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A Lakers fan friend of mine forwarded me the below chain email from Lakers Insider. I wasn't sure whether to post it here or on the terps sports board, but I want to share so I'm putting it here. Great to see Steve getting his due.
"Steve Blake: Stepping Up When the Team Needs Him Most
By: Madison Besser
Steve Blake has seen more over his last three seasons with the Lakers than most players do during their entire careers. Playing for three different coaches and running three different offenses over three different seasons, Blake has had to adapt to this ever-evolving team. "Every year has been very different. In the three years that I have been here, we have had three different coaches. There were even more challenges this year with our record, injuries and what we are trying to do in making the playoffs," said Blake. While some don't welcome change, Blake has enjoyed his developing role within the organization admitting that he has enjoyed some of the changes. "I enjoy it. I am here to do whatever they need me to do; I am willing to step up and take that challenge," Blake said. "I love being here and hope to be here for a long time."
While Blake averaged just over five points per game last year, he has found more of a groove this season. Despite facing injuries early on, Blake has become a force to be reckoned with on the floor. Since Steve Nash left due to injury just minutes into the March 30th game at Sacramento, Blake has held down the starting point guard responsibilities, averaging 11.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 48% from the field and 46% on three-pointers. In the Lakers most recent game, their first since losing Kobe Bryant for the remainder of the season with a torn Achilles, Blake helped fill the scoring void by delivering a season-high 23 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists and two steals, helping the Lakers to a huge 91-86 victory over the Spurs.
Dwight Howard has enjoyed playing alongside Blake in his first season, saying, "His role is to facilitate the offense, find the open guy and knock down shots, and he is pretty good at it. He has amazing ball handling skills, which I think people overlook sometimes. I like Steve a lot. He is a great passer, he is a great shooter and he is fun to be around. He is always giving me confidence."
Amongst the changes, a constant over these last three seasons has been Blake's reputation as a teammate. As Jodie Meeks put it, "He is definitely our great energy guy." So what makes Steve Blake a great teammate? According to the players in the locker room it is because he truly enjoys playing the game and playing with each of his teammates. He is a tough player, which in the Lakers locker room gets you recognition. "He is a supportive teammate and a good guy," said Pau Gasol. When asked about being known as one of the best teammates this team has seen in some time, Blake, flattered, responded by saying, "I enjoy playing with everybody. Basketball is a fun game to play with each other and my teammates are great. They are easy to play with."
A common theme amongst the chatter in the locker room as of late has been Blake's ability to defend, something the Lakers have struggled with all year. "I just try to come out and play hard defense and share the basketball as a point guard," said Blake.
"He comes in and distributes the ball very well," said Meeks. "He plays great defense and is very scrappy. He has been great for us." Gasol was quick to jump in, adding, "Steve just brings a level of toughness that is very important to our team. He is very physical and tough for his position and will stick his nose in every play. He will get extra possessions for you."
It is safe to say that Steve Blake has found his niche with this Lakers team. Chemistry and tough play hasn't been a problem for the scrappy sharpshooter. Fighting to not just make the playoffs, but to make some noise once there, Blake says the key is to "stay focused on the game plans and continue to do everything I can to help the team win." In a season with so many obstacles, Blake is trying to give this turbulent story a happy ending."
Steve with 11 points in the first half so far on ESPN
Wilbon just pimped Blake hard on ESPN at halftime - mentioned he led us to 2 Final 4s and an NCAA title - to the point that Jalen Rose said "I applaud Steve Blake. But have we come to where we're giving Steve Blake credit FOR WHAT HE DID IN COLLEGE. We're really reaching..."
Hey Rose please let us know how your college team (The Greatest team ever) faired in the Championship game????
This post was edited by NavyDoc1969 12 months ago
I vaguely remember a Diamondback article in 2002 or 2003 that mentioned Steve Nash visiting College Park once or twice to watch the Terps play. Nash commented on liking how the Terps play and specifically praised Steve Blake on his point guard play so interesting that they are now teammates.
Glad to see Steve is doing well and is well respected by his teamates... his personality makes him a pretty easy guy to get along with. I'd always thought his game would translate to the pros better than a Juan Dixon or Lonny Baxter but never thought he'd last this long in the league...
Great moment in '03 where Nash sat behind the Maryland bench for, I think, the home game vs UNC. We basically won by 40 and were throwing one handed alley hoops. After one play Gary turned excitedly towards the stands and Steve Nash had his hand up and waiting (in all his awesome goofyness) for Gary to high five.
The Sun or someone interviewed him after the game asking about Blake and if he could be a pro and he had nothing but praise for him.
Kobe Bryant @kobebryant 12h
Steve Blake = Vino Bianco ha!
Yeah, must've been that UNC game because the Mavericks (Nash's team at the time) played the Wizards at Verizon the next day. Had forgotten what game it was, thanks...
Jalen Rose is bitter that he has never played in a final 4 before.
Looks like Blake is done for the season...sucks for him.
Wow. This is NOT roomy!
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