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.)

Kurt

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84 responses to Game 4 Thoughts

  1. Ho-hum just another Lakers lose big lead at the end of game and still win.They have been practicing that all season.The players took turns making bad plays at the end.
    Hope they finish the Spurs next game and get some rest.Looked like Gasol was wearing down.Can’t complain,almost a center playing the best center in the game.Doing a great job.
    Just 5 wins from a championship!

  2. By the way, what does everyone expect to see tonight? Who are you rooting for?

  3. I was looking at the box score at lunch and the Spurs only had 5 players take more than 2 shots. It’s easier to defend a team when you only have to defend a few players.

  4. Go Pistons! (I hate the Celtics more than I despise DEEEEEEETROIT BASKETBALL).

  5. the other Stephen May 28, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    i love detroit, and i can totally see them finally pulling themselves together this season to take out boston. i’m pretty confident in their abilities and determination, although if they do lose, i wouldn’t mind seeing the green and purple rivalry rear its head in the finals either. either way, it will be tough basketball. go deeetroit! take out the evil empire!

  6. Amen to not trying to get the refs to bail you out at the end of the game. I think the Spurs were so classy about it after the game was because:
    1: The refs stunk all night (Duncan’s 4-5 step romp down the lane anyone) so there is no way they are making an iffy call to decide the game. Especially after….
    2: Fisher’s shot hit the rim. HUGE mistake in the SA’s favor.
    3. The clock started late on the fiinal play – 0.4 karma no doubt.
    4. Fisher jumped to Barry’s right – about 2 feet to his right. Had Barry been a better player he would have used hisi escape dribble forward and had a completely uncontested, closer 3. They realized that Fisher didn’t ‘land on’ Barry as so many Spurs fans want to believe – Barry ducked forward and to his right to get the contact. Had Fisher jumped closer to Barry he could have jumped into him and shot with contact – this they would have called. However, Fish’s landing zone wasn’t all that close so….
    5. Barry chose the weak route of trying to coerce a call instead of trying to win the game. Worse, it would have been 2 FTs since he hadn’t released the ball for his dribble when he made contact with Fish so there would have been no contiuation.
    6. Even with two made free throws (about 2/3 chance) there would have been about a second left for Fisher to win the game :)

    I do credit the Spurs for not only not complaining, but even saying it was the right call. Whether they believe it or not, I do give them credit.

  7. It bothers me how people are tying the late non-call to the fact that Crawford was reffing the game or to some other conspiracy theory.

    The fact that refs tend to swallow their whistles, calling only really obvious fouls at the end of NBA games has been going for years and years and is a totally separate issue. The Crawford thing, the Donaghy thing, and the Laker-Celtic Finals conspiracy theory all surfaced in the last year. But in that context, the non-call last night seems to be drawing a lot more heat than it should.

    I guess it’s just bad timing, really.

  8. I think I’d rather play Boston, though I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and presume this Spurs series is over. It looks promising that L.A. will prevail, but I thought the same thing in 2006 before Tim Thomas hit that three-pointer at Staples.

    I dislike Boston and Detroit for historical reasons, as do many Lakers fans. There’s no “good guy” in those options. But from the historic sense, it would be cool for Kobe to take part in the Boston rivalry that’s defined so many other Lakers greats, taking a place (moreso than he already has) among Magic, West, Kareem, Elgin & Co.

    From the “I want a title now” standpoint, I also think Boston is the better match-up from a basketball standpoint. They don’t have someone like Prince, whose size and athleticism could bother (not stop) Kobe. I also don’t see that killer instinct there, no “Guy I absolutely do not want to see with the ball in his hands at the end of a the quarter, score tied.” Perhaps someone will grow into that role, but Ray Allen doesn’t hold that honor anymore and the rest have yet to show it.

    Boston beat L.A. handily earlier this year, but this is a different Lakers team than then. I also think the older Boston roster is slowing after so many games, which plays in L.A.’s favor.

  9. I’m excited to not see Bowen + Duncan on defense anymore. They are as good of perimeter and interior defenders as I’ve seen. The difference between Kobe against Utah and Kobe here is dramatic. Bowen is incredible at denying position and easy penetration without fouling. Thus, no free throws for Kobe and no penalty for the team. Duncan’s ability to consistently challenge shots without fouling both causes Kobe to often miss on his few interior opportunities, but also discourages him from even trying. He’s largely a jump shooter in this series (and a remarkably efficient one, shooting over 50% on the series — which is incredible given the degree of difficulty on most the shots). Bowen’s ability to handle Kobe 1 on 1 and deny penetration also reduces the times when the defense has to collapse, taking away most of Kobe’s playmaking and assists. Basically, they’ve defended Kobe perfectly — making him a jump shooter that doesn’t create easy baskets for his teammates. The exact opposite of Kobe last round. The fact we’ve still been able to win is a testament to Kobe’s scoring efficiency from the perimeter and our incredible team defense.

    It takes the perfect combination of brilliant perimeter defender and rare interior defender to do this to Kobe, but SA has done it. I wonder if Prince + Sheed or Pierce/Posey + Garnett will be more the same. I think it’s fair to say the days of Kobe getting 15 free throw attempts and 7 assists a game are over for the playoffs.

  10. Great to see Lakers optimism back :) Spurs are done in 5 games baby!!!!!!!!!!!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS…. All we have left is to chill back and watch the Eastern dawgs fight it out for their own bone… I personally prefer Celtics to come out, whooping their a$# will be much sweeter plus, we can completely own them! Pistons pose much greater matchup problems with their 4 all-stars and Dice, and a bench of hooligans who are up to no good and can actually match the energy and dedication of our bench.

    As for SA I hope you guys do not start saying that nothing is over till it’s over, I do not think any of you sees them winning Game 5, or 3 games in a row for that matter :)

  11. 10. I don’t think the Spurs can win three in a row, but if the Lakers come out with a “this is over” attitude tomorrow they will lose that game. The Spurs will not roll over for us like Denver.

  12. Speaking of San Antonio, has anyone else noticed the striking difference in how they carry themselves on the court vs. off of it?

    Popovich, Barry, Duncan last night, or Manu earlier in the series – they all stood up like men and accepted blame for when they didn’t play well, didn’t get a call, or whatever the issue may have been. Very classy.

    Then you see these same guys on the court, flopping around like rag dolls; kneeing Chris Paul on the floor or hip-checking West or Nash; crying so much that people actually create Web sites devoted to “Duncan Face”…

    It’s just amusing to see such a contrast in mannerism from the same group of people. Let’s hope we only “enjoy” this theater for one more night this spring.

  13. I cannot, and wil not, EVER root for the celtics. It may be cool to see them in the finals, but I just cannot bring myself to root for them. It goes against my very nature as a Lakers fan.

  14. I was too young and didn’t really follow basketball during the Bird/Magic years, so I don’t feel to much of a direct rivalry with them. I certainly want to win more championships than the Celtics (we may have the most in another decade) because they’re top dog right now. However, I think as a fan they give us the best chance of winning a championship this year. Detroit has won it all with basically this same crew; plus, they’ve just looked better than the Celtics have so far. In the end though, I don’t think anyone can stop the Lakers. 11-3 with road victories in each round against 2 teams in the top 5, these Lakers seem capable of taking down anyone.

  15. I’ve had to deal with some Spurs friends of mine today, of course, saying the refs gave the Lakers the win at the end. I can recommend to everyone faced with this nonsense to do what I did…

    1. Say “yes, you are correct”. Fish likely should have been called for the foul and Barry should have gotten his two free throws for a non-shooting foul on the floor.

    2. In the spirit of calling the game legit (as Spurs fans claim to want) and even, in return for the free throws I want Duncan’s deuce taken off the board for sauntering from a step beyond the foul line without dribbling. I haven’t seen a non-call traveling violation like that since Jordan retired.

    So, we’ll still win by two and everyone can shut up about it.

    I’m for the Celtics tonight, as much as it hurts me inside to say so. I just think we have a better chance against them. They look like a team desperately hanging on to their spirit. A player like Kobe, a coach like Phil, a team like these Lakers, just the guys to break them down completely when it matters. Also, I think we’re actually a more physical team than they are and I wouldn’t say that about many other teams.

    Watch out for that Spurs Pride in G5 though, folks, they aren’t done yet…

  16. word kurt!..spurs will not just mail it in, they will come out with pride and effort in a quest for a win. lakers will need to match their efforts or lose…….harkening back to the “non call” i will also say, that even before fisher’s “grazed rim shot”, tony parker’s break-away layup was not goal tended by lo. the replay from atop the backboard clearly showed lo slapping the lay-up before it hit the glass and the action was way too fast to be considered a situation of hand/ball/glass. imo that was already a gimme…..

  17. Renato Afonso May 28, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    The Detroit offense is far more dangerous to us than the C’s offense. When it comes to defense, both scare me…

    My point is… If the games go to the 105′s category, we can prevail against both. If both teams are held under 90, I think we have a better shot against the Celtics than against the Pistons. Either way, I hate them both… But the idea of winning a game 7 in Boston in the final second is just… just…

    OMG, I’m rooting for the Celtics!!!!!

    About SA, they will revert back to the motion offense… The pick’n roll won’t cut it. Their defense will be mixed somehow… If I was Poppovich, I would get a 1-3-1 zone from time to time, which is the only zone that can negate the triangle spacing. Of course that Gasol could go for 15 assists against such a zonal defense, but it’s a risk I would be willing to take.

  18. 17-Renato, I agree. I would not want to play the Pistons if they are playing like they did in Game 4 (lots of screens for Rip is a pain for Kobe to deal with)

    Anyway, to ensure the anti-jinx, I will add that the Spurs will play hard Thursday, but will also be tired. If we can come out and get up big, they may have no choice but to face the facts…fly home, rub their old arses down with some bengay and pop on the t.v. to watch us in the fnals.

  19. I would prefer to play the Celtics in the Finals….but as a Laker fan I can never, ever root for them.

  20. I think Renato hits the nail on the head — both the Celts and Pistons play good defense, but the Piston’s offense would be harder to contain. That team’s depth just scares me more, i have a feeling we could handle Boston (they are a jump-shooting team and that is streaky).

  21. Re: The last play.

    I’ve watched this in slow mo several times now. (And I invite you to do the same). This is the sequence

    1. Horry inbounds the ball to a cutting Barry (how he was allowed to catch the ball so wide open, I don’t know)

    2. Fisher is rushing at him. Barry catches the ball and lands facing the side line. He lands with both feet and then takes a small step back with his left foot. This establishes the right foot as his pivot foot.

    3. Barry pumps a fake. Fisher bites and jumps pretty much straigh up.

    4. To get contact, Barry steps forward with his RIGHT foot. The pivot foot. This is called travelling.

    5. Gravity induces Fisher to come back down on Barry’s shoulder which is now under Fisher due to the travel.

    Had Barry not travelled there probably would have been insufficient contact to warrant a foul.

    Watch it back and look at Barry’s feet.

  22. Oh and just to preempt the Spurs fans, yes he dribbled – but after he moved his pivot foot.

  23. You want to know why Odom is playing so well all of a sudden? It’s because the addition of Pau makes LO expendable. When the Pau/Kwame trade happened, I think the consensus was that LO’s time as a Laker was running out.

    FINALLY, he decided to step up and play to his potential (well..almost).

  24. If the Lakers are fortunate enough to get by the Spurs, I’d like to see the Celtics b/c I think Detroit may be too tough.

    Boston/LA:

    Perkins/Gasol – clear advantage for Pau
    Garnett/Odom – advantage KG but not by much
    Pierce/Radman – clear advantage for Pierce
    Allen/Kobe – clear advantage for Kobe
    Rondo/Fisher – advantage DFish
    Benches – slight advantage to LA
    Coaching – clear advantage to LA
    Intangibles – Clear advantage to LA

    Detroit/LA:

    Sheed/Gasol – This is pretty even
    McDyess/Odom – advantage LO but not by much
    Prince/Radman – advantage Prince
    Rip/Kobe – clear advantage Kobe
    Billups/Dfish – even due to Billips injury
    Benches – even
    Coaching – advantage LA
    Intangibles – even (both teams have experienced playoff winners)

    I think Lakers win either series but a Detroit series might go 7 and I’d be scared of a 7th game in Detroit.

  25. both the Pistons and the Celtics pose problems for us.
    the good thing is that if we make it to the finals, we are done with that “speedy, dominant point guard thing”. Fish can handle either Chauncey or Rondo, so we’re even, in that department.
    it’s the center position that scares me because Pau is not a big body banging C…he’s not going to be able to do the things he does so well against Perkins, whereas with the Pistons, I think he will function better.
    LO is going to have to match up either with “sheed, or Garnet, so he’s going to have his hands full either way.
    I hope that Trevor is saving up his strength, cause we are going to need a defensive stopper, (other than sasha), who is gonna guard Peirce? or Hamilton? or Prince?
    match up wise, I think we have a better chance against the Pistons…just cause we can exploit Pau better.

  26. the other Stephen May 28, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    again, when is the last game the lakers got screwed by a bad call, or lack of call?

  27. One other thought….(channeling Reservoir Dogs) “Let’s not all start sucking each other’s ^$@*”….

    Lakers gotta win Game 5 before we start worrying about the Finals

  28. Here’s a really interesting article. Most of us believe that the Lakers will be around for many years to come, but as this article points out, youth isn’t the only factor to consider: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AhtfdkAEAScLtEQIQgN1T1WzvLYF?slug=lakerswindowofopportunit&prov=tsn&type=lgns

    2 – I’m definitely pulling for the Celts. I disagree that the Pistons are significantly deeper (Posey, Powe, and House can create problems), but it comes down to two factors: 1) The Pistons cannot be rattled, they have championship poise, whereas the Celtics can, and 2) Tayshaun plays the best defense on Kobe in the entire league, IMO. Last night, Bowen’s defense on Kobe was excellent, truly forcing Kobe into becoming a jumpshooter. Prince can do the same – only his length allows him to contest even J’s a lot more, creating even more problems.

  29. #23: I don’t think it’s fear of losing his job that is making Lamar play better. Not only is that explanation short sighted but it doesn’t take into account the x’s and o’s of how this team has changed since Pau’s arrival. Basically, even though Bynum was scoring in a 2nd option sort of way, he was not occupying defenders in a manner that even comes close to what Pau is doing right now. And not only is Pau occupying defenders, but he’s passing well and giving LO the chance to finish plays in a much easier fashion. And when you look at LO’s increase in rebounding, that is easily explained by Pau’s inferior rebounding in comparison to Bynum. A lot of those rebounds that LO is getting now (the ones that Pau is not grabbing), were being grabbed by Bynum. You can look for mental blocks/lapses all you want, but it really comes down to the x’s and o’s of LO’s game now vs. when he was still considered the 2nd option. Now that Pau is here, Pau is the 2nd option. And Lamar has settled in to the 3rd option/x-factor that he is most comfortable playing for this team.

  30. Classy play by the Spurs for not calling it a bogus ending last night. I like that they owned it and realized that it didn’t lose them the game, they lost them the game. I have a begrudging respect for them after that.

    I think the Spurs best effort is waiting for us tomorrow. It may not be as efficient as G3, but they’re going to play hard and come out with it all on the line. Because it is all on the line for them. This game is the measure of our championship mettle. Can we lock down the defending champs on our home floor and close out the series? If not, a championship killer instinct may be lacking with this team right now. If so, who’s going to stop us?

  31. 21 with regard to Barry getting so wide open, please watch
    Sasha on your slo-mo. It’s my recollection that Ginobli
    grabbed him and prevented him from getting to Barry.

  32. celtics’ perkins owned bynum in the two regular season match-ups…his physicality caused drew to get into foul trouble, subsequently he mentally fell out of the flow of the game……..pau will have to draw on a finesse bag of tricks to deal with his bulk…….

  33. 23, you’re asserting that Odom’s job security is more important to him than winning? You presume that Odom can simply turn on a switch and play at a high level, and he’s just been sabotaging the Lakers for the last couple of years? Is that what you’re implying?

    Consider Odom is playing well this year because he isn’t playing alongside Kwame Brown. Odom’s a gifted passer, but what can you do when your center can’t catch a pass? Odom’s quicker than most power forwards and handles the ball very well. But what can Odom do when Kwame’s defender can leave him and stop Odom in his tracks? When you take away these skills, you leave Odom with no other option but to shoot, and that is not his strength.

    There are a lot of reasons for Odom’s superb play, but the main reason is that he is playing alongside a player(Gasol) whose skillset complements his own. Finally.

  34. do you guys think we can get this far without Pau, but with Bynum instead?

  35. 28 & 32 – I think you’re reading far too deep into my earlier post. I never implied that LO’s job security was more important to him than winning or that Pau’s presence had nothing to do with LO’s improved play. I just think all the offseason speculation is going to light a fire under any rational player. It’s human nature. I’m sure if you’re job security was in question, you’re going to try harder.

    I fully agree that Pau has helped Lo ON the court; those 2 play so well off each other – but I don’t buy that this is the ONLY reason he’s playing better.

    1) LO doesn’t like the spotlight on him and he shines when it’s not. This definitely has helped him.

    2) Pau’s presence creates spaces on the court for LO to operate. Plus, Pau’s ability to pass the ball allows LO to slash in the key and get easy opportunities.

    3) The pressure for the Lakers to win this year was boosted when The Pau trade was made. Injury excuses were not going to be acceptable if the season wasn’t a success. The pressure was on everyone (Kobe, LO, Fish, everyone).

    4) The better LO played this year, the harder it would be for anyone to speculate him being traded so the Lakers would be under the salary cap. Remember – Lakers will need to sign some free agents this offseason and next.

    Again – don’t get me wrong. LO is one of my favorite Lakers this year but he just didn’t put forth the effort on a nightly basis. This is the same guy who put up monster numbers for Miami in 03-04 where he was the #2 option. He has the ability to be THAT guy.

  36. To echo No. 8′s comment, we shouldn’t downplay the fact that the Spurs are on the ropes, anything can still happen. 2006 still hurts and if there was a team that could come back, it would probably be these battle tested Spurs.

    But then again, we all started talking about strategies against the Hornets/Spurs as we got closer to taking out Utah so I guess it doesn’t really matter :P

    I’m hoping we take care of business on Thursday. Go LAkers!!

  37. 33 — it’s hard to say. I believe Bynum’s the superior defender and rebounder. Pau has superior speed and passing ability. I believe Pau optimizes the Laker offfense with his finesse, his ability to space the floor, and his ability to beat his man down the court. Bynum makes the Lakers a better defensive team. His presence in the paint encourages jumpshots and/or leads to blocked shots, and by dominating the glass and protecting the paint he can get the Laker transition game going as well.

    The only edge Gasol has is experience, an intangible factor that can’t be quantified. Still, I don’t see how Bynum hurts the Lakers at all. You could subtract Gasol and add Bynum and still have a winning formula.

  38. I think this is a great analysis of last night’s game. It addresses to greater issues, but not to the exclusion of the game. http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/

    I’m reticent to talk about the Finals until the Spurs are offically buried. If the Lakers lose this next game, things suddenly get pretty scary. I don’t want to have to watch another game in San Antonio and anything can happen in a game 7, especially if the momentum is on the other side. It is imperative that the Lakers take the next game. If the Spurs could have a couple of their patented offensive droughts, that would help a lot.

    With that said, I’d rather face the Celtics because they don’t have a Tayshaun or a Bowen. Posey is good, but they’ll have to warp their defense to guard Kobe and we can punish them for that a lot better than Lebron or Johnson could.

  39. To be perfectly honest, with the way Pau is playing right now, partially yes. He’s playing right now at a level that I envision Andrew would be also were he not injured, considering how both of them are really new to this type of pressure very late in the playoffs

  40. Pau is used to this type of pressure. He’s had the pressure of being the best player on the Spanish national team. He recently one a gold in the 2006 FIBA World Championship where he was named MVP.

  41. Lots of weenie shots from the Weenie Brigade early on in Game 4. Didn’t like seeing how Walton could not put home the little dinkies. He improved later on, but his lack of raw athleticism is making those shots harder than they would be. (On the other hand, he is showing some newer moves that are getting him those dinkies in the first place.)

    I have to agree with a lot of the other commentators: The Laker energy was palpable last night, even though it almost cost us last night through Kobe’s brain fade with a half-minute left to go in the game. That energy must be maintained for Game 5.

  42. i don’t recall the Lakers being screwed by a late non-call but then again i don’t recall too many games that came to the last minute & had an iffy moment involving the Lakers.

    As for the preferred matchup, I definitely like Boston except that Allen may choose the finals to break out of his slump (Kobe gives him extra motivation) and then we have more than a handful to deal with.

    If we do get Detroit, let’s put Sasha on Rasheed and see if we can T him up ;)

  43. We were all about this controversial stuff that we forget how well these young kids had grown.

    To be blown out in Game 3 and beat the Spurs in their own home court in Game takes a lot of heart, dedication, and experience. These kids would have folded after the humiliating loss in Game 3, but they didn’t.
    Instead, they came out with a mindset unwilling to give up, and that’s a “big step” for these young guys.

    Just give them the props.

    Anyways, I would like to play Detroit.
    Why? Detroit is a more covered team but they don’t play gritty defense like Boston.
    They don’t play that physical like Boston is doing.
    Plus, we almost beat them at their own arena without Pau Gasol, we have a very off-night but still managed to stay close to the game.

  44. Bynum doesn’t have any range offensively yet, so he was generally in the same area that Odom works best in. Gasol’s mid-range game frees up that space quite a bit. He is also more mobile than Bynum, and moves better without the ball.

  45. I think it was 2002 against SAC, Kobe went up for the game winning shot and I believe Bobby Jackson literally took off his jersey while defending him. That was a non-call.

  46. Warren Wee Lim May 28, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Who do I want? Boston. The same way I wanted the defending champs as supposed to the upcoming New Orleans Hornets.

    Thing is, Boston’s three party has been rocking all year, only to suck in the playoffs. What, its game 5 today? I can see that series going to seven. Now if we want to be the best team, the champs, we have to beat the personalities that get in the way.

    Either way, LA will be on the road. The Finals favors the home team with the 2-3-2 format. It will be a tall order, but I like the better team to meet in the Finals – EVEN IF WE LOSE. Remember, this Laker team has given us hope and given us despair, it has given us motivation and it has given us heart attacks. This season is one to remember – and remember – its the journey, not the destination.

    Destination: Finals.

  47. warren,
    I disagree that the finals 2-3-2 format favors the home team. if we manage a split on the road, we then have 3 games at home, ideally winning all 3, but 2 of 3 ain’t bad either. seems to me historically, we’ve done ok with this format.

  48. 47. Well at least for the past four years, we’ve won when we had the bookend games at home, except for 04. I think its been a while since we have had all three home games in the middle of the series…

    But yeah, I think the 2-2-1-1-1 format favors the home team more, if only compared to one team getting three in a row at home in the Finals.

  49. Almost as exciting for me as a championship would be is the prospect of having Odom, Gasol and Bynum on the court at the same time. I’m drooling like Homer Simpson just at the thought.

  50. Hmm… I was just looking into the old old history of the Lakers and came across this link:
    http://stewthornley.net/mplslakers.html

    Anyway, I would like to see the Celtics next series.

  51. wooo boston up big..ray-ray found his jumpshot (finally!!!) and perks is getting lots of second chances (just guessing from box score)
    odom, gasol and bynum + older Kobe is definately better than prime shaq, younger kobe and lots of cranky veterans (except for ron harper who’s clutch) in my book, Jon holliger even has this year’s laker team (should they make it to the finals don’t wanna jinx it) as one of the top alltime best finals teams ever based on his finals team ratings!

  52. How about Stuckey?

  53. ray is coming back huge though…all those reg season minutes to rest chauncey in the second half of the season is paying off for stuckey

  54. Nail-biter of a game. I’m pulling for the Celts, I think we have a better chance against them than the Pistons.

  55. How did choking Ray Allen hurt Rip Hamilton’s arm?

  56. Kurt, I was trying to post a link earlier to an interesting Lakers article I found, but my post never showed up. Did I violate a rule? (the post was several hours ago)

  57. I watched the play several times and still cannot see how Rip hurt his arm.

  58. It frustrates me that people forget about what it really means when you say ‘prime shaq.’ I know he’s not as well liked around here as he once was, but respect where respect is due, prime shaq is debatedly the most dominant player of all time. Back then noone could defend him and I don’t think this team would do any better.

    I’m not saying that this team would definately lose, but to say that this team that hasn’t won a championship is definately better than a team that won three?

    Personally I’d give the edge to the shaq/kobe lakers because as I said shaq was a monstrosity in his prime.

  59. JR, yea I do not really like it when people knock on Shaq just to do it. In recent times when has a team done a three-peat. Those Lakers were a power to be delt with.

  60. Either Boston or Detroit would be a tough matchup. It would give me the greatest please to beat Boston for historical reasons. But I worry about KG and Perkins. KG is as good a defender as Duncan, if not better, and we have no one that can guard him. Perkins could potentially manhandle Pau. I already have visions of Pau throwing up weenie shots and begging for the call. On the other hand, Perkins is inexperienced and Pau & Odom should be able to get him in foul trouble or shoot over the top of him.

    OK, enough speculation about the Finals, back to speculation about game 5.

  61. 57. For some reason, a comment by you and one by JD Hastings were considered spam by my new filter and put in that file (which I only check like once a day). I just approved it, so it should be in the mix, and if you want to repost I’ll make sure it gets through. Sorry about that, the new filter is much tougher and has caught a number of regular comments.

  62. The Lakers are not only in the Western Conference playoffs with the champions, they have a realistic opportunity to win tomorrow. Should they win, they may have a break before they play for the NBA championship.

    Should they lose, all bets are off. The Spurs may suddenly have a realistic opportunity to win the series, with a return home for game 6, and game 7 with new found momentum.

    The Lakers must take charge in the first quarter and ride momentum from their road win and home court fans. They need to capture the spirit of game 2.

    It’s not over yet. The Lakers can win tomorrow in 5–or lose the series to San Antonio in 7.

  63. 62 – No problem, I was just worried I’d accidentally broken a rule or something lol

    Stuckey is incredible. Not just the way he plays, but the poise he shows. Sure, he slipped up with the FTs a little today. But that kid will be a star.

    On a side note, I’m kind of bummed the Lakers don’t have any 1st rounders this year. This draft looks extremely deep, I’m predicting a few steals/sleepers in the late 1st round.

  64. Prime Shaq or former glory Shaq, problem is that he was a liability down the stretch. Basically the anti-Kobe, a force for the first three quarters and a better stretch of the fourth until bonus time.

    In Shaq and Kobe, we not only had inside-out performers but also forces that allowed us to both stay in the game and finish them. Currently, we have an improved Kobe, but he still can’t be as dominating as Shaq, and really has nobody that dominates in that fashion.

    Put the two teams against each other, you’ll have the Prime Shaq team building/keeping a healthy lead that the young Kobe could easily keep against the older Kobe.

  65. 27 – about four seconds before the spurs. enough already.

  66. Thursday night is going to be a bear.

    That is all.

    Go Lakers.

  67. harold, regarding games that “came to the last minute & had an iffy moment involving the Lakers”, I’m surprised nobody has really brought up that Golden State game where Fisher “drew the foul” on Monta Ellis, and Stu Jackson came out later and said that the call was incorrect. That came with around a minute left in that game, but it may have been equally pivotal to the outcome (and ultimately to playoff seeding in the West).

    I really wish the NBA hadn’t fed into the frenzy around this one non-call by making an official statement to ESPN. It only makes it more unfair to everyone to put undue importance on this one “mistake”, while not pointing out the other bad calls and even the good calls that came before, which probably benefited both sides equally in the end. It’s almost as if they’re trying to prove that they’re not favoring the Lakers, but nothing they say is ever going to change the conspiracy nuts’ minds …

  68. I hate talking about the refs….so I won’t.

    I think it is great to be able to go into the Spurs house, fresh off a blow out, and lead from start to finish. It really shows the heart of a champion.

    The Spurs still are the champs and I did not expect the series to be over in 5 before the series began. Who did after they demolished the Suns and outlasted the CP3′s pesky squad?….but now up 3-1, with Kobe’s killer instinct and the sting of the Suns embarrassment two years ago, as well as the team’s home court confidence, I believe that the Lakers can and will do it in game 5!

    As far as finals match ups go, it would be great to get our revenge from Detroit for ruining the fab four’s 04 year, not to mention the Lakers 3-peat bid in 89. It would also be great to continue the historic Boston rivalry, not to mention pay them back for the two losses this season.

    I do not want to choose a preferred Finals opponent based on who we match up with better, because I believe if you want to be the best you must beat the best.

    All in all Boston is the more exciting team and had the number one record this season, so that is who I prefer to see in the Finals.

    Gotta love being a Laker Fan today!

  69. The Dude Abides May 29, 2008 at 2:12 am

    I’m predicting that the NBA will try to make it up to the Spurs by assigning Steve Javie to Game 5. Either way, it looked to me that there were THREE bad calls/non-calls that went against the Lakers in the final 35 seconds of the game. The first one was on Kobe’s ill-advised shot with 35 seconds left in the game and 18 on the shot clock. It appeared that Duncan pushed him on that shot. The second bad call was LO’s “goaltending” on the ensuing fast break, and the third was the non-reset of the shot clock on Fisher’s jumper. Ted Green over at SportsHubLA had a good write-up about that final non-call with 2.1 seconds left. He said that “old school” refs like Earl Strom would not make a foul call on the game’s final play if it favored the team that didn’t deserve to win. Green referred to it as “the code.” Anyway, Green considers Joey Crawford to be this type of referree.

  70. carter blanchard May 29, 2008 at 3:15 am

    Sure being the number 1 seed was nice. And going to the finals and possibly winning it all could be great. But the Lakers’ biggest achievement this season? Joining the ranks of 05 Suns and 07 Warriors, with Shoals himself labeling this team a “watershed in FD ideology”:
    http://freedarko.blogspot.com/2008/05/life-needs-no-fever.html

    Be proud Lakers fans. Not only do we get to root for a very successful team, but one of the most stylistically entertaining ones as well.

  71. Warren Wee Lim May 29, 2008 at 5:31 am

    Ahhh game 5 is in the air. Its 820pm in the Philippines and the game is about 12 hrs away. You bet I will be sleep-impaired waiting for the game.

    The last thing we need is for the Lakers to be complacent and think that this has been won. WE HAVE WON NOTHING and I wan’t to see the home team come out with blazing butts and finish the defchamps off.

    Surely being up 3-1 is a HUGE HUGE advantage, but an advantage counts for nothing unless you CAPITALIZE. You DO NOT want to go back to AT&T and face the then-pumped Texan crowd. Esp after they have extra motivation to beat us now. And then come home with supposed 2 huge losses with the game even at 3-3?

    Once more my idol drrayeye gets my exact thoughts. Its either Lakers in 5 or Spurs in 7. How heartbreaking would that be?

  72. Renato Afonso May 29, 2008 at 6:40 am

    Yep, this may be the game that defines this team…

    Either they have what it takes to finish the series at home, or we could go down the NO path… But if we close tonight, I think we have a shot at winning it all in Boston.

  73. kurt……..stuckey is a true horse. he’s come up huge for detroit this series, not to mention the latter part of the regular season…….i feel bad for aaron afflalo, he’s stuck in a guard jam there in detroit and now with stuckey’s post season performance, he’ll really be buried as far as playing time goes………

  74. AM,
    The NBA had to admit it was a foul,otherwise they’d look like idiots. What they should have done is issue a statement from the ref(s) explaining why they didn’t make the call. My guess is he/they felt a tad bit guilty for blowing the previous play and only wanted to call a foul if it clearly impacted a shot. Barry dribbling and then shooting caused enough hesitation to keep a foul from being called.
    How would the sporting world react to a foul o the possesion being called just as Barry steps around and hits a 3? The ref would be taking away a game-winning shot for a 2 shot possesion foul,and if Barry missed one?

  75. Sheed is one tech away from a suspension…

  76. some revenge against the Pistons would be nice….but I dont care who it is…becasue I am going to a Parade in Los Angles in June.

    I dont really see it a rivalry with the Celtics…if they make it back next year too…then yeah…maybe its reignited…but one good year after sucking (ok maybe sucking is harsh) for what…20+ years now…The Lakers are just more consitent in winning.

  77. The league announced it will start fining incidents of flopping next season. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3416579

    Sasha is going to need a significant raise to offset the inevitable hit that makes to his wallet.

  78. JD, I think that will be a good overall rule, calling a foul on the flopper, Sheed is right, “that’s not basketball”, (to paraphrase and leave out a few expletives).
    what do you think about the Battier “face guarding” technique? personally, (and not just because we are Laker/Kobe fans) I think this should also be outlawed, can’t you just imagine if everyone did that?
    I guess it won’t become an issue unless it gets to become commonly used, as it is now, it’s a one off, or maybe two off if Bowen resorts to it tonight. (I’m surprised he hasn’t, depserate times ya know)

  79. definitely got to continue to push Tony Parker around, he hasn’t done very well this series. surprising based on the lack of defense our point guards have shown throughout the year.

    KURT, NO MUSCKLES… stop by http://www.LABallTalk.com tonight for Live Blog. I want some fresh opinions during the game!

  80. FINES FOR FLOPPING?

    This is really misguided. It treats the symptom not the disease. If a player flops (and we all know it when we see it) it is up to the ref to NOT call a foul. If the refs would not fall for it, the falling by players would magically disappear.

  81. Game 5 chat up, where the flopping talk can continue.

  82. I’m not afraid about Boston. Do you know what is going to happen when Pau faces KG? Check it your self:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=3nHAuZdEH9Q&feature=related

  83. 79. I have to say that I totally disagree with you on the whole face guarding issue. As long as you don’t touch the face or in any way create negative contact with a player then the defensive player should be allowed a little bit of room to actually play defense. As for the game tonight. Just like P.J. says the opening minutes will set pace for the rest of the game. The Lakeshow just needs to go out there with high intensity and take it to them and not give up, for the ENTIRE 48 minutes.