Game 4: Where what just happened? Happens…

Darius Soriano —  June 13, 2008

It’s tough to describe the feelings that come with a game like this.  It’s an angry/depressing/confusing/doubting kind of feeling.  And you feel that way all while getting kicked in the face.  It’s being thisclose and giving it all away.  Do you remember those VW commercials, where the people are driving, making jokes, and all of the sudden…boom! they get in a car crash?  The airbags deploy, they get out of the totaled car and say “Oh ****”.  Well, in Game 4 of the NBA finals, Lakers fans were in that VW….only the airbags didn’t deploy.  These fans, and the team they root for, were victims in a terrible crash.  Everything was great, until it wasn’t. 

The first half was a portrait of why (so called) experts almost unanimously picked the Lakers to win this series and the title.  The Lakers finally displayed their all around offensive game while picking up their defensive intensity.  Scoring inside and from behind the arc with an aggressive mentality that had been present in other games, but not with this level of execution and precision attached.  The Lakers attacked the lane on offense and closed it down on defense.  They had a 21 point lead at the end of the first quarter and led by 18 at halftime.  It was 24 minutes of a type of basketball fulfillment that we hadn’t experienced since (maybe) the Denver series.  And all of it without the league MVP playing more than a set-up role (more on this later; the good and the bad). 

And Lamar Odom found his stride.  He was finding angles to the basket on penetration and finishing at the rim.  He was getting outlet passes and pushing the ball on the fast break.  He was even making the mid-range jumper.  He was trying to make up for 3 sub-par games all in one half and was doing a pretty good job of it too.  He was teaming up with Gasol on great plays and working a two man game that was eating up the Celtic’s interior defense.  And X’s and O’s wise it was all actually pretty simple: 

When in the Screen/Roll game, Kobe was coming off the screen and just backing off and accepting the double team.  Lamar would then flash to the high-post and receive the pass.  Then he attacked the single defender in the lane (usually Perkins or PJ Brown) and either scored or drew that defender and touch passed to Gasol or passed to the man in the corner for the open jumper.  This is classic basketball.  It was exactly the same type of scenario that got Sasha the open 3 pointer at the end of Game 3, only on that play KG doubled Kobe without a screener involved in that play.

And speaking of Kobe, in this game, rather than being in full attack mode, Kobe was playing the team game that earned him the MVP.  He was taking on defenders and creating for his teammates. But when he looked to score himself, his shot was not falling. He missed a couple of jumpers, he missed a runner, and just decided he would play the facilitator role.  And it was easy for him to do as the Lakers offense was running on all cylinders.  They didn’t need Kobe to do anything more than create shot opportunities for other guys and keep defenders occupied while other guys stepped up on offense.  We were playing dominating basketball.

But it would not last….

In this series, the 3rd quarter has been the Lakers downfall.  Including the 31-15 beat down that turned Game 4 around, the Celtics have outscored the Lakers 116-73.  In a series where the coaching match-up was supposed to be a major advantage for the Lakers, it’s the Celtics who have come out in the 2nd half of games with the adjustments and the production to change games.  And in Game 4, the 3rd quarter proved to be the difference again.  An 18 point halftime lead was reduced to 2 points.  The Lakers missed too many jumpers and became disjointed on offense, and it was actually an injury to a Celtic that spurred this on.  At the 9:34 mark of the 3rd quarter a shoulder injury suffered by Kendrick Perkins turned this game in the Celtics favor.  Enter James Posey.  Posey would do 2 things to truly hurt the Lakers.  First he buried jumpers.  He hit jumper after jumper.  From the top.  From the corner.  Just thinking about it makes my eyes hurt.  Second, he shut down that effective 2 man game that worked so well for Lamar and Pau.  Posey was doing a much better job of denying Odom the flash to the FT line area and we no longer had an easy outlet for Kobe.  This disruption of the play that was fueling our offense in the first half would not have been a problem if Kobe would have been making his shots. But it was not to be.  Our 3rd quarter demise had started.  And while Phil would say during his interview between quarters that “The momentum will come back” to the Lakers side, an uncooperative crowd and a determined Celtics team would not let that be.

But the Lakers still had hope.  They also had a not so secret weapon.  In the 4th quarter, we would need Kobe.  But in a strange way, we didn’t have Kobe.  Gone was the killer from Game 3.  That guy was replaced by a player that looked tired.  After playing his heart out in Game 3 and literally carrying the Lakers to a win, our best player looked gassed in the 4th quarter of game 4.  He was working his butt off on defense trying to handle Pierce (when an ineffective Rondo was pulled, there was no longer a non-shooter for Kobe to roam off of) and he didn’t seem to have any energy left to pull out the heroics that he has graced us with over his career.  What made it worse was the fact that his teammates could not pick him up the way they had earlier in the game.  Gone was the crisp ball movement and sharp off ball movement.  Gone was the aggression that they had displayed that made his first half woes irrelevant.  Rather than play the aggressive game that had given them a 24 point lead earlier, the Lakers’ players played passive.  And while we had some good stops early in the period, and played a close game the rest of the way, the Celtics were able to score when they needed to and we could not.  Looking at a heartbroken Sasha after Ray Allen made that layup was a microcosm of what every fan was thinking.  We would lose.  It was only a formality.

It’s tough to explain how it feels right now.  But I can say one thing:  This series is not over.  Next season is not here for us yet.  Boston has proven to be the better team at this point, but a parade has not happened, no titles have been won.  Game 5 is Sunday and I know how every Lakers fan should feel about that.  Let’s win the game…

Darius Soriano

Posts

162 responses to Game 4: Where what just happened? Happens…

  1. I just feel….do depressed, and incredulous…this is an impossibility, no one ever loses a 24 point lead..its just sad……..this must be how the spurs fans felt huh, when we came back and beat them…..its the worst feeling in the world

  2. I really think what killed us the last 5 minutes of the 3rd, which lost us the game, was that small lineup with Posey, for one other reason:

    Phil saw that small lineup and said…lets pound it inside. But Gasol was completely ineffective, turned over the ball, and generally stagnated possessions for us. This is what caused our offense to stop…and this deflated the defensive intensity and led to fast breaks and easy scores. And, of course, Kobe, but Phil should’ve switched to what happend in the last 3 minutes of the game, after we lost the lead: faster pace up the court, Kobe at the top of the key driving either way and creating. THe PnR was not working, Pau was not moving well or being aggressive when he got the ball, and they should’ve switched, but Phil insisted tha twe pound it inside, even though it clearly wasn’t working.

  3. Darius thanks for the post…that must have been tough to write up. Stomach Punch game doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt after that loss.

  4. I think the worst part about the loss is not the actual loss itself, but the media/fanbase fallout from it. I don’t even want to visit my usual post-game blog sites because I don’t want to read an analysis of why we lost.

    Hey guys, SURPRISE! We lost because Kobe wanted to be the best player on the only team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the finals! Don’t worry, he’s just sandbagging us!

    Is anyone else becoming increasingly jaded toward Gasol as the postseason wears on? I know it’s unfair to gauge him against the best defensive team in the league, but the other side of that coin is, we brought him over from Memphis exactly SO THAT he could help us against teams like the Celtics. Every time he goes up for one of those pansy-ass flip layups instead of going up strong with the ball to finish I get so pissed I throw something. People like Perkins grab the ball, bring it down to their midsection, wind up, and spring up toward the basket aggressively, earning a bucket or a foul. Gasol catches the ball toward his head and goes straight up with it with no power whatsoever. You’re going to play like that against Garnett and Perkins and you’re going to lose.

    So much more to say, but I think I just blew a gasket. How do you guys feel about Odom? Good? Or Bad when it mattered?

  5. the other Stephen June 13, 2008 at 9:45 am

    thanks darius. keep rooting, fellas! hope for a game seven. man, i want to just show up at staples and yell and cheer at the walls, even though i don’t have a ticket. maybe it’ll scare away some fakers so we can move in and take their seats.

  6. Well said.

    I hate to say it, but I can’t get excited for Sunday. Maybe I will feel different tomorrow, or Sunday morning, but I’m just too depressed after last night. I mean, if we were to win on Sunday, and then somehow win Game 6…if we were to lose Game 7, it would just be horrible.

    I’m trying to make peace–no one expected us to be here at the start of the season. It’s been an incredible season. But to get to the Finals, and then lay an egg like that last night…ugh.

  7. it’s all about baby steps from this point on. I agree with what was said previously – how the lakers respond on sunday will be key for future championship runs. one game at a time…

    i know i brought this up earlier, but can someone say definitively if kobe indeed left the court before the game was over? no one in the mainstream media has brought this up which leads me to believe that plaschke is full of it

  8. Given that Kurt and Co. focus on the game on the floor, I am not sure this post will be welcome, but in trying to figure out why I felt SO bad last night, I came up with this: The way the game went down sort of buttressed all the bad things some east coast fans and other Laker haters say about the team and the fanbase: KB is overrated, Jackson is overrated, the fans lack passion and are frontrunners, Odom and Gasol are soft, etc etc. The fact that it was against the Celtics made it worse; if it had been Orlando or Cleveland or even Detroit–easier to take.

    I am sure the players don’t care about all that stuff, but as a fan, in terms of fan culture, that is part of why it stung me so bad.

  9. When things were not going as well for the Lakers earlier in the year we discussed this, but I think it bears repeating.

    Don’t expect Gasol to be KG. That is not his game, he is more of a finesse player, and that is fine. He is not a true center, but that’s the role he has been forced into. He needs to be paired with a big body that can defend and grab boards and allow him better matchups. Say, um, someone like Andrew Bynum.

    Then Odom. I’ve said before he is what he is. Posey took him out of his game, but he is not someone who always steps up when his number is called, but if you focus too much elsewhere he’ll beat you. The “trade Lamar” bandwagon may be filling up today, but you will never get equal value in the triangle offense for him. He fits fairly well here.

    I’m a little more frustrated with Gasol than Odom, to be honest, but I think a full Lakers roster puts them both in better positions to succeed. And to Boston’s credit, they take the Lakers players out of those comfort zones.

  10. Truth be told, the Celts have generally wanted it more than we have this series. Their stars and role players have shown poise and risen to the moment, whereas ours have collapsed when needed most.

    Last night, there was never a point, a few nice stops notwithstanding, where it ever felt like the Lakers got their mojo back from the six minute mark of the third period on. That’s not the mark of a champion (this year at least).

    What has marked this team (the Lakers) all season has been mental toughness and resilience, but give them their due, the Celtics are the better team, they earned homecourt with a better record, they have a core on the backside of their careers that desperately want it knowing that there is no tomorrow, and they are earning it. They have squeezed the life out of the Lakers.

    None of this should take away one iota from the season the Lakers have had, but as Evan noted, most painful is the way we have lost this series, not that we are losing.

    It has zero to do with my love of the Lakers but Sunday feels like a footnote regardless of outcome, as last night was the cherry on the crap sundae that is this series, not the exception to the rule, so to expect a different outcome is noble but probably misguided.

  11. Interestingly, I don’t feel as bad about this loss as I thought I would, perhaps because a win only would have made the series 2-2 with tough games yet to win to get a title. So I guess I didn’t feel the Lakers “blew” a title they weren’t in position to win yet.

    My thoughts:

    I watched the 3rd and 4th quarters again, usually when you blow a big lead there’s lots of turnovers, but that wasn’t the case last night. The Lakers actually tried to attack and go inside on most of their possessions, but a lot of times they cut off their attacks and didn’t go for the inside shot. When that happened, they threw the ball back outside with the shot clock running down and they ended up with a bad look. And when they got an inside shot, they missed (Kobe missed a 5 foot runner, Lamar missed horribly on a post-up of Posey, Pau’s blown dunk).

    I don’t know what happened to Kobe, it looked like he ran out of gas. Pierce played good D but Kobe should’ve been able to drive past him and put up better shots. Not a good sign because he got 5 mintues of rest in the 1st half and didn’t seem to work hard before. Was I day of rest not enough for him?

    Pau, I thought you were the #2 option. Your inability to be a consistent post threat forced the Lakers to be a perimeter team, and we know that’s not a winning formula.

    The Celtics scored on their last 10 possessions. Can’t come back from a deficit that way. If they had gotten some stops, Kobe might’ve been able to will the Lakers back to a victory.

    Fisher should’ve gotten more time down the stretch instead of Farmar.

    Turiaf needs to do more than just play adequate man defense. Too early to talk about next year but presumably Bynum will help with the frontcourt depth.

    Boston’s bench just seems more seasoned and consistent. No Posey types (or Horry or Shaw) on the Lakers bench.

    We really shouldn’t be surprised the Lakers blew the lead. We saw this in Game 6 vs. Utah and the last regular season game vs. the Hornets. Why can’t they hold leads better? Does Kobe and/or Phil need to do more or is it inexperience or lack of toughness?

    7 – Plaschke knows nothing about basketball, he only writes about how great the winner of the last game is and how bad the loser of the game was. He should stick to the human interest columns where he does a great job.

    Let’s get a win for Game 5! Lakers fan forever…

  12. Evan, I agree I can’t get too excited for Sunday. Don’t even know if I want to watch the game (though I probably will).

    I agree with Kurt, Gasol is playing out of position. People are expecting him to be a dominant physical force, which he is not capable of being for long periods of time. I think next year with Bynum back we will be better suited to beat teams like the Celtics.

    Disappointing to say the least.

  13. Tony (BleedGreen17) June 13, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Defense wins championships for most pro-sports. Kobe couldn’t guard both PP and Allen. He needed help and Ram/Vujacic had issues defending. However, Lakers will be a very tough team to beat next year with Bynum back and sliding Odom to the SF.

  14. 9–

    Good points, Kurt. I was saying to my Celtic-fan colleague yesterday and have said here that this is the one series where the Lakers really missed Bynum. Gasol is essentially a poor man’s Dirk Nowitzki, and I don’t mean that as a putdown. In spite of their playoff flameouts, Dallas made the right call in picking up Dampier to pair with Dirk IMO.

    But, as I said in #421 on the other thread, it is hard to see how everyone fits, gets minutes, and can be paid:

    Gasol
    Bynum
    Odom
    Walton
    Radmanovich
    Ariza

    In addition, more money will be coming to Vujacic and Farmar over the next two years and there are already money/years committed to Fisher.

    I am a booster of Ariza’s; his game has limits but brings things the Lakers need, and although their games are diiferent, I am not sure there is a huge need for both Radmanovich and Walton. It will be tricky for Kupchak, and he will have to decide how much, if, any, stock he wants to put on what happens in Game 5 and Game 6 if there is one.

    If the Lakers come out flat on Sunday and lose, I think that might make an Odom trade more likely. But if they get it back to Bsoton and play the Celtics tough in Game 6, even if they lose it, that would be salvaging something and make the team more likely to keep Odom, perhaps.

    Hollinger’s column today is tough on the Lakers, but mostly fair IMO. He sees Rivers as having outcoached Jackson badly, and while he overstates the case a bit, he makes it. He is harsh on Kobe, saying KB “should never be compared to Michael Jordan again unless his play undergoes a seismic shift” and I have always felt that way, in spite of my immense respect for Bryant’s game.

    I was among those who put a lot of stock in the Rivers/Jackson matchup as helping the Lakers, so I will be watching for coaching-related issues in Game 5: motivation and adjustments.

  15. The series still isn’t over yet. There is an extra day to get over game 4 before game 5. If the Lakers win Sunday, the game ends after midnight Boston time, a long flight and into Boston early afternoon. The Celtics are somewhat banged up and are an older team. If you get game 6 then ….

    All that said, I have only one word for last night:

    OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. People like Perkins grab the ball, bring it down to their midsection, wind up, and spring up toward the basket aggressively, earning a bucket or a foul. Gasol catches the ball toward his head and goes straight up with it with no power whatsoever

    Well, on that point, that’s actually how you should do it. Celtics fans get amazingly frustrated with Perkins bringing the ball down to where shorter players can swipe at the ball, poke it, and give the D time to get back and cover. Watch how McHale played, got the ball high, kept it high, didn’t give anyone a chance to swipe at the ball or get back in position. Can’t fault Gasol for playing that one fundamentally right.

  17. Have been reading this blog for over a year and enjoy comments from Kurt, drrayeye, warren, bill bridges, darius, no muskles, stephen, etc. This is the first time I felt compelled to post, so bear with me.

    I am devastated to say the least. But look at our home crowds during the Finals, they seem like they don’t even care. A bunch of rich people who think it is beneath them to cheer endlessly and support our young team. I was truly disgusted how the crowd just went silent in the third, the team truly needed a boost and the fans provided NONE.

    I am an eternal optimist, and think that Kobe is the only player crazy enough to think the Lakers can truly make a comeback in this series. Get game 5, win a tough game 6, and all the pressure goes back on Boston. They entered the Finals having played 5 more games than the Lakers, and I have felt since the series began that the longer the series went, the more it favored LA. Especially now that Boston is banged up.

    Lets take this series back to Boston and see what happens. Laker pride and optimism must be kept always. Thank you.

  18. Gasol is playing out of position, like KG. Both are PF, not centers. Both are big loosers (the great moment in Gasol’s career was the World Championship with Spain, in that tournament, he didn’t play in the clutch time of the semifinals neither in the final game). KG is a better player, we know that, but Gasol is a ghost right now.

    And Lamar… Come on… He was playing against Posey (5 fouls!!!!) and he couldn’t go to the rim, he couldn’t defend him. He was Lamar Odom again… The first quarter was unreal.

    Maybe I’m a fatalyst (or too severe, or whatever… too many times my English is not so good and I can’t describe properly what I want to say) but next year… Who knows about next year? Bynum could be an all star player or the new Sam Bowie. Odom at SF??? Mmm, I don’t know, he wasn’t comfortable when he played in that position.

    We need a lot of changes or a miracle. Cause, I hate to say this, but I don’t trust in this team anymore.
    And that goes to the head coach too. Every time Rivers ask for a time out, they come back (well, not yesterday in the first half)… PJ didn’t even get up to call a time out after the final Allen lay up!!! Wake up, you are loosing again the finals!!!

    The only way they can rebuild what they destroyed last night (our pride) is wining the title. That’s the only way, only three thriumps in a row will kill that shameful defeat.

  19. last time i felt like that, ralph sampson was headed for the finals.

  20. The sudden car crash is a very fitting metaphor, Darius. It almost would have been better if they hadn’t played so well at the start.

    I actually thought the bad play started in the second quarter, when the team (except for Ariza on defense) couldn’t execute (except for a flurry at the end of the quarter). It didn’t seem to matter as much because of the big cushion, but it still hurt.

    I give the Celtics credit for coming out hard in the second half of a game they didn’t have to win. I think their success in the second quarter helped fuel this.

    I think it’s time to let all the complaining about the crowd go. Modern sports tickets are expensive, and more so in the playoffs. I don’t think the kind of people who can drop four (and five) figures for one night are the kind of people who are really going to spend all their energy cheering for a team. *Maybe* Los Angeles is worse than other places because of the Hollywood celebrity factor, but I think that’s the way it is in all major cities (remember what happened at Golden State last year when they became really popular?).

    Is it just me, or are all the writers who are always saying “you can’t compare Kobe to MJ” the same ones starting their columns today with MJ comparisons (with Kobe invariably falling short).

  21. 12 – Lakers have lost 5 out of 6 vs. Boston this year, now they are going to win 3 in a row?

  22. The problem with this, for the long term, is that its bad that our #2 option can be completely taken out of his game if a team plays the right way–a number 2 option needs to be able to adjust and get his. See this kind of thing doesn’t rear its head in the regular season, beacuse you have game to game fluctuations and you just see someone and wave them goodbye, but over a series its glaring that a team can just get physical and he’s taken out of his game. He still makes the offense great though, so i mean he’s an asset–and bynum hopefully will fill the gap for his flaws.

    In regards to Odom…i don’t know how well he’s going to fit in next year, especially with the starting lineup. With 2 seven footers, people will be able to clog the lane, and if odom doesn’t develop a consistent 18 footer, he will run into many of the problems he had in this series. Odom needs to be on the floor with other 3 point shooters and run and dish from there. Even though he’s in the last year of his contract next yaer (right?) and can serve as an expiring for someone, we shouldnt’ get rid of him. Used correctly, he can do fine….and he will always be inconsistent.

  23. We all love this team…but watching them collectively disappear in the second half of the biggest game of the playoffs was really disappointing/disheartening to watch. The next game, the demeanor with which they play, will reveal a lot.

    RE Odom…While I know this season is not over yet, aside from Lamar’s disappearing act another thing that I’m concerned about next year is that with Bynum, Odom, and Gasol the paint will get too crowded with only Fish and Kobe able to spread the floor, and on top of that Kobe operates quite a bit in the paint too (except for the second half of last night and the first two games of this series). Personally while I love Odom I feel like eventually they’re gonna need a 3 who can lock down guys like Pierce and has some range to spread the floor more for Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum.

  24. I can’t believe some of you are already talking trades/changes. First of all, the series is not over, and anything can happen in an NBA game or series that could substantially turn things around. Next, don’t you think you should give the Lakers one full year together before you start talking about breaking up this team.

    Ariza came through trade after the season started, and then got hurt. So not only did he not have training camp with the Lakers, but 20 or so games during the season before he got hurt.

    Pau was traded for at the deadline and yet has worked out for the Lakers pretty well up until this point. But he hasn’t even played a full season yet, and he’s playing out of position. And let’s not forget, there haven’t really ever been any teams to make a deadline deal for a piece as big as Pau and then win the championship. The only team I can ever remember doing this was Houston in 95 when they traded for the Glide. But remember that Houston was already a championship team, with the knowledge of what it took to win the championship.

    Lastly, Andrew Bynum has missed this entire playoffs. I know it’s been a while, but I think people forget how good Bynum was earlier in the year. Especially on the defensive side of the ball. And he was getting better with every game. The Lakers were significantly better on the boards and on defense when Bynum was around. I watched a game against New Orleans, in New Orleans where Bynum totally dominated the game on the defensive side of the ball. He was making CP3 think twice about driving to the basket, and was beating Chandler up on the glass. On the offensive side of the ball, he was getting more and more confident by the day. Initially he was just playing the Chandler role of catching lobs off of pick and rolls. Then he became a threat on post isolation plays, showing us more and more moves as the games went by. He was also become a great low post passer.

    The only thing I would say is that the Lakers need more experience. That’s obvious with the collapse in game 4. But getting to the Finals and then taking these lumps will probably be enough of a dose of maturity for the Lakers to negate the need to acquire some more experienced players.

    But all in all, this series is not over. Stick by your team through thick and thin. The best part of being a fan of a championship team is the road traveled getting there. It wouldn’t be interesting if there weren’t some bumps along the way. So enjoy the sweet and the sour and optimistically cheer for your team until the very last possession.

  25. Yeah, the Ralph Sampson shot, exactly.

    There is one advantage to having a young team: an olderr team would KNOW they received a knockout blow. A young team might just be stupid enough not to realize that they are done.

    otbricki – we would just need game 6 in Boston. Let game 7 take care of itself.

  26. 12 – Lakers have lost 5 out of 6 vs. Boston this year, now they are going to win 3 in a row?

    ***

    You are a smart guy, but give it a rest. People here know it is highly unlikely that the Lakers will come back. But as long as there are games to be played, there is hope. That is what fandom is about. One game at a time.

    Next, don’t you think you should give the Lakers one full year together before you start talking about breaking up this team.

    ***

    The issues are the cap and allocating playing time.

  27. A very demoralizing and deflating loss would be an understatement at best.

    The silver lining I take from this is that losses like these are necessary especially for the younger players. Just like winning Game 3 in the tough and rugged style was necessary.

    I am of the opinion that even though the Celtics struggled through the playoffs to get here it was actually a blessing in disguise. All that adversity really helped them learn how to play together and how to get through tough situations and games.

    The Lakers on the other hand really rolled through the Western Conference. Never really challenged or put back on their heels. Now…in the Finals…we are taking our lumps and getting the adversity.

    The reality is we have a lot of young guys and they had to experience this, so that they can be prepared for the future. In the short term today, tomorrow and probably for a few weeks this one is gonna sting like hell as it should.

    I hope that in the next game since it’s a win or the season is over situation that they (the Lakers) go out and play loose.
    Guys step up and take the open shots instead of being hesitant. Be quicker to get back to the shooters after screens out high by the Celtic bigs.

    Try to move the ball from the strong to weak side more effectively. Bring a strong mindset and play as the situation is. Like you have nothing to lose.

    PS: As someone mentioned above. I hope this loss brings down ticket prices to games, so people who are going to actually get behind the team can be close enough to the floor to make a difference.

    It bugs me to no end that people who actually want to support the team and cheer win or lose are not able to effect the game as much as they could and fair weather fans/celebs are just there cause it’s the “it” place.

  28. I’m still cringing in disgust at the loss last night. I usually don’t post anything on here but today I NEED IT. It’s like freakin’ therapy for me. The Lakers absolutely blew it and I’m mad, frustrated, depressed, and at the same time trying to convince myself that this is a young team that no one expected to be here at the beginning of the year and the sting they feel now will help them be better closers in the future.

    Bottom line is the Celtics want it….they WANT IT BAD. Our guys will not want it until they feel the sting, that sick feeling in their gut they will have this summer as they ponder what could’ve been. I knew missing Bynum would be huge in this serious because we have zero rebounding and a presence down in the block without him.

    I wish PJ would dump in MIhm and Mbenga from time to time just to go in and mix it up a little and foul hard on those drives to the basket, wear down KG even more, use their fouls just for the sake of fouling. But I now we are not tough that way. If Kobe is not on, the other guys lose confidence and don’t come through. Where was Fish in all this?? What happened to the D-Fish that knocked down big shots, took timely charges and simply played like the wily veteran he is (or was?)?

    So many things went wrong and we bought into everyone pumping up this Lakers squad. And they made us believers with relatively easy dispatches of Denver, Utah, and SA. But, this Celtics squad is simply playing out of their minds with swarming D and they match up with us everywhere. They deserve to win and we don’t…..we’re not ready.

  29. The Lakers, as a group, have a lot of exploitable flaws. Jackson and Bryant managed to mask those flaws for the regular season and the first three playoff series. Unfortunately, Boston has a lot more options (especially with their bench) and a lot more experience. And the smoke-and-mirrors of Jackson and Bryant aren’t working anymore, although change a couple of plays, and the Lakers are up 3-1.

  30. 26, if anything the ticket prices are gonna go way up next year. Trading for Pau added a ton to the payroll and luxury tax, and if Buss is gonna keep the team together it’s coming out of the fans’ (or “fans”) pockets.

  31. Sleeper: I was at the game last night and on Tuesday, and I can tell you that there were a ton of people in the lower bowl that were more about being at the NBA finals than cheering for the Lakers. The real diehards in the lower bowl seemed to be the Celtics fans that were there. As well, some of the Lakers fans there were just complete jerks. They were critical of Pau and Lamar from the time the game started. It was like they felt entitled to an NBA championship or something. Last night really made me wish I was watching the game at home instead of being around some of those people.

    Robin Red: Minutes wise, the only problem is with Rad and Luke. I think they will end up moving one or both of those guys. Cap wise, the Lakers are not going to allow the luxury tax threat to break up this team before it has a year or two together. The Lakers were making enough money during the salary inflated Shaq championship years to take home $25M per season in profit. Other than Vlad or Walton, I don’t see them moving anyone. And they might end up keeping both of those guys for depth and versatility purposes.

  32. I really do not get this — the Lakers have a lot of flaws? They need to make major changes in the offseason? Seriously, who has a better roster in the NBA right now (outside Boston)? Do you want to change places with the Spurs? Maybe Utah, the team the Lakers beat without Bynum? The Hornets, who couldn’t beat the Spurs? The Lakers will be better next year with health and another year of experience, but suddenly losing has the LA fans ready to blow things up.

    Stop overreacting, this is a very good, championship-level team. At the start of the year we hoped to make the playoffs and now we are in the finals and everyone wants to blow the thing up because we aren’t getting a title this year? Get a grip on yourself people.

    Of course, half the people on this board wanted to trade Kobe and or Bynum last year. How did that work out?

  33. RE # 23:
    But all in all, this series is not over. Stick by your team through thick and thin. The best part of being a fan of a championship team is the road traveled getting there. It wouldn’t be interesting if there weren’t some bumps along the way. So enjoy the sweet and the sour and optimistically cheer for your team until the very last possession.

    **************************************************

    Exactly. I know its hard but if we dont keep believing, then why should the team ? We havent come this far to give up yet – not until the final buzzer.

  34. Very fitting metaphor, can’t believe the Lakers played so poorly. I can’t believe Coach Rivers got his players more ready than Coach Phil. That boggles my mind.

    I truly believe Kobe is the best player in the league. But for all the talk about how he trains 24/7 and is the most fit player in the league. I can’t believe he got TIRED at the end of this game. Bottom line is that Boston got a team effort and the Lakers didn’t. Kobe didn’t get any support in the 2nd half and every played like they couldn’t handle the pressure Boston was applying on defense. Kobe was working so hard on defense that he didn’t have anything left for his jumpers.

    Just too much to say so disappointed.

  35. Where was Phil? He did not have this team ready to win this game, he didn’t keep them motivated, and he didn’t play the right guys in the 2nd half.

    Odom died in the Second Half, Gasol didn’t play any defence or offence, and Kobe was tired.

    BOO. That was the most crushing loss I’ve ever experienced as a fan of any team.

    On the bright side, all we have to do now is win once at home, steal a game on the road and then it’s game 7 and anything can happen!

  36. Well said, #23.

    I’ll say it again: The Lakers achieved far more this year then what they will have lost if they lose this series. They came very close, despite the disaster of last offseason, and the future looks even brighter once our young guys grow more.

    Getting to the finals is a magnificent accomplishment. There is no shame in coming up short against a team that has proven to be better this year.

    I can’t bring myself to read most of the “analysis” out there, nor my favorite fan sites. The level of anger and disgust is appalling. Our Lakers did something great this year. Truly great. If they can pull off three wins in a row it’ll be a miracle, but if not, I’ll still consider this a wonderful, successful season.

    Go Lakers.

  37. By the way, don’t forget that Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain lost more times in the finals then they won. And even the great 80′s Lakers lost a few times. Winning a championship ain’t easy…

  38. 29, I hope within the next few years to finally be able to purchase some decent season tickets.

    I was a bit young when the Showtime Lakers were around, but I watched all through the Van Exel/Peeler years when I actually thought Elden Campbell was one of the better players in the league.

    I have so much respect and love for the organization and team whether they are great or not. Hopefully, I can take a few seats in the lower bowl from people who want to sit and not cheer for the Lakers.

    People who think that this team needs to be blown up need to snap out of the funk of the loss last night and realize that this team is on the verge of being great.

    It happened to Magic and the Lakers in 84 from what I have read. What happened in the years immediately following that? Oh yeah…championships.

    It’s real simple…sometimes you gotta get your butt kicked and be embarrassed to realize what you really have to do and what you have to be to win the NBA championship.

    Kobe/Phil/Fish/Coaching staff can tell them what they have to do and say till their faces turn blue, but NOTHING is a substitute for experience.

  39. I am so crushed. The Celtics are not as good as we make them appear. I swear to this. Trevor Ariza needs to start. Take Vlad out. Please.
    I cannot understand why Chris Mihm is still on our bench.
    I don’t know where we go from here.

  40. as painful as the finals have been to watch, i kinda like that the lakers are going thru this experience together. at the beginning of the season, i was predicting 47 wins, and even THAT was considered optimistic by some. and now they’re in the FINALS?!?! things have come very easy to this team, and experiences like this will only make you stronger. or kill you, like it has some of the guys on the team. in any case, i hope to see each and every laker leave their heart out on the floor for however many games we have left.

  41. DADDY KURT PROTECT HIS LAKERS CUBS RAWR!!!!

  42. I <3 Lakers. I <3 Kurt. I sad.

  43. First of all, I do not think that we need ANY changes for next year. A healthy Bynum, Ariza and all of the role players one year more mature will make this a great team, if the owner is willing to pay the salaries. It would be a shame to destroy this tight nucleus of talented young players.

    Second PLEASE STOP talking about the off season. We have all summer to do that. So let’s wait until the season is OVER to start discussing possibilities for next year. THIS IS NOT OVER YET! As hard as three victories in a row are to imagine, and as hard as it is to take this defeat, we don’t have to think about that right now. The players are told to play in the moment and take it game by game. If they can win game 5 at home, they have a chance to win game 6, which leads to game 7! The Lakers can win game 5, they showed in the first half, if we execute our offense and play team D we can beat theses guys!

    I have also heard a ton of “they wanted it more” comments last night and today. I hate reading that. I do not think that there is a single Lakers player who is not desperately trying to win this championship…Did you see Sasha practically crying after he gave up that lay up to Allen? One team outplayed the other, not because they wanted it more, it was because they simply executed better and put together a great run at the end of the third quarter.

    Like many have said I have always strongly agreed that the bench will decide the series. I hoped that the young talented bench mob of the Lakers could out play the wily old vets of the C’s but that has not been the case so far.

    Game 1 – Sam Cassell hits timely jumpers early to set the tone.
    Game 2 – Powe has the game of his career.
    Game 3 – Farmar and especially Sahsa are awesome.
    Game 4 – Posey is definitely the X factor with his knife in my heart three pointers and Farmar and Sasha disappear.

    As the hopes of a championship flicker, I guarantee the Lakers will not roll over and die. Kobe will not Phil will not and let’s hope the rest of the team can follow their lead. As fans can’t we just live in the moment and enjoy the Lakers playing in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, when no one gave them a chance to get there? I know I can. I expect a GREAT game on Sunday. Go Lakers!

  44. BTW Anyone want to have their hearts ripped out again and relive the Nightmare of the third quarter?:

    5:50 Pierce drives around Odom and under Gasol for a lay up. (70-52)
    5:34 Vlad missed a three pointer from the corner badly.
    5:23 House makes an uncontested three pointer in the corner, Kobe wandering. (70-55)
    5:00 Kobe is blocked on a 17 foot turn around fade away by Pierce.
    4:55 Fisher commits a hard foul to prevent Allen’s lay up, both free throws made. (70-57)
    4:33 Vlad is trapped, his bad pass almost stolen, but Kobe ends up with the ball and throws an alley-oop to Gasol! (72-57)
    4:16 Posey misses a wide open three WOW!
    3:42 Fisher misses a three pointer at the end of the shot clock.
    3:30 House to Posey for a lay up and Posey grins at Odom on his down the court. (72-59)
    3:04 Fisher passes to Odom with three defenders around him, it’s stolen and leads to an Allen lay up….that Vlad just watched instead of taking a foul! (72-61)
    2:44 Kobe misses a runner after beating Pierce on the drive.
    2:29 Moving screen call on Garnett…Yes!
    2:15 Gasol posts and KG is bailed out when they call a foul on Posey; Gasol hits 1 (73-61)
    2:01 Pierce blows by Ariza for a reverse lay up, three point play (73-64)
    1:42 C’s D swarming, Kobe passes to Gasol for a DUNK! He misses off the back iron.
    1:25 A moving screen by KG causes Gasol to leave him to guard Pierce, who passes to KG, when Farmar runs after KG and House drains an open three pointer. (73-67)
    1:05 The Lakers all stand around while Kobe misses a 20 foot fade-a-way over Pierce.
    0:41 Allen beats Sasha, Kobe’s there but Sasha still fouls. Both free throws good. (73-69)
    0:17 Farmar air balls a three pointer as the shot clock winds down.
    0:01 Gasol is doubling Pierce 15 feet from the hoop and wide open Brown dunks (73-71)

    If you are keeping track that’s Celtics: one dunk, four lay ups, four free throws and two open three pointers. 7-8 FG 4-4 FT

    Vs.

    Lakers: one dunk and one free throw. 1-8 FG 1-2 FT

    A six minute, 21-3 run, team demoralized, Jackson a little too chipper at his interview. Not the way you close out a quarter in the Finals ?

    If we give up lay ups and open threes we obviously will not win another game, but if we play D like we did in the first half we can make this a series again.

  45. 23. Well said and I agree completely. It’s hard, but we should all work to stick it out with these guys until they’re finished.

    31. Same as above. Most of us are pretty disgusted right now after a crushing defeat, but renovating a roster completely (even slightly) is way off base.

    It is true that we entered the season hoping for a 5-8 seeded team and ended up with a Conference Championship and NBA Finals appearance. This will sting, but there’s still a game or two in these guys and who knows what will happen.

    As for next year, what about this lineup:

    1-Farmar
    2-Kobe
    3-Radmanovic
    4-Gasol
    5-Bynum

    BENCH:
    1-Fisher
    2-Vujacic
    3-Ariza
    4-Odom
    5-Turiaf

    With Farmar pushing the tempo, Radman to help spread the floor with his outside shooting, Kobe roaming around, Gasol working off the high post and Bynum around the hoop…they’d be tough to defend while still having that huge front line everyone talks about (Vlad is 6-10 just like LO, but a far better shooter). Also, Fish and Odom as veteran leaders off the bench with Sasha firing away, Turiaf’s energy and Ariza’s all-around skills…best bench in the league by far. Leaves Luke as the odd-man-out, but I feel like that’s the most warranted. Maybe, if anything, he’s a change of pace guy at 11 along with Mihm at 12.

    I know this year isn’t over yet, but it’s hard not to get excited about next season when we’re down 3-1 to a quality opponent. As always, go Lakers!

  46. I hope you’re right Kurt.

    But when a team can’t show character like this one… I don’t know… This is the biggest collapse in the finals history!!!

    This is not about loosing the finals. Is about being so softy, without character… You have or you don’t have character… That’s simple.

    And if you are defeated by team with “experienced players who have won… well, nothing”. Wow man, I don’t know what our players are learning, maybe some of them are trying to become the next C Webber.

    35- C’mon man… Jerry West (with exception of the 1970 finals) always lost series against championship teams… And never was wining by 24!!! He played against winners (Russell, Havlicek, Cousy, Sam Jones, a team full of HOF).

    But, OK, let’s compare… West is Bryant… Chamberlain is Gasol??? Baylor is Odom??? Just kidding.

  47. 34) ‘Odom died in the Second Half, Gasol didn’t play any defence or offence, and Kobe was tired” “he didn’t play the right guys in the 2nd half. ”

    So, who would you suggest he play instead? He tried Vlad, he tried Turiaf, he tried Vujacic.

  48. *correction 5-5 FT by the C’s

  49. 31) “the Lakers have a lot of flaws?”

    A lot of exploitable flaws. Odom doesn’t have a consistent outside shot, doesn’t go to his right very well, tends to get offensive fouls, and tends to disappear.

    Gasol doesn’t respond very well (relatively speaking) to physical defenders; especially when playing as a center.

    Vlad does not play defense very well, tends to make mental errors, and doesn’t seem to be comfortable posting up/driving.

    Walton does not have a good inside game, has not been consistently hitting his three point shots this season, and doesn’t defend quicker players well.

    Fisher is slow defensively.

    Farmar is not quite as slow defensively, but is not as quick as a lot of the PGs. Still very inexperienced.

    Vujacic is still inexperienced, and a very streaky shooter. Too streaky at this point to be the main “scorer” off the bench.

    Turiaf doesn’t have a good inside offensive game, and is foul prone. Undersized for playing center. Inexperienced.

    Ariza has an inconsistent outside shot, and very rusty.

    No “muscle” off the bench, and no consistent scoring off the bench.

    Boston is an excellent defensive team, and a very good offensive team, and can exploit those flaws, more so than any other team has been able to.

  50. Some days you’re the windshield, some days you’re the bug. The Lakers got to be both yesterday, in that order.

  51. Trade talk is relevant. The Lakers lack a SF defender that can create his own shot, and that is what’s eating us up right now. It tells you something when the strategy of nearly every team you play, if matchups coinciding, is to attack Radmanovic and Walton.

    I know we all love both of these guys: Radman aka Space Cadet and Luuuuuuuuuuuke! But we need to be honest to ourselves. What does Radmanovic bring to the team besides 3-point shooting and occasional rebounding? What has Walton done for a consistent stretch of time, that was remotely impressive or deserving of his salary, since he was re-signed? Neither can play defense on any -good- small forwards, not even necessarily limited to athletic SFs.

    The perfect remedy for our SF position? Ron Artest. (Flame shield activitated)

    Lamar, Lamar, Lamar. I’ve been saying this since his Clippers days, the most disappointing thing about Odom, besides inconsistency, is that he has/had the potential to become a superstar. I’ve come to accept Odom as he is, but it’s still frustrating. True, Odom was posting up double-doubles regularly during the latter half of the season, but I would rather have a player who can perform consistently on the biggest stage. Look at Ray Allen, who strugged for the most part of the playoffs, he is now the C’s most consistent player. Also, Odom used to hit 3′s and midrange jumpers all the time, not entirely sure why those capabilities somehow just deteriorated over the years. Does Odom not practice his jumpshots in practice or something?

    The argument that Pau is new on the team is completely irrelevant. That argument might work for Kidd or Shaq using “new-ness” as a cause for losing games, but not Gasol, not since we’ve been completely dominating since Pau joined and perfectly fit into the triangle offense. At the end of the day, Garnett is just a beast, I can’t gripe about Gasol’s defense on him. Garnett dominated Pau like he should, whether it’s the jumpshot or some crisp, beautiful move putting the ball on the floor, and putting defenders on their heels with one of his many spin moves and fakes. Sure, KG might have traveled many times, but since the referees apparently weren’t going to call those, the Lakers needed to adjust (ie. play on), instead of complaining, “That should’ve been a travel!”

    Pierce… I’ve been a fan of Paul Pierce since his days with Antoine Walker, being one of the few who already realized Pierce -IS- “The Truth” many, many years ago. However, nothing would have prepared me for the defensive effectiveness Pierce would have on Kobe, or Kobe’s ineffectiveness against Pierce. Arguably, Pierce can do everything Kobe can, and maybe even better.

    As far as Kobe has been this series, I’m not too impressed. Kobe couldn’t carry his jumpshooting from the Spurs series into the Finals, yet he continues to shoot them. I felt that in the 3rd quarter, Kobe tried to do too much, going isolation with fancy dribbling and ending up with an ill-advised jumpshot. As a result, his teammates stopped moving and watched him “go to work, but not paid.” (har har, that means he missed the jumpshots). Kobe couldn’t effectively guard either Pierce (too physical, bigger) or Allen (too many screens), and had to be placed on Rondo. Once Rondo became “injured,” (I quoted it because I honestly think it’s just a story for Doc Rivers to play Eddie House more without letting on to the media that Rondo is useless in this series) Kobe essentially had no one to defend.

    As for the other stuff, you can see when Lakers are finally in a tough spot in the playoffs, Kobe turns back into his bitchy, me-mode. Games 2, 3 & 4, when the Lakers aren’t playing well, you can see Kobe yelling at his teammates or sulking by himself on the bench. That isn’t leadership, even if he claims it helps spark a fire under the other guys’ asses. Playing with younger guys, you raise their confidence by encouraging and applauding them for the good work and explain to them calmly, as an older player and leader of the team, what they’re doing wrong, almost as if they’re puppies, not yelling at them and putting them down.

    At the end of the day, we had a shot to win this series. Game 1 was blown by the Lakers. Game 2 was blown (pun intended) by the referees. Game 3 win didn’t give a lot of fans confidence, and Game 4… I’ll leave it at that.

    I still love the Lakers, hoping for a 3-1 deficit comeback, even if it’s unlikely. I still hate Boston. I still think they’re the Yankees of basketball, full of aging, experienced players who all decided to jump on one bandwagon and stack the odds against 29 other teams by taking paycuts and whatnots.

    *Not to be an a-hole, but this isn’t a debate post. I respect all the posters’ opinions, but this is how I feel. I would appreciate it if no one quotes all my paragraphs and try to tell me how I’m wrong on which points.

  52. All this talk of blowing up the team and the team not having any character is a little premature, don’t you think? Character is something you build. The Lakers are the 3rd youngest team in the league, only 3 of them have ever been out of the first round of the playoffs let alone the finals. The Celtics have 3 super stars towards the end of their careers who have never had the talent around them to even come close winning and Posey, who is a champion, so they were hungrier and knew what needed to be done.

    Yeah it was a devastating lost and it was hard to watch but everyone needs to calm down.

  53. For me, it was the revealing manner in which we lost that renders statements like “the series isn’t over yet,” “we have a bright future,” and “we’re a young team” little more than mere platitudes. Despite tremendous physical talent and a proven offensive system, the team may be fatally flawed – we seem hopelessly weak-minded and scared. In that second half, the simple fact is that no one wanted the ball other than Kobe. No one had the fortitude to make a play. And even though the entire world knew the offense wasn’t being executed, no one did anything about it! Was anyone screaming — coaches, players, our “leaders” Kobe and DFish — to move the damn ball? Why were we totally unable to adjust to what obviously was happening? And why have we been abused every third quarter this series? It is that fundamental flaw in mindset and heart that makes me worry about our so-called bright future, despite the physical talent and Bynum’s return. Everyone says this is a learning experience and this is a “young team,” but shouldn’t a squad with a coach that has 9 rings and two player-leaders with 6 rings between them be sufficiently able to communicate and/or effectuate the necessary mindset to win a home game with a 24-point lead? THAT is why I find it difficult to embrace a sense of optimism at this moment in time.

    Finally, I really do think the attacks against the Staples Center crowd only serve to absolve the players and coaches from any accountability for their own ineptitude. The alleged silent crowd (it wasn’t) had nothing to do with the team’s historic implosion.

  54. Do you think lakers can win in 7??

  55. Anybody calling for an overhaul of this team is on glue. I need to repost a comment I left last night around the blogs:

    Also, you Kobe haters better get your licks in now, because this Lakers team is about the make a run at transcendent greatness in the next decade. In 1990 the conversation about “greatest player ever” shined a bright light on the names Bird and Magic, while Jordan was only beginning to be mentioned. Even though everyone saw how great he was, there weren’t many putting him above those two. 10 years later there aren’t many names there besides Jordans. Sound like a familiar scenario?

    I’m not saying Kobe is the greatest player ever, but if you people are waiting for his name to drop from the conversation, it’s gonna be a rough 10 years. Especially as Kobe keeps adding trophies to his column of accomplishments. And especially as the target demographic for the medias focus is fixated on a generation that don’t remember Jordan shoving Bryon Russel out of the way to shoot a game winner.

    That generation will have just seen Kobe put up 50 and 8 against the Brooklyn LeBrons though.

  56. hey guys… I know it hurts so bad… but we have to be thankful and remember where we were at last year at this time. It is a pity since we would have given us a chance to win… but next year with Bynum in the mix hopefully we’ll be far better… and we have a 3-4 year window at least… so let’s hold the fort now… even though any real basketball fan knows the series is pretty much over… but… who knows… anything can happen. Don’t give up our last hope just yet!

  57. 43 – you do realize that every team in the nba has a laundry list of exploitable flaws, right? i could make a comparable list for every other team in the league, considering that there is no single player in the league without an exploitable flaw.

    kurt’s point is that you don’t panic because your team isn’t composed of 15 flawless players. you take a look at what you’ve got, and you work to form a team that emphasizes its strengths and supports its weaknesses. we’ve definitely got things to work on and improve, but man, we’ve got a pretty impressive foundation to build upon for the future (i’d say as bright a future as any other team in the league).

    if we don’t win this year, then it just wasn’t our time. does losing this year mean we can never win a championship w/ this team? i don’t think so.

  58. In no way am I conceding this series, but the reality is that the Celtics have 3 chances to win 1 game, and for a team that is that strong, you have to think they will pull it out.

    All that said, I find it interesting that most of the takes on the current Lakers are about change. I guess that’s the society we live in now, we have this *big* failure?…something needs to change. But I’m a little old school, especially when it comes to basketball. I remember 1984 (barely, but I do) when the Lakers had to lose to the Celtics before getting over the hump. I remember the Bad Boy Pistons needing to fail against Boston (multiple times) before they were ready to reach the Finals, and even then, they lost their first time to the Lakers (only to win Back-to-Back titles in the following seasons). I remember Jordan’s Bulls having to suffer through mounting losses to those same Pistons who used the “Jordan Rules” to frustrate the player many consider the best to ever lace them up. Shoot, we can even look at the last Lakers run from 2000-2002 that would never have come to fruition without the growing pains learned from losses against the hated Jazz.

    I think it’s a misnomer to think that this team is ready to win a title just because we have Kobe, Fisher, and Phil. Sure these guys have rings, and they have title experience, but the other players do not. They have not had a hunger repeatedly denied to the point that the drive to eat consumes them so much that it’s all they can think about. And while I do not think this current Lakers team is *just happy to be here*, I do think that because the majority of them are young and only a few have ever even seen what is more than 1st round losses in the playoffs, that they do not understand the growth that is required to truly be a champion. And even though Boston doesn’t have that experience together, they definitely have the hunger. Pierce, Allen, KG have all felt this heartbreak before. Thinking they were close and coming up short. You throw in guys like Posey, Brown, House, and Cassell and you have a veteran crew on the wrong side of their primes, doing everything humanly possible to win. We have not seen that same drive from the Lakers. But it’s coming. I truly believe it is. And for that, I have hope.

    So I don’t want to see change. I want to see growth. I want this entire team to starve together at the same table and develop the hunger that comes from being denied the most satisfying meal of Champioship glory. And then coming out at the end of the day with a fullness that rivals a Vegas buffet.

    But it all starts Sunday. Win or lose I won’t be let down, I just want to see that they are still hungry for this year…

  59. Wow… you’d think the team really did get into a tragic bus accident, and not just loose a game.

    Look people… for the first time in the series, the Lakers actually played like we had been used to: moving, cutting, passing, rebounding. They looked awesome. They played like we have been hoping for since the series started. And now that they know they can play this way (and what Boston will try and do to slow it down), we can expect a little more consistancy.

    And the fact that they are playing a REALLY good team, that put more focus on defensive intensity, well… I know it’s hard to believe, but things aren’t always easy or even successful.

    It’s not the end of the world, and we still have time. If it’s not meant to be, there isn’t a lot needed to be done to wind up with the same opportunities next year, only battle tested and wiser. Hopefully harder too.

  60. Everybody is jumping on Kobe but he does have a severed tendon in his shooting hand pinky.

  61. That’s ridiculous. You’re using the example that those past teams needed to go through tough seasons together to win championships, but then you say the Celtics are an exception because they have veterans and hunger? The Celtics are winning not because they have “more hunger,” but because they’re a better team, overall, especially when we’re missing Andrew and with Ariza just returned.

    The Lakers are down in a very deep hole in this series because of match-up problems. For example, if we had Artest and he was assigned to guard Pierce, you really think Pierce would score 25-30? No matter how many times we lose to “become a better team,” Radmanovic and Walton will never be able to guard Pierce, or any star SFs for that matter, and the Lakers will end up in the same position.

    Has any of you guys actually -played- basketball on a team? Whenever my team went to an important tournament or playoffs, there is never a lack of hunger. That’s ludicrous. When we lose it’s because we played a better team, never due to a lack of heart or thirst. When you play a whole season to be in a spot to take the championship, you are naturally motivated. You don’t need to lose to become motivated, even though the Lakers, excluding Pau and Ariza, have been eliminated from the playoffs two years in a row. How many more years must the Lakers lose together as an unit to finally overcome that “obstacle?”

    My point is I feel the Lakers lost to a better opponent, that’s why the Lakers organization need to make changes to at least cover our weaknesses. I’m not saying, “Trade Kobe! Trade Odom! Trade Pau!” I’m talking about our most obvious weakness, excluding the Center position, right now, and that is the small forward spot.

  62. #59 – Thank you for summing it up perfectly Jones. I always enjoy reading your comments.

  63. barry g,
    Yes, I do realize that all teams have flaws. But the difference in this series is that the Celtics have fewer flaws than the Lakers, have the personnel to exploit those flaws, and the reverse is not true. The Lakers have more than most teams that make it to the finals, but Kobe’s play and Phils coaching allowed them to mask those. In the previous playoff series for the Lakers this season, it has been them with the greater capability to exploit flaws.

  64. This Little Pinky June 13, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    I still believe.

  65. 56) Barry G
    I don’t see that anyone is panicking, but it is extremely reasonable to ask if the weaknesses of this roster will be addressed through experience and the return of Bynum, Mihm, and Ariza. I believe that there will still be some gaps, and some areas with more than enough redundancy. The front office should (and I suspect will) explore trading some of that redundancy for something to fill in the gaps.

  66. hey Jones, nice article. I too got my first taste of the NBA, and thus the Lakers, Magic and Chick in the early 80′s when I moved to LA. it was amazing to listen to “Chick’s Words eye view” and watch KCAL, and Prime Ticket, and I soon found some fellow Laker fans and we would catch every game, every year. (still do, even if I’m overseas, I wander around til I find a place where I can watch the game, once in Australia, I caught a game at 6AM in a 24 hour sports book casino).
    I remember the lakers/celtics of Magic and Bird, waking up, grabing the Times, stroll down to the Good Stuff in Hermosa Beach to read the sports section, first about last nights game, second to see what the Celtics did, cause we KNEW we were going to see them in the playoffs. (gotta get home court)
    I used to have the same gripe about the fans, but it was the Forum then, I would say we need to switch the cheap seats to the lower rows, and expensive ones as far away as posible so we could get the REAL fans down where they could be heard. (of course, knowing this was pipe).
    well, I think we are going to see these Celtics again, maybe for 2 or 3 more years, so we should be thinking about match ups, (could be a mid season, like picking up Mychal Thompson to match up with McHale).
    I do think our team, as it is, but healthy, will be a force to be recognized over the next half decade, maybe longer, there’s a load of talent, and no matter the outcome of this finals, they are going to grow from it.

    for now, let’s just get game 5, and go back to Beantown, prepare for the WAR we know game 6 would be…and take it one game at a time.

    btw, anyone know the status of Perkins shoulder? he didn’t come back did he? after he went to the locker room…

  67. the other Stephen June 13, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    all they need to do is work hard this summer! no moves are necessary. although we do seem to have a lot of little-used backup big men now.

  68. Yes we can! Yes we can! Si se puede! Si se puede!

    These next few games WILL be the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history!

    Go Lakers!!

    Btw, I agree with Kurt. Calm down people……we have all the pieces for a great run the next 4-5 years. It will happen. All this Kobe/MJ talk will resurface again.

    Patience………….patience.

  69. Lowlut, first, you have not gone there yet but consider this a general warning to all not to start throwing around trade scenarios. I’m not saying you would, but I’m nipping anyone who has that idea in the bud.

    Our starting three next year is Lamar Odom, with Rad or Luke used for matchup purposes. Rad becomes a much better defender if Bynum is behind him. Same with Odom. You are a lot higher on Artest than I am — he certainly can play when he wants to but there are many reasons why the Kings shopped him and got few offers. He does not play well in any offense he was in, does not like to conform to it, and I think he’d be a bad triangle fit. I think he’d be a bad influence on the young players. He’s not a particularly good shooter, he shot 5% worst (eFG%) than Odom this past season, and that is counting how much better a three point shooter he is than LO. Artest is not good in the midrange. I could go on and on, but I think the thing is a healthy Ariza would have gotten a lot more minutes and played like the guy in the first half, and then this would not be a conversation people would want to have.

  70. Great article. It is nice to hear a Laker fan’s point of view on game 4.

    As a Celtics fan I have to say the Staples Center crowd seemed very weak last night. The Laker team looked lost and confused in the second half but when that happens the crowd has to do their part to snap them out of it. After reading all of your blog comments I know that the Lakers have die hard fans who have enough basketball knowledge to know when and how to cheer, but where were they last night? Have the Hollywood higher ups forced all the impact fans to watch the game from home?

  71. If the Lakers are to make a run here, they might have a little help in that Boston keeps getting more and more dinged up. Perkins is questionable for Sunday, Rondo the same, Pierce rolled his ankle last night and is day-to-day (on top of his very, very serious knee injury :-)). Maybe they’ll lose a step and the Lakers will recapture that killer instinct that helped them close out Utah and SA in tough match-ups. We’ll see…

    And maybe last nights debacle was just what these guys needed. Some of you are talking about a lack of guts, questioning their character…well I’ll say this: If they have an ounce of pride, they’ll swallow hard on the historic collapse last night and blow the C’s off the court in G5. The measure of this teams resolve is going on display Sunday. If they have it, which I believe they do, maybe we grab G6 also and re-join the conversation.

    If I were Kobe or Fish, I’d sit my guys down and have a little chat. I’d ask some questions. What happened to our spirit? We used to have fun out there, be loose and stick together, what gives? Why isn’t Turiaf dancing? Ronny, if you don’t start dancing we’re gonna have some words. Who cares about history right now, or Michael Jordan, or rivalries? We’re three games away from writing our own history. This is our time, this is our legacy, this is our team on our home floor. Brothers fight for each other, bleed and die for each other. Now let’s man-up, quit whining about fouls and nonsense, and do as the basketball gods intended…let’s finish this as champions.

  72. 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.

  73. exhelodrvr,

    i don’t agree that the celtics have fewer flaws than the lakers. if that were the case, why did so many people pick the lakers to win this series? because the celtics showed PLENTY of flaws leading up to the finals. did those flaws suddenly go away before game 1? no. as far as flaws are concerned, the celtics and the lakers both have their fair share. i don’t think the celtics are winning because they’re more perfect; i think the celtics are beating the lakers because, despite their flaws, they’ve done a better job as a team to cover up their individual weaknesses than the lakers have.

    i agree that there could be a little tweak or two to the roster, but i just wanna remind everyone here that the best moves we made last season were the trades we DIDN’T make. however, if we do like san antonio and make a couple changes every season to form a more complete team, that’d make sense. and i take comfort in the notion that kupchak will be wise in his personnel moves and won’t rush to judgement based on the results of these finals.

    all that having been said, win or lose, i really do hope to see the lakers play their hearts out the rest of this series…

  74. 1. Why were Ariza and Fish effectively benched in the 2nd half? Perhaps injury? Conditioning for Ariza?
    2. When Phil matched small lineups, did anyone else get a flash of Avery matching GS small?
    3. How angry do you think Magic is right now? I hope his head doesn’t explode.
    4. I understand all of the blow up the team talk, though I don’t think it’s right. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say a part of me wasn’t wondering if the Lakers won’t go the way of Dallas and decline as they lose more and more confidence. Or go the way of the Cavs and just stink next year. Highly unlikely scenarios, but the doubt has been planted.
    5. I think last night’s game proves the saying, “Half this game is ninety percent mental.”

  75. Can we not concede the year already? It’s 3-1 and granted a comeback has like this has never been done in finals history. But, history was just broken last night. It can be broken again.

    If anything, the fanbase should not concede the fight. Already people are looking towards the summer, next year, and saying that getting to finals was success in itself. That’s all nice, but those are things you say AFTER the season is over. We’re IN the finals, which means there’s still a shot at a championship, as slim as those odds are.

    C’mon. Stop deliberating about months from now and start thinking about Sunday. One game at a time.

  76. A 7th game is still VERY possible. Lakers win their home game and win Game 6 after both teams travel all the way back East and play less than 48 hours later (Remember that boston is banged up).

    Everyone needs to remember that all 4 games have been close in the 4th quarter. A key injury or a few lucky bounces can change fortunes immediately. THe key is do the Lakers have the poise and desire to capitalize?

  77. Let’s make a pact and not talk about offseason speculations UNTIL THE OFFSEASON. This series is not over.

    Remember, Phx beat the Lakers after going down 3-1 a couple years ago. Nothing can be assumed…especially with how injured the Celtics are.

  78. Just want to say I agree with a lot of what i read here
    the season isnt over and nobody have to jump of the ship nor celebrate.
    Even if the season ends with boston as champion ( I am a celtics fan), boith team had incredible improves from last year to this year
    Lakers have a promising center most likely ready for next year
    and their window looked from every angle is bigger than Bostons.
    Hopefully we will be enjoying this again in 12 months
    Hopefully
    Saludos

    Edgar

  79. random note – if the lakers could’ve kept up w/ boston during the third quarters of this series (ie, even score for the qtr), we’d be up 3-1…

  80. 31 – Lakers do have a lot of flaws but they are probably in the best position of any team in the NBA for the next 2-5 years.

    38 – Not true on the Celtics, they are very good, but they have flaws too, the Lakers are just not exposing any of them and while the series is far from over (no game decided by more than 10 points, this is a close series), it might be too late against a team built on defense. And whether Ariza should start or not, I don’t know but Vlad should be stripped of his uniform (although as a Celtics fan, I’m more than happy to see more of him.)

    43 – great recap, especially the part about Phil’s interview. Was he drunk? I’m pretty sure when he was asked what they would do in the fourth, he said “the momentum will come to back us” and added as the mike was pulled away “I hope.” He was NOT ready for that comeback.

    44 – I’ve thought the Lakers might consider using Odom as a 6th Man, could work great, but you need VladRad out of town, not starting. Ariza or Walton should be there ahead of him.

    50 – I like your thoughts overall. I want to debate you point by point but won’t but as a Celtics fan have to disagree with the last one. They are aging, but they didn’t all take pay cuts. Pierce, Rondo, Perk, Powe, and T Allen were all drafted and developed by the Celtics. We gave up the number 5 pick in the draft and a good young backup guard in Delonte West to get a couple of years of Ray Allen and whatever Big Baby gives us in the future. If anything, we overpaid so we could have another All Star so KG would sign off on coming to Boston (he initially refused to come here). Then we gave up Al Jefferson – a 23 year old force who put up 21 and 11 this year and received All-NBA votes – for a few years of KG, the highest paid player in the NBA. Posey barely chose us over the Nets for most of the MLE because NOBODY ELSE OFFERED HIM ANYTHING. Same with House. We wanted him when nobody else did. Cassell and PJ – yes, they took pay cuts to come here, I’ll agree with that, but is PJ Brown and Sam Cassell really stacking the odds? Most everybody agreed heading into the season that the Celtics would be third or fourth best team in the East and win about 50-55 games. Those guys outperformed everybody else’s expectations. And most everybody agreed heading into the playoffs and even more so the Finals that the Lakers, not the Celtics, had the best roster, and that Chris Wallace had stacked your deck by handing over Pau Gasol.

    52 – great final point. I’ll get to the crowd in a minute.

    54 – Like your optimism, don’t agree with it but I respect it.

    61 – Can’t wait to read the article.

    I have to say, I’m a Celtic fan who grew up in Boston, going to games at the real Garden and later the fake Garden, but live in SoCal now. I’ve been to a few Lakers-Celtics regular season games the last few years. Those games weren’t huge because, for the most part, while the Lakers were great some years and down other years, the Celtics were pretty regularly down. Still, I was always super-impressed by the crowds that turned up. They were knowledgeable, intelligent, loud at the right times, and could read the flow of a game without being prompted. I’ve had great conversations with Laker fans I had never met before, showcasing the great general knowledge of the fans. But this crowd at the Finals is clearly different and I just feel bad for you because I know exactly how it feels.

    I’m not a baseball guy, but before 2004, the crowd at Fenway Park was as knowledgeable a baseball crowd as you could find in the country. People understood the game and reacted appropriately. Everything changed after they won that title. Suddenly, from 2005 to the present, the Pink Hat army infiltrated, paying huge money for every seat, coming to the games just to be seen, to take pictures, to follow what the Jumbotron tells them to do, to do all the things that they’ve been told make Red Sox games at Fenway so great. They have no idea when to make noise, how to make noise, or why it’s important to make noise. It was at its biggest in Game 2 of the ALCS last year, when we went into extra innings with the Indians. We had Papi and Manny up in the 10th and the whole crowd was just dead. They were too cold to cheer and nobody told them to. But they couldn’t read it for themselves and realize the team needed a little something extra.

    That’s what these Staples Center Finals crowds remind me of – a bunch of rich people who don’t have a clue when and how to make noise. Yes it all comes down to the players and no, crowd silence doesn’t make your team play any worse. But it definitely doesn’t make your team play any better, and sometimes good crowds can do just that.

    I know a lot of East coast fans generally dismiss west coasters as bandwagoners anyway, and if I didn’t feel the Lakers actually had good fans, I’d agree with them and not care about the bad crowds. But I happen to KNOW the Lakers have some good fans, and to be honest, I really feel for you guys, not because your team is in a bad spot (I don’t feel bad for that at all, since it’s my team on top and this is exactly what I want), but because your national rep is being pulled down a ton by the rich jacks who show up, waste a great seat to a great series, and make your whole fan base look bad.

    It affects all good teams in big cities – people who don’t care about sports just have more money to get the important tickets – I just wish there was a way to actually get the best seats in the hands of the people who deserve them, the real fans.

  81. I don’t think anyone wants whole sale changes, but I am not convinced that Odom/Gasol/Bynum is the best possible balance of skills for the frontline going forward, and there are cap considerations.

    I would like to see Ariza/Gasol/Bynum/Farmar/Bryant backed by Odom/Vujacic/Vet 4/5 banger/Fisher with either Walton or Radmanovich gone for said banger.

  82. And I like your team, hope the Celtics can close this one out, and would look forward to another contest with you guys next year! May the best team win Sunday. Hope it doesn’t come to Tuesday, but all remains to be seen. Last night aside this is a really close matchup and like you guys have pointed out, it could easily be 3-1 the other way. I just think this Celtics team wants it too much to lose this year.

  83. A-Hole Carolla June 13, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    What a kick in the crotch. Man.

    I agree with DC that a 7th game is still very possible, however. I expect the Lakers to win the next game on their home floor, despite having a few doubts. I also believe they can pull out a road win in the face of elimination as well.

    A game 7 victory on the road, well. That’d be something.

    Yeah, there has to be an intense focus on only the game at hand, and it can’t be lip service. No players wondering about game 7s and how to win the series.

    It has to be all about not losing the title on our home floor.

  84. Lakers need a stronger, more physical component to their front line

    Lane
    http://LosAngelesSource.com

  85. ESPN.com told us Kobe would never wear a Laker uniform again.
    We didn’t have a starting PG, and we weren’t going to be able to get one.
    Bynum/Farmar/Sahsa were wasted draft picks.
    We weren’t supposed to make the playoffs.
    We wouldn’t be able to GIVE Brian Cook or Kwame brown away, much less get anything of value for them.

    Nobody is expecting us to pull out this series much less extend it another game.

    Winning out will be the perfect way to bring the improbable season full circle.

  86. 61/Jones – Great article. Feel for you, man. All of us in major cities feel that way sometimes. Boston crowds can fall into it (it’s even possible if it goes to Game 6), Golden State’s crowd fell into it, I thought Detroit’s crowd was less than intimidating on the whole. But it seems to be worse for you guys right now. Keep fighting the good fight and remember that at least some fans from other cities can see your passion.

    I know a lot of Lakers and Celtics fans hate each other and each other’s teams, but a lot of us really have to respect each other – I know Tommy Heinsohn (loathsome as he is to a lot of you), Bill Russell and Sam Jones have all talked about their enormous respect for Baylor, West and those Lakers teams of the 60s, and the friendship between Larry and Magic speaks for itself. We played tough, hard-nosed games against each other, but there’s a reason that after this year we’ll return to the proper state of the league in which half of all titles will have been won by the Celtics and Lakers – we’re the two best franchises in the NBA. Best of luck every time you don’t play the Cs.

  87. 74) Barry g
    “why did so many people pick the lakers to win this series?”

    Simple – everyone gave too much weight to the first two Celtics playoff series, relative to the amount of weight they gave to their regular season record – including a very good record against the west. (Myself included.)

    The Celtics have three valid offensive threats in the starting lineup. The Lakers have one, and two “maybes”. The Celtics have experience on the bench – Posey, Brown, Cassell. The Lakers most experienced bench player is Luke Walton. The Celtics have several scoring threats on the bench. The Lakers have Sasha Vujacic, who is very inconsistent. The Celtics have defensive stalwarts on the bench. The Lakers have Turiaf (who has been playing sub-par most of the playoffs) and Vujacic. The Lakers have the best player in Kobe Bryant, but Pierce is not that far behind him. The Lakers have more team speed, but that gets offset by the Celtics advantage in rebounding. The Lakers have youth, presumably that makes them fresher/shorter recovery times, but that is offset by the Celtics experience. I had also expected the Celtics to be “tight” and overly intense, which would work against them. That hasn’t really materialized. Maybe it would have had the Lakers won the first game, but we’ll never know.

  88. I know Kobe woke up this morning thinking “we’re going to do something that neither MJ nor Phil or anyone else has ever done”

    I believe.

    Win on Sunday…………and anything is possible.

  89. Last night. I now have a new meaning to that word.

    Our team again reminded me how much I have love them so. In spite of what our team has done and disappoint to our despair, here we are, still here, like an addict. I could continue to death how much I disagreed with everything that was wrong with last night, but believe me, i will still not give up.

    I love this team. No matter what. In God’s grace. We will prevail.

    Think about it, we had witness and experience almost everything with our team. I’m reminded time and time again why I chose them among many (different sports).

    Now, I truly understand the Nba slogan… “I love the fear.” This is it guys. We’ve been so pampered this whole season. Lets give back the love to our team.

    Go Lakers.

  90. Our Dream Will Not Die… Go Lakers!!!!

  91. lowlut, I know I used the word *hunger* but it was more of a metaphor for the desire that comes from falling short and building a character that defines winners. I know there are examples where people can come in and win right away, but many, many teams suffer failures before they taste the ultimate victory.

    Do I think the Lakers *want* to win as much as the Celtics? Of course. Do I think that the younger Lakers who have never been out of the first round have the same basketball experiences or at the point in there careers where they understand what they have in front of them with this chance in the Finals? There, I am not so sure. But I hope and think they’ll get there through experiences like these Finals.

    My main point was in response to those that want to break up this team. I want this team to grow together. You’ve already suggested another player that *if we had* that guy, we’d have better matchups and that would lead to wins. I would argue that through experience you can also learn how to utilize your skills and maximize your potential better in order to neutralize matchups. I also happen to think that this Celtics team is a bit of an exception to the rule in that most great teams are built and tweaked until they are winners not overhauled and then win on the fly. Even the Heat team that was a hodge podge team, lost in the Conf. Finals before they won the title. I’m just saying, I think you took my hunger comment too literally.

  92. It’s over.

  93. I think we’d be winning this series right now with kwame instead of Pau.. …. BUT we wouldn’t have made it to the Finals without Pau.

  94. the other Stephen June 13, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    i don’t mean this a personal attack, but “bill engvall,” your suggestion was as poopay as your comedy.

  95. Wheelchairs

    It’s a little bit of a historical comment, but back in 1967 or so I remember an article in SI showing a cartoon of Bill Russel sitting in a wheelchair that claimed the Celtics were way too old to win another NBA championship. This was the year after their 8-peat was ended. Of course it didn’t end up quite like that prediction.

    Since that time I’ve always thought that wheelchairs and the Celtics were a good combination.

  96. How is there virtually no mention of the Suns series WE LOST after being up 3-1? We know how these things are lost from the INSIDE. I know it’s the playoffs but regardless of anything else, I maintain, anything can happen when Kobe Bryant is on your team.

  97. Can I just say that freakin Lakersground.net happens to be some of the crappiest fans I’ve seen? From critiquing Kobe’s post game press conference to some other items in that vein I just have to shake my head and either how finicky or just damn spoiled our fan base is that they think championships are growing from trees for us. Thank GOD for you folks for sanity.

  98. #93, Todd, why don’t you take your brilliant commentary back over to a celtic blog where those kind of insights might be more appreciated and noteworthy. sorry, we are just not up to the depth of such insightfulness.

  99. #96 – because the 2006 Lakers were nothing like the 2008 Celtics.

    #81 – I agree, though I had thought House and Posey could have been paid more by other teams that needed them. I wasn’t aware that they were sought after, because I would have signed both of those guys were I a GM.

    #91 – I’ve never heard anyone use hunger in that perspective; Though if that’s what you meant, I’ll concede the point to you. I understand that a team needs to go through hardships and grow together in order to come out on top as an unit, however, I believe somethings simply cannot, or will not, improve over time and struggles. What I’m speaking of is the SF position on our team, and their defense in particular. Radman and Luuuuuke! will not be able to guard the better small forwards in the league, despite how much they go through as a part of the Lakers team. For that, that weakness will always be exposed and prodded by other teams, unless we make the change.

    “… the rule in that most great teams are built and tweaked until they are winners…”

    Like you said, tweaks. I believe we need to -tweak- the SF position in order to become a great team. A great team is a team that has won a championship, a good team is the second runner up.

    In short, I agree with you, but I just feel we need a SF that can defend and be able to score buckets, as well.

  100. were not sought after*

  101. I remember when someone presented the idea that we should sign Posey instead of resigning Luke (not sure if that was kwame a. or nate jones)…boy was he right.

  102. Hi Darius,

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful analysis and comments. We needed some healing. I had to teach both Tuesday and Thursday from 6-10, so I have not had live Staples, network TV, or even radio play by play to rely on–just summaries and comments.

    Still, I have seen or reviewed nearly all of the Laker games for the past several years, and I’m certain that you have the correct perspective. We are fortunate to be blessed with a young exciting team that is still emerging–not a rebuilding project.

    This great Laker team has emerged out of nowhere against all odds. It is unacceptable to consider possible trade scenarios even before the NBA championship has been decided. Right now, there is not a single player on this team that I would consider trading–no Smusher to call out. They deserve 100% support. They could win the next three big–or get closed out on Sunday. I’ll support them equally either way.

    Game 4 was the first game that wasn’t decided by free throw margins–and it showed great character by those Leprechauns. A similar performance in game 5 would convince us all that they were the better team.

    A game 5 victory, especially a compelling victory by the Lakers could almost even things up. We then would get a chance to see whether or not “home cooking” could give Boston that final push–or if the Lakers still had a Los Angeles ending to offer us.

    My dream has been to reach to NBA finals. Even if we had been blown out 4-0 by large margins, I would have considered this to be a dream season.

    I’m grateful for every player we have–and I’m not buying these attacks on a single one of them!

    Pau Gasol was a champion before he even came to the Lakers. The Lakers have hardly lost with him in the lineup. As a chamelion, he does whatever is needed. His 17 points and 10 rebounds in game 4 offset Kevin Garnett’s 16 points and 11 rebounds. Not bad for a man playhing out of position!

    Lamar Odom has been an all star level player on the cusp for many years–undone by unfortunate role assignments, loved by teammates, coaches, and fans for his gentle ways, frustrating for his mental lapses, trade bait for more than a year, until he became teamed with a resurgent Andrew and then a newly acquired Pau. He remains the x factor. In game 4, Lamar had 19 points and 10 rebounds compared to Posey’s 18 points and 2 rebounds.

    Vladamir Radmanovich was a much recruited free agent capable of playing either the 3 or 4. Though injured for much of the season, VladRad has emerged as a starter in the playoffs with a more and more diverse game. Against Boston in game 4, VladRad had 10 points and 5 rebounds. He did a great job against Paul Pierce in the first half of game 4.

    When he came back to the Lakers, Derek Fisher was underappreciated by many on this blog. He’s not underappreciated now. Derek got 13 for the Lakers in game 4. Rajon Rondo got 5 for Boston.

    Luke Walton has been injured for much of the year, but has played well during the playoffs. He’s been attacked unceasingly by LA area bloggers as being slow, poor on defense–with no offense. In game 3, he was credited with the key assist that won the game for the Lakers. In game 4, he had a 3 point basket (1-3) in 4 minutes.

    Sasha “The Machine ” Vuyucich emerged this year because he suddenly was made the backup to Kobe. His pesky defense and 3 point confidence gained him playing time. In game 3, he was the hero. In game 4, he was a disaster, making neither shots nor stops. Ray Allen finished him off in the fourth quarter.

    Jordan Farmar has had similar moments. Jordan has grown into his job, sharing time with Derek Fisher. In Game 4, he had great trouble defending Eddie House or scoring–with 3 points.

    Trevor Ariza is managing to show in very limited playing time what he could have done if he hadn’t been injured. He was traded to the Lakers in the early season and has yet to have a summer of practice with the team. He had 6 points and 5 rebounds in 9 minutes in game 4.

    Ronny Turiaf has been forced to play out of position at center as an “enforcer” for the last 2 years–and it has reduced his contributions. Ronny has brought much energy to the Lakers, but a weak contribution in 10 minutes in Game 4.

    Kobe Bryant has brought incredible talent and determination to the Lakers, winning MVP honors. He was hero of game 3. In game 4, he relied on his teammates in the first half, and failed to turn it on in the second half in game 4. He didn’t disappear as much as Paul Pierce in game 3, but he did not have an MVP game.

    Kobe only scored 17 points, whereas Ray Allen and Paul Pierce scored 19 and 20 respectively in game 4.

    For those of you who have suffered through the last seasons, the overall value of these players was well known. Some of you seem to have forgot.

    I hope that they go out and have some fun on Sunday!

  103. #100. I understand that real weaknesses in individual players exist. But that’s the truth for every player on every team. The frustrating part for me is not necessarily Radman and Luke’s defense though (to me, that’s just one factor contributing to why we may lose a game), my true frustration in this series is that we haven’t used our strengths to dictate to and force reactions from the Celtics. We can talk about the issues of any one player and how one or two of his negative traits can be damaging, but a team is built of off the idea that as a unit, our strengths are better than yours and that we can cover our weaknesses better than yours. You know?

    In the same way that Pierce is hurting us on offense, why can’t Gasol be hurting them? In the same way that they are defending Luke or Lamar (or name your Laker here) and making him less effective, why can’t we do those things to Allen or Pierce or (name your strong playing Celtic here). It’s a team game from the coaches to the players and in this series, so far, we’ve been beaten by the team that’s performed, coached, and executed better. It’s frustrating and it makes you think “oh we’re not good enough. we need to get better in this way”, but in reality, we have just as many strengths as Boston, but we haven’t executed them in a way that has made them adjust to us.

    I think we can all see that we need to *play* better, but it’s not clear to me that we need a better team. We’re plenty strong enough to beat Boston. They’ve just played better. It sounds simple, I know, but it’s really the truth. Look at the teams we’ve gone through to get this far. I know it’s popular right now to downgrade the teams we’ve beaten because we’ve underperformed the way that we have (Denver imploded; Utah wasn’t tough, they only fouled; Manu was hurt, the Spurs were old). Please. Those were strong teams. We deserve to be here and are good enough to win as we are. And none of it is over yet. All this may sound delusional, but I really do believe it.

  104. I think Michael Scott said it best:
    “It feels like somebody took my heart and dropped it into a bucket of boiling tears. And at the same time, somebody else is hitting my soul in the crotch, with a frozen sledge hammer. And then a third guy walks in and starts punching me in the grief bone…”

  105. drrayeye , very good analysis of the Lakers as we now know them. I do not think we need any changes to that team. I am looking forward to a Sunday win.
    Go Lakers…

  106. Last night was a nightmare. period. But, for a team that nobody picked to come out of the west, nobody picked to knock off the defending champs, nobody picked to be in 1st place in the toughest western conference race in history? We are right where we are supposed to be. EARNING IT. earning the right to stand with proven superstars. this isn’t a team with shaq in his prime posting 1 of his 3 greatest 50 finals performances of all-time. This is a team missing a huge part of their defense who learned to adjust on the fly with a new big man. We are not a bunch of cagey vets. We are a group of young punks who are learning what it takes live with excellence – something kg, pierce, kobe and allen learned long ago.

    To me the season wen tlike this – they won. we loved it. they kept winning. we saw potiential. we loved it. then. they lose. and it seems as though everyone forgot that this was a team that is in it’s almost “fetal” stage. a team with so much upside it’s insane. Plus the only team in a conference of “up and coming” young teams with Finals experience. The celtics have a 2-3 year window period. we have a 5-6 year window… maybe more with savvy trading… Who is the loser now? In all honesty, after the KG trade I predicted the Celtics would win the title this year or bust. I never even dreamed, at that point? That the Lakers would even make it to the conference semis. Let alone be in the frickin’ finals!!! This is rare air people. Air where few get to breath and our boys are sucking it up only to become stronger. I truly believe that.

    And… stop jumping all over P-Jax. He has done WONDERS with this squad. WONDERS with developing the youth. We have an amazing bench seemingly manufactured out of spare parts. He wants a team to find it’s poise. Sometimes that is accomplished in losing. He is building a team for the ages… I’m sad that more Laker fans can’t see the purple and gold path we have before us…. many, many years of great championship level basketball in all of our futures. Isn’t that truly what its about? We just got tricked into thinking it was going to happen over half a season and it’s not and that’s okay because that’s the way it needs to be for these youngsters to learn.

    Keep the faith and lets take back some pride in game five!!

  107. Darius, Oh how I would love to believe that it ain’t over till its over, what with me being one of the last die hards! I am finding trouble sustaining any thoughts of the Lakers season lasting beyond Sunday.

    The Lakers appear to be content with making it to the finals (save Kobe) instead of trying to win the championship. Our players are either petrified or they have been over achievers this season and reality is setting in: That is that they are not quite ready for primtetime nor good enough or both.

    Kobe just maybe gassed. The past three seasons trying to carry, cajole and create for a team that could not or would not excel must have finally caught up with him.

    Sad to say, but Phil & Co. are being out coached by Doc Rivers, et. al (Thiboudeaux).

    Having missed viewing the debacle, I was mercifully only able to view the game through–what Chick Hearn called–words eye view (the radio). I caught a news replay of the layup that changed the game, Ray Allen driving to the basket from his right with Vlade Radmonivich taking one step toward him and then becoming a matador. What he couldn’t go for the block or wrap Ray Allen up?

    The bench mob have become the stench mob.

    The Lakers defense is ineffective, they have gotten by by cheating off of three point shooters who in previous rounds were missing. Posey, Allen and Pierce heretofore known as PAP because they TAP that a**, are too hungry for one championship and in Posey’s case another one.

    Any team that is down by 24 points is duty bound to try to get back in the game by shooting 3′s or getting and ones. So why were the Lakers dropping down to help on Garnett or any other player in the lane trying a two pointer? You learn on your first traveling team to not allow a team to make 3′s during a comeback. It takes them twice as long to get back in a game with 2′s than it does with threes when the clock starts to work against them also.

    Then they let a non point guard, House run the point and do what he normally does shoot 3′s!

    What is the point of a coaching staff? Not one of those guys sitting over there with suits could tell the Lakers that they WANT to shoot 3′s. Better yet, did we not just almost do the same thing to them in Boston in game 2?

  108. 107) I think Dallas was telling themselves that that year that Magic Johnson and the Lakers won the WCF’s.

    Again they told themselves that when the Golden State Warrier’s knocked them out of the first round last year.

    And again, oh no they got rid of their coach. And I am sure that some changes will occur in player personnel.

    We may not be back in this position for years. No guarantee that Bynum will continue to improve nor recover from his injury. WCF is not getting any easier, Portland is the best young team out there believe that.

    This window of opportunity opened for us, just as you stated but just as quickly it could close shut for a decade, I think the team that the Lakers are playing can vouch for that!

  109. It’s crazy how some people blame Gasol. He’s doing wonderfully out of his position. People forget he’s playing a forced role as a C because there’s no Bynum.
    As KG said ‘Pau took the Lakers to another level’. I don’t know what some people expect him to be, but without him the Lakers wouldn’t be able to reach the Finals or #1 West like they did, and all of that playing out of his position. That is just AWESOME in my opinion.

    If there’s someone to blame (if you can) that is Kobe Bryant, basically for shooting almost every ball he touched and forcing a lot of bad shots and doing a bad %. Big MVP ego and still lack of maturity/teamplay sometimes.
    You don’t have to prove nothing at this point Kobe. You just have to make your team WIN.

    Also, not a finesse work from Mr. Jackson and some bad luck and lack of attitude from some players. You cannot win the Celtics that way.

  110. afterdinnermint June 14, 2008 at 2:47 am

    BLA BLA BLA – we all hate game 4 and Bynum would have made this series totally different – no-one feels it more than the players right now

    I am confident they will force a game 6. No doubt about it.

    Kobe will drop 45+ points in front of Schilling’s mug and we will have a game 7

    There is NO WAY that Boston wants a game 6 o r 7, they feel like they have stolen this series already, but IT AINT OVER

  111. Does anybody know (or know where I can find out) who is collectively the youngest team to ever reach the NBA finals? Similar to a stat that was floating around a while ago that the Lakers, after trading for Trevor Ariza, became the third youngest team in the league in terms of average age. I’m interested to find out because I wouldn’t be surprised if it was this current Lakers team.

  112. #110 I completely agree. The Lakers are young and it makes me want to believe again that they took the fight this far. I also agree that the Lakers deserve more of a boost from us fans. Cmon, no quitting on the Lakers. The future is bright. If they can keep their core and their youngsters keep humble (esp with finances) and sharp, then this trophy and dynasty WILL materialize. Ariza is a gem, Bynum can be a star and the lineup can be so formidable even if they trade 2 bench guys or say, LO. Many in the NBA roster will sure want to play more with the Lakers than the Celtics or any other team given our roster, all factors considered. About Odom, I agree he has to prove something from the 1st minute to the last on Game 5. He was a second option before. We remember times he blew it ofcourse. But he has to find a reason to be at this level. He has to attack hard and keep the older Celtics gasping for air. Bottomline, heart. The Lakers shouldn’t treat this series as a preparation series for next year’s run. The time is now. Uncertainty is there. I hope Gasol shows more of this sense of urgency. Go on and dunk man!

    About the ticket prices…they should! The management shouid also feel this urgency. We can be classy as we can be loud. I have yet to see a totally deafening and game-altering effort from the LA faithful, particularly those in the front. We can sure use some of the Salt Lake energy and Detroit spice. LA fans go and flood Staples. It’s a worthy investment. Your voices will count.

    I can’t help but smile for the Lakers. I have a good feeling that this is not over and WILL not end in Game 5 sadness. Maybe having the confidence in our roster in the long-term allows me to buffer my disappointment and hope for more. After all, we have to hope for more. This was supposed to be a playoff team taken out in the second round. Look where we are. I believe Kobe has something off his shoulder for all the world to see in this series. I believe in miracles anyway and this one may need no miracle. GO LAKERS!

  113. Curious question, why do Lakers fans pine for Bynum like he is the missing piece?

    It’s intellectually dishonest. Sure, it’s a great tandem to look forward to in Bynum, Gasol, but for purposes of this season that team never existed.

    Bynum was out for the season before the Gasol trade. A bynum-Gasol tandem was never really a reality.

    The Lakers became an elite team with the gasol trade, Bynum wasn’t a part of the team that went 34-7 and on a finals run and hadn’t lost at home since March. It’s hard to now say you need the guy.

    For the future, you can salivate. But I don’t think you can point to and say things would be different if Bynum and Gasol played. That may be so, but that team never existed.

    If yo lost Bynum at the beginning of the playoffs, then fine, but because he was lost so early the team became finals caliber without him. He isn’t a part of the team.

  114. ok John S. whatever, thats great reasoning… I have no idea why Lakers fans would point out that having another quality 7 footer with a defensive presence would help our chances in the finals.

    Just one for the suspicious among us, anyone else get bugged by the fact that pau is wearing a memphis jersey I think on the nba front page with the starting five pics… everyone else is in yellow but him, personally I think thats why we are losing. bad bad portents that memphis jersey.

    ps. I don’t mean that to be as inflammatory as it sounds, I have a very dry, sarcastic sense of humour. I cannot believe tho that a celtics fan wouldn’t be muttering ‘what if’ if ray allen was for example injured all season…

  115. JR, if Ray was hurt at the halfway point, and Boston traded for another guard, and still made the finals, then you can’t then suddenly wish you had the player.

    The team that is in the finals is radically different than the early season lakers. It’s a different team and Bynum was never a part of the current equation. Could you use Bynum? Surely.

    But, it’s dishonest to suggest he was a part of this finals run. Bynum never played a minute with Gasol. Lakers became the WCF champions after the Bynum injury. Bynum was not a part of this team that is in the finals.

    He isn’t on the team, and was no factor in the run. You can’t pine for him now. You can get excited for next year, but you can’t plug him into this series. He isn’t a part of the team.

  116. the other Stephen June 14, 2008 at 7:24 am

    John S, i’ll assume you haven’t been around and have not watched bynum play, because this is a question that has been discussed on this forum.

    the greater conviction is that their qualities will allow them to coexist very well within the triangle because of a lack of overlap. although i know you’re referring to the pau trade, it’s wholly one dangerous thing to say that “because he was lost…we became finals caliber without him,” and “we became finals caliber without him.”

    it’s very easy to say we need the guy now, because of the brutal interior offensive, and especially defensive element that only he, and not pau and odom, can satisfy. when you look at this team now, it’s a brilliant team, but it just doesn’t have that enforcer element to it.

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2008/02/27/talking-pau/

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2008/02/04/pau-and-defense/

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2008/02/01/pau-gasol-traded-to-lakers/

  117. He isn’t on the team, and was no factor in the run. You can’t pine for him now. You can get excited for next year, but you can’t plug him into this series. He isn’t a part of the team.

    ***

    This is a very typical fan reaction, and where you should be looking is not at Laker fans but:

    a) In the mirror
    b) At the site you are posting on

    When your team beats a rival, it is understandable that you want the fans of that rival to tip their hats and say, “The best team won.” But a lot of people have a hard time doing that. I know Celtic fans my age and up who still think the 1987 finals were decided by injuries, not by the Lakers being a better team, which they were. But ultimately, if the 2008 Celtics go on and get the job done, it shouldn’t matter to you that a bunch of Laker fans on the highest profile Laker site on the net are talking about Andrew Bynum. A ring is a ring is a ring. And if Ray Allen were gone, and had been replaced by another 2, and the Celtics were down 3-1, I guarantee you would be hearing the same stuff at Celtic sites all over the net.

    Bynum would help the Lakers; that is all people are saying. But if he were there, the Celtics might very well be beating them anyway. The Celtics are the first team that the Lakers have played in the postseason that makes his loss one that the team really feels, and that is because the Celtics are the deepest, toughest, best team the Lakers have seen. Take it as a compliment that your team is good enough to make us miss Bynum and seek some consolation.

  118. John S. though you are correct in saying that, that team never existed it is in human nature to speculate “what if”. When Bynum got injured he was only supposed to be out for 8 weeks, so Lakers fans were salivating for what could possibly the best front court in the NBA. In December and January, Bynum was averaging 15 pts, 67% FG, 10 rbs, 2.1 assts, and 2.6 blks in only 31 minutes a game. He was getting better every game. He was learning how to change shots without fouling (he is very long, as long as Gasol but more athletic), how to rotate properly to get back to his man (something he didn’t when played against the Celts), and he was getting better on PNR defense. He was in the top of the league in rebound rate. So its not wonder lakers fans are asking what if; what if the Lakers had a nother 7 footer, one that is a great rebounder, shot blocker, really long and getting better every game. Hopefully we get to find out next season.

    15, 67%, 10 (3.5, 6,5), 2.1, 2.6 31 min

  119. dr rayeye-

    I too taught both and T and TH and watched recorded versions of the games. I did see the end of Game 4 on a TV in the student lounge. your points are well-taken. I never thought the Lakers should be favorites in this series, and even if they lose tomorrow, this has been a great, franchise-changing season.

    That said, any time a team blows a 24-point lead at home in the NBA Finals, and said team has both the league MVP and a 10M a year HoF coach, there needs to be some hard-core accountability, and in those circumstances, looking at the team critically is not at all a bad thing.

    GO LAKERS

  120. John S,
    AS far as the Lakers fans and Bynum – you have to take into account that the initial reports were that he could be back in 8 weeks. Then a couple of weeks after the injury, Gasol is acquired, with the thought that Bynum only had 6 more weeks of recovery. (I am curious if the Lakers front office already had an inkling about the severity of Bynum’s injury, but if they did it wasn’t relayed to the fans.) That means that there was a realistic (at the time) expectation that Bynum and Gasol would be playing together for about a month before the playoffs. Thus there is probably more frustration re Bynum, and less gratitude re Gasol, than there should be.

  121. 108) “I don’t know what some people expect him to be, but without him the Lakers wouldn’t be able to reach the Finals or #1 West like they did”

    They probably don’t even make the playoffs without him.

  122. If the Lakers bring the mindset of winning ONE possession at a time both on defense and offense…they can turn this around and make history of their own.

    Game#5 – Lakers by 10-12

    Believing is half the battle…

  123. Maybe Bynum will be a terrific player some day.

    But face it – he’s a 20 year old kid still with a lot to learn about pro ball, and not truly physically mature yet. He isn’t going to carry an otherwise soft Lakers team to a championship.

    The Celtics played the Lakers twice when they had Bynum. The result? 2-0 Celtics.

  124. 109) the beggining of your message makes me don’t want to read the rest.. sorry

    111) i can’t agree more

  125. 116) so true

    sorry for double post!

  126. A lot of people say that character is something you can improve, I disagree. And that’s what makes me feel terribly hopeless for the future.

    You have or you don’t have character…

    Chris Webber didn’t, Karl Malone didn’t, Pat Ewing didn’t…

    Nowitzki doesn’t, Garnett doesn’t… Wait, Garnett is going to win the ring against us???

    That means something, most of our players doesn’t have character…

  127. The Celtics played the Lakers twice when they had Bynum. The result? 2-0 Celtics.

    ***

    Gasol had a synergistic effect on the Lakers. Having Bynum and Gasol together might be the same. I hope so, and we’ll see.

    Go back and read 118 and 119. Those together summarize the on-court and fan issues nicely.

  128. Warren Wee Lim June 14, 2008 at 9:16 am

    I just want to say… GO CELTICS! (yuck yuck yuck)

    It seems that my crystal ball has dimmed a little and there seems to be green fog all over it. All I see is but a psychologically-battered team that is abandoned by its fans.

    There will always be 2 sides to every story – and its just a matter of how you interpret it.

    1a. The Celtics is a more veteran-savvy team.
    1b. The Lakers need this experience to GROW.

    2a. The Celtics wanted it more!
    2b. They simply got the better end of the bargain by pulling all the stops. Game 1 could have easily been ours, Game 4 SHOULD have been ours.

    3a. The Celtics pulled off the greatest comeback in NBA Finals History!
    3b. Not if the Lakers can help it…

    See this is where we differ in our opinions. Laker Fans you say: I’m a realist. Well lets just say: I’m a believer… and a sucker for happy endings.

    Game 5, Lakers come out playing like Game4. Only this time Kobe does not get 10 assists, give me 45 points on this one. Better yet, give me 50. Drop 5-0 on Boston Kob.

    Game 6, Boston celebrates like this game is won from the get-go. Only this time, LA decides to show up. We get Trevor early on – on Pierce and heck, Son-of-Bill needs some quality time beside Son-of-George. I say we stick up one on their behinds and call it a series. This is how you win in Boston baby.

    Before I predict what happens in the last and final game of the 07-08 season, may I just thank all the members of FB&G for making this blog a part of my life. All you have been great, its gotta end some time. Allow me to quote Bill Simmons: “Unlike the do-or-die seventh game, which usually becomes more of a life experience than a sporting event…….. ” game 7s are usually a test of character and not skill.

    Well, to make the long story short, there are only 4 permutations left:

    a. Celtics in 5
    b. Celtics in 6
    c. Celtics in 7
    d. Lakers in 7.

    So I say, A and B has a 50% chance of happening, C does not, D does.

  129. the other Stephen June 14, 2008 at 9:27 am

    just because they lost both times and such doesn’t mean he has to carry them for them to scrape together a win.

  130. Since we are in the history making mode, why stop now. We might as well continue to make history by being the first team to come back from a 3 – 1 deficit. We are in a “one game at a time” phase now. Go Lakers!!! Let’s make more history.

  131. CELTICS can have the best comeback in a finals GAME. The LAKERS gonna have the best comeback in Finals SERIES History. Being the only team to come back from 3-1 down in the finals. oh man its gonna be sweet.

  132. A couple of things. Why does this blog fill up like this only when we are losing? But, more importantly, it is only as difficult to win three games in a row, as it is for the Lakers to play the way they know they can play. If the Lakers play like they want it as badly as KG, Pierce, and Allen, they will three in a row, no doubt. It comes down to desire.

  133. 113) That is exactly what I am saying ‘uncertainty’ looms, while the present is NOW!

    I am and will be a Laker fan regardless of how this series ends. Would I like the Lakers to stay alive and prove the world wrong? Yes!!! For Kobe’s sake, I would.

    I would also like the Lakers to click, just one game and it had better be game 5. The starters, bench, offense and defense must be one unit. Everyone bringing it all and leaving it on the floor. Forget jitters, forget pressure, forget the Celtics defense, forget contracts, forget trades at the end of the season, forget everything but the matter at hand and that is to win game 5 at the Staples center.

    They can do it! Not once have they played in unison this entire series. If the Lakers play as one in game 5 they will believe just enough to take it on the road and steal one in game 6. If the Lakers make it to game 7, Kobe will take it from there.

    129) That gives the Lakers a 1-4 chance of winning the whole thing. The odds are against the Lakers but so is Vegas, yet people go there daily trying to beat the house. Every once in a while it happens, so nothing is impossible.

  134. This team would be in SUCH better shape with the outside shooting of Brian Cook. He really was an anchor of this team last year and kept defenses honest.

    I think the Lakers should try and pursue him in the offseason.

  135. To me it comes down to Kobe has to step up and be more consistent. His teammates twice have put him in position to win games and he didnt play well down the stretch. Games 1 and 4 were very winnable games. So far he’s only had 1 great game and thats not acceptable if your the MVP.

  136. 133- Mr. Engvall I really hope that you are kidding. Brian Cook was the worst defender on our team. He is a HUGE liability on defense. That is why he averages only 12 minutes per game. All we need is another one dimensional streaky shooter (*cough* Vlad Rad).

  137. 135. Bill Engvall, that was funnier than any of your TNT promos.

  138. Going back to no defense Cook is out. Trevor Ariza’s summer assingment must be to practise shooting 3′s like Bruce Bowen, then we’ll have offense and defense at the starting SF. (Pau should come off the bench like Manu Ginobili.)

    As for for this Finals, I say make more history and win three in a row.

  139. 137, I think he was kidding lol

  140. For game five, the Lakers need to realize they are in an elimination game. You can get away with a lot more when you are at home, and the Lakers should take full advantage.

    Moving screens from Pau please, and Odom. Both of these guys are long enough to be a problem with a little half step. If KG can get away with it for a whole series, we should be able to pull a few off.

    On D, I think we need more physicality in general. I don’t agree with the notion that Pau is a bad defender. He just needs someone to show him the proper way to grab and hold his opponents. People are slipping by him because he is afraid to put his hands on the offensive player and impede their progress. The remaining games will be tough, and he needs to put away the good guy stuff and get mean.

    Luke Walton is MIA, and his absence is hurting our offense a surprising amount.

    Just smile, we aren’t supposed to be here. Let’s win game five, stay attentive and keep the passing crisp.

  141. Thanks Goo. Of course I was kidding. I love Ariza and I think he can become part of the core Laker team for years to come. Brian Cook was a cancer just like Smush.

    I have faith in the Lakers but I’m alreasy realistic and know that winning 3 in a row against ANY playoff team is difficult…let alone the team with the best record in the league and who still has 2 home games left. The only thing that might be in our favor is that boston is a little banged up. Take it one game at a time….win the home game…then win game 6 less than 48 hours later after travelling all the way back east….then hope for Kobe to pull through in game 7. It’s possible.

  142. …oh….and PLEASE watch my show…..

    ….really funny… ;)

  143. On a completely random note….Tiger Woods!!!

  144. Add another believer. I still believe.

    As cliched as it already is: let’s take it one game at a time. Every game has its own chapter in the history books. We will win the game tomorrow due to the heart of our warriors and the energy of true Laker fans that will radiate throughout the Staples Center. After that, a new series will have been born. Celtics will need 1, Lakers will need 2. It is not differentiated. It is not that significant compared to the adversity we’ve had to overcome from the very start to reach this point. This is for the ultimate prize. We still have the best player on Earth and the most brilliant coach, even after the massive amount of scrutiny they have been under for being mortals. I still believe.

  145. I hope Phil just shows Tiger’s back 9 over and over to the team

  146. Dear Bill Engvall, Wait, you have a show?

  147. 145. Yes its on TNT and they promoted it every 5 minutes during the WCF. It must be a great snow.

  148. Warren Wee Lim June 15, 2008 at 7:07 am

    Chearn on 134 – The Lakers actually have more than a 25% chance for this to happen and here’s why:

    Game5 will most likely be the jugular for Boston. But remember, they could come up complacent and “agree” to celebrate at home. So the odds that we will lose tomorrow just took on a whole new different meaning. 25% just might become 33%.

    Then there’s game 6. This is where Boston decides to chest-pump every 3-pt play, to go amok on every charge taken, and to toast beer on every Leon Powe freaking minute. This is where the party is scheduled anyway – this is the ONLY game we need to win. If we do, well, the series just gave the critics one interesting turn.

    IF and that’s a huge IF hanging there, I absolutely cast this prediction on stone – the Lakers will win it. Game 7s of the Finals do not need homecourt with it, Game 7s are won with Destiny.

    At this stage, who do you think has the better Cinderella story?

    I thought so…

  149. Warren Wee Lim June 15, 2008 at 7:09 am

    At this stage, who do you think has the better Cinderella story waiting to be written?

  150. Best Cinderella story waiting to be written?

    How can you beat going from that worst team in the league to the NBA champs in one year? Isn’t that the best Cinderella story possible?

    Not to mention the possibility of winning it on Father’s day when you have recently lost your Dad?

    The story line is there for the Celtics. Whether they can pull it off though remains to be seen.

  151. 147 -

    I appreciate your support for your team. But more than a 25% chance? A statistician would differ.

    Lakers vs. Celtics this year 1-5. That’s about 17% per game, odds of winning 3 in a row are (0.17) cubed or 0.0049. That is a 0.5% chance.

    Or if you look at the championship series 0-28 – since it hasn’t been done the only thing you can say is that the odds are less than 1 in 29. That’s about 3%.

    Impossible? No. Look at what the Red Sox have done in 2004 and 2007. But likely? Or 25% chance? The numbers don’t lie.

  152. How can you beat going from that worst team in the league to the NBA champs in one year? Isn’t that the best Cinderella story possible?

    ***

    No. After the Garnett and Allen deals, the Celtics were considered co-favorites with Detroit in the East. They were heavy favorites to win the East going into the playoffs, and should not have been underdogs in the Finals. In addition, the Celtics’ tradition precludes them from even being a “Cinderella.” There is no “storyline” with the Celtics other than rings for the vets and a return to the top for the franchise.

  153. 153 – Previous games have no effect on future games. Therefore, your computation of odds is, to put it mildly, pulled from thin air.

  154. 153 – Furthermore, no statistician would attempt to make predictions on the small sample size of six, now seven.

  155. ????, “??? ??????”, ?????? ??????????? ??????????, ?951029 45 07, ?????????? ???????
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    ????? ???? ?? ??? ??? ????? ???? ?????? ?????? ??????? ??? ??? ?????? ???????? ????????? ?????? ? ???? ?????????? ??? ????? ? ?, ??? ?????? ????? ????? ?????? ?? ????? ????? ????????? ?? ?????. ??????? ???????????? ???? ???? ???? ???????? ????????? ????? ?????????? ????????????? ?? ?????????. ????????? ????? ??????? ????????: ??????? ??? ? ??????? ?? ?????? ???????? ??? ??? ??? ??????? ? ?? ????????. ??????? ?????? ????? ???????? ????????????? ????? ???? ????????? ????? ??? ?? ?? ??????? ??????????? ?? ?????????? ??????? ??? ????? ??? ???? ??????? ???????????? ??? ?????? ??? ??????????? ? ????? ?????? ???????? ??????? ? ?????. ?? ??????? ??????? ??? ????????: ?????????? ? ???????????????? ?? ?? ?? ? ???????. ???? ??????, ??? ?????? ??????? ????? ?? ????? ??????? ??????? ??? ????? ??? ??? ????? ????? ?? ?? ????? ??? ????? ???????? ???????????? ??? ?????? ??? ??????. ? ???? ?. ?????? ??????? ?????????? ???????? ?????? ???????? ????????: ??? ??????? ??????? ?????????, ??????? ????, ??????? ???????? ??????? ???????? ?? ????. ???? ?????????? ???? ?????? ??? ?????? ? ??? ????. ?????? ???????? ?????????? ???????? ??? ?????? ???? ? ????? ?????? ?? ????????? ??????.
    ???? ????? ??????? ?? ? ?????????? ??? ???? ?????????? ????????. ?? ????? ???????? ? ?????? ????? ???? ???? ?? ??? ?? ? ?????? ???? ??? ????? ?????? ? ????? ????????????? ??, ??? ?? ????????????? ??? ???? ?? ???? ????? ????????? ???? ????????? ? ?? ???? ??????? ?????????? ?????????? ???? ? ?? ?? ?? ????????? ? ?????? ???????? ????? ? ??????????? ????????? ?????? ????? ???????? ???. ?????? ??????? ???? ??? ?????????? ? ????? ? ? ?????? ?????? ????????? ??????? ??????????? ??????? ???????. ???? ? ???? ???? ???????????? ?????? ??????????? ????????? ??????????? ??????????????? ?????? ???? ?????? ???????????? ???? ?? ??????????? ?? ????????, ??? ??? ???? ?? ??????? ?????? ??? ???? ?. ??????? ???? ?????? ????????? ???????? ?? ?????? ??????.

    ? ???? ? ???? ????? ? ????? ????? ???? ?????????? ?? ??????????. ?????? ???????????? ? ?? ??????. ???? ???, ??? ?????? ??????? ????? ??? ?????????? ??????? ??????? ? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?? ? ?? ?? ??????? ???????? ???????. ???????? ?????????? ?? ??????? ???? ?????????? ?? ???? ????????? ? ?????????? ? ?. ????? ????????????? ???????? ????? ???????? ?? ??????? ????????? ?? ????? ? ???????, ??? ??? ????? ??? ????????? ?????????????. ???? ??? ???? ??????, ??? ?? ????? ? ? ??? ?????? ???? ??? ? ?????????????? ???? ????? ????? ?, ??? ???? ??????????? ??? ????? ? ????????? ??? ?? ????? ? ?????? ?????????. ????????????, ??? ???? ???? ?????? ???????? ???????? ?? ??????????? ????? ?????? ??? ? ?????? ??? ???????? ???? ????? ??? ?????????? ?? ???? ? ??? ?? ?? ???????? ?????. ??? ? ? ?? ???? ? ?? ??????? ???? ????? ? ??????, ??? ??? ? ???????? ????? ???????? ???? ???? ????????? ??, ??????? ????? ??? ?? ????? ???? ? ?? ????? ?????? ???????? ? ??????? ???????? ????? ??, ??? ? ??????? ?????????? ??? ? ???? ???? ???? ???????????? ?? ??? ????? ???????? ? ??????????? ? ??????? ??????. ????? ???????????? ? ?????? ? ???? ???????? ??? ?????????? drama ? ?? ??? ??????????? ? ???????????? ?????? ??.????? ???????, ??? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ????? ??? ???. ????? ??? ???????? ???????? ?, ??? ????????? ??? ??? ?????? ? ???????????? ? ???????? ????? ????? ?? ???? ?????????? ????????. ??????, ??????? ???????? ? ?????? ????? ?? ????? ???? ????? ?? ??????, ??? ??? ???????????? ?? ??????? ?? ????? ????????????? ?????????? ?????? ? ?? ?????????? ? ?? ???? ??? “??? ??????” deep ????????????????????? ??? ? ??? ?? ???? ? ? ???????????? ?? ? ??????? ??? ?????? ????????? ???? ???? ? ??????????? ???? ???? ???????????.

    ? ????? ? ??????? ?????? ????? ?????? ????????? ????????? ?????? ????????. ?? ??? ??? ?? ?????? ??? ? ??? ??????? ?? ???????? ??? ?????? ? ???? ? ??????? ????? ???????????? ?? ????????. ??? ??????? ??? ?? ? ???????? ??????? ??? ???? ? ??? ?, ??? ??? ??????” “??? ??? ??? ????? ?? ??????? ???????????. ? ?? ? ?????? ?? ??????? ??????? ??????, ????? ??? ?????? ?????????? ?????, ??? ???????. ?????? ?? ???????? ????? ???????? ?? ?????? ????????????. ??? ???? ?????????? ???????? ?????????? ?, ??? ????????? ??????? ? ?????? ??? ???????????? ? ??? ???, ???. ?? ??? “??? ??????” ??????, ???, ??? ????? ??????? ?????. ? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ????????? ?????? ? ?? ???? ?????? ??????? ?????????? ???????? ???????????? ???? ???? ????? ??????????? ???? ?, ???????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ????????, ??????? ????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????. ????? ??? “??? ??????” ?? ???? ????? ?????????? ???? ? ?????????? ????????????? ? ???.
    ?? ???? ????? ?, ??????? ? ??? ?? ??? ???. ?? ??? ????? ??????? ?? ?????? ??????????, ??? ???? ??????????? ?????? ??? ???? ???????????? ?? ????? ???? ? ???? ?????????? ? ??? ?? ???????? ???? ??. ?????? ??????? ????? ??? ?? ?????? ?????????? ?? ??????? ?? ?????? ?????????? ?????????? ? ?????????.

    ?????, ???, ??? ?? ??????? ?????? ??? ????????? ??????????? ??????? ???? ??? ?? ????? ?? ???? ????? ? ? ?? ??? ?????? ??????? ????????????, ????? ???? ?????? ??????? ?? ?? ?????? ? ??????? ????????????. ??????, ??? ??? ???????????? ????? ? ?? ?? ???? ?????? ??????????? ?????????? ?? ?????????. ? ????? ?????????? ???????? ? ???? ??????? ????? ???? ?? ???????? ???????. ??? ??? ????? ?? ? ? ????? ? ???????? ? ???. ??? ??????? ??????? ??? ???? ?? ??????? ????? ???? ?? ????? ?? ???????? ????????????? ?? ???. ??? ??????????? ?????? ?????????? ?????? ??????? ?????????? ? ??????? ?????? ?? ?????????? ?? ??? ????? ???????????? ? ????? ?? ????????????. ?????????? ??????? ???? ?????????? ??? ??? ????? ?????????? ???????? ?????? ??????? ?????? ??????. ?? ? ??????? ?? ???????? ????? ?? ????? ????? ????? ?????????. ???????? ?????? ? ??????? ?????? ?????????? ??????????? ?????? ?????????? ??? ????? ????? ?? ?????????. ??????????? ??????? ?? ???? ??? ? ?????, ??????? ????????? ????? ????? ??????.
    ?????? ????? ???????? ????? ? ????? ????? ?????????????. ?????? ? ????? ? ???? ????? ????, ??????? ??? ?? ??????? ??? ? ?????? ?? ?????????? ?????? ?? ?????? ??? ????? ????????????? ? ???????? ?????? ????????????? ?? ????? ? ? ???????? ????? ??? ?? ?????. ???? ???? ?????????????? ??????? ????? ?????????????? ???????? ????, ????? ??? ?951029 45 07 ?? ?????? ? ??? ? ???????????.

    ??????, ??? ??????? ???????? ?? ????????? ????? ? ? ?? ?????? ??? ? ??? ??????? ???? ?????? ?? ???? ????? ??????? ????? ???????? ??????????? ? ????? ???????? ?? ? ??????????? ???????. ????????? ?? ?? ?????? ?????????? ??????????? ?????? ?????? ? ?????? ?? ?????? ???????? 07 ?951029 45 ???????? ?? ???? ???? ????? ??? ??????? ????. ???? ??????? ????????? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ??????? ????????? ? ???????. ????? ???? ??? ??????????? ?????? ????????? ???? ?????? ????? ??? ??? ??? ??? ? ?????? ???? ??????? ?? ??????, ??? ? ???? ????????, ??? 45 07 ?951029 ? ?? ???????????? ????????? ????? ???? ??? ?? ?????? ?? ?????. ? ?????? ????????? ??? ??????????? ??? ????????? ? ?? ?????. ??????? ?????????????? ? ???? ? ???????? ? ?????? ??????? ????????? ?????? ?????? ?????, ????????? ?????. ???????, 45 07 ?951029 ??? ??????????? ?? ?????? ????? ? ????? ??? ??????, ???? ?????? ? ??????? ?? ??????, ??? ?, ???????? ????, ??? ?????? ?????? ?, ??????? ? ????????? ???? ?????. ? ???? ??????? ?????, ??? ?? ?????? ?????, ??? ??? ????? ??? ?????? ?? ????? ?????? ???? ?? ????????? ????? ???? ????? ???????? ???????? ????????? ????????. ????? ????????????? 45 07 ?951029 ???? ?????????? ??????????? ?? ??? ????? ?? ??? ???????? ??? ????????? ??? ?? ??? ?????. ? ????? ?????? ?? ????????? ?????????????? ? ?????????, ??? ????? ????? ? ????????? ?????? ? ??????? ?? ??????, ??? ?, ???????? ??? ???????? ???????? ????? ?, 45 07 ?951029 ????????? ????? ???? ???????. ?????????? ?? ????? ?? ??????????? ???? ?????????? ??????????? ??????? ? ? ????. ????? ?? ????? ? ?????? ? ???????? ????????. ? ???? ???? ??? ????????????, ??? 2 ???? ??? ????? ? ??????, ??? ??? ? ????????, ??? ?? ???????? 45 07 ?951029 ????????? ?? ????????? ???????? ???????????? ????? ? ??????, ??? ??? ????? ?????? ?????? ?? ? ???????? ????? ??? ?? ??????? ?????? ??? ? ????????? ???? ???? ???????????? ??????? ? ????? ???????? ? ????????? ? ??????? ?????? ? ?? ????????.
    ??????? ??????????? ???? ??? ?????????????? ??????????? ?????????? ?. ??? ?????? ?? ???????. ?????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????? ??????? ???? ???????????? ? ????????? ????? ???????? ???? ?????. ?? ???? ??? ??? ? ?????? ??? ?????? ? ?????? ??????? ????? ??????????? ?.

    ????????? ?? ? ??? ???????????? ???? ????????? ? ????? ??????? ?? ?????? ????????? ?? ???? ?? ???????? ?????? ??????? ?? ??? ????????? ????? ???? ?????? ????. ????? ???? ??????, ??? ?????????????? ??????????? ?? ???? ????????? ??. ??? ?????? ???? ??? ??? ????????????? ? ?????? ????????? ?????? ??? ??????. ???, ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ?????????? ??????? ?? ?? ????? ?????? ? ?????????? ???????? ??? ??????? ?? ???????????. ??????????? ?? ?????? ??????? ???????????? ???? ?? ????? ????? ??? ??? ??, ??? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ?? ??????? ?? ? ?? ?????? ??????? ?????. ??? ????? ? ?????? ?????? ???????? ??????? ????? ????????? ????? ????????? ?????? ??? ??????? ?????????? ???, ??? ??? ?????? ??????? ???? ????? ????? ????? ????? ? ??????? ??????? ????? ???? ???. ????????? ????? ? ?????? ??????? ???, ??? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ??????? ????? ??? ??? ??????? ???????. ????? ??? ???? ???? ??? ???? ????????? ??? ?? ????? ????? ????? ??? ?? ?????? ??????? ?????????? ????????????? ??????? ?? ??????? ???? ????????? ? ???????? ??? ???????????. ??? ????? ? ?????? ????????? ????? ????????? ??????? ?? ????? ??? ?????? ?????????? ???????? ?????????? ??? ?? ??????????? ??????????.
    ? ??? ????? ? ???????????? ????????????? ???????????, ??? ????? ???????. ?????? ?? ?? ?????? ???????? ?? ? ?????????, ???????? ?? ???????? ??? ? ??? ????? ??? ?? ?????????? ?????????? ? ?????????? ? ????????? ????? ???????????? ????????. ? ????? ? ?????? ????????? ??? ??????? ?.?????????? ??? ???? ????????. ?????? ? ???????? ???????? ??? ????, ??? ????????? ? ?????????, ??????? ??????? ????????? ???????? ?? ????????. ?????? ????? ? ????? ??????? ??????, ??? ?????????.

    ????? ??????? ? ??????? ?????????, ??????? ????????? ????????????? ???????? ????????? ???????. ? ???? ? ???????. ?????? ???? ???????? ?????? ?? ??? ????????????? ????? ???????? ?????????? ?????????? ? ????????? ???????? ? ???????????. ? ???????? ???????? ??? ??????? ????? ?????????? ?? ??????? ?????? ?????? ?? ? 16 ?????? ?? ???? ??????? ????? ?? ?.?????????? . ??? ???????????? ? ?????? ?????????, ????????? ?? ????? 11 ??????? 2001 ???? ?????????? ???????? ?, ??????? ???? ????????. ???????? ??????????? ????? ? ? ???????? ??? ?????? ? ??????. ? ??????????? ??? ? ?? ??????? ??? ?????? 11 ?.?????????? ???????? ??? ??????? ???? ? ??? ????????? ???????? ?????????? ? ? ???????????. ??? ???? ??????????? ????. ? ????? ??? ???? ?????, ???????? ????? ????????? ?????? ?????????. ????? ??????? ? ???? ???????, ??? ?? ?? ?? ????? ? ????? ? ???? ??????? ? ?? ???????????.
    ?? ? ?????????? ????????? ????? ?????????? ???????? ??? ????? ??? ? ??????, ??? ??? ? ???????? ?? ????? ???????? ????????? ????????? ?? ??????? ????????? ??? ?? ????? ???? ? ?? ????? ?????? ?? ?????????? ??????? ???????? ????? ???????? ????? ????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ??? ????????? ???? ???? ? ???????? ? ????? ???????? ??????????? ? ????????? ????? ???? ? ????????. ??????? ???? ?????? ?? ????????? ?????????????? ? ????? ??? ?? ????? ????????????? ????? ??? ??????? ???? ?? ??????, ??? ?????????????? ?????????????? ???????? ?????? ?????? ? ?? ??????????? ????? ???? ????? ???????? ???????? ???????????? ???????????? ????. ??????, ??? ??? ??????????? ??????????? ????????? ????? ?? ????? ??? ????, ???????? ?????? ???????? ??? ??????? ? ???? ???? ?? ?????????????? ?????????????? ??????? ???????????? ??????? ????? ????????, ??????? ?? ???????? ???? ?????.

  156. Could you please prompt a direct phone numbers service with the largest country coverage and cheap call forward to office telephone which gives free support number? I need to get the phone numbers in the USA, Hungary, Germany, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Panama, Poland, Thailand, Czech Republic, South Africa.
    ??????

  157. Most peoples says that you need, other that you dont.
    What I have to do?

  158. Hi there! I was wondering if anyone knows a nontrial financial planner program for my htc pro cell?
    Thanks a lot

  159. [b]????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ??????!
    http://sosimoe.nm.ru
    [/b]

  160. How you think, in our situation whis crisis its actual?