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.


226 responses to Lakers/Jazz Game 6 Chat

  1. 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.

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  2. “”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…

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  3. 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.

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  4. 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.

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  5. 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.

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  6. 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.

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  7. 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.

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  8. 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.

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  9. 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”.

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  10. 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.

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  11. 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.

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  12. 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.

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  13. 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…

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  14. 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.

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  15. 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.

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

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  17. Meant 215.

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  18. 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

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  19. 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!

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  20. 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…

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  21. 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?

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  22. 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.

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  23. And new post up.

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  24. 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.

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  25. 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…

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  26. 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.

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