What I Took Away From Christmas

Kurt —  December 26, 2008

NBA Finals Game 3: Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers

1. A really nice jacket from my brother. Everyone should have a gay brother, it ensures that one truly cool and stylish piece of clothing will be given you each year.

2. The Lakers were the tougher team, the grittier team. They out hustled and out muscled the Celtics. Both teams wanted this one, the Lakers just stepped up in the last 4 minutes and the Celts wilted. (This note may be the hardest for some in the media to get their head around.)

3. Phil Jackson is clearly still looking for his post-Farmar rotation in the backcourt. As Darius echoed in the comments, Van Gundy (who I love as a color guy) was wrong about the Lakers treating this like a playoff game in the rotations, what you saw is pretty much what they have done since Jordan went down.

4. Notes to Celtics fans: You look foolish saying during a 19-game win streak that what makes your team special is they bring it every night, then saying they sleepwalked through the Lakers game. Secondly, don’t complain about the officiating, Kobe Bryant took no free throws either, when do you think that last happened? The refs put the whistles away, and for one game the Lakers were the tougher team.

5. The fact the Lakers were tougher will not stop newspaper columnists and television talking heads from calling the Lakers a soft team during the playoffs. As has been noted by a few in the comments, for the part-time basketball followers in the media, teams are soft until they suddenly aren’t because they won something.

6. Kobe was assigned Rondo and left to roam away from him, which worked at times. This was what the Lakers did in the Finals with moderate success. Really, the key is pretty obvious: Make Rondo a jump shooter. Easier said than done with his quickness, but the Lakers did it for stretches. (If he ever develops a very good midrange game…. watch out.)

6. In the end though, I say about the win what I would have said about the loss — this is December, it has no bearing on June. The win may have been cathartic for fans, but it was 1/82 of the schedule, and the Lakers will have to play better than that in June to win. There certainly was still room for improvement.

7. The best part of Christmas was still the looks on my daughters’ faces opening presents in the morning. By a mile.

91 responses to What I Took Away From Christmas

  1. I hope this game will be a momentum-changer for the Lakers. We really needed something like this, especially for guys like Bynum and Sasha. I am glad Luke had a confident game and Odom looked so amazingly happy after the back to back 3s. That is the kind of composure we need from Lamar

  2. I agree Kurt. I dont think the Celtics “sleepwalked” through this game. They played hard and really stepped up their defense in the second half, but the lakers just executed better in the end. Our bench outplayed their bench and that was the biggest difference in the game. Boston did turn the ball over a lot, but that has been their one achilies heel all season.

    The thing that surprised me most however, is that we beat them at their own game. The thing I was afraid of was a grind it out game where the scoring became difficult..and it did get difficult the whole fourth quarter, but we still got the win somehow. If you want to beat Boston you have to work the offense quickly and not let them get comfortable on defense. The ball has to keep moving. The lakers got away from that a little, but because they hustled and played tough, they were able to get a big win. This was no doubt a huge win for the Lakers, if only we can play like this every nite.

  3. Kurt,

    Apparently on CelticsBlog, it was all the refs fault. 15 FT’s to 8 is such a huge advantage. Then it’s the NBA and ABC wanted the Lakers to win (if one wants to be a conspiracy theorist, a better subplot would be to continue the win streak and question if the Lakers could beat the C’s all year). Or it’s because there’s no Posey.

  4. What really cost the Celtics the game was crucial turnovers when they had a chance to extend a lead or tie the game, lack of a playmaker in their 2nd Unit.

  5. I realize that the Celtics have only lost 3 games, but sooner or later their tendency to turn the ball over has to be mentioned. They are 29th in the league in turnover ratio. By comparison we are 9th.

    Perhaps whats scarier is the fact that the Cavs are first in Offensive Efficiency, second in Defensive Efficiency, and third in Turnover Ratio.

    As for our softness, the media needs a storyline to follow and that is the one they have picked. They will continue to harp on it year long, true or not. That is how they operate.

  6. I gotta disagree with 3 slightly. For most of the game the rotation was pretty typical, but two things stood out to me: Kobe tied his season high in minutes (breaking 40 for just the 4th time this season), and down the stretch Phil seemed to be going offense/defense with Ariza and Luke, which I could be wrong but I feel he hardly ever does in the regular season. Maybe the difference is just we’re not used to seeing too many close games (in the Orlando game Kobe racked up the minutes as well and Phil was similarly active with the bench down the stretch), and this was just his “close game” rotation rather than a playoff rotation, but it was slightly different than we’re used to seeing I think.

  7. 4. I didn’t really get down into the Xs and Os in the post, because it just seemed to spoil the mood and tone a little, but the Celtics did not deal well at all with the Lakers trap. The scouting report is out there on it, and while the Lakers were far more energetic with it and the zone off on the weak-side was smarter (I immediately think of a Walton steal where he anticipated the baseline skip pass) the Celtics acted as if they had never seen anything like it. A little odd.

    I think it may be tough to replicate in a seven game series against their first unit, but you should kill House and the second unit with it forever.

  8. Kurt,

    I agree with you. My comment wasn’t debating or second guessing your analysis, but in a back and forth game, the Celtics had chances, and couldn’t capitalize. For all the whining I’m reading from celtic bloggers, none of them acknowledge that.

  9. Caveats :
    This is december, not june.
    Many things can and will change from now through then.
    Even if the game was played over again immediately, things could work out differently. (eg Ray Allen cooling off, Garnett staying hot, Rondo fould trouble …. )

    Lakers played well at home. This edition of the Lakers seems to play better at home than on the road.
    Guess: Difference between the two teams on the night would be less than the difference between the Lakers (road now) and lakers (home now)
    Guess: Come June, & on present showing Celtics could be more likely to have home advantage than Lakers.

    One can toss around some rationalizations for the above, but bottom line … I can’t wait for the followup meetings.

  10. My boy and I worked through the slush to get to the PDX v DAL game last night. This observation came out both on the MAX heading to the game and in the arena, and I’ll tell you it sort of shocked me. Blazer fans were happy with the Lakers win. Okay, that is sort of shocking but the reason behind it was even more impressive. They hate Garnett and his antics.

    I can’t stand the Celtics and one of the minor reasons I am happy to be a Jew is that I had nothing else yesterday to lend more significance to the day then the Lakers’ win. As Lakers fans we were all looking forward to the game last night and one major reason, at least for me, is an unashamed, unabashed hatred for the Celtics. Hearing about the Sasha quote during the telecast, his hatred of anything green really resonated with me. I especially loved it when the commentator (I think Van Gundy) mentioned that Sasha doesn’t let any Laker wear green around him, whether it’s true or not. That tribalism makes me care about The Game more then is rational. Now, I appreciate PP and Rondo. I think Powe is going to be a very good role player for years. I give the Celtics all due credit for winning it all last year. They were the better team. I think the same way that a “soft team” winning it all (as if you can get to the finals if soft) suddenly transforms the team into a tough one, winning it changes the perception of a coach and now Doc is severely overrated. That said, I cannot stand Garnett and I’m happy to see the other tribes of the NBA turn on him to a certain degree.

  11. Don’t forget, Garnett had an unbelievable game in the Celtics’ loss. The guy would not miss!

  12. One luxury the Celtics do not have this year is the ability to bring guys like PJ Brown, Sam Cassell and James Posey off the bench. Unless they bring in veteran players like these later in the season, the Celtic starters will have be playing heavy minutes throughout the playoffs.

  13. This game and the one before confirmed that the Lakers can still be an effective defensive team, and teams have not ‘solved’ the SSZ. It’s all a question of effort and execution.

    The question is then, will they defend at the same level against everyone they play? Or will we see the same lack of focus and activity at that end against less talented teams? To me that is even more important than the result of yesterday’s game.

  14. A agree that Thursday’s win was just one game. No one left Staples Center with a championship trophy on Christmas Day. That said, the Lakers needed that W for their collective mental benefit come the tough tests that will follow.

    A few quick thoughts:

    Any Celtic fans who are complaining that this wasn’t a game that was rightfully decided should go back to drinking their typical Boston Kool-Aid that encourages people to believe that the Red Sox were cursed by a bad trade rather than choked more times than one can count; that Paul Pierce really needed that wheel chair in June; that the Patriots videotapes meant nothing whatsoever; and that Tom Brady really didn’t fumble vs. the Raiders in the “tuck rule” game. Perhaps that Kool-Aid will lead them to believe in Santa Claus, too.

    Any team that wins a Finals game by only six points despite shooting 28 more free throws than their opponent forever forfeits its rights to gripe about the referees.

    As for the “sleepwalking” comments, come on. A team playing an archrival on national television, with a 19-game winning streak, isn’t up for that game? Are you for real?

    Would Wheelchair boy have had to have broken up his teammates from an on-court squabble in a game they didn’t care to win? And what would the sleepwalking excuse do to the myth of Kevin Garnett and his “will to never let his team lose a game” (unless it’s the Timberwolves) crap we repeatedly see jammed down our collective throats?

    What is going to be, Boston? Is KG really the new Chuck D — “Refuse to lose” — or can he get away with sleepwalking when Pau finally wakes up and starts playing hard against the men in Green? You can’t have it both ways.

    I give lots of credit to Bynum for being a presence in the middle yesterday. The stats don’t show his impact, but Pierce was shooting long jumpers as opposed to driving around Walton & Co. for layups and fouls like we saw six months ago. You can’t tell me that wasn’t in part due to Bynum being in the middle with Paul able to give help.

    Lastly, I was in the camp that The Machine should get more run at the back-up PG slot until Farmar returns. But there was a stretch in the thrid quarter Thursday where the offense had no flow and Boston crept back into the game. The Machine was running the point then, and that really concerned me. He’s got to be a beter decision-maker in the half court.

  15. Frankly, I don’t get it. Lakers have made it to finals last season. Now they are stronger, because of Bynum, because of Ariza, because of offseason with Gasol, because of new defensive system. Exactly why people think Celtics are better team? The best NBA team at this moment is Cleveland. Then Celtics and Lakers, and when Lakers are playing like with Boston or New Orlean – they are better.

    OK, now somebody will start shouting about 27-3. But take a look _whom_ Celtics have beaten. They have only about 5 quality wins. Celtics are great team and they win with underlings much easier than Lakers do, but it doesn’t mean they are favourites when play against Cavaliers or Lakers. What’s more: they have won _all_ their close games. It won’t last.

    Don’t get me wrong, Celtics are _great_ team. I don’t remember a season with three teams as good as Celtics, Cavs and Lakers are. This season looks fabulous.

  16. #15, Cleveland has had an easy schedule to so far, not just Boston. I still think Boston is better than Cleveland, but I could be wrong. Also, when will Orlando start getting some more credit?? They are killing teams left and right and are just lights out from beyond the arc….Maybe they are not as good as Boston or Clevelend, but I dont think they are far behind…

  17. Trad.. the cavs haven’t beat anyone of importance either, so how is it they are better then the C’s.

  18. I wonder if the Celtics maybe got a little cocky going into this one. Its easy while riding a 19 game streak and listening to how great you are all the time. In addition, people tend to talk about the finals as though the Lakers were swept when in reality the Celtics had to come back from down 24 to take one game on the road.

    So maybe they were surprised by the traps or the intensity because they felt they had it in the bag before the game. IF that’s true, I wonder if it is a trend that will reappear through the year. CLE and ORL breathing down their necks will probably be a good motivator for them though. The Lakers don’t have a similar motivator in their conference yet.

    There’s not a lot of point arguing with Celtics fans. There will be no definative proof of who is “right” until the champion has been decided. And having shared an office with one, there’s just no point arguing with Boston fans in general. They’re fun to trade smack talk with though. Just be happy to end that streak. That’s the part that bugs them I bet.

  19. Really liked Phil’s decision to go w/ Bynum at the end of the game. Despite all his complaining (or media going wild w/ rumors of his complaining) for Phil to trust him in the biggest game of the season (thus far) will probably do wonders for Bynums game from here on out. Loved our aggression.

    Our defense played the right way to beat Boston in a 7 game series, however I think we need to deviate a bit from a set half-court offense. The reason why Atlanta is so successful against Boston is seemingly because they have 0 offensive sets etc. Now I don’t think we should go in w/ no plan, but I definitely think we need to get away from waiting until there is 15 seconds or less on the 24.

  20. I’m making this another post because it’s a different topic, but what I think would be best while farmar out is to more or less continue the way we have, experimenting with the roles of the guys we have while keeping an eye on the D league for a young guard who is trying to make his name with D and energy. Like a mini-ariza. I don’t care if he can score, but I’d love to see a guy who can press the rotation players in practice and maybe come in for extreme spot duty when a small guard is having a big night against us. Someone who sets a tone the coaches can use and will help improve Farmar when he returns.

    I think this would have more effect than any pipe dream trade that costs us chemistry. Not that I know of any good candidates or anything, but chances are if there was one, he’s already played for the warriors this season.

  21. It upsets me to hear that Boston fans whined about the officiating yesterday. If you need the officials help to win the game, do you really deserve to win? I hereby dub them Eastern Conference Sacramento.

    I thought Walton played a great game on both sides of the ball. While he didn’t completely shut down Pierce, he limited his production. I think that’s all you can ask.

    I think the Lakers have responded well in Farmar’s absence. While the second team has struggled in offensive efficiency (isolating LO on the perimeter multiple times???), they’ve improved on intensity. I’m not saying Farmar is not intense, but I think the team realizes they need to make up for his absence and are tired of hearing LO complain about the lack of intensity from the 2nd unit.

    Another thing too: PJ keep telling your players to run underneath screens. Not over them. Give up the semi-contested 20+ footer and settle for those losses when your opponents cannot miss from deep.

  22. 81 Witness,

    both times LO shot those 3’s, I was yelling at the TV, “that’s not the shot we want!” But he hit them. Wow. That was big for him.

    The ball movement for most of the 4th Q was terrible. We let Boston’s 2nd unit off of the hook, by not capitalizing on our advantages with size, and their lack of a ball handler/decision maker.

  23. Sweet, sweet win for the Lakers, and young ‘Drew showed how nice it is to have somebody to put on Perkins.

    Now Pau doesn’t have to contend with two bigs at one time. I don’t think it’s coincidental he detonated down the stretch.

    Kobe had a very sane comment just post game about how the Celtics may have been a little “off” because of their long W streak, now happily ended.

    The Laker’s challenge is to make up the two game lead the Celts/Cavs(?) have in the race for home court. This will be critical, because let’s face it, they will meet one of these teams in The Finals.

    Incidently, possibly the best XMAS game I’ve ever watched.

  24. I don’t know if a saw a different game, but I really thought the game would be lost. Except of the 12-3 run in the 2nd quarter and the last 5 minutes of the game, the Celtics DUNKED EVERY SINGLE BALL THEY GOT ON THE LOW POST.

    Really, during those 2 stretches the Lakers did a really good job, Ariza is still getting my purple-and-gold-heart and the last 3 minutes Kobe and Pau 1-2 punch was magnific. But that game would be a suicide in Boston.

    PD. I don’t have a gay brother, but my sister do have the style in her veins that I lack

  25. #16, 17 I checked stats – and yes, during the last 10 games Celtics were better than Cavs. But looking at the whole season – Cavs wins (or Lakers, in the beginning of the season) were much more decisive. Take away some lucky bounces and Cavs still are 25-4. Celtics wouldn’t be 27-3 without luck. They are great team, but not _that_ great.

    And I like Orlando very much, IMO they are #4 in NBA. I wasn’t surprised at all that they have won with Lakers (but again, it wasn’t WIN, it wasn’t WE OWN YOU. It were two good, equal teams, one had to win, it happened the Magic have). I think playoffs in the East should be much more interesting than in the West. Lakers, save for injuries, are clear favourites in April/May.

  26. One thing that I have noticed is that over here in this blog we never really bash/degrade other teams or players/coaches, whether we win or lose. Lately it seemed like we did that to ourselves more than anything else. You know, critiquing our play or players/coaches to the point where you were wondering if this was a Laker fan site or not, no matter how good our record was at the time. When I do go to other blogs of the teams we have played there is a different atmosphere of much hatred towards us (beat LA, huh), I do not see that we (FB&G) are like that to them as much. Isn’t this great that we come from wanting and expecting the best out of our team every year (since the beginning of time) and only really hating Boston (maybe a few others in the West also) in the process.

    You get what you need when you least expect it.

  27. Even though we just beat the Celtics and snapped their streak, we didnt seem to get much respect from the media. On TNT, Barkley thinks that the Spurs are gonna come out of the West. I guess beating the Spurs in 5 games last year didnt mean anything to him. He still thinks we are to soft of a team. I know the Spurs are good, but I really dont think any team in the West can beat us if we are at our best….what do you guys think??

  28. It is funny how we have to rate something #1 all the time and everything else is not quite up to snuff.

    I am listening to the talk about the Eastern conference being better than the West this years and the Lakers shouldn’t have much of a problem reaching the finals. Whoa there! Remember the West has a bunch of teams who have been there before and they know not to peak too soon. Perhaps we fans are peaking too soon. Don’t sell NO, Houston, SA, and especially Utah short people. Even Denver and Portland could develop by the end of the year. This is not likely to be a gimme year for the Lakers. Last year in the East was not a walkover for the Celtics and we shouldn’t expect a walk in the park this year.

  29. #27
    Craig, Celtics are _better_ than they were last season (probably Rondo’s development). But Cavaliers are _much_ better, so are Magic. And after that there is a steep drop-off.

    On the other hand Lakers are much, MUCH better than the last season (Bynum and Gasol playing together plus healthy Ariza), while Spurs, Jazz, Suns are little worse (Spurs are aging, Jazz – it’s probably caused by injuries). Blazers and Rockets are better, so the 2nd tier in the West is stronger than in the East, but thera are more top teams in the East. And the bottom teams in the west are absolutely horrible.

  30. Whatever they say, it’s a big psychological win for the Lakers (and loss for the Celtics).

    Now, the Celtics are thinking, they won last year because Bynum and Ariza was out.

  31. TRad,
    We can cite all kinds of statistics at this time of year, but the race is won at the end, not the beginning. It is why Phil is such a great coach. People have often complained about what was going on in December, but his concern is what is going on in April.

    Initial reports support your descriptions, but remember a certain trade in Feb 2008 that brought a new challenger into the Western Conference discussion.
    – Talk all you want about the Spurs, but their investment in younger players probably won’t pay dividends until near the end of this season.
    – If Houston is healthy at the end of the year they could stop the Lakers.
    – We just do not know how good the Blazers are going to become (remember the Lakers at the beginning of last year).
    – A trade or development change could energize the Hornets or Mavs.
    – Utah lays in the weeds every year and we are really dismissing them this year.
    – Even Phoenix should get better over the year, as they learn to play together under a new coach.

    I just think we are being too cavalier about the Western Conference. We sound like ESPN in describing the Lakers in NOV 2007. Be careful.

  32. Just pointing out about the rotation thing:

    Wasn’t this the first game that both Pau and Andrew closed out on the floor together?

  33. PeanutButterSpread December 26, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    I think the Boston starters have improved since last year, but their bench has not.

    They’re missing key veterans like PJ Brown and James Posey that destroyed our bench with experience, 110% effort, etc.

    That was the difference that I saw in this game.

    I hope the Lakers can sign key veterans to their bench. Dikembe Mutombo would be nice.

  34. Some Guy in San Diego December 26, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    I don’t know if I’m alone on this, but I don’t think either team played a particularly great game.
    Pau missed a lot of shots he normally hits early on and Ray Allen missed open looks late.
    Ariza didn’t have much impact on offense and Rondo didn’t score well.
    That being said, I actually think the Lakers can play quite a bit better.. I don’t believe the Celtics have as much room to grow.
    As the season goes on, I would like to see the Lakers force feed Bynum in the post a little more. If he can refine his post game a little more, there’s no way to defend this team. As it is.. and as Phil pointed out.. Drew’s movment on the pick and roll caught a ton of attention from the C’s defense… opening up stuff for Pau. Bynum had an impact on offense greater than his box score shows.. much like his impact on defense.

  35. IMO the Celtics are not as good as they were last year. Or at least they don’t seem to match up as well against the Lakers as they did last year. Maybe that’s Bynum & Ariza though, but I think it goes beyond that. The Celtics’ second unit, while still a pretty good second unit, is a huge dropoff from their starters, and that just wasn’t the case a year ago. Why Ainge let Posey go is beyond me. He has a team that is built for right now, not for the future, so even if Posey fell off a couple years from now, he would have helped them now; and a couple years from now KG, Pierce and Allen are gonna be falling off anyway. But that’s Ainge’s mistake and it will probably prove costly, although it might prove most costly against the Cavs when they only have Pierce w/o Posey to cover LeBron all game.

    To me the thing that jumped out most in the game yesterday was the fact that the Celtics’ defense didn’t have anywhere near the intensity and intimidation that it did a year ago. Last year the Celtics so disrupted the Lakers’ offense that LA couldn’t get anything done. While the Celtics still played good D yesterday, it was more reminiscent of what the Spurs played last year than what the Celtics did. The Lakers are too good on offense to be shut down by a defense that’s merely good, and with the Lakers playing intense, passionate defense themselves, it about evened out.

    Bynum’s presence may ultimately be the key component for why things looked different this time though. Last year the Celtics could just focus on Kobe defensively and that seemed to be enough, but that wasn’t the case yesterday. They didn’t even try to focus on Kobe very much until the second half, presumably because they felt (rightly so) that there were too many other weapons out there to leave unguarded. In the second half when they did focus on Kobe, the other guys (namely Pau) burned them. But Pau was able to get off the way he did because when Garnett switched off to double Kobe he was pulled away from guarding Pau, not Lamar like he was last year. Perkins had to stand his ground because he was watching Bynum, so this left Pau with lots of room to operate. That was the difference, and I think that’s why Phil left Bynum in there, simply because it provided such better matchups.

    Then on the other end you didn’t see Pierce driving layups at the rim down the stretch because both Pau and Bynum were guarding it. Sure, Garnett was open for a lot of perimeter shots, but that’s much better than layups and free throws from Pierce. Last year Pierce was the Finals MVP because of the way he carried the Celtics down the stretch. Yesterday he didn’t score a point in the final 15 minutes of the game. In fact, the only shot Pierce even attempted over those final 15 minutes was the 3-pt attempt that Pau blocked with less than a minute to go when the Celtics were already down 7 and the game was basically over. Ariza’s presence was also a big part of that, of course, but Luke guarded Pierce for 5 of those 15 minutes, and even with Luke’s somewhat shaky D on him, Pierce never got free because of the Lakers’ back line of defense with Pau and Bynum waiting in the paint. That interior D affected more than just Pierce too. In the fourth quarter the Celtics only attempted 7 shots in the paint, and Bynum blocked two of them. Their other 11 shots in the quarter were all from the perimeter. That’s a big part of why the Celtics didn’t attempt any FTs in the 4th quarter and only had 8 for the game.

  36. The warriors are giving the celtics all they can handle. I am loving it 🙂

  37. Glad to see Ronny is beating the Celtics too.

  38. As I write this Golden State is putting on a huge run on the Celts and has a small lead w/just over 2 minutes to go. HeHe! Wow. Streak hangover is real. After the Rockets lost last yr,they had a few bad games before they could regain their mental focus.

    Must agree too many are sleeping on Orlando. They’ve had some injuries early in the yr and Turkoglu is having a mediocre season so far,yet they are right there. They look like this yr’s New Orleans.(And so far they’ve beat SA,NO,Utah,Dallas,Portland and the Lakers.)

    Mason and Hill have really helped the Spurs and by the end of the season they will be around the top of the standings. The rest of the Western Contenders look good,not great.
    NO needs a third scorer and someone besides Paul who can get his own shot.
    McGrady is looking done right now and the Rockets collectively may be the least athletic team in the League.
    Portland is too young,Utah lacks something,Denver is coached by Karl and Phoenix and Dallas have too many issues.

  39. What’s could be better than a Lakers’ win on Christmas day? The Warriors beating the C’s the next day!!!

    Clutch free throws by Turiaf!

  40. The Warriors have just beaten the Celts. Yeah! Steven Jackson was great and so was Turiaf. Yeah!

    Now for Sunday.

  41. The two teams that have just beaten the Celtics meet on Sunday. Both will be very up, but the Warriors are still minus Ellis, Crawford, and Magette.

  42. What I took away from the day after Christmas (after the Warriors beat the Celtics): It’s a long season. The Celts fans are now going through the same talk about desire and fans arguing between “the sky is falling” and “The team is still 27-4” – the exact same stuff Lakers fans have been going through.

    It’s a long season, with a lot more basketball to be played, a lot more injuries to be had, a lot more back-to-backs to play, and a lot more road trips.

  43. LMAO!!!! How the hell did the Celtics lose to the Warriors??? But for the love of god….we cant laugh because we play the warriors Sunday!!

  44. While I have to admit that seeing the Celts lose to the Warriors, I wouldn’t really laugh at them for it right now, seeing as how we’ve been through much of the same as well with a few of our own losses (e.g. Sacramento, Miami).

  45. Now the Celtic fans knows what it feels like to lose to a bad team…that loss is almost as bad as our sacramento disaster…

  46. Well actually, the Celtics did lose to Indiana earlier in the year…just like us, but the warriors are a little worse than Indiana..

  47. The Christmas day streamers were due mainly to that being PJ’s 1000th win, but also because it was against the Celtics and lastly because it was “Christmas.”

  48. celtics lost tonight against the warriors, i wonder what excuse celtics fans will use for this new loss

  49. the other Stephen December 27, 2008 at 12:31 am

    woke up the next morning and still hated the color green.

  50. streamers are there after every game.

  51. *after every win

  52. Did anyone else notice how fatigued KG was in the fourth quarter. He was doing the cool version of huffing and puffing. Yes, I do realize that he extends a lot of energy, but that also explains why they have problems beating young athletic, running teams.

    I think that Boston’s senior players will have more problems than they expected with fatigue. The crown is heavy for the one that wears it. There are no easy games for the champions, which is why it is hard to repeat. However, I do believe that complacency is there biggest enemy.

  53. The sky is actually falling at Celtics Blog. It is hilarious and amazing and so much fun.

    Not loving the Lakers fans who go over there and taunt unintelligently, though. Have to at least be clever and relevant.

  54. Watching Walton start the past handful of games i realize how valuable Vlad is. Starting, Vlad stretches the floor with his 3 ability, while Walton shot is a liability and defenders cheat off him. I think Vlad and Ariza are sufficient at the 3 position making Walton expendable (not to mention hes due over 20 mil over the next four years.)
    [edited for trade talk]

  55. I say this cuz, come on..we beat the celtics one game out of 82. We beat them twice in the finals so we always knew we could beat them. obviously were improved (we won w/o farmar, they lost posey) but i think were better off w/o walton and mihm, who just feed to our reputation as “softies.” I remember mihm was put in the game during the finals and peirce, recognizing he was in, drove right to him 3 times and scored all 3 times and got 2 out of 3 and ones! im sry im going on a tangent. what do u guys think?

  56. hey whats Pau gasol’s nickname? PG16?

  57. I guess I am so happy about the Celtic’s loss because now the media may not continue to refer to them in the ‘greatest team ever’ category. They have weaknesses, as we all do, and some days those weaknesses are more apparent than others.

    They were completing a back-to-back where there vets had to play more minutes in both games than Rivers would have liked. They are lead by an older group of players and their youngsters haven’t seen the old guys break down much, so they haven’t practiced what to do in those cases.

    We have to tools to take advantage of this, but so does the Warrior’s style.

    I still love it though.

  58. 57) craig w
    “They were completing a back-to-back where there vets had to play more minutes in both games than Rivers would have liked. They are lead by an older group of players and their youngsters haven’t seen the old guys break down much, so they haven’t practiced what to do in those cases.”

    That is why I wish they still had “back-to-back” games in the playoffs. It tests a teams fitness and depth much more so than the current system.

  59. CL, did you watch the Christmas day win? Walton had a good game, defended Pierce fairly well (that is a great offensive player who can get his shots against anyone) and played smart. In the last couple of games the crisp ball movement has returned to the Lakers offense (not for 48 minutes, but it’s back) and Walton is a reason for that.

    Mihm is actually a solid big man, he’s just trapped on a team with a lot of better bigs. Next year he’s going to go somewhere as a free agent, play 20 minutes a game and a bunch of Lakers fans are going to say “why did we let him go, he’s pretty good.”

  60. Kurt (59),

    Yes. Ball movement is quick and crisp with Luke in the line-up.

    We are unstoppable when Vlad’s shot is on, but when it’s not, it affects the flow. We might not be as dynamic with a hot Vlad vs. Luke, but there is more consistency with the son of Bill.

  61. The Lakers are playing a smart game. Luke in the starting lineup is giving him extra exposure as potential trade bait, upping his stats and showing that he really is a starter in this league. Swinging him for a backup PG, some cap relief, and some draft picks seems reasonable.

    They’re also holding Josh Powell down so they can resign him on the cheap next year when Odom walks and have their backup PF locked up.

    Of course this is all conspiracy theory, but I’d like to think its the only reason Josh Powell isn’t getting playing time (well, other than our team being loaded).

    It is unquestionable that Lamar and Mihm will walk after this year. Lamar is still young and has his best years ahead of him; he’s not going to take a pay cut. Mihm is a quality backup and mediocre starting center (which is what most teams start) riding the pine on an elite team. He will walk and probably get paid twice as much as here.

    All-in-all, the present is an excellent time to be a Laker fan. The next 3 years are guaranteed to produce dominant Laker seasons, with all three being title contenders. Even if we sit pat and do absolutely nothing in terms of trades or free agents, we will still be contenders.

  62. So has anyone heard anything about this supposed offer the Lakers have made to the Bucks – Mihm for Tyronn Lue? http://my.journaltimes.com/post/woelfel-world-of-sports/jones_to_join_bucks_trade_winds_intensify.html

  63. We can discuss this trade in the comments, it’s out there.

    And, I’ll quickly say I don’t like it. If the Lakers make a move for a PG, I want a guy who can take charge and make the position his, not another backup. Lue is a backup, he can barely get off the bench for the Bucks. And, I don’t think I can say this enough: HE IS A CRAP DEFENDER. So far this season, opposing point guards are shooting over 60% (eFG%) against him, scoring 23 points per 48 minutes and have a PER of 22.7. That is the same as having a Tony Parker or Chauncy Billups playing against you every night.

    Lue is not better than Farmar, I’d rather wait for him than make this short-term move.

  64. In the L.A. Times today some guy wrote in saying the Lakers should trade Pau for Al Jefferson for defensive reasons. Did trees really have to be killed to print that kind of tripe?

    I want to make sure to mention something I haven’t seen getting enough attention. Lamar Odom’s intensity during the Boston game was a huge factor. He was a team high +17. I don’t think anyone else was even in double figures. The uncharacteristic drive and energy he brougt that helped set a tone.

    One play on defense he threw KG to the floor before he could get the ball. He was called for the foul, but it was a great moment considering how KG had been manhandling Pau every time down before he could get the ball.

    Even the 3 pointers that made me cringe had an attitude with them that the team needed to display against the Celtics. To say nothing of his kobe-like hook floater in traffic.

    Not to take anything away from anyone else (and I do agree with playing Bynum to close), but considering what LO has sacrificed for this team, his contributions are worth noting.

  65. J.D.,

    If you mean the the Broderick Turner article it was a Q & A. Some moron asked the question along with some other bogus statements, and then Turner promptly shot it down.

  66. 65- Yeah Turner was right on (though he didn’t bother to point out that Jefferson is considered a joke on D), but I hope that question isn’t indicative of the average quality of the questions they’re receiving.

  67. Zephid,

    I don’t remember the source, but I remember hearing or reading that Lamar has specifically said he would take a pay cut to stay with this Lakers team, that he wants to end his career here. Of course, it’s easy to say that now, while playing for a championship contender, and before big contracts are thrown his way after the season. But for what it’s worth I hope it’s true; I love Lamar on this team, despite his faults, and hope to seem him become a Laker the way Kareem did.

  68. JD. Great point about Odom.

    And that idea showed up in my email inbox a few days ago, I just chose to ignore it (the blog post discussed may have been linked from the comments, I don’t remember). But that is just the tip of the iceberg of the crazy ideas I get sent.

  69. Kurt, I too like Mihm. He is a veteran player that knew coming into this season that he would be mired on the bench, yet he has practiced hard and been ready to contribute whenever PJ calls his number. He has not complained about being on the bench, knowing full well that there are tons of teams where he could actually start.

    I think that as the season wears on we will see more of Powell and Mihm in preparation of the playoffs and the seven game series.

  70. PeanutButterSpread December 27, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    The Lakers play the Warriors Sunday, should be a good test, especially with the Warrior high off their win against Boston and the Lakers high off their win against Boston.

    I just hope the Lakers bring the same intensity they did the last two games against the Warriors.

    Please don’t sleep on the Warriors!!!

  71. I completely agree with JD about Lamar’s play during the Celtics game. I may be inventing drama, but on the series immediately preceding Lamar’s knockdown of KG, Garnett threw an elbow into Sasha as they were running down the court behind the play and away from the attention of the officials. I have lost a lot of respect for KG because he seems to have confused cheap shots for intensity since joining the Celts. It was so gratifying to see Lamar take a foul and send KG a message. I feel that Lamar’s positive contributions are often minimized by Laker fans, including me, because of his tendency to make boneheaded mistakes. Having said that, I hope the Lakers keep him.

    On another note, this is my first post but I have been following FB&G religiously since the start of last season. I cannot overstate how great it is to have such an informed, insightful and fair blog to learn about my team from. This site has added a new dimension to my enjoyment of the Lakers. Thanks, Kurt.

    Happy New Year!

  72. Zephid,
    Powell is signed for two years. I think the reason they did that is to add insurance against Lamar leaving next year. Not showing him so he doesn’t get any run next summer makes no sense, in my understanding.

  73. It really funny to me how now that the Celtics have lost two games In a row I don’t hear gloom and doom predictions from the biased media towards the Celtics like I heard when the our squad lost 2 games In a row I heard so much disappointment and gloom and doom even on this board which I love My questions Is why are the celtics given a pass, when they come out with a lack of Intensity, or give up leads which they have done quite a few times already this season even during there winning streak but
    the lakers can’t even get outplayed for a quarter without people all around the nation speculating on what the problem Is. In my opinion It’s because all these teams know that If the Lakers play there A game they can’t be beat it’s all just a bunch of hate to me. If the lakers had lost xmas day there season would have been over but the celtics were given excuses the refs the travel It’s really pathetic. I’m looking forward to June when we beat the C’s or cavs and shut all the naysayers up just my 2 cents Lakers all the way!!! thoughts

  74. “In the L.A. Times today some guy wrote in saying the Lakers should trade Pau for Al Jefferson for defensive reasons.”

    I had to look up that Q&A for myself just to confirm someone actually sent in a question like that.

    Al Jefferson is one of my favourite players for a number of reasons, but suffice it to say defense is not high on the list.

  75. If we get a PG i want him to be a good defender and a positive influence in the locker room. Someone like Jaque Vaughn was for the Spurs last year. I can see why PJ is pushing for Lue since he knows the system and can help right away. I just dont think he has any good qualities to give him 20 min a game. He isnt a great defender. He isnt that great on offense or creating for players. Id rather give his minutes to someone like Walton who can knows the system and who’s trade value would go up with more playing time. Obviously Walton isn’t a PG but the triangle offense isnt about the PG creating shots for everyone like CP3 does for the hornets. Its more ball movement and such.
    I agree with Zephid about Powell. I think he can replace what Turiaf did last year. No one can replace Turiafs energy but i think Powell can be that guy who gives hard fouls and bangs down low. The guys a beast!

  76. Lewis,
    I think you are referring mostly to us fans. We really don’t give the Lakers much quarter. The media looks at the Lakers as last year’s story and they have never warmed to Kobe. If you go to Boston blogs you will see lots of hair pulling this weekend.

  77. Man, I love this blog. A lot of great commentary.

    I agree completely with JD Hastings (#64) about LO. In fact, I think Lamar has been consistently among the team leaders in +/- this season.

    The Lakers are now just one game behind the Celtics and Cavs in the loss column and, and one game in front of Orlando – what fun!

  78. I agree. its all the media. We know losses during the regular season dont mean anything. if boston lost 5 in a row theyd still be the favorites. Us too. The Spurs are the best example. No one wants to play the Spurs during the playoffs.

  79. The biggest thing to come out of the Xmas day game may be that Kendrick Perkins re-injured his shoulder on a play where it wasn’t even hit. The guy has had two surgeries to that shoulder already, the most recent one being this past summer. If his shoulder is so vulnerable as to be re-injured just cause the ball got slapped as he was taking it up, I’d really question his viability in the NBA going forward. Without him in there for the Celtics, they are a vastly different team, at least in how they match up against the Lakers twin towers this year.

    The other big thing was Phil leaving Bynum in there with Pau, and having Luke on the floor at the end as well. I think this might mean that we could eventually see a Bynum, Pau, Odom trio on the floor at the end of games at some point. We haven’t seen it because Odom is far better at PF than at SF, and over the course of the game that 3-man rotation Phil has going with he, Bynum and Pau is working great. However, at the end of the game, especially against Boston and maybe even against Houston, Cleveland or Detroit, if the Lakers need to continue to go big with Bynum & Pau, why couldn’t Odom fill in at SF instead of Luke? All the drawbacks Odom has at SF (shooting and perimeter D) are ones that Luke shares, and Odom can facilitate just like Luke can. I would think generally at the ends of games against most teams it’ll either be Trevor or Vlad in there, to defend or shoot; but if it’s not, then what drawback is there to playing Odom for the last 5 minutes at SF instead of Luke? Note that this would probably only be something we might see against teams that will go big at the end, and it might even be something Phil would hold back till the playoffs to spring on the opposition. I just don’t see what playing Luke at SF gives the Lakers at the end of the game that Lamar couldn’t give as well.

  80. cuz odom has in his head that he has to step up in the fourth and might take a bad shot or TO the ball. whereas luke will always let som1 else take the shot or facilitate for others. if odom takes this mentality i think Phil wouldnt hesitate to put him in

  81. But LO overall is a better player and does a lot of the same things Walton does.

  82. true but if im watching the end of the game im hoping odom doesnt take the ball away from kobe and pau. in luke we know he isnt taking the shot cuz hes trying to pass it all the time. and we know walton isnt handling the ball too much because he realizes its kobe time

  83. 79) “and Odom can facilitate just like Luke can”
    He’s not nearly as good at Luke at that. he is a better defender and rebounder, but he also tends to have brain farts. I think it would depend on the situation. Ariza’a availability would play into it, too.

  84. WildYams,
    LO is clearly a better talent than is Luke, but he is also less dependable in helping run the team. If you need dominance, put in LO. If you need consistency and no mistakes, put in Luke. At the end of games Phil usually wants consistency and no mistakes – hence Luke.

  85. Include me in the camp that doesn’t feel we need to trade big-for-small (and in the case of a theoretical Mihm-for-Lue swap, big for VERY small), and we certainly don’t need to do it right this instant.

    Tiny sample size, etc., etc., but so far having Sasha and LO bring the ball up and initiate the offense and having Ariza (or Kobe) cover opposing point guards has produced some nice results.

    On a team this deep, the last thing we need is another fringe member of the rotation fighting for minutes … I don’t really think we’d feel the loss of Mihm all that much, but I also don’t see us getting an impact player in return so I’d just as soon stand pat.

  86. 84 . You hit it right on the head…now If we only had the Lukmar Odomton option…

  87. this is what i noticed, six months after and hopefully six months before. of the six finals game plus this one, this one was the best game. not because of the outcome but because it was the best played and competitive game the lakers and celtics have played since 1987. the lakers didn’t blow any 20+ point leads and the celtics didn’t break the game open like four of the six games this past finals. there were eight lead changes in the first quarter alone. celtics by one, lakers by six and lakers by four was the difference after the first, second and third quarters. for one day at least i thought the two teams evenly matched. as it should be. the celtics without pj brown and james posey are not the same team, still good but not as good, or as deep as last year. with bynum back and trevor healthy, the lakers are a better team than they were at the end of last year. the celtics are who they are and unless they make personnel changes are going to be the same team the rest of the way with a high ceiling but little upside. my guess is with a bunch of 30 somethings on their roster, an 82 game season plus postseason will take their toll on them. i wouldn’t be surprised at all if cleveland passes them. the lakers are still a work in progress without set rotations and now especially with JF out, are again having to mix and match lineups. that is the beauty of having a deep team. their floor may not be as high as boston’s but their ceiling i think higher; because they’re younger, deeper and more versatile. i hope for a rematch of last year with the opposite outcome, but if i were a betting man, i’d bet on seeing kobe and lebron in june. not a bad matchup either.

  88. I figured all of you would like this. The best starting lineup seems to include Odom although +/- isn’t 100% accurate.

  89. Thank you for you sharing information

  90. WildYams,

    I wish all Celtic fans were like you (we Laker fans have our trolls too). You seem to actually know your stuff, instead of repeating what ever mumbo jumbo the media exaggerates. Usually good coments from you. Nice.

    I really hope Perk isn’t hurt long. I want revenge against the C’s, and without him, you guys don’t stand a chance against us or Cleveland.

  91. Warriors preview up