Game 4 Thoughts

Kurt —  May 28, 2008

I told you we’d have an exciting game. This is a great day to be a Lakers fan.

I think Gatinho captured a key part of what is fun about this post season for Lakers fans:

I’d like to reiterate how much more fun it is to root for this team as an “underdog” and “new kid on the block” trying to beat the Champions and favorites. It may sound ridiculous, but when your team is supposed to win it is more of a relief when they do than a feeling of elation, and last night I was elated…

Credit to the Lakers for coming out with an intense focus and smart play from the tip-off. Sure, they gave it back, but that 14 point lead in the first quarter, the team’s early play, set a different tone in this game from any of the first three. The crashed the boards hard and grabbed 31% of their missed shots. It mattered.

Lots of other things, so I’m falling back on bullet points.

• Let’s talk about the obvious, the no-call on Brent Barry in the final seconds of the game. I’ll say again (this time to Spurs fans) what I have said many times before on this site (and made some Lakers fans mad at me) — if you leave the game up to the refs in the final few seconds, you get what you get. The Spurs had 47:58 to do the things that take the game out of the hands of the referees — hitting more than 7 of their 24 three pointers, keeping the Lakers off the offensive boards, and much more. I thought Fisher should have been called for a before-the-shot foul (two shots), but if you depend on the refs in that situation you take chances.

• Barry, Popovich and Duncan handled that call and the situation after the game with a lot of class. They deserve a lot of credit for that.

• I think we can safely say that was a poorly officiated game. I think all you can hope for is some consistency, a steady line of what is and is not a foul in one game. I didn’t see that Tuesday night.

• That was the most passion, the most intensity I have seen out of Pau Gasol since he became a Laker. Starting in the first quarter he was aggressive on both ends of the floor, and that was a big key in this game.

• Was it just me, or did the Spurs go away from the motion offense and run more pick-and-roll? Why would they do that?

• What I said some time ago about the Spurs I think holds true — they just don’t have the talent around the big three to make you pay anymore, and that is what hurts them. Those role guys got old and slow. Yes, Barry stepped up Tuesday, but outside the Big Three and Barry the Spurs were 3 of 10 from the floor, 1 of 6 from three and they were passing up shots (Horry, I’m looking at you). There used to be a day those guys made you pay, but that is not the case any more.

• Force Tony Parker to his right — he was 0-6 shooting from the right side of the floor. They key, of course, is to do that and not let him get to the rim (which is easier said than done).

• Nomuskles, thanks for the great in-game live blog. (Next time if I’m not stuck at the office I’ll try to pitch in some.)