Preview & Chat: The Evil Empire

Kurt —  February 5, 2009
Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers

Records: Lakers 39-9 (1st in the West) Celtics 41-9 (1st in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 114.6 (1st in league) Celtics 110.9 (5th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.4 (7th in league) Celtics 100.2 (1st in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Celtics Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

What does it really mean: I think a lot of debate on this site and others about this (and the Christmas) Lakers v. Celtics game comes down to this:

How much does it matter come June?

Certainly the win has importance in the tight home-court race (more on that in a minute). But what about psychologically? There are some Lakers fans who think the team needs these wins to gain confidence they can do it when it matters. Myself and others think that this game has virtually no impact on the Lakers (or anyone elses) psyche come the Finals.

I just don’t think the Lakers will put that much into a loss. They are playing their fifth game in seven days, second night of a back-to-back, without their star center. Win or lose, if these two teams meet in the Finals things will look different. (Maybe the Celts will have a player with a star tattooed on his head.) I think for professionals, this game may mean more than last night, but it does not mean as much as the first round of the playoffs.

We fans don’t like to see it that way, by the way, we tend to take the wins and losses harder. But we don’t have to wake up in the morning and start preparing for Cleveland.

Still, far smarter people than myself (say Roland Lazenby) seem to fall on the other side of the fence:

Yes, they beat the Celtics in Los Angeles on Christmas day. That has helped Jackson’s young players in dealing with their profound embarrassments of the 2008 championship series against Boston.
But those bad memories linger and will continue to do so.

Here’s the hard part: The Lakers will never put that series behind them unless they win the championship series this year. It would help if they claimed that title with a win over the Celtics. That’s all getting way ahead of the task at hand, of course.

Before they win another title, the Lakers have to emerge from a challenging field in the Western Conference.

Still, that doesn’t set aside the psychology of all this.

Home court will matter, and a new Celtics blog called Celtics Hub takes a detailed look at the remaining schedules of the Lakers, Celtics and Cavaliers. They see a tight race between the Celtics and Cavs, which is interesting only because the Lakers play fewer good teams. Check out the data and reach your own conclusions.

Keys To The Game: The Kobe & Pau show the last couple of nights has been impressive — the Lakers two biggest players steppeed up when the team needed tnem most. But it will take more than that tonight.

Remember back to the Lakers being up 24 points in a Finals game last year? Remember Christmas? The Lakers did that by ball and player movement. The Celtics try to keep the triangle on one side of the floor, not allow the ball reversals and quick cuts that make the offense hum. When the Lakers have fought through that they have exposed KG for his wanderlust on defense. Last June they just didn’t do it consistently, but tonight they get another chance.

On defense, the Lakers did a great job on Christmas with Kobe on Rondo, sagging off and helping while turning the PG into a jumpshooter. That is key — when he gets in the lane he is a threat to pass and score, but from 18 feet out you let him shoot all he wants. The Lakers need to play the screen and roll well with Pierce (they like to run a double-screen, one on each side of him from each big, so he can choose how to attack, that could be a problem).

The guys on the Lakers bench are really going to have to bring it.

Where you can watch: 5 p.m. on TNT. The good news about that is for a change the Lakers are part of the first game of the double header, so we’ll get to see the entire first quarter.

Kurt

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427 responses to Preview & Chat: The Evil Empire

  1. How any fan would want a foul call on that last Allen 3 is beyond me. No call 100% of the time.

    Great game by our guys, Pau is a new man. Absolutely great to see.

    So since we were supposed to use no Bynum as an excuse, what’s the Celtics fans excuse? No Scalabrini?

  2. Now I want to hear the Celtic bloggers come over and try to lord it over us. Yeah!!!

  3. “Celts Nation wrote on February 5, 2009 at 2:48 pm
    Suffice to say we’ve all been waiting for this game since Christmas. Personally, I’m bummed that Bynum isn’t playing – it gives the Lakers a ready made excuse.

    That said, it’s always great to see Boston beat LA, as will happen tonight. Laker fans watch out for Big Baby Davis’ new and improved jumper!” < — riiight!

  4. another bonus to this win, we broke their streak again! i love it. love my lakers.

  5. Joe, please admit already you’re a Celtic fan. We won’t think any worse of you than most people here already do.

  6. We didn’t get lucky.. It’s a PURE win.. KG fouling out just evened out the situation due to the fact that we’re missing drew down low..

  7. Ok. I WILL admit this team really proved to me that they DO have some “toughness”! No Bynum, missed free throws all night, gave up offensive boards, Kobe had an off night, and on a back to back night, we somehow managed to get a win…I have to admit, thats impressive. Ok so come on, rub it in my face lol

  8. Gee, that was fun.Don’t think the Celtics have as much talent as last year.And we have more.Refs sucked as usual.

  9. Odom with HUGE free throws late. About time somebody got em both haha. Oh man I’m pumped, a few chokes in OT but very clutch.

  10. Fish did foul him, but I’ll take it lol. I can’t believe the refs had the balls to call KG for his 6th foul, good job.

  11. 305

    To be fair, the Celtics were also missing a key player in Brian Scalabrine, as Doug Collins pointed out… :)

  12. Just imagine how big that win would have been if we were a tough team!

  13. Pau really gained his confidence against Boston the last few minutes of that Christmas Day game. He played great and confident tonight.

  14. Wow. OMG, if any boston fan seriously believes Allen was fouled, they are delusional. Pau wasn’t within a foot of him and Fisher didn’t contact him half as much as Kobe was constantly by everybody and backed off as the shot went up. Second time this season we beat the celtics with help from a timely Pau block of a 3 point shot.

    Let’s be serious- The Lakers had more excuses to lose than justifications to win this. They won despite Kobe giving out after hitting some clutch 3s to get us into OT. That is huge. He needed 29 shots to get 26. I don’t care how much you want to slobber over Paul Pierce’s defense, that’s not typical. But Pau and Odom stepped up to take the reins (did anybody else score in OT?).

    I call that hard. Diamond hard.

  15. “Toughness” eh? Guess the whole Laker team has to cannibalize a single Celtic each before they even sniff the word “tough” in their own vocabulary.

    Please. This is getting old already.

  16. Aww c’mon.. Not this “toughness” issue again..

    Change topic..
    I mentioned a while ago that i’m listening to a boston broadcast.. now they’re saying that the celtics don’t look like the real celtics.. crap..

  17. Kurt – “Bottom line, we don’t win that game last season.”

    Absolutely – and this was without much from Ariza, who I suspect is still suffering from the effects of the concussion.

  18. anyone know why ariza wasn’t on the floor but luke was? I hope it’s not another concussion from that charge he tried to take on pp…

  19. Most of the comments on the Celtics blogs is about the officials. Why can’t those people come up with something original? The is always, always their excuse.

    Maybe they just got beat.

  20. Yea if the Lakers were a tough team they would have won by 20…ashame lmao!!!!

  21. Where are the Celtic trolls?

  22. No way is that a foul…especially at the end of the game. Come on Celtics fan.

  23. Gutless Celtic fans!!!

  24. 317. There was one amongst us all this time. I guess you already know who he is.

  25. I give it a few days before Celt’s Nation makes his next comment.

  26. Man what a win. How did we do it? Terrible free throw shooting, Sasha & Trevor couldn’t throw a pea in the Pacific, and for some reason we kept forcing jumpers after KG fouled out. But we didn’t back down an inch all night long. Matched those guys hit for hit–amazing. I am so proud of the Lakers tonight.

  27. We snapped the two longest win streaks in the NBA this year — and they were both against the Celtics. Now that is poetic justice.

  28. They tried to intimidate, but it couldn’t work.

    It didn’t work when we played the 5th game in 7 days, IN Boston, in overtime.

  29. And yeah, no way that was a foul. TNT even ran a replay of that last play… Pau’s hands were NOWHERE near Allen’s hands, or heck even the ball, when the shot was chucked up.

    So he landed on Allen afterwards… he was looking backwards at the shot!! What did they expect him to do, teleport? Man..

  30. I would love to know what was said between Garnett/Lamar, and Rondo/Kobe.

    Also, thank you Kevin Garnett for being such a dirtbag that you even managed to make Lamar Odom angry.

    What a fire he lit under L.O., absolutely love it.

  31. What a finish!! We are now in their heads!! Celts Nation – enjoy the cold ride home!!1

  32. “Joe, Toughness Personified”

    That’s a compliment..
    I salute you man for coming into this blog and standing up for your team..

    Your “toughness aura” will certainly get to a higher level if you’ll admit that you’re a celtics fan..

  33. The Celtic fans are saying the foul occured before the shot. They say that Fisher fouled him.

  34. Does anyone know why Ariza didn’t play the 4th quarter and OT?

  35. You talking about me Wagner? Hey I always root for the Lakers, but I wasnt gonna give them all the props that you guys do until they could prove to me that they were more than a team that was just loaded with talent. They turned my mind around a little bit tonight. Now I am not saying they have to beat the Cavs to but, I at least wantto see them put up another great effort.

  36. When you live by the tough it is only right that you die by the tough!

  37. Complaining about the refs is pathetic…Pierce did the same thing to Kobe when he had to force up an ugly jumpshot a 2 possessions before. Was it a foul? Probably in most circumstances…but not there and that is not an excuse for a loss…

    At least I got my wish: Boston fans left the arena pissed off!!

  38. Joe – I’m glad that it took this kind of win for you to realize that we can contend without Bynum and we can beat the Cs! I’m not going to rub it in – but just stay positive, this team has more surprises yet to come.

  39. Golly, I wish we would have won that game.

    …OH WAIT

  40. Fisher did not contact Allen any more than the Celtics body up anybody themselves on defense on any given possession. Theyre stretching. They want to answer for the extra possession the Celts got in OT when the ball went off Davis’s hands but they gave it back to the Green? They didn’t get anything from it, but it was a bad call. Or go look at the 24 second violation at the end of regulation. Ray Allen reaches in on Pau with both hands. He lunges in from like 4 feet away.

    Kobe shot 4 fts on 29 shots- but seriously the fix was in for the lakers.

    Yeah.

  41. 323. and 324.

    Yes and YES.

    The Celtics might act tough but if you don’t back down, they just get whiny and start breaking down. They can dish it but they can’t handle it.

    The fact that both of the wins ended their streaks makes this even sweeter. Here’s hoping that the Celtics go on another losing streak now.

  42. Craig. W,

    Joe may very well be a new Laker fan. Either way, he’s just not a person who knows anything.

    I thought we all agreed to ignore trolls?

  43. Wore my purple Kobe MVP shirt underneath the business attire all day for good luck and wow was that great. I know it’s only the regular season, but what a win.

    One question – does anyone else wish the Finals were 2-2-1-1-1? 2-3-2 needs to go.

  44. I hate Celtics.

    I hate Paul Pierce and how he plays and everything he stands for. It’s disgusting that nearly 80% of the time he’s playing, he’s trying to get the call by whipping his arms and flinging it’s head. This guy does not even play basketball anymore, he’s playing the whistles….and as a basketball fan…it’s atrocious.

    I hate Rondo now. Before, he was the only guy I didn’t hate, but after messing with Kobe, you’re an enemy of the state.

    HUGE WIN for the Lakers. We overcome three things with this win:

    -The extremely free throw shooting. We can’t always win like this.

    -The refs payrolled by the Celtics (or just that one that keeps calling ticky tac fouls on one side and not the other). Ya I’m going to go there. Let’s put it this way: There’s homecourt advantage, and then there’s Celtic’s homecourt advantage. I’ve never seen the hometeam gets so many calls. This is why people think the game is rigged. (I do admit we got a way with a few in the end, but karma is a…you know.)

    -No Bynum. How huge would Bynum be to enforce the paint tonight? Garnett and Perkins would’ve gotten destroyed. And let’s not forget the toughness he brought.

    Might I add, Lakers did not play their best. Kobe did not play his best. And I think this team can do better against the Celtics.

  45. Alright. All the people who had their “LO never shows up” post typed and ready to post, please re-write the post and give the dude his props. Great second half from LO, and I love how he went hard at KG.

    Walton-Great D on Pierce down the stretch!

    Powell and Farmar-A big 12 points when they were needed.

    Great effort

  46. Fouls were 24 us to 28 them, but it’s David Stern’s fault?

  47. And Craig, you can hate me about my beliefs and what you dont agree with, but how bout you try not judging someone who you dont even know. I have watched every Laker game this year despite my busy schedule. I have cheered heavily when they have won and have punched the wall plenty of times when they have lost, you got no idea what kind of fan I am so watch it when you want to judge people

  48. Besides the missed free throws, this is the most you can ask of a team on a travel back to back with 5 games in the last 7 days. Great WIN!

  49. Not to Kobe:

    I understand your tired. I understand you hit great shots, but when your fatigued, you don’t have to take every 3 you mind fancies. It’s tired along with your body, ignore the impulse.

    My heart can’t take it.

  50. P.Ami,

    They’re emailing David Stern.

  51. Joe,

    A lot of people here feel the same way you did in your last post (331), heck, we always rag and complain about the Lakers every now and then.

    But aside from being the nitpicking fans that we are, we still find it in ourselves to actually enjoy the positives that our team has… something which apparently is strange and foreign to you.

    I just can’t see how you are fan of any team with with that kind of attitude. Maybe you’re just weird? I don’t know.

  52. Wondahap- look at the bright side: Kobe now has tape of the shots not to take when Pierce guards him late in the games.

  53. And Wonda, just because I underestimated the Lakers doesnt mean I dont know anything, yea I aint a expert on the team, but I know more than you think. I just tend to be negative, just in my personality.

  54. Watching Kobe is simply amazing. We are truly blessed to be witnessing such greatness.

    Powell is a godsend. His toughness and nastiness gives the Lakers an edge I haven’t seen in a long time.

  55. kwame a.,
    Ok, I will give LO his props tonite – even tho I did a lot of “No, No, No, yes!”. You are right, I had a comment ready after the 1st half, but he really did come back in the 2nd half.

    Props to you too!

  56. LO came through big and I agree with 332, Powell is a G…

    We is on da quest now motha-f%$*s!

  57. Props to Jeff at CelticBlog for putting the game recap in a way on how it really was. He’s about the only Celtic fan I respect right now.

  58. Wagner, maybe I just expect more out of this team than you do. Yea, I will admit I dont appreciate enough of how good of a team they are. I am a spoiled fan, but the point is, whether I am negative about the team or not, I root for them every night and have a passion for this team. If you want to complain that I expect too much out of them, then thats another story, but dont judgeme and say I aint a fan.

  59. Extraordinary win, easily the best game of the entire season. Now for the notes…

    1.) I loved, absolutely loved all the confrontations in the game. When Rondo shoved Kobe, Kobe went right back at him with a “get the **** out of my face, kid” finger point. Then when KG got in Lamar’s face, Lamar didn’t back off an inch. Even Pau Gasol and Josh Powell didn’t put up with Big Baby’s and Perkins’ crap. This team just showed a truckload of heart; they really deserved this win.

    2.) Right when we needed him, Lamar showed up huge. It was right after he got into an “eye dance” with KG that Lamar got hot. He made a couple threes, took it to the hole, drew a couple fouls on KG, and capped it all off with 2 super-clutch free throws at the end of the game.

    3.) Our bench played a rather uninspired game. Excluding 22 good, hard minutes from Josh Powell and 4 good minutes from Farmar in the 4th quarter, our bench just did not bring it.

    4.) Yes, Luke had a ticky tack foul on Pierce at the end of the 4th, but he also played some great defense in the overtime. Pierce always throws back his head whenever he gets contact, but Luke was able to back off him enough so that Pierce wasn’t getting foul calls, and then Pierce couldn’t readjust and make the shots.

    5.) Sun Yue looked really good in his suit.

    Best win of the entire season, by far. Our team met all the Celtics crap and threw it back in their faces. Anyone who ever claims the Lakers are not tough need to re-watch this game. And no one is ever, ever allowed to say that Pau is soft ever again. The way he was screaming out “let’s go!” as he ran back up the court, the way he and Lamar went at KG, Perkins, Powe, and Davis, and the two huge blocks at the end of the game, MVP of the game goes to Pau Gasol.

  60. The Celtic fans really punished the Laker fans last year, when we lost both games to them. This year we took the games and I think that we are better this year than last and they may not be, but I won’t make the mistake of saying the Celtics are road kill.

    They are one of the best teams in the NBA and will be a worthy opponent for anyone in the playoffs.

    It is just that WE WON TONIGHT!

  61. It was hard for my heart, but at the end was worthy.

    There’s something though that troubles me, Gasol’s minutes since AB got injured are over 41 min/game; not so sure about him being able to deal whith that kind of playing time.

  62. I am also from the Philly area. Thats where I get the negativity from, Philly fans are really negative.

  63. To win this game, without Bynum, in Boston, on the 5th road game over 7 days, on the second of back to back games, in overtime, after missing all those free throws, is just amazing!

    It’s great to snap another Celtic streak! Let’s just hope it has the same affect as last time.

    This Lakers team is on a mission!

    Now it’s time to go break another streak on Sunday and keep the best record!

  64. Interesting side note-we stopped the Celtics without stopping (at least statistically) Rajon Rondo. 7/16, 16 points, 8 rebounds, 12 assists.

    Usually the blueprint for beating the Celts is force Rondo to make turnovers and take them away from their offense-he finished with 2 turnovers (Pierce had 5) . Once again, great sagging defense by Kobe, but there were a couple easy layups by Rondo or created by him.

  65. Still want to know what happened with Ariza…

    Wait wait- think about this- we won a game where Luke Walton was guarding Paul Pierce in extended crunch time minutes!

  66. I may be wrong here but I think Kobe shooting long range shots was an adjustment by Phil. In the first half the Celtics were running out and getting easy baskets when Kobe would drive in and miss. Notice that the Celtics were not fastbreaking in the second half because because the Laker guards were getting back. I do agree that when the Celtics big men Perkins/Garnett got in foul trouble the Lakers should have drove to the rim more though.

  67. Joe,

    I feel you underestimate the Lakers because you don’t know them. You say you know more, well enlighten us. Because all we read is recycled rhetoric. You say we’re not tough. You say if we are tough we’d win 70 games. You doubt them every game. But yet, you say you watch every game?

    If you did, then it shouldn’t surprise you.

    If in fact you have this knowledge, the please enlighten us. So far, we get nothing but negative rehashes of played out story lines.

    We all want the Chip, but unlike you, we take positives and see the potential in them as to why we will win. You look for reason why we can’t. You’re a sadist. Not a fan.

  68. Nice one wondah. What I couldn’t the proper words for, you filled in for admirably. +100.

  69. There are wins, and there are WINS. This was the latter.

    Crucial sequence, under nine in the thrid quarter, Kobe Rondo double technicals, you could see the Lakers toughening up in front of our very eyes. the difference: Boston got the Lakers angry, the Lakers got Boston frustrated. Huge mental leap for the Lakers, to say nothing of win number 5 on the road trip, another win on the back to backs, and a season sweep of Boston. No trophies dished out in February of course, but still:

    Yeahhhhh!!!!!!

  70. fantastic win. the lakers are best when they have a chip on their shoulder and angry. (Lamar Odom, specifically. someone should pee in his cereal before every game. jk.. sorta)

  71. i love how the celts fans were saying if they won this game the laker fans would use “not having bynum” as an excuse to why we lost

    and now they use the run of the mill excuse that the reffing was rigged… right.

    and its not like foul calls helped us any since we shot so poorly from the FT line

  72. Wondahbap,

    BITE ME!

  73. Ariza played a horrible game. He couldn’t make a shot to save his life, he had a couple very bad decisions driving to the hole, and he committed several stupid fouls on Pierce over the course of the game. It is amazing to say that Luke Walton did a far better defensive job than Trevor Ariza, but it is true.

    And yes, Kobe almost shot us out of the game at the end. I hate it, absolutely hate it, when we go to the Kobe isolation play at the end of games. When we run the PNR with Gasol, then flash Odom to the high post, good things happen. Yes, the C’s read it a couple times, but Kobe has four options on that play: He can either hit Gasol on the roll, give to Lamar at the free throw line, throw it across the court to Fisher, or rise and fire. Either way, I’ve always seen that play being much more effective than Kobe isolation on the wing. It gives us better movement, better rebounding position, better percentage shots, and better spacing. Whereas Kobe isolation gives us no movement, horrible rebounding position, a Kobe-low-percentage jumper, and no spacing on the weak side. I can’t see how PJ can let Kobe call that play.

  74. If somebody writes something you find annoying, just move on. This debate is about to evolve into how to be a proper fan, which is about as easy to pin down as religion or politics.

  75. Stern is a Laker fan? It’s funny what some people come with sometimes. XD

  76. Kurt,

    Fair enough. My apologies.

  77. i like that kobe didnt back down from rondo.
    powell didnt back down from forget who it was (have i mentioned just how much i love powell)
    and lamar didnt back down from kg.

    lamar really was great tonight, for all his not so smart plays he finally got it right, even if he goes back to his old LO self ill still love him for this one.
    and the clutch 2 blocks 1 on big baby and then the other on allen.

    now gotta end the cavs record, 5 down 1 more to go. can we go 6-0 on this road trip?! not to mention not having drew for more then half the trip!

  78. * meant to say the 2 clutch blocks by pau, haha

  79. Zephid,

    I agree. I didn’t like his shot selection down the stretch either. Even the ones he hit, but thank God, he’s Kobe.

    If he didn’t have the legs to drive to the basket, when there was space to, then he should have made an effort to move the ball. Especially with Big Baby out there. The Celtics just didn’t have the people out there to buckle down and close off the lane and take away our ability to pass.

  80. Some Guy in San Diego February 5, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Zephid..
    Love the comment on the last plays. We needed to do that two years ago.. not anymore. Run the offense and good things happen.

    Celtic Nation.. props to you for manning up! But your team’s in trouble… big trouble!!!

  81. it was powe that powell got into it with.
    I actually wanted powell to match up against powe tonight, (read about 300 comments up) but even if he really didn’t outplay or neutralize him, he did come out of it OK, and better prepared for June.
    we are going to need powell down the stretch.

  82. Overtime game on the 5th game in 7 days? Think the Lakers are goin to enjoy the two days off?

    Loved the way we gutted this one out.

  83. Wow wondahbap, nicely constructed words.

  84. Why are the Celtics in trouble…oh wait, wait….big trouble? They lost to a great Laker team. They still are the best team in the East.

  85. Interesting DNP-CD on Vlad. I guess he’s more of a defensive liability than Luke on Pierce. Still, surprising that Phil didn’t even give him spot minutes. Is this a sign of things to come, or should we consider this an aberration caused by matchup issues?

  86. Time to keep the race for the best record in the East even.

  87. The Lakers DONT BACKDOWN!!!!!

  88. I still can’t believe it. That was simply an amazing game. I agree that this is just one game, one win in a long season, but I definitely disagree about it not meaning anything.

    That win was great and the affects are definitely positive and will help the team and of course myself to feel proud and happy.

    Other effects of this seemingly insignificant win:

    1. YES WE CAN: builds confidence in that we showed we can play great d for nearly the whole 48 minutes against “tough” teams without Bynum.

    2. WE ARE BETTER THAN TONIGHT: proves we can do a lot better considering the bad free throws, kobe having a not so great game, the whole team fatigued from 5 in 7 days in a back to back on the road.

    3. TOUGH: we took it to them and never backed down, kobe v rondo, lamar v garnett, powell v powe/perkins. no one to push around.

    4. BREAKING OF THE LEPERS: beating the lepers and breaking all the hearts in the garden in the last minute. breaking their streak. now we wait to see what kind of trauma effect they suffer. will they go on another losing streak?

    5. LAMAR: just got himself many more fans tonight from all those (fans and players alike) who can’t stand KG’s trash talking and bullying. making all laker fans and odom critics happy with the clutch 2 for 2 fts.

    6. BELIEVE: plus all the little things that everyone contributed helping the team believe in themselves and continue to improve and realize the championship.

    I love it.

  89. Nice to see the Celtic Anonymous hasn’t lost his spirit yet. I respect that.

  90. I hope the Lakers take this energy and confidence into Cleveland and come out with a win.

  91. You aren’t a real laker fan unless you’ve had their logo tatooed to the bottom of your tongue, where nobody can see it, but it colors everything you say.

  92. Here’s hoping the Lakers can feast on some King Crab Legs and pull off a 6-0 road trip

  93. Alright, Lakers get ready to meet the beasts of the East!

  94. #389 yeah, it was great to see Odom get under KG’s skin.

  95. If the Lakers beat Cleveland tha would be the ultimate statment. The team looks exhausted right now. They still haven’t had time to adequately absorb the Bynum news with some normalizing practice sessions. If they could tie the franchise high sweep of a road trip (if memory serves) in this state, it would be nothing short of amazing.

  96. 374. I agree that Kobe iso at the end is sometimes frustrating, but the thing is, the triangle and alot of the things we run just aren’t very dependable in the last 2 minutes of the game. I forgot who said it but the triangle is a 3 quarter offense. We all saw how hard it was for us to get a decent shot of in the Bobcats game with Kobe out. When we do try to force it, often times it ends up in a to and we can’t afford that at the end of games.

    The Kobe iso is something that we can always get, has a low chance for a turnover, and puts the fate of the team on the best player on the court.

  97. Wasn’t that just a fun game to watch, and the Lakers ended up winning in the end, great huh.

    I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it. – Stephen Leacock

  98. Anonymous,
    My take, as currently constructed, the Cavs are better then the Lepers. I thought so before this game. I think we are going to have our hands full against LBJ with Bynum out. Bynum keeps Rondo from making those lay-ups and tear-drops but, as we have seen, it didn’t matter much. Bynum was huge in helping on LBJ and that man is a killer.

    One of the big reasons the C’s are not as good as last year, teams have figured out they can get in KG’s head. Did anyone notice the Lakers let KG take his 18-20 ft jumpers with little contest? Dude is not clutch. He is a bully and you know the saying about that type. LO and Pau did what they needed to and after that KG was a lesser factor.

    I believe Joe is a real fan and loves the Lakers. I just want to lay down some advise. We can all handle negativity if you back it up with some substance. Think about what you want to say. Comment on specific plays or a trend you have noticed. Try to challenge your own point before you even type it out. Let your idea breath. We have all been in the situation where our gut told us something and when we put our mind to it we found there was something lacking. Then there are times when our gut points us in the right direction. I often go weeks without commenting because I have nothing to add. You might want to step away from the keyboard champ. Sit some of these threads and see if watching the game helps you figure it out a little.

    Damn you Goo, I literally hit submit on Turiaf only to find you beat me to him.

    Redd, Drew, Wallace, Bogut, Brand, Nelson.. this game is freakin brutal.

  99. Love these quotes:

    Gasol – “Nobody backed down,” he added. “We were as physical as anybody.”

  100. Anyone else notice how the officiating tightened after the Kobe/Rondo double technicals? I thought it worked in our favor because Boston is so much more physical than we are, we were able to pick up a few quick fouls on them and it forces the Celts to back off a little. Possibly an advantage come playoffs?

  101. Kevin Garnett banged his fist on the table in agreement, and then interjected a reminder that seemed to be intended for the locker room across the hall: “We’re the champs, man.”

    “Coming down the streets, staying at the same hotel, I was up last night thinking about the game — wondering how my teammates would respond. It all came back,” Bryant said. “Enough is enough. We were able to match their physical play.”

  102. Still in awe.

  103. Great game! But I think the officiating needs to be tuned up a bit. Lots of inconsistency. Sometimes they called repeated “ticky-tack” fouls (as Reggier Miller said), and others they don’t call any “hard fouls.” Go figure.

    Also, I did not get the double T when Josh Powell got tied up. If he is not the instigator, then why T-him up? Makes no sense.

  104. 397-Mr. Worthy…I agree with you about the triangle down the stretch, but we’re not saying we want them to run the triangle. The pick and roll with Pau (or pick and pop) is a much better option than a Kobe iso resulting in a contested jumper. Pau has proven himself to be clutch down the stretch, so why not work the Kobe-Pau devastating combo when it counts?

  105. Great win. You could tell the guys were a bit gassed in overtime, yet they still found a way to pull it off. Gotta hit the free throws with more consistency, but I’ll take the W any way possible especially against the C’s.

  106. when kobe started taking those long jumpers, the celtics never really got their transition game going again. is there a correlation? i remember van gundy or fratello doing that to slow games down.

  107. Interesting note…Kobe was a -3 for the game, all other starters in the positive. That says even more about what a gutty win this one was…

  108. Wow… what a game! I know it’s raining here in LA but man it sure looks clear from where I’m standing.

    We struggled with some mental lapses which led to turnovers and missed defensive rotations (House and Allen) but we had enough positives to carry us through this game. Odom started out slowly, didn’t quite have a feel for the game. He had two missed free throws and that turnover trying to force the pass to Kobe…Fast forward to the 4th and overtime and I am incredibly impressed. He had strong drives he defended well, AND he hit those two clutch free throws. Needless to say, he brought his A game tonight.

    Pau was a beast. He still put up a few softies, but overall his effort on the defensive end was stellar. He boxed out and kept to the game plan of making them hit outside jumpers. His effort on offense was outstanding, that turnaround fade away on Baby Davis was Kobesque. I’m so proud of the way he played.

    Kobe was Kobe… I wish the team would stop trying to force the pass to him when obviously the defense is catered to cheat on him. Make it a high percentage pass and not telegraph everything. The end game iso has been talked about and I agree, wish we could get something better than that. But he made up for his bad shot selection by playing tight D on PIerce.

    One thing I noticed…Sasha is still struggling. He did hit that clutch 3 pointer to get us back into the game, but otherwise he didn’t look like the key bench player we are used to. I’m not sure if it’s the sprained ankle not being completely healed yet or what. But I’m hoping he gets his game back on.

    Farmar was awesome, just the sparkplug we needed when Kobe and Pau were resting. Thank goodness he’s got confidence to step it up, b/c everyone else was hesitant. That’s the problem when both Kobe and Pau are out of the game.

    Can’t say enough good things about the Lakers, so I’ll just leave it at this… way to man up tonight.

  109. @387: I don’t EVER want to see Radman on the court again. I cannot stand him and a DNP sounds just about right to me. Honestly, I’d rather have Powell or Sasha guard Pierce.

    Anyhow, great win tonight. I love how LO and Gas came up big tonight. Kobe was Kobe (when it counted) but LO and Gas came up huge. Fish was great too, but LO and Gas really stepped up. I guess LO was watching the halftime show where Karl and Kenny were trashing him bigtime. Good for him. I am glad LO finally came up big in crunch time. Five wins, no losses on this roadtrip have me feeling pretty good right now.

  110. about odom…

    he started the game by missing his first two FTs
    and closed it with two super clutch FTs…

    maybe odom is the two-face of basketball…

    i just hope that against the cavs, the super two-face will show up.

    GREAT WIN!!

  111. Kobe was right. We didn’t shoot free-throws well at all, his game was off all night, we were tired from playing in Toronto yesterday, and we are missing Bynum. We can play so much better than we did tonight.

    Muahaha. Fear us, Cavs. Fear us.

  112. DID SOMETHING HAPPEN TO ARIZA? I heard that the did not play the 4th (I was on the road) and I did not see him at all in OT.

  113. I’ve been googling Ariza since the game ended, and there is nothing released on him yet. He was knocked over and seemed to be in pain… I’m guessing he was out for that reason.

  114. While basking in the sweet afterglow of victory, I will kindly disagree with Kurt’s statement regarding the meaning of the game and join with Lazenby.

    Psychology does matter in sports. A great deal. The mystery is that, because we are disconnected from the players, we can’t accurately identify when an influential swing in psyche has occurred or why. But the swings do occur and they do affect the outcome of games on the court.

    Why did the Lakers get blown away in game 6 of the finals? Were they suddenly less talented than the team that blitzed the West or that hung tight with Boston the first 3 games? No – it was pure psychology. Boston broke their spirit in the game 4 comeback and that was that.

    Why did LA destroy Toronto last January on the day they announced the Gasol trade – with no Drew and almost too few players to suit up? Psychology.

    Why did Dallas lose 3 games in a row to an inferior Heat team (besides the refs…)? The pyschological burden of being up big in game 3 and blowing the win crushed them.

    Why do Horry and Fisher consistently make clutch shots while more talented players (Christie, Malone, Peja, Nick Anderson, Bryon Russell) shrink? Psychology.

    Why did the Celtics lose 7 games immediately after winning 19 in a row this year? Did they sustain an injury? No – it was the pyschological swing of falling from the top of the world to being beaten by bitter rivals on the public stage.

    Now, the hand of psychology can only be accurately identified in hindsight, not predicted. LA might come out of this win overconfident and complacent, or confident and focused, or the same as before; Boston might get fired up and go on another win streak, or sustain another temporary fall, or neither. But, whatever happens, I think the psychological fallout of this game will be a factor. The players, coaches, even fans were heavy with desire, focus, and emotion. The result may not technically matter come May or June, but it will practically matter a great deal then – indeed this win might be a source of critical resolve in some critical future playoff test, when the players dig deep and realize they have faced adversity before and conquered. Odom may calmy approach key free throws, rather than nervously smile; Pau may embrace a crunch time post up, rather than expectantly look for Kobe.

    A win is a win, but sometimes it is more. Tonight seemed to be one of those nights. LA will come out of this stronger and Boston weaker. I expect a swing of psyche for both.

  115. so sweet. so sweet.

    I can only hope that this loss sends the celts into another tail spin.

    I will sleep very well tonight.

  116. Reed – spot on. Totally agree.

    Multiple things factor into every game. Skill, talent, physical fitness/athleticism and psychology.

    This game will go a long way to helping us in the Finals if we face the Lepers. The sweep also gives us home court advantage in a tie.

    Great win.

  117. Re: Psychology, I also think it crushed the Sun’s the year before the last after the Spurs’ loss. It was all about perception as well, the Sun’s were percieved to be the more talented team or at least as talented and it became all about the ‘system’ that was being run, a kind of idealogical battle. In retrospect though does anyone else think that in reality the Spurs’ just had better players?

    I definitely think now that Manu, Timmy and Tony are the better three out of Shawn, Steve and Amare. I find it very sad that currently people have been dumping on Nash because of his two MVPs without remembering that that guy was the business. He made that team and whilst whether or not he should of won is debatable, its not debatable that he was at the very least a top candidate. He was amazing. Now Nash is slowing down I think we’re seeing how good he made that team look, so good that we thought they were far better than they were…

  118. I think Ariza didn’t play late simply because he was clearly off and Walton was doing the job. You go with the hot hand in big games (or the playoffs) and it was not Ariza. Just one of those nights.

  119. I have a great deal to say, but this is not the time. For so many reasons this is an especially great win for the Lakers. Let’s enjoy it and think about it for awhile.

  120. So much has been said, I don’t have much to add. (after re-reading my comment, this is a lie.)

    On a lot of levels I agree with Reed…players get up for games and when they win those games it matters. Whether or not those games affect the standings takes a back seat to how the players feel about themselves after. That’s why there are such things as moral victories and wins that really feel like losses…it’s all in how your mind deals with the outcome.

    As for this game, I’m with Kwame: Odom came up huge. At halftime, I really wanted Odom to go into attack mode and he answered my prayers with his second half effort. He was active on both ends and his exchange with KG just took him to another level mentally. After that, you saw his focus narrow and he was doing (almost) everything right. Good on him. That’s my guy.

    I also agree with Kurt. This was a win that only comes from the mentally tough, veteran team. I think back to the SA game that we lost on Fisher’s foul earlier this season and think this is the same exact type of game only there was no foul and/or made bucket at the end. Against the Spurs, we were down nine points in the 4th quarter and we battled back to take the lead. Against the Celtics, we fought the entire 4th quarter and battled on every possession. Sure, it took some Kobe heroics (that 3pointer that gave us the lead is an impossible shot..really, Pierce was right on his shooting hand). And sure we missed some FT’s and gave the ball away when we should have been more careful. But SO WHAT. We battled, came back, took the lead, and then in overtime made the plays. Soft teams don’t do that. Mentally weak teams don’t do that. If any national media member, any LA Times guy, any person on these boards plays the toughness card after a game like this, I really don’t know what team you’re referencing. Even if we would have lost this game, I would have been proud of the way we fought. I will sleep easy. Even though my fiance thinks I’m crazy for yelling at the TV for 3 hours tonight.

  121. The talking heads will continue to pull the toughness card because that is their story line for our season.

    As much as I hate on Walton, he played some good D on Pierce down the stretch.

    LO is hands down the reason we won this game. It was really cool to see him get fired up and then go into attack mode. If we can find a way to get tonight’s LO consistently, watch out.

  122. wow, that was something special again. wasnt mentioned so far, but we have the upper hand on the c´s now because we hold the tiebreaker in our hands (if the records are the same at the end of the regular season). we are tough and we can bang, no question about that anymore. light up odom and pau and bring in powell and then we cant be intimidated by those boston fatty-faces aka porkins, powe and davis.

    i hope kobe takes a crap in lamars closet and pins a note saying: “best regards, the crab king!”, on it. just to make sure he will show the same attitude against the cavs. LO will be a hughe factor against them, he is the one who will have to bother james with his length and strength.

    i am so pleased with this win and i am so proud. not to mention i am so glad i dont have to read about the lakers lacking toughness, heart and what not, …

    jiiiie-haaa.

  123. What a game… Pau wasn’t that brilliant in the regular time, but he was outstanding in the OT with that 2 crucial blocks (same he did on Christmas blocking Allen at the end)… just awesome!! and that 10-14 in FG was good too… i think Pau needs to shot more in the games… Kobe did 10-29… i think it’s very significative… anyways… we won… thats the main thing!

    Lakers 2009 Champions!!!

  124. Have not read the thread yet.

    I stopped by Celtics blog, and they are mostly complaining about the refs and Jeff Clark is lecturing Laker Fans who showed up on manners/banning them.

    The outcome was satisfying, but the physical/play attitude–particularly on the 5th game in 7 days–is a nice, and perhaps more important, positive.