Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  April 5, 2008

• The Lakers are not going to win the NBA title this year, and it is my fault. I want to apologize to all Lakers fans in advance.

You see, my wife and I are expecting our third daughter in early June. We’re excited, although a little nervous that moving from two to three kids means a change from man-to-man to zone defense.

But before you say congratulations, understand that this likely will cost the Lakers any shot at the title. My first two daughters were born during the NBA playoffs as well. The first was during the 2004 Lakers/Pistons NBA Finals. Don’t think I need to remind you how that turned out. The second daughter came two years later: Just at the start of the Lakers/Suns first round playoff series. You remember, the one the Lakers led 3-1 before falling apart.

I fear that baby three means another playoff loss. Understand that I, personally, would gladly trade a host of Lakers titles for another daughter, they are the light of my life. But I want to apologize to all of you for what is to come. I really should have tried to have a daughter during the baseball playoffs, it’s not like the Dodgers were going to win a series anyway.

• Of course, the other thing that could keep the Lakers from the title is the way they are playing defense right now. With Gasol in the lineup the Lakers offense can outscore teams, and that may be good enough for a round-one win (depending on the match-up) but unless the return of Bynum somehow improves the perimeter defense and rotations as well, I’m not sure the Lakers can win three series in the West.

• That said, the offense is really clicking and it is a lot of fun to watch right now. And that was a gutty little win last night by the Lakers,

• Following the discussion Reed started in the last post, there is a new poll up on the right hand side about who you want to see the Lakers face in the first round of the playoffs.

• Finally got around to making some changes in the sidebar. Among them, a cutback in the number of blogs linked to. Back when I started this site in 2004 it was fairly easy to link to every NBA blog out there, but in a sign of how much the community has grown that is very difficult to do now (and is constantly changing). What I’ve decided to do is put in some of my reads and favorites, and I’ll try to keep that up to date but I can’t list everybody anymore. I’m sure I left some good sites off of that list (I was working off an old list) so if you think I forgot something or need to add a site send me an email. By the way, all of those listed are fan blogs, I did not put in the mainstream media blogs. That could change.

Also, I added a section for other LA Sports Blogs, listing just a few favorites. I will gladly add to that list, send me emails (for example, I’m not sure what is considered the best USC football blog).

• Now, on to nomuscles recap of last night:

We’ll pick this up at halftime.
Lakers played a second quarter that left Jason Kidd feeling confident about his shot at Jason Kapono’s three-point crown. He’s been that wide open. Dirk was really feeling it. Hitting jumper after jumper over the Lakers outstretched hands. They need to go at him on defense. He can’t move side to side and forces the Mavs defense into giving help. Ira Newble actually got to play for a few seconds at the end of the half. He’s wearing number 14 and sporting a great farmer’s tan. Kobe may need to come out in the second half with a lot more aggressiveness. One last note, my ears are bleeding from John Berry’s “analysis.” If he somehow caught laryngitis right now, I don’t think I’d be particularly upset. In celebration, I’d probably pop open the Yellow-Tail sparkling wine that is sitting in my fridge…calling to me…mmm… oh sorry. I got sidetracked. Lakers down by 10. 54-64.

3rd Quarter
11:40 – On Dallas’s first possession, JET is isolated on Gasol and this looks like it’s going to be ugly. Yep, Terry threatens to take it to the bucket but Gasol gives him enough space to make sure he doesn’t catch any diseases JET might have. JET pulls back and hits a 20 footer. Whoa Nellie! Phil calls a timeout. He’s pissed about that possession. That’s a new record for earliest timeout by Phil Jackson ever.
10:08 – Lamar corrals a rebound and takes the ball up the court. On the semi-break the Space Cadet dives for first base. Safe! Refs call a foul on JET for tripping the Space Cadet. The announcers are refusing to announce the game. Guess who is telling us about how competitive and tenacious Kobe Bryant is? Yes, that’d be our good friend, John Berry. Someone Tonya Harding him please.
9:20 – Mark Cuban is here. We’ll see if he sends eye daggers at any Lakers girls tonight. I bet they’d promise to never blog again if he did.
8:40 – On nationally televised games, the allowable sponsorship rules are different. Those alien disc things used to wipe the sweat off the floor have the Lakers logo on them. Usually they have the Foot Locker logo on them. More useless knowledge for the faithful Forum Blue and Gold reader. You can thank me later.
7:18 – I guess I should mention the Lakers are making a little run and playing good defense. Mostly spurred on by Kobe’s activity on offense. They are down 4, 66-70.
7:02 – they have quickly realized their mistake and give up a Jason Terry layup and a foul. He misses the free throw.
6:48 – MVP chants get synchronized during a Kobe free throw. The first time the chant gets started, usually when nothing notable has happened, it’s always disjointed. It’s like a collective MVP stutter. This one is nice and loud.
5:38 – Dirk drives the lane and does his best Dr. J impression. Scoop layup.
4:32 – Lakers got sloppy. Jason Kidd steal leading to a fast break layup. The lead opened up to 11. I’m not really sure how that happened. Plenty of time left but this feels like the Mavs game to lose.
“In a game like this, something stupid will try to happen. Stay focused.” ~Avery Johnson in the huddle. Jason Terry plays along and points to his head. “Right here.” That was quality. I love the coaches being mic’d up.
3:36 – Pau gasol gets a nice bucket in the post against the tall German after Dirk had educated Lamar on the proper use of the reverse pivot going baseline at the other end.
3:00 – Kobe hits a contested three right in Devean George’s grill. Lakers down by 6.
1:40 – Kobe gets beat to a rebound by Josh howard. Lazy play. And he fouls Howard as well.
1:21 – The MACHINE! Throws up the three and JET gets him across the arm. He converts the 4-point play, the old-fashion way.
0:40 – Tyron Lue shows us why he impersonated Allen Iverson during the 2001 Finals. Famar had to immediately seek medical attention from Gary vitti for his shattered ankles. Boy that was a little embarrassing. I was embarrassed for him.
The quarter ends with the Lakers down by 7. 80-87.
Lisa Salters interviews PJ during the break. He’s so smart that I can’t understand anything he says. Oh wait, he makes the point that we aren’t stopping anything Dallas wants to do. On that, he and I agree whole heartedly.
4th Quarter
11:50 – Newble is out there again. Mike Breen tells us this is the first time he’s checked in but we know that’s not true.
11:31 – And Newble grabs his first rebound! And Farmar hits a three! Lakers down by 4.
11:05 – Kobe Bryant and Bynum start making out on the bench. Just checking to see if you’re paying attention.
10:30 – Lakers decide they don’t want to take the lead too soon. Down by 8 again. Oh nice. Vujacic hits a three to bring them back within 5.
9:10 – lazy pass by the Mavs leads to an easy layup by Son of bill.
8:52 – Yikes! The tall German just rises up and drains a three. Nothing but bottom. That was nice.
7:40 – Lakers playing well here. Down by 1!!!! 94-93. Some great hustle tracking down rebounds has given us some life. Credit Ronny Turiaf a little bit here. Kobe’s on the bench and Famar is making great decisions as the distributor.
7:02 – When the play ends up with Luke Walton taking an off-rhythm jumper over the Tall German, that’s not what I’d call execution.
6:15 – Lamar does his patented miss the first, make the second routine. Pau gets subbed out after just checking in
5:48 – Lakers down by two. Lamar puts on his Kobe Bryant cape. It forces the wearer to take the defense one on five. Possible side effects include getting caught in the air and throwing the ball to the young lady sitting courtside. Involving the fans, that’s what being a Laker is all about. He smiles at his silliness. I throw the remote at the TV. Lakers down by 2.
5:00 – Dirk is going to win this game for the Mavs. He can’t miss.
4:44 – MAN SAUCE! Jordan Farmar flies down the lane. Draws the blocking foul on Josh Howard who got a great view of Jordan’s belly button.
4:09 – rough stretch for Josh Howard. He just drew a technical foul for throwing his headband on the floor. It’s a good thing the refs called that. He might’ve caused permanent damage to the vintage maple finish. Kobe hits the technical. Lamar has a chance to the bring the Lakers within 1 on free throws. He changes it up and misses the second one. Lakers down 2. 101-99. Lawler’s law is on the line here.
3:45 – John Berry describes Kobe’s “great body control.” Excuse me while I take my mind out of the gutter. Kobe ties the game with his free throws. 101 – 101. All we need now is some Dalmations.
3:17 – Lamar earns a double double with his tenth rebound right here. Great work boxing out Dampier.
2:44 – Mavs take a 1 point lead on a JET free throw. He bungled the first one.
2:17 – With the shot clock winding down, Kobe uses a burst of speed to leave Josh Howard on the three point line questioning his career choice and as the defense collapses, he finds Lamar on the wing who takes it strong to the rack. Makes the tough layup around Dampier. LO wants a foul called, he’ll get none. Lakers take their first lead of the game.
1:42 – After Kobe blew a layup against the intimidating presence of Dirk, Jason terry gets two free throws to put them up by one.
1:29 – Brain fart for the machine. He turns the ball over and then commits the foul putting the Mavs back on the line. Howard hits 2. Mavs up by 3.
1:14 – Lamar fakes Dirk into standing still. You might not believe that it was the fake that caused the Tall German to remain motionless since it’s not much difference than his usual defense, but I assure you it was. Lamar is able to get the right-handed layup to fall. Lakers down by 1. And they get a stop. Back they’ll come.
0:40 – LAMAR ODOM FOR MVP LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. Give and go from gasol to odom to gasol. Gets the layup and the foul. I didn’t see if Gasol tried the jersey pop or not. I hope he did. Gasol gets the free throw. 108-106 Lakers on top.
0:35 – The Staples Center crowd is on its feet! Chants of DEFENSE fill the arena. Dirk isolated on Pau and his uterus gives birth to a turnover. That may do it for the Mavs. If the Lakers get a bucket here the game will be over.
0:17 – Kobe drives to the hole and draws the foul on Howard. Two free throws will pretty much put this one away (never say never). He makes the first. And then we get a nice view of Dampier’s stretch marks. I could’ve really done without that. Thanks ESPN. First John berry, then Damp’s womanly scars. Kobe makes the second. Four point lead. 110-106.
0:09 – good defense by Pau. Aww poop. That opened the way for Dampier to grab the offensive rebound. Two point game. Dallas mugs vujacic to put him on the line. He hits the first. And the second. Avery Johnson can be seen drawing on a white board. You think he’s writing the list out for who is bring what to the post-game pot luck? He might as well be. This one is in the pooper.
0:03 – MAN SAUCE! Jordan Farmar will have none of Jason terry’s three point shooting. He blocks him from the side. Ball out of bounds. On the inbounds, Farmar isn’t done. He deflects the inbounds pass and it goes out of bounds. 3.1 seconds left. Very solid play from farmar tonight capped by these two efforts.
0:00 – Pau bothered (Possibly fouled) Dirk’s last shot. No good. Time expires. Big win tonight.
Oh exciting! Lamar is being interviewed by Lisa Salters. Oh darn. He’s making sense tonight. I’m disappointed. I would’ve loved to see a repeat of the other night when he was as high as a kite. I love how basketball players have to bend down to hear the reporter. We are being treated to a great view of the top of Lamar’s noggin. Unfortunately, even in HD, it’s not clear whether he uses a razor or clippers. He starts answering questions before she’s done asking them. Maybe he thinks the interview will go quicker that way. Haha great moment there. Lisa asks him about the glue holding that cut on his head together and how I feels. He says it’s “alright though, now I got two lumps in my head. One in the front, one on the side. But it’s not gonna mess up my handsome game.” Classic.