawed.

It worked in Boston. It worked in Miami.

Why can't it work in La La land, too?

But as we have seen in the NBA and other sports, simply bringing a bunch of really good players together isn't enough.

Remember the "Dream Team?"

No, Not Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and John Stockton in the too-short shorts.

We're talking about the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, who, in leading up to the 2011 season, were dubbed the "Dream Team" by backup quarterback Vince Young.

(Note to self: Ignore hype when promoted by a backup.)

The Eagles added high impact players like cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to a team that already had a significant amount of in-house talent.

They were Super Bowl-bound, right?

Not exactly.

Not only were they not the last team standing, they didn't even make the playoffs . . . which will, in all likelihood, also be the Lakers' fate.

As much as the formation of super teams garners headlines, attracts web hits and generates interest, it in itself won't win a championship.

Superstar players have a certain role they must play. But in competing for a championship, you also have to have role players who are superstars in that role.

The Celtics had James Posey and Eddie House. The Heat had Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem.

The Lakers have . . . nobody.

And when you throw in the fact that the Lakers had no idea Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard would struggle playing with one another -- that's one the reasons Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni has Gasol come off the bench instead of starting -- it all adds up to a team that, instead of competing with the Miamis, Oklahoma Citys and San Antonios of the world, will be fortunate to leap-frog clubs like Denver and Utah just to get into the playoffs.

That's further proof that not all super teams are alike, or can win at a high level. Which is a Hollywood story the Lakers never intended to write.

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

BOSTON – Wednesday’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks was the fifth time in the last six games that Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley was out because of a right Achilles injury.

Well, it appears the 6-foot-2 guard may miss a few more with this injury.

“I can see him missing a little more time,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said following Wednesday’s loss. “I just think maybe he came back a little bit too early, whatever the case may be.”

Bradley was expected to play against the Knicks, but was a last-minute scratch.

Celtics big man Al Horford said he didn’t find out Bradley was out until the team was on the floor doing pre-game warmups and he didn’t see him.

“He was really sore,” Stevens said of Bradley. “Went through our walk-through and then came on to the court and did some stuff and was more sore today than he has been. I think he did treatment the whole game.”

This latest setback for Bradley is part of a growing narrative that has dogged him throughout his career which has included him missing games to injury in each of his six-plus NBA seasons.

Bradley came into this season once again hoping to be as injury-free as possible, only to see that dream dashed with this right Achilles strain he's suffering with currently.

Still, there’s no downplaying the significance and value the Celtics have in the 26-year-old. This season, he is second on the Celtics in scoring at 17.7 points per game and leads them in rebounds with 6.9 per game with both being career highs. In addition, he averages just under 35 minutes per game which is also tops on the team.

Marcus Smart has been Stevens’ choice to replace Bradley in the starting lineup when Bradley has been unavailable, and that’s not likely to change between now and Saturday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Horford on rough night vs. Knicks: 'They deserved to win. They played better'

Horford on rough night vs. Knicks: 'They deserved to win. They played better'

BOSTON – With the night’s outcome all but a foregone conclusion, Al Horford’s last basket of the night got a sarcastic round of applause and a few jeers from the few fans that decided to stick it out for the final few seconds of Boston’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks.

Horford finished with a season-low five points for the Celtics (26-16).

Connecting on just 2-for-14 (or 14.3 percent) of his shots also represented the worst shooting night percentage-wise in Horford’s nine-plus NBA seasons.

“I struggled bad offensively,” said Horford who still managed to dish out a game-high 10 assists. “I tried to do anything I could to help us. It just wasn’t going for me.”

But as poorly as Horford shot the ball, he was more bothered by his defense and for that matter the Celtics’ team defense.

New York came into Wednesday’s game having lost 11 of its last 13 games and spent most of the night playing like a team that’s thirsty for a win.

They shot 50.5 percent from the floor, 40 percent on 3’s and dominated the glass 57-33 which helped fuel New York’s 24-12 advantage in second-chance points.

“We have to do a better job of holding teams to one shot,” Horford said. “That’s the first thing. I have to do a better job at protecting the rim. I know I can recall a couple instances where I needed to be there and I wasn’t impacting the ball as much as I would like to. I know I have to be better on the defensive end.”

Horford’s struggles on many levels mirrored the problems experienced by the rest of the Celtics.

“They punked us,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas who led all scorers with 39 points. “They were the harder playing team on both ends of the floor. That was the definition of this game; they played harder than us.”

For most of the night, the New York Knicks were making all the big plays defensively and clutch shots offensively while the Celtics consistently failed to get that one defensive stop or knock down the one jumper that could have at least shifted the game’s momentum closer to being in their favor.

Boston rookie Jaylen Brown believes the Celtics didn’t take the struggling Knicks as seriously as they should have.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Brown who came off the bench to score 12 points for Boston (26-16). “It’s a game we should have won. We underestimated our opponent. We are a better team than that even though we played bad we still had a lot of opportunities to win the ball game.”

Horford had a different take on how things went down on Wednesday.

“I don’t think we overlooked them,” Horford said. “But I think we kind of … consciously or not, we felt we were going to win this game like, ‘We’ll struggle a little bit, but we’ll figure it out and win it.’ It didn’t work like that. In the fourth, we were right there. They made a couple shots. They deserved to win. They played better.”

And as the Celtics found themselves on multiple occasions having a chance to tie the game or take the lead in the fourth, it would have been fool’s good if they somehow managed to squeak out a win on Wednesday night.

“We didn’t deserve it,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder who had 21 points. “When you don’t deserve it, the basketball gods don’t bless you.”

But there’s plenty of season left to be played, and the Celtics – as we saw on Wednesday – have plenty of room for improvement.

Especially Horford, particularly when it comes to getting back on track shooting the ball.

“It was at the point where I didn’t have it,” he said. “That was tough. So I tried to impact the game in other ways whether it was setting screens or giving people shots, stuff like that. That was definitely tough for me because they were good looks. They just didn’t go in.”