Lakers/Jazz Game 6 Chat

Kurt —  May 16, 2008

I want to touch upon a throw-away line from a recent Kobe radio interview (by Petro and Money on 570).

Kobe noted that he grew up in Italy, plus you have the international influence of Pau Gasol, Vladimir Radmanovic, Sasha Vujaic, even Ronny Turiaf (despite going to Gonzaga). He then said all of them grew up playing soccer.

I’m far from a soccer expert, but what are the key parts to a successful attack in soccer — spacing the pitch, moving without the ball and quick touches.

When the Lakers are playing the triangle offense well, all three of those things are on display. And, as was noted before in this great Basketball Prospectus article, when the Lakers are running the triangle and moving off the ball, they score a lot more.

I just thought that connection was an interesting one. Some other thoughts about tonight’s big game six:

• Expect Utah to play its best game, to play with an increased level of desperation and desire. The Lakers need to match that. If you thought after a tough game five loss Utah might be depressed and fold, I have to ask — have you watched the Jazz at all this series?

• The only way to slow D-Will on the pick-and-roll is to mix up the coverages, and the Lakers did a better job of that last game. When they trapped him on the P&R it was particularly effective, and the Lakers may want to save that look for some key possessions.

• Note to Jazz fans complaining about the game five officiating: That’s not why you lost. The Jazz turned the ball over on 20.4% of your possessions. That is why you lost.

Looking ahead to tonight, if the Lakers can again keep up the more intense on-ball pressure from game five, pick their spots jumping the passing lanes, play solid defense that forces Utah into more jumpers — which in turn often pushes them to make more dangerous passes trying to get good shots — they can force a high percentage of turnovers again and get a win on the road.

• Speaking of turnovers, one constant in this series is that the team that has done more running, got more points in transition or early, unscripted offense, has been the winner. The Lakers need to look to push the ball (but not settle for the three in transition) and they need to have good transition defense to stop the Jazz from getting easy buckets.

For a great breakdown of tonight’s game, check out David Thorpe at ESPN.com.

It would be nice have a few days off to rest while the Spurs and Hornets go one more round, but tonight will be the toughest game to win of the series. It means the Lakers will have to play their best game yet to get a win.

Kurt

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226 responses to Lakers/Jazz Game 6 Chat

  1. Will we see Ariza tonight?

  2. I’d be surprised. But if you can use his practices to light a fire under Radman, do it. Radman has been getting lost on defense a lot, which is why he sits late.

  3. He really is a space cadet…sometimes he just looks like he is not interested…

  4. FRENETIC…the word PJ used to describe the play of both teams in game 5. understandable in that game 5 was a huge game to win. utah will have considerably more pressure this game. hopefully that will translate into frenetic play from the jazz with the lakers able to concentrate more on the task at hand (a road win) without the added pressure of facing an elimination game….an extremely boisterous home crowd may trump the latter though, hopefully not…….

  5. The Lakers’ offense seems, to the naked eye, to be less efficient against the Jazz then it had been since Gasol joined up. Certainly since game 3 in Utah, the Lakers have not shown as much of that soccer type, triangle offense. I’m wondering if anyone out there has some insight on what Utah is doing defensively to take the Lakes out of their system. I know enough about basketball to see that if LeBron get the ball early enough in the clock, and doesn’t go into stand still and dribble mode, the Cavs score. I don’t quite have the knowledge of the game it would take to see what a defense is doing to make LeBron stand still and dribble.

    I think the Lakers are now seeing the most disruptive defense this side of Boston and a much better and well rounded offense then any team they might face the rest of the way. Not that anything is automatic, but the relative ease of the first round allowed the team to be better rested then any other and now this tough series has helped the Lakers trim what fat might have been accrued in Denver. Other then Kobe’s back, I don’t see how anything has really changed regarding how good the team looks since people were touting the 6-0 start to the playoffs and the dominance many were suggesting was being formed in Lakerland. Utah is a very solid, championship caliber team. For the Lakers to have come so close to stealing both games in Utah is a very good sign that Kobe’s June promises won’t be broken.

  6. Having grown up playing soccer, and translating it into a love for basketball later on, another interesting thing between that sport, and the Lakers is soccer is predicated on spacing based on triangles. If you have the ball at your feet at the side, your best chance at moving forward with the attack is having someone in front of/behind you, and another to your side. Squares are common too, but even in those situations, the 4th player is more of a decoy or alternate position for a different triangle. Going for all width, or all depth in an attack rarely nets goals.

    Another key is just footwork. You won’t survive a second in a good game of soccer if you can’t move your feet, be light on your toes, or have good balance stemming from your lower body. This basis is undoubtedly an aid to say Pau and Kobe’s post moves, Sasha’s ability to be a pesky stay-in-front defender, even Ronny and Vlad squaring up when they shoot jumpers.

    Passing angles are another big key. Sure your ability to get by your defender with a dribble move is a good skill to have, but the best players in soccer (i.e. Ronaldinho) are the ones that can pick out passing angles, and make those sort of plays. Think of Steve Nash, who said after learning to do that with his feet, he felt he was cheating when he picked up a basketball and started using his hands.

  7. OK, but a few of those turnovers were caused by uncalled Laker fouls.

  8. I think we have to go back and really look at what did us in the previous games in SLC and try to fix those things.

    *I think we need a good game from at least 2 of our bench guys. Any combination of Luke, Sasha, and Farmar have to provide some offense and Turiaf has to show that he is going to affect the game on defense and rebound well. If we get a good bench effort we have a much better chance.

    *The Jazz did not use much of their *flex* sets with the baseline screen action in game 5. We have to be ready for this in game 6. It was effective in both games 3 & 4, so I would think they’ll go back to that more.

    *Pau needs to be ready for the double team. He needs to be aware that it can come from any angle at this point. It may come from the baseline on that scissor cut off the strong side post entry, or it may come from the top on the weakside ball entry when the post passer is not Kobe. So he has to be patient yet decisive. He must recognize if the double is coming and from where, and then make quick decisions on what to do with the ball. It’s pretty clear at this point that we should be going into the post to initiate the offense and Utah is going to try and counteract that by trying to disrupt Pau. In games 3 & 4, Pau got frustrated by the physicality of the Jazz and coughed up the ball when doubled and when bodied by Okur. We need that type of stuff to lie dormant to win this game.

    *Rebound, rebound, rebound. Nuff said.

    Let’s close this out tonight. Like Kurt said, any extra rest and prep time will only help for the next round.

  9. The soccer analogy is a good one. The triangle is much lie the “buildup” in soccer (although it takes longer on the pitch).

  10. the thorpe link is fixed in the story.

  11. Interesting note on ESPN (yes, it’s by Hollinger, but this particular note held my interest):

    “It’s pretty amazing that L.A. is 7-2 in the postseason when one considers how badly they’ve been beaten on the glass. The Lakers are by far the worst defensive rebounding team in the playoffs, grabbing only 65 percent of opponent missed shots; of the seven other teams to win a round, all but one are above 70. Those second shots have a cost — the Lakers are the worst team of the final eight in playoff defensive efficiency.

    L.A. isn’t much better on the offensive glass, Pau Gasol’s clutch putback in Game 6 notwithstanding: only 24.5 percent of misses end up in their mitts, and among remaining teams only San Antonio is worse.”

    It’s not surprising; outside of Lamar we have no real rebounder. Out of our frontline, Pau and Radman underachieve on the boards. This raises 2 important questions:

    1) With the personnel that we have (no Bynum), is there any strategy Phil can employ to, at the very least, minimize this glaring weakness?
    2) Against which teams in particular will this rebounding deficiency hurt us the most?

  12. The “great Basketball Prospectus article” doesn’t seem to be linked. I assume you mean http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=332

  13. Hey guys, question – What were the Staples crowd chanting at some of the Jazz players when they shot free throws in Game 5?

  14. laughing hard May 16, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    12 — Most of the time they were chanting “Utah sucks!”

    One thing I’m really curious about tonight — possible x-factor: how much do you think Kobe would LOVE to beat Utah in front of their own fans, as payback for their treatment of D-Fish this season? He mentioned that specifically as an extra motivation for their win in the March 20 game in Salt Lake City… I would not be surprised to see that be a factor again tonight.

    I don’t know what that translates into for him, though. Kobe always gives 100% of his game, but this could mean that he will try to be more aggressive with the ball tonight.

    Again, just my speculation.

  15. What has not been said is that since the Series went to Utah is that they’ve pretty much abandoned their flex offense which consists of interior passing and back cuts on the wing. Maybe this is due to fact that the Lakers had time after the Denver series (or serious as Pau and Vlad says) to practice defending this offense and that because Fisher knows the plays so well, he was able to disrupt the flow.

    What Utah has now gone to is an offensive much like the Suns and Hornets – generated by their point guard. Unlike these other team, the Jazz need Williams to score as much as create for his team. I think this exposes them to the eventuality of an off-shooting night from Williams. I haven’t looked up his stats but I wouldn’t be surprised to find his FG% near 60% from 2 and 50% from 3 since game 2. Unsustainable.

    Perhaps tonight will be off-shooting night.

    Since Sloan now has conceded that he needs to play more iso and one-and-one to win, that he hasn’t exploited is the AK vs Vlad match. I’m surprised by this. AK has really impressed me with his post game – I never knew he had a pump fake/drop step move as well as a weird-looking but effective right and left hook. But, much like Lamar, he’s passive and not going to demand the ball and is content to hang around the perimeter and take a J. Pat Riley would have posted AK up against Vlad and given him the ball every single possession until the Lakers doubled.

    When the Jazz run their offense, it now seems exclusively their bread and butter – pick and roll/pop with Williams/Boozer with the pitch out to Okur on the wing as the secondary option, the Lakers have now figured out how to cover this. The Jazz better hope the Williams continues to be on fire.

    Here’s hoping for a chilly evening.

  16. I expect one of two scenarios.

    1. Utah jumps out to an early lead, which is large enough that Phil Jackson sits Kobe to rest him for game 7 where LA has owned Utah this year.

    2. LA jumps to an early lead and AK and the other role players call in the rest of their performance along with their summer vacation plans.

    As a Jazz fan, I expect Kobe’s winless playoff history in SLC to continue.

  17. The result of this game will determine whether the Lakers advance or the Jazz live to fight another day.
    In my opinion, I’m still not convinced the Lakers are championship contenders, and I expect the Lakers to lose this one *unless* they play at a championship level.

    Personally, that’s what makes this game so meaningful: it’s going to measure just how good the Lakers are. We’re asking them to defeat a tough, gritty, disciplined opponent. The Jazz are fighting for their lives and the Lakers will have to contend with them in the most hostile arena in basketball. And to win, the Lakers will have to put it all together.

    If Vlad plays without passion, the Lakers lose.
    If Lamar settles for jumpshots, the Lakers lose.
    If Pau doesn’t rebound, the Lakers lose.
    If Derek is careless, the Lakers lose.
    And if Kobe has to win this game by himself, the Lakers lose.

    Tonight we’ll see what the Lakers are made of.

  18. I like the soccer connection, but you fail to mention another aspect euros learn on the soccer field–flopping and the resulting histrionics that come with it. You see this with many euro players, Okur and AK included. But, the Lakers are masters at this as well. This is also a big part of Sasha’s game, as well as Gasol (man, he looked like he had just lost his firstborn son at times on Sunday) and often Kobe (you can’t tell me Kobe wasn’t playing up his injury during Game 4).

  19. I concur with NJC. Not only will lakers lose tonight, but they will lose by a healthy margin. The last time lakers beat Utah on the road in the playoffs was 20 years ago! I expect that streak to continue….

  20. Any thoughts from long-time Laker watchers about the latest Robert Horry play? (In case you missed it, Horry put took a hard foul/cheap shot on David West’s back last night.) I was recently thinking good things about Horry when he rose to the top of the “Playoff Games Played” list. I’m not normally a big fan of records that players get for just showing up (hello, baseball!), but this one seems to represent a certain amount of success. Watching him spending his final years becoming known for taking out the other teams’ players kind of tarnishes the memory.

    (Vaguely related quote from Larry Bird in SI: “Our regular season games were more physical then the current playoffs.”)

    14-NJC – I’ll believe Phil is taking Kobe out for substantial portions of game 6 when I see him carrying a net, a steel cage, and a bandolier of tranquilizer darts.

  21. 12 – I was thinking that the Lakers look particularly weak as far as rebounds go because the Jazz are so physical near the basket. Then again, I’m just guessing (and the fact of the matter is that they were outrebounded by Denver as well), but I’m wondering if against a team that plays more like the Lakers (i.e. finesse), if our rebounding wouldn’t look quite so bad.

    17 & 18 – I’m not sure about the big margin. One thing I’ve been impressed with (unlike, say, the Hornets/Spurs series), is that neither team has managed to blow the game open in any of the games that have been played thus far. Now, I do think it’s possible that the Jazz open it up to 12 to 15 points in the 2nd/3rd quarter (which both teams have done at home), but I have a feeling that barring any unforseen circumstances, it’ll probably be a relatively close game.

  22. I’m in agreement with From the IE, as opposed to NJC and utahfan. Not that I think the Lakers are guaranteed to win the game, but that there’s little to suggest a large margin of victory (in either direction). Now, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see a final margin in the 10-15 range, but it’s likely that the lead will be within single digits at some point fairly late in the 4th quarter. Both these teams are too good and too tough to let anything else happen, I feel.

  23. @16 – D-Will’s FG% is actually down for the LA series. He averaged 50% during the season and 40% from 3′s. This series he’s shooting 47% from the field and 54% from 3′s. As Jazz fans, we’re waiting for him to get hot from everywhere other than 3 pt range ;)

  24. To go off on a quick tangent, now that I’ve watched Pau for half a year, he rarely makes a shot beyond 12 feet and his best offensive move is a short-range left-handed hook. We all know Lamar has a spotty outside shot. That makes me wonder how a Lamar-Pau-Bynum frontline would work, but I suppose that’s a problem we’ll worry about next season.

  25. #22. That’s a little out of hand. I think we should respect Utah fans and there opinions as long as they are not hateful or trying to attack us here on this site. NJC has been here for a couple of other game chats and has been insightful on what he extpects from his team. We can disagree with them about the game, but you crossed the line there, invoking religion the way that you did.

  26. The one trend that has held true in this entire is the team that jumps out to an early lead (2nd quarter-ish) usually holds on. For the Lakers it’s imperative that they do not fall behind early, because I think they haven’t shown the ability to play from behind at ESA. To me, the key to the Lakers not falling behind will not be Kobe or Pau, but Lamar. When he’s aggressive on the boards, he changes the entire complexion of the game.

    Pau: please stop the complaining tonight. We’re not going to get many calls in Utah. Play through it amigo.

  27. Nice barack…very classy…

  28. Who are the refs for tonight?

  29. If Odom is held to under 50% shooting, Farmar and Vujajic keep throwing up bricks…the Jazz will win handily at home. Boozer will get more calls in the paint, and Kobe will score 39.
    Then the series turns to the final game in LA…and I would rather be playing a team that did not have Kobe in that situation.

  30. Penston, the refs tonight is the James Capers, Dan Crawford, Scott Foster crew.

  31. Barackodrama – Thank for bringing your insight to the forum. I’m not mormon, and neither is 75% of SLC where I live and 40% of Utah.

    Darius – Good looking out.

  32. 21. You know, I just guessed at the numbers but wasn’t far off. Since game 2, William’s 2 point % is 57% (hint, you take his FGM and FGA and SUBTRACT out his 3 point attempts and makes) and his 3 point % is 47%.

  33. I’m just posting this hoping that Karma helps us a little tonight. Sure, it may not give us a win what with our own fans’ “DUI” chants or the occasional rioting after championships, but thought I’d pass it on:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/22893-Utah-Jazz-The-Most-Disgusting-Fans-In-The-NBA

  34. hey Kurt, I miss the what time and what channel feature.
    so, tonights game, hoopsworld has the start at 10:30 eastern, does that mean Utah starts at 8:30? weird start time, I guess to accomodate the espn timing?
    do we still get channle 9 on away games?
    are we done with stu and joel? didn’t get to say goodbye, and thanks!

  35. By the way I didn’t link that to disparage all Jazz fans, just the bad acts of a couple, hoping that they affect karma. Is this reasonable? No, but either is me wearing my lucky pajamas during games.

    I do think that a very large portion of San Antonio fans showed no class last night when they cheered Horry’s name after David West was obviously hurt bad. That is completely improper. If you believe in your team, you should want them to face the best every other team can throw at you. Cheering for an injury like that is bush league.

  36. My early prediction in this series was Lakers in 6. If my ship comes in tonight, I’m packing my bags for Vegas baby! I’m putting all the chips on Purple 24!

    The Utah fans have a right to feel some confidence in their team at home, but to suggest a blowout now isn’t consistent with any other game in this series. Either way, it’s going to be tight. May the best team win (so we can enjoy the weekend and wait to see if we face SA or NO :-)

  37. I believe tonight’s game is on channel 9 as well as espn. and yes, 8:30 local.

  38. NJC – I’ll second what darius said. Every once in a while somebody hops on here that… well, let’s just say some lack the ability to contribute in a positive fashion (or if they have it, they choose to not do so anyway).

    I will note, though, that Williams seems to be shooting jumpers at a much higher rate than he did during the season. This isn’t the same as Bill’s assertion that Williams’s 2-point percentage is up – it’s comparing his ability to hit jumpers between the regular season and the playoffs. On the year, Williams was at about 50% on jumpers. During the playoffs, he’s over 57%. The number of these shots for which he’s assisted (ie receives a pass from a teammate) is down from 39% to 32% (all stats from 82games.com).

    What that tells me is that he’s shooting the ball a lot more at his own discretion (as Kurt and others have noted), and that he’s also been on a hot streak during the playoffs. He’s hitting at a MUCH higher clip than one would expect if you factor in the decreased assist rate (as assisted jumpers are generally easier than unassisted ones).

  39. I think it’s still 7:30 here, but in Utah it will be starting at 8:30, which is pretty late, means it goes til 11.
    must be because of the espn line up,
    ch 9, eh? hope so, much better for me.
    thanks

  40. Ugh… Please note that in the above post, shooting percentages are eFG%.

  41. #22 – The reason you see so many Jazz Fans is probably due to the link off of TrueHoop on the ESPN site as well as very intelligent basketball discussions taking place here. Another reason, is there is no trash talking. And… although we hate each other’s teams – at least we are respectful to one another.

    Go JAZZ!

  42. Hoping4GoodSashaNotBadSasha May 16, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    my head hurts. i think i just read about soccer.

  43. put some hair on Ilgauskas and shrink him by a foot and you have…. John turturro. Right Dude?

  44. 38, wait they’re having Joey Crawford not Dan Crawford? Your NBA link says J. Crawford and the one I found the ref assignments on has D. Crawford: http://www.covers.com/pageLoader/pageLoader.aspx?page=/data/nba/referees/current_assignments.html&t=0

    How retarded. Well, then I assume the NBA site is the accurate one?

  45. Warren Wee Lim May 16, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    barackodrama is way off line. I think he is in the minority in saying that. While I hate those Jazz fans that taunt fish for having a daughter with cancer, this is the most intelligent Laker site you will see in the world – and we the members do not condone that behavior even though we are Laker fans.

    Jazz fans are welcome to post here as long as the insights provided are not insulting and as long as they abide by the house rules.

    So far, its all part of the game.

    GO Lakers!

  46. Kobe’s nose is much longer than Boozer’s. Among other things.

  47. @Bill Bridges, roflsausage at the thought of John Tuturo on the basketball court. Speaking of look alikes, my mother thinks Sasha looks like Apolo Anton Ohno, the short track speed skater.

  48. good start again!

  49. Jazz is deciding to play Pau one on one and Vlad has certainly shown up tonight in the first quarter.

  50. laughing hard May 16, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    That crowd is silent… keep it up, good guys!

  51. LAMAR!

  52. Watch for Milsap to provide a lot of energy for the Jazz here while they are struggling.

  53. Nobody taller than 6.8 for the Jazz. Lamar on the right low block please.

  54. Good fast start . . . which has me a little worried. When the Lakers jump out to a big lead, they have a penchant to slack off in their intensity and let the other team back into it.

  55. Vujacic is a good perimeter defender, but he’s pretty lost in the post or painted area. When Korver got easy pts a couple games back, its because of he posted up on Vujacic. Hope the Lakers d will help out in those situations.

  56. @50 no disrespect to mum, but sasha has a decidedly euro nose bridge and lacks the soul patch of apolo…..they do share the same doo……bill, do you have locker room privileges?….lol

  57. I see LB&G is deleting comments now. Very nice.

  58. Yea Kobe nice dunk, keep it up Sasha…

  59. Booyah-cic!

  60. It’s tough being a Jazz fan right now. We are being smoked! Lakers are playing out of this world.

  61. that kobe spin pass to pau for the dunk would have been sick if only pau didn’t lose the ball and turn it over.

  62. Hold on…if Lakers suck then what is the Jazz? Because we’re dominating right now. And did anyone just see Vlad break CJ Miles ankles?

  63. closing seconds of the half…….the refs have now recognized that the lakers are “playing thru”…..charging foul on boozer, fish now shoots 3 freethrows……man i wish chick was here to make a judgement…….

  64. Obviously Lakers are playing well. What adjustments do you foresee the Jazz making?

  65. laughing hard May 16, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    I expect to see Deron Williams try to create more on his own. Also, Jerry Sloan is going to scream at them to get Okur involved…

  66. Look at those “+/-” stats for both teams starters at half.

  67. Look for Sloan to turn Williams loose even more. He will try to attack the hoop and get the Lakers in foul trouble to lengthen the game. They will be pounding the boards. Lamar Pau and especially Vlad needs to step up on the boards.

  68. understandably the jazz fans are frustrated…”Refs you suck” LOL. The booing on the last 3 pt. shot by fisher is a joke though since he was clearly fouled. Anyway these fans have been in the victim loop this whole series. The game is not fixed…get over it

  69. I heard Sasha is going to be at the Sprint store for a public appearance TOMORROW (Sat) from 2-3pm. It’s the Manhattan Beach Store on Rosecrans. I’m gonna check it. Maybe he’ll sign my son’s jersey.

  70. Props to the Lakers trainers! If people are going to kill them when things are going wrong, they need to recognize for Kobe’s back.

    I like the score right now but the Jazz have too much in them to go down quietly. The Lakers can’t relax.

    Pretty interesting though, everything is pretty much equal except for the shooting percentages and +4 Tos on the jazz.

  71. Best officiated game so far.

  72. laughing hard May 16, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Jazz starters are 11/29 shooting tonight.

    I’m loving what we’ve seen on defense so far tonight.

  73. What is the Jazz fans yelling the last few minutes before the half?

  74. They were yelling “Lakers suck”

  75. i could have sworn it was “REFS YOU SUCK”

  76. 65 –

    For adjustments by the Jazz, look for them to crash the boards a lot harder in the second half. It’s the easiest way to make up for shooting poorly, and there’s absolutely no excuse for their having let Gasol get 11 rebounds in the first half (given how well they’ve handled him in the series so far). Figure that they’ll probably give up a couple more outlets and fast breaks, but they’ve got to try something to eat into this lead, and a string of 2nd-chance points would help that a lot.

    Key for the Lakers will be making sure they box out on the defensive end, and continue to use their length to pressure on the offensive end (without giving up too many runouts of their own – easier said than done, I know…).

  77. It also helps that Fisher is shooting like he did in 01

  78. I thought they were yelling “Ref-erees Suck”

  79. “Re – possesions Suck”?

  80. Lakers are choosing to collapse hard inside, oftentimes leaving the outside shooters open. If the Jazz can knock down some shots, it’s going to frustrate the Lakers’ defensive plan.

  81. We can’t let them get any momentum at home. We need to come out aggressive and play to win. We can’t play not to lose or play to hold on to the lead, we need to keep up the pressure.

  82. laughing hard May 16, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    It was “refs you suck” — I couldn’t figure that out for a long time.

  83. Yeah if was “Ref you suck” because of the offensive foul call from Joey Crawford. The call did come a little late and looking at it again it wasn’t a lot more contact than boozer usually creates. He ducked his shoulder and arm down into Odom’s chest while Odom was more or sless set outside the circle. His feet were moving a little but more or less in place. I don’t know if that matters or not. Anyways, Odom sold it. And being Joe Crawford, he made the call with a lot of expression. So the fans were upset. Then again when Williams was called for the foul on the 3 pointer.

  84. The Dude Abides May 16, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    #44-Bill Bridges: Yes, but we have yet to see Ilgauskas lick the basketball the same way Turturro licked that bowling ball.

  85. laughing hard May 16, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Great hands by Gasol

  86. The Lakers are looking really impressive right now.

  87. WTF with ESPN?
    “Gahsuhl” “Farmer”
    How old is Brooks?

  88. THIS is the Gasol I wanted to see. Great offensive post moves, now you can see a guy that was a #1 option on his team for a while.

    We need to keep pushing. Every single time Kobe attacks the rim (except the last one lol) something good happens. Everytime he takes a jumpshot, something bad happens. Kobe has recognized this and is attacking, but we can’t let up.

  89. Refritos Suck?

  90. Why is Boozer complaining? If the call on Kobe was an offensive foul, then Boozer’s surely was one…

  91. Dude, you haven’t seen Z dry off the ball before the game…

  92. These refs have been the best so far

  93. Looks like they are cracking down on Boozer’s shoulder drop move this game.

  94. 91 – lmao that’s actually what it sounded like to me. I thought it was “ref-rees suck” by a phonetically challenged crowd, but “refs you suck” makes more sense.

    We’ve dodged some bullets here. Kobe’s picked his spots beautifully but now’s when he needs to get to the rim and draw attention again.

  95. pau got away w/a flop…….that happens when you “play thru”…..

  96. Hypothetically, if the Lakers win tonight, when does WCF start?

  97. Actually, the refs are calling similar to the last game at Utah. But the Lakers are doing two things better.

    One is not getting upset when they are not getting calls and two, giving the Jazz a tast of their own medicine ie. pushing in the back, stripping the ball by hitting on the hands etc.

  98. 98. The WCF starts next Wednesday I think.

  99. lets not get ahead of ourselves now, there’s still a whole quarter left.

  100. Thanks pw…I’m so anxious to see Ariza playing again.

  101. The Lakers are playing great methodical basketball right now. But they need to expect a ferocious fourth quarter push by the Jazz. Don”t be surprised to see the lead drop to single digits even though I hope the Lakers can keep their composure and hold the lead to double digits.

  102. Kind of interesting — we talked a lot early in the series about the home crowd’s ability to affect the refs to the benefit of the home team, but I think that power diminishes when it devolves from intimidating into whining. The Jazz fans are griping like Duncan on every call and non-call, and I get the feeling it’s not helping them.

  103. BTW, I think the WCF starts next wednesday no matter who’s in it — just talking about it does not constitute a jinx, technically speaking.

  104. jinx

  105. out rebounded by 6 this quarter

  106. My God Farmar…. wake UP… wheres the D?

  107. I think we need to put fisher back in…

  108. The Dude Abides May 16, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    93-Don’t be fatuous Bill Bridges. Z’s play has been commended of late as being strongly vaginal, which bothers some teams. But if the Lakers play the Cavs in the finals, they will make the Cavs play like eight-year olds. Eight-year olds, Bill Bridges.

  109. Whats a song they can play for a home team player when he fouls out?

  110. are you kidding me?

  111. laughing hard May 16, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    MVP

  112. As always,Kobe with the dagger..How do u like dem apples now,SLC???

  113. Give the damn ball to Kobe, Lamar.

  114. “Can’t stop me,” said the MVP.

  115. 2:55 mark……game over………………………….wcf here we come!

  116. the most classless crowd in the league

  117. Oh boy,this is eeriely reminiscient of Fish and Lamar’s sniperage….

  118. boozer did utah a favor by fouling out…

  119. Lamar biggest FTs of your life

  120. Thank goodness. Lamar hits his free-throws.

  121. la mar pulls through! 2 possesion game…

  122. Btw, that was a great call by Sloan, not fouling Kobe and trapping him in the corner. Glad that Odom made the FTs.

  123. 118- you owe Odom a beer.

    I guess they decided not to call the intentional foul while Kobe had the ball as payback for the bad blocking call on Williams.

  124. Kobe needs to make those phony mean faces and actually step up and stay on his man.
    That’s 4-5 consecutive defensive breakdowns by the Lakers.
    We shouldn’t even have to be in this position right now

  125. My God. If Utah had shot even close to this well at any other part of the game, they wouldn’t have to come back. They have to miss at some point right???????

  126. Ridiculous how they let Utah back in just 1 Freakin Quarter!!!

    Better make there free throws…

  127. wow that was crazy

  128. laughing hard May 16, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    YES!!!

  129. what an ending

  130. Phew!!

  131. I almost died.

  132. laughing hard May 16, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    And Derek Fisher gave them their last lead. Eat it, Utah.

  133. Great game…but too close for comfort!

  134. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! What a game

  135. What a well played game by the Jazz to get back into it. Major props to them for not hanging their heads.

  136. omg… i can’t believe we survived that last 10 seconds

  137. YES,and we are officially in the WCF…U scared the faeces out of us,Utah..whooped us in the 4th Q..good game y’all..

  138. good lord……what are the lakerz trying to do to our health?!?!?!… nearly had a heart attack about ohhh three different times in that last possession.

  139. 126….way to make me sweat it out lakeshow!!….i’ll take it……wcf here we come!!!

  140. Good job Lakers. Phil Jackson truly is the coach of the century. Just please, oh please, do not let me here that Utah sucks crap again next year. LA and Utah are going to be battling it out for years…

    PS Go San Antonio

  141. anyone of the school of thought that we should have fouled after the 2nd miss by Fisher to avoid a 3?

  142. i will gladly pony up for a tall one for l.o. and the whole team…..stone ruination ipa on me!!!

  143. laughing hard May 16, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Celebrate tonight, Laker nation.

  144. The Dude Abides May 16, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    There was really only one egregiously bad play by the Lakers on those final Utah possessions: Sasha letting the inbounds passer Kirilenko shoot that wide-open three by double-teaming DWill. That made it 105-103.

  145. YEAH! THE NATION RISES!

  146. I agree with nomuskles. Give the Jazz a hand. I have nothing but respect for them.

    I’m going to go hyperventilate a little bit, then think about the wcf

  147. Awesone win! too close for comfort. jazz played a great quarter and were a great competitive opponent. good thing we came out on top. here we come wcf! YEAAHH!!!

  148. To all the Jazz fans who may or may not be lurking – good game, gentlemen. Your team played extremely tough, and if not for some very cold shooting, very likely would have sent this to 7. Sorry one team had to lose, but as usual, Jerry Sloan teams are nothing if not incredibly strong both physically and mentally.

    To the Lakers fans, though… See you in the WCF, baby!

  149. Wow what a big difference in offensive rebounds 20-5 and in rebounds in general. that was instrumental in the jazz come back in that quarter.

  150. To any Jazz fans who read this: I just wanted to say that your team played an amazing series, and I’m sure most Laker fans will share my relief that we don’t have to face you guys in a game 7. Your team will be really good next year, and I hope we don’t see you in the playoffs again (my heart can’t take it)!

  151. laughing hard May 16, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    151 — I’d like to second Underbruin, the Jazz were an amazing opponent. You should be proud of your team.

  152. Warren Wee Lim May 16, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    WCF here we come!

    I tip my hat off to the Jazz with their galant stand.

  153. May I be the first Jazz fan to Congratulate you and the Lakers. We almost pulled off a miracle comeback – but we didn’t. The Lakers played very, very good basketball.

    Like I said earlier – it’s tough being a Jazz fan. Hopefully we’ll be a better road team next year and get homecourt.

    Good Luck the rest of the way. Hope you cream everyone else so we look better. :-)

  154. I want to echo some others….we beat a VERY GOOD Utah team. I think a mihm for millsap trade is in order…who should I call to make this happen?

  155. We need Ariza so badly especially if we play against the SPURS (i.e. for Manu).

  156. laughing hard May 16, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    156 — Maybe the management of the Memphis Grizzlies… =)

  157. Wow that was a nail-biter. Hopefully this game was a good learning experience for a young team. We learned 1) how to (partly) blow out a team on the road and 2) we learned (the hard way) how not to give away a lead.

    Kobe played a perfect game as far as I’m concerned. Forget the stats. He distributed and picked his spots until a few minutes left in the game, and when his team looked dead in the water, he single-handedly took over.

    Not to be a pessimist, but our defense needs work in terms of consistency if we want to make it to the Finals. Still, this was a really good, hard fought series.

  158. A lineup of Kobe,Ariza,Fish,Odom and Gasol would match up quite well with the Spurs,in theory..

  159. … Dunno if this has been posted here yet.

    http://i28.tinypic.com/1zxmj53.gif

    Haha oh wow.

  160. Game 7 of the Spurs-Hornets is on Monday, right? That’s a great break for us. Ariza should be ready. That’ll be huge.

  161. laughing hard May 16, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    162 — I love how Sasha’s hairstyle changes, like, four times.

  162. that link is great. thanks.

  163. Underbruin that is about right for now, thanks lol…

  164. Man, it is good to hear from Laker fans who know the game and realize what a good series this was (unlike the TrueHoop crew who seem to be comprised of a bunch of homers).

    It is too bad for the league that this series didn’t go seven. If the Hornets win on Monday, it should be an easy Lakers trip to the Finals. As a Jazz fan, I say, see you next year Lakers fans. Oh, and remember the name CJ Miles..

  165. svengali – Good to have you over here for the duration. See you next year indeed. Please ignore any and everything by ESPN commentators, and just remember that the FB&G community holds your team in extremely high esteem.

  166. laughing hard May 16, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    167 — See you guys next year in the Western Conference Finals! It wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  167. Oh man, that GIF is priceless.. who made it?

  168. Jazz fans are absolutely classless. Well-deserved win for the Lakers. Very satisfying series win. Enjoy Laker Nation! All due respect to the Jazz fans here…you have nothing to be ashamed of….but some of the patrons at the ESA are really shameless.

  169. A Jazz fan actually made that Zoolander GIF. Absolutely brilliant and hilarious.

    Anyways, that was a very tough series. You have to hand to the Jazz, they were never out of the game, even when they were down 0-2 in the series. They are a very good and young team, and look to be in contention with the Lakers for the upcoming years with the way D-Will and Boozer are gelling.

    Say what you want also about their fans, yea there might be few that might take the game a little too personally, but in the end they’re no different than any other fan whose heart is devoted toward their team.

    Now, on to the Western Conference Finals! Lakers! Lakers! Lakers!

  170. do you think they should foul in the last possesion, with 7 seconds left, and lead by 3?

  171. Palani, I’m not a big fan of gimicky plays like that because you run the risk of a guy convincing the refs he was in the act of shooting. I know Kobe could pull it off. What’s to say another player couldn’t? Giving up a possible three free throws? I’d rather them have to make the three pointer to tie it.

  172. That mental lapse in the fourth quarter was an indicator of our youth, but also showed our killer instinct by gutting it out at the end. We’ve said this all year, we live and die with Kobe. When he takes over at the end of games we rely on him to be our closer and make those tough drives to the basket and make free throws. Last game Kobe wasn’t feeling 100% as his back flared up, so we weren’t able to put the game away (game 5). But tonight he was up to the task and put the Lakers on his back.

    I love the intensity Harpring plays with, he’ll back down to no man and is definitely a second coming of his coach. I admire his play b/c he was physical w/ Kobe but didn’t take any unecessary cheap shots.

    Utah went away from their bread and butter. The tough back screens from their flex were almost nonexistent. Harpring was killing Walton with that all series, as well as Kirilenko.

    The one thing I hate about the Lakers is that they don’t make a serious effort to box opposing players out. Two players that are constant offenders of this are Kobe and Pau. Kobe only boxes out at crucial moments otherwise he forgets the last part of defense and lets his man roam around the basket. (He relies on his athleticism to get boards) Pau on the other hand relies on his height. A team like the Jazz terrorized us on the boards b/c they play with such effort. Boozer, Millsap, Kirilenko, and Harpring all crash the boards hard, that is just a testament to the intense effort exerted.

    Nice to meet u Jazz fans, thanks for the open discussions.

  173. I don’t think it’s a gimmicky play at all. It’s a defensible tactical choice. I think the referees are generally pretty loathe to call a shooting foul under those circumstances. What is more of a concern to me is not getting the rebound off the missed second FTA. The Lakers have been bitten by the missed second FTA a couple of times already this postseason.

    In a late-season game, one team was down three, with time running down and no timeouts. Under those circumstances, I think it’s pretty advantageous to foul.

  174. I think sometimes fouling makes sense. I always think back to the dallas game where Jason Kidd passed the ball to Dirk for the OT sending-3. Kidd had his back to the basket inside the ark. Had we fouled him he might have turned around and jacked up a shot, but because he didn’t have sight of the rim and it was jason kidd, the odds of that being an And-1 were very small.

    This game, with Okur facing the basket, you don’t foul because its too easy for him to get the continuation call. and 3 FTs if not the miracle 4 point play. I think you have to rely on your players to be smart in that situation and use their judgement.

  175. Dude Abides (147): That was not Sasha, that was Kobe and D-Fish on the double team. Sasha was down near the basket.

  176. So, who do we want to face in the next round? I would say the Hornets, but I’m not convinced.

  177. 178-at this stage I always think that’s a non-issue. Both teams are really good. Whoever gets in is gonna be a hell of a matchup.

  178. I agree that Jazz fans at ESA are classless…did any of you see the fan carrying a black & white poster with Kobe taking a jump shot with the words “Where ‘not guilty’ happens.” ? That was totally wrong…but I still had a bit of a chuckle.

  179. 179 – I agree except for 1 point: if David West is more hurt than the Hornets are letting on, I’d much rather face them than the Spurs if they can somehow win without him.

    The Hornets minus a healthy David West are less dangerous, in my opinion, than a fully healthy Spurs team. Not by much. But as good as CP3 is, their offense works because of the additional threat West provides.

  180. 178 – I hope Kurt opens up a new thread soon where we can address that question more in depth, who we’d rather face (maybe in the post Game 6 thoughts).

    To be honest, I have no idea. Normally I’d want to avoid the defending champs, but I feel like Pau has done an excellent job on Duncan in the past (although I haven’t actually looked this up, so it could be hype). To me, CP3 is the 2nd best player in the NBA behind Kobe, and I have a huge deal of respect for him (although I lost some of it when he started flopping and tattling on Bowen). For some reason I can see the Hornets creating matchup nightmares for us. West/LO might be a wash if Lamar plays his best, but West normally has the advantage. Chandler is strong defensively and if he can slow Duncan down, he can slow Pau down. Also Chandler is a beast on the boards, and against Pau that doesn’t bode well. The only good thing about NO is they have no strong wingman defensively to match up with Kobe, but we have no one to match up with Paul.

    Basically that was a paragraph of nonsenical rambling. I’m not really sure who we want to face. I’m counting on guys like Bill Bridges or Darius or Reed for some good analysis, and anyone else who has some thoughts to contribute.

  181. I forget, is the CF 2-3-2, or again 2-2-1-1-1?

  182. Led by Hollinger, who backed away from his earlier Jazz prediction, the “experts” (with the exception of Abbott) all picked the series to be close, with the Lakers winning–most predicted in 7 though.

    We need to give them credit, but they still underestimated the Lakers.

    I think we have a more natural matchup against either the Hornets or the Spurs–and we’ll still have home court.

    It will be fun to watch them compete to see which of them plays the Lakers.

    The Lakers have already gone further than most of us could have imagined at the beginning of the season.

  183. 181, WCF is 22111, 232 is only for the finals

  184. CF is just like the semis and first round. Finals is 2-3-2.

  185. Warren Wee Lim,
    As I posited last thread, the last hurdle to define a championship contender is closing out a tough opponent. Yes the Lakers are young and were inexperienced, but now they are more veteran and definitely a championship contender.

    We let things almost slip away because we are still young and Utah is a hugely tough team. I saw Jerry and VanLier play for the Bulls back in the stone age and they were really a tough duo. He sure knows how to coach tough.

    However, this is when Phil’s preparation starts to pay off.

  186. The Dude Abides May 17, 2008 at 12:52 am

    Yep, watched the replay and it was Fish and Kobe on that three-pointer by Kirilenko. I guess I assumed it was Sasha because I never even considered Fish and Kobe would never make such a huge mental mistake. Anyway, we did hang tough. Great preparation for the next series, which I think the Lakers will win in five. I’m hoping that the Spurs pull it out, because I would like the Lakers to be the team that deposes them. The team I fear the most that’s still in the playoffs is Detroit.

  187. Renato Afonso May 17, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Hi, I’m the ghost of Renato Afonso, who died yesterday of a heart attack…

    On the game, just like to point some things out…

    1. No gameplan holds for the 48 minutes of play. We shut down the lane, and the Jazz were bound to start hitting outside shots. Give them credit, where they’re due.

    2. The fans at ESA may be classless, but generally the Utah Jazz fans are a classy bunch. For starters they know more about team basketball than most of the other fans.

    3. The Jazz played tough but they were just physical. Like Kobe said, not disrespectful nor were they trying to hurt someone.

    Just a great series against a team that matches up well against us… And that will be in our path for the next 3-4 years.

    In the WCF, they can send whoever. Just don’t be afraid of the Spurs only because of Tim Duncan. Gasol matches up exceptionally well against him… Fear the PG’s (either Paul or Parker can obliterate us…)

  188. Amazing_Happens May 17, 2008 at 1:19 am

    The Jazz could have beaten New Orleans and San Antonio.

    Go Lakers!

  189. 174. Nomuskles, Kobe might actually make the 3-pointer in continuation and make it a 4-point play. Haha.

  190. I hope we get the Hornets. I assume Bynum is done for this year but I hope Ariza will be back. The Lakers will win 70 games next year with all these stud players they have.

    Speaking of soccer..best sport in the world.

  191. 156 – Mark.

    What you said was very commendable. I tip my hat off to you as I do to the whole Jazz team for playing a very good, hard-fought series. For what its worth, the way the series played out, this could very well be the West Final. The Jazz could easily come out as victors against an old Spurs team and a banged up yet inexperienced NOH club.

    And so our journey furthers…

    We shall be Hornets fans for a day but let me be in the minority and ask for the defending Champs. 90% of fans will hate me for probably jinxing our “easier” path with NOH but I want this team to be the best by beating the best. I want this Laker team to show all they got on defense and beat the Spurs in their own game. Let not their physicality hinder our ability to share the rock and be an offensively efficient team even on the most frustrating times of the peak of the Spurs D. I want the Spurs and I want the Celtics.

    Let the chips fall on me but this is my bold desire.

  192. Warren Wee Lim May 17, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Sorry for the double, that was actually my post.

  193. That was an amazing game with a wild ending. I was holding my breath. I was sure it was heading for OT. Whew! On to the conference finals!

    http://losangelessource.com/lakers/

  194. Closing oot in Utah, where the Jazz are as good as anyone in the NBA, is just great.

  195. I’ve watched both the Hornets and the Spurs and I think both of them present different problems for us and I would not like to face either one. I have become a little bit of a fan of the Hornet so I’m semi-rooting for them as it is, but as a Lakers fan, i’m hoping David Stern uses executive privilege to name the Clippers the next opponent due to some kind of cheating scandal. Just kidding.

    New Orleans is one of the best at running the pick and roll and we all know that isn’t exactly our forte on defense. Chris Paul could have a field day if he chooses to use his quickness against Derek Fisher, which would compromise our defense from the get go. That being said, in our last game against the former NOOCH, we had a little bit of success against the pick and roll because we realized the Chandler is 10 times more likely to roll to the basket than pop out for the jumper. So the help defender (usually odom) would hang around the rim and wait for the lob. Mentally, New Orleans isn’t as “tough” as San Antonio but they’re no pansies either. I think some of you are right that they are some things the Lakers could take advantage of against the Hornets, but man, I see a tough matchup here with Peja spreading the floor (we don’t have Bruce Bowen, although we do have Sasha), and Radman tasked with guarding David West, who might get the same physical therapy Kobe did and be ready to go in five day’s time.

    If we play the Spurs the big three are the killers here. no one else even matters except Michael Finley once every three games for his shooting and Kurt Thomas for his rebounding. Tony Parker has an unbelievable ability to get into the lane that has been on display this playoffs and he’s taking a lot of punishment from the interior defenders and the floor when he’s ventured there. Ironically, the guy makes other teams’ perimeter defenses look positively French-like. Manu is obviously a tough cover. And Tim Duncan will get his either through great shooting or through distribution. I think Pau could give him a run for his money with his quickness, but Tim is a good defender (did you see him guard David West?) and Pau can’t stop Tim totally on the other end.

    I guess I think of these two teams very differently. I think of New Orleans as high risk high reward. They are a very athletic team that can make the flashy play and they play with high energy. I think of San Antonio as the veteran team that plays with savvy. San Antonio doesn’t “scare” me the way New Orleans does because they simply don’t have the weapons beyond their big three (but what a big three they have). However, in a seven game series, San Antonio seems much more likely to be the one to play at a consistently high rate and maintain that mental toughness needed to put the bad games behind them and focus on the next contest. Either way, it’s no wonder Dallas and Phoenix got pwned in the first round.

  196. Warren Wee Lim May 17, 2008 at 8:30 am

    I hope Kurt makes another post. This is approaching 200 and we don’t have the recently said shortcut.

    Anyway, the warrior in me wants the Spurs. NOOCH might over-all be the better team but last I checked, the Spurs were still the defending champs and they still have our kryptonite – excellent D. Also, not to tip my hand so much, at least with the Spurs we know what to expect. NOH has too much unknowns for Phil to weave his magic on.

    In the end, I believe the better of the 2 teams will come out and we shall see another exciting chapter of Lakers basketball. Thank God for homecourt, we seem to play better there.

  197. read this on hoopsworld, and made me remember yet another highlight from last night’s game-
    Sasha Vujacic: After a poor showing in Game 5, “The Machine” regained his form as the sparkplug off LA’s bench in Game 6. He had 10 points on 4-5 shooting in the first half and helped the Lakers pull away. While Vujacic had just two points in the second half, he was in the game down the stretch and put his body on the line for his team taking a charge on the much larger Paul Millsap in the final minutes.

    guys, did you see that?? man, he did take one for the team last night, that wa probably the most “smackdown” charge I’ve ever seen, and poor sasha, the guy known for “selling” it…haha, not this time, the dude took it full on.
    I jumped up and yelled, “yeah, take one for the team baby!”

  198. Wow, that ending reminded me so much of that Game 6 heartbreaker against the Suns 2 years ago (Damn you Tim Thomas). If they would have forced overtime….Lord have mercy that could have been bad.

    What a series and what a playoff run so far.

    BTW, Deron Williams, I bask in your glory. You, my friend, are a stud. I can only hope one year we see CP3 vs Deron in a 7 game playoff series.

  199. “”Horry measured West and gave him a shot right in the lower back. Horry knew West’s back was injured. Everybody knew West’s back was injured. It was a textbook example of a cheap shot. Look, I’ve played a lot of basketball over the years, both organized and not-so-organized. Stuff like that doesn’t happen by accident. It just doesn’t. And if you think otherwise, then you’re fooling yourself. Horry measured West and gave him a really hard — and clearly illegal, since it resulted in an offensive foul — shot into a part of West’s body that was known to be injured. Did Horry intend to take West out of the game, or even incapacitate him for Game 7? Probably not. But that barely makes the act any less senseless. And whether he meant for it to happen or not, there’s a pretty good likelihood that West will be far from 100 percent for Game 7. Which is a pretty good tradeoff for a simple offensive foul, isn’t it? And for those of you who are inevitably going to defend Mr. Cheap Shot, go ahead and answer this question in your defense: How would you react if you were playing pickup basketball and somebody purposely took a shot at your injured back/knee/ankle/whatever? Would you laugh it off as just a good, hard basketball play? Or would you want to strangle the guy?”
    - Basketbawful

    Considering Kobe’s injuries, I’d rather face the Hornets for that alone…

  200. God,I love watching an athlete play with intelligence! Fisher shows how far intelligence and experience can take you.
    I remember Bruce Bowen tripping Kobe and beating him up so bad that he was subpar against Detroit for the championship round.I’ll take New Oleans.

  201. The sad part is that plays like Horry’s hit on West happen every year multiple times with the Spurs. I find it hard to believe that Bowen’s and Horry’s dirty tricks are of their connivance and without any involvement from Pop or any of the other players on the Spurs team.

    Talking about the Lakers, how much has Sasha’s game improved over the year. It was great to see him take the ball to the hoop several times yesterday.

  202. Give me the Hornets. They don’t have a Bowen who could harass/injure Kobe and they’re a team where our depth gives us a clear advantage. Not only are the Spurs more likely to beat us (their knack for hitting three pointers in the clutch and our inability to defend them doesn’t bode well) but I don’t want to see their bodies flying around for 6 or 7 games. It’s the most frustrating thing about watching them play and it’ll be even more infuriating when Ginobli and Parker are sprawled on the floor like fishes drawing fouls against us. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them use Hack-a-Odom either. Neither team is going to be a pushover but at the same time I really think we just beat the second best team in the west and the Hornets would make the basketball more fun to watch.

  203. Yeah, I think the hit by Robert Horry was clearly intentional. Whether it was dirty or not is beside the point. It’s like the Jazz-they’re smart enough to do little pulls and grabs which might disrupt and disturb a team’s routine. It’s just enough to upset the Hornets but it flies below the radar, fine and discipline-wise. The Spurs are always dangerous. Udoka, Barry, Bowen, Vaughn, Thomas. The thing is, they aren’t selfish, no one cares who scores points. The Lakers will just have to be locked in and not let one of those role players beat them. They have to keep guys like Udoka, Bowen from getting like 13 points.

    The Hornets, well, I think if they can keep a handle on David West to some degree, that will put a crimp in the Hornets. For them to do that, they’ll probably have to slow down Chris Paul too. They won’t stop him, but if they can slow him down, that would make a big difference. And they really need to prevent West from going off on us too much.

  204. carter blanchard May 17, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    I think we match up much better against the Spurs than we do the Hornets, but I’ll still be rooting for the Hornets just because I’m such a bigger fan of their team and I think it’ll be a more entertaining series.

    Also, Sparks-Mercury = much more watchable than Celtics-Cavs. It’s a good year for LA basketball.

  205. 202, I read a post on Hardwood Paroxysm yesterday where it was argued that Pop was too classy to be involved or actively encourage the cheap shots, that he just employs players which fit his system. I think that’s a tough argument to make because you don’t have to be actively involved to have a permissive attitude on your team pulling dirty tricks. Quiet encouragement, not vocalizing to your players that you don’t need to win through cheap shots when they make them are both just as effective, if not more so, than telling a guy to go out there and take a kick at someone’s recently injured ankle (like Bowen did to CP3 this season) or hip check a much smaller and lighter player with known back problem off the court (Nash last year), etc. Teams and players don’t get reputations for being dirty without reason. The sad thing is, is Pop is a great coach and that team doesn’t need to be resorting to goon-ish plays to be winning games or championships.

    The thing is, I don’t remember Horry really resorting to dirty plays back in the 3-peat era other than some dumbly thrown elbows like he has the last three years now (remember the alleged bite or attempted bite of Stackhouse’s arm and ensuing altercation back in 2006?). One has to wonder what kind of tarnish these will ultimately leave on his legacy and that’s sad to think about.

    As for Sasha, the last few games when he has made moves to take the ball to the hoop just really cements the idea that he (and Vlad) need to make those moves a little more often than they do to keep defenses honest. The way both just blew past their defenders was impressive, particularly one play when Sasha made the move along the baseline Korver just looked befuddled once he got past him.

  206. 202- The truly odious part about the Spurs is that if everyone were to play like the Spurs do (i.e. “hard playoff basketball”) than there would be so many injuries that basketball would be much less fun to watch.

    It’s not that the play of the Spurs is illegal, it’s just immoral. I was a huge Horry fan until that cheapie that he threw on Nash for no reason at all. Playing to hurt someone is not what basketball is about. Going directly for injury is even frowned upon in football, when all the players are padded to the extreme.

    This is just like when Bowen tried to step on Amare’s achilles tendon as he was going up for the dunk. It’s a pattern of behavior, and there need to be consequences before someone loses a knee to “a hard playoff foul”.

  207. I’ve always wondered what would happen if after a first game against Spurs in a series the opposing teams GM arranged a conference call w/Stern and Pops and stated his players were informed the next time Bowem’s foot “accidently” got uder a jumpshooters legs,any player who didn’t immediately try to take out Duncan’s knees was going to be fined $250thou.
    In the “old” NBA,teams had an enforcer who made sure the really obvious attempts were held in check. On the other hand,in the old days every player assigned to Kobe would have known to slap at Kobe’s finger every chance they got.

  208. Let’s get this straight folks, none of those teams want to face us. Either team, whatever, bring them on and let them go through our home court to win it if they can. Sure it won’t be easy for us, but make no mistake it will not be easy for THEM.

  209. I’d rather see the Hornets simply because I think it would be a funner series to watch. THe key to beating the Hornets is to stop Peja and West. Push Peja around and stay on top of him, it will completely throw him off his game (we need Rick Fox), maybe Sasha can hound him for a while but he might be too short. West is a different story, I think Odom if he stays out of foul trouble can do a decent job. I think the Lakers length inside will disrupt him a little. The Lakers don’t match up well against Paul (who does), but if you can make him a scorer then it will be easier. Also keeping them out of transition will be important, because can be deadly hitting 3s in transition.

    For the Spurs I would let Pau guard Duncan 1-on-1 for the most part, with some doubles to mix things up. Throw different looks at Ginobili; Sasha, Kobe, Ariza (hopedully). Parker is so fast it is almost impossible to keep him out of the paint, so good rotations will be needed (stay on Bowen in the corner he always kills the Lakers from there). If the Lakers can force on long jumpers or turnovers, they can get into transition which will make it easier for them.

    Either team will be tough. But I think the Lakers have a good chance against either team.

  210. one thing we haven’t discussed much, but if we do get Trevor back for the next round, that would be a great benefit for us.
    if it’s the spurs, then he comes in whenever Ginolbi comes on and sticks to him like glue, even denying him the ball.
    if it’s the Hornets, then he sticks on Peja, keep him from getting hot.
    what do you think?
    the only real difference would be if we play the Spurs, then we stay with Vlad in the starting rotation, and bring in Trevor when manu comes in.
    if the Hornets, gotta think about that…

  211. Guys, I’ve been busy with family stuff today, new post by tomorrow morning focused on the chance to scout our next round opponent (which you’ve already started) and assorted other thoughts.

  212. We blew both of these teams out to round out the regular season as top seed. Granted, SA was without Manu, but NO was at full strength and Chris Paul often looked over-matched if I recall. He even got a technical out of frustration. And call it historical comfort, or what have you, but I don’t fear playing road games in the Bayou as much as I do in the Alamo. I think we’d take the Hornets in 5 and the Spurs in 6, but those cheap-shot kids in the Spurs series would hurt us against whatever the East craps out.

  213. Agree with 115… I’ve decided I’d much rather play the Hornets as well.

  214. Meant 215.

  215. Congrats laker fans, your post are truly great,I enjoyed them all. It’s very cool to see laker and jazz fans treating each other with such high respect, again great read and insight..thanks go lakers

  216. Warren Wee Lim May 18, 2008 at 6:12 am

    I thought SA-NOH g7 will be Sunday, but hey, any form of additional rest we get (as supposed to the other teams’ hectic sked) will be welcome. This is the Conference Finals, no time for rust.

    For the sake of humanity, it would serve basketball justice if the Spurs lost. New Orleans has been a darling after Katrina and all but I think they have played extremely well too. Considering we didn’t quite have them in our “Western predictions” didn’t we? If I recall it, we were pegging them to be at par in between Sacramento and Portland. It seemed like forever we talked about that, now we have the utmost respect for the other team.

    For the sake of revenge and motivation, bring on the Spurs. Again, its the stick-it-where-it-hurts concept of mine and it would be a classic to see the highest paid coaches battle each other out in wit and execution. (Pardon to Sloan, what he has done in Utah for 19 years is great and all, but he is not in the class of Pop and Phil. Perhaps if he changed his name to Perry… )

    Phil knows Cheap-Shot-Rob through and through. A staredown from Phil would almost negate Horry’s “evil” plans against perhaps Kobe’s finger and back.

    Bowen has been notorious all his life. His corner threes are so clutch but seriously, to be heralded one of the NBA’s best defensive stoppers but intentionally kicking someone or sticking his leg out really sucks all respect I have in him.

    Give me the Spurs and Celtics!

    GO Lakers!

  217. Did anyone else get a chance to watch Candace Parker tear up the Mercury yesterday? She is going to change the game in the WNBA. Her post up moves put the other ladies to shame. Talk about killer instinct too, 6 of 7 FG in the 4th quarter to lead her team to victory. 34 pts, 12 reb, 8 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk – not a bad line for your first game ever. I smell championships in the air for both pro teams in LA this year…

  218. do you think big brown will cut a deal with UPS? triple crown all but assured…
    could be a natural PR campaign, “ew deliver” etc…
    but, then the horse racing industry seems to be next in line for congressional steriod and Peta investigations and scandles…
    speaking od big brown and UPS…what do you think will happen to Kwame Brown?

  219. 221. The triple crown far from assured. Big Brown has not run this close together this often, the Belmont is the longest of the races and all the best horses from the Derby have been resting up for that race. Plus, there is a major shipper from Japan (Casino Drive) coming in. I’m rooting for him, but he is going to have a tough go of in in New York.

    As for Kwame Brown, somebody will pick him up. He could be serviceable if you use him only as a 12-15 minute backup for say $1.5 mil or $2 mil. Just ask him to be a big body and board, don’t expect or ask more. That said, he has to be in the right locker room, not one where his questionable work ethic doesn’t rub off on young players.

  220. And new post up.

  221. I wouldn’t be too shocked if Kwame ended up in Atlanta. Close to home,they have a need for a defensive center and he should be cheap.

  222. How will Bynum’s surgery affect his long term prognosis? I know arthroscopic surgery isn’t as bad as microfracture but i remember C-Webb having arthroscopic surgery and never being the same again…

  223. Webber had microfracture surgery in 2004 or 05, and had some scopes after that but it was the big surgery he never recovered from.

    It’s hard to say anything for sure with Bynum, but he is young and that is a big help in healing.