Feeling Sort Of Comfortable

Kurt —  May 24, 2008

It’s hard, as a Laker fan, not to be in your happy place after last night’s Laker win. The LA offense returned to solid level of efficiency (109 points per 100 possessions) behind 58.8% shooting. And against the very good Spurs defense, those are good numbers.

But what was key was the Lakers defense — pushing Parker out of his comfort zones (6 of 15) and playing Duncan solidly (6 of 14). Manu is still not Manu (2 of 8). And, simply put, if at least a couple of those three aren’t getting their shots the role players don’t get the looks they want.

I didn’t sit, Tivo remote in hand, really focused on this game last night as I might normally. But, fortunately, we have KD at Behind the Boxscore to do that for us:

The defense, yeah, it was there too. I don’t know how to do this without sounding like I’m straying too far into hyperbole, but the dismissal of Smush Parker and lucky addition of Derek Fisher might almost be nearly as important as the dismissal of Kwame Brown and the lucky addition of Pau Gasol for the Lakers.

Parker was that bad, especially defensively, and Fisher is just that solid. Meanwhile, Brown was horrible offensively, while passable defensively – and though Gasol is an all-world talent, this team’s point guard switch did so, so much for these Lakers.

Kurt

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64 responses to Feeling Sort Of Comfortable

  1. since it’s not a game day, I’ll go for the #1 comment, and hope Warren gets it tomorrow, (except though Warren, we haven’t done THAT bad lately even though you missed it).
    yeah, it’s a great time to be a fan, even greater if you’ve been a fan for decades, been through the highs and lows, cause we certainly on a high now.
    not much else to say about the quality of the play, that much is obvious…
    what I was most impressed with was the comradere of the players last night, watching Ronnie give a 2 handed shove to Farmar by the bench was classic, these guys really do have a strong bond of freindship and this is the “X” factor which in my opinion, will make this team great, and champions.
    and I know we all know this, but can you imagine next year? and the years after that???
    OMG, this team, team of the decade, and more to come.
    good time to be a Laker fan, friends.

  2. There was more to this post but I’m having computer problems.

  3. Watching the replay again on NBA TV this morning, it’s clear that the Lakers were not challenged for rebounds on the defensive end. Obviously this could have been because the older Spurs wanted to get back and prevent fast breaks, but that didn’t seem to work much either. The Spurs missed 57 field goals and only had 9 offensive rebounds. I expect the Spurs to be more aggressive at home and crash the offensive glass to exploit what looked like a real weakness against Utah.

  4. The Lakers played a nearly perfect game against a very good team. But I expect the Spurs to play much better at home. Their role players will hit a lot more shots. The Lakers will have to bring a ton of energy on Sunday.

  5. It is tempting to get a little giddy, do the cabbage patch, and chant “we goin’ sizzler.” But the more I dwell on the spurs, the more sober I get.

    Kenny Smith’s oftentimes myopic, point-guard-centric views actually hit the the mark last night. I too believe that Parker is going to have ignite the Spurs offense with dribble penetration. While the Lakers have defended him pretty well, I believe TP is capable of taking it to another level. Pop criticized him post-game for being tentative. I think he was not mentally in the game, myself. He only got 2 ft attempts, and those non-calls, questionable or not, combined with effective trapping and help defense, discouraged him on the offensive end.

    I assume Popovich is going to light a fire under TP. If they can correct their offensive problems, the Spurs aren’t going to be blown out by 30. However, the Lakers may be able to pull out the sweep if they anticipate Parker will become the focus of the Spurs attack. If he gets 40 and 5, maybe the Lakers win; if he gets 30 and 15, the Lakers probably lose.

    The Engvall promos? The Sager-Engvall post-game interview? These and the commercial endorsements littering the tnt broadcast ad nauseam are irritating. I wish tnt would stop polluting the best basketball of the season.

  6. Warren Wee Lim May 24, 2008 at 11:03 am

    I’m wearing my happy face as well. I know history counts for nothing, but, I just can’t see the Spurs beating us 4 out of 5 times.

    Game 3 will be the jugular. I can’t help but be confident in how we approach game 3. IMO, it would have been better for the Spurs if what happened in game 1, happened in game 2 instead.

    Manu is still hobbling, and with our over-all D, we must send a message to Pop and his boys.

  7. One more thing- everyone talks about how Ginobili’s got that finger problem; doesn’t Kobe still have that pinky injury? Hasn’t seemed to affect his shot much.

  8. Another San Antonio tactic I noticed that worked pretty well for them was your usual “clear out for Duncan, then space out shooters” set up, but with a wrinkle added. Oberto, who’s normally around the baseline beneath the hoop ready to receive a pass from TD in case it’s Odom who doubles, would drift away from Duncan. When the Lakers collapse, Duncan throws the ball back out, then they swing the ball around the arc to the corner 3pt shooter (Udoka or Bowen).

    The Lakers would try to rotate, but here is the snag: the Laker player covering Bowen/Udoka is still close to the lane, but suddenly finds Oberto between him and the corner shooter, setting a pick. This means that Udoka/Bowen has time to catch, take a deep breath, admire the celebrities present, then take the shot.

    I’m expecting more of that in game 3

  9. Jacob, I agree – the Lakers have been missing Bynum, Ariza, and Kobe’s pinkie for months now. Nobody feels sorry for them. Like what Ginobili said, injury or not, he has to man up and play better

  10. Hey remember the other night? When we were rooting for a 3 to push the lead to 30? And then they hit the 3? Yeah. That was awesome. (apologies to Chris Farley)

  11. 7-Sasha is a +48 after the first two games, and like JD mentioned in his post, has really disallowed Manu to go left.

  12. On “before they were stars” Sasha was playing against Manu back in Italy so I imagine he knows him pretty well, it might be a reason he plays him so well.

    As for the series it feels really good taking the first 2 games and getting the starters some rest, the Spurs are hurting now and although i think they may find the energy to run with the lakers on Sunday I don’t think they will have enough left in game 4 and 5 to keep the series close, they will be too tired physically i think. The lakers are just running so confident right now its great

  13. I also really hate those TNT promos for thier staple series, man don’t they realize that showing the exact same clips from the shows for almost 2 weeks now is incredibly boring.
    thanks god I have a DVR, so I pause during time outs, do something worth doing, grab another beer, etc, then come back and fast forward, I just about have it mastered now so I don’t have to see any of those shows stupid promos, can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen that porsche pull up in the desert, and that overweight family dressed in silver sweatsuits …arrrggghhh!!!
    TNT should at least make them entertaining and more of a variety, as it is now, it’s unwatchable to anyone with a brain.

  14. While responding to a comment in another post this morning I was struck by something that may be obvious to others. Most NBA fans thought that the Colangelo/Stern tinkering w/the rules was going to give fast break teams an advantage and that the Suns were the wave of the future. What if the real legacy is allowing motion teams to thrive again?
    Players can now cut w/out being held,grabbed,etc. Teams using the old formula of waiting for a star to draw the double team and kick it out to an open 3pt shooter are routinely losing in the Playoffs to teams that spread the floor by sending players in motion and getting open looks. It reaally looks like the biggest indicator of Playoff success thiis yr is not who’s the better defensive team,but who moves more on offense.

  15. Man what a game. Staples Center was electric last night and it never felt like the Lakers were even challenged. What a change out of Farmar!! That block on Udoka was all hussle (we were sitting near the bottom of that basket and he looked like Barbosa/Ellis flying down the court…and then those mad hops!) Our D may have been solid, but man…SA can’t knock down a shot. They were bricking wide open looks. I hope it continues (but it’s unlikely) in Texas…

  16. Great Victory. It looked like Spurs folded. I am sure Seattle Supersonics would have played better last night. I like this whole trend by the Lakers not to take it up their noses and say that nothing is over and blah blah blah… It’s not the Lakers who should be weary of things going wrong, but rather the Spurs praying for a miracle.

    I am sure even SA does not believe they can beat Lakers in 4 out of 5 next games. It has come down to pure technicality of how much rest are the Lakers gonna get before the finals. I do not think it will be a sweep, but closing out in game 5 seems like the most probable option. I just hope BOS-DET goes to seven games.

    A lot of things to be excited for Lakers fans. Offense worked perfectly, everyone chipped in beautifully, the ball was moving, D was stingy, outside shots were going in, Kobe was ballistic, and the face of Tim Duncan at the end of the game was the cherry on top of a cake.

    Good to see Ariza back. Happy for the dude… How much has changed for him… in a matter of few months he moved from Orlando to Wonderland, playing next to happy characters of SuperKobe, Pau and Odom. I am sure D-Howard, Turk and Jameer Nelson are fun to be around, but nothing compares to the feeling of Hollywood stars actually cheering for you, Kobe’s high fives and the whole buzz… I do not think he would have received the same reception in Orlando… Just wonder what is he going to do for us… Is it even good that he is back? I do not want to be the jinxer, but have to go with the conventional wisdom of if something’s working right do not change it. Ariza’s return will certainly mean some reshuffling in the line-up. I expect Luke and RadMan to contribute to most of his minutes. Ariza is a way better defender than them while being more atheltic. Putting him on Pierce/Hamilton will be our best cover while Kobe takes care of Ray/Tayshaun. Very excited about the future…!

  17. 14-Great point. I feel the same way, the Lakers offensive execution is the driving force behind the their success, and I think it helps improve other areas of the team, including the defense and the overall chemistry of the team. Thjere is nothing like playing on a team that moves the ball, its fun, and makes defense easier.

  18. 1 – completely agree about our team comradere being a significant x-factor for us.

    the Pistons seem to have this very same type of unity (by the way – that is not me looking ahead at all, Spurs are too frightening to even humor myself).

    more so, It is a brand of team ball that can allow a franchise to win for years to come. 6 years in the conf finals now for the Pistons? that is no coincidence, those boys play great together (which is why the Celtics make for a much better potential Finals matchup if we keep it up).

    Even my staunch Laker-hater friends have a hard time disliking anyone on the Lakers sans Kobe and Sasha (which is to be expected). They are a likeable and genuine bunch. Here we are in late May, and these guys are going out to dinner together. I love it. Great support system they have for each other. Sure Phil is quite proud of this current team (although he’ll never say it till season is over).

    I really do feel that the Lakers are gonna go in there and play emotional ball to try and steal Game 3 and “kill the cockroach” as Barkley says, cause we all know the Spurs will not die. Game 3 is HUGE in my eyes. We do not want the Spurs to have that Game 4 moment to even the series. 1 game could give those guys back the momentum that is firmly in our grasp. Time to put our foot on their throat.

  19. This series is *far* from over. The Lakers came out and took care of their business at home. The Spurs can be expected to do the same. We are going to have to play very tough in SA, and game 3 will be critical for the Lakers this round.

    Manu will remain the key to this series. When we force him to make plays off the bum ankle, he is finding it difficult to pass to the open man. They are using Manu to feed Duncan in the post, and daring Manu’s defender to double down to the Post. We must continue to use alternative double teams on Duncan to prevent Manu from getting more comfortable. Personally, I also prefer to give Duncan as many different looks as possible. Making decisions from the post can be challenging, especially when there isn’t the same “right” decision every time.

  20. The Dude Abides May 24, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Hmmm…maybe another computer will do the trick in letting me post here. This is a hilarious link about what would ensue if Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Robert Horry tried to fraudulently return an old pair of pants for money. The reader comments at the end are hilarious too.

    http://foodcourtlunch.com/?p=919

  21. I knew the Spurs had trouble scoring but this is just crazy. I think we’ll see some good offensive games from them at home in SA. There’s no way the Spurs are going to shoot this poorly an entire series. Their field goal % is going to have to come up and I predict it be much much higher in the next couple games at least. I still say Lakers in 5 though.

  22. RE our mind state: We should feel good. Just like the previous 2 series, we have now put the onus on the Spurs to control their home court. Denver could not do it, Utah did do it (only to not hold up in Game 6), and now we force the Spurs to hold serve. They are definitely the type of team that is beyond capable of doing it, but they *must* do it to keep this series in their reach. I don’t care what anyone says, there is pressure in that. I know the Spurs are a pressure tested team, but no one is perfect, and everyone is susceptible to pressure situation every now and then.

    RE our double teams: The thing I like about our double teams of Duncan is that they are not hard double teams. We are not going over and fully committing 2 defenders to Duncan where the traditional kick out pass and then 2nd pass leads to an open jumper. All we are really doing is showing him the 2nd defender that’s waiting for him (usually Odom) and then zoning the backside with the other 3 defenders. This enables our length and athleticism to come into play…Odom is able to take away Oberto under the basket by using his length to disrupt passing angles and then our other defenders (Kobe, Sasha, Fisher, Radman) are quick and/or long enough to get into their rotations and contest jumpers. Did we give up a few wide open looks? Sure. But most of the time we are able to not only discourage Duncan from just taking Pau into the lane for the finish, but also still able to get back to shooters. (And on a side note, I also think this soft double is smart because it plays to the decision making of the Spurs. Duncan is too smart and unselfish a player to force anything against this type of defense. The right thing to do and what his reads tell him to do is: make the pass out and make the defense rotate. But we are recovering well enough that there aren’t really any open looks at the end of their ball movement and their roll players are mostly coming up empty.)

    I’m really looking forward to game 3 because I think it will be their best shot….they are going to play as hard as possible and throw the kitchen sink at us. If we can win, or even stay close and play a competitive game, I think that our confidence will still be very high and we can (maybe) make this a shorter series than what most of us thought it would be.

  23. Man, a lot of careful comments on the thread… I guess it is partly done in order not to jinx the team and partly in order not make things faster… but please tell me what would have to happen for you to start believing that these Lakers are for real not only home but against anyone anywhere? Would Many Ginobilli’s visa have to expire, or Tony Parker have a stupid shower accident and break his leg, Tim Duncan oversleep and miss the game or Pop decide that he is done coaching in the NBA and it’s time for him to find Jesus?

    I do not get it… Sounds like we are the ones 2-0 down and contemplating on what ifs… We just destroyed SA by 30 points!!! We shot lights out!!! We have the most difficult offense to guard!!! Our role players could be starters on many other NBA teams… We have the greatest coach in Phil and one of the best tactical masterminds in Tex!!! SA is suffocating and begging for some air right now, all we need is to take that last breath away from them…

    I know what you guys will say, that SA should never be counted out, we should never doubt their resilience, that they have been here in the last series and come out of it… That Tim Duncan is a beast we have no asnwer for… that SA crowd will be a living hell for our players… that Spurs will get some breaks from refs… that they play very physical at home that will certainly disrupt us… that they always seem to come up with an answer…

    I hear all that but still do not buy the over-precaution and worrying… First of all, Utah Jazz is a way better team than SA right now, and guess what they are up to right now? Secondly, the things that we are so proud of (our offense, ball sharing, excellent D, role players stepping up,etc) are the things we should believe will definitely get us over the edge…

    Come on guys, all great teams have great confindence from their fans and we should be no exception. I am not saying we are doubting Lakers… What I am saying is that we are not giving them enough props and credit to get the job done… I think SA will take game 3… But that will not be the end of the world… These Lakers are not one of those teams that just hands the momentum, confidence and energy to the other team as soon as they lose a game (please refer to LAL-UTA series).

    I am still sticking with Lakers in 5

    And notice I have not even mentioned the fact that we have a certain fella name Kobe, who is hungrier than the entire SA organization to get a ring, plays with damaged back and torn finger and still looks like a head above everyone else….

    Time to stop doubting and start believing is now!

  24. Mamula, the Hornets blew out the Spurs in the first two games of that series and were very confident. How did that turn out? Being up 2-0 is great, beats 1-1 or worse, but if you think this series is over, well, ask Chris Paul about that.

  25. Kurt’s right Mamula… or you should ask the Lakers during the ’04 Playoffs WCSF against the Spurs also (the one with Fisher’s infamous .04 second shot in Game 5), where they stormed back from down 0-2 to win the series

  26. carter blanchard May 24, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I have a new theory about the Spurs. Typically a team’s offensive success fuels its defensive effort. When shots are falling it’s easier to get aped on D and really go after it. Watching the Spurs last night made me think they’re the reverse of this trend. When they fail to get stops at key points like they’re used to, they get discouraged and start forcing bad shots. That’s right, the Lakers offensive exexution leads to poor Spurs offense.

    Also, anyone ecpecting Manu to breakout and be dominant again just hasn’t been watching this matchup all year. As KD pointed out at the start, he just hasn’t been able to find his rhythm against this team ever really. That’s not where our matchup problem is and they more they try to force that rather than through TP or Duncan, the ore it works in our favor. Manu ight not have another game quite as bad as the one last night, but there’s no reason to expect Sasha to stop being in his head. Speaking of which, how awesome is it that Sasha has become univerally accepted as the most irritating player to play against in the league. What was Farmar’s quote? “There’s something about his personality that just bugs everyone”? It’s a longshot, but he just might leapfrog Ronny as my fave of the benchmob this postseason. (Not coincidentally, Ronny singing the Sasha song might be my favorite moment of the playoffs).

    One last thing: more Horry and Vaughn!! Pretty pretty please!

  27. I’ll feel exactly how mamula wants us to feel if we go up 3-0 or win game 4 to go up 3-1. If we get 3 or 4 chances to win 1 game, I’ll be confident that we’ll win the series. Right now, all we’ve done is what we are supposed to do…control our home court. Plus I remember the *Memorial Day Massacre* when we got demolished by Boston and came back to win the series. Granted, that was a game 1, but a huge blowout does not mean much in the context of who will actually win the series. Not when the the losing team is still a great, championship level team like the Spurs are.

  28. Mark the Filipino May 24, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    It was a great game yesterday.
    Though I would like to praise the Lakers for their valiant effort to beat down the Spurs, I think they made some silly turnovers and unnecessary shots.
    Like Odom said, “we can get a lot more better”.

    I would like the present Lakers to copy the Showtime Lakers’ intensity on the floor. It’s much of a game where they were leading by 30, and they would like to beat you by 40 to make a statement.

    I have to agree that the Lakers can play defense when they want to, they are just too versatile.
    Remember when they played the Nuggets way and swept them?
    Remember when they played the Jazz way and took them in 6 games?
    It’s similar to those: the Lakers adapt to their opponent’s strategy and try to beat them at their own game.

    I look for the Spurs to handle the Lakers on Game 3, if and only if, their Big 3 gets it going.
    I am rooting for Lakers on 5 or 6 (being the max).
    By the way, the New Orleans are not the Lakers, the only experience player on their team was Peja and he was choking the whole series.

    The Lakers have Fisher and well, Kobe (and Phil Jackson). With those kind of veteran leaders, they are a better team than the Hornets, they’ve been there, and they know what they’re supposed to do : Beat them on their home court and on the road.

    Trevor Ariza looks good last night.

  29. hilarious lead post from “pounding the rock” Spurs blog – got to give it up

    poundingtherock.com

    Making our case.
    by Matthew Powell on May 23, 2008 9:34 PM PDT
    “Oh, it’s not over. Not by a long stretch.”

    Sure, some people will say it’s over. They’ll want us to admit it and bow out gracefully. But you know what I say about those people? I say they hate white people. I say they call us crackers behind our backs. I say they hate the working, hard-working basketball players, white basketball players, that form the backbone of this great sport. Come June you can’t win with those fancy latte-sipping, loafer-wearing, athletic, young, graceful athletes.

    And those games in L.A.? Those really shouldn’t count. The Spurs are hard working folks, and they don’t have time to play games that late. They’re too busy working a second job to pay for day care for their kids. Now game 3 in S.A., on a Sunday, that’s fair. The hard-working Spurs won’t have to travel and spend their hard-earned money on these outrageously priced gallons of gas, which, if the Spurs had their way, would cost less.

    I don’t think our fellow nominee can win against the Eastern Conference candidate. The Lakers have not been completely vetted by the media yet. What if something outrageous comes out? What if Sasha Vujacic is really part cyborg? There’s already been rumblings about that. What if D.J. Mbenga wears leather underpants? Why won’t my opponent address the questions? What are they trying to hide?

    If you ask me, this series is tied 2-2. We totally beat New Orleans 91-82 last Monday. Yes, I realize my opponent wasn’t invited that night, but you look those fans in the eye and you tell them their game didn’t matter. I won’t do it. And while that may seem like only one game, it’s actually worth two because everyone knows you have to win New Orleans to win in mid-June.

    Ending this series now is just premature. What if Kobe Bryant gets assassinated? What then? Or what if David Stern, despite knowing the Lakers are exactly what the NBA need, stepped in and anointed us the winners? WHAT ABOUT D.J. MBENGA’S LEATHER UNDERPANTS??

    Whatever happens, I’ll work as hard as I can to elect a Western Conference candidate this June. We will come together as conference, united in service of the hopes and dreams that apply too all creeds and races, including crackers. Thank you, and God bless you and God bless the NBA.

  30. I agree with you guys that it is too early to jump out screaming, but I think that we have already done enough convincing as a team to be considered clear cut favorites. I am sure even the SA players, proven for their lethal execution and performance when cornered, are shaking heads in disbelief right now.

    I would like to agree with arguments from Kurt and Wagner about not counting out Spurs too soon. However, I do not think this is about Spurs anymore. I think this is about Lakers. And they have shown they have the needed grit, determination, skill and mentality to outperform their opposition. I am not looking ahead to the NBA finals just yet. I am only saying that Spurs are not going to be as much of a threat as we are allowing in our minds them to be.

    It is obvious that SA does not play like they are expected to play. NO series showed that their invincibility and mental edge is not longer the same as it was couple years back. Manu is obviously bothered by everything that is happening to him, and I do not see his ankle/finer healing within the next week and that’s just about enough time for us to close them out.

    Furthermore, this SA team is most definitely the weakest one they have had for years. The talent drop-off between their top 3 and rest of the guys is huge. Role players they picked up (Finley, Kurt Thomas, Stoudemire, Vaughn, Oberto,Barry) are simply either not good enough or way past their prime. I think everyone can agree on that. Horry and Bowen are heading in the same direction and experiencing a very steep decline. Horry has not been himself for more than a year already and Bowen’s strongest quality of being a very mobile defender has been slowly lost through decrease in his speed and quickness.

    Tim Duncan is still the greatest PF (arguably) to play the game and we really have no single coverage on him, but Timmy has proven throghout the years that he needs people around him to step up. He is not comfortable dropping 40+ points like Kobe, Lebron or other top notch players in the league. TD is used to being the man while others around him prove their worth as well… and he is damn good at it. But Duncan is not a type of player that can score many points in succession on regular occassions. His FG% marginally decreases with the number of additional shots he takes in games. And if people around him are not clicking it makes it either for the opposition to harass him into turnovers, bad shots and inefficient plays by throwing double/triple teams at him. I am sure Timmy will continue to be SA’s best player in this series simply because of the fact that he creates the worst match-up problems with the Lakers. I still have him in my book going for 30 pts 15 rebs per game.

    Tony Parker has all the qualities to be a one-man show. His incredible quickness, insane penetration and ability to hit very difficult/weird floaters/jumpers is no surprise for anyone. But the reason he has been so damn good in the past is that Manu was Manu, Timmy was intimidating and Bowen/Finley/Udoka/Barry/Horry were credible threats to score from open spots. The supporting cast’s decline has meant that Tony is getting more attention from the opposition (which was the case last night) and his penetration loses momentum and efficiency when he has to go through a packed lane. And the lane will be packed as long as the supporting guys are no longer legit to score from outside.

    So where does all this leave us?

    Manu is down, it’s hard to imagine him getting his swagger back considering his injury problems. Perhaps he could still erupt for a game (he is that good) but not more than that.

    Timmy is a beast, he dominates both ends but thrives on having defenses stretched so he can operate 1-on-1 or kick it out when doubled/tripled. I strongly believe that he will be facing a lot of tough situations of having to pass out to the perimeter because Lakers will be crowding him all the time.

    Tony Parker is definitely their game changer right now. Whichever way he goes, the Spurs follow. If he erupts for a good offensive game, Spurs will probably win, but in order for him to dominate he needs to have open lanes to roam around. I do not think he will see much of open anything in these series.

    It all comes down to rest of the Spurs players and, as noted above, their players 4-11 (Finley, Bowen, Oberto, Kurt Thomas, Udoka, Horry, Barry, Stoudemire) are simply not showing up not only these series but for pretty much most of the season.

    That leaves Spurs with one excellent player (Timmy), one very good player (Tony), one half-player (injured Ginobilli) and a bunch of non-factors.

    I guess the non-factors could really feel the pressure and intensity and show up for a game (Game 3 in my opinion) but not more than that…

    So are you telling me that current Lakers (I am not going to go into detail with our strengths both in the startin line-up and on the bench) can not handle a team with 2 and a half good players plus bunch of guys that are just happy to be still playing?

    Come on guys! I am not just trying to be over-optimistic, I think there is some line of logic behind my reasoning as well. Spurs are a model organization for consistency and the fact that they are in the WCF with their current roster only serves as a credit to them and my respect for them for that… and that’s pretty much where it ends… respect for what they have achieved so far… because deep down inside, even Spurs know they can not go any further because they hit a brick wall named Los Angeles Lakers that has more offensive prowess than anyone Spurs get away from till now. And as a side note, I would still like to reiterate that the real WCF are over already, they finished in the LAL-UTAH series.

    Time to start really enjoying this beautiful playoff gift from the Lakers and hope that it will be spilled over to the NBA finals and beyond.

    Just a simle change of generations, nothin more nothing that… just that we happen to be the ones supporting the generation that is coming into the real reckoning

    Lakers in 5! I am ready for being torn apart with your comments :)

  31. heard an interesting radio interview with will purdue today, who has won rings under both Phil and Pop. in his words, tx winter is the offensive coach. Phil has another asst handle the D. his job is to join the two together and get the players to work together.

    also, phils is more set in rotations. at the 4 minute mark in the 1st, you know the decnd unit is coming out with odom/pippen. if they do well, he leaves them in. if not, the starters all come back after getting a sort rest. Pop is more free wheeling, going with his gut or the hot hand.

    im not the analyst some of you are, but still found it interesting to hea. similarities, they both commend plyers, make them own their mistakes without blame, and put the lst game, win or lose, behind them.

  32. Before Laker fans get too comfortable, everyone must remember that the Lakers haven’t done anything yet. All they did was protect their home court. San Antonio isn’t going to fade away that easily – they were in the same situation with the Hornets and the Lakers were up 2-0 to Utah and came back to Stapes tied 2-2. This reminds me of the playoffs from 20 years ago in the WCF between the Lakers and Dallas.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/playoffs/NBA_1988.html

    Lakers blew out Dallas at home in Game 2 and went up 2-0. Then Dallas went home and blew the Lakers out. Each team won on their home court and the Lakers won in 7, followed by a 7 game series win over Detroit where the home team won every game again.

    This series is still going 6 or 7 games in my opinion IF the Spurs win Game 3. Lakers need to seize the opportunity and put this series to bed now.

  33. I want to take a moment to thank our Filipino posters. I’ve always enjoyed Warren Wee Lim, and now we have Mark the Filipino joining in as well (hope I didn’t miss anyone). Just wanted to say it’s a joy to talk Lakers on this blog with righteous fans all over the world. Thank you guys for helping the NBA in global recognition.

  34. I watched the game since halftime but got a chance to see it from the start earlier today.

    I’m not as comfortable now that it seems that the spurs just did themselves in. Open looks, very make-able treys just didn’t find their mark.

    On our part, Kobe made some really stretchy shots, but I guess that’s just Kobe, so not really chalking those out… still somewhat awe-inspiring and worrisome at the same time ;)

    Home court, comfortable spots and all should give Spurs a huge boost. Let’s see if Trevor can add to Manu’s woes. I really don’t think we can lose without Manu being Manu.

  35. Is it wrong to root for the Celtics? I’m watching the game right now, and I’m pulling for the green, because:

    1) I’m too young to have seen the 80s rivalry. The team I hate the most is the team that took away our 2004 title

    2) The Pistons, quite frankly, scare me more than the Celts. Both are amazing but the Celts can be rattled by quicker athletic teams and haven’t played well on the road in the playoffs. Plus Tayshaun plays Kobe better than anyone, let’s be honest about that.

  36. The posters here generally strike the right tone again. I think it’s ridiculous to give up on the Spurs at this point. They haven’t won four championships in nine years for no reason. They might not be getting any younger, and Manu is not himself, but if anyone wants to count him out yet, then go right ahead. And I’ve got a bridge I might want to sell you. I’m not saying that wasn’t a good win yesterday, but the boost of the home crowd, the Spurs’ experience, the adjustments that the Spurs always make, and, well, if Manu does have another gear or two, this series is only just beginning. We won at home, but, to quote Chris Rock, that’s what you’re supposed to do. We haven’t done anything until we win on the road. And I think, quite frankly, it’s a bit early to be broadcasting that expectation.

  37. Happy to see some intelligent banter on here. Congrats to LA for holding homecourt and playing great in game 2. Even had SA played decent, they would not have won last night. The Lakers did what a championship team must do: use a break (game 1) to your advantage and run with it (game 2) while never looking back. I think the assumption entering the series was that SA would have no shot in game 1 due to the travel issues and lack of prep but as Pop said last night, they knew the fatigue would hit in game 2 so game 1 was their chance. They obviously ran out of gas yet still very nearly pulled it out. He certainly knew he was talking about.

    #8 DTC – I compliment your observation. That’s the technical stuff that I admire about my Spurs, Sloan’s Jazz and Phil back in Chicago. Some people think it’s boring but that’s team basketball at its best and what you must do to win a title. One on five b-ball (hello Cavs) will leave you coming up short.

    #22 Mamula- I understand your jubilation but what I’m reading is mostly mature Laker fans that sound like my Spurs, which I admire. Pop is always preaching one game is just that. Win or lose by one point or fifty, it’s still one game in a seven game series. As evidence, in the 2005 Finals SA lost their second straight game in Detroit by 31 points. Looked awful from start to finish, even worse than last night and that team was not fatigued. They came back and won the next game which was in Detroit. Professional squads with mature players get over things and respond.

    Those that can’t see your team losing four out of five have a right to feel that way. I would too and have before. If Manu can’t play at least as well as he did vs N.O., the Spurs won’t win four of five vs. LA, NO, Utah or many other teams. This is a 25-32 pt playoff scorer who gets to the rim, puts the opponent in foul trouble, hits 3s and gets assists. All he’s doing now is missing shots and turning the ball over. As a Spurs fan it hurts to watch cause he can’t get by Radmonovich any better than he could Peja in game 7. Anyone can guard him now so I’d caution giving too much credit to any defender. I say that not making excuses cause it’s not an LA problem; they didn’t hurt him. You take advantage of your opponents’ weaknesses and right now that is a big one they can exploit. Injuries are part of the game and if my guys lose, you can bet there won’t be excuses coming out of that locker room. We are not, after all, the Suns.

  38. TC 34)

    Thank you, couldn’t agree more!

    There is some glamour in blowing out the Spurs, but really, it was only one game. A few days and 12 minutes ago, they looked like they were going to manhandle us this series. Shoot, this might have been a wake-up call for San Antonio, maybe even Poppovich…which is the last thing you want.

    Utah almost sent the series to seven games. The Spurs are a better team than the Jazz…

    Everyone says that Manu’s play is hurting the Spurs, but what about Parker? Shouldn’t he take over that scoring load?

  39. 36 – Good point. Everyone’s talking about how the Spurs came back from down 0-2, but I actually forgot that we were up 2-0 in the last series and then gave up the next 2.

  40. First of all, post 28 was hilarious and worthy of presidential B.S. consideration. Way to play it!

    There was a dude running down the players for the Spurs, I think it was in Item 29 with Mamula and I love this guys comments. I wanted to post a quick breakdown of the Spurs players on my one, so here we go…

    1. Parker has been eating too much Fish lately. The mercury alone could kill you, let alone the bones that you could CHOKE on.

    2. A starter by “starter” status only (as he warms the floor for Ginobili), Mr. Finley usually is in this spot. Try some shark cartilage or Sasha jaw bone. Good for the joints, might get you back into your youth (both Finley and Ginobili).

    3. Bowen, Bowen…Bruce. Sir, a Kobe stopper? Really? The Little Dutch Boy stopped a leak once too, but needed help and maybe he actually found it. You likely won’t.

    4. Timmy! Duncan, that is. Why does he always look surprised? Is it because he’s surprised he won 4 championships or because he’s surprised he won’t win a fifth? I can’t figure out his expressions after all these years…

    5. Oberto? I don’t want to talk about him. He reminds me too much of David Beckham. Maybe it’s the chin, I don’t know, but he’s out there for show.

    6. Bench. Come on, the Lakers bench is better now that it was in the 80’s. Just true, I think.

    Thanks guys, super stuff.

  41. where ever happened to all the spur fans here? they were all typin essays on here just a couple of days ago.

  42. Anyone who underestimates the Spurs does so at their own risk. Ever since the Gasol heist, the only team I feared was the Spurs, and I’m still scared. They’re legit, in case you haven’t been paying attention since the turn of the millenium. They will come out tomorrow with all guns blazing, knowing full well that they must win game three or go quietly into that good night.

    Having said that, I would not be surprised if the Lakers take game 3. I think the Lakers are simply the better team. Younger, faster, longer, more athletic, hungrier…and we have The Mamba, who seems even more possessed than usual, and it’s rubbing off on the rest of the team. They not only think they can win this thing…they expect to.

    I think that right now, even without Bynum, the Lakers are the best team in the NBA.

    Bring on the Celtics! I have no fear of them, but I hate them plenty. I’m still pissed off about McHale’s clothesline of Rambis, so long ago but somehow just yesterday.

    Tomorrow’s game is huge. Time to go for the kill. Mamba style.

  43. I remember when I used to pine for one our draft picks to be in the mode of a late round steal. Where we could be the franchise that “lucked out” and had a pick that wasn’t supposed to make an impact make one.

    …What if Sasha Vujacic is really part cyborg?

  44. mosdefinitely May 24, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    Does anyone know the format of this series? 2-2-1-1-1? I think I remember on an earlier post saying it was different

  45. dude… spur fans need anger management. i go to spurstalk.com, right? post the following message as a thread on their board. it gets like 1000 hits in an hour and they strike it and ban my ip address. seriously, does it offend?
    So before you get optimistic thinking, ‘oh, we go home and even the series like we did with NO’, remember this, LA IS NOT NO!!! Lets put out the facts. 1.NO didn’t even show up for game seven. 2.You just went 7 with NO not because of their experience but because they were young. 3.The only rings NO has is from the coaching staff. 4.Sasha isn’t shining on D, LA knows that if you play Gino strong left, his game goes away. Watch film on the guy, if you force him to go right on a layup, it usually ends with a reverse to the left. He is BLATANTLY left side biased. Thats your X Factor? 5. If you watch closely, LA justs lets SA play their little hearts out, for 3 quarters. After that they don’t have the legs to last and the superior athletes emerge. You country folk can relate to the cream rises to the top analogy. 6. Since Staples opened in ’99, our home playoff record is 50-10. 7. NO didn’t have seasoned veterans with three rings apiece, and twelve years in the league, and playoff battle scars from the 3peat days like Kobe and D Fish. FACT is your optimism is pathetic, I made a lot of money betting on that NO series. Knew it would go 7 and knew NO had NO EXPERIENCE in those kind of games. It would’ve broken LA’s heart if you non-repeating champion Spurs didn’t give LA the opportunity to keep your history of NOT BEING ABLE TO DEFEND THE RING intact. Reality should’ve set in RIGHT AFTER game 1. Kobe sand-bagged for 3 quarters. You had a little 20 point lead(thats what they’re called in LA), AND TiMVP got 30 and like what, 18 boards? Be afraid, be very afraid. If you think that group of over 30 year olds can actually play 48 minutes with these young Lakers, after they had to go 7 with a bunch of inexperienced kids, then you guys are just talking to be heard. So be it. Truth is. To win this ring, you need to win one in LA. These Spurs have shown they don’t have the stamina to win in Staples. We don’t need homecourt advantage with you guys, just a court.

    Lakers in 5, Spurs are showing their age.

  46. Format is 2-2-1-1- 1 except for the Finals, where it’s 2-3-2.

  47. lol @ 28. great stuff…

  48. 33 – Regarding Trevor adding to Manu’s woes, I recall Phil saying before game 2 that he had ‘other idea’s than that’ for Ariza’s role. This leads me to think that Phil might be looking to use Ariza in the Marion/Grant Hill role as a long limbed change up defender on Parker if he gets his offense going early in Game 3 against Fish

  49. Warren Wee Lim May 24, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    Has anyone noticed what the Spurs used on the Lakers size? They wanted to go quick on us – actually using Michael Finley as the power forward. This had some success in game 1 but it only lasted very long. With Vlade, Lamar and Pau as our frontline, sagging off on those 3-pointers become even more difficult due to foot work. Now with Trevor back… Hmmm…

    Lamar Odom is more important than meets the eye. His ability to play defense with his length, his ability to run the floor and his over-all versatility bothers the Spurs more than they would like to admit. This was how Timmy was “contained” in game 2.

    Fish is 33 but looks like 29 to me. His ability to run the floor on breaks has not diminished but he still blows lay-ups like me. Better stick to shooting 20-footers on the break – Like me.

    Kobe will be Kobe. One minute he’s letting Brewer go with 2 dunks and 2 layups, the other time he is making life miserable errr impossible to even face up.

    Of course Pau Gasol is so-so defensively. He is not there for that purpose anyway but still gotta give him credit for those huge blocks. I don’t mind if he’s not lock down, as long as he makes the big plays – such as those putbacks and those all-important blocks.

    I am tempted to say Lakers in 4 with all we have witnessed but my respect for the defending champs say otherwise. Its still gonna be Lakers in 5, farther than what the series actually is. Hollinger explained it best, the dominant / better homecourt team will most likely pull off a 2-0 at home, split on the road and finish it off at home.

    So far, we got Phase A – the 2-0 start. Time for our split to come tomorrow.

  50. Lakers need to do 3 things in order to win the next game:

    1. Stay home on the 3-point shooters
    2. Stay home on the 3-point shooters
    2. Play Ariza on Parker (agreeing with #47)

    Pop is a smart coach. I think he’ll play Kurt Thomas more since he’s a pretty savvy defender who can body up LO. I think LO has a tendency to disappear when confronted by a banger. Hopefully, he can use his speed wisely and finish his layups.

    I really think Ariza is the difference maker. I’ve been an Ariza homer ever since he got traded to LA and if he’s healthy, I think if we could get a good 15-18 minutes out of him in this series………we won’t need a Game 7.

  51. I’ve noticed an almost unconscious tendency for many of us to concede game 3 to San Antonio, figuring that we will then win game 4 at San Antonio (getting a split), and win the series in game 5 at Staples.

    That is dangerous thinking. The Lakers haven’t really won anything yet; they have only held home court. Right now, momentum is with the Lakers, and they should ride this momentum as far as they can.

    If San Antonio wins game 3, they may have broken the momentum of games one and two–with a strong chance to win game 4 at home and even the series. We flirted with that at Utah.

    If that happens, San Antonio may be able to return to Staples for game 5 as they came here in game one–only this time they will not give up the lead.

    The Lakers need to win on the road right away, before San Antonio has a chance to regroup. Only that will put the Lakers in a commanding position.

  52. Warren Wee Lim May 25, 2008 at 7:14 am

    I super duper agree. Game 3 is THE jugular. While winning game 4 would be just as important, game 3 is where all the psychological and proverbial “marbles” are. If Phil outlasts Pop in game 3, expect a lighter Pop in game 4. They would come out of game 4 with a loose and relaxed outlook knowing that this series would need to be extended for a 5th game so as not to look THAT bad but not anymore for a shot at repeating.

    Game 3 is about as important as our game 1 win. We “stole” one from our own homefloor. Hah! How ironic is that?

  53. game 3 is always key. 2-0, 1-1, 0-2, game 3 is very important because it is the middle game no matter how many games you end up playing.

    we shouldn’t get cocky and try to contain both tony and timmy. or either. we limit their role players, we limit manu, and that alone will give us all we need.

  54. I’m sure Phil and Kobe have the Lakers knowing how huge a win tonight would be. They seem to have their killer instinct operating at its peak. The problem is, the Spurs know what an LA win means too. If I’m a Spurs fan…

    (sorry, I just had to pause typing for a panic attack at the above thought)

    …I would hope they had more pride and put on a good show tonight at home. The Laker momentum is palpable and it’s a big scary monster standing over the old Spur team. They better find a way to fend it off, and quickly, or it’s curtains for our friends in black and white.

    I used to think this would be over in 5. Actually, I think I still do. But if they win tonight, get out your brooms folks!

  55. drrayeye-completely agree. we need to attack the wounded beast, they are still tired, we have a chance tonight to put this series away, why wait for Game 4

  56. sounds like most of the posters are youngsters. keep believing that “they are still the champs” crap. these guys went 7 with an inexperienced young hornet team. no one on the hornets have the amount of playoff experience they we have in kobe and d fish alone. top that with kobes desire to get a ring without shaq and we’re talking wipeout. the lakers haven’t used the first 2 series wins as verbal examples at all. yet all i see is alleged laker fans saying “remember what happened with the hornets. the hornets didn’t endure 3AMAZING YEARS OF GAME 7 COMEBACKS AND VICTORIES like kobe and d fish. hell there are probably over 100 rings amongst our coaching staff alone. thats experience people. all of you doubters are being posted on spurs forums and their fans are eating it up. you all should be ashamed to represent this great city.

  57. when you got your foot on their throat, they being a dangerous opponent, keep it there, apply even more pressure, do not let them up.

    we’ve had some good fortune, along with good focus and skills, but luck has a way of balancing out. I think we are going to have to be able to fight an uphill battle, for the full 48 mins, if we expect to go up 3 to 0.
    don’t expect any favors from the refs tonight, if they miss a call, don’t stop and look hard at them, suck it up, get back on D, fight on! fight through it…
    fight on Lakers!

  58. 56. Actually, a lot of us are Lakers fans who closely followed the 80s Showtime Lakers as well as the teams from this decade. You sound more like the 2004 “Detroit can’t beat us, they aren’t nearly as talented or as experienced as us” Lakers fans than one who sees this situation for what it is. And, as you think experience is all that, who has more key players that have title experience, the Spurs or the Lakers.

    Look, we’re all rooting for the Lakers, we’d all love to see a Lakers sweep. But if you think 1) we care what people on Spurs boards think about what we say; 2) That we have taken the Spurs best shot in this series, you are naive to the ways of things around here.

  59. i dont know 58. i’ve was was sitting in the forum from ’78-’88. uncle was a season ticket holder. so check your tone when speaking to a real laker fan. you know, the ones that endured the ’90s with elden cambell. yeah, spurs will get a win. but you sound like one of those spurs fans. how much steam do you think they have left? i guess i naive to the fact tha the spurs have never repeated, ever. now we should believe this year they have a shot. look in the mirror buddy, ask him to change his thought path. better yet, do the math on the spurs second half scoring in the playoffs. drastic dropoffs cause of lack of stamina. they have one guy under 30 and we have one over 30.

  60. New game 3 post up.

  61. oh, kurt. if you think kobe didn’t throw the finals in ’04 on purpose, check this. he lost over 50mil a year in endorsements that season. everybody that knew him withdrew from him. facing divorce and not sure about his future in LA. detroit was 7-1 underdogs in vegas. i won 17k on it. yeah i knew we were better, i also knew money talks. plus i have the series on hard drive. he took most of the shots by a large margin. very bad shots. lol. thats our kobe. you can’t walk away from 7-1 odds man, its a gimmee. same with the utah series. vegas favored utah 6-1 for game six, cause kobe made them think he was injured. no one believed we could get that win. i just followed the history i know on kobe and walla. 25k. easy money baby. like i said, lake show in 5.

  62. where do these guys keep comin’ from?

  63. Mark the Filipino May 25, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Thanks, fanalayst.

  64. Rydamee, did you watch game 4?