Pure

Kurt —  May 30, 2008

That is the word Reed used in the comments to describe this season and it’s the one I think best describes it. Pure. This was not the Shaq/Kobe era with its expectations — nine months ago we thought this was a seven seed team if things broke right. Maybe the first title of the Magic era had this feeling, one of unexpected joy (I’m too young to say) but this is the first time I’ve felt it.

Pure. That’s the way the Lakers run the triangle — much closer to how Tex envisioned it than any team has run it in while.

Pure. That’s Kobe’s game.

Pure. That’s the joy I feel today. That joy is everywhere. Tonight we’ll watch Game 6 in the East and start focusing more on matchups and strategy (and we can start that now in the comments, as we already have). But today. I’m just going to bask in this rare feeling.

Kurt

Posts

115 responses to Pure

  1. I read in the Times that this is the 1 year anniversary of Kobe’s request for a trade….what a long strange trip it’s been.
    what a year though, seeing the emergence of Andrew, watching the team come together, the “bench mob”, Ronnie becoming such a spark plug. then the trades, for Trevor and Pau, not only bringing better skillsets which were a better fit for the team, but also shedding redundancy, and poor chemistry, (dropped passes). I remember that 9 game road trip, thinking that this team was going to go much further into the post season than any of us would have guessed earlier in the season.
    yeah, folks, sit back and soak it in, we gotta week, then the real war begins.

  2. We’re back!! It’s been a while and fairly unexpected…what an amazing game!

    I was screaming at my TV those first two quarters, but these guys showed how resilient they are, patience but with a sense of purpose…Kobe has really grown a lot along with his team mates, I’m glad to be a witness.

    I’m interested to see what Kobe has up his sleeve for the next dinner, how do you top $9,000 watches :P

    Bring on Detroit/Boston!!

  3. I was at the game last night (unreal btw) so I didn’t get to post my one and only comment on the last thread, it would have read:

    Wow. Just…WOW

  4. By the way, via True Hoop, Brent Barry cracked me up:

    ESPN’s J.A. Adande quotes Brent Barry putting an awesome Back to the Future spin on the NBA’s announcement that a foul should have been called: “‘That’s awesome,’ Barry said, ‘because Doc Brown is waiting for me outside, and we’re going to get in the DeLorean and fire up the flux capacitor and we’re going to go back and shoot a couple of free throws.’

  5. Did someone in the previous thread just refer to the Celtics as “the Lakers’ wet dream” of the past few years? I’m sorry but c’mon, there needs to be a better analogy than that…We want to play Boston and we’ll beat Boston….Enjoy a loooooooooong week Laker fans.

  6. #4: Kurt, that’s classic stuff right there…but as i mentioned, in the last 2 games, Barry *was* playing a back to the future game. he was having some throwback performances. also, after reading some of the ball don’t lie liveblog from last night a Barry youtube mix was mentioned that is just classic stuff. check it out:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=LXg-k_1NGMY

  7. Anyone know when finals tickets go on sale? Or have they already?

  8. Jerry West’s presence last night was the cherry on top. I really hope this signals his return to the Laker fold.

    4 more wins…

  9. You know, I gotta give farmar some big credit here for last night. He was more than just a spark with that sudden output of points he had at that very dark time during that game. I think he did what we needed give energy to our badly reeling team in those moments so kudos to him in the midst of the Kobe love (oh and what love it is, it’s as if the heavens opened and the media cannot help but see the light from above cascade upon Kobe declaring him as the Chosen one or something).

  10. Another reason I feel pure joy today: No more Bill Engval promos.

  11. the other Stephen May 30, 2008 at 9:43 am

    man, jerry west must’ve really believed in ol’ cupcake.

  12. I personally thought that the Spurs played fantastic defense on Kobe this series, the smartest defense one can play on him. Make him into a jump shooter and limit his free throws. Kobe shot 11 free throws this whole five games, 2 of which were throw-aways at the end of last night, while hit attempted 96 (!) in the Jazz series. Take away those last two and he shot >10.5 in the Jazz series to every free throw in the Spurs series. And how many times did we yell and scream at Kobe to take the ball to the hole this series, only to see him attempt another 16 footer, another 18 footer etc. The Spurs played exceptional D, with Bowen and a hedging Duncan forcing Kobe to pass on many occasions. I don’t know if we’ll see a better D on him in the finals, even against the two best (statistically) defenses this year. That being said:

    Kobe just shot 64-120 (.533), the best career field goal percentage in a playoff series in his life.

    Shooting 15-18 foot jumpers!
    Guarded by Bowen!

    Over everything this series had to offer, with Ginobili, the reemergence of Farmar, etc, that HAS to be the most impressive stat of this entire playoffs, let alone the series.

  13. As a Laker fan back to the days when Jerry West was coaching the Lakers, I couldn’t help but get a bit choked up watching West get a bit choked up seeing this unfold.

    He acquired Kobe, and Kupchak grew into GM under his tutelage and of course, he is Mr. Laker through and through.

    From where we were on opening night when it all felt ready to unravel to how great last night felt, PURE pretty well sums it up.

    Tough finals ahead, especially if it’s the Celtics, but give props that this is a different Laker team than earlier this year. Should be fun.

    Mark

  14. Regardless of who you want to see in the Finals, I think we should all root for Detroit tonight to force the flagging, rapidly aging Celtics into yet another game 7.

    The week long layoff scares me a bit, but the Lakers responded well the two other times they had a lot of rest (winning both game 1’s). It will be tough to open on the road, but I don’t think this team will panic, even if they go down 2-0. Commentators have been fond of pointing out that the game 1 winner goes on to take the series 80% of the time, but I think this year’s Lakers squad is different from most. They will find a way to play loose in every game of the series and, thus, should have a chance to win no matter where the series record stands.

  15. Watching the game last night with my wife was very special. She’s a Lakers fan as much as I am, though not as long since I first became a fan in the early 80’s and I recently converted her over the past few years. I would never say to her that it makes me “more” of a fan, because she would fight me to the death…and probably be right. Anyway, the whole first half she was down. I just had this weird confidence though, and I kept repeating “this is just like game one, don’t worry, the Spurs don’t have the legs…”. I believed it truly. I’m glad it worked out that way and we closed it out. I have tremendous respect for San Antonio. I can’t say the same for Denver or Utah, and it’s not about the championships. It’s character. The Spurs have it and not many other teams do. See ya next year SA fans and please don’t give in to cheering for the East.

    Seeing The Logo out there to present the award was tremendous. What a great presentation: a legend, the ear-to-ear smiles on the team, Mitch getting what he so deserved (in retrospect), and such elation that I can’t even put to words. I’ve watched these guys win a bunch of WCF’s, but I never remember feeling like this or witnessing what I feel I’ve seen. I think it’s best described in the initial post, in one eloquent word: Pure. Well said and completely true.

    Another reason I hope the Celts win is that I don’t know if I can handle watching Baby Sheed and his tantrums for a full series. This dude has been a whiny little girl his entire career and I’m so sick of his b.s. I don’t know if I can stomach it. Don’t people like that ever grow up? I know Kobe out tech’d him the regular season (I think), but come one…remember the old Portland days? He’s still the same infant. Anyway, I trust Phil to out-coach both Flip and Doc put together. It’ll be tight on matchups, but in intangibles and coaching it’s lights out on anyone up against these Lakers.

  16. carter blanchard May 30, 2008 at 10:59 am

    6) I think that video is just further proof that San Antonio eats souls.

  17. the other Stephen May 30, 2008 at 11:02 am

    the way we booed the spurs during the little ceremony after the game was a bit embarassing.

  18. Kurt in your # 10 post…that is hilarious!!!

    Also no more Doug Collins broadcast…captian Obvious…”the Lakers need to score some points here”…yeah you think? (of course until he gets fired twice by the same team).

    But most importantly….the SUNS ARE STILL ON VACATION!!!!

  19. the other Stephen May 30, 2008 at 11:03 am

    and sasha’s three at the buzzer too.

  20. i have a Laker fan wife, too, and it’s great to be able to enjoy the game together.
    funny thing she pointed out to me last night, the Spurs do not have any tatoos, or barely have any, not too visable, not like the Jazz, or the Nuggetts had. she wondered if it was a team policy, I explained that couldn’t be because what if they pick up a vet or free agent and he’s all tatted up…
    but i did find it interesting that when we looked at the team on the floor, we couldn’t find one Spur with tats.

  21. carter blanchard May 30, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Interesting stat from 20 Second Timeout:
    “Ginobili is a solid All-Star player who the Lakers match up with very well–he averaged 10.8 ppg on .311 field goal shooting versus the Lakers during the regular season and I don’t think that he was on his deathbed for those games the way that everyone acts like he was during this series, when he actually improved on those numbers (12.6 ppg, .358 field goal shooting).”

  22. I don’t know about you guys, but I hope we face the Celtics for two reasons: #1 History; and #2 we are likely to win because of the Gatorade curse (i.e. Garnett’s add)!!!!

  23. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the Lakers have a great chance at every game 1 because of their versatile offense. It takes teams one, even two whole games to figure out an effective defensive strategy for their players against the Lakers. They have so many ways to hurt you that every team has to work their own defensive strengths against the Lakers and decide how they want to defend.

    That’s why I feel we have such a good chance in game 1 (as long as we don’t come out rusty like game 1 in the Spurs series). Either the Pistons or the Celtics haven’t played us with Gasol, so that negates the 1-3 record against them combined. Both teams will need time to feel out our offense, while we don’t have as much to prepare for in terms of their offense, just how to play Rip (Sasha will be punched by him at the end of the series) or KG/Pierce.

    Basically, the versatility of our offense allows different players to step up in each series:

    *Pau and Luke against ENVER (I love writing that)
    *Odom and Fisher (14.7 ppg 3.5 steals pg) against the Jazz *Kobe and Farmar (gotta give him props) against the Spurs.

    With this versatility, whoever we play will for sure have trouble against us in the first two games, giving us a chance to take one and maybe even two on the east coast, coming back home to play 3 where we can close out. If not, our winning road record will help us in games 6 and 7.

    Records in the Playoffs:
    Lakers 12-3 (4-3 on the road)
    Boston 11-8 (1-6 on the road)
    Detroit 10-6 (4-4 on road)

    I like our chances.

  24. 19) The crazy thing about Sasha’s three at the buzzer is that the line on the game was Lakers by 7.5. That three cost/made a lot of money for people.

  25. with (possibly) injured billup and hamilton, 1 tech away from 1 game suspension Rasheed, shouldnt we cheer for pistons tonight?

  26. As far as tats go, I know Duncan has at least two. One is defenitly like a wizard/Merlin. Im sure everyone knows this but Duncan is a like a D&D kid, and wanted his nick-name to be Merlin. I don’t know, I think thats kind of awesome, even though I love hating on that guy.

  27. I gotta say, I wasn’t too surprised to see Andrew’s development at the beginning of this year. He had closed out the second half of last year playing tantalizingly better and I had quiet hopes that he would step his game up again this year. Not saying I expected the Lakers to be in the finals, but am sayin’ that I appreciated Mitch Kupchak resisting the almost irresistible pull of the media talking heads and talk radio and all the noise saying do SOMETHING. I thought, there’s a reason Andrew was picked 19…..and you don’t give up on a kid who’s 19 and showed what Andrew showed the second half of last season. I’m glad Mitch stuck to his guns. And to think………we’ve done all this WITHOUT young Mr. Bynum.

  28. I didn’t get to see the game last night, but heard part of it–took it as a birthday present I’m celebrating today.

    Please tell me that this is real.

    My ultimate milestone was/is to make it to the finals. Even if we lost in four, I’d be fine.

    Of course, if we won in four I’d be finer.

    I’m thanking the Lakers for my b’day present and hope for many more.

  29. Yeah, the Nuggets lead the league in tattoos. There are some close seconds nipping at their heals though. That’s an interesting observation about the Spurs from your wife chris h, but most of those guys have their tats too. Duncan, Parker, etc…they’re there, just not overwhelmingly so. Kobe is pretty covered. I have four myself, so I’m not against it. I think it’s about what you have done, where, and how you carry yourself as a person. A gentleman with a few tattoos is clearly different than a thug with a few tattoos. The Spurs carry themselves in such a way that makes them appear honorable, and they are. The Nuggets, and some others, come out with their attitudes unchecked and you might notice the tattoos more because of their poor behavior as people and athletes. I think it’s a perspective thing if anything at all. Interesting social discussion there, I think.

  30. For all that some folks had worries about this team’s lack of experience aside from Kobe/Fisher, the Lakers in this postseason are 3-0 in closeout games. Part of that, of course, can be attributed to the Bean (34.7 pts, 37-73 FGs, 6 Reb, 5 Ast average in the 3 series-ending games). But part of it has been the rest of the team, stepping up big in those games. Gasol throws up 21-7-4 on the Nugz. Radman and Sasha have major impacts in Salt Lake (each goes 5-7 for 12 points). Jordan puts up a Farmar 6, SAS 0 run to keep the game within reach while the starters rest.

    Good vibrations all around.

  31. I agree that a seven-game ECF would be ideal, if only to wear out the legs a bit more. I still prefer Boston, which is a better match-up for the Lakers, and to renew a great rivalry for a new generation.

    Jerry West’s presence last night was awesome. It totally underscored a Lamar interview that aired during the game, where he spoke of how most everyone he interacts with around the Lakers organization is wearing a ring: Kobe, Fisher; Phil, Shaw, Rambis & the other coaches; the front office on down. Kareem and Magic were there for this, and maybe some other former Lakers greats. It made Lamar and the others who lack a title want to get their rings, too. Four more wins, L.O.

    Kurt’s comments on the pure joy of this team were dead on, and it stems from the fact that few saw this coming. Even after the Gasol trade, I still viewed this as a work in progress, with the chance of a title but really more to look forward to in 2009. But they kept winning, and it grew sweeter each week.

    I think the last time I enjoyed a surprising Lakers season such as this was in 1994-95. Worthy retired in training camp, Showtime was gone… we all expected a long year. But West scored Club Ced, Eddie Jones was a highlight reel rookie and Nick Van Exel ran the show. That bomb he hit to shut up the Alamodome was an all-time favorite, even if they didn’t win the series. This year’s team reminds me of that 94-95 squad — a pleasant surprise, even moreso than a decade ago.

    My wife asked if I wanted to order a Western Conference Champion T-shirt and my reply was, “I’m a Lakers fan. We don’t wear T-shirts for winning the conference.”

    Here’s to adding another banner to the wall at Staples in the fall. (And me getting a new 2008 NBA Champions shirt in late June).

  32. 28 – happy birthday (it’s mine today too and last night was a pretty damn good way to get the party started)

  33. Happy B-Day drrayeye (and silly bitch)!

  34. By the way, just my two cents, I think the Lakers match up a lot better with Boston — they don’t handle the ball well and they shoot jumpers. Pierce is a problem, but Kobe is for them in a big way. As a team I think we match up better against Boston. So, I hope they win in seven.

  35. Paul Pierce scares me because he’s an LA boy who loves to play in LA and has killed the Lakers more than once over the years. (I recall a banked three pointer at the buzzer a few years back.)

    That said, looking at how the Lakers pretty much ran rough shod over the West, neither one of those Eastern teams can be too confident.

    Add the fact that the Lakers were 12-3 in the Western Finals. Tonight the Celtics will be playing their 20th playoff game…

  36. I love Parades in June…

  37. Well said. I know this — I’m much more emotionally invested in this squad than any of the 3-peat team.s Due in large part because it was much more difficult being a Laker fan the past three seasons. I appreciate this much more. I don’t mind a lot of the pundits eating crow either after essentially closing the book on Bryant’s career after the Shaq trade.

  38. I’m sitting through a ridiculously boring graduation ceremony and I might ordinarily be a sour puss but even the inane ramblings of professors and deans cannot remove the smile from my face. I worry that the lakers will be too overjoyed with their own success. I hope they remain hungry to bring a ring to the southland. To get this far and fall short would be incredibly painful.

  39. I’m baaaacccckkkk…… Guess whose show is moving from TNT to ABC just in time for promos during the NBA Finals.

    I know you guys miss me already?

    Engvall: How come I’ve never seen you in these?
    Wife: Those are your daughters
    Engvall: EWWWWW!

  40. 40. Oh NO!!!

  41. (32, 33) Thanks, Kurt, SB,

    I may hang out at a sports bar to see who earns the right to face the Lakers.

    I’d like it to go 7 games, but I’d then like the Lakers to face the Celts–if they are worthy.

    We’ve already got leprechaun invaders making boastful claims. Wonder how that goes over in Detroit?

  42. 40) That was awesome! LOL.

  43. I’d love to see the Lakers win so I’m looking for Boston in 7 in the East. I’d want to see more Ariza though, who I think can bother Allen, Pierce or Garnett, then maybe Sasha and Kobe on Allen and Pierce to close games. I know Pierce stepped up against Lebron, but while LeBron may may be bigger and stronger, he’s not Kobe.

    And 10 rings to rule them all, maybe that will settle the debate on whether Jax is the GOAT

  44. Kyra Sedgwick May 30, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Don’t forget about me…I’m moving to ABC too!

  45. What a great run by a fun, deep team. Kobe’s performance last night was tincredible the fade-away over Duncan, and the layup past Duncan drained the life out of the Spurs. I think we match better with Detroit …but Boston is our long-time rivals …I want Detroit to avenge 89 & ‘o4 …Weshould of won BOTH of those …

  46. ABC is going to be “The House of Pain.”

  47. Im not only sick orf the engvall and the Payne’s commercials …but Im also tired of the KG Gatorade ones (as cool as it is) , the T-mobile commercials, the Closer, Amazing Grace they just keep running the same crap over & over

  48. YYYYYYYYEEEEESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!! Back in the mix – as it always should be!!!

  49. As usual, sports talk radio up here in NorCal focused on how much of a “d**che” Sasha is, and on how superficial LA is.

    However true the latter is (the former is just a skewed view of an overexuberant young player), this just shows why LA teams (Lakers, Dodgers, Trojan Football, and perhaps UCLA basketball, I’m biased against jcla…) are champions, and NorCal teams will always come in second, at most.

  50. From the ownership, to management, to coaches, and to players, this entire organization has done an excellent job. Bravo!

    I think a Celtics-Lakers Finals is a foregone conclusion. The ECF has been evenly matched, but injuries to key players will spell the difference.

    At the close of the season, the Celts looked invincible. The Celts have made it obvious that they aren’t as invincible as their regular season record would have you believe.

    Here’s a question for you guys. Do you believe the Celtics or Pistons present a greater challenge to the Lakers than the Spurs did?

  51. I wish I could sit here in disagree with the posts and most of the commenters, but the fact of the matter is, the Lakers were the better team. It was that simple.

    In terms of who presents a greater challenge–it has to be the Celtics. In every aspect of the game, the Celts match up fairly well. Garnett and Gasol. Pierce and Kobe. Odom presents a bit of a match up problem for the Celtics that might be difficult for them to solve. In any event, it should be a good, competitive series.

  52. For me, I just look at the point guards…. Who would you rather have, a relatively healthy Rondo, or a slightly hobbled Chauncey.

    I take Rondo… just another way for me to say that I want an 80’s repeat and a shot against the team with the best record in the league.

    But first, a Detroit win tonight.

  53. Check out this article from Bill Simmons aka the Celtics homer:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/080530

    He’s actually conceding the fact that the Lakers are better than the Celtics….and he’s BILL SIMMONS!

  54. I think that the Lakers matchup better with the Celtics because the Pistons matchup so well with us. They have the players to defend the us in a similar way as Spurs with Prince and Rasheed. It can let them play single coverage on Kobe and Pau to that we will probably have a harder time getting open looks for our shooters. They also pose problems in defending PGs with Billups and Stuckey (who I think is really talented), and Rasheed.

    The Celtics have fewer matchup problems, and KG doesn’t dominate like he can as Duncan does to exploit mismatches.

  55. Ive been a Laker fan since 2004. so Ive never been actually too much a part of this historical brilliance, actually have been through the lean years, but really this team, and Kobe(I dont care what anyone says) is an inspiration man.

    Just shows that hard work leads to a lot of success man….You go Mamba

  56. Plus I think the Celtics’ bench is much thinner compared to the Mob.

  57. the other Stephen May 30, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    hahahah dafish.

    and here’s to detroit.

  58. Wow….that Bill Simmons article is one of the best Lakers story I’ve read during these playoffs, and the first story that catches the Lakers fans
    honestly. Guy can write

  59. 19/24 – I remember watching and hearing either Doug Collins or Marv Albert comment about how Sasha shouldn’t have taken that shot because San Antonio wasn’t going to foul. Little did he know, there was only one thing that could make this night complete for Lakers fans……TACOS!!!!! Without that last shot, they wouldn’t have reached 100 which is necessary for the free offer. If you go back and listen, you can hear the fans going nuts as soon as he hits it (I still have my free taco coupon from game 4, the 30 point mega blowout).

  60. @54: I wouldn’t put too much stock into tSG saying the Lakers are better than the Celts. I mean, after the months of his knobslobbering over the Pats, particularly before the SuperBowl, they went and blew their “*-0″ season. I seem to recall a bunch of angry Pats fans and giddy every-other-team fans sending him e-mail upon e-mail (best. mailbag. ever.) saying he jinxed the team with his we’re the best team ever!/is this (the ’07 Pats) the best Boston team of his lifetime or the ’86 Celtics? nauseating articles. Because, he does actually seem that superstitious to do something like that (note: in his article after the Giants won he spent a good few paragraphs lamenting on the fact that he left his lucky Welkaaah jersey back home and had to buy a Randy Moss jersey before the game to wear and how it was such bad luck he wanted to torch it (or leave it or something) in his hotel room garbage bin, which he eventually auctioned off if I recall correctly). But to be fair to him, he has always known his NBA – the NFL and MLB, not so much.

  61. The comparison with this year’s team with the coming of Magic is kind of interesting, actually. The feeling the first time around was like coming out of the wilderness, from never quite having what it takes to having more than you’d hoped for. Like Pau Gasol, getting Magic seemed like a gift. On the last game of the playoffs the year before, before the draft had taken place but after the Lakers won a coin toss that gave them the first choice, Jack Ramsay announced “Be sure to get your season tickets for the MAGICAL happenings coming up . . .” What really set the tone wasn’t the championship but Magic’s first regular season game, a victory pulled out in the last seconds, where Magic threw his arms around Kareem, who’s looking at him like, “Calm down, kid . . .” It was the feeling that great days were coming, and that dour professionalism was going to give way to something joyful. You don’t get quite the same spirit — Shaq was a lot of fun, and the way Kobe has conducted himself over the last few years has something, well, impure about it — but you do get a feeling of coming out of the wilderness, and of great days coming. It’s even redeemed things that seemed like misfortune; now you think how lucky we were to get Odom.

    I’m not ashamed to say I was sort of hoping Detroit would win. My bottom line is, I really don’t want to lose to the Celtics, and I would have much rather put off that confrontation until we could do it with Bynum. With Detroit you would have had the prospect of revenge, and the consolation if you lost that you weren’t at full strength. If you lose to Boston, there’s not only the ignominy, but you’re one championship farther away from catching them. Ah, well, fortune favors the brave . . .

  62. Know his name Lakers….James Posey. That is the one guy on the Celtics I don’t want beating the Lakers with a big play. I’ll admit I don’t watch much Celtics game, but every time I check out the end of Celtic games, he manages to pull of some play whether it be 3 pters or a defensive play that seems killer for the opposing team. James Posey….remember.

  63. man….ECF game 6 turning out to be anticlimactic…detroit going out with a whimper…

  64. So it looks like Boston in 6. Bring it on baby!

  65. And btw….Phil is absolutely going to kill Rivers on a coaching level. Of that I have no doubt what so ever!

  66. for all of detroit’s swagger and talk of bringing it when it matters, they’ve really backed it up these past years.

    stage is set….boston versus LA!

  67. Also….note the difference in demeanor. Celtics are just a little bit more giddy than we were. LOL…especially Rivers there. He’s bouncing all over the place.

  68. correction: they’ve havent backed it up all these years

  69. #65 oh yeah, no doubt. Phil is gonna massacre Doc. It’ll be ugly.

  70. Oh no they didn’t just start a Beat LA chant.

    Anyone else as fired up as ever for this?

  71. Uh…Celtics team chanting beat LA….this should light some fire under Kobe and the Lakers. It better, because that pissed me off right now.

  72. Heh….you and me both Hansoulfood.

  73. Paul Pierce leading “Beat L.A.!” chants while accepting the Eastern Conference trophy. He’s going to bring it, Allen looks like he’s shaking off his slump, and KG is as intense as ever. Should be a hell of a series … Go Lakers!!

  74. 70. you beat me to it…they are a little too giddy.

  75. Is Doc Rivers sweating a little too much? Ya….right….no pressure Doc.

  76. I can’t believe how much innate hate I have for Celtics just because I’m a Lakers fan. This seems borderline irrational/insane, but that comes with the territory being a diehard fan and all. I wonder if it’s healthy….

  77. I’m sure Kobe and the Lakers were watching the Truth leading that chant. Really unwise to shake a sleeping lion.

    LA vs Boston. I think we’re all ready for this showdown. When can we get a preview for this series, Kurt?

  78. Bring on Boston!!!

    Ratings should fly off the roof!

  79. Who is going to guard Paul Pierce?

  80. Man, Kendrick Perkins is 1st Team All UGLY.

    I worry about him, though. The Lakers can’t expect to win if he’s bailing the Celtics with putbacks, and against Gasol he may very well do that.

    I wish I could eavesdrop on a Lakers strategy meeting. Can anyone here discuss the Celtics defense and identify potential problems for the Lakers?

  81. 78 – I hope Ariza will get some minutes this time and lockdown Paul Pierce.

  82. 75 – I hate the Celtics and I didn’t watch a single one of those 80’s series. I hate the color of their uniforms. I hate the city of Boston just because it’s associated with the Celtics. Completely irrational, indeed.

  83. I actually wanted Boston, and not for any nostalgic reasons. I see Boston in a similar way that I looked at the Spurs. A tremendous defensive team that is solid on offense, but has aging role players. And just like against the Spurs, I see our athleticism + execution being a little too much for them. But, they will be the toughest team we’ve faced so far in the playoffs.

    A couple of quick thoughts on facing the Celtics:

    *Matchups (as with any game/series) will be the key. I honestly think the Celtics will have to put KG on Odom and put Perkins on Gasol. Earlier during the year this is how Boston played us (except it was Bynum instead of Gasol) and I expect to see the same matchups. I think this works in our favor as Gasol is much more skilled than Bynum (and just has a much more diverse offensive repertoire) and Perkins is going to have his hands full with this matchup. I know that Gasol has had his offensive struggles lately, but I do not think Perkins has the savvy or quickness to disrupt Pau the way that Duncan did. So I expect us to run the offense through Pau (similar to the Utah series) and for us to turn up the execution on offense to make Boston work on D. This will also open up our high P&R offense with Kobe/Gasol as Perkins is solid there but KG is beastly. If we can avoid KG defending the screen and roll it will be much more successful. I also think that Odom is going to keep KG occupied and try to drag him away from the basket with our spacing. If we can occupy KG and draw him away from the basket, it will open up Gasol for more singled up looks against Perkins and also open up driving lanes for Kobe.

    *I think Phil is going to give Rondo the Kenyon Martin treatment circa 2002. In that championship series, Phil made Kenyon a jumpshooter and funneled the offense to him. I expect Fisher to be our defensive roamer and for all rotations to come off Rondo. Now, Rondo has greatly improved his jumpshot (he hit a huge one tonight) and has gained a ton of confidence in his own offense. But he still prefers to drive and create for others, so I think if we make him the scorer it will do a lot to slow their attack and disrupt their flow on offense.

    *This was mentioned by Simmons in his article but for this series it will matter: The Celtics are not a strong ball handling team. Rondo can definitely handle his own, but outside of him the next best guy is Cassell who has not been getting much run lately. If the Celtics go to House or Ray Allen or even Pierce as primary ball handlers we must smother them with ball pressure. Sasha, Kobe, Farmar, Fisher are all capable of picking up full court and I hope to see a lot of it, especially from the 2nd unit. We can disrupt them with pressure and we must take advantage.

    *We must rebound. KG and Perkins are very strong on both the offensive and defensive glass and we can not allow those guys to infiltrate our defensive glass. We have to secure the ball and push on offense. The Celtics have the best half court defense in the league and are led by Van Gundy’s lead assistant who has insight to the triangle from all those Knicks/Bulls matchups. If we get caught up in half-court sets all game, I think we will do well, but we’ll do soooo much better if we get some easy baskets in the open court.

    *Lastly, our bench is going to be so big this series. Turiaf, Farmar, Sasha, Luke, Ariza….these guys are going to have to do well against Brown, Baby, Powe (I love Powe), Posey, and Cassell. We are younger, more athletic, and just better at almost all these matchups. If we fall short here, we will struggle in this series. They have to play smart aggressive ball and control the game when they are matched up with Boston’s 2nd unit.

    I know that I haven’t mentioned Pierce (who is so excited to go home to LA and try to dominate the Lakers that it’s bleeding through the tv in his postgame interviews) or Allen or really any x’s and o’s. But this is going to be a great series….We can’t just start on Monday?

  84. Bring on the Celtics. All this beat LA crap? Lakers are down to buisness.

    Beat them, Lakers. Beat them into the damn ground.

    Posey’s a punk, I wouldn’t put it past him to cheap shot someone.

    Kobe’s going to eat Ray Allen’s LUNCH.

    For all Rajon Rondo’s defensive prowess? Not goign to do him a whole hell of a lotta good. Fish doesn’t need to score for us to win. And Rondo can’t score anyway. If he tries to, Derek Fisher’s goign to eat HIS lunch.

  85. The Dude Abides May 30, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    I think Phil will keep the same starting lineup, and have Vlad Rad begin Game 1 guarding Pierce. I think Ariza will get some burn on him, too, as will Sasha. If Pierce torches Vlad early on, I’m thinking Phil will throw Ariza on him before trying Luke or Sasha. Luke was consistently able to guard Carmelo Anthony this year. Pierce? Not so much.

  86. The Dude Abides May 30, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    The other possibility, of course, is Kobe guarding PP in the 4th quarters, with Sasha on Allen. Phil will probably do a fair amount of mixing and matching.

  87. Expect to see a lot more DJ Mbenga in this series than in the last – Perkins isn’t really a threat skill-wise the way Tim Duncan is (well, nobody is, but I think you know what I mean). Mbenga is by far the strongest big man the Lakers have – though the danger is he’ll make mistakes in his rotations and leave Perkins free for dunks or lobs, he should be able to bother Perkins quite a bit nonetheless (probably the strongest player he’ll have faced in the playoffs so far, excepting maybe Al Horford). In addition, DJ gives the Lakers an extra 6 fouls. Perkins is about a 60-65% free-throw shooter, but I also doubt he would perform in the ‘clutch’.

    Offensively, the Lakers will try to run their usual sets – at least for the first two games. The two losses were without Gasol, who has totally changed the way the offense runs. Since one of Perkins and KG has to guard either Odom or Gasol, and Perkins is strong but not very quick, there should be plenty of cutting and passing opportunities. If it turns out that they are unable to successfully open the floor against the Celts, watch for them to go more to the traditional Kobe-iso offense later in the series. Nobody on the Celtics can really handle him, and Gasol’s ability to spot up from 12 feet gives the team an added wrinkle they lacked with Bynum at the 5.

    Should be fun!

  88. The Dude Abides May 30, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    One last possibility is Kobe guarding Rondo, which would allow him to roam and provide help defense, as Rondo has been passing up numerous jump shots in the 12-20 foot range. This would mean that Fish chases Allen throughout the game, hopefully not letting him go left to shoot his jumper.

  89. oh man, this is bigger than the finals. This is the Meta -Finals. This is bigger than Lakers-Pacers or Lakers- Nets. This is Rome v. Carthage. This is Kobe Bryant v. History. Witness.

  90. Warren Wee Lim May 30, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    What did I tell you guys about me “wishing” for something?

    We have Boston. And yes, I agree with Kurt we might be getting the better end of the matchups here.

    PG – Fisher vs Rondo
    SG – Kobe vs RayRay
    SF – Radmanovic vs Pierce
    PF – Odom vs KG
    C – Gasol vs Perk
    bench:
    PG – Farmar vs Cassell
    SG – VUjacic vs Tony Allen
    SF – Walton/ Ariza vs Posey
    PF/C – Turiaf/Mbenga vs PJ Brown/ Powe/ Big Baby

    My grand-uncle-in-law said it best: Boston would have to beat us down low for them to win, and their support group would have to double their efforts to be effective against ours.

    The most glaring mismatch that needs to be explored is Boston’s PG spot. They just don’t have it there. Fisher would be facing the least competition in the previous 3 serieses we’ve had, and Farmar, who has redeemed himself from being eaten alive by Deron Williams will now have another shot at making good.

    Sam I Am, Green Eggs and Ham is 38. He is contemplating on his next career and is most likely done. Rajon Rondo has been amazing being the receiving end of Boston’s decoy plays. He sneaks out and he gets the freebies. But on pressure situations, with Phil at the helm, LA needs to capitalize this young man’s inexperience by rendering him ineffective and forcing him with turnovers.

    Tony Allen played some PG when Rondo was out. But with the emergence of Sasha on D, his ability to “make you work” defensively because he can hit the three consistently at high efficiency leaves Boston too little in its rotation to be effective.

    The frontcourt is another story. PJ Brown is 37 himself but he is a very fit 37 and he plays like he is 33. He is a veteran that has been here and done that. Perk is another big body. The problems he could give Gasol in size could force him to take more weenie shots.

    But this time, it will tell a different story. While Perk may be decent-average in defense, he is only KG’s extension when it comes to offense. He cannot create his own shot and you bet you will see Phil make Pau rotate on KG so that Odom can compete with Perk on the rebounding category. On defense, when push comes to shove, LO’s quickness will prove vital on our ability to “fish” fouls from Perkins.

    Talent-level is stacked on our favor too. This is how I see the Boston matchup to be:

    Ray Allen + Paul Pierce = Kobe + Sasha
    KG has a little edge over Lamar Odom
    Kendrick Perkins = Ronny Turiaf
    Rajon Rondo = Jordan Farmar

    AS you can see, the difference from Boston’s 5 from ours is 2 legit starters – Fish and Pau as supposed to their 6th and 7th man in PJ Brown and Tony Allen or Sam Cassell.

    In the end, we have more talent, better bench and a wiser coach.

  91. Warren Wee Lim May 30, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Very interesting article from a little back, and it talks about KG and “clutch”.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=3403820

    Also, Aaron Goodwin sure knows how to sell himself – starting with this one.

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-32-259/Aaron-Goodwin-on-Players–Runners–and-Agents.html

  92. I thought Perkins was a 7 footer, but in the pre game intro’s they lsted him at 6’10” so maybe Pau might be able to outreach him at times, tipping it to himself or another teammate. also LO is the same height, but has much better leaping ability. perkins is a wide body and a banger though, and that could take Pau out of his game.
    so is LO or Pau going to guard Garnett?
    I really hate all that loud pyrotechnic intro that Detroit does, hope Boston does it more like we do, just staright intro’s, classier that way.
    I hope the league takes a second look at all that, tune it down a bit, got out of control these days.

  93. One week for Trev to rest… wow.

  94. Lakers and Celtics! JUst like old times! Who’s gonna win?

    Lane
    http://LosAngelesSource.com

  95. Well, I wanted Boston because I remember watching those 80’s series and hating the team in green. Now it is on again and I appreciate all the analysis by the FB&G crew to get me ready for this Finals.
    Go Lakers…

  96. We really need to rebound. The Celtics have so far been undefeatable when Perkins has big games on the glass. Thr Lakers, im looking at you Pau, need to box out well.

    Also, another factor to watch is the 3 point shooting. We’ve traditionally allowed people to vecome insanely good 3 point shooter arbirarily. Matt Moore pointed out that for the most part, the team that makes a higher shot of the 3 point shots, wins the game. Thus, we must not allow Allen or Posey to have 5-7 3 point shooting games or anything. I am all for doubling KG, but we musn’t do it off of a solid 3 point shooter.

    Another quick thought I’d like to add is that we need to focus on Rondo early. He is simply not very effective if he gets off to a poor start. When Rondo’s playing well, the Celtics are tough to beat. With him playing poorly and tenatively, Fisher could also afford to sag down and doule KG with much greater frequency and efficency.

  97. I’m with the commenters that said the Celtics seemed a little too giddy – Pierce yelling something like “10 long years!” like he just won the Finals and not Eastern Conf. when Michele Tafoya was interviewing him after the game. And those Beat L.A. chants? Oh, hell no. You’d think they’d know they’re going to run that about a billion time on tWWL from now until Thursday evening and, while I don’t think Kobe and co. really need anymore motivation, that’s just going to fuel the fire.

    I think my favorite match-up of this series righ now has got to be Doc Rivers and Phil Jackson. Just awesome. It’s like if Optimus Prime got to fight a 5th grader.

    (Okay, slight exaggeration on that but, really, aside from having the great advantage on experience and being a master of adjustments and mind games, how long until he gets under Doc’s skin and has him getting T’s and/or whining to the press after games? With all due respect to Doc, I just can’t help but feel so, so confident about our coach vs. theirs.)

  98. The Lakers have gotten great “on the job” training from the 4 time champion San Antonio Spurs for the championship series against the aging overgrown Leprechauns from Boston.

    San Antonio relied on Parker (G), Genobili (F), and Duncan (F, C) for their offense, with Bowen, Oberto, Finley, and others (Barry, Thomas, Odoka) substituted in for offensive or defensive role playing. The team relied on key players to score with a set offense, but depended on their defense to limit opportunities for the opposition and generate breakaway scoring opportunities or unguarded threes for themselves.

    Boston is very similar, relying on Allen (G), Pierce (F), and Garnett (F, C) for their offense, with Perkins (C) for defense, and Rondo (G) to facilitate. Their major role player is defensive specialist Posey (F), but they can use Cassell (G), and PJ Brown (F) for further support–with plenty of additional beef on the bench as needed.

    The Lakers have five starters that can all score in double figures off of a passing/assisting triangle attack: Fisher (G), Bryant (G), VladRad (F), Gasol (FC), and Odom (PF). They have an entire bench squad that can relieve the starters and provide a change of pace: Farmar (G), Vujacich (G), Walton (F), Turiaff (FC), and/or one Laker starter (Odom or Gasol). For the championship round, they also may have x factor Trevor Ariza.

    The Lakers can play more players for more minutes without a drop in quality–but with a change of pace. This was the difference maker against San Antonio that allowed the Lakers to come back from large early deficits in several games.

    The Lakers as a team are considerably bigger and faster than the overgrown Leprechauns of Boston. Unlike the Jazz, who had size, speed, and experience at point guard–and the Nuggets/Spurs that had blinding speed, the Celts rely on a 6′ 1″ dinker (Rondo) that plays too many minutes. The Laker tandem of Fisher/Farmar may well have their best playoff series against the only Boston Leprechaun that hasn’t overgrown.

    The Lakers can challenge the Boston big three with a bevy of defensive players/combinations. It will be interesting to see which ones they choose at which times. Sasha may get a shot at Pierce, and Gasol may spend some time with Garnett. Odom may get to spar with Perkins. Luke may provide a change of pace, with Ariza as the x factor.

    It may take awhile for the teams to feel each other out.

    At one time, I thought that the Lakers would have no chance against the superstars of Boston. The playoffs have shown me another side. Even without home court advantage, the Lakers clearly have a chance.

    The old overgrown Leprechauns of Boston will play like there is no tomorrow with reason. They’ll push, elbow, curse, and flop. If that doesn’t work, they’ll try to scare you with gang hand signals.

    Celtic fans won’t be any better. “Vick the brick” may get his Laker poncho shredded and his bamboo splintered.

    The Lakers, looking forward, will see an even brighter future. Reed calls this season “pure.” The Lakers will not be desperate: they will play like champions.

  99. Warren Wee Lim May 31, 2008 at 2:25 am

    Kurt, I have a feeling this blog is going to get “uglier” than usual. Gotta filter the Laker-haters and Celtic-haters altogether. Just a suggestion…

    As usual, the regulars and I want to keep this site as it is, the Manu Ginobili awardee of blogs (ain’t that ironic). It would be classy of us, as a bunch, to keep it clean and hate-free.

  100. Amazing_Happens May 31, 2008 at 2:33 am

    I stole this from a commenter over at the foxsports by screen name of “Speed of Light” :

    “The Lakers faced the best offensive regular season team, the Nuggets- they outscored them. They faced the team with the best home record during the season- they ended that series on the road. They faced the defending world champions- they easily handled them at their type of game in 5 games.”

    Sounds pretty good when you put it that way, doesn’t it?

    I think the Finals may be easier than the Jazz or Spurs series. Just don’t tell the Lakers’ players. Can’t let them underestimate the Celtics.

  101. You know what scares me? This Celtics team resembles that ’04 Pistons team. And we know what the end result of that run was.

    Nevertheless, this team is much different from that team. Our bench is much more polished this time around.

  102. 102. I know, I think things will have to be tightly enforced over the next few weeks. But there are some really great Celtics fans out there that I hope drop by.

  103. Guys, as a neutral observer, I wouldn’t take the “Beat LA” chants as cocky, classless or anything like that. Simmons had in his column yesterday that Staples was chanting “We Want Boston.” I think Paul Pierce, who knows his basketball history, is just really happy that he’s becoming part of it now. As a fan of neither team, I think it’s fantastic for the league.

    I’m very excited for this series, and while it appears the Lakers have a talent and speed advantages all over the place, this sort of reminds me of 2006. A Mavs team that ran through the Western Conference went against what appeared to be a slow, old Heat team and ended up fumbling things away simply because the Eastern champ wanted it more. Lot of differences here – Phil much better than Avery, no Wade – but things might get interesting.

  104. C-Gasol vs Perkins. Laker advantage. Better scoring,better passsing for Gasol. Better rebounding,physicallity for Perkins.
    PF-Lamar vs KG. What should be huge advantage for Celts has to be severely down-graded if KG plays “weenie” B-Ball against Lakers as he did against Pistons. KG is better rebounder in traffic,better weak side help defender. Lamar is better on the move and has vastly better ball-handling skills.
    SF-Radmanavic vs Pierce. Celtic advantage,tho not as huge as thought as numerous Lakers will get minutes at SF,including Kobe.
    SG-Kobe vs Allen. This is sub-plot I’m dying to see. Big Laker advantage.
    PG-Fisher vs Rondo. Slightest of edges to Boston. Fish’s experience,shot,team leadership are huge for Lakers,but Rondo has more of an overall game,coming up w/big rebounds,steals,defensive plays. The edge to Celts as Rondo’s scoring is not vital to the team,but when he does,it seems to kick team and fans into another gear.
    Bench-and we thought SA had an old bench. Slight edge to Celt reserve bigs,substantial edge to Laker reserve smalls.
    Coaching-Jackson and staff vs Rivers and staff. Buig Laker edge. Bonus Laker edge-Celts D is run by coach who helped coach Hou D last yr,most of which Hou still used this yr. Team should have excellent scouting report on Hou D from Jazz/Rockets Series,giving leg up on scouting Celts.
    Intangibles-hmmmm. Lakers opening Playoff Series on road for first time. Laker role players considerably younger and youths typically struggle on road. Lakers considerably younger and have demonstrated their team speed can upset just about any defensive scheme.
    Bad opening schedule for Lakers. As pointed out,way too many Celts seemed too happy to just be in Finals.(BTW,anyone else notice how relieved and drained Rivers looked,esp as he went into lockerroom? That was a man in no shape to coach a game in immediate future.) If first Game had come Tue believe Celts wouldn’t have been mentally ready. Now they get 5 days of reading about Lakers sure to win,a new Dynasty being born,etc. and they’ll have their minds focused come Thursday.
    Lakers know they have “The Guy” who can take over a game and carry his team to victory. The Celts don’t.
    Since I don’t see one team blowing out the other 4 times,Laker ability to get points down the stretch vs Celtic flailing about during stretch leads to Lakers having intangibles edge.
    Looks like it’s the Year of the Laker.

  105. I seem to recall our answer (during the Magic-Bird days) to the Garden’s chant of “Beat LA!” was also a catchy phrase, “Bos-ton sucks!” of course said in the same rhythm.

  106. the other Stephen May 31, 2008 at 9:00 am

    uh, that was unnecessary. it was not a hater comment.

  107. other stephen, you are you referring to?

  108. Other Stephen, repost it if you want. I was weeding out a lot of stuff that was held for moderation and may have gotten something that didn’t deserve it.

  109. i really didn’t think beat LA was offensive in any way. I mean, what are they supposed to say? Beat Lakers? We want Lakers? Go LA?

    I’m simply just not worried about them any more. Sure we could get swept (mathematical possibility, more so since i think they won both meetings during the season) but somehow i believe in these guys. Last time I called the Lakers in 5, and if we were the home team, i’d have called 5 again.

    Since we’re not, i’ll settle for a conservative 6. But honestly, this is a team that took 7 games + out of mind Pierce to close out the Cavs. And the Hawks. And it took an injured Billups, injured Rip, and a very volatile Sheed to take Detroit in 6.

    If we take game 1, i’d even bet on a sweep ;)

  110. how much do you think Sheed will get fined for his yelling at the camerman last night, you could hear him say, “don’t know how many time I’m telling you, get that f*#@ing camera out of my face” then he threw a towel to cover it.

  111. new post up, starting the Celtics talk/breakdown

  112. Kobe just shot 64-120 (.533), the best career field goal percentage in a playoff series in his life.

    Shooting 15-18 foot jumpers!
    Guarded by Bowen!

    Over everything this series had to offer, with Ginobili, the reemergence of Farmar, etc, that HAS to be the most impressive stat of this entire playoffs, let alone the series.

    Like Tiger Woods winning the British Open using only his irons…