Game Three Thoughts

Kurt —  April 27, 2008

For the first time this postseason the Lakers won a game on defense.

That’s my favorite sentence I’ve typed so far this post-season. The Lakers did a lot of things very well on defense — they forced Iverson into help baseline and didn’t let him slide across the lane for that little fade-away he loves. And just one example of something the Lakers did that across the board, they forced Denver into shots they were not comfortable with, they doubled at the right times from the right angles.

In the end the Nuggets had an offensive rating of 85.7 (points per 100 possessions), way off their season average. They shot just 40.1% (eFG%) as a team.

Some other thoughts.

• I overestimated the pride and passion of the Nuggets.

• The Lakers were aided by the worst game I’ve seen Carmelo play.

Carmelo missed a lot of lay-ups in part because the Lakers overplayed his right hand and dared him to use his off/left hand — he wouldn’t and the in-close misses piled up. Credit to Radmanovic (not someone known for his defense) and Walton for doing a good job on him all over the court.

Carmelo wouldn’t pass out of the doubles, he shot too quickly trying to get off a shot before another defender arrived (even when one wasn’t on the way). Or, Bobby Steels put it this way in the comments:

The MVP of this series should go to MELO. I think we really have to thank Meloman for making this series so easy for us. I mean what more can you ask for? The incessant jab steps, the constant smirks after missing a shot, the spin around move into 2 sometimes 3 defenders and then raising up for a jumpshot, no defense on Vlad or Luke.

• The Lakers did a good job of bringing a forward or center down to help when Denver wanted to run isolation. Let’s use a Carmelo isolation for example (I think Fratello did this during the game). The Lakers point guard would stay out high, the man on Carmelo would try to force him baseline, and either Odom or Gasol would come across and play space to keep him from just driving to the hoop. The two remaining Lakers defenders essentially played a zone on the back side. The same thing happened on Iverson wing isolations. Now, you could expose what the Lakers were doing with skip-passes to the opposite corner or quick ball movement around the perimeter once the double team was drawn, but Denver almost never does that. The Lakers could essentially take away good isolation shots without paying a price.

• Bill Bridges throws out some props to Fisher, playing through an injury:

But for me, the game ball goes to Derek Fisher. Clutch shooting. The biggest being the 3 when Denver dared to hope to get back in the game in the 3rd quarter. But more important was his D. His man D on Iverson was fantastic. If not for some cheap calls he would have pitched a virtual shut out. But it is on team D that he stood out. Whenever a Nugget started to penetrate, Fisher was there swiping at the ball. He only got credited for 2 steals but I saw many deflections and turnovers as a result of Fisher’s activity.

• After what we saw game three, do you think the Nuggets will show any more passion in game four?

Kurt

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66 responses to Game Three Thoughts

  1. Next! someone get me a fork to stick in the No-guts.

  2. I can see the Nuggs getting game 4, and the lakes winning in dominate style in game 5 on thier home court.
    I know I am looking WAY too far down the road, but the news about Trevor being 2 weeks away made me wonder who would we want a defensive stopper for? I can see the staff grooming him to be the Manu Ginolbi stopper, if we (us and SA) get that far. we have to get past the Jazz, and the Spurs have to get past NO, (no easy task)
    do you think he would be useful against the Jazz? or should we wait until the following series? who on the Jazz would be his focus? I don’t see it being Deron, that’s more Fish, sasha and Kobe roles…

  3. The Lakers seem to be getting better throughout the series, showcasing the talents of our coaching staff and the ability of our players to execute on adjustments. A few thoughts:

    -Sasha gets credit for selling that not-so flagrant foul yesterday. The 4 points we ended with with out of it can be a big swing at times and it’s good to know we have a reliable Euro-flopper on the team to compete with the likes of Ginobli if needed.

    -Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuke! I’d pay him his contract to only play in the playoffs if he can keep it up at this level.

    -More Luke, but this time on D. He switched to double team Iverson and Anthony at perfect times yesterday, smothering them only when there wasn’t an outlet to an open shooter. He seems to be using his size very effectively this series.

  4. I don’t see having an athletic wing stopper as all that useful against the Jazz. Deron is their best perimeter player. Harpring is steady but not a lights-out guy, and he might be a bit too strong for a beanpole like Ariza to handle anyway. Korver is probably their best weapon at the wing, and he’s not very good at all at creating his own shot. In a matchup against Utah I would rather play a shooter like Radman or Luke (who’s been playing out of his mind) to space the floor for Kobe.

    After watching all three Nuggets games, I have to say I’ve seen high school teams play with more cohesion than Denver does. A lot of people have mentioned this, but they look like a pickup team- everyone just randomly got on the floor to play.

  5. (2): It could be several options… put him on Korver when he’s in and don’t let him get shots off. Put him on Kirilenko and try to neutralize his rebounding and his annoying way of getting easy baskets sometimes when everyone forgets he is there. Definitely could use him on Brewer, Harpring… I’d enjoy seeing Brewer get frustrated.

    But to sort of contrdict your thought, I think I might give him stretches against Williams. Williams is so strong and compact, that he is usually able to bruise other PGs, but with Ariza, he might get Williams to settle for jumpers for a while ala Kobe sometimes getting into that habit when Kenyon Martin guards him. Mix it up. Don’t let Williams find a groove.

    Have Sasha take out the head band and see if his hair can get in Williams’ eyes, I don’t know.

    I wonder if Sasha ever looks at Ginobili and thinks, “Oh my God, that’s me in 10 years.”

    Crap, what happened to this comment? I think I need to sit the next couple of plays out.

  6. Warren Wee Lim April 27, 2008 at 9:42 am

    I must say the Lakers are winning me a fortune with these bets. For three straight games now, with consecutive “spreads” of -8.5, -8.0 and -5.5, the Lakers won me all three games. I will be hesitant to bet on game 4 but I shall nevertheless. I believe its “calculated risk” to go up to -6 on that game.

    On the flip side, the Nostradamus in me had me picking Dallas over NOH and Phoenix (in bets only) over SA. So those teams are costing me a fortune as well.

    On to the Lakers, I did not see game 3. Though nomuskles sure does paint a very colorful picture of it, I believe the Lakers are so high on their confidence as Denver is imploding. I believe major changes will be made in their near off-season and it will start by Father-of-Coby’s head rolling. Sorry but I just believe the coach gets the blame for meltdowns like these and he will get the axe.

    I cannot wait for game 4. That game will tell us if our team will go easy on the struggling Nuggs or do we go for the jugular. I like the latter better nevermind celebrating on the road. A win is a win but the quest has just begun.

    Utah did a good work with Houston. I must admit I had them winning games 1,3 and 4 but its 3-1 nevertheless. I think Houston will have their butts lit for game 5 but it will still be Utah in 6. Having said this, I will cheer for Houston to stretch the series as long as possible. We will be well-rested for Semis Game 1.

    In other news, I think Dallas still has a shot. As does my Washington over Cleveland bets. I think Phoenix puts one good fight in game 4 and recover me some money as Detroit will continue to impress me as a Flip Saunders-led team rather than the tough Carlisle and Larry Brown days. To lose to an obscure (clearly rebuilding) Philly squad with the Andres is nothing short of preposterous. Its embarrassing.

  7. Before anyone starts thinking about Utah, don’t forget that we need to win another game against the Nuggets.

    The Nugs can score with the best of them, and the blowout win at home does a lot to boost a team’s confidence. The Lake Show needs to show up and put the clamps down on Defense against a Nuggets team that just had its pride seriously wounded.

    AI and Melo can easily go off for 30 each, and Kliza has been killing us. They are a front-running team, and I don’t want to see the Lakers tiring too early in the playoffs ala Kevin Garnett.

  8. In line to HP’s awards, why not give out some FB&G style?

    Kurt = Phil Jackson (the master, the Zen Master)

    Bill Bridges = Tex Winter (the strategist)

    Craig W. = Mitch Kupchak (financial advisor anyone?)

    drrayeye = Jeannie Buss (the crystal ball and #1 Pau Gasol advocate as I am #2)

    Reed = Kurt Rambis (the stache bro)

    Kwame A = Kwame Brown? Just Kidding. More like Lamar.

    Tony Starks, Matt, JD Hastings, Darius = Pau Gasol (very informative and efficient)

    The Dude Abides = Andrew Bynum (for subluxating your knee)

    Exhelodrvr, CTDeLude = Jordan Farmar (you guys shoot well)

    The Stephens = Sasha Vujacic (the Machine!)

    Chris H = Derek Fisher (short, concise and clutch)

    Gatinho, 81 witness, Brian Tung, Goo = Vlade Radmanovic (seldom shooting but sharpshooters)

    Emma = Ronny Turiaf (IDK if you are really female, if you are, you bring energy to this site)

    Warren Wee Lim = Luke Walton (wtf?! Son of Bill?!) LOLz.

    Nomuskles = the Laker Girls! (nuff said)

    Sorry to the others whom I missed out. I know there are a lot in this site that makes me want to improve my defense, lateral movement and not having to post up on Fastbreaks! Well atleast I’m one of the better benches in this series.

    Sincerely,

    Warren Wee Lim a.k.a. Luke Walton

  9. back to Trevor and who he could be a defensive stopper against…if we wind up facing the Hornets, rather than the Spurs, (Ginolbi) then I think he should focus on Peja, don’t leave him alone, face guard him, stay in his grill, take him out of his effective range game. (the same way Cooper used to guard Larry bird)
    sorry to bring it back, but just had this thought on who on the Hornets he could be useful against.
    thanks warren, nice to be thought of as a regular, been here a long time, and enjoy being a part of the FB&G family…D’Fish, eh?… ok…

  10. Ariza would be a huge help, but I’m not sure we should blow him up so much. He was a very good defensive player before the injury, not a “stopper.” After a broken foot, I wonder how his lateral movement will be affected.

    I agree he’d be a good fit on Deron, who doesn’t have an explosive first step. Ariza should be able to keep up with him, and his length might bother him. The problem is, our interior defense is weak right now, so it’s not always a good option to funnel scorers into the paint (if Ariza can’t keep up with him).

    Before the injury, he had me thinking though. I could see Ariza, if he develops a solid midrange game, as a poor man’s Caron Butler. Not as good offensively, but an athletic freak who complements Kobe, and better defensively. A solid 3 will be the key to a dynasty; we need someone to guard other teams’ best wing players without tiring Kobe out.

  11. Ariza is welcome back anytime, but I’m a lot more worried about our post players. In several moments during game 3 I was bothered by how soft Pau and Lamar can be. Against Utah and/or SA, that kind of softness would be abused to no end. Unfortunately, I don’t believe DJ or Mihm are the answer to those problems…

  12. Thanks Warren, I don’t mind being Ariza… duh!

    Not going to forgive you on this… :P

  13. coby karl is garnering many firsts this year……player son against opposing father coach regular season, player son against opposing father coach playoffs, player son on team that eliminates father coach’s team…….george may not be around after this series, man, what mixed emotions coby must have. i know i would…….

  14. I know that we need to be cautious and prudent in our outlook for the beloved Lakers, but we seemed to forget that most teams are scratching their heads to figure out how to guard our team. I think with Kobe, Pau, and Lamar, the Lakers give matchup nightmare to almost every single team they’ll face. While we have certain defensive weaknesses, our coaching staff does excellent job to cover it up with help D. Because of our depth and versatility, we can really dictate matchup for our opponents. Kobe demands so much attention that Pau and LO create mismatches in many situations. And thanks to tough mindedness of Fish and Kobe, we can cover up a lot of frontline defensive deficiency with effective defensive rotation as we have shown against dENVER. I know that Ariza can help and will help when he gets back, but the most important thing for our team is to gell defensively as a team to stop Deron Williams and Tony Parker. I was most concerned about the matchup headache of Shaq and Amare combo, but it doesn’t seem like we’ll have to face that this year. I think we can handle Parker/Manu/Duncan combo better with Fisher/Kobe/Pau with Lamar providing support. And DWill/Boozer combo can be neutralized with Fish/Pau or Kobe/Lamar tandem with solid rotation from the other big since Radma can single cover Okur or Korver. We are set right now with this team to win it all IF we continue to gel defensively, which I think they will. Remember Pau has only been playing with the team for 30+ games. That’s not even half of the season. Team defense comes with playing together, and we’re going to see our team improve every game and every series, thanks to breaks between each game/series. It’s indeed good to be a Laker fan these days.

  15. The Nuggets almost have to come out with more “fire” on Monday night–especially after Carmello called them (and himself) out. But this “fire” will likely be more of a show than a commitment to victory. Denver is a team that knows its done and most of their players seem ready to hop on the next plane to Maui. But their reputations have been questioned and so they will exert more energy on the court, even if its misdirected and theatrical. Unfortunately for Laker fans, the “fire” Denver showed in game 3 manifested itself as cheap shots and hard fouls (mainly from K-Mart and Najera). Let’s just hope the Lakers can escape the mile high city without any stitches. If nothing else, two games at high altitude might help their conditioning for the next round.

  16. Sure can’t wait to see them interview Pop at the end of this quarter. Should be fun

  17. The Lakers could use Ariza against Utah not for his defense,but for his offense. He’s a slasher and if Utah focuses on Kobe 1/2 as much as they have T-Mac,Ariza can play a valuable role going hard to the hoop picking up fouls and baskets. Utah will foul,but you need to go at them to get the calls. Houston has Utah in the penalty early in several Quarters but couldn’t take advantage because nobody besides McGrady takes it to the rim.
    It may well be premature,but LA/Utah could hinge on who gets in foul trouble first-Gasol or Boozer? I can easily see Lamar,Luke,Radmanavich-even Kobe-guarding Okur.

  18. Thanks to everybody who answer to my questions in the past post.
    If anybody want to “talk” about Lakers history, you can e-mail me to patominig@hotmail.com (I do not want to bored the rest of this “community”).
    I love this blog, it is great. From Argentina it is a bit difficult wath at NBA games, and Lakers games are always late in the night, but I make my best.
    I have a lot of hope about this team and I think the Lakers FO can establish a great roster next two years.
    Go Lakers!!!

  19. I know ‘Enver is making the Lake Show look really good, but I’d also like to think some of the great adjustments we’re seeing are the combination of a good coaching staff and a team with enough basketball smarts to implement them quickly and effectively. We talk about this team having a high collective basketball IQ: I think this it where it really shows.

    I don’t think Ariza will play enough minutes to be a “stopper” against any particular player. I think the best case is that he can shut down someone for a couple of minutes a half – either counteracting someone who gets hot or just making the other team change what they’re doing.

  20. Good visual analysis of Kurt’s point about the Lakers’ double-team + zone against the isolation posted over at The X’s and O’s of Basketball.

  21. so with the Celts loss last night, pistons mired, and the Spurs looking like they’ll lose today…are we the last team standing that can get out of the first round with a sweep?
    my wife says yes!
    what do you think?

  22. the other Stephen April 27, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    4. harpring might be too strong for ariza? forgive me, but is that accurate?

  23. Some team will be very lucky to get Billy King as their GM. The guy that has put together the Sixer roster is sitting in the NBA TV studio watching them excel. I doubt he stays unemployed long.

  24. An additional body would always be nice. One that can instill a defensive mindset after getting subbed in would be doubly welcome, since we’re known to sort of relax at times.

    Denver, or Enver, does not really worry me. They can score in bunches, but that doesn’t mean squat as long as we’re patient and run our offense. No lead may be safe with them, but no lead of theirs is safe either.

    But we haven’t had a breakout game from Melo or Iverson yet… and they’re good enough to have one lights-out game at least once during 4 games. Or maybe we already saw that in Game 1…

    As far as the other side of the bracket goes, i’m not sure which matchup i prefer more:
    SAS – DAL would give both of them ample motivation.
    SAS – NOH wouldn’t be as much fun, but it could lead to LAL – NOH, a clash of MVP candidates.
    PHX – DAL would not only be Nash vs. Dirk, it would also be Nash vs. Kidd, each battling what was once their team. Delicious.
    PHX – NOH, Nash vs. Paul… mmm…

  25. Heh…I have no idea even what I am shooting well. :)

    Anyways I think it’s perfectly reasonable to start looking ahead to next series. I only worry about players looking ahead, not fans. Besides, a Denver team this disgruntled with finger pointing aplenty is not going to turn around their series.

    And for the record, there is ALWAYS a need for a defensive wing stopper. I mean, on a team where defense is obviously coached in spurts it is always good to have at least one player that is dedicated to defense for a full 48 minutes. Also let’s not overlook the fact that the Suns just basically shut Tony Parker down by placing a bigger guy on him. Don’t think for a moment Fisher or Farmar will keep a large framed guard from using it to his advantage. Works having a taller guy on the pick and roll (which is basically the offense set Utah always goes to).

    What a weird first round though. Started with so much anticipation of hard fought series and then everything proceeded to go loopsided and then suddenly turned on its head. I don’t know if the second round will be more of the same or what.

    Oh and so HELP me if Clev. somehow manages to get some cushy road to the Finals. I know the east is just ridiculous by come on now.

  26. If Kobe doesn’t get tempted into falling back into his game 1 mode, this team has a reasonable shot at the title. When they want to play defense, they do a pretty good job of it, good enough that, combined with their offense, they will be hard to stop.

  27. Wow, um, thanks WWL. I don’t think I post here that much, but thanks. Being compared to Ronny Turiaf is the greatest honor of my life!! :)

    I just came here to say one thing: Has anyone else noticed that Marv Albert slows waaaaay down when he’s pronouncing Nájera’s name? Naa Haa Raa. Like it’s really difficult last name to pronounce (Kleiza?) and he’s afraid of making a mistake. It bugs!

  28. also… since the league is ‘exploring’ changes in playoff format… what do you all think?

    i think the current system is fine, a little disparity is needed to get inter-conference rivalry going. problem is, of course, the west will get tougher since it will have otherwise-playoff bound teams landing lottery picks… despite the small number of ping pong balls.

    But i think an added flair could be added by allowing the top 4 seeds in each conference getting to pick their 1st round opponent. Lakers would probably still have picked Denver, but maybe NOH would’ve picked HOU instead of DAL, while the Spurs would’ve had to pick their poison between PHX, DAL, or even UTA.

    I mean, imagine what that would do to the lower seeds’ motivation. To be picked! Ouch!

  29. Mike Dantoni is the sorest coach I have ever seen. Everytime he interviews after a loss he can’t stand the questions and basically walks out on reporters, and when he wins a game all he does is make crappy jokes. Besides the fact that he cries and whines all the time on the court, this should seriously get him fired.

  30. I think warren said I was the lakers girls because the recaps are fun to look at (read). Hopefully he didn’t mean I am all style, no substance. :)

    That is a great breakdown by x and os. I like seeing that stuff since it’s difficult to recognize in realtoms by non coaches like myself.

    I’m all for that idea of picking your opponent in the first round that would be awesome. It’ll never happen though.

  31. The Dude Abides April 27, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    I think they should still take the top eight teams from each conference, but the draw should be made up so the East #1 plays the West #8, West 4 vs East 5, East 3 vs West 6, West 2 vs East 7 in the top half. Bottom half of the draw would then be West 1 vs East 8, East 4 vs West 5, West 3 vs East 6, East 2 vs West 7.

    This scenario would remove some of the panic moves by GMs in reaction to other trades in the conference, and also remove the possibility of one team cruising throughout the playoffs because it’s the only quality team in its conference.

  32. wait a second, I just thought of something. Has Phil cracked ANY jokes or said any touchy comments about Denver in any capacity at all?

    I can’t believe we’ve gone through 3 games without him saying a word that would be bulletin board material for the other team.

  33. 32) Um…I don’t recall hearing Phil ever do that to an opponent. He usually does it to his own team…

  34. 33 Um . . . Phil is notorious for needling the other team in the playoffs ie calling Sacramento a “cowtown,” saying Spurs first championship should come with an asterisk.

  35. Warren, I’m honored to be Phil Jackson. Then again, if I’m Phil and Drrayeye is Jeanie Buss… ewwww.

  36. 34. Really? I thought Shaq was the one who started cowtown. Meh…I was like 13 back then…

  37. I hear you Kurt. I think I can talk Warren into a switcheroo.

    I’m claiming Pau Gasol since Warren didn’t give him out. Besides, my middle name is Paul.

  38. 8 – Warren,
    Wow, thanks for my “award”. I’m honored to be compared to Pau. (It’s also fitting, since I grew up in Europe.)

    My only comment was that we need to find a way to include Nate Jones, Xavier, and Renato Alfonso. Can you think of something for them? And maybe Henry at TrueHoop can be Chris Wallace, since he gives us so many great readers for free!

  39. Warren & Pato,
    If you have a hard time watching games overseas, have you tried downloading games? That’s what I do, even though I’m in the US. You have to have a high-speed internet connection, and you need two software programs (a torrent program, like Azureus, and a media player, like VLC), but it’s really easy.

    The two websites I use (hd-t.org and sportbit.org) usually have games up 6-12 hours after they’re played, and it takes another 6-12 hours to download. So you can watch the games about a day after they’re played. And most of the downloads are HD quality.

  40. Jackson doesn’t smoke cigars but does like a good joke at his colleagues’ expense, like calling San Antonio’s Popovich and his coaching staff, none of whom played in the NBA, “the simulator crew.”

    ^ From Mark Heisler’s column this morning.

    “Simulator Crew.” hahaha. The Spurs draw up their game plans on NBA 2k8.

  41. Hi Matt,

    Maybe we can share Pau. Or, you’d like Jeannie Buss?

  42. Emma, I’m with you on Marv Albert. He’s been doing the “Na-Ha-Ra” thing since 2000, when Eduardo came in the league with Dallas. You’d think he’d have learned how to say it by now!

  43. 36. PJ call Sacramento a “cow town” and Shaq called their team the “Queens.”

  44. drrayeye,
    I’m okay with sharing.

  45. Regarding the playoff seeding question, I agree we need to find a way to include teams like Golden State over teams like Atlanta. But I absolutely do not want to switch to a system where we just go 1-16, or even a cross-seed system (East #1 vs. West #8, etc.).

    I’ve been following the NBA since the mid-80’s, and one of the things that I love is the conference rivalries. I remember playoff series against the Blazers, Mavs, Warriors, Suns, Spurs, Jazz and others in the 80’s, 90’s and this decade. We all remember the near-upset of the Suns two years ago, but lets not forget the near-upset of the Barkley Suns in ’93 too. (Refresher: We won the first two, on the road, as a huge underdog, then lost three straight; AC Green was a warrior – he had 17, 15, and 19 rebounds in those three losses!)

    That’s just one of countless memories of playoff battles against other West teams. This year I’m looking forward to playing the Jazz in the second round. (Remember the Kobe airballs in the late 90’s against the Stockton-Malone team?). And if we make the conference finals, I would love to renew our bitter playoff rivalry with either the Spurs or Suns.

    If you go to a 1-16 system, you risk losing a lot of those matchups. (Raise your hand if you”d be excited to play the Wizards this year. Anyone? What about the Raptors? Anyone? Anyone?) I mean, we all want to play the Celtics in the Finals, right? Imagine if we played them in the second round next year. How wrong would that feel?

    To me the bigger issue is how the playoff problem affects the distribution of talent through the draft. By drafting in the lottery, better teams from the West like Portland and Golden State get more talent, while inferior teams like Atlanta draft later and get less talent, thus perpetuating the imbalance. I think the league needs to seriously look at this element of the issue.

  46. 40. Oh man, I know first hand the dangers of planning game strategy based on NBA 2K8. I have been playing Kobe at the 4 when Gasol and Bynum get tired (happens way too much) and he just eats people alive. And I get thoughts like… “wait a second, could this happen? Why not? Match up Kobe on bigs… oh the fun he’d have.” Then my Laker friend slaps me in the head like I’m in a V8 commercial, and I come back down.

    But if 2K8 can teach the Lakers to shut down the pick and roll, I’m all for it.

  47. How about old friend John R. as Mamba? Ran his mouth prior to this season about how awful the team was and how they wouldn’t go anywhere (and even considered the Clippers as a more viable championship contender over the varsity squad at Staples) and has been pleasantly quiet since…

    I’ll go with nomuskles and Warren as the ‘Andrew Bynum’, weren’t big players prior to this year but have been a staple of the FBG roster since

    But Drrayeye is definitely Jeanie, haven’t you guys seen his pictorial in Playboy?

  48. 39-matt;
    I’ve become computer illiterate or something; how does the torrent thing work? it seems like the new in thing after edonkey but i just can’t seem to get it to work.

    what exactly is it anyway? a codec? file sharing?

    -clueless in seattle… err… seoul

  49. Warren Wee Lim April 28, 2008 at 1:08 am

    LOLz. You have no idea how that crazy idea made me laugh after almost a day reading your comments… its fun to be around though, makes you remember “Luke as Me” that way.

    I’ve been playing well and hard as of late. I am making Denver pay for putting Anthony Carter on me.

    WTF?! I’m talking like that “Lamar Odom” guy whom Kurt loves to edit the comments with.

    Matt, I am intrigued by that suggestion of yours and I think I will give it a shot for next year. The only problem as of now for that scheme is the ISP on our place sucks. Provides only for 384kbps (imagine that?!) and it makes me want to stare at the scoreboard instead.

  50. 2 things.

    1) To #48 (harold) – To avoid saying too much (in the off chance that it might get -somebody- in trouble), the idea is that you need a “tracker” program (such as Azureus, which matt named). Once you have one of those, you can then use that program to open the .torrent files, which will then download to your computer. Be aware that a number of settings can affect how successfully you can download. If you’re interested in the mechanics behind it, check out the wikipedia page (available at http://tinyurl.com/27ggk6 – tinyurl used for space constraints). I hope that helps.

    2) As for playoff seedings – I feel like somebody already mentioned this (I forget where I heard it), but what about the following? Start by requiring that any team with a winning record gets in ahead of any team with a losing record. Golden State FAR deserves a playoff berth ahead of the Hawks. Blazers vs 76ers would be an interesting argument, I’ll admit – but at least it would have created a much more interesting ‘last team in’ race than the nonsense surrounding the bottom of the East this year. Now, the division winners get seeded against the 3 worst playoff-eligible teams in their conference by order of record. That gives you 12 teams. The remaining 4 slots are granted by order of W/L record.

    The first round bracket for this season using this formula:

    West: (1) Lakers vs (6) Blazers; (2) Hornets vs (5) Warriors; (3) Jazz vs (4) Nuggets

    East: (1) Celtics vs (6) Raptors; (2) Pistons vs (5) Wizards; (3) Magic vs (4) Cavs

    Record: (1) Spurs vs (4) Mavs; (2) Rockets vs (3) Suns

    If there are 4 teams remaining from each conference, re-seed 1-4 based on record and play from there. Now, in a scenario like this season’s, that’s impossible (and it can happen even with an even 8 from each conference, if two teams from the same conf win the ‘record’ games). If the breakdown is 5-3, I would suggest that the team with the best record in the ‘5’ conference play the team with the worst record (of either conference). If that team happens to be another from the ‘5’ conference, go to the second-best record in the ‘5’ conference against the second-worst record of either conf – continue until all teams have been re-seeded. A sample version of round 2, using my guesses as to which teams would win the above round 1 matchups:

    (1) Lakers vs (8) Cavs

    West: (1) Hornets vs (4) Suns; (2) Spurs vs (3) Jazz

    East: (1) Boston vs (2) Detroit

    Once again, if there are an equal number of teams, re-seed within conferences based on record. If not, simply seed based on record. Sample round 3:

    (1) Celtics vs (4) Suns; (2) Lakers vs (3) Spurs

    Last two teams play for the championship. Celts vs the Lake-show, as it was meant to be (I hope). I know it’s awfully wordy, but here’s the condensed version:

    it gets all the best teams into the playoffs (almost certainly), yet has only 4 total possible series that are not within conference (out of a total of 15), and that’s the worst-case scenario. Keeps most of the conference matchups, but prevents a team from cakewalking through a weak conference (see – Cavs ’07), both by getting stronger teams in overall and by preventing teams from playing exclusively against their own conferences if one is so significantly weaker (ie loses all head-to-head playoff series).

    I don’t think this comment is long enough. :)

  51. 48 – harold,
    Don’t worry, I just figured it out recently myself.

    In a nutshell, it’s basically a different way to download. Instead of 100 people all downloading a file from a single server, they all download little pieces of the file from eachother. When you download from a single server, the more people there are downloading, the slower it goes. With torrents, the more people downloading, the faster.

    HOW TO GO ABOUT IT
    1. First you need a high-speed internet connection.

    2. Next you need a type of software called a bittorrent client. This is the software that can execute the download. I use the Vuze beta version of Azureus, which has a user-friendly interface and gives you lots of options and information. It’s also cross-platform, so it works on Windows, Mac, Linux, etc. You can download it here (http://tinyurl.com/pgxdt). utorrent is another popular one.

    3. Next you need a media player. Game downloads come in many different file types. The only media player I know of that can play all the different file types is VLC by VideoLAN (QuickTime and WMP won’t do the trick). You can download it here (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/). VLC is also cross-platform.

    4. Now you go to a torrent website. Like I mentioned above, I use hd-t.org, which is a Lakers-centric site. Currently their downloads are in 720 x 400 resolution, which is low-level HD. In the near future they plan to upgrade to 1280 x 720, which is medium-level HD. The perks of this site are that they don’t monitor your upload-to-download ratio, and there are usually several hundred people downloading games right after they are posted, so downloads are relatively quick (6-12 hours for a 1.5 gig file).

    Another perk is that whoever provides the games (it’s all anonymous) must live in the LA area, because all of the games use the KCAL broadcast, including playoffs, so you don’t have to suffer through road-team announcers.

    I also use sportbit.org, which has all types of sports. Some people also like sport-scene.net. All of these sites require you to join, and some of them have restricted windows of opportunity to join (hd-t being the exception). When you join a site, read the FAQ, which usually links to a “bittorrent for dummies”-type page. Also be sure to read the rules, as breaking them will usually get you banned.

    5. Select a game you want to download, and click on the link. This downloads a torrent file to your desktop. This file is not the actual download, it’s more like a set of directions telling your bittorrent software where to get the download from. (Be sure to leave this file on your desktop – deleting it undermines the download.)

    6. Make sure your bittorrent softward (Azureus) is open, then double-click on the torrent file on your desktop. Congratulations! You are now downloading.

    TIPS
    * In Azureus, go to the View menu, select Advanced, and then My Torrents. This screen gives you all sorts of info on your downloads, and you can customize it by right-clicking on a column header and selecting Column Setup.

    * Go to the Azureus Preferences, click on Transfer, and make sure all three boxes are set at 0. This allows the program to self-regulate how fast to upload and download.

    * As you’re downloading and after you’re done, keep an eye on your Share Ratio. A share ratio of 1.000 means you have uploaded the same amount to other users as you have downloaded from them, 0.800 means you’ve uploaded 80% as much as you’ve downloaded, etc. As a courtesy to others, you should always try for a share ratio of 1.000 or better. Some sites ban you if your share ratio goes too low.

    * Hd-t is run by a couple guys who are always the providers of the games, so their files are very consistent. But on sites like sportbit and sport-scene, files are posted by anyone, and there often varying degrees of quality and resolution. You should always read the details about what you’re downloading. I always check the resolution, and I usually only download from users who have a track record of providing quality files.

    Kurt – Sorry for the long post. My only way to enjoy games is online, and I like to help others in the same predicament. I appreciate you letting us do that here.

  52. (47) Thanks, Goo, but Kurt already indicated displeasure at Warren’s flight of fancy. Matt allowed me to share Pau Gasol.

  53. 47.

    Totally forgot about John R… Where are you? We still love you!

    45.

    To fix the draft problem, I think the way to go is simple… Ignore who qualifies for the playoffs and who doesn’t. The best 16 teams in the REGULAR SEASON do not go to the lottery. The remainder go to the lottery. This way, Atlanta would have a lottery pick and Portland wouldn’t.

    However, shouldn’t Atlanta be penalized for not knowing how to draft? Actually, they should give us Al Horford for Chris Mihm right away, as a penalty…

  54. 50. The best 16 teams not qualifying for the lottery sounds like a really good idea. However, after considering this I realized that it might spoil a lot of late season games.

    Would the Kings have had the pride to upset the Lakers, Dallas and Houston in April if they knew they were competing with the Sixers, Atlanta & Portland (who also upset the Lakers and Dallas in April) for the last lottery spot?

    I think that there would be a lot more late season tanking for those teams that are eliminated from the playoffs, but still competitive (i.e. Sacramento, Portland, Golden State, and even in the East there is New Jersey, Indiana and Chicago). As a Laker fan, we would not have to worry about our storied franchise throwing any games, but it may lower the overall NBA appeal across the country if some smaller markets were quitting early.

    I have considered what the best solution would be for the disparity of the East and West ever since Jordan retired. I just don’t see one answer that wouldn’t come with equal negatives. I agree with Matt, that cross seeding or a 1-16 format would destroy the historical rivalries.

    I think that the East just has to have a little more pride and open up their pockets, to become more competitive.

  55. Warren Wee Lim April 28, 2008 at 5:50 am

    The problem roots to the East being cold cities and not owning enough deep-pocketed owners. Its not like they don’t have any (ahem Dolan ahem) but there simply aren’t that many. So one of the causes would be spending.

    If we talk about the spending aspect, its hard to argue small-market owners in the east to be thrift about things. Would it do the NBA good if they were losing money significantly annually? That by itself is an issue.

    Another cause would be that the East have yet to develop their own group of powerhouses. Boston looks like one team that is looking to dominate short term, Detroit is on the way out, Cleveland’s name recall depends on LeBron, Orlando made their name by drafting D-12 and paying Shard a sickkkk amount of money, Toronto has gone nowhere in the last 5 years, Washington has one of the better coaches but not the team, Philly is clearly rebuilding, Atlanta could not draft LeBron James even if they had the 1st pick, Milwaukee could not even sign their own top-ten pick, Charlotte is forever an expansion, New York is well, better as of late, New Jersey just made a bold move, Indiana will be Indiana with Bird at the helm and I seem to have forgotten what else to add.

    There is something wrong with these teams/owners.

    Whereas, the West have:

    Minnesota – Al Jeff, Randy Foye and a top-3 pick.
    Portland – Oden, Aldridge and Roy w/ tons of cap space.
    Seattle – Kevin Durant and looks to add another franchise pick.
    Sacramento – has Kevin Martin and Hawes and a bunch of promise.
    Golden State – has Bdiddy, Jax and Monta.
    Memphis – has cap space and Rudy Gay.
    LA Clippers – has Brand, Livingston (though injured) and a lotto pick.

    Which teams do you think will have a better future as we speak? I thought so.

  56. I say we go back to eliminating the ping pong balls. The worst team drafts first. This still seems to work in the NFL (I know, a dirty word). The NBA was all worried about Ralph Sampson, and look how that all turned out. Then we had problems with every lottery team having an equal chance. Now it all is a real crap shoot and truely bad teams, like Memphis get totally screwed every year and go on to do things like trade Pau. Yeah, I realize we like that last scenario, but bad teams that aren’t run by Donald Sterling really should have a shot at talent.

  57. The NBA (David Stern) didn’t take into account man’s fundamental need to cling to whatever hope he can find. The lottery, I believe was made on one hand to discourage teams racing to the bottom to automatically get the pick and X player coming out that year and also to create off-season buzz for the league. The second objective is usually achieved, but the first is not. Teams still race for the bottom because even though it’s only 25%, it’s still better odds individually than the other teams.

    Personally, I hate when the lottery rewards teams that barely missed the playoffs. I’m looking at you Orlando and Portland.

    But that’s just my two cents…

  58. This Little Pinky April 28, 2008 at 9:47 am

    I think of myself as the Jack Nicholson of this blog.

  59. Matt (39), thanks a lot but don’t worry about me. I can see the games, the trouble is that I’m force to see them in Internet (i.e. in stoogetv) and sometimes the signal (?) get lost (??) (sorry even I have problems trying to understand what I’m writing). So I’m watching the first quarter, then 2 minutes of the second, three in the ESPN gamecast, again I get the image and continue with the game… That’s what I was talking about.
    Besides, another example, today LA plays at 10.30 (east time, right?), here in Argentina is at 11.30 PM (and before in the season the difference was 3 hours). So I go to bed at 2 AM and got to get up at 6AM!!!
    But, right now with Internet I can watch the games (I also bought the NBA Pass, but here they transmite two games by day, and of course sometimes you can see the Lakers), the problem was in the 80’s (just one game of the entire NBA, sometimes, by week) or in the 90’s (2 or 3 games by week and always the Bulls in the TV).
    Of course, right now everybody forgot they were Bulls fans in the past and this country looks like a big San Antonio city (because of Manu, of course).

  60. Here’s my suggestion for playoff selection and seeding.
    Division winners get the top three seeds in each conference.
    The remaining top ten teams by W-L record are assigned
    alternately to the East or West with the top record going to
    that team’s conference. The next best goes to the other
    conference playoffs and so on. If I did this right, this year
    would have the West as LA, NO, Utah, SA, PHX, DEN, CAVs
    and POR. In the East it would be BOS, DET, ORL, HOUS,
    MAVS, GS, WAS and TOR. If you look at first round matchups,
    I think there are several that would be more entertaining than
    the current ones going on in the East.

  61. 57, the problem is that having lottery percentages allotted to all non-playoff teams makes EVERY team want to tank, so that they all could potentially gain 5-10% depending on how bad their record ends up…if they could just limit the lottery style to the worst 5-3 teams (or even a coin flip between the worst two or something), then you won’t have a team like Portland who is far away from the worst record deciding to punt a few games since it could potentially be the difference between a 11 or 3 draft pick.

  62. 58) This Little Pinky

    Hopefully not the Jack Nicholson at the end of “Cuckoo’s Next.”

  63. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the current playoff format. So who cares if one conference dominates the other as it is always cyclical. Sports is all about great players dominating during their prime years. In the 80s when most of the powerhouses were in the east coast, the playoff series in the first few rounds were crazy and even in the 90s. Plus, before the games were played, everyone was excited about the first round serieses of western conference playoffs. No one should try to “force” great matchups. Teams will find ways to use the system to their advantage. If it aint’ broke, why fix it? If it takes more than a couple of sentences (or even paragraphs) to explain your idea, then most likely, it’s not a good one.

  64. 62. Obviously he’s talking about Jack Nicholson in the Shinning ;)

  65. 62
    Or The Shining.

  66. New post up.