Game 4 Chat

Bill Bridges —  June 12, 2008

Game 4 Chat

The pressure is off LA, slightly. One of the big reasons for the tight play of some of the Laker players was due to the sheer pressure of the game. Losing game 3 was, historically speaking, equivalent to losing game 7. If offensive efficiency is affected by players feeling comfortable and loose, then game 3 performance was exactly the opposite.

Both defenses also did a good job. The key adjustment for LA being the defensive switch putting Kobe on Rondo. Many on this board had been looking for this switch prior to game 1. We got it in game 3 and is likely to continue until Doc makes an adjustment. What could be the adjustment? Instructing Rondo to try to take Kobe off the dribble might be one – although his ankle may hinderance with this plan.

The poor offensive performance on both sides were amplified by the short turnaround after a trans-continental trip. Better rested, outside shots on both sides should fall a little easier.

I anticipate the Celtics going to KG on the low block with purpose tonight. Review of the 3rd quarter should have had light bulbs popping throughout the Celtic’s hotel. In a few short minutes KG got 3 of his 6 field goals – on a strong jump hook in the lane, turn around, and an open J from the corner.

On offense, KG and Pierce played poorly. But then again LO, Pau, and Fish also did. Game 4 might hinge on which of these players turn their offensive game around.

ddray has asked for more support and better Karma from Laker fans:

Laker bloggers seem obsessed by the dark side and pet agendas.
Many of our Laker bloggers don’t seem to understand or support the roles of many Laker players–suggesting that certain Lakers be benched or traded when these players fail to play according to some athletic fantasy that only these bloggers vaguely understand themselves.

Pau Gasol is a chamelion–a power forward playing out of position. Pau can score, pass, rebound, block shots, and defend–but not all at the same time. He rarely outshines other players on his team–even though he can. One game he might score 30–sometimes in the first half. Another game he might take down 19 rebounds–9 of them offensive. Another game he might frustrate an opposing player and hold his scoring way down. In game 3, Gasol played great defense on Garnett, and scored/rebounded in the fourth when needed. In a game against Utah, he made decisive game winning plays, such as a controversial rebound/putback that won the game.
Pau is castigated for not blocking out. It is difficult to block out a player that weighs 80 lbs. more than you-but there are other ways to get rebounds.

Lamar is Lamar. He has been an X factor all year. He does not match up well against Boston as an offensive threat, but can still play defense and rebound.

VladRad has had games like Sasha games three for the Lakers–and can make other contributions. Unlike Lamar, VladRad can hit the three–so he can spread the floor. VladRad can go to the hole, rebound, and play defense–but not like Lamar. They are complementary role players that Phil can deploy.

Luke is one of only three Lakers that has been to an NBA final before. He matches up well against Boston widebodies. Luke and Ronny Turiaf can both make the 15-20 foot shot that Boston defense allows–even if they haven’t shown that ability with any consistency yet.

 

 

 

 

These players have defied the odds and have made the finals when most pundits predicted that they would miss the playoffs entirely. They DO deserve our support.

Steve Javie is officiating, known as a visiting team’s official.

– Bill Bridges


Bill Bridges

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426 responses to Game 4 Chat

  1. Guys, first of all – this is not lost yet. Surely, no team has ever recovered from a 1-3 disadvantage, but hey – no team in the finals has also squandered a 20+ lead:) Second – everywhere in the comments (not only on FB&G) there’s talk about trading odom for virtually half the league’s SFs. I say – this is a young team, unlike the celtics this our window is not closing, it’s opening – btw credit to these guys that after all the personal changes in the squad they managed to get to the Finals. Next season, when Drew gets back, we’ll see if this team clicks as it should and if it doesn’t, we can think about trades and stuff. Please bear in mind that if Drew was healthy this series and Ariza was in proper shape, we probably would have done way better defensively. So I still have hope – this guys can play championship ball and we know that, but if they fail – we have nothing to whine about. If everything goes right we can have more banners than the celtics very soon:)
    All my best to all LA fans

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  2. I hate to say this, but…

    …see you next season.

    No way do you give up a 24 point 1st quarter lead, drop this game, and then come on to win anything worthy beyond this. If they have any pride at all, they’ll make sure the Celtics don’t win it in LA. But if they had any pride at all they would have held on to this one with their “insurmountable” lead. So, who knows?

    All I know for sure is, the goose is cooked and the fat lady is doing her pre-game warm up routine. I guess we can resign ourselves to hoping Kobe remembers how to shoot a basketball in time for the Olympics. Very disappointing.

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  3. undoubtedly, kobe’s legacy has been affected by this game.

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  4. I’ve been watching basketball for close to 20 years now, and I’ve never felt happier after a game! Of course I think I will feel even happier when we close out the lakers, baby!

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  5. I have been a Lakers fan for 35 years since my dad took me to a game at the Forum. This is the most devastating loss I have ever seen. The Lakers went from having a strong chance to win this series to it being over in 24 minutes. That play was horrible and the whole team choked ON ITS HOME COURT!! After you spend your whole year trying to get to this point and coming up clutch at various stages of the playoffs, you cant let this happen. Champs dont do that.

    I am totally disgusted at this team.

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  6. Grasping for any bit of hope this morning…

    2002 Eastern Conference Finals: Celtics stage the biggest 4th quarter comeback in NBA history to beat the Nets and go up 2-1 in the series.

    I’m guessing the Nets fans were pretty distraught after that one, especially with Game 4 in Boston, but what happened next?

    New Jersey won Game 4 in Boston, 94-92.
    New Jersey won Game 5 in New Jersey, 103-92.
    New Jersey won Game 6 (and clinched the series) in Boston, 96-88.

    I realize the 2008 Celtics are not the 2002 Celtics, but there is a precedent for a team bouncing back from a colossal collapse to win three straight (including two on the road) and take the series.

    The Celtics have clearly outplayed the Lakers, hence the 3-1 lead, but if the almost-comeback happens or the collapse doesn’t happen, this series is dead even. A few plays in either Game 2 or Game 4 and it’s a totally different series. The Celtics made the plays in those games.

    The Lakers have to make those plays the rest of the way. Can the flashes from the first four games suddenly turn into consistently strong play for L.A. the next three? It all starts Sunday. Coming out strong the first quarter is important, but playing 48 minutes of intense, crisp basketball will set the stage for the rest of this series.

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  7. Coming into this series, everyone was saying how dominate the Lakers looked and how the Celtics struggled through the playoffs. I actually viewed it as the Lakers peaked too early in the playoffs ( with sweep of Denver, and short series in utah and Spurs ) while the Celtics were gaining steam to peak during the Finals.

    Man, our team is too soft…. we need bangers… Bynum will help next year, but Gasol and Odom are too thin to be intimidators….. I actually thing Farmar has more intimidation than Gasol or Odom.

    I’d say trade Odom for someone like Rasheed Wallace or Ben Wallace. They mihgt not have offensive skills but they have toughness.

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  8. It’s funny that this Game 4 Chat thread was opened with the sentence : “The pressure is off LA, slightly.” It could not be further from the ‘truth’ now.

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  9. By the by, I know Laker fans have typically been universally derided, but this was the clinching moment of Lakers fans’ apathy. Bill Simmons summed it up best:

    “8:06: “This crowd is absolutely stunned,” Breen tells us with the Celts trailing by four. Either that or they’re BlackBerrying friends to see where they want to meet after the game.”

    AND

    “That’s it, I’m rooting for the Celtics out of principle just because their fans seem to give a crap whereas the Laker ‘crowd’ would simply move onto whatever happened to be the next fad of the week.”

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  10. did kobe really walk off the court before the game was over (as plaschke said)? if so, and i love the guy to death, but that’s inexcusable.

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  11. If you don’t compete for a full 48 minutes then you deserve to lose. The Lakers came out in the 3rd quarter as if the game was already over. They no longer tried to get out in transition offensively, they didn’t try to fight for rebounds or lose balls, they didn’t get back in transition D. It was ugly. Then in the 4th quarter it was as if everyone was afraid of the ball. They all just stood around like a deer in headlights. They just gave Kobe the ball and expected him to win the game for them. Truly an embarrassing performance. They should be ashamed of themselves.

    All the talk that “Doc out coached Phil” is kind of dumb. Really all Doc did was go with a smaller line up, which is something everyone was saying he should do, and really the only thing he could do. Just because his team played harder in the second half then the Lakers did, does not mean he out coached Jackson, this had more to do with desire, and the Lakers complacency than it did with any coaching decisions.

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  12. An amazing ride if you are a Celtics fan. It will be interesting to see if Hollywood shows up for game 5. I do think that the Celtics now know what their real hole in the team is (as if they didn’t suspect it before) and will have to find someone other than Rondo as starting point guard.

    If they do we may see each other again next year. After all Russell still has his prediction that KG will win 2-3 rings with the Celtics.

    Personally I would rather see the Celts win the clincher in Boston. The last several NE championships have been on the road – 3 superbowls and 2 world series. It is time to have the clincher in Massachusetts.

    Pardon me if I am enjoying this – it is the Golden Age of Boston sports, and these things don’t exactly happen every year. You have to enjoy it while it lasts.

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  13. Man, this team made a great season going to the finals. Once there you can win or loose but you have to show you have heart. And this team yesterday didn’t show that. They made something, like T.J. Simers wrote in the LA Times: “Incomprehensible. Disgusting. Deflating. Ridiculous. Sickening. Impossible to fathom. A total meltdown. Appalling. Revolting. Depressing. Talk about a choke job. Historical and horrifying. Alarming. Shocking.”

    That was REALLY EMBARRASING.

    Remember Marty McFly in Back to the Future? This team is a group of chickens. I really don’t like to think about another game with Odom wearing the Lakers jersey (I also don’t like Walton, Radmanovic, even Turiaf the only thing he can do is dance and make funny things, but he’s never going to give us something like what Powe gives to the Celtics).

    I don’t understand also why the Lakers keep Newble or Mihm in the roster. I mean, Ariza is back (and, Phil, he can play in the 3rd and 4th quarter, remember that) and MBenga is a horrible player but at least he keeps he’s name out of the injured list.

    So, if you say to me something like: (a) this was a good year, (b) this team has future, (c) next year we are going to be great. I’ll respond:
    a) Right, this was a good year (and that’s all, good, not very good, only good).
    b) I hope not. Every time are we going to be the joke of the NBA loosing games we were winning by 24??? Every time I look at this team I’ll remember this awful game.
    c) Are you sure? A team without character is always a team without character.

    I don’t know, maybe we should have be beaten by the Spurs and right now we would be looking at the Finals saying things like: maybe next year… But the good thing about this is that we tested those players. Now we know: they’re gutless, remember that.

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  14. Is anyone else having flashbacks of the ’04 Finals?

    Like then, I came into this series confident. I didn’t believe that it would be all that easy, but I didn’t think it would be possible for us to fall behind this far. We can play decent enough defense to keep the Celtics in check, and we can

    Last night was especially brutal. At the start, I was thinking “This is it, they’re going to come out with all guns blazing, crush the Celtics and take this series by the throat”

    As the lead slowly slipped away, I could only think “Are you kidding me?” and various variations thereof, while I sat waiting for the rally that never came.

    At the end I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut and that Kevin Garnett had beaten me up and stolen my lunch money, then walked away thumping his chest and holding up the “Celtics” portion of his jersey.

    I was optimistic even after we lost the first two- I figured we’d hold down the fort at Staples and take one of the last two in Boston. The offense would reemerge, the bench mob would come back, and Lamar would screw his head on straight.

    Some of it has happened, but it hasn’t happened at the same time. And now the margin for error is basically a hair’s width.

    I’ll admit I was skeptical about the Lakers all season long. From Bynum and the bench mob’s improbable emergence (I definitely didn’t expect them to get so much better so quickly) to Gasol’s acquisition this year has been full of pleasant surprises for me. Overall, compared to our prospects at the start of the year, this season has been an unqualified success in my eyes.

    Furthermore, I’m not down on the future. Bynum will return next year to give us the stronger inside presence we need so desperately, the bench mob will have the experience of a deep playoff run, and maybe we’ll be able to dip in the bargain bin for a free agent or two like the Celtics did.

    I’m not too worried about this team’s heart either. We started the playoffs by sweeping a 50-win team, gritted out a crucial Game 6 on the road in one of the unfriendliest arenas in the league in the second round, and came back twice from large deficits against the defending champions. That’s guts and heart to me. Some combination of the pressure of the finals and the Celtic D has gotten into our guys’ heads, but let’s try not to question their character when they’ve come this far in the first place despite their relative inexperience.

    With all that said, this series isn’t over. Perhaps I’ll just look like I put on my blinders and went down blindly with the ship, flag waving, but I still believe we can push this thing to seven. I refuse to believe we’re so grossly overmatched we’re going down this way, especially against THIS team.

    Lakers in 7.

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  15. Apologies for the double post, I was editing and mistakenly pushed “Submit”. Me and my 5-second attention span 🙁

    Second paragraph should be:
    Like then, I came into this series confident. I didn’t believe that it would be all that easy, but I didn’t think it would be possible for us to fall behind this far. We can play decent enough defense to keep the Celtics in check, and we can score on their vaunted defense when we run the offense properly. We just can’t seem to do either with any sort of consistency.

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  16. Why is everyone being so pessimistic? KB is playing injured this year and we do not know what the future will bring. Nobody even thought that the lakers were going to get into the playoffs this year and here they are in the finals. The game is a growing process, u dont just jump from being bumped in the 1st round to winning a ring. The fact that the celtics might win a ring after not making the playoffs last year is an aberration, that never happens. I am disappointed by kobe`s and the lakers overall performance in this series but lets not act like we all assumed they were going to be in the finals anyway.. it would be nice if they win this year but it takes time and success comes after failure. Also, if the lakers somehow manage to get to game 7, they can still win the title because its not like the celtics have been conveniencingly beating the lakers, a little luck the other way and the lakers would be up 3-1. A serious adjustment has to be made by pj and people have to step up and want it. This is a young team and mistakes will happen but it is the responses to this mistakes that define character so lets see what happens in game 5 first before we start calling the lakers losers and quitters.

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  17. the other Stephen June 13, 2008 at 8:45 am

    407. “I’d say trade Odom for someone like Rasheed Wallace or Ben Wallace. They mihgt not have offensive skills but they have toughness.”

    dude, there is no need to trade away odom. it’s possible that a tiny bench mix-up would help, but even then, i wouldn’t like it.

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  18. I bet Caron Butler would be looking great in a Lakers jersey right about now!

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  19. the other Stephen June 13, 2008 at 8:53 am

    remember that with our enforcers bynum and ariza back, as well as maintaining gasol and odom, this team retains the most feared aspect of all: its extreme versatility and depth. boston isn’t the only type of team we play during the off-season, and gasol, odom, and all the other no-shows this series like vladi and luke will contribute in different ways towards the different types of play necessary.

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  20. A new post is up

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  21. A few random points:

    1. The haiku was good. I just don’t feel much like kidding around right now. I thought the Celtics were a little bit better going in, so I am not surprised, really, but as a couple of people said, you can’t blow a 24-point lead at home. Period. A “normal” loss would have been OK with me. This is a lot harder to take.
    2. I understand the frustration with Odom and Gasol, but I think this loss falls on Bryant and Jackson. One reason Jackson was so successful in Chicago was that his cerebral approach clicked with Jordan’s rage. I think this series leaves open the question, to an extent, of how well he clicks with Kobe Bryant. Also, while 99% of the folks here are smart enough to realize it, any media types and fanboys remaining who think Kobe is as good as MJ should be over that after last night.
    3. I think the answer at SF is on the roster–Ariza. I think trading Odom should be considered–not as a punitive thing because of his problems in the finals, but because of cap issues and the amount of money it will cost to retain some of the young guys. Also, Kupchak, as well as he has done, has too much money tied up in Walton and Radmanovich, one of whom I think should be traded if possible. I like the idea of a veteran banger off the pine.
    4. Jackson sees himself as the master psychologist and the cool head, but I think he needs to change tactics a bit and get some anger out of these guys on Sunday. I saw some of them looking scared at times last night, and that is part of the problem. I realize the pro game is far more complex than the game I played in high school, and anger can’t put the ball in the hole. But I don’t think Sunday is about X’s and O’s and adjustments as much as it is playing with an edge and with nothing to lose.
    5. It is, as I said yesterday, important to remember how far this team has come relative to expectations. At the same time, it is equally important that the FO, the team and even the fanbase need to realize that there is no guarantee the team will be back here again in spite of its youth. Yao will be back in Houston, Oden joins Portland, the Spurs will retool, Mark Cuban and Jerry Sloan are not going anywhere. Urgency needs to be part of the mentality as well.
    6. The Celtics deserve credit for not quitting down 24 in a non-must game. Assuming they win it, they deserve it.

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  22. Celtics fan here.

    First and foremost, let me say that I don’t think that the people that are giving up on the Lakers should do so yet. The Lakers are a quality team, and I certainly respect them as a team that can get things done.

    Not that they will, or that I want them to, but I don’t think all is lost for you folks.

    Speaking as a fan of the opposing team, I am underwhelmed by Phil Jackson. I’ve never really paid much attention to him and what he does (besides win championships) but I am very, very surprised to note that the biggest thing he’s provided the Lakers in this series is his whining about whistles not going the Lakers’ way. It isn’t even this last game that shows that he’s being outdone by Doc Rivers. I don’t know why he didn’t have Rajon Rondo stepped on after Game 1 instead of Game 2 and I don’t know why he can’t seem to make a move without watching tape first. There was a comment on another Lakers blog that I was reading during the game that had it exactly right – Rivers was marching up and down the sideline like a madman and Jackson was eating nachos. That comment occurred during the third quarter. The commenter posted it in the manner that he thought it was a good thing — that Jackson had everything well in hand and Rivers was frustrated. Jackson didn’t, it wasn’t and Rivers was doing what Jackson should have been, which was coaching.

    Kobe Bryant is not on the same level as Michael Jordan. If his presence is comparable to anyone in the past, it would be to Magic Johnson. Kobe’s problem is that he isn’t Magic Johnson either, and the rest of the Lakers are, for the most part, not comparable to the Lakers greats of yore. Pau Gasol isn’t the same caliber as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lamar Odom sure isn’t James Worthy. Luke Walton will never be his father, but I’m sure that everyone knows that except for Luke and Bill.

    By contrast, the Celtics players would match up well to the Celtics of yore in how they function and what they bring to the team. I think there that the difference is that the Celtics starting five were more dominant than the current Celtics starting five, and the current Celtics have a lot more depth.

    It depresses and saddens me to watch the fans of such a good team tear at them prematurely. If/when they lose the series, yell at them — but until then, they really do deserve all the rah-rah support you folks can muster.

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  23. I have to quote Dennis Green here. The Celtics are who we thought they were. If you want to crown them then crown their a– but they are who we thought they were and we let them off the hook.

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  24. 422–

    Good post. A few points:

    1. People would not be “tearing at them” if this had been a straight-up loss. But you just can’t blow a 24-point lead at home in the Finals., even though the other team is a little better. Let’s say that the Lakers win Game 5 and the Celtics are up 68-48 in the third quarter of Game 6, and then lose to allow the Lakers to tie the series 3-3. I think a few C’s fans would be a little worked up and negative. I think the crowd here is taking the loss well, all in all.
    2. As to Kobe and MJ, look at point 2 of 421. Most of the folks here are objective about Kobe, love him though they do. We don’t really need C’s fans telling us he is not as good as Jordan and Magic. The Kobe/MJ stuff is media-driven.
    3. Comparing acorss eras is tough, but the current Celtics are not as good as the 80s Celtics, IMO. They are the best team in the league, it appears.
    4. I agree about Jackson in many respects. Last night’s game will affect both his Kobe’s legacies going forward.
    5. I am not giving up–few of us are–but we are being realistic.

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  25. @424:

    Thanks for your post. I see your point you make in item 1. And certainly Celtics fans would have been gnashing their teeth if the Lakers had won Game 2. But the fat lady hasn’t sung yet, and the Lakers are quite capable of winning the next three games, just as the Celtics are quite capable of losing the next three games. That road is hard for the Lakers, but not impossible. Especially not for this team. Paul Pierce said in his post-game interview that they were going to take it one game at a time, and that is exactly because he respects what his opponent can do. I’m seeing a lot of comments from Lakers fans that are essentially “see-you-next-year”. I don’t want to see you guys next year. I want to see you guys next week.

    As for 2, I see a lot of people saying that Kobe’s the best ever. You and I, even the majority of people may not agree with that, but that sentiment is easy to find. He’s definitely got more skills than anyone else on either team. I meant no disprespect to what could perhaps be described as the wiser Lakers fans, and I’m sorry I came across that way.

    3, The current Celtics are not as good as the past Celtics. But my dad pointed out to me when the old wars were going on that the Celtics were the best five-man team in basketball. And they were. The problem (from our perspective) was that the Lakers were the best eight-man or eleven-man team in basketball. Die-hard fan though he was, he was right. Those Celts had no one behind them. These Celts can afford to rest their big three.

    Again, thanks for the great reply. Here’s to all you great fans of the other side!

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  26. will someone please hold me in their arms and whisper in my ear that Kobe is a good player and a good teammate and a good person.

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