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Pivot Points: Laker Thoughts, Verbal Shots, And Things Of That Sort

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IDecember 22, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01:  Josh Powell #21 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives against the Atlanta Hawks during the NBA basketball game at Staples Center on November 1, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Laker Thoughts:  One thing that has been lost in the Los Angeles Lakers' charge to a possible repeat is the disappearance of reserve Josh Powell since the return of Pau Gasol.

Powell's banishment to the deep end of the bench seems surprising considering the huge strides that he had made since being given the chance to play some quality minutes.

Powell offers an alternative for the Lakers in that he is a terror on the boards and he has the ability to step outside of the paint and stroke the mid-range jumper with consistency.

I'm not sure if coach Phil Jackson feels that his talents are no longer needed or if Gasol's return just means that Powell ends up being the odd man out.

I hope that Powell does garner more minutes in the future because his story is an interesting one indeed, and the obstacles that he has had to overcome to reach this point are considerable.

For one, he left North Carolina State University way to early due to the faulty advice of several people in his entourage, and spent the next several seasons bouncing around Europe and the NBA before he found a stable situation in Los Angeles.

His tale is one of maturation and perseverance, and it's good to see a genuine person like Powell finally find some stability and happiness in his professional and personal life.

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Here's to hoping that the peace that he has found is the type that is sustainable.

Verbal Shots: Anyone care to explain how in the world the Chicago Bulls lost a 35-point lead to the Sacramento Kings, that played itself out over the span of 20 minutes?

I applaud the Kings for having the determination and focus that is necessary to carry out such a task, but the Bulls need to be disbanded for ever letting such a travesty occur.

Needless to say, coach Vinny Del Negro is going to have a hard time explaining this one, and it's not just the fact that it happened, but the manner in which the events transpired.

Kings guard Tyreke Evans was able to outscore the entire Bulls team during that fateful 20 minute stretch and yet he only ended up with 23 points overall?

Scanning the roster of the Bulls, there are more than a few players that are capable of scoring a few lousy buckets that could have countered Evans' extraordinary solo act.

If I wouldn't have tuned into the game during the midst of the Kings' run, then I would not have believed that things of this sort were even possible.

All of the goodwill that Chicago established in their close but competitive loss to the Los Angeles Lakers earlier in the week was wiped out in that 20 minute span.

The frequently quoted adage that states a game is not over until the final horn sounds is definitely true in the case of the Bulls, in fact they now give a whole new meaning and perspective to the phrase.

Things Of That Sort: The collision between Carl Landry and Dirk Nowitzki during the Houston Rockets game against the Dallas Mavericks ended up costing Landry five of his teeth, and two of them ended up in Nowitzki's elbow.

The collision was particularly nasty and gives credibility for the use of protection for the mouths of all players in the NBA. That would put a halt to those types of avoidable injuries.

Some good did come out of the situation as the Mavericks' impressive home victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers will attest. Dallas, with an injured Nowiztki looking on, blew the Cavaliers off the court in a 109-91 beat-down.

The victory proved to the Mavericks and the rest of the NBA, that Dallas is capable of competing without their MVP candidate and not only that, but they are capable of winning also.

Dallas has been trying to prove that they are not the same soft team of players that recent history suggests, and are instead legitimate contenders for the Western Conference crown.

That win goes a long way towards establishing that, and center Erick Dampier got a measure of revenge from Shaquille O'Neal and the constant beatings that he used to suffer on a regular basis in the process.

Dampier was able to hold O'Neal to one paltry field goal after having to go through years of abuse at the hands of Shaq in the post. That has to be a confidence-builder for Dampier even if Shaq is a shell of his former self.

I'm not sure if Dallas can hang with the likes of the Lakers in a seven game series, but they currently own the second best record in the West and are showing that they will be a force to be reckoned with down the road.

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