Another nomuskles live blog for your viewing pleasure.
Boston holds serve at the Garden (after a few shaky moments) and the Lakers attempt to stay perfect on the Staples Center hardwood floor during these 2008 Playoffs. We’ll obviously be watching Kobe’s back to see how he’s doing with his extra day off.
TNT doesn’t want to show us the game. They’re making us watch the end of this Boston-Cavaliers torture test. Phew. Lebron doesn’t push it. Zoom to LA!
Lakers up 5-0 on two Kobe Bryant shots. Jazz are trying to change up their luck by using the powder blue uniforms that suck monkey balls from a design standpoint. You can’t read the names or numbers or anything because it’s dark blue on a fairly dark blue. Whoever decided these would work needs help.
9:30 – The Jazz first four points come on wide open dunks. First Brewer took the ball away from Fisher and had his own fast break and then the Lakers suffered a breakdown in the halfcourt.
9:08 – Okay, three dunks. Brewer gets another dunk.
8:53 – AK47 turns away the Gasol jump hook. Great play. Ronnie Brewer gets a layin on the other end.
8:25 – Lamar has it in the middle and tries to go up. All kinds of contact on his head and the refs just call the ball out of bounds. Adding insult to injury they give the ball to the Jazz. I’m not sure how u justify that call.
7:59 – Lakers finally play some good defense and get a 24 second violation. Sarcastic clap.
7:43 – Kobe raises up over Brewer and hits a very difficult fadeaway above the free throw lane.
7:07 – The Space Cadet nails a 20 foot jumper that was wide open because of a good down screen by Fisher on the weak side while D-Will got caught watching the ball. Timeout Jazz. 15 – 8 Lakers lead. I got to warn you. I was so angry last game. I’m not even in a good mood tonight. We’ll see if any humor makes its way into this one. Or maybe we’ll just see unabated sarcasm and mirth. Who says it can’t be both.
6:43 – Fisher mishandles the ball out of bounds. Whoopsee.
6:25 –Brewer shoots the 21 footer from the right wring and I’m okay with him shooting that. He misses it. Anything but those easy dunks please.
5:48 – Williams picks up his first foul on a Fisher drive to the bucket. Fisher is lucky that was a foul because there was no one to follow for the offensive rebound on the inevitable missed layup.
5:27 – Ronnie Brewer is fed for another layer on a flex cut. This is absurd. Kobe needs to quit this ridiculousness. Just because he is the MVP doesn’t mean the guy he’s guarding is garbage. This is the part of Kobe’s game that frustrates me the most. He falls asleep on defense and lets his man go back door way too often. It’s a symptom of his lack of respect for the man he’s guarding.
4:31 – With a Kirilenko bucket, the Jazz are now within 3. 19-16.
4:09 – The Space cadet hits a 3 to slow the Jazz mini run. The TNT guys make a joke that they think he’s heard Phil Jax’s baritone voice. ::chuckles by Harlan and Collins:: I wasn’t laughing because his uninspired play has been hurting us. Why doesn’t he always play with purpose and intensity? When is it a contract year for him?
3:35 – VladRad hits another one from the left corner in semi transition! Assist from LO!
2:52 – We go to timeout after a Kirilenko jumper with the Lakers up 25-18.
2:45 – The Lakers try to run an alley oop with Kobe and I cringe. With a bad back that’s a dangerous play as he gets met in the air by Milsap. Doug Collins makes the same point.
2:19 – Kobe picks up a stupid foul on Harpring underneath the basket.
2:10 – Milsap gets the rebound off the missed freethrow. The Lakers need to figure out how to keep him off the glass or I’m going to have to figure out how to dislodge my remote from my TV.
1:42 – Lakers make a great defense play to take the ball away from Boozer and then Kobe and Luke flub it in transition. Korver nails the three on the return. Excuse me while I type the rest of this without the pinky I just gnawed off.
1:13 – Farmar checks in. I predict he’ll have a great close to the quarter. It should be noted that if we are seeing Farmar this late, it means Fisher stayed out of foul trouble.
0:20 – Kobe is dribbling at half court against Harpring.
0:07 – Kobe loses the ball against Harpring. This is stupid. He makes an unnatural basketball motion but doesn’t draw contact so he won’t be suspended. Korver comes back the other way and feeds Boozer streaking down the middle. He draws a foul on Lamar. If you’re a Lakers fan you only see Boozer’s left arm pushing Lamar out of the way. If you’re a Jazz fan you see…well I dunno. I’m not a jazz fan. They can make their own excuses for the ref’s suckitude. So far, the refs have been mediocre for both sides. Boozer makes one of two and the Lakers are up 29-26 as the quarter comes to a close. That quarter was a C+ for the Lakers and a C for the Jazz.
11:20 – Lakers are really hustling coming out of the break. It’s the bench mob and Pau. Pau gets a rebound off a Jordan miss and dunks it!
10:40 – D-Will is back in quickly to see if he can settle things. The chaotic thing is working in the Lakers’ favor for whatever reason. Nope. Utah turns it over.
10:16 – Farmar drills a three. Absolutely drills it. Hands up together, down together. We’ll see if that’s the ex-lax or just a one off.
9:44 – Gasol hits a nice looking set shot. 36-29 Lakers.
9:27 – D-Will draws a foul on Farmar.
8:57 – D-Will makes a nice step back move against Farmar and hits a long two. 33-36
8:25 – Pau might be missing an ear. Millsap absolutely Van Gogh’d the guy three times before Pau could get a foul call. Great job by Pau to not be a weenie and keep on trying until he got a bucket or a foul. That’s Milsap’s third and I’m happy to see him sit down this early in the half. Kurt makes a great point in the comments. Both teams are giving the ball away at an incredible rate.
Coming back from the timeout, they’ve decided to give the foul to Ashton Kutcher instead of Milsap. So Milsap will stay in the game and harass the Spaniard some more. 38-33 Lakers after Pau hits both free throws.
8:15 – Sasha gets under Korver’s skin and Korver gets caught shoving Sasha on the offensive end. They won’t lose much as he takes as a seat because brewer comes back into the game.
7:36 – Lakers play great defense and it ends up in a steal! Kobe pummels his way into Harpring’s arm and draws the foul. Watch that back MVP. Also, this crowd blows. Freaking golf claps. I hate Staples Center.
7:19 – Okur is too open. He can’t make it.
7:12 – SARCASM ALERT: Oh, you mean if you trust your teammates they hit shots for you? I’m shocked. Kobe passes it back to a wide open Vujacic who nails a three. Where was that trust in overtime, you guppy?
6:56 – Pau doesn’t box Boozer out and boozer gets away with his elbow/forearm shove in the small of the back to get an offensive rebound and putback. I wouldn’t make that call if I were the ref either but it’s a very savvy move. Lakers fans, don’t be upset at boozer for doing that move, be upset at Pau for being weak sauce.
6:28 – fisher hits a shot to make it 45-35 Lakers.
6:13 – Doug Collins can’t shut up. He’s in my brain. He’s in my brain. Jazz throw it out of bounds.
5:53 – Lakers pass up a couple of outside shots to try and get an inside shot and get Pau two free throws. I like this. It’s not part of the triangle necessarily, but it’s much better than the watch Kobe/Lebron and stand around isolation offense. Lakers have cleaned up their turnovers a little bit here and have made a small surge while the jazz have not. Maybe Kurt should become a commentator. Same score as before.
Pau misses the first makes the second in a nod to his linemate Lamar.
5:41 – Kobe picks up his second foul on D-Will. Harlan can’t stop talking about Deron Williams as the “throttle” of Utah. Call me a cynic, but I don’t think it’s particularly clever or insightful.
5:25 – Lakers run pick and roll with Kobe and Gasol which we haven’t seen a whole lot of success with but this time we get a nice layup for Gasol. Doug says it’s called a “squeeze.” Jazz answers with a nice jumper. 48-39 Lakers.
4:36 – Vujacic tightropes the baseline tracking down a rebound and those hustle plays are going to win us the game tonight. This leads to another semi transition bucket where Lamar just takes it in himself and gets a layup. 51-39 Lakers up. Jazz turn the ball over in the paint and then Kobe returns the favor by missing Derek Fisher by about 5 feet and passing the ball to Jerry Sloan who is neither a Laker nor an eligible player. I feel like John Madden would be perfect for this situation. “well, the goal is not to turn the ball over so many times so that you can keep the ball in your possession more often. Boom. And that’s how they’re going to score.” Lakers turn the ball over and AK47 dunks it with no one in the same zip code.
3:55 – Mehmet insults Lamar’s mother with that shot. Right in his eye. Three pointer is good. 44-51.
3:21 – Two great passes by Fisher here. A post entry from beyond half court into Pau. I’m not sure how that one got through. And then a pass over the top into Lamar who had only a small bit of sunlight underneath the rim. Two points over the outstretched fingertips of Andrei.
3:00 – CJ Miles, with no regard for human life. That’s not right. Nasty.
2:47 – Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie are shown on TV at the game. 53-46.
2:36 – CJ Miles hits a nice jumper with high elevation over Vujacic.
2:23 – Pau throws too tough a pass and Lamar can’t get it. TO again.
1:51 – Let it not be said that Lamar can guard Deron Williams. He can’t. Deron Williams used him like a steering wheel. First this way then that way. Step back J. two points.
1:15 – Pau outsprints everyone in transition and Kobe finds him for a nice dunk.
1:00 – Utah within 3.
0:52 – Pau gets a nice turn around jumper in the paint. 52-57.
0:34 – LAKERS STEAL IT! Kobe gets an easy layin
0:21 – Deron Williams takes it hard to the bucket and gets “fouled” by Lamar. As much as someone holding their arms straight up and down can foul someone anyway.
0:16 – Kobe will play for the final shot. It’s 54-59. No look pass to Lamar who BLOWS it! Oh no. But SUPER PAU is there to save the day! Puts it back like how Lamar saved Kobe at the end of regulation the other night. 61-54 Lakers are up going into halftime. Lakers need to come out strong in the third quarter. I need to do some dishes. Be right back.
Avery Johnson at halftime. Nothing useful.
Kobe wasn’t imposing his will on the game in the first half. I’m okay with that plan unless the Jazz are deciding to go one on one or the offense starts to sputter. Then I think Kobe needs to take Brewer and Harpring and Kirilenko to school.
Stupid note: I just noticed that the Lakers and the Jazz are going the direction that they usually go in the first half. That is to say, when the Lakers play at Staples, they usually shoot at the left basket (on TV) first. Tonight, they are going to shoot at that basket during the second half.
11:49 – Brewer starts it off with a couple of free throws to close the gap to a five point lead.
11:20 – Jazz have powers of levitation. The ball hovers in mid air as Boozer picks it up and scores the layup.
10:58 – Fisher hits a nice looking two pointer from the left side. 63-58.
10:31 – Williams works extremely hard to bump Fisher off with no time left on the clock. And makes it.
9:50 – The Lakers decide they don’t want to win. Lamar throws it away. Two points for AK47.
9:23 – Everyone is focused on the turnovers. It’s all TNT wants to talk about.
8:59 – Cookies. Kirilenko picks Kobe’s pocket and the refs bail him out by calling a reaching foul.
8:50 – Great left runner by Lamar. 67-62.
8:31 – AK-47 drives from the right wing into the paint and Odom is the help defender. Boy, if that was a car crash, Kirilenko was the monster truck and Odom was the Honda Civic making the left turn. Lamar gets attention from Vitti for a cut. Kirilenko makes two free throws. Radman misses a wide-open 13 footer. Williams comes back and drives the line drawing a foul. He makes two. Utah down one.
8:05 – Lakers fans still aren’t loud. Even with a chance to re-extend the lead.
7:34 – Deron Williams ties the game with a three.
7:16 – A beautiful dish to Brewer on the fast break. Oh ruined by the traveling call. That was nice. Still 69-69.
6:35 – Now he’s there, now he’s not. Williams was mismatched on Kobe and Kobe told Lamar to get the hell out of the way because he was keeping Kirilenko in a help position. Lamar goes away and poor little Williams is left all alone in the post against Kobe. It’s just not fair. No double teams comes and before you can scream uncle, Kobe makes a delicious spin move and Deron Williams literally falls down on his face because he was trying to lean into Kobe. Kobe gets the easy layup with all the Jazz players around the free throw line to watch. If I’m Williams I say to my teammates, “umm guys, that would’ve been a great time to provide some help in the form of a double team since we were, you know, tied and all.” I’m sorry, that gets re-watched via DVR. It’s better the second time around.
It’s Kobe time lakes fans.
5:53 – beautiful feed by Kobe into Lamar who used his forearm to gain separation from a soft Okur.
5:25 – Kobe disrespects Brewer again and Brewer gets an offensive tip in. 71-73 Lakers. That’s enough of your ego Mr. Bryant. Leave that somewhere else. I don’t want it. Guard him. He’s proven he can score. You are not above boxing out and you are not above playing good defense. If you don’t, you are going to cost the team the game and we will all point our finger at you instead of the domestiques.
4:13 – Utah ties it 73+73.
3:55 – Kobe tries to dunk it against Okur but comes up a few inches short. A healthy back and he might’ve slammed it home. He draws the foul and he misses both free throws.
3:37 – Milsap is the aggressor and fouls Kobe’s arms on the rebound but no foul is called. The only damage on that one is a Luke foul as Brewer is unable to convert the open shot. Lamar takes his train into the middle and gets a foul on Millsap. He makes both free throws. 75-73 Lakers up.
2:41 – Missed opportunities. Deron Williams steps on the endline after a Lakers turnover. The jazz haven’t been able to leap frog the Lakers even the Lakers don’t seem to want to hang onto the lead. I’m not even nervous. Before this, Doug Collins tells us that it was strategy to have Kobe sit in the lap of Carlos boozer and let Brewer take all those shots. I call BS. It’s fine to let brewer shoot open jumpers, it is not okay to let brewer shoot wide open layups, dunks, and forget to block him out on the glass. That was not part of the plan. And that is what Kobe has done tonight.
2:31 – Kobe finds himself back at the line. Drains the first. Shortarms the second. 76-73 Lakers still up.
2:05 – brewer gets another dunk. Someone just punch me in the kidney and take me to the hospital already.
1:58 – Kobe makes Harpring’s stratagem look silly. He’ll take the free two points. 78-75. Harpring hits a shot on the other end. 78-76.
1:34 – Lawrence Tanter gets his Kobeeeeeeeeeeee Bryant on. Kobe doesn’t get touched because he somehow became a gymnast overnight but he gets the foul call anyway and makes the layup for good measure. Converts the three-point play. 77-81.
1:24 – Milsap fakes the three point shot from the top of the arc and Lamar doesn’t bite at all. You can see him thinking “no way man. You’re more scared of Sloan’s reaction to you taking that shot than I’m scared of you making that shot.” Harpring gets fouled and makes two free throws. 79-81.
0:50 – Milsap barrels into Lamar’s quickly shuffling feet and gets called for the offensive foul. That’s his fourth. I breathe a sigh of relief. Utah is going zone. Walton can’t make them pay. Left corner three is clankers.
0:08 – Price hits a running layup.
0:00 – Everyone’s favorite takes the last second shot and it goes…not in. so much for redemption.
The crowd is barely above a golf clap with the scored tied at 81. ::shakes head:: Lakers going with a very melanin-deficient side. Pau, Farmar, Walton, Radmanovic, and Vujacic. Jazz the same with Williams, Kirilenko, Okur, Korver, and Harpring.
11:37 – The Space Cadet drains a three. 84-81 Lakers.
11:17 – Chants of defense and Lakers finally get a decent stop.
9:54 – Harpring fouls Walton fading away at the end of the shot clock in the post. Luke makes the second one. 85-84.
9:18 – the bench mob is still hustling. They are picking up some loose balls.
8:58 – GASOL =Michael Jordan?
Williams gets into the paint too easy. Layup. One point lead for the good guys.
8:39 – Farmar says, HAVE SOME. He’ll have a chance at a three point play after the timeout. 90-86 Lakers up.
Kirilenko gets a nice layup at the basket beating
7:54 – I’m not gonna finish that sentence. Oh my. With no regard for human life! Lamar slams it home over the Utah defense. Assist for Kobe. 92-88.
7:19 – great hustle by Kirilenko. He isn’t able to corral the ball but that’s a nice job trying to get the rebound.
6:53 – terrible call by the officials. They say Kirilenko shoved Vujacic who stupidly tried to take on AK-47 in the open court instead of pulling it back. Vujacic was bailed out. 88-94. That should’ve been Jazz ball out of bounds.
6:42 – There’s a terrible call on the other end. Boozer pummels Gasol in the post and somehow Gasol is responsible. I’m not sure what is going no. the refs are shutting their eyes.
6:19 – OH MY! GASOL to ODOM! Down the Lane. Lamar with the slam! And the foul. 97-91.
6:01 – Boozer is having a rough go of it. He traveled in the lane. By all accounts, he seems like a classy guy (except that deal with the contract in Cleveland). I feel bad for him. He’s a great player. I’m not gonna lie, though. I’m glad he hasn’t reached his potential during this series so far. He could have destroyed us with his skill set.
5:33 – I think we’ll win. Only ahead by four. But I like our chances.
Deron Williams must have the biggest testicles in the history of the world. He’s been hurt like three times in this series. That’s more than anyone I’ve ever seen while watching basketball. I’ve never been hurt in the gonads playing basketball. Take what you want from that statement.
4:18 – it’s a foul fest. I thought American gladiators was on NBC…
Fisher gets two free throws to fall 99-94.
Boozer doesn’t convert his layup. Williams curses him.
3:34 – Kobe gets a high rebound and oof. I thought he was going to tweak is back. He looks okay.
3:15 – the machine needs more oil. Missed the three.
A bunch of commenters are starting to note that the Lakers are falling in love with the three pointer even though the inside game is what has been going so well this game. Chalk that up to fatigue. Let’s hope Phil reminds them during the timeout to keep the inside attack going. That effect where they play the video on the outside of staples center is sweet. Whoever came up with that deserves a pat on the back.
3:07 – Set play for a Kirilenko distribution who finds Boozer in the paint for a strong layup. Nice conversion out of the timeout by them.
2:43 – Fisher gets fouled away from the ball and he’ll get to make free throws without being reminded that his daughter has retinoblastoma.
2:41 – Vujacic earns a technical foul. For talking to Korver. Whoops. Korver knocks down the free one. 101-97.
2:15 – Killer shot by the jazz. They fumble it around for a while. Kirilenko gets blocked. Deron Williams gets it and Robert Horry’s it home from the top of the key. Fisher came so close to fouling him but didn’t put up any defense to the shot. You’d rather have him take the shot than foul him and give him three free throws but man, that was a huge bucket. 3 points. Jazz down by only 1.
Lakers fans decide they’ll stand now. Punks. They should’ve been standing this whole damn quarter.
1:55 – Nope. Mid clock doesn’t work for Vujacic either. Lakers rebound and Kobe finds Lamar for the easy dunk. Kobe’s seventh assist.
1:18 – Lamar and fisher had to switch assignments which means Lamar had a tough time defending Deron and then on the rebound, fisher couldn’t keep Okur off the boards.
1:00 – Pau with a strong lefty layup around Okur. 105-102. I’m glad we didn’t have Kwame. For that one.
0:48 – Okur misses.
0:20 – Vujacic can’t make a basket to save his life (Kobe trusted him again) and somehow Pau pushes Okur out of the way to get to the offensive rebound. I don’t think there was a foul there (some embellishment for sure on Okur’s part) but maybe. I’d be willing to entertain the complaints of the Jazz fans. Anyway, no foul called. Pau collects the rebound in his lap and dunks it. Huge. That should pretty much end it. 107-102.
If we manage to lose this one at this point, I’m going to break windows. Double pane windows. I might have broken hands but there are about 36 windows in this house and I’ll get through all of them if we manage to lose at this point.
0:19 – Williams shoots it fast for three and misses. Fisher gets the rebound and is fouled. The game is pretty much sewn up but he can make it sewner. He misses the first one. Makes the second. 108-102.
With all these home court wins, why do we even play these games? Who will be the next team to win on the road? Will there be another team?
My quick thoughts: Lamar and Pau were the difference makers tonight and it was great to have a contributing Radman although he was kind of canceled out by a non-contributing Vujacic.
Final score is 111-104. Lakers are one win away from the Western Conference Finals.