Game 2 thoughts…

Darius Soriano —  June 9, 2008

 

Too little too late….

 

I saw this written in the comments last night and thought it summed up one aspect of the game quite well.  After trailing by over 20 points in the 4th quarter, the Lakers made a furious comeback and cut the deficit to TWO points with about a minute to play.  Mixing in some pretty good defense with some pretty spotty execution by the Celtics (they really were playing to maintain the lead, not playing to win the game), and adding in some timely shooting from Kobe, Farmar, Sasha, Fisher, and RadMan, the Lakers went from getting blown out and fans of both sides wondering if this was the “Memorial Day Massacre” part 2, to thinking that we would come all the way back and win the game.  But, down by two and needing one stop to get the ball back with the chance to tie, the Lakers could not avoid what had plagued them the entire evening when they reached in on a Paul Pierce drive, fouling him, and letting him clinch a 2-0 lead in the fight for a world championship when he sank his two free throws.  That leads us to…

 

38-10

That was the free throw disparity in last night’s contest.  The Lakers could not contain the Celtics penetration by guards or big men.  The Lakers reached.  The Lakers pushed.  The Lakers grabbed.  They did not take charges when they had the chance to.  And the parade to the FT line by the Celtics continued.  And at the same time, the Lakers complained.  You see, the Lakers thought they were getting fouled too.  Phil Jackson would say in his post game press conference that “I think my players got fouled. I have no question about the fact that my players got fouled but didn’t get to the line.”  The fans thought the same way.  We saw Lakers players get hit on shots in the paint but no whistle was blown.  We saw Gasol get hit on an alley oop.  We saw Kobe get grabbed when he went to the basket.  We saw Lamar get bodied when he was trying to finish in the lane.  Were we just seeing the game through gold-shaded lenses?  Was Boston that much more aggressive that they would earn that many more trips to the foul line than the Lakers?  Was Boston’s defense so good that what we thought was a foul was really just an aggressive type of defense that we hadn’t seen before, one part Jazz one part Spurs?  It’s tough to say where the truth lies.  On the one hand, I don’t think one Lakers fan is upset at the number of foul shots Boston took.  The Lakers were fouling.  As I mentioned earlier, they reached in on drives, they held cutters, and they hacked at the rim in an attempt to deter the Celtics from finishing inside.  On the other hand, there is the question of “if a foul is a foul, then what happened on our end?”  And for that I don’t have a good answer.  I will not mention anything implying a “C” word or start to bash the refs.  And I won’t rehash the numerous posts citing very specific grievances.  As far as I know, the refs did their jobs the best way that they could and they called the fouls they saw and didn’t call the ones they didn’t.  I’m not there when they review the game tape and I’m not there to ask them questions about their job.  Besides, we can only worry about what is controllable.  The refs are not one of those things.  What the team can control is its effort, it’s penchant for reaching in, and it’s execution on offense.  Which leads us to…

 

Game 3.  Some quick thoughts, bullet style:

*Kobe found some of his lost efficiency in Game 2.  He scored 30 points on 23 shots.  He also had eight assists.  He got the pick and roll going with Gasol (and Turiaf) and was able to make shots that he has missed all year against the Celtics.  He was effective stretching out the Boston D on the P&R and then finding a lane to either get off his own shot or create one for a teammate.  Most of the 4th quarter comeback was fueled by Kobe just abandoning the Triangle and going into attack mode.  I don’t know if the Lakers can win a game if he uses this tactic for an entire game.  But it was nice to see that he can hurt this team in this manner, and I expect to see more *freelancing* from him in game 3, especially in early offense when the Celtics defense is not set.

*In game 2 we held our own of the glass.   out rebounded the Lakers 37-36 but that is much better than the 13 rebound advantage they had in game 1.  In game 3, look for the Lakers to try and continue this trend and use their better rebounding to push the pace and try to get more good looks in early offense.   was not the best defense in the league for nothing…when they get in the half-court and are set, they are extremely difficult to score on.  So, the Lakers need to get out and run more and continue to attack the Boston defense with good shots, crisp ball movement, and good decision making.  When the Lakers do face Boston’s half court defense, they need to execute the offense well, but also not be afraid to break the offense some to go to plays that are working.  Throughout the series the Celtics have had some trouble with the P&R when Kobe has the ball.  Expect to see more of this in game 3, with Kobe looking to probe the defense and get a shot he is comfortable taking and making while also looking to set up his teammates.  He looked much more comfortable in the latter stages of game 2 and we can only hope that he has finally started to figure out how he can attack the Celtics defense.BostonBoston

*We need the bench to get back to the level of production that made them the “bench mob”.  So far in this series, the bench players that have made the biggest difference are PJ Brown and Leon Powe (and I know I haven’t mentioned this yet, but Powe was a monster in game 2.  I know that he got to the line a ton and some of that could be seen as questionable, but he was in attack mode the entire game.  He played strong inside, went after the ball extremely hard, and never stopped working.  He is a very good young player in that Paul Milsap/Jason Maxiel mold, and he has made a huge impact this series).  We need our bench guys to step up and play the way that they are capable of.  I’m encouraged, though, by them hitting some shots in the 4th quarter during the comeback.  Farmar and Sasha in particular looked good down the stretch and we can only hope that that carries over into the next game.  We all know that role players play better at home, so here’s hoping that trend continues.

For more insight on game 2 and what the Lakers need to do in game 3, please stop by and read KD’s take over at Ball Don’t Lie.  He sums up the game quite nicely and is his usual unbiased self. 

 

Darius

 

Darius Soriano

Posts

74 responses to Game 2 thoughts…

  1. jodial,
    I know that you had asked if I thought Kobe would have gotten the same call that Pierce got if the roles were reversed. I guess all I can say is I hope so.

    And let me be clear, while I do think the way the game was refereed had an impact on the flow of the game and the moments surrounding the calls, I still think the Lakers need to play through the physicality of this matchup and find ways to be effective. I think we saw some of that in the 4th quarter comeback, and I hope we have cracked the code.

  2. KD was trying to defend this game on the Ball Don’t Lie live blog. He’s lost all credibility to me. The Heat/Mavs was an awful series and the championship was handed to the Heat. It’s happening in this series (and though I think the Lakers may still win), the officiating is so obviously manipulated I can’t in good conscience watch the NBA’s product any more. The NBA died last night.

  3. Obviously most Laker fans disagree with KD’s assessment about the refs but let’s not dwell on that now.

    I thought a turning point in the game came around the half way mark of the 3rd quarter. The Lakers had cut the lead down to 9 and had the momentum. Much of this turnaround was due to the match-up zone the Lakers threw at the Celtics, resulting in a stagnant offense and defensive stops. During the break, cameras showed an animated Kobe screaming encouragements at his team.

    What happens after the time out? Phil abandons the zone and goes back to man. And Vlad decides to be the hero and be the shooter/playmaker for 2 straight possessions. Clang and a turn over (if memory serves). Two straight makes for the Celtics (Pierce I think). Game over.

    Or at least it should have been but for a collapse of near historic proportions by the Celtics.

    Interesting Factoid: Listening to the british commentators, they were claiming that Doc Rivers had the best conversion % coming out of time outs. Don’t know if this is true but it seemed like every single time out (bar the last 1/2 of the fourth quarter) was timely and effective.

  4. And so begins the media bias…

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs2008/columns/story?columnist=stein_marc&page=Gm2-080609

    Agree with post number 2 about Ball Don’t Lie losing credibility. Still think Paul Pierce should be nominated for next year’s Best Actress Oscar.

  5. I continue to be blown away by the unwillingness of many to look within and point their fingers at the Lakers for being down 2-0. I think Kevin Ding (my favorite beat writer) put his finger on why the Lakers are in this bad position:

    “There is nothing simpler in sports than when a game’s outcome is dictated by that basic human issue: Who wants it more? The Boston Celtics wanted the first two games of the NBA Finals more. Unquestionably more.

    The Celtics — with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen all ring-less at 30-something years old and coming off a season in which none of the three even made the playoffs — are living in the glorious now and making the most of it.

    The Lakers — with Andrew Bynum’s long future a few calendar tearsheets and a knee rehabilitation away — are secure in the knowledge that this is just the beginning of something special, so there’s no need to have the same kind of urgency.

    It shows. The Lakers have looked like a middle-school class going through the motions on a field trip to Paul Revere’s house: “Hey, at least we’re here and not in school. Good enough!”

    The rest of his column is a painful, but accurate read. http://www.ocregister.com/articles/lakers-boston-nba-2063221-game-odom

    If the Lakers don’t flip the switch and snap out of this embarrassing “we’re just happy to be here” mindset and play with energy, passion, and drive that got us to the Finals, the series is over. We are our own worst enemy, not the refs, David Stern, or the Celtics.

  6. 2. It was not that bad. The problem was that it was very inconsistent. I think it was a combination of Boston having home court advantage (so they got the benefit of the doubt most of the time) and the reputation of them being the best D in the NBA (deservedly as it may be). But it just seemed like the lakers were getting called for a foul any time there was contact, and Boston was being allowed to grab and push and hack to their hearts content without ever getting a foul.

  7. when a scrub goes for 20+ points and shoots more free throws than your entire roster, a loss is eminent.

  8. Pretty significant when Kurt actually mentions the refs. There’s also this: “I’ve never seen a game like that in all these years I’ve coached the Finals”.

    Could this be the NBA’s way of motivating teams to actually play their butts off during the regular season to get homecourt advantage? The 2008 post season has been tough to watch for fans of visiting teams. Hopefully for the next three games that continues.

    Is anybody really surprised that ESPN isn’t calling out the refs? Their livelihood depends on the NBA having credibility, and they’re not going to do anything that will compromise it.

  9. Refs called a horrible 1st half especially. There was no flow to the game. I could barely watch cuz there was a whistle almost every time down. No one wants to watch the refs do their thing, I don’t care how much “it opens up the cutting for later on in the game.” I think that plays into Boston’s hands whether the fouls are going against us or not. They rather have the tempo slowed down so their (strong, very strong) D can set up.

    But, really tho, all I want is for the refs to let the players play. And yes, as a Laker fan, we played some pourous defense that put us in situations where we could do nothing but hack. But still, all the whistle-blowing combined with some Great Celtic D is contributing to a lack of offensive rhythm for us.

    And yes, that Celtic D is really good. Granted, kobe does need to take it to the rim more, but everytime he beats the initial defender, KG is waiting right there to alter the mid-range J Kobe’s been in love with since the SuperSpur series. I’ve no idea what happened to the “barrel into the heart of the D” Kobe that would at least try to draw a foul. It’s almost like he’s trying to avoid contact. I mean, that last Pierce drive to draw a foul that sealed the game – that’s a patented Mamba move. On the handful of Kobe drives I remember he’s slithering like a snake and contorting his body just to get some (very pretty/difficult) layup up over KG. Just cheese that Kobes. Go hard. Enough with the fadeaways and the midrange jumpers that Jordan was hitting during his last 3peat when he was well into his 30′s. Attack. The. Hole. Posey and Pierce should not be making you work this hard to get a shot off. We know you can hit those nice-looking fade-aways and turn-arounds. But we know you can get to the line 15 times like it’s your job. Otherwise you’re gonna be sportin some Yves Saint Lauren trunks in Bora Bora. Drinkin a wine cooler. While watching film.

  10. I would like someone expalining to me, the reason why we stopped feeding Gasol in the low post after the dunk in KG’s face.

  11. Apparentely every espn media member so far feels the game was refereed completely evenly.

    I don’t think a single laker fan objects to the 38 fts the celtics shot. We fouled, a lot. But 10? That’s just not right. Everyone continues to say we are a jumpshooting team, no one attacks which just wasn’t true. 30+ shots in the paint and only fouled on 3 of them?

    Why would a team continue to go to the basket when they know they will just get hit and get no call.

  12. add eminent loss…..scrub, err, powe, scores six more points than minutes played, ugh!!!!!

  13. The Lakers cost themselves game 1, but I honestly don’t think any team (from any era) could win in Boston with that kind of foul discrepancy. It’s just not doable. Kobe and Lamar missed some key minutes due to foul trouble and the team’s offense was extremely disjointed because they knew that if they attacked the rim, the Celtics would foul the s*** out of them and no call would be made. Their response was a perfectly logical one under the circumstances: they just tried to get clean looks at the basket, wherever they might have come from. On defense they got tentative, but can you blame them? Incidental contact was being called as 2-shot fouls for the Celtics all night. If the slightest contact is being whistled, how can you possibly bring the “tough, physical defense” that everyone is ripping the Lakers for not playing?

    Anybody who knows me, knows that I don’t make excuses for the Lakers when they are playing bad. I don’t think they’ve lost or won a game all year in which the outcome wasn’t earned… until last night. You can take the party line all you want to, but that game was the basketball equivalent of a kangaroo court. I’m not saying the league called it in. Perhaps it was the effect of the violently drunk and obnoxious Boston fans… but even if the Lakers didn’t play their best possible game last night, they never had a fair shot at winning.

  14. No, sorry guys. That WAS that bad. I’m not saying the Lakers deserved to win that game or the Celtics didn’t. I am saying that you can’t really analyze anything when a game is that f**ked. Stats don’t really matter when the tone has been COMPLETELY altered by the officials. Basketball is a rhythm game, bad officiating throws that off. People are writing that the Lakers “weren’t aggressive” and didn’t go to the rack. Bullshit. Look at the shot charts. It was a blatantly manipulated game. Game 3 will see the Lakers DESTROY this team. There will be quick fouls on the Celtics, and the Lakers will go to the line a billion times. Game 4 and 5 they’ll probably let them play. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Lakers win this series, but in my eyes this series if over no matter what happens. It doesn’t even matter. This is a tainted product pure and simple.

    Look, I didn’t have any stock in the Heat/Mavs series. That was blatantly awful. We’ve got the same thing here. You aren’t gonna hear it from anybody that is involved with the NBA, they have too much to lose. The NBA pays a lot of bills.

    In the aggregate the Lakers probably come out on the plus side with all of the manipulation that goes on in this league, but that doesn’t make it okay.

    And as for Kelly Dwyer… go back and read him during the Ball Don’t Lie live-blog. It’s embarrassing. He’s a full “corporate line” blogger or he’s simply watching a different game. I mean… I get it though… who wants to admit the league they cover is as bullshit as it is? Calling the league what it is will not curry any favors with any media outlets. It’s not good for a career is what I mean to say. He’s treated with reverence by his peers, but I honestly don’t know why. It’s not a question of bias or anything else, it’s a question of journalistic skill and/or integrity. He’s either blind, a poor analyst or he’s an NBA apologist.

    The only person who might say something (not counting on it though) and have it actually matter is Bill Simmons. He’s in an odd stage in his career (some fights with ESPN, not happy there) and he could really make some noise and force people to acknowledge what this league really is. Being a Celtics fan it wouldn’t reek of homer-ism obviously.

    The NBA is a play. I simply can’t defend it anymore. I hope somebody will try and save it. The Internet tends to disrobe the emperors. I hope somebody undresses the NBA. It needs some tough love.

  15. One of the more disappointing aspects about that comeback is that by the end of the week, no one is even going to remember it. Instead of potentially being one of the greatest comebacks of all time, it’ll only be remembered as a Boston win and a dismal Laker performance.

  16. @13. I agree. Also, the Lakers are being criticized for not being as aggressive on offense and therefore they didn’t receive the calls. But, this is a chicken before the egg type proposition. With the ticky tack early foul trouble, the Lakers had to become less aggressive out of fear of picking up offensive fouls.

  17. Does anyone know what the biggest FT disparity is in NBA finals/playoffs history?

  18. the other Stephen June 9, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    i still believe

  19. I never understand why every time there is a massive discrepancy in foul or free-throw calls analysts throw out the rhetoric that one team was being aggressive and thus deserved to get calls where as the other team was being passive…I thought you get fouls called from being overly physical and aggressive? If you’re getting fouls called on you while being passive and playing with no energy then the state of referring is much worse than I thought it was

  20. I’ll only start believing if they can at least win one game..if not, all bets are off!

  21. As a Cal grad (I think there are a few others on here- Dafish?), I don’t know what to think. Powe was tearing me apart on his 2 separate one man runs in the game, but after the game at least I could tell myself, “At least Powe did well.” (There’s a good post about him at Too Much Rod Benson, BTW- http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie?author=Rod+Benson )

    I guess I still have hope. Teams can and have overcome this kind of thing before. It’d help if we could talk Mark Cuban into buying a partial stake in the Celtics…

  22. LJ, I agree with the Gasol comment, which KD at Yahoo also pointed out. My observations on Lakers’ O:

    - KD is completely right about the Lakers giving in to the Celtics’ pressure. They took the easy route and hoisted up perimeter shots, and Kobe was as guilty as anyone in this. EVERYTIME they got the ball into the middle of the paint, with Kobe, Pau or Lamar holding the ball, something good happened.

    - Everyone points out the Lakers took more shots inside than the C’s. But there’s a difference between those shots. The Celtics got the majority of theirs by breaking down Lakers D first, then making the pass to the open man. The Lakers often drove in desperation into a sea of defenders because there was nothing else available. I think the refs are less inclined to call fouls if they think you got yourself into a mess

    - I think we need to go to a Gasol centric offense instead of a Kobe-centric one. Gasol has proved they cannot guard him. First reason: Kobe has found it hard to make passes over multiple long Celtic help defenders, but Gasol is tall enough to deal with that. Two, the Celtic defensive scheme is geared toward Kobe. A second offensive focal point just might mess up their orientation, so that they don’t know whom to concentrate on. This could then free up Kobe, Lamar and our shooters

  23. On defense… I don’t like the way they are playing the Celtic pick and rolls. I’ll put it this way. It’s a choice between giving Rondo/Pierce room, or giving KG room. 90% of the time they chose the former, the penetration led to a pass to Powe or Perkins down low, which really killed the Lakers. On the other hand, a KG jumper was at best a 50-50 proposition, partly because Gasol gets there ontime a lot, forcing him to take a dribble.

    So I think I like the odds on the latter choice

    One more thing – they need to learn from the Celtics, and stop reaching in. They may try it if the refs in LA seem to let it slide, but cut it out if they call it. They’ve already bailed out the Celtics too many times

  24. One thing I wanted to say – I agree with everyone that the officiating was anything but fair, but don’t bash KD for his comments. From all that I have read from KD, I have never seen him to be biased in favor of any particular team. He is right in what he is saying. The Lakers did not play good defense and did not play good offense for the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

    On the other hand, it’s also true that it’s hard to be aggressive when you know that most of the calls are going against you.

    Two things very few people are talking about

    - One is Phil’s coaching. We came into the series that at the very least we have a huge coaching advantage. But 2 games into the series, Phil seems to have been outcoached and we have seen nothing spectacular from Phil till now. Now you see the advantages of Doc moving his rotations around. Any player is ready to play whenever he is brought into the game. In the Lakers’ case players are used to playing with certain units and if they are brought in with other units then they are unable to contribute effectively.

    - The other is Lamar Odom’s play. He should start a course next season on “How to miss layups” with guest sessions from Kwame Brown. Every Lamar Odom missed layup is an easy 2-3 points for the opposition because our defense is not set and the Celts defense does not even need to wait for the rebound because the ball is already in their possession. On defense he always ends up committing stupid fouls. You never foul on the arms because thats always going to get called. Instead give a little push or shove during layups and that affects the shot a great deal.
    On offense either he is at the perimeter and his defender is roaming or he is in the paint and his defender is in the paint too, ready to double Gasol or Kobe. Because of this Kobe is not able to drive into the paint as easily. When Vlad is playing see how easy it becomes for Kobe to drive. Game 2 against Celtics is an example. But also look at Game 4-5 Spurs when Phil put Lamar in the bench when the game got close.
    I do know that if he plays well, the Lakers have a good chance to win, but more often that not he does not play well. And at this point, as of the last 5 games I do not see him providing any value which cannot be got from Vlad and Turiaf combined. I do not see Phil benching him but reduced minutes are definitely in order. Lamar has played on average 33 minutes during the last 5 games.

  25. Bill Bridges,
    “Doc Rivers had the best conversion % coming out of time outs.”

    The Celtics have a lot more options on offense than the Lakers do. If Kobe’s effectiveness is limited, that disproportionately affects the opportunities the other Lakers get. And the Celticshave been able to limit Kobe’s effectiveness.

  26. Just face it…the better team is up 2-0, and the better team (Celtics) will win the series. They are outplaying the lakers and there is nothing the laker coaching staff can tell the players that will change that. Boston is doing a great job defensively in taking away the comfort zones of the laker players. Lamar, Fish and the bench mob have been a non-factor the first two games. Lakers are allowing the Celtic’s role players to make an impact in this series. When it comes down to it, do you really think Lamar (choke artist), Pau (soft) and the bench mob (inexperienced) have what it takes to help kobe take them to the promise land? I’m actually even surprised how Rondo has totally outplayed Fisher. With all those factors going against the lakers, they will have a hard time winning this series. If the lakers want to repeat what Miami did in 2006, they will have to show that they want it more than Boston. And, based on the first two games, they haven’t shown that yet.

  27. Just face it…the better team is up 2-0, and the better team (Celtics) will win the series. They are outplaying the lakers and there is nothing the laker coaching staff can tell the players that will change that. Boston is doing a great job defensively in taking away the comfort zones of the laker players. Lamar, Fish and the bench mob have been a non-factor the first two games. Lakers are allowing the Celtic’s role players to make an impact in this series. When it comes down to it, do you really think Lamar (choke artist), Pau (soft) and the bench mob (inexperienced) have what it takes to help kobe take them to the promise land? I’m actually even surprised how Rondo has totally outplayed Fisher. With all those factors going against the lakers, they will have a hard time winning this series. If the lakers want to repeat what Miami did in 2006, they have to show that they want it more than Boston. And, based on the first two games, they haven’t shown that yet.

  28. The Celtics got the best of the calls, but, the Lakers did not do what they need to do to make this more even. Reaching is death.

    There is no one person who can fix our situation, but here are some pointed observations…

    If we are going to speed up the game – as most have suggested – there is one person who needs to get on board with this and that is Kobe. Does anyone else notice that Kobe is always coming up the court at 3/4 speed? Sure he is always under control, but the C’s get just that much extra time to set their defense, since Kobe is the most frequent ball handler.

    Also, I noticed the Lamar was sitting with 5 fouls during the 4th qtr comeback and Phil didn’t let him back on the court. Lamar has still not overcome his tendency to set his mind about going to the basket and then charge because the opposition got in his way – this goes back years. Also, I don’t want him coming in during a rally because he is likely to kill it with his questionable ball handling on offense. Yeah I know, Vlade wasn’t stellar there, but he did get it going in the 4th qtr at the 4 spot.

    I don’t agree with those who think Kobe should guard one of their big three because, at this point in his career, he seems unwilling to stay with his man – thereby killing his usefulness with Ray-Ray or Paul. If Kobe can’t stay home on his man, then I think we either change the personnel – Phil won’t do this – or we lose this thing. The odds are now officially against us.

    The people who are saying the Lakers are playing like they will be better next year are really spot on.

  29. now it’s just one game at a time, and every game counts like it’s the “close out” game.
    win game 3, our first game back at home, (or else it really is over) I don’t expect the celt’s to bring it as much for this one…
    then win game 4, fighting like there’s no tomorrow, cause you know the Celt’s are gonna bring it, and this one is CRITICAL, to even up the series, but we still have to…
    win game 5 because we are going to have to act like the team that can’t be “closed out”, fight til there’s nothing left, act like each game is a game 7, lose and it’s over…
    so, that takes care of our home stand, 3 wins, up 3 to 2.

    game 6, goes to the Celt’s cause we’ve spent too much energy winning the last 3 at home. series tied 3-3.
    means a game 7, a one game series, and then, it’s the best team wins.
    everybody is happy, the league, the teams, the fans.

  30. “They were given an ongoing boost by favorable officiating (that’s an understatement).For Game 2, the Lakers had a valid excuse … an unspeakable 38-10 free-throw disparity that I won’t even attempt to defend. At one point, my dad pointed to referee Bob Delaney, who was practically wearing a Celtics jersey and joked, “I like that guy. I want him for every game!”

    If you’re a Lakers fan, take solace in the fact you’ll get every call at the Staples Center if the crowd shows up; not only do these things have a way of coming around, but if Bennett Salvatore doesn’t officiate Game 3, it will be the biggest sports upset of this century.”

    That was in bill simmons article today. heres the link.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/080609

    I can only hope david stern makes sure the lakers win th enext 2 at least.

  31. by the way the lakers are 10 point favorites for game 3 which i find very fishy

  32. Bill Simmons has a new piece up at the WWL. He made two comments that were interesting to me.

    The first was that he spoke about his fear and awe of Kobe and how he has not quit on this series yet. I agree with this sentiment. Kobe is still fighting hard, and so is the rest of the team.

    Second, Simmons said that “he could not think of one thing that the Lakers have done well (or maybe he said *right*) in the series so far. I agree with this too and it made me think one thought: if we really haven’t done anything well, but have been in both games with a chance to win in the final minutes of each game, then we are in this thing. We may be down 2-0, but we are right there…

  33. I wrote a fairly long comment and it has not showed up yet. Did it get moderated for some reason? Moderator, can you let me know…

  34. To me (and I could be wrong), Lamar’s inability to hit the 15 foot jumpers consistently is killing the offense by allowing the Celtics to clog the lane play the and sit on the cutters to the basket (and Kobe).

    The play that really upset me was when, in the first half, with the Lakers down by 5, Farmar had his wrist grabbed on a layup with no call. The Celtics ran down to the other end and hit a 3. Instead of a 3 point game it was 8 and soon to get worse.

    At one point it was, what, 26 to 2 on free throws? (one of which was on KG’s technical foul).

    I honestly can’t figure out why Kobe never gets to the line anymore. After 12 years in the league the secret to defending him has been found? I don’t buy it.

  35. Just hoping the Lakers will overcome whatever the issues are and win.

    Let’s not forget, Hawks and Cavs both took Celtics to 7 games. I definitely hope Lakers can stay in a series as long as the Hawks, or win in less. I prefer the latter.

  36. Nice points, Darius. We are definitely in this series still. I know everyone is freaked out on some level (myself included), but we lost two road games to the Jazz too. They just happened to come at a different, less critical junction in the series. The Lakers have more pressure for losing the first two games, but the fundamentals of this series haven’t changed. The Lakers are still the younger, fresher, more efficient and better coached team. Like all role players, the Lakers’ bench mob is markedly better at home. If Jordan, Luke, and Sasha can allow the starters to rest, we can run at the Celtics in waves… at just the point in the series when they are feeling both overconfident and tired.

    And, one last bit of perspective (sorry if I keep repeating myself), but winning 3 consecutive home games only sounds daunting if you ignore the fact that the Lakers have already won 14 in a row at the Staples center.

  37. I STILL BELIEVE.

    Nobody wants to be down 2-0, but I still believe in our Lakers. I believe in Kobe figuring this thing out and becoming a more efficient player for us. I believe in Phil to stop putting Luke Walton on Powe and instead making the right adjustments. I believe in the Lakers not committing stupid fouls in the early stages of the quarter (i.e. Radman). I believe that we will become a more patient team and run our offense. I believe in Lamar and hope that he can somehow summon the effort to be effective for us and not get in foul trouble so that the coaching staff does not take him out for crucial stretches.

    All games from now on are must wins for us. We must find a way to win the next 3 at home and I fully believe in the Lakers to do so. It won’t be easy getting there, but if the Lakers show 75% of the energy that Boston played with at home, I expect them to take Games 3 and 4. (That’s how much Boston wanted it) The crucial and most difficult one will be Game 5. In 2004, 2005, 2006 all Game 5 winners won the series. (2004 was obvious because DET was up 3-1) What I’m trying to say is if we are tied at 2-2, Game 5 is like a Game 7 for us. Boston would not want to feel what it’s like to lose 3 straight on the road and meanwhile, the Lakers will be oozing with confidence to finish up the series in Game 6. I wont’ even imagine what the media will say if the Lakers end up leading this series 3-2. The pressure will be squarely on Boston’s shoulders. I know I’m over my head and looking way far into the future, but I have faith in these Lakers.

  38. Looking at the box score, the foul calls were 28-21.

    That’s a difference that can be applied to ‘aggression’ and I think may speak louder than the 38-10 FT disparity. Aggressors, unless faced with whistle-happy refs (unlikely in the finals) get more leeway as they are active in establishing boundaries while the other team has to ‘guess’ what a foul is and what isn’t depending on what the refs ‘seemed to allow.’

    The difference of 7 calls can be easily attributed to the reactive team feeling its way around the established boundaries. Count the fouls we committed to stop the clock at the end (sorta) and the difference isn’t as glaring as the 38-10.

    38-10, then, I think had to do with our defense more than anything. We couldn’t stop Rondo (16 assists!) and that was the story, really.

    Sure we could have won with just a single call going our way, but our surge had much to do with the Celtics thinking the game was at hand, and had the score been closer, they wouldn’t have let up as they did with the 23 pt lead.

  39. how da heck are the lakers 10 point favorites for game 3?

  40. 28. Lakers split with the Hawks this year (with Gasol) and got swept by the Cavs. Just sayin’….

  41. 32- Because Vegas knows the refs are gonna give them EVERY whistle in game 4. The NBA doesn’t want a sweep. The script is for a 6 or 7 game series that Boston wins. Gotta give the big 3 rings since they’re old and before the Lakers become a dynasty. It also ties in nice with the whole Boston resurgence.

    If the Lakers do win this series it will be one of the greatest upsets ever. And that with the fact that they were picked by basically everyone to win.

    The Celtic offense is one of the worst offenses I have EVER seen in a finals. The don’t seem to have any plays. They have been hitting key shots though.

    It’s important to note that even with one of the most awfully officiated games in modern NBA history, the Lakers STILL almost won. Regardless of this result in this series, there is no doubt in my or anybody who can claim to know basketball’s mind that the Lakers are in fact a better team.

    Their victory just doesn’t fit the way the NBA wants this story to go.

  42. I meant game 3. Sorry.

  43. Good points Scot and DTC.

    We just were overwhelmed in Game 2 when the Celtics made their run. All chaos broke loose and we didn’t run our offense. Besides, when you have Leon Powe running all over you, that takes all the energy and will to play out of you.
    But it was great to see the Lakers play till the end and not give up. Much, much preferred than Boston soak in the glory of blowing out a team of Lakers caliber by 25. Or maybe it heightened the Celtics’ awareness.

    No matter what anyone says, this series is not over. The Celtics came up with 2 very satisfying and well-deserved wins, but they had Home Court advatange. It’s the Lakers’ turn now. But home court alone won’t do that for them. We must match the same aggression, the same willingness to move the ball, and the same desperateness that the Celtics play with.

    1. Please give the ball more to Pau. I don’t care even if he shoots 5-26. He has been relegated to a scarecrow in the 2nd half. Why not more post feeds or isolations? After two good moves in the 1st half (dunk over KG, the alley-oop), he clearly was having “one-of-those” nights. The man was brimming with confidence and we ostracize him in the 2nd half.
    2. I agree with DTC that giving Rondo room to roam instead of score is hurting our defense greatly. He just got into the teeth of the Lakers D anytime he wanted and just picked us apart.
    3. I think Phil and Doc must have had a Freaky Friday moment before the series started because Phil’s rotations have become very inconsistent while Doc has established his bench very securely with Brown, Powe, and Posey. I believe coaching is a little exaggerated and I would be saying what a great coach Phil is if Ariza or Luke contributes 15 points off the bench, but our bench is getting severely outplayed this series so why were 5 bench players out there to start 2nd quarter which led to a 10-0 run for Boston?

  44. 32. Is the NBA fixing the champion every year, or just this year? Did the NBA give the Lakers their rings from 2000-2002 or is it only fixed when the Lakers lose? Also, I’d say that it would be quite a stretch to say that the Lakers are superior if they lose in that 1)Boston already swept the Lakers in the regular season and 2)Boston had the best record in the league and 3)Boston beat every team in the NBA this year. This series isn’t over, but if the “finals worst defense ever” doesn’t start stopping the “finals worst offense ever”, hyperbole is all the Lake-show is going to have left.

  45. 32 – With all due respect, I think you speak in hyperbole. If the C’s win it’s “one of the greatest upsets ever”? The C’s won 66 games this season, destroyed the West in the regular season and have won four in a row against the Lakers. The oddsmakers may have fallen in love with the Lakers as much as we have, but is it really a historic upset? Come on.

    “One of the worst offenses”? They shot 54% yesterday with nearly an assist on every basket. Their ball movement was nearly flawless and more Laker-esqe than than Lakers’ slow, stagnant offense.

    Why not hold the Lakers accountable for their more-than-subpar play? Was it the “NBA … story” that allowed Powe to go end-to-end untouched for a dunk? I can assure you that I’m a passionate Laker fan – that’s why I know when they aren’t executing on either end of the floor anywhere near the level they can, and they aren’t playing with the desire or urgency the team needs to take the title. If the team tries to place the blame elsewhere as many others seem to want to, do they aren’t going to correct their deficiencies and aren’t going to win.

  46. This series isn’t over, but if the “finals worst defense ever” doesn’t start stopping the “finals worst offense ever”, hyperbole is all the Lake-show is going to have left.”

    Always pleasant having Celtics fans around.

  47. I appreciate the kind reception I have had on this blog as a semi troll. But, I like talking hoops and celts boards are echo chambers.

    I watched the game again, there could have been more fouls on the Celts, though I don’t think the refereeing was as lopsided as the free throw disparity indicates. But, their is one big difference in the fouls,, which was remarkably close. Celtics were being physical, but not hacking. LA mauled the Celts, refs had no choice but to call those fouls. Boston played physical, but didn’t overtly hack and maintained defensive positioning. But, as the Gasol foul on Perkins showed, the Lakers’ fouls on shots in the paint were so blatant they had to be called. Boston would bump the Lakers and be physical. LA would foul after being beaten.

    One post above said how does bad defense lead to fouls? When you are out of position and not playing good D you end up fouling as a last resort. Bad defense leads to a lot of fouls.

    Maybe Phil Jax was going after the refs to take the pressure of his team, which got destroyed on defense.

    Anyhow, here is my thoughts on what the Lakers should do.

    No. 1 would be is to stop Rondo’s dribble penetration. You have to force Rondo to make shots, not set up shots. Play him for the pass, and play WAY off him. If Rondo gets in the lane the Celts are unstoppable. He then has two big-time 3 point options in Ray Allen or Pierce, a good jump shooting option in KG, and then a big like Powe or Perk going hard to the basket. You can’t allow him to do that.

    Some would say stopping Pierce is a must, but frankly, I don’t think you can unless it is a double. the matchups aren’t there. Pierce struggles against physical players that are his size with length and athleticism. LeBron, Tayshaun Prince, Artest, guys like that give him trouble. Even Kobe is a little too small to cover Pierce fulltime. Pierce eats upslow tall guys, and overpowers short quick guys

    the key to shutting down the Celts offense is to get Rondo to shoot. Don’t allow him to get in the lane. He is lightning quick and I think people have underestimated his impact.

    On offense, you got to scrap the big lineup. I would put rad at the 4, and Sasha in the lineup. Blanket the perimeter with shooters, and that should give Kobe more space. Also, with Vlad at the 4, that means Doc will matchup with Posey. That leaves garnett vs. Gasol with Perk out, Leon Out and PJ out. That eliminates a lot of the Celtics’ physicality down low.

    This is a bad series for Lamar. KG can take him out of everything he wants to do, and, he doesn’t shoot it well enough.

    Now, the Lakers will need a yeomans effort on the boards for Vlad, but I like their chances offensively with bombs away lineup that can make shots over what’s been happening.

    If they can play with Perk, Powe, PJ out of the game, that is to the Lakers’ advantage. It would open up the lane tremendously.

    Lakers would have a difficult time defending in that lineup, bit adds another shooter to the celts), but I like LA’s offense. LA has to win a shootout. Turn the game into a track meet. .

    .

  48. “how da heck are the lakers 10 point favorites for game 3?”

    I think if you checked, (I’m guessing–don’t know for sure) you’d find that most teams down 2-0 heading home in any series second round or later tend to win the third game. They come out on fire, angry, cornered, crowd pumped, and the team up 2-0 tends to relax a bit.

    I am not saying this is what will go down tomorrow, but I can see why the betting line would strongly favor the Lakers in Game 3. The Celtics have been the better team and deserve to be up 2-0, but Game 1 was closer than the final score indicated, Game 2 was an odd one in many ways, and it was also close.

  49. Ah, well.

    No matter what happens in the next (hopefully) 5 games, our team is *still* amazingly better than last year. Our future is so bright; we are in the best position of any team in the entire NBA.

    As long as there are no injuries in the series (I certainly didn’t want to see Paul Pierce hurt, even if he did showboat a bit) and the Lakers continue to improve, I can continue to smile in the face of adversity. The Lake Show *is* back.

    That being said, I thought that the Lakers definitely deserved to lose last night. We can point to the free throw disparity, but if you honestly paid attention it certainly seemed to me that we got our bums kicked. The problem was the effort and focus was not there last night. At one stretch, when the bench was in, the Lakers had 6 turnovers in 9 possessions. I don’t care about the reason, that makes winning a Finals game on the road close to impossible.

    The Lakers need to bring the proverbial “it” to the game with them tomorrow, or Kobe is going to have to make the decision about the designer board shorts. (Stick with red)

  50. Since most of us will move on to Game 3, this much I would like to say and see: LOS ANGELES FANS there in L.A. and those capable of showing up at Staples should do justice to this Finals atmosphere by showing up and being the homecourt it always promises to be. Staples should be loud as it is classy. It should rock the Celts off! LAKERS DESTROY IN GAME 3 or else, Kobe’s better be writing some dramatic comeback.

  51. I’m sure the answer to my question was somewhere in the last 600 comments, but how do you somewhat equal fouls made by both teams and have such an un-equal FT’s stat. I understand that not all fouls get a FT, but it seems like it should not be such a difference.

  52. theres no way the lakers should be 10 point favorites unless the game is fixed

  53. haha I think you answered yourself lakerfan, David Stern has too much money involved to let the players decide this.

  54. So its either gonna be the lakers winning the next 3 games compliments of david stern and give the c’s game 6 and hopefully finally let them play in game 7.

    or he just gives the lakers games 3 and 4 and then let them battle it out ina 3 game series what do you guys think?

  55. #44 John S

    Good points, although I don’t agree with all of them. A few points in response:

    1. I agree to an extent about Rondo. We have seen this pattern with Parker when the Lakers play SA. I might try Bryant on him and let Fisher chase Allen.
    2. Garnett is indeed a bad matchup for Odom.
    3. Pierce and Garnett will get theirs, so that is not the issue. The Lakers were hurt way too much by Powe, obviously, in Game 2, and did not score enough in Game 1. I don’t think playing Radmanovich more would help, however. The Lakers have to contain Rondo a bit more, Bryant has to attack Pierce, Gasol and Oom have to attaick Brown, and the Lakers have to play more physically–if they can.

  56. I have been listening to conspiracy theories since before JFK. Get a life! You don’t have to conspire to have one team or another win. Everything does not go your way – ever. How do you fix the games so that both the Hawks and Cavs take 7 games to be defeated?

    About the only fixing that could go on would be the particular officials assigned to the games. The officials tendencies are well known by the league and continuously tracked. I suspect the officials are given refresher training about things that don’t fit the NBA guidelines, but still there will be tendencies. Who is assigned to which game is about as far as I want to go in defining any conspiracy.

  57. Oom= Odom. Sorry.

    Also, as a lieflong Laker fan, I understand the frustration, but I just cannot get behind conspiracy theories. I saw some bad calls and some homerism–but I also saw some bad Laker D and some good Celtic play.

  58. The Dude Abides June 9, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Well, here’s The Blowtorch’s analysis of the inner thoughts of the players during the Powe coast to coast dunk. It definitely cheered me up. That was the single weakest play of the Lakers during this postseason…might as well have a laugh about it.

    http://theblowtorch.blogspot.com/2008/06/inner-thoughts-with-leon-powe.html

  59. New post up.

  60. The Dude Abides June 9, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    John S, I made the point last week that Kobe should be the one who guards Rondo, and have Fisher chase Allen through the screens. Kobe is notorious for laying off his man, and Rondo is the perfect guy to lay off. Things haven’t worked out for us on defense with Kobe guarding Allen and Fisher guarding Rondo. I think it’s time to try something different.

  61. The Dude Abides June 9, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Gatinho, another one of my posts just got lost in the ether. I posted it sometime in the last twenty minutes, maybe you can find it?

  62. 41 – 42: Totally hyperbole and meant to be. My point is sort of the irony of everyone picking the Lakers making them the favorite, and then due to some manipulation in at least one game (so far) having them be the underdog.

    And as far as the manipulation happening all the time for all series: I didn’t say that. And I’ll definitely say the Lakers have not been playing well at all. However, when you have something as atrocious as last night, analyzing anything else sort of becomes moot to me.

    I’ll also say that the Lakers have CERTAINLY been the beneficiary of this league manipulation in the past.

    And I’m generally not talking about games where there are a few bad calls here and there. I’m talking about games where there is a clear and tremendous free throw disparity and inequity of officiating. The last time I can remember this happening on this scale and on this stage was Heat/Mavs. All the calls for D. Wade were so outlandish that I just remember thinking how happy I was to not be a Mavs fan.

    41- I’ve never said the NBA fixes the champ every year. Sometimes you might see it in only a game or two to extend a series or create some drama. Is that really acceptable? I remember plenty games where the Lakers are the beneficiary. I don’t really give a shit about winning or losing when I watch a game that has been destroyed by the officials. If the Lakers go on to win this series and were to get every call I would be the 1st to say it is bullshit.

    I literally think this is critical mass for the NBA as far as hardcore fans go. And long term I really think they’ll have a problem. it isn’t going to be enough that it will “even out” and the Lakers will get those calls at home. I don’t understand why we as fans are not DEMANDING to see games called in a completely consistent manner.

    As to the Lakers being better… well I see your point, but if the games in this series continue to be botched by bad officiating then the tragedy is we’ll never really know what team was better. Whether the Lakers win this series or the Celtics win.

    I also totally agree with you about the Lakers playing poorly. No doubt. But I stand by the assertion that this Celtics team has the worst offense I’ve seen in recent memory in the finals. Maybe that Philly team in 2001 was worse. I can’t remember. The Celtics have hit critical shots, and the Lakers have been on their heels for sure (again, I think they’re certainly affected by how the games have been called), but the Celtics offense looks like they’re very poorly coached. There is a lack of cohesiveness to their offense, yet they’ve been carried by excellent performances from a few of their individuals. And the officials.

  63. 42- Let me be clear. I totally agree about the Lakers playing poorly. I just don’t think you can even move on to analyze or take ANYTHING from a game where one team has such a clear advantage with the officials. It COMPLETELY changes a game as a player. If you know the refs are gonna blow the whistle EVERY time for the other team that is gonna hurt you.

    I’m also not saying the Lakers would have won if not for the officials. I am saying we’ll never know. One thing I DO know is that we were up 17-14 and playing pretty well when we had two completely, utterly bullshit calls on Kobe to remove him from the game. That was really the beginning of the end.

    There won’t be a whole lot to take from the game 3 if they basically won’t let the Celtics touch us, get some of their guys in foul trouble, let us do whatever we want on defense, etc, etc. Again… my point is that when the league (or an official, which has been PROVEN to exist, and I do not think Donaghy is an isolated incident) decides to do this to a game, the game is effectively over in my mind and it turns winning bittersweet and losing maddening and ultimately sends hardcore fans away from this product. Or at least pisses them off so they spend a day ranting on the Internet.

  64. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned much: Pierce is 7/8 on 3s. While he and Rondo certainly deserve credit for that, it is not going to continue, in all likelihood.

  65. I wish the Lakers had someone like Powe – I live in Boston and always liked him. But Powe killing us was a little bit like Kwame killing the Suns in Game 3 last year (obviously Powe is better). You didn’t see him break down our defense. He had one 1-on-1 score, and that was on Walton where, per ESPN experts, he hooked Luke. Everything else was a consequence of Rondo or Pierce breaking down our D. Fast break points for him were just inexcusable, as you all remember – our bigs didn’t even both to run up to him. If we play solid D on their team and control the defensive boards, he becomes a non-factor.

  66. 60- The Celtics deserve a lot of credit no doubt. That’s what makes this whole debacle such a shame. It taints them. Did they really need that kind of help from the refs? Let the damn teams play.

    The best games in this league are the non-national regular season games that don’t really “mean” anything. The games where they just let these phenomenal athletes do their thing.

    It looks like what might happen is that “East Coast” basketball makes a comeback. Where hack jobs, physical play and straight up illegal play is let slide and is called “hard-nosed” defense. This, if you can remember that far, almost ruined the league after the “Bad Boy” Pistons would foul their way to the finals. It continued to tilt the typical NBA player to be less skilled, and more thuggish (I’m painting in VERY broad strokes here). This also brought scoring down until we had a few key rule changes and then the ascendance of the Suns which put the league on course.

    Some good stuff on Freedarko today as well as the last post here. There are bigger things at stake right now in the NBA than the Lakers OR the Celtics winning this series. The NBA is BLOWING it where they had an opportunity to shine.

  67. I’m sorry. I just can’t stand to hear “Doc Rivers… NBA Champion”. It’s just not right. If he was an assistant coach, it’d be great. But I am hoping against all odds that it won’t end that way.

    It’s hard to keep faith when the Green men can hip check and not get called. I really think a bench player on the Lakers should just confront the C’s, start swinging just to send a statement a la Raja Bell in 2006. That, and we need to just push the ball everytime we get the rebound. We need Odom to bring the ball up and just have him try a Magic impersonation.

    Sweep it at home, Lakes. Even though everybody says we have had a good season, we need the Lakers to have that arrogant attitude that thinks only a season ending with a championship can be considered “good”.

  68. From David Dupree, formerly of USA Today and currently for SI.

    “Different outcomes for the leading scorers. Paul Pierce has scored 50 points on only 26 shots in the first two games while Kobe Bryant has needed 49 shots to get 54 points. Pierce’s efficiency has resulted from his patience — he hasn’t been forcing shots — and three-point shooting (7-for-8), with many of those long-range attempts coming on open looks.
    Bryant, on the other hand, has had difficulty finding openings in Boston’s variation of the box-and-one defense. It seems like the Celtics have the “box” on Kobe and the “one” on everyone else instead of the other way around. Reduced mainly to being a jump shooter, Bryant is hitting only 40.8 percent from the field overall (compared to 61.5 percent for Pierce). The Celtics have to be made to pay if they are going to play that type of defense on Bryant, but the Lakers’ ball movement isn’t crisp and they are often left with little time on the shot clock to try to generate something.”

    Shades of ‘04 all over again.

    Bryant with his low basketball IQ simply doesn’t know how to attack when the opposing puts 1 lengthy defender on him and have 1 big sag off in zone coverage shading Bryant.

    This has resulted in Kobe launching jumpers like he’s building a house with all those bricks being piled up.

    Just take a look at the rate (EFFICIENCY) that Paul’s scoring at and the rate Bryant’s scoring.

    Where is this supposed best player that everybody raves about?
    Honestly. Kobe’s play has been very pedestrian even for him. Playing like a run-of-the-mill all-star.

    What’s special about his play? What’s special about his presence on the court?

    Dating back to ‘04, since Bryant’s anointing of being “top dog” on the team, the Lakers are 1 – 6 in the Finals.

    1 and 6 since Bryant’s takeover as primary option.
    Sad. Despicable. Disgusting.

    Even Dwyane “I need a frickin’ wheelchair” Wade has climbed the mountaintop sooner than Bryant (as primary option, since I am well aware that Bryant has 3 titles he won as Shaq’s sidekick).

    With much less talent, as well.

    Here’s a courtside perspective of Bryant’s behavior from Curt Schilling. Schilling’s obviously not the most likeable athlete.

    Schilling wrote: “From the first tip until about 4 minutes left in the game I saw and heard this guy (complain to) his teammates. Every TO he came to the bench (ticked), and a few of them he went to other guys and yelled about something they weren’t doing, or something they did wrong. No dialog (sic) about ‘hey let’s go, let’s get after it’ or whatever. He spent the better part of 3.5 quarters (ticked) off and ranting at the non-execution or lack of, of his team. Then when they made what almost was a historic run in the 4th, during a TO, he got down on the floor and basically said ‘Let’s (expletive) go, right now, right here’ or something to that affect (sic).”

    Bryant complaining a lack of execution? Geez, his teammates must be thrilled when he launches 20 ft. fadeaways with 3 hands in his face.
    That’s why he will never ever truly garner deep respect from other people.
    Bryant doesn’t give any respect. That’s why nobody listens to him. In their minds, it’s “Here we go again, what does he want this time? Blah blah blah”.

    Bryant would garner some respect if he practices what he preaches. Bryant talks a lot, but rarely walks the walk.

    This is the Finals. The ultimate stage. And the supposed leader is nowhere to be found.

    “Callous gun for hire” – Phil Jackson

    Don’t be surprised if Buss and Company make sweeping changes if the Lakers go down 0 – 4.

    It’ll even start with Bryant. Buss has never forgotten being called an idiot. It’s a symbiotic relationship he has with Bryant. Use him to get a title. But if he doesn’t lead you there, what good is he? Bryant’s using Buss because the Lakers can offer the most $ to him.

    No way in hell the Lakers should sign Kobe to the max on this next contract in either ‘09 or ‘10. Knowing Buss, he’s biding his time to make a play at the pot.

    And it’ll come sooner, rather than later.

    -Jeffs Aho

  69. 58 & 59. Sharky, thanks for the clarification post. I see your point much better now. I think its a little over the top to say that a team with 3 potential HOFers are the worst offense ever in finals history, but you do have a point that the C’s offense is a bit “scatter brained” at times. This is kind of due to the whims of two players, 1)KG-sometimes it looks like he decides what he’s going to do before he gets the ball and moves around like a robot and 2)Rondo-He can look great one time down the court and horrible the next.

    Just to give a little insight to our perspective, we were you in the Hawks series, couldn’t catch a break at the line on the road. You were us in the Jazz series. I complained in the Hawks series. You probably rationalized in some fashion (like I’m doing) in the Jazz series. I think it will be a wash, with Salvatore doing game 3. Sadly, I wish we could just have the 3 best officials (there HAS to be 3 good ones) for the entire series rather than picking and choosing “matchup” officials for each game depending on the way the league wants the series to go. I don’t think its fixed, but it is manipulated by tendancies. Phew. I think you all will be in much better moods in 16 hours or so.

  70. Whats so hard to believe? The NBA corporation literally has BILLIONS of dollars in TV, merchandise, and ticket sales riding on this series! So its not impossible to think that a corporation such as the NBA would act in its own best interests for the benefit of the corporation! There are countless instances of publicly traded companies doing the same thing. The refs are basically the NBA’s military arm when it comes to important games with high ratings in ensuring that the games are played out in dramatic fashion, but when coruption sets in (see Donaghy) its hinders the NBA’s ability to do this! The NBA corporation doesn’t want even the remote possibility of being investigated on the integrity of the game because if people found out otherwise they would be finished! That is why I believe anyone who complains about the refs publicly gets a fine (which by the way violates our constitution) because the NBA knows that the complaints eventually leads to audits and investigations and that they simply just can’t have!

  71. 65,

    There are a few deluded Laker fans and others who think Bryant is Jordan 2. Most people here know better. And I agree that he needs to step up in Game 3 and get to the rack and the line.

    That said, your attack is over the top anti-Kobe fanboyism–I have heard it many times before. The Lakers lost in 2004 because the Pistons were better and Malone was out. They are losing now because the Celtics are outplaying them and they are having some trouble with the refs.

    As to the character issues, Bryant is far from a saint, and tends to pout at times. But he is durable, competitive and tough.

  72. 70- Yeah, JP, I mean still… I guess I’m still not being clear. I’m talking about the offense of the Celtics as in the offensive game plan, or how they run their plays. I totally understand the offense isn’t that bad as they’ve got some excellent players making shots. Just getting tripped up with the English of it. I’m glad you forced me to clarify.

    And yeah… others may be in better moods later, but not I. My friend has a ticket for me to the game, but I’m not going. I’m literally turning down going to this game. I already know what’s gonna happen tonight. And if it DOESN’T happen it will be so unconscionable that I would likely act rashly.

    I stand by my statements. I don’t care if the Lakers rattle of 4 and a row and win this puppy. I’m done. I’ll watch on my flat-screen, but I’m not paying this league for the product they’ve given us this series.

  73. Jeffs Aho-

    Sweeping changes? Starting with Bryant?

    Oh my. That’s not in the same area code as sane.