Lakers/Spurs Game 5 Chat

Kurt —  May 29, 2008

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

They are not the best team in the Western Conference Finals, but you have to say this about the Spurs: They carry themselves like champions. They fight for what they have. And if there is one thing we can count on with the Spurs, it is that they will not go quietly — expect their best game tonight. If the Lakers can get up by 20 on them the tenor may change, but even then don’t count on this veteran and driven team to just roll over.

From one poet to another, there’s a fun interview with Ice Cube (It Was A Good Day) over at ESPN the magazine. No doubt he knows his Lakers.

Mag: First off, the Lakers look good, but is this team capable of winning the title??
Ice Cube: I think so. You know, now we gotta concentrate on having better situational possessions. Our clock management is not where it should be, and I think some of our rotations are a little stale. ??
But they got one on the road.?
Yeah, but I almost pulled my hair out when our first team was sitting down late with a seven-point lead, I’m like, ‘This isn’t the regular season!’

Take the Lakers starting five, and give me the equivalent rapper.?
I would have to give myself Kobe. For (Derek) Fisher, I’ll go with Nelly—he’s small with a tight, smooth kind of game. For Lamar Odom, I’d say DMX…??
Why, because he’s well-rounded like you? Sort of a Swiss Army knife player
Yeah, for sure.??
(Vlad) Radmonovic??
He’s somebody who’s kind of sporadic, kind of unpredictable. Maybe Old Dirty Bastard. Yeah. That’s him.??
Gasol? I don’t know any rappers from Spain.?
Yeah, me either. I’ll just let him rap.

By this point in the series there aren’t any secrets left (especially between these two teams). The Lakers know they need to force Manu right, make Parker a jump-shooter (forcing him right as well of possible) and crash the boards hard. They need the defensive intensity from game 4 that pushed the Spurs players out of the positions they like. Ball movement and increased pace will get LA good looks and likely enough points. Kobe has to trust the offense and not get into isolation mode. The Spurs role players have been less impressive outside of Texas, but if one gets hot (um, say Barry) the Lakers need to give him a little extra attention.

If you are looking for some good reading/talking points while waiting for the game to start (or waiting for TNT to avoid leaving the Ronny Turiaf cam on), check out this great post from Ziller at Ballhype about the value of combo guards. Or, read up on the various statistical player measurement stats and how they stack up. Or we can discuss Doug Collins to Chicago (last time Collins was a coach and had the #1 pick it was Kwame Brown, how did that work out?). Maybe the most fun would be to set an under/over on how much money Sasha is fined next year for flopping.

For more game day reading check out the witty and smart Brothers K at Lakers Blog or SportshubLA. Of course, there is Spurs Dynasty and Pounding The Rock.

Coming into this series I thought the Lakers in five was horribly optimistic, but part of the fun of this Lakers squad is how they constantly exceed expectations. I have a good feeling about tonight, and not just because Shoals is on board (and he is one of the bloggers I most admire). This team just knows how to rise to the occasion, and this is one of those moments.

Kurt

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182 responses to Lakers/Spurs Game 5 Chat

  1. Doug collins is an average coach, we’ll see what he can do in Chicago. I think Chicago goes with the hometown kid; Rose with the #1 pick. He seems more of Paxson type player. Though I suspect Beasley will be a better player in the long run.

    The Spurs will come to play tonight. The Lakers need to get off to a fast start and then finish quarters strong (which they have been doing other than the 4th quarter in the last game). It should be a fun game to watch. I expect Ginobili to come out and attack early and often.

  2. Ginobli is the key……if the Lakers limit him again tonight, this series is over tonight!!!

    I’m really really excited about the possibility of a Lakers – Celtics finals. So many big names…..so much excitement and anticipation when these two teams meet. Who would have thought at the end of last season that the next year could feature Laker Celtics in the finals?!!! Just shows you……it doesnt take long in the NBA to rebuild.

    Prediction:
    Lakers 104
    Spurs 97

  3. I expect Kurt Thomas to get more burn to alleviate the poor rebounding by the Spurs. I also expect Horry to have a better game and Parker driving down the lane alot!

    This is going to be a dogfight tonight!

    I hope our bench doesn’t relax!

  4. warren…dude…WAKE UP!!!
    now ya gotta bless these others who got here ahead of ya.

  5. To be honest, I’m having trouble letting it all sink in. These last couple years were spent dreaming of a 1st-round upset over Phx. Now we’re one win from dethroning the champs and making it to the Finals. The full significance of where we are and how far we’ve come just hasn’t sunk in yet.

    I love being a Lakers fan

  6. 4. It’s the middle of the night in the Philippines, so I feel for the guy. I already think Warren doesn’t sleep.

  7. Hey all – I just got tickets to the game. Anybody know if traffic is more than normal with these playoff games or can I head to Staples at my normal time? I live in Brentwood and am planning on heading to staples by 4:15 to get there around 5:45.

    Am I leaving myself enough time?

    BTW – This game will go a long way to deciding if this Laker team has the moxie to be a championship team. Close-out games are opportunities we need to take advantage of.

  8. Warren, Warren, Warren…it’s a deciding Game 5 and there’s no time for secondary concerns over things like sleep and work. Needed that first post, man, just plain needed it. If we were on the court together I’d be up in your face like Kobe on Luke. Let’s hope we can work our way out of this hole.

    That said, I like the Lakers in this one. The Lakers have their sights on the Spurs kill switch and that thing is flipping tonight:

    Lakers – 101
    Spurs – 87

    See ya in Detroit!

  9. snoopy, yeah, I’m with you…I have a friend in AZ, who has some nice seats about 5 rows up and he’s invited me to a Suns Lakers game in Phx every year for the past 3 years. and the Suns were our rivalry, especially the way to beat us in the playoffs, then when D’antoni went off on PJ earlier this year, and the way we’ve beaten the Suns this year…it’s like we missed our chance to “crush the Suns, payback” we’re in the next level now…
    but I guess we can’t complain about that either, eh?

  10. 7. Mike, congrats on getting tickets!

    Leave yourself extra time tonight, there are events at both Staples and Nokia and that means traffic and parking are worse than normal.

    http://www.nokiatheatrelalive.com/traffic_advisory.php

  11. Mike, you might want to take the 10 til it grings to a halt, maybe around la brea, then exit(N) and take olympic(Rt) in, i think surface streets are better at that time of day, plus the off ramp to the 110N will be rediculous.
    and … enjoy amigo! yell like there’s no tomorrow

  12. 10, 11. Traffic is the thing I miss the least about LA. Theres barely any traffic where I live now (NE) but I still complain when it gets a little slow. You think I would be used to it since I lived in LA my whole life until 5 years ago.

  13. Thanks Kurt and everyone else – MUCH appreciated advise for the traffic.

    I’m curious to see if the Lakers are planning on giving gold t-shirts or something. Jeannie Buss was on the Petro & Money show before Game 4 and she mentioned they have something in store but that it would be a surprise.

    I’m hoping for the loudest Staples crowd ever and I’ll definitely be contributing to that.

  14. Times Laker blog has a great podcast w/ Roland Lazenby about the effects of Craig Hodges and Derek Fisher have had on the team. Comparing Fisher to Ron Harper’s role on the previous 3peat team.

    “Half of Kobe’s MVP award belongs to Derek Fisher”

  15. Where does Ice get off making himself Kobe, when he’s never been the most dominant rapper at any time during his career. It’s gotta be between Tupac and Biggie since they were the last two rappers to really dominate the game, and since it’s LA you gotta go with Tupac on the WC.
    I like radmanovic as ODB.
    I’d go with Wyclef for Odom because they’re both smooth and versatile.
    I can’t think of anybody for DFish, but it’s gotta be a guy who’s gotten better with age.
    Gasol’s gotta be modern Snoop because he’s still smooth, but he’s soft.

  16. Kurt, I know you’re joking, but seriously, Sasha isn’t that bad of a flopper. C’mon. The guy is 6-5 and freaking like 130, he’s going to fall over now and then. Derek Fisher’s one of the stockiest players in the league and is on the floor at a higher rate than Sasha, no doubt.

    But then again, Sasha’s a Euro, so you know, he’s soft and he flops, right?

  17. I’m not trying to get ahead of myself, but I’ll be going on vacation and probably won’t be posting for a while, so I wanted to get people’s opinions on this.

    I was thinking – if we end up with a Pistons-Lakers finals, what would be the best way to punish the Pistons for playing Kobe with a 3 (Prince)? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to slide Lamar to the 3 and play Ronny and Pau up front? This would accomplish 2 things:

    1) The Pistons would be forced to take Prince off Kobe, or else Lamar would have no problem posting up Hamilton. Lamar is easily capable of guarding Prince on the other end.
    2) It would keep Stuckey off the floor during crunch time. Flip Saunders went to a 3-guard lineup against the Celtics, but this would prevent that.

    The disadvantages would be 1) Kobe would have to chase Rip around, and 2) Sasha would probably backup Fish and Farmar would be left out….but Farmar already struggles with big guards, so he wouldn’t be a great fit against Detroit anyway.

    It made sense to me; it’s a lineup that takes full advantage of Lamar’s versatility. It’s also a nice counter to Tayshaun guarding Kobe, because he gives Kobe a ton of trouble.

    Not trying to get ahead of myself – we still have to close out the game tonight – but it seemed like a decent idea to me, although I’m sure there’s some flaws that I haven’t spotted yet.

  18. The thing about the Laker’s rise this year is that it has been too fast for me. It’s like seducing a woman you are crazy about, but it comes too easily – it’s missing missing the tension, effort, disappointment, excitement, frustration, agony, and finally, the ecstasy. Maybe the Gasol trade had that effect somewhat, because before Bynum got hurt they were geting close with the same team that suffered first round disappointments the last two years – Kwame and all, and it was very meaningful. Maybe it’s just me, but something is missing.

    On the other hand, should they beat the Celtics in the finals ….

  19. As the game progresses, teams who want to slow things down can’t afford to walk the ball up and shoot with 10 seconds or so left on the 24 second clock, when they are playing catch-up. The Laker were able to speed up the tempo by maintaining their lead, and duplicating that scenario, I believe, is one key to closing out the Spurs.

    I looked at Charley Rosen’s review of Game 6 of the Hornets-Spurs series (http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/8145186) to study what the Spurs can do when facing elimination.

    Assuming that the Spurs will go to their most successful, tried-and-true tactics, I expect a pretty simplified offense: mostly pick and rolls. Defensively, I expect a lot of different looks. If they can manage a lead, I look for them to try to get the ball out of Kobe’s hands and make other Lakers take the big shots. I also believe Duncan will operate from the high post because it pulls Gasol away from the basket and allows him to get back on defense more quickly.

    Hubie Brown on yesterday’s Celtics-Pistons pre-game show pointed out that because Bowen was matched up with Kobe, jumpshooters like Ginobili and Finley were worn out trying to guard heftier players like Walton and Radmanovic. He concluded that this matchup drained them of stamina and diminished their productivity on the offensive end. Any of you agree with Hubie?

    It’s really disappointing Hubie and Tirico aren’t covering TNT games. We’re left with Collins’ sickeningly repetitive commentary punctuated by Marv Albert’s unchanging assortment of catchphrases.

  20. 17. That’s the beauty of winning tonight, IF they win tonight. You can be sure a team dinner + whatever zen philjaxs has up his sleave would really help, given possibly two games to watch.

  21. Here’s a Spurs view for you: It’s all about Manu, which is why this series is 3-1 LA, not 3-1 SA. If he were at even 90%, games 1 & 4 go the other way and this would be over by game 6. These teams are so even that his injury has become the difference, therefore there is not one prediction that can realisitcally predict a San Antonio vicotry tonight or beyond that does not start with him magically recovering (not likely). Could the Spurs spull out a win tonight? Sure, Manu can hit all his jumpers (since he can’t drive) &get above 20 pts. They could then have TD & Parker carry them at home but that still leaves a game 7 and an even more worn down Manu. Barring answered prayers or a medical recovery unseen to this point, this series ending in favor of LA is not a matter of if but when.

    So how does that make a Spurs fan feel? It puts how hard winning a title is into perspective. There are the obvious “ifs” that can crop up during any postseason run (if .4 didn’t happen; if Manu didn’t foul Dirk in gm7; or if Crawford hadn’t screwed us in gm3 vs. Dallas, where the true TD vs. Joey bias began). Every team has that if you’re good enough to be in the title conversation. Live with it. The injuries are the hardest, because as easy as it is to make excuses about lucky shots or incompetence of an official, without the health of your superstars you have little to no shot. We know from history that the big 3 of SA can and will do it when healthy. Even Duncan’s sprained ankle during the ’05 run did not stop them, nor was his plantar fasciitis the reason ’06 fell short. If Manu were healthy, the experience and defense of the Spurs would be more than enough to offset the athleticism and offense of LA. That may not be a popular line of thought on this board but I’d take that debate on with anybody. I also acknowledge that that’s life. You fight through it and do what you can; if it’s not your time, tip your hat.

    One opinion on game 4: my only frustration with Fisher’s foul is that it kept Brent from getting off a good shot. Call the foul or not, that’s life. If you play poorly enough to allow a ref to decide a game you get what you get. SUre, Brent could’ve jumped into him and received 3 shots to win the game. All I wanted was for no foul to exist and give him a legit shot to win the game, especially the way he played. As for other items, I’m still stunned how passive Parker has been. He’s getting into the offense late and contarary to what Barkely says, only Duncan has had a great series on SA. If TP would be more assertive, game one doesn’t get away despite all the travel and exhaustion issues and game four wouldn’t have been left in the hands of Crawford. For as well as Tony played in the Finals, this series he’s been average. Considering all the lazy journalism about the age of the Spurs, how ironic that the youngest star in this series plays as though he’s tired.

    Good luck and health to both squads tonight.

  22. The Bulls have re-hired Doug Collins. Thank God. Anything to get that guy out of my TV speakers is fine by me. The guy never stops talking.

    Ending his work with TNT (at least until he flames out in Chicago and makes his inevitable return to broadcast row in a year or two) is just one more reason the Lakers need to win tonight.

  23. 16- There are different types of flopping. I think Fisher exaggerates contact. He knows how to fall down, especially on charges and push himself once on the floor. That’s the classic American flop, and I don’t mind it, provided there is actual contact. (Pau Gasol is so bad at these it’s funny. He sits down, then pushes himself in one of the least graceful acts you’ll ever see on the court.)

    Sasha (and Ginobli, Tony Parker, etc.), on the other hand, will occasionally bust out Hollywood style acting to make it seem like what contact there is or not was more violent than it really was. Take the flagrant foul against Najera in the first round. Najera did throw a blind elbow that hit Sasha in the meaty part of the shoulder. Sasha fell down and looked like he wrapped his hands around his throat like his trachea had been crushed. I was legitimately worried about his well being until I realized he was clutching his shoulder and realized there was no way he was in that much pain (confirmed when he continued to play without an issue). THAT is the kind of flopping that I think they’ll punish. Or even worse kinds where there is no contact at all (See Mehmet Okur at the end of game 5).

  24. I really thought I’d feel better if we went up 3-1. Nope. Still very nervous. I really do not want to play a game 6 in SA…that could easily lead to a game 7 and nobody wants a winner take all scenario. So I really want a win tonight. Even more than game 4.

    Kurt’s right, there are no more secrets. The Lakers need to come out hard and fast and intense and focussed. I’d like to see the team put their foots on their throats early and control the game. I know the Spurs will not quit, but I’d really like them to have to battle uphill like they did in game 4. That really sapped their main guys physically and mentally; it’s tought to have to battle back for an entire game. So, do everything that Kurt said with Manu and Parker, try to limit Duncan, and treat Barry like he’s a member of their big 3 and get a win tonight.

  25. 21. I hope every Laker feels the same way you do. I’m sure they do. You can’t make it this far otherwise.

  26. do you think its wrong of me to wear my Team USA Bryant Jersey to the Parade?

  27. *Some of the elder statesmen on the Lakers still might be having nightmares of blowing that 3-1 series lead to Phoenix a couple years back. Don’t look for the Lakers to be complacent up 3-1 and at home. I am looking for Kobe and co. to finish this out tonight.

    *Keep on pounding the boards. Winning the rebound margin, especially the offensive rebound stat sheet doesn’t just look good on those TNT graphics, it also usually equals dubbays.

    *Vlade Rad keep on doing what you be doing. Hitting open shots (minus that airball at the top key, for a sharpshooter he seems to have a lot of those), don’t be afraid to take the ball to the rack. Your playing small forward and are 6’10”!

    *Derrick Fisher time to start knocking down those same threes we saw in the Utah series

    *Pau Gasol play like you did in game 4. Yes 10 10 and 6 is good not great but he was challenging all of Duncan’s shots and making it real tough on the Big Fundamental. We finally saw that “Gasol’s length gives Duncan fits” theory come to fruition.

    *Anyone else think Bob Horry is still on the Laker payroll? Passing up 4 footers? Keep on doing what you doing Bobby wink wink.

    *Must control Manu tonight, a little Kobe on him again? Sure. Not to much though, that herky jerky play on Manu takes it out of the defenders and we don’t want to see Kobe doing the Big Bad Wolf thing (huffin and puffin). Which is also a reason I think the Machine might be a little off.

    *Control the bench: DO NOT let frieken Brent Barry score 23 again…wow.

    *Good spacing on offensive and solid D will get with win.

    Prediction: Lakers 103 Spurs 93

  28. TBP (15): I don’t know about “getting better with age,” but I like LL Cool J for D-Fish.

    jaaason (16): Sasha is such the flopper. And I say that with all the affection in the world–after all, he’s our flopper. But he does flop. He doesn’t flop every time: He didn’t flop against Brewer (I think it was, against Utah), and I don’t think he flopped when he got clocked by Bowen. But he plays things up, no doubt.

  29. SpurredOn: I’m really glad you stuck around and continued to post your insight on the Spurs. You root for a great, classy team that deserves all the accolades it’s received over the years.

    As for a healthy Manu and ultimately the Spurs experience and defense trumping the Lakers athleticism and offense…I guess I only have one response to that and tell me what you think…Don’t you think that the triumvirate of Kobe/Fisher/Jackson with other vets like Odom and Gasol have enough “experience” to match what the Spurs have? Oh, sorry, and a second question: Don’t you think the Lakers are missing Bynum? I know that you are in no way blaming injuries for the Spurs lack of success so far (actually you’re saying quite the opposite), but with a healthy Bynum I think the Lakers are even more equipped to deal with Duncan (seriously though, he is amazing).

    Any thoughts on those points (especially the experience part)?

  30. checking in at work, 8:52am. but as agonizing as it is to watch games via telecast on a near-minimized window, it’s always fun to see that the posting fun has already started.

    anyway, i agree with SpurredOn that it’s all about Manu, but for the Spurs to lament about injuries to the Lakers who had just about every single player on the roster injured in the past two seasons is just amusing. We’re still without Bynum, while Ariza and Mihm are still nowhere near where they could be.

    Not to mention the fact that Kobe is probably playing with a ‘T-mac back lite,’ torn tendon, Gasol and Fisher with their own injuries… no NBA team will ever really be at full strength. If Karl Malone wasn’t injured way back then, we may still have Kobe and Shaq playing together, even.

    Well maybe not, but we’d probably have at least one more trophy…

  31. where’s warren?

  32. Wouldn’t it be great if the Lakers lead most of the game only to have the Spurs draw within two in the final seconds and have the game end with a missed three and a controversial no-call foul? Wait a second…

    Kidding aside, everyone needs to dust off that old rabbit’s foot and lucky horseshoe and get this done proper in G5. A 6 in SA isn’t a 6 in Utah, at least not in the conf finals. These guys are champions and we need to destroy them while we’re in the most optimal position to do so. We can’t have these old men get any youthful momentum and go on a winning streak here. Let’s just put this whole pesky ordeal behind us and get on with the business of winning a NBA Finals again. Maybe Phil can quote Sun Tzu to motivate the troops and get things organized for a clear victory?

    Fair play to SpurredOn (and any other Spurs fans posting here I may have missed) for good, honest blogging throughout. It was an impressive run. I hope it ends classy. Your team deserves all the respect in the world.

  33. Okay, the 30 minutes of tech problems seem to be behind us and the site is back up and running. Let’s pretend that is not any kind of omen and just a coincidence.

  34. The Lakers should look to come out strong. An early lead would provide our youngsters with the confidence they need to finish them off tonight. If they fall behind early some of those spurs jump shots might start falling and we could be in trouble. That said I think lamar and pau will finish better at home and the Lakers will win. Everyone enjoy.

  35. RIP, Hedley Lamarr.

  36. Darius & Harold- Thx for the feedback and I’ll answer your questions as best I can. I’ll start with the Bynum argument first. Had he not been injured, I don’t believe a Gasol trade happens. That’s like Manu getting hurt in February and SA trading for Michael Redd. We’ll never know, but in that perfect world I would still take Bynum and Gasol playing for LA if Manu & Horry are healthy for SA. That would be one helluva series, destined to go seven games. I think then they would truly be equal and home court would likely be the decider, in favor of LA. But I do warn people who talk about guarding TD, the playoff Duncan is different (as is playoff Kobe) and people who look like they would match up well or did so in a regular season game typically find the going much harder. If Gasol were not here but Bynum was, you’d gain in defense & rebounding but loose some in passing and shooting.

    On experience, there is more than one kind. There are guys that’ve been around but hardly ever played in huge games, minus one season (say Brand). There are guys that have been to the playoffs almost every year but never had success (Odom, Gasol, KG) or success with a ceiling (Stoudamire, Nash). If your rep is that you come up small when the pressure is on, that’s not a good experience to carry with you. If it’s that you always get yours but hurt the team, not good either. It’s easy to assume that a guy like Bynum would do well in this pressure. Truth is, until he does we don’t know. We do know what guys like Manu, TD, TP, Horry, Finley, Bowen, Kobe and Fisher will do. Their careers are filled with huge shots, rebounds, games, series and game changing plays. In a short series, that experience deficit can be used to trump an opponent; it usually is if you also have talent. The great Laker teams KNEW they would find a way. Other than Boston and the Bad Boys Pistons, who else did they play that could say that? It’s why SA continues to dominate Phoenix when it matters. The problem with SA now is a third of their talent is less than 50%.

    The best chance for SA to win this series was to put mental pressure on LA. Make them trail a series for the first time this year; gave it away in gm 1. Make then feel the series tighten around them in gm 4; never took the lead. It’s easy to play when you’re ahead and role players do just that. Young players tend to be emotional and thus a bit of a front runner. Put them behind the spotlight with the walls closing in and many fail, at least the first time or two that they’re on this big of a stage. No shame in that.

    I do disagree wit harold about Malone. Even if healthy, that Detroit team was much better. They’re the only team to defend LA in the Phil era as well as SA. And in my earlier post, no excuses. LIke I said, TD was hurt in ’05 and we still won the title. Kobe’s back is not hindering him like Manu’s ankle, and ironically it helps that SA is not fouling him and having their bigs punish him they way Utah did. If Kobe had played games 5&6 injured as the way he did in game 4, Utah wins that series. That would not have made Utah better, it would’ve made them fortunate. But those are the breaks in a seven game series.

    One last bit on on injuries: Spurs have had theirs all year, including all three of the Big 3 and still got 56 wins, one game back. They play through it. Sometimes it catches up with you, other times not. Nothing to feel ashamed of. If LA can finish this off and win a title, next year everyone will be gunning for you, making excuses when you win, blaming the refs and never appreciating your team play. Whenever that title defense comes to and end, fans will celebrate and say you weren’t good enough, even if it takes a Kobe injury to stop you. No need to apologize now because no one is likely to give you on in the future. Except me. I don’t mind calling it as it is, whether is helps or hurts my team.

    On to game 5. Chat back later.

  37. Lakers better get their act together

  38. Finley stepping up tonight? Even if his production stops right here, he’s done his share, it seems.

  39. *Our offense is not in sync. Too many quick jumpers with no results and Pau is determined to avoid a power move like the plague.

    *On that 2nd Finley jumper, Gasol had a good rotation but Finley just hit the shot.

    *I like the active defense, but Timmy is looking determined right now…

  40. Lakers better get their act together

  41. so, are we spotting them a 20 pt lead again? it’s been there done that, so i really shouldn’t be worried, right?

    right?

  42. Gasol needs to grow some like Bynum. Come on man! Dunk the ball with two hands! Jump at least 5 inches off the ground, please!

  43. We have 15 points and Kobe/Gasol/Fisher are 4-14. Add in Sasha/Farmar with an 0-2 and….ugh. We better turn this around and quickly.

  44. Everybody is playing like crap right now. Down to a man. Pau’s pouring big helpings of weak sauce on his weenie shots. Everybody loves the 15 foot jump shot. Nobody’s loving making them. Oh hey, let’s get Odom a contested 3 pointer!

  45. SA is hitting 58% of their shots, 80% from the 3.
    LAL is hitting 26% of their shots, 16.7% from the 3.

    No way in hell we’re beating them like this.

  46. Wow….that Manu foul….the ball wasn’t even anywhere NEAR Sasha’s face.

  47. Spurs are on a mission tonight.
    They will come back here for a game 7.

  48. Wow, Sasha looked like he was just pushing the ball, not shooting it.

  49. FARMAR!

  50. laughing hard May 29, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Farmar just went on a 6-0 run. Noice.

  51. When Parker is out of the game we have to punish them with ball pressure. Their guards are capable of handling but can be turnover prone.

    Sasha seems gassed. I think his *defensive* mindset for this series has affected his shooting stroke a little bit. Phil’s got him locked in on d, but besides last games 4 pt. play, he hasn’t hit many open shots on offense.

  52. More important than Farmar’s little run, the Spurs seemed to cool off a bit – if the Lakers can stay active on defense, they can continue to chip away at this lead.

    And as I type this, Barry gets a WIIIIIDE open look from 3. Come ON.

  53. are we in the bonus now? let’s get this down to single digits. at this rate we’ll score 60 for the game :(

  54. Kobe needs to drive it every time! He can’t settle for those wide open 3s, unless he knows 100% that he will make them.

  55. This series is going to game 6 y’all! Spurs are not blowing a big lead this time!

  56. 52 – Amen. I’m going to scream if they take another jumpshot.

    Kobe is having to work so hard right now. I’ve lost count of how many bunnies Pau and Lamar have missed. I think Pau’s weenieness is rubbing off on Lamar.

  57. Kobe’s drive should’ve been an AND ONE….with Duncan’s hand all over Kobe’s back.

  58. the run corresponded with the Lakers finding ways to get inside shots.

  59. How many guys (Lamar) in a game get that amped and start slapping fives with the BENCH? I’m serious; is that fairly common or more a sign of this team’s comradeship?

  60. good point 57— i was thinking the same

  61. wow, mission accomplished. cut the lead to single digits.

    SAS 51.2% 55.6%
    LAL 38.6% 20.0%

    managed to close the gap significantly, getting SA% down by 7% and 25%, while improving ours by 12% and 4%…

    of course, no little thanks to the fouls / FTs we’ve got. not doing too badly on the rebounding/TO front either. just wish we could’ve taken more advantage of being in the bonus.

  62. 57 – This Lakers team have been my favorite since ever. Even last couple of years, Kobe makes a spectacular play, the bench has no emotions (maybe it’s because of the cancer on the team: Brian Cook/Smush Parker?). When some other player makes a spectacular play, Kobe could care less. This year, even Kobe will do his best impression of Ronny on the bench. This the the Brotherhood of the Lakers right now and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

  63. To shoot 40% (eFG%) for the first half and only be down six is amazing. The first 5 minutes of the third quarter will tell us a lot.

  64. Lamar is getting Kurt Thomas get away with too many offensive rebounds.

  65. Phil Jackson cannot be human at this point…The MAN just never panics…

  66. By the way, I’ve talked a lot about the Spurs role players: 9 of 13 from the field from everyone not named Parker/Duncan/Ginobili. Those guys keep hitting like that and it makes the Spurs hard to beat.

  67. Weenie sucks!

  68. Wow, Pau is just playing horrible…

  69. carter blanchard May 29, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Ronny cm is the best thing ever. I’m having a hard time pulling my eyes away from it to actually watch the game,

  70. Bad time to have an off night. Both Pau and Odom aren’t performing. I hope they get it going soon.

    Thanks TD for pulling a Shaq on us. Let’s see if Lamar can return the favor.

  71. Well, just like that we are back in this.

  72. OK, Lets gogogogogogogo!

  73. Kobe wasn’t fouled on that break. There was enough contact that you could call it, but Bowen was avoiding contact more than anything. And I think because he showed that he was avoiding contact they gave him credit for that. He’s got to know that Boween is going to avoid fouling and just go up strong to finish.

  74. hard not to love this team. i’m about to scream just watching telecast. man this is fun… yet i’m so pissed i can’t watch the darn game. time for lunch break too, at this crucial point. arghghghghg.!!

  75. the MVP’s getting to work

  76. go sapce cadet

  77. VLAD VLAD VLAD VLAD VLAD!!

  78. Psychologically, this one pt lead into the 4th is HUGE!

  79. 64/63 lakers lead by 1!

  80. Wow. Is it the 4th already? Feels like this game has gone by quickly.

  81. Love when you are down by 17 and you still feel a sense of calm assurance that all is well. Must be the combination of Phil, Kobe, and Fisher. No matter who wins, they showed some mettle in coming back the right way — one possession at a time, no panic, no jacking too many 3s.

  82. I hope the officials dont start making stupid calls just to make up for the one they missed at the end of game 4….i see signs

  83. Farmar is playing really really well tonight.

  84. Always liked Farmar… Seriously, I feel happy for the kid. Now close this out.

  85. i’m really glad to see farmar bounce back nicely from the utah series.

    it’s a good thing we came out of that series as a winner, otherwise, i think it might have taken a bit longer for him to regain his confidence and composure.

    let’s finish strong lakers!

  86. Everybody now…follow FARMAR’s lead!!! Nice under control assists on Luke’s 3 followed by a nice drive to the rim.

  87. This might be Doug Collins’ last color commentary….I’ll miss him…*sniff sniff*

  88. pau needs to get aggressive and get into this game. he hasn’t really played all that well this whole series. get tough and get to the basket with determination and power. he’s not doing anything and seems hesitant whenever he has the ball. step up and finish this. he needs to at least finish this series with one good game and it might as well be this one.

  89. I don’t like Parker in the lane like this….Farmar is playing good d, but Parker just has better offense and throwing the ball above Farmar. Keep your head in the game FARMAR!!!! You’re doing fine.

  90. The Lakers have 8 offensive boards. All by Gasol.15 total boards, 1 more than Duncan. I’ll take that.

  91. Looking at the TNT thing, Kobe seems to be getting that top of key J anytime he wants. Wish he could drive into the paint like Parker…

  92. plus it’s gasol’s first time at the western finals. i think he can play better but hopefully he’ll get over whatever spell he’s under.
    let’s finish strong!!!!

  93. Doug Collins keeps on commenting on Duncan’s long pause before shooting his FTs – I think it’s because he and the Spurs are tired, and he’s trying to get them some rest.

  94. Pau did NOT foul Duncan there. He jumped straight up, and didn’t touch Duncan at all that I could see. His arm wasn’t vertical but I don’t think it could have touched anything but ball.

  95. good to have Kobe on our side.

  96. NBA – where unstoppable happens

  97. Yea Kobe, but I just know this game will go down to the last seconds.

  98. I cannot stress this enough….don’t foul and stay on 3 pt shooters!!!!

  99. MVP shows why he earned it. The shots over Duncan. If not for those shots, a much different game.

  100. that was a big rebound by pau.

  101. i’m getting giddy and very happy….yes!!!

  102. Looks like we’ll have some time to rest. As compared to the early ’00s finals, when the WCF was really the final (Indy, Philly, NJ were nowhere near Portland, San Antone and Sacto), whoever we play will be real tough. Well done lads!

  103. wow that’s desperation. ducan attempted a 3.

  104. What do you guys think? Start the WE WANT TACOS chants so the Spurs won’t foul us anymore?

  105. Finals.

  106. oh come on, not again…

  107. yes! finals here we come.

  108. Machine believe point differential matter for John Hollinger rankings

  109. Sasha just pissed off some gamblers tonight…the line was -8…hahaha

  110. YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY !!!!!!!!

  111. 111- hahahahaha…my friend was happy

  112. lakers-celtics 4 sure

  113. carter blanchard May 29, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    I’m so happy!

    Also, Sasha’s a d*ck but I love him because he’s on our team.

    And it’s so fitting that Jerry West is delivering the trophy. Snicker.

  114. The West now, the world soon!

  115. wow…lakers beating the spurs in 5. who would have thought.

  116. laughing hard May 29, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Great series, great win. Go Lakers!

  117. Now we can actually talk about the Finals!

  118. Western Conference is ours, has a nice ring.

  119. Wait…am I reading the boxscore right? 19 rebounds for Gasol?!?!?!? AND 4 blks?

    Time and time again, Kobe has just one of those games that will go down in history. This guy is seriously unbelievable, unstoppable, and undeniable….Thank goodness he didn’t jump ship this year.

  120. Bad play by Sasha, that was pretty unclassy, racking up the score at the end (probably just so the fans could get tacos). You just don’t do that in the WCF, but the Spurs were classy enough not to take offense.

    Have they posted the Finals schedule yet?

  121. This game really turned at the Lakers’ timeout with about 3 minutes to go in the second quarter. That was some pep talk that Phil gave them! All kidding aside, the Lake Show really showed what champions are made of with this win and proved that their comeback in game 1 was no fluke. No matter who they play, it’ll be a tough series, but neither the banged-up Pistons nor the hot-and-cold Celtics scare me that much.

    It’s weird, though: even when the Lakers were down by 17, I had no doubt that they would pull it out in the end.

  122. TD had a Triple Double. Had he made his FTs, it would’ve been a different game, but that’s the beauty of having your best player be a guard not a center. Unless your center is Yao Ming who hits his FTs, that is.

    Anyway, i’m just glad my boss decided eat lunch by himself allowing me to stay at the office and see the game via TNT. This was really a game i really didn’t want to miss, especially the last two quarters…

    Now a week’s rest and more time to bond! That’s good for the players, but it’s going to be somewhat difficult a lull time for us fans ;)

  123. Starts June 5th…

  124. 42,56,68,70,90- Obviously 5-15 it’s not a good offensive effort, but with 19 rebs ( 9 off!! ), 5 assists, 4 blocks and leaving TD with 7-19, I am not going to be the one complaining about Gasol’s game tonight.

    Next stop THE RING!!!! Go Lakers!!!!

  125. laughing hard May 29, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    This is going to be a loooooooooooong week…

  126. Unbridled joy.

    Feels like the purest Laker experience I’ve ever had. Must be the contrast with the darkness that began the season.

  127. For the doubters…. start believing.

  128. Okay guys… Boston or Détroit?

  129. Good game. Despite what Ginobli said, this game is still similar to Game 1 in that Spurs had a good lead and failed to hold on to it. Fatigue…?

    As another poster pointed out, Sasha just angered MANY people who bet on the Spurs to +8 in the game (Lose by at most 7). My uncle was pretty ecstatic because he won the bet, but I still believe that last shot by Sasha was unnecessary. I’m sure he will hear about it later from Kobe and the coaching staff.

    Good job by Sasha, though. That 3 to put us up by nine was nice.

    FINALS, here we come!

  130. We can’t celebrate too much…the ultimate joy is a championship….so, let’s savor this and move on to our next opponent!

  131. 129 – Interesting that Greg Anthony seems to think we’d fare better against Detroit. I actually value his opinion somewhat, but I was thinking the Pistons would be the more difficult team to face. Boston’s half-court D is amazing, but they’ve clearly shown that they are bothered by teams that get out and run – something we’re great at.

    Either way, we have to realize both teams are better defensively than the Spurs. I just feel like Tayshaun gives Kobe more trouble than anyone on the Celtics roster can. Pierce is solid defensively, but sometimes having to work hard on D takes him out of his game offensively. As long as we can keep their bench under wraps and let KG and Pierce get theirs, I like our chances against the Celts.

    We also have to face the fact that our center is a weenie. I’m not saying this just to bash, but even Pau-lovers have to admit he has trouble playing against physical teams. The Pistons were physical enough to give Dwight Howard trouble.

    On the other hand, if Phil slides Lamar to the 3, this effectively takes Tayshaun off Kobe, and takes Stuckey out of the game in crunch time. That can counter a lot of what Detroit does.

    Clearly, I’m confused. Both teams will exceptionally hard to beat, but Boston’s D seems to have more of a hole (transition D) than Detroit’s.

  132. classless or no, i think that 3 was needed. Sasha struggled all series with his shot, and if that helps him regain conf… err.. he never lost that… regain his touch, anger everyone in the world, i still support him.

    maybe i’m letting a few series blind me, but this team has Disney-Hollywood written all over it. Blatantly all over it. Sour protagonist, loner and all, finding his way with the team. Goofy characters contributing meaningfully, including an otherwise annoying kid who is very concerned with his hairstyle. Rock-steady father figure in charge. Overcoming talent-loaded team with teamwork. Overcoming bullying team with perserverance. Overcoming defending champions with a little bit of luck.

    on a more non-disney note, it’s nice to see that we can win with a line from kobe that’s like 39-3-3. years past, that would have most definitiley been a valiant effort to no avail, or worse, Kobe shooting us out of the game and being a selfish ball hog. Now it’s an MVP worthy performance, thanks to MVP-worthy supporting cast that comes through in their own way.

  133. The ride continues! I really enjoyed seeing the Logo deliver some words to the team and Laker fans. Kobe had an out of body experience this series and somehow channeled ’01 and ’02, where he similarly dominated San Antonio.

  134. 122. – I think at least one Spur took offense to Sasha’s last shot. Doug Collins commented that Finley gave a pissed look at Sasha after making that shot

  135. 117) I did! Wrote on this site well before the start of the WCF’s between Lakers and Spurs and said Lakers in 5!!

    I guess no believed me because no one commented, everyone said it would be a long series.

    I feel something with this team. That they will NOT BE DENIED! To a man they stand up in whatever role they are required to play on any given night. No complaints about shots, playing time and someone posted earlier comraderie! This team cares about one another. Phil has brought them along in fine fashion.

    I have stated on previous comments that I thought that Farmar will be an allstar in a few years and the kid is right on course. Derek Fisher is imparting all of his wisdom on this kid and Farmar is drinking it with a straw.

    Sasha locking in defensively! I knew that he had it in him just because he was willing to play full court on the ball or off on his man.

    Vlad! Vlad! Vlad! This man has played an incredible series against the Spurs. He was the X factor this series!

    Love, Love, Love this Laker squad 2nd favorite no one will ever pass the Showtime teams of Magic, Worthy, Cooper, Scott, Rambis, Kareem, Riley etc. etc. etc.

    So happy for the much maligned MVP! Let’s start saying KOBE, KOBE, KOBE at the games instead of MVP, MVP!

    Sorry, I guess I am rambling now, but I am giddy!

  136. Holy crap, I thought the game was gonna be on the 7th! Awesome I’ll be back from Drill Weekend to see it!

  137. It’s time to give credit where credit is due. No one, and I mean NO ONE thought that the Lakers would be back so soon:
    http://jonesonthenba.blogspot.com/2008/05/lakers-are-back-to-finals-faster-than.html

  138. Congratulations to the Lakers for an amazing season so far, but the work is not yet complete.

    And the Spurs are very very humble champions, full of class which Sasha miserably failed to exhibit in the closing seconds of tonight’s game.

    I am hoping DET can force a game 7 and BOS will end up winning on Sunday to face the Lakers on Thursday.

  139. Of all the experts only Hollinger picked the lakers to win in 5. David Thorpe should have started his Game 5 preview with “I am an idiot, i picked the lakers to win only 2 games”

  140. Four wins to go!!!!

  141. laughing hard May 29, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    This is so overwhelming — especially when we remember that we have BYNUM coming back next season. I’m so deliriously happy for our Lakers.

  142. I don’t know if this has been said, but I’m pretty disappointed that Sasha took that last second three. I know he was excited, but there’s no excuse for that.

    Also, I just want to congratulate the Spurs on a hard fought series. Trust me, there isn’t another team out there that scares me more than the Spurs. I’m not saying the Spurs are the best team, but damn are they sure consistently good. Anyway, finals here we come!!!!!!

  143. 144. I think Kelly Dwyer picked the Lakers in five, as did Hollinger

  144. 147. Oh come on, I’m sure he just wanted a head start for practice for this upcoming long week.

    But yeah, no excuse.

  145. Warren Wee Lim May 29, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    LOL guys… i actually had a different ritual coming into a decider like this one. It obviously worked.

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    Ain’t that a delayed reaction?

    I had money on the Lakers on this one, so I had to not post until the game was decided. The Lakers were giving -7.5 and the Sasha end-of-4th three made sure I get it. I also had money on the series with a 32:9 odds.

    To be honest, my little angel Gianna Therese is definitely a good luck charm for our Lakers.

  146. Does anyone know when Finals tickets go on sale or how much they might run?

  147. I was trying to think back to the end of the regular season, and came to the conclusion that the Lakers could get to the Finals IF they started buckling down and trusting each other on defense.

    The defense was excellent this whole series. A conscious effort forced Ginobili to his right, trapped Duncan with sporadic help, and kept Parker relatively quiet and out of the lane.

    Kobe was taking EVERYTHING the Spurs were giving him. Talking about how Kobe is a mathematician, when Duncan failed to hedge Kobe and take off the angle to drive, Kobe got to the basket at will. When Bowen and Duncan closed the lane, Kobe took a dribble and hit that 15 ft midrange pullup jumper. That is the shot Lamar needs to hit instead of forcing it and setting himself up for offensive fouls.

    Stellar play from the bench, especially our unsung hero, Farmar who reinvigorated the Lakers who were again waiting to play at the usual 7:30 start of the game. Let’s just hope that they show up at 6 during THE FINALSSSSS!!!!

    LET’S GO LAKER FANS!!!!! 4 MORE TO GO!!!!

  148. I am sooo happy right now.

    :)

  149. Now that the series is over I would just like to say how much of a class act the Spurs have been as an opponent. From taking the high road after the loss in game 4 to bowing out with grace tonight. The Spurs play as good of defense as any team I’ve ever seen and their ability to play it without fouling (at least obvious fouls) is truly amazing. If they can retool their bench and get some better role players this off-season they’ll truly be scary.

    That being said, get ready for the Finals! 4 more wins baby!

  150. warren, glad to hear from you, you had me worried..
    glad you got an angle working for us too.
    that was one hell of a game!

    I’m hoping for the Pistons, cause Perkins big body is essentially going to negate Pau, and I don’t like that trade off, whereas MacDice isn’t as much of a banger wide body, and I think Pau can be more effective.
    plus Sheed will get another T and be suspended for 1 game, and anybody know the condition of Rip’s elbow?

  151. I believe. I believe.

  152. Let’s see Detroit and Boston fight over who is more ready to take on the Lakers.

    Now I know how McCain feels.

  153. WITNESS

  154. The Lakers are going to the NBA Finals and the LOST season finale, this is one of the best nights ever.

  155. sasha took the three to get the lakers to 100 to win the home crowd tacos! seemed classless, but showin love to the fans

  156. If you think about this young team, things have worked perfectly this season – playoffwise.
    1) We finish off Denver in 4 games, giving us rest and providing our youngsters with the start of pressure ball, without the pressure of being behind, or losing games.
    2) Next we face what I feel was our toughest opponent – yeah I know I am in the minority, but Utah has that perfect mix of physical toughness and shooting to really beat us. Luckily, this year their defense wasn’t what it was in previous years and we have Kobe. By losing games 3 & 4 we came under our first real pressure game and came through in game 5. Then we won our 2nd closeout game on the best homecourt team in the league. This taught us just how difficult a game could be.
    3) Next the Spurs and we again got complacent after two homecourt wins. The blowout helped our young players focus and again forced us to raise our play, resulting in our 4th win on an opponent’s floor. Our 3rd closeout game was on our home floor, but against the defending champions. We won this one by pounding the bricks one-at-a-time. Plus we have the hammer – Kobe.

    Now we should be a playoff seasoned team going into the finals. It really feels good tonight.

  157. 155, I also prefer Detroit because of the better matchup for Pau. The concern about Prince is overstated, imo. No one can guard Kobe. Pau is playing out of position and Perkins could give him a lot of trouble.

  158. the other Stephen May 30, 2008 at 12:28 am

    i haven’t seen kobe or anyone else smile like that in a long time

  159. The Dude Abides May 30, 2008 at 12:44 am

    I’m not worried about Pau in the finals if he goes up against Perkins. Duncan is the best defensive pivot in the league at playing physical without fouling. Perkins isn’t. Pau will get him in foul trouble. I would much rather play the Celtics than play the Pistons. Prince’s defense on Kobe scares me, more so than Bowen, because Prince has 2 1/2 inches of height on Bowen, plus has a 72-inch wingspan, and he’s quicker than he appears. When Kobe goes up for a jumper, there is absolutely no chance that Bowen blocks it. But Prince can block that same jumper.

    I’d also much rather have Kobe chasing Ray Allen for 32 minutes than have to chase Rip Hamilton for 42. In a 2-3-2 series, I would expect the Lakers and Pistons to be back in Detroit for Games 6 and 7. I think the Lakers can take the Celtics without having to go back to Boston. This team has grown so much since that debacle at Staples on 12/30/07. This team basically made a mockery of the toughest Western Conference in ages. A 12-3 record? A winning record on the road?

    Finally, who do you want coaching your team down the stretch in these tension-filled Finals games? Phil or Doc?

  160. 161 – lol I was thinking the same thing. Kobe looked like a little kid, the way he was smiling. Just pure joy.

    Detroit might be a tiny bit better for Pau, but it wouldn’t be easy. Maxiell is smaller but makes up for that in ferocity. If Maxiell and McDyess could negate Dwight Howard’s strength, I don’t know how much Pau could do. Although, to be fair, Flip Saunders could outmuscle Pau if he had too.

    But the Celts have big bodies too, and more of them. Perkins, Powe, and Davis will give Pau trouble (although Pau could shoot over Davis). But Perkins seems like a much cruder player, I can imagine him being more foul prone than McDyess or Maxiel.

    Is Pau capable of guarding Garnett? Lamar’s strength might be needed to box out Perkins, although his quickness and versatility would be a good fit on KG. If we play the Celts, our strategy should be to let KG get his, shut down Allen and the others, and make Pierce work hard for his. I’m not sure I like Kobe on Pierce, he’s just too strong for Kobe or Sasha. I like Ariza on Pierce, maybe he’ll be ready in a week.

  161. For my money – with Boston – we need to worry about Pierce first and formost. Both Garnett and Allen are not ‘go to’ type players, but will score throughout the game. It is Paul Pierce that we need to be careful of when the game is on the line. If this year – and the playoffs – have taught us anything about Boston it is that Pierce is the key ingredient. KG and RA will make them a really tough team, but it is Paul who will carry them on his back.

  162. Late to the post so just want to make a few points:

    1. Great battle with the Spurs. Class organization and classy group of guys. Even the bloggers are great (esp. “SpurredOn”).

    2. SpurredOn mentiioned something earlier in this post that irks me just a tad that I keep seeing being mentioned alot on TV and the airwaves…..and that is the Spurs could’ve won another ring if it wasn’t for the .04 shot. Excuse me, but the Lakers had already wrapped that game up if it wasn’t for Tim Duncan’s miracle shot over Shaq in which he admits he couldn’t even see the basket. Just like Shaq had said at the time…….”1 lucky shot deserves another.” Sorry…….had to get that off my chest.

    3. Was at the game and the aura was fantastic. There was even a chant during the timeout of “We Want Boston” (clap, clap, clap). Loved hearing that!

    Anyway, great victory and looking forward to a spirited FInals!

  163. I can’t believe the Spurs are actually going to go after Sasha Vujacic during the summer:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=A0WTWY8i2j9IRXgAUgK8vLYF?slug=jy-spursseasonend053008&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

    Should we be concerned? : (

  164. Noone on the Lakers can guard Pierce. He has had some of his best games against them. The Celtics D will not allow the Lakers to do what they have done vs other teams. Kobe will NOT average over 30ppg if they play Boston. Pierce and Posey will lock him up and force even more difficult shots. Boston wins tonight and beats Lakers in 6!

  165. How we got here from my personal blogger’s perspective–brief recap.

    There was a time last year when the biggest Laker improvement was due to their releasing of the Smusher. Those who cannot distinguish a Smushaholic from a Smushaphobe may not fully appreciate how positive most of us felt about that move. Needing a guard, the Lakers fell into Derek Fisher, but many felt that Derek was just small, old, and slow–a relic of lost Laker glory.

    Other than that, the Lakers found a guard for the future with their first round draft choice–Javaris Crittendon–and many wanted to start Javaris and trade Jordon Farmar. Kwame, Chris, and Lamar were all injured–and they were the guys the Lakers were hoping to trade. Despite hopes and enormous speculation, nothing happened. The failed deal that hurt the most was a rejected trade of Lamar Odom and whoever for Kevin Garnett–only to see him go to the Celtics. By Fall, all the NBA trades had seemingly been made–and the Lakers hadn’t made any.

    It looked like the Lakers were stuck with a mediocre team or worse–and Kobe wanted out. When there was no out, Kobe surprisingly dedicated himself and bonded with his “mediocre” teammates: they responded very favorably in the early season.

    Bynum and Brown formed a surprisingly effective tandem at center, and Fisher/Farmar were especially effective at guard.

    Mitch Kupchak pulled his first surprize when he traded veterans Cook and Evans for Trevor Ariza. This trade both improved Laker defense and increased team speed–and brought Sasha Vujucich into the Laker rotation.

    The injury to Kwame Brown forced Andrew Bynum into the starting lineup, and Andrew vaulted into stardum, leading the Lakers to first place in the West–until he went down.

    Kwame Brown showed little ability to hold the starting center position for the Lakers, and the team went into a tailspin. Ever since the Lakers looked to trade for Kevin Garnett, I argued on this blog that Pau Gasol would be cheaper and would fit in better with the Lakers–without losing Bynum. I had been following the Memphis Grizzlies and was aware that they were willing to trade Gasol as part of a rebuilding process. No one on this blog except Warren were willing to seriously consider Pau as a possible future Laker throughout the Fall.

    In total secrecy, Mitch Kupchak engineered a mid-season trade that sent Kwame Brown, first round draft prospect Javaris, a first round draft choice, rights to Pau Gasol’s brother, and a retired Laker’s contract–for Pau Gasol.

    It shocked the entire NBA.

    The consequences exceeded expectations. Even before Gasol was able to play, the Lakers started to win. When Gasol arrived, it was as if he had always played the triangle. The Lakers won nearly every game–until Gasol (and Trevor Ariza) got injured. With other teammates rising and falling, including Kobe, the Lakers slipped in the standings, but came back with Gasol to win the Western Conference regular season first place position and home court advantage–an advantage they haven’t yet needed in the playoffs.

    The Lakers won the first round of the playoffs, 4-0, the second, 4-2, and the third, 4-1, against last year’s NBA champs–for a total of 12-3 against the best in the West–a conference loaded with talent. They have a winning record on the road.

    Bynum will not be back until next season. Ariza is yet to play serious minutes.

    Meanwhile, in a season loaded with irony, the Lakers could face a historic opponent, Boston, whose best player, Kevin Garnett, didn’t want to be a Laker.

    Although Boston had the monster regular season, they are in a monumental battle with Detroit to prove themselves worthy of facing the Lakers, the NBA MVP Kobe Bryant, and his friends, for the NBA chanpionship.

    Should Boston win, I’m sure that Mr. Bryant will introduce Mr. Garnett to Mr. Gasol–who is quite happy to be a Laker. Mr. Odom, and most of the rest of the Lakers, may thank Mr. Garnett for his decision.

    For those of you who think I made this whole story up as a cheesy proposed Disney movie . . . . . .

    I understand.

  166. 163. I agree there is no one on the Lakers that can guard Peirce that is one of the reasons that Boston scares me. But the Lakers are playing much better now than they were the last time the two teams met, and they are playing better right now than Boston is. Boston’s D is no better than (at least not much better) than SA’s, and they won that series because of their defense. If Boston beats Detroit a Boston LA finals should be a good series. But Boston has to be Detroit first and they have only looked good on the road in one game this post season.

  167. Warren Wee Lim May 30, 2008 at 5:53 am

    Ey there chris… always doing the little things… taking one for the team… all the way from the Philippines.

    The thing is, the Lakers played with heart. They are now WORTHY championship material as Craig describes. We are ready to be champs and beat the best by far we did.

    Denver was a necessary route. We needed to be assured that we were high caliber and that our defense can cripple down a team in disarray. We needed to know if we could, not only beat Denver, but beat them convincingly. Guess what, the only sweep in the playoffs.

    Utah had many of the faithful worried. Not only did they have the league’s most impressive home record, they have the legs and the power and the experience to be back to the West Finals. When we beat Utah – with sweat and blood – we then deserved a crack at the champs.

    Probably 90% of Laker fans wanted NOH. For obvious reasons, NOH was beatable. Chris Paul has to be the anointed golden child to beat the more powerful LA team.

    And get the champs we did.

    Now, after a very grueling series, where Kobe has had to shoot lesser free throws the whole time than game1 of the semis, how can we describe them?

    Detroit or Boston will be tough and we no longer have the home cooking to bank on. But regardless of what happens, we have achieved what we came to do. We proved that we are a winning team. We proved that we are championship material.

    We proved that we are WORTHY.

  168. Warren Wee Lim May 30, 2008 at 6:16 am

    An early entrant celtsrp33 ey? Welcome to the Laker blog where you can be the voice from the other side.

    I’m pretty sure we will have a full week to discuss the possibilities. Again, I almost always get what I want this year. I asked for the #1 seed, Denver to make it 8th instead of GS, we got Utah when everyone else wanted Houston, we got San Antonio when all else wanted the Hornets. And so now, I ask for Boston. The team that most reveres, is the one I ask for.

    KG will be KG like Kobe will be Kobe. KG has intensity unmatched. He has the heart of a champion and his passion is endless. He was the Laker wet dream in seasons past and now we are about to face him as a foe. I have tons of respect for the guy and he will be up to the challenge.

    Ray Allen is a sharp shooter who is in a slump. He is a streaky shooter and a very good one, what he did in game 5 is scary. For him to find his groove this late in the post season means doom for Detroit. While I may wish for another game 7 to “stretch” out whomever we face, I just can’t see Detroit muster more energy than what they had coming back from the 19-pt deficit in game 5. Boston in 6.

    Paul Pierce is the only player on that Boston squad who I cannot stand. He has done nothing in his career to help his team or carry his team and now that he has probably the most magical and miraculous help any wiling franchise can hope for, he speaks as if he has been there. I concur to the fact that he is a very good player and a smart one too. But he is not Kobe-good or Kobe-smart.

    So celtsrp33, I want you blogging over here instead of some DEEEETOIIIIT fan.

  169. Warren Wee Lim May 30, 2008 at 6:17 am

    “ailing” instead of wiling.

  170. phil is gonna have doc twirling around his finger….no matter how good the team is if the coach doesn’t know how to make the right adjustments and put his players in the position to score the team won’t win against an equal or superior team…Lakers will definitely win against the celts as Doc screws up 1000000X during the series and hands the trophy to kobe, phil and co.

  171. I think that the Celtics at their best are better than the Pistons, but the Pistons are less up and down.

  172. Well the NBA got what they wanted, a Celtics/Lakers Finals. I’m a Spurs fan obviously, but would like to congratulate the Lakers on their win. This series was close and had it’s fair share of nervous moments. If only the Spurs could of had a little more rest maybe we might still be in this series. It is no suprise to me that we lost as the entire nation seemed to be willing the Spurs to lose. Why the Spurs are such a hated team I will never understand. To me, the oldest team going for a championship run would seem like a worthwhile story, however all these journalists just wanted to dog us for it, as if we didn’t just do the same thing last year. Either way, good win for the Lakers, just don’t get to comfortable there, afterall you just got back. I will probably being going for the Celtics though, Garnett deserves a ring.

  173. I don’t post as often as I browse the site and comments here, but I just want to note as a Lakers fan how glad I am that there is a community of intelligent fans sharing their thoughts here.

    One quick look at ESPN Conversations (BETA!) and you’ll know what I mean. It’s painful to read the plethora of ignorant and immature comments posted there.

    Part of the fun of sports for fans is the conversations the games and players evoke, but that fun is squashed when people resort to childish antics. So I just wanted to say thanks to Kurt and all the informed posters on these comment pages. You’ve made this run to the Finals as enjoyable as I can remember. Keep up the good work.

    Four more Ws.

  174. New post up. Where we can continue to worry about Pierce. I will say this, Boston does play good defense, but the Lakers ball movement now is going to cause problems for them. Bigger problems that Celtics fans think.

  175. No more ad’s for Bill Engvall, Terry Perry, The Closer and Saving Grace. That was all the motivation they needed to end this series in 5 as opposed to 7.

    REJOICE!

  176. I am amazed. I found this forum while searching on google. There really are Lakers fans out there who know the game and don’t have to resort to verbal abuse. I’m a Spurs fan, and I have no problem seeing that the better team won this year. But every single corner of cyberspace in our city has been completely over-run with trolls. ( The series is over, and they still haven’t left.) If there’s a place to leave a comment, they’ve left one… or 10.

    The margin in the series was probably Manu not being 100%. But that’s why you have a bench. And our bench didn’t do anything, except in the game we won. If you look at the box scores, it’s really kind of pitiful. Duncan’s line looks like an island amid a lot of goose eggs. He got decent support from Parker, and Barry in one game. But not much else.

    So while Manu might have been part of the difference, your bench was another big part. I believe in giving credit where it’s due. I’m glad to know that not all Laker fans are incapable of doing the same.

  177. Go Lakers!