Open Thread — Game 7

Kurt —  May 6, 2006

When this series started, we said Kwame Brown and Smush Parker would be the keys — could the Lakers pound the ball inside and slow Steve Nash? For three games the answer was yes, and if the Lakers are going to win game seven it won’t be because Kobe scored 63, but because Smush and Kwame returned to that first-three form.

Or, maybe Phil has some other tricks up his sleeve. There’s not much else to say, we know what these teams can do, and almost all the games have been close. I expect this one to be as well.

Kurt

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89 responses to Open Thread — Game 7

  1. good playoff read from Kevin Pelton, including some thoughts on this series:

    http://www.82games.com/pelton19.htm

  2. From Pelton:

    On Tuesday, prior to Game 5 of the Lakers-Suns series, both John Hollinger (Insider only) and your humble scribe happened to pen columns discussing the oddity of Phoenix’s poor Offensive Rating over the first four games of the series. (We even both managed to use the same stat to denigrate the Suns’ offensive rebounding, noting that Sacramento’s Bonzi Wells had only one fewer offensive board at the time than Phoenix as a team.)

    From there, the columns diverged a bit, with Hollinger tracing the Suns’ problems to their inability to grab an offensive board, while I focused on Phoenix’s subpar two-point shooting and invisible bench. Lo and behold, all three issues have turned around over the last two games. The Suns have grabbed 18 rebounds in their wins, as compared to 20 in the first four games; they’ve shot 57.3% on 2s (71-of-124) and gotten back-to-back double-figures efforts from James Jones (who is starting, but not one of the team’s key five players) as well as 33 points the last two games from Leandro Barbosa, who filled in brilliantly for Raja Bell in Game 6. Regression to the mean?

    What has happened over the last two games does seem to point toward Phoenix winning a third straight game at home on Saturday to take this series, but would you want to bet against Kobe Bryant? Me neither.

  3. Alright….my heart rate has just taken a notch up….

  4. It’s game time. 2 a.m. here in Italy… just to say… let’s go guys… anyway we’re proud of you guys!

  5. were the Suns fans saying “boooo” or Luuuuke”?

  6. maybe it was Smuuuuuuuuuuush?

  7. Thank God for Ced Ceballos. I needed something to break the tension. Looks like he made it back from Lake Havasu in time to do the intros.

  8. notreallyimportant May 6, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    I’m telling you guys this game is over.

    As much as I hate to see it, there is no way that phoenix doesn’t run us out of the building.

  9. So what do we do when the inside game just won’t go down? Granted it’s early and there is sure to be some jitters but once again you can’t be reluctant in a game 7 to make adjustments.

  10. too many missed shots inside, and if Smush goes under one more pick and roll I’ll slap him myself.

  11. If the inside shot’s don’t fall, welcome to the Kobe show. Somebody has to hit some or we’re in trouble.

  12. That’s what I’m thinkin…and poor Kobe….Damned if you do…damned if you don’t….

  13. Are they running the triangle? It’s supposed to create spacing but from what I’m seeing Kobe isn’t getting any down there on the post.

    Nor is anyone else it seems.

  14. notreallyimportant May 6, 2006 at 6:53 pm

    All the bounces are going the suns way, its just one of those games

  15. Kwame and Odom aren’t scoring inside, start posting up Walton.

  16. Kwame and Smush, our keys, a combined 2 of 8.

  17. Sorry Kurt…but Walton isn’t going to do enough on his own. I hate to give a game away so early but….it’s just time for Kobe to break 63…as much as even he’d hate that in a loss.

  18. If anyone has an Idea other than The Kobe Show, I’d love to hear it. I can’t see much else with the way Smush and Kwame are playing.

  19. CT, we’re on the same page.

  20. APB: Suspect wears number one, has a part down the middle of his head, and is frequently disguised as a point guard wearing Forum Blue and Gold. Not armed or dangerous. Sadly he’s only known to steal.

  21. Raja Bell is strong, he keeps Kobe’s post position further out, killing the spacing.

    Smush is just not dealing with the pressure well.

    If the Lakers can get it to ten at the half, they’ll still have a shot. The D is awful tonight.

  22. No ideas…I’m frustrated with our defense too.

  23. One idea is have Kobe bring the ball up and let Sasha be the post guard in the triangle.

  24. I wish Barbosa could hear the nasty things my wife is saying about him in Portugese right now.

  25. Our defensive rotations are nonexistant

  26. Someone should’ve knocked Barbosa down a couple plays ago.

  27. Why would good defensive rotations diasappear in a game like this? Indecision?

  28. Oh well…it really was a good year when you think about it. We out did most expectations and I coulda swore a couple of the ESPN folks changed in how many games the Suns we’re gonna win it. Next year we get a competent point guard and hopefully AB will start getting his time. Hey maybe even Turiaf will.

  29. Kupchack better be preparing a statement for the halftime release of Smush.

  30. Smush would be fine coming off the bench. Add a pg in the off-season somehow, please.

  31. Why must it be so polarized? Why does it either have to be the Kobe Show or only the 4 other players taking shots, until they find that balance this team won’t win.

    That being said, bring it within 10 by the end of the half, and i’ll feel better

  32. notreallyimportant May 6, 2006 at 7:19 pm

    If kobe deosn’t get in foul trouble i think you will get your wish GOO

  33. In his defense we should remember that this is essentially his rookie year.

  34. 27 – It doesn’t have to be, but it feels like that’s how its been. Nobody else on the Lakers can execute. If I see one more bricked lay in I’m going to scream.

    By the way, anyone else find Collins unbearable? I usually watch TNT over KCAL only because the video quality seems much better. But it’s back to Joel and Stu, the lesser of 2 evils.

  35. The defense has been bad true, but in this series its been all about the offense. The best defense is a solid offense…i can think of 4-5 shots already that should have fallen, it just looks worse than it is..

    In Kobe We Trust.

  36. McCain is OLD!

  37. notreallyimportant May 6, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    A John McCain sighting? are they kidding me?

  38. notreallyimportant May 6, 2006 at 7:25 pm

    Take SMUSH out!

  39. HEY GUYS, you can score a layup pretty much anytime youw ant on this team, stop with the f’ing 3′s

  40. “HEY GUYS, you can score a layup pretty much anytime youw ant on this team”

    You’d think that, but as evidenced by Odom and Kwame’s total inability to finish once the get to the rim, scoring at will down low just isn’t happening.

  41. Shots don’t fall sometimes, it happens, you don’t go into a 3 point contest with this team just because it does

  42. Nobody’s saying that you do, but these guys have got to take it to the rim with some confidence once they have position. They look pathetic.

    (Lets go Smush!)

  43. 2 30 pt quarters in a row.

  44. whoops. 32 and 28.

  45. Another thing I have extreme problems with this season…the freakin director in the truck. How many times has action occured of camera because they stay on a player shot. If there is one thing ticking me off it’s seeing the clock run or hearing the crowd and not knowing what’s going on because they have to have the camera on the last player to make a shot as he runs all the way down the floor.

  46. notreallyimportant May 6, 2006 at 7:36 pm

    15 pts is just not happening, we missed our chance to advance when tim thomas was allowed an open 3 at the end of regulation in game 6

  47. Anyone else think this is the best the Phoenix offense has looked since the first quarter of game 1?

  48. Kobe’s first half eFG%: 77%. The rest of the team? 30%.

  49. Should Barkley be bragging he bet on the kentucky Derby winner so boastfully like that? In lieu of what’s come out this week about him?

  50. By the way, 47 first half possessions, way too fast.

  51. Good point about Barkley, CT! At least this time he got thewinner.

    I really am not of fan of much about the TNT broadcasts. Collins is pretty good, although he has a man crush on Nash, but the production sucks.

  52. notreallyimportant May 6, 2006 at 7:42 pm

    Isn’t 47 right on the money, i thought they key number was 94

  53. that was my under/over, but that has proved to be somewhat meaningless because of the bad half-court D. That said, I’d stiull take slower. Although, that may not be an option in the second half.

  54. Very poor inside and defensive play… if kwame misses this way why not go to Turiaf! At least we’d have his energy on the defensive end… no one can keep up with barbosa… that’s pretty sad… we’re slow on defensive rotations… nothing is working actually… just hope they miss some and we can get an opportunity to reduce the gap…

  55. We’ve seen scrubs get us back into the game before…why not Turiaf…

  56. Oh and one thought from the last game…give D’antoni credit, he knows how to call timeouts to quell momentum.

  57. notreallyimportant May 6, 2006 at 7:58 pm

    Great on offense but his defense needs some polish

  58. notreallyimportant May 6, 2006 at 8:00 pm

    Why do they insist on jump shots?
    I’m going to have to shoot Smush and Luke

  59. Simply said….just let everything go thru Kobe…I just wanna at least have the chance to be amazed by him. before the season ends.

  60. Heh…my mother in law is about to lose a hundred bucks too.

  61. Young and inexperienced guys are missing too many shots to have a chance… confindence is down… and neither a miracle game from kobe can save us… but Lamar should’nt have a bad game…. that’s a bad bad time to have it!

  62. Turn out the lights, the party’s over……

  63. Where’s the Semisonic song “Closing Time” when you need!?

  64. Well, it was a good ride while it lasted.

  65. l.a. doesn’t deserve to win this game. way too many mistakes on d. the suns designed the perfect defense against odom. he has a lot of trouble going right. no one is stepping up this game.

  66. This just now goes right back to the games after Kobe scored 81…it is an absolute CRIME not to get Kobe better team mates when he is in his prime.

  67. itts over now unless kobe can heat up

  68. I want to see Bynum.

  69. notreallyimportant May 6, 2006 at 8:21 pm

    Even he does heat up its over, all we will get is the enjoyment factor

  70. Heh…least we’ll get something NRT…

  71. Up 3-1 it’s going to be hard to swallow… but these young guys are the same guys who played some great games throuhout the series… we can’t blame them if they have a bad game 7 in phoenix… we were 6 seconds from advancing thanks to the same guys and they really performed better than expected earlier in the series. we all have to remember that now.

  72. notreallyimportant May 6, 2006 at 8:35 pm

    Can’t we get that autistic kid to come out and put up 20?

  73. I like that push from Nash to Sasha with no call. That was pretty damn blatant.

  74. notreallyimportant May 6, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    Why are the refs even still calling fouls? Everyone knows its over, I doubt the starting line up even comes out of the time out for phoenix

  75. That should do away with any ill conceived and misguided conspiracy theory…

  76. notreallyimportant May 6, 2006 at 8:43 pm

    Well all I can say is that I will be incredibly happy when an LA team demolishes the Suns in round 2, go CLIPS (but not Jon R, he can go to hell).

  77. Nah…I hope both teams just destroy each other so there isn’t anybody to play in he WCF…

  78. notreallyimportant May 6, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    Also i think they should make sure to Keep kobe away from his team mates, because with that look on his face i would not be surprised if he just went postal.

  79. guys, its been fun, i’m glad to have found this blog this year..I don’t know how much offseason stuff you do Kurt but I’ll be sure to drop by once in a while

  80. That and the Kobe sucks chants don’t help any I’m sure…

  81. Ha…that’s right Goo…I realized I go here everyday as it’s my first season here. I guess I’ll have one less site to check daily for awhile.

  82. Despite the disappointing finish, this has been a successful season. It should be illegal to surround Kobe with the teammates he has in his prime. Hopefully Mitch can do something in the off-season.

  83. Just wanna congratulate Kurt for the great job covering the lakers… this blog is really great to read… You really do a better job than a lot of professionals out there. I agree… it was really fun commenting here with you all guys. Hope this will go on even during the offseason.

  84. Goo, others, I’m pretty active in the offseason. Not as every day (save around the draft or other big trade) but four or so posts a week. And that will start on Monday.

    Thanks to all of you for making this season and this playoffs fun for me.

  85. I didnt find this blog til about a week ago, but I’m glad I did. Thanks for providing an intelligent alternative to the mainstream.

  86. Well…adios, all.

    I second Giopurple’s comments above about the team, though they are deeply deeply flawed (as we all know). Maybe next year they can build on their play during the last few weeks and their year-long knowledge of the triangle.

    I also found this blog this season, and have enjoyed reading the best Laker commentary anywhere (online or off). Thanks, Kurt!

  87. Thanks to Kurt for his labor of love, and to all commenters who came to discuss and dissect their passion for Laker basketball.

  88. Poor Kobe. He cant win. If he lights it up and they lose, he isnt involving his teammates. If they lose because he is trying to invlove his teammates, then he is criticized for not taking enough of an active role. If he is not given some talented teammates, then he will be demanding a trade and will leave LA the same way Shaq did.

    The only keepers on this team are Kobe, Odom, Brown, Walton, and Turiaf and they still need three starting players(2 if you think Brown will become better with better teammates).

    The sad thing is the Lakers would beat the Clippers in a 7 game series. Kobe is so good that with minimal help, I think they are the 4th best team in the West. But if they want to take the next step up, they need some better players that Kobe can actually rely on consistently.