Sports Beat, 1-14-08

--Andrew Bynum's sprained knee reminds us just how fragile success can be in the NBA. We don't know the extent of his injury yet, but it's become obvious that the Lakers need him in order to be a serious contender in the West. Up until now, the Lakers success had seemed geniune. They were playing some of the best team basketball that I had seen them play in years. But much of it hinged on Kobe creating opportunities for others on the floor, Bynum playing strong down low, and the bench providing a spark. They still have two of those three parts. Hopefully for the Lakers, Bynum won't be gone long.


--Elgin Baylor expressed his disappointment with the Clippers season, saying he expected a better record than 10-23. Some message board posters have called for Mike Dunleavy's job. I think it would be a serious mistake to fire him. Dunleavy has proven to be an excellent NBA coach. The reality is that the Clippers have faced a plethora of injuries from Elton Brand to Shaun Livingston to seemingly every one of their starters missing games for something. In a loaded Western Conference, it's hard to see how the Clippers could compete with all the injuries they've suffered.


--Reggie Miller said he was impressed with UCLA in their 81-74 win over Washington State, and so am I. Kevin Love is the real deal, and the Bruins seem as deep as any team in the country with Russell Westbrook developing into a solid player. It's a long season, but if UCLA continues their level of play, they should be looking at a No. 1 seed in the West with a road to the Final Four through Anaheim and Phoenix.


--In the meantime, USC has to be concerned about missing the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans inexplicably lost to Cal last week, and were out-hustled in a loss to Washington State. They took care of business in a must-win victory over Washington, but the Pac-10 is deeper than ever this year. The Trojans will likely need a winning conference record to reach the Big Dance, and 1-3 isn't a great start. O.J. Mayo needs to improve his shot selection and find ways to set up his teammates. His defense is excellent, but his game still has a ways to go if he wants to be a superstar in the NBA. Taj Gibson might be the key to the Trojans success this season. He needs to stay out of foul trouble and play like he did against Texas and North Carolina last season.


--The Falcons hired Thomas Dmitroff as their general manager, all but ending speculation that Pete Carroll could go to Atlanta. Carroll has said he would only take an NFL job if he was given full control over football operations.


--A few weeks ago, someone came up to me and asked "Who is the best player on the LA Kings?" The answer? Anze Kopitar. The 20-year old Slovenian center was selected to the NHL All-Star Game last week, a well-deserved honor. If you haven't had a chance to see him play, I recommend checking out a Kings game some time. In the meantime, Ryan Getzlaf and Chris Pronger of the Anaheim Ducks were also selected for the All-Star Game.

January 14, 2008 8:19 AM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor
 

© 2003-2014   •  About LA Observed  •  Contact the editor
LA Biz Observed
2:07 PM Sat | The funeral for Mark Lacter will be held Sunday, Nov. 24 at 12 noon at Hillside Memorial Park, 6001 W. Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles 90045. Reception to follow.
Native Intelligence
Iris Schneider | Images by Iris Schneider of the march Saturday in downtown Los Angeles.
Iris Schneider | The Pussyhat Project was born at The Little Knittery, where women have been knitting pink hats for Saturday.
Gary Leonard | Take My Picture Gary Leonard runs weekly at LA Observed.
David Davis | Rapoport and David Davis discuss the first book that collects Lardner's daily journalism.
Molly Selvin | Sometimes the cable guy is really the cable guy. Sometimes the guy with dogs who lives in his RV is just homeless.
Bill Boyarsky
In this time of instant news, fake news and superficial tweets, it’s good to recall a couple of recent newspaper stories that are likely to last a while and make a difference. Last October, Los Angeles Times reporters David Zahniser and Emily Alpert Reyes stuck a knife deep into the Los Angeles city hall collective of politicians and big developer campaign contributors with their story about developer Samuel Leung’s contributions to local politicians and his subsequent winning approval of a 352 unit apartment that needed a city zoning change to be built. In December, Zahniser struck again with his story of major contributor Rick Caruso getting zoning changes for a 20-story building near the Beverly Center. Now with the city preparing for an election on March 7 their journalism could help determine the fate of the most controversial measure on the ballot, Measure S, limiting such developments. Reyes and Zahniser engaged in shoe-leather reporting in chasing down the more than 100 contributors connected to Leung—relatives, friends, employees and other associates. They gave a total of $600,000 to politicians who could help Leung’s development. The reporters were suspicious. "I am looking at these donors, and some of them looked odd to me. They’re folks who are working class and yet giving quite a big (amount) of money. As we kept knocking on doors, my colleague Emily Alpert Reyes and I, we found some of them who said they don’t remember giving, or they denied giving,” Zahniser told KPCC. In December, Zahniser wrote about how Caruso, developer of The Grove and other big projects, along with employees and family members, have donated more than $476,000 to city officials and their causes, including Mayor Eric Garcetti and city council members. They backed rezoning the property near the Beverly Center for a 20-story building. After neighborhood protests and Zahniser’s story, Caruso agreed to reduce the size of his building by almost 25 percent. His contributions, he said, don’t matter. “I’ve never believed for one minute that any contributions I’ve given has changed the opinion of any elected official,” Caruso told Zahniser. Measure S is directed against big projects and their contributor developers. It would impose a two-year moratorium on construction that increases density and ban the general plan zoning changes that have made the Leung and Caruso projects possible. The reporting by Zahniser and Reyes elevated the issue to the front page, up from the ranks of boring neighborhood-zoning beefs. Now it’s the subject of a major citywide debate. That’s what the media should do with city hall news. As the media flounders, these kinds of stories show a way for it to survive and even prosper. In this time of instant news, fake news and superficial tweets, it’s good to recall a couple of recent newspaper stories that are likely to last a while and make a difference.
Jenny Burman
Before I lived in Echo Park, there was a tiny 1920s bungalow-cottage-standalone house on N. Occidental in Silver Lake. I...
Here in Malibu
Deserted, except for some gulls. My favorite part is the light from a sign on the pier, reflected in...