Open Thread — Game 2

Kurt —  April 26, 2006

Trying something new to this blog, although I bet most of you are familiar with the concept. During tonight’s game, I (and hopefully some of you) will be watching and logging in with comments. (For the record, I had wanted to do some liveblogging during the playoffs, but the changes in my home make that basically impossible. I think this should work well.)

Here’s a few quick thoughts to get us started, and be sure to come back at 7:30 (or whenever TNT allows the game to start, we may have to wait half and hour while Barkley blathers):

• Apparently Steve Nash is the MVP. Kobe comes out motivated every game anyway, but did the Suns really want to see fuel added to that fire?

• No prediction for tonight’s game save this — the key number is 94. That’s my guess for the over/under on possessions in the game (for the record, the Suns averaged 98.4 for the season but had just 88 in game one). If it stays under 94, the Lakers win, over 94 and it’s the Suns. They will push the tempo, the Lakers must be diciplined and still post up everyone — Kwame, Lamar, Walton, Kobe and even Smush if Nash is on him. Getting the ball inside slows down the Suns.



94 responses to Open Thread — Game 2

  1. Worst MVP ever if this is true. It’s an absolute disgrace to the award. Giving it to Nash last year was fine since nobody had a real comparable season and the fact he took the Suns from the basement to the playoffs made him deserving.

    No way was he more important, more outstanding, etc.. than Lebron. And Kobe had an ever better season because HE ACTUALLY PLAYS DEFENSE.

  2. WorthyTomahawk April 26, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    Any idea how many possessions in the last game? How does one calculate possessions?

  3. chris henderson April 26, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    isn’t the game on both channel 9 and TNT? (that way, good ol’ remote to cut off the blabbering Chuck). TNT will be Hi Def though.
    I know that channel 9 is broadcasting a 1 hour special starting at 6:30PM tonight….and I thought the game after that…??…hold on …let me check
    yep, just called the (new) wife at home, and she’s tivo’d both the 1 hour special, and the game on channel 9…
    what a good wife.
    get Kwame involved early!
    and LO!

  4. Worthy, I’m glad you asked, because I realized my math was bad. I could go count the possessions for the game out of the play-by-play, but for the most part I use the Hollinger esimation method:

    Pos = .96 * (FGA + (.44*FTA) – OR + TO)

    Now, that ends up a little high, but if everyone is a little high the ratios are the same.

    Now, I realize that in the last game that works out to 88, which is 10 below the season average. So, I’m editing as needed.

  5. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    Well you can watch the game and make a tick mark everytime a team takes the ball up the court.

    Or you could add: field goal attempts, turnovers, and freethrow attempts multiplied by 0.44.

    I don’t know how .44 was calculated, but apparantly it works for compensating for technical free throws, and -1s and the odd shooter getting fouled behind the arc.

  6. WorthyTomahawk April 26, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    Thank you Kurt for the possesion formula. I thought we really controlled the pace extremely well in game 1 – 88 possesions confirms that perception. Hopefully the team got some confidence about dictating pace to the suns. Maybe this will lead the Suns toward frustration fast breaks that lead to turnovers.

    ESPN has great roundtable about game 1 at this link … (

    I think Ric Bucher has the best view of game 1. Wondering what you think.

  7. This is a good idea, since coming out to college I haven’t found any Laker buddies to watch the game with and talking to myself is just weird..

    That being said, I expect Kobe to drop 15 dimes tonight, leading to an immediate re-vote of MVP

  8. Worthy, I read that a little while ago and thought the same thing, although there are a few other good points in there.

  9. Awesome link, I wish ESPN had more stuff like this on TV and on their website instead of the standard garbage and sportstainment (we really do not need a barry bonds reality show, whoever greenlighted that must be shot immediately)…Bucher really did seem like the only guy that “got it” though (the Lakers gameplan), Sheridan had some good points too..

  10. Question: What do people here think about assigning Kobe to guard Nash more often?

    I realize that neat-and-clean match-up assignments like this are pretty difficult with the Suns’ helter-skelter attack, but even doing this a few more times seems like it would help a lot. Kobe is a better and longer defender than Smush. And since stopping or slowing Nash is *the* key to slowing down the Suns, wouldn’t a defensive move like this be worth making?

    Fondly remembering when the Lakes (circa 2000-02) stuck Kobe on Bibby when it really mattered….

  11. 10. The concern with Kobe on Nash is foul trouble. Put Kobe on him early and if Nash is smart, and he is, he’ll go right at Kobe and try to get him in trouble and off the court. You have to pick your spots.

  12. Ok Memphis, it’s over. Less than three left. Don’t foul.

  13. Is there space on the couch for one more?

  14. Smush two fouls…not a good start, switch the headband up homie

  15. Smush is just not going to get calls against Nash.

  16. That’s it Kwame, be strong inside, two big dunks.

  17. Not again…Suns shooting a lot of free throws tonight? ..Ugh

  18. I think they need to move Kobe on Nash early, or atleast give him different looks (coach lexicon for “we have no f’ing clue what to do to this guy”)

  19. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 8:58 pm

    I think someone transplanted Kobe’s and Nash’s brains.

  20. The Lakers’ rhythm looks really good again…steady. Very good sign.

    I’m totally stumped on how to guard Nash. Sasha just went under a screen, which is just deadly. Then again, I’m guessing Nash could just go by him if Sasha played him tight.

  21. This is what I like to see….FIRE! And in a battle of wills I’ll take Kobe over Nash anyday, though Nash won’t back down easily.

    Now if we can just avoid freakin foul trouble. What happen to the idea that the playoffs got more physical without the fouls?

  22. Early Foul count:
    Smush – 2
    Sasha – 1
    Kwame – 1
    Luke – 2

  23. WorthyTomahawk April 26, 2006 at 9:02 pm

    Smush and Sasha are really getting picked off of Nash. Kobe somehow did a better job.

  24. The problem with the fouls are the unnecessary ones, like Luke’s last. Still, I’ll take this start any night.

  25. And the oscar for Most Outstanding performance in a Dramatic Flop goes to…Raja Bell!

  26. 2 fouls on Kobe, just like that.

  27. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 9:06 pm

    But why did we have to get Joey “this game is about me” crawford?

  28. Yeah, looks like Raja was taking lessons from Vlade during the off days.

  29. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 9:13 pm

    Almost a repeat from sunday, Sasha at the buzzer

  30. √Much, much better first quarter. What we all need to pray for now: More Brian Grant!!!

  31. Well, Kurt, looks like Sun are headed to 94 possessions and change (based on 1st quarter stats, your formula, and my questionable math skills)…

  32. WorthyTomahawk April 26, 2006 at 9:17 pm

    Looks like Kobe gets the TO if Kwame doesn’t catch a pass!!

  33. 4. Question about Pos formula:

    What does OR stand for?

  34. Offensive Rebounds i presume

    I’m glad they built up a lead just now, cause Nash is about to knock it away

  35. eFG% after one quarter: Lakers 64.7%, Suns 38.8%

  36. and yes, offensive rebounds.

  37. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 9:20 pm

    You vastly under estimate tim thomas’s ability to suck.

  38. Luke drawing charges!

  39. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 9:21 pm

    doe luke have a fan club? I wanna join

  40. I was confused by yahoo (I’m not near a TV) when I said Kobe had 2 fouls. That’s good to know.

  41. I bet Luke has a big fan club at the bars in Manhattan Beach. Which is not a bad place to have your club.

  42. 38 – I’m treasurer of the Luke Walton Marching & Chowder Society. Being a member has a small yearly membership fee. Checks are payable to me.

  43. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    what did i say about tim thomas?

  44. I think we are about to find out why Jim Jackson does not have a fan club, and no, I was not the person that pushed for him being signed, you must be confusing me with another Goo

  45. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 9:30 pm

    if I didn’t respect TD so much I would be yelling Timmeh right now.

  46. WorthyTomahawk April 26, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    Jimmy Jackson thought he was still playing for the Suns when he took that quick FG attempt. Thank god Phil called a time out.

  47. Does Jim Jackson remember what team he’s playing for? The quick shot before the time out, then the foul? (Damn Worthy, you beat me to it).

  48. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 9:39 pm

    Damn the suns can flop

  49. They are rushing the offense. They must slow it down, not get caught up in the moment. Hold on until half.

  50. Great defense by Kwame so far.

  51. They are calling alot of offensive fouls, but atleast they’ve been consistent on both sides…don’t ask me why but I assume that helps the Lakers

  52. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 9:44 pm

    I knew brian grant had a purpose in life

  53. All that cheddar we’re paying Grant may have just paid off.

  54. That was quite possible the best 23:59 minutes of basketball the Lakers have played in about a year

  55. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 9:48 pm

    Which hafl-time show is better?

  56. 52 – Has to be more than a year. 23:57? The steal was at 2.9 seconds.

  57. Suns possessions for the half: 45.5
    Estimated for the game: 91

    Lookin’ good.

  58. Wish I had time to read what everyone has written. My wife is doing homework and is giving me the business cuz of this one comment…

    Can we fire Brian Grant for insubordination?

    They need to keep those TO’s down in the second half, but other than that they are executing the game plan.

    Is the wrinkle in this series Kobe as initiator?

    Surprised at how touchy the refs were in the first half.

  59. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 10:00 pm

    Massingale is priceless, he wants to muzz.e ths suns courtside announcer

  60. That was one of the best defensive halfs in a long, long time. They got in the Suns’ heads, they missed even open looks.

    Halftime eFG%: Lakers 65.3%, Suns 40%.

    And Josh, thanks for doing the pos., that is good news.

  61. Alright…I don’t know what to think!

    I’m telling you…they need to SUSTAIN!

  62. *Cough* The roleplayers are acting with a tad bit too much confidence right about now…

  63. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 10:18 pm

    How the hell did Nah turn into Iverson?

  64. I’m all for slowing the pace but you can’t give yourself only 5 seconds ot shoot

  65. That is..if you’re not KB8/24

  66. They withstood the run, that was key. Now, start pouinding it inside again, and Kobe will get his.

  67. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 10:31 pm

    Can’t the Lakers coaching staff get some voddoo dolls to m ake the suns miss a frickin free throw?

  68. Suns Turnovers:

    1st Quarter – 4
    2nd Quarter – 7
    3rd Quarter – 3
    4th Quarter – FORCE TURNOVERS!

  69. Well, it was inevitable that the Suns would start hitting at least a few more shots than in the first half.

    Lakers are right there, still look good.

    POS #s for the Suns thru 3 quarters: 68.7
    Estimate thru 4 quarters: 91.6

  70. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    Slowin it down a little too much there

  71. For the love of God do not overcollapse on Nash, there’s a reason why he scored at will in the first half and they were down by double digits

  72. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 10:50 pm

    boy this is nerve racking

  73. The team is keeping its cool though and most importantly, remaining steadfast in their defense…

  74. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    damn i missed the playoffs last year

  75. That was a great play! Recover loose ball, pass from the ground, dunk!

  76. What a dunk!

  77. Must run the offense, not go through the motions then give it to Kobe with 6 on the clock. And rotate on D.

    We need to win this!!

  78. Kobe’s once insanely efficient game is now just pretty efficient.

  79. Why did they stop posting up?

  80. notreallyimportant April 26, 2006 at 11:03 pm

    that is game

  81. Oh my god, i thought kwame’s hands of stone had killed us.

  82. Goo — exactly. Shots this quarter almost all from outside the paint.

  83. Oh come on… let’s just seal the deal.

  84. Thank Jesus!

  85. 90 posessions and some change. Nice job overall. Could have executed better down the stretch, but we got the job done.

  86. Despite Kwame’s hands, we still get the win. Great D tonight Held the Suns to 48.7% (eFG%), down from 53.7% for the season.

  87. So good to see them follow a gameplan for 4 quarters & get the win.

    Kurt’s over/under call up top holds. The Suns Pos. # for the game: 90.2 (The Suns actually had about 3 *more* possessions this game than during the first game.)

  88. Kwame is great against a team with a strong post player.

    Mihm might be a better matchup in this series because he shoots better in the post.

  89. 80. Mihm would probably give us more points in the paint. The thing Kwame brings, however, and Mihm does not, is great defense. Kwame held Shawn Marion to a mere 13 points. Assuming that Mihm could score 20 points (8 better than Kwame’s 12 tonight), Kwame’s still the better option because Marion would likely go for 25 against Mihm. Plus, that 20 points from Mihm assumes that he’s healthy and doesn’t foul out of the game early.

  90. Long live the zen master. If in september you’d told me we’d win a 7-2 road game in the playoffs with our summer league signing and hands of stone playing more than 30 min each and chipping in for 20 points combined, I’d ask for a cup of what you were having.

    A great W for the purple and gold regardless of how this playoff shakes out, we needed a few “gel on the road games” from this run and we just got our first one.

    Where there was once only a man with a plan…there is now an even series.

  91. Was anyone else annoyed by the Laker logo that TNT was using last night. Maybe I’m out of touch being stuck on the East Coast, but it looked more like a knock-off of the Pacer’s logo than the old Lakers logo we’ve had over the years.

  92. That game pretty much sealed it. Kobe isn’t MVP. If that was the real potential for the Lakers, the only thing stopping them was Kobe’s usage. Kobe was holding the team back, therefore not MVP. I don’t see how a reasonable person could disagree with this.

  93. Or, you know, the players finally grew into their roles over time and weren’t ready until this point?

    Naw, that couldn’t be it at all. THe game PROVES Kobe as MVP because when the “MVP” goes up against him…well he makes him look like a chump AND took away his game.