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. PeanutButterSpread February 5, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    RAWR! Go Lakers!!

    Please avenge, for the sake of the team’s psyche, that horrendous Game 6.

    That’s all I ask.

    Oh yeah, win it for Drew!

    Drew needs to send psychic good waves of fortitude over to Pau and LO, the Lakers are going to need to be strong.

    Kobe and Fish’s shot selections have to be great, no wasting possessions with PUJITS and crazy fade aways please

    Luke and Vlad, please please make your rainbow threes RAIN. No spacing out.

    Trevor, do your THANG.

    Sasha, no stupid fouls or hasty threes please. MACHINE AUTOMATIC FOR THE WIN.

    Jordie, uh …. represent the bench mob plz?

    Josh and Chris, time to STEP UP and be super subs!!

    Oh sigh, it’s going to be a difficult game.

  2. PeanutButterSpread February 5, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    oh yeah, that pic looks so wrong on so any levels.

    First it looks like KG’s humping Pau, combined with Pau’s expression, it screams, “caught in the action.”

  3. The analysis on Celtics Blog (which concludes with essentially discounting the Lakers chances at HCA relative to Bos/Cle) is based on the statistic that teams win the 2nd game of a back to back only 43 percent of the time, without any specific inquiry into how *specific* teams perform in that situation. Why the writer didn’t account for the fact that… uh, say, the lakers for example, have a terrific record in the 2nd games of back to backs while other teams may or may not is downright bizarre.

    Like anything from the mouth or pen of a C’s fan, take it with a grain of salt (or apply your superior purple and gold intellect).

  4. One thing to consider: KG missed the past two games with the flu. The guy gets up for every game, but let’s see what his body allows him to do tonight.

    Between this and the Cleveland game on Sunday, I expect some thoroughly entertaining basketball to be seen, and am looking forward to it.

  5. Obviously, it’d be better to have Drew there, be at full strength. Since he’s not, however, it was really interesting to hear Kobe’s comments about how this game can be a good measuring stick for the team from last year (with the addition of Ariza, of course). After the Raps game he said that it would be good for the players who were there in the Finals to go back and try to get that bad taste out of their mouths. That’s more than he said before the Xmas day game, so at the very least I sense that he has confidence in the team to go ahead and note the importance of big matchups. Also, I hope Powell gets some good minutes, he can body up Perkins a bit while Pau stays out on KG, something that worked really well on xmas day when Bynum allowed Pau to not have to play center. Go Lakers, show the flow!

  6. Kurt,

    I beg you. Do something about that pic. At least sub in a shot of Rondo humping someone’s leg like a chihuahua or something.

  7. Excited to see how our guys play, but as you mentioned in the post I’m really not putting much stock in either a win or a loss. Sure, a win would be nice for our guys, but they all know it means nothing until June.

    I think we will be up for the challenge tonight, though. I just had a feeling throughout the entire Toronto game that our guys were looking ahead a bit.

    Should be good.

  8. The Evil Empire lmao….I like it. Its gonna be really hard to win this game without Bynum in the lane. The one area that the Lakers got an advantage over the Celts is the bench. So the bench has to really come through and people like Sasha and Rod will have to hit 3′s. Ariza will need to make big energy plays. Most importantly, the Lakers cannot win this game if they play at the Celtics slow paced grind it out style. Lakers need to create turnovers and really push the ball and create good movement to win this game. With this being a back to back game and not having Drew, and nowplaying a hungry Boston team who will want revenge this game, I think its gonna be too much for the Lakers to handle. Boston will win by 8 to 12.

  9. I wonder why PJ doesn’t suit up DJ Mbenga? I’d rather see him get some minutes over Sun. I think Mbenga! would be a better body to push and shove and wear out Perkins. I think we should save Powell for Powe, remember he lit us up last year and that alone could have been a difference maker for 1 of the games. powe wasn’t much of a factor on the Christmas day game, but we need to be sure he stays ineffective. I think PJ should bring in Josh to match up against Powe all night, neutralize him.

  10. Perhaps because of the lesser amount of ABC/ESPN hype, I don’t know that this game is quite as big as the Christmas day matchup. The Lakers already proved they could beat the Celtics in a regular season game, if they lose on the downhill side of a back to back and the fifth game of an east coast road trip and without Andrew Bynum, well, a loss might happen. If the Lakers win, I imagine they’ll feel pretty good about it, but know that doing it today doesn’t mean the same thing as doing it in June. I wonder how Boston feels. Are they looking to avenge the loss from December? Or confident in their decisive Finals victory? My guess is most players and fans in Boston are feeling the latter.

  11. Well, I think this game matters from the “measuring stick” aspect (as lakerade noted). Psychologically, it would be big on the road against C’s, game 6 of 7 on road trip, 2nd night of back to back (haven’t they won all of these type of games this season) on same trip where lost Bynum with a home win against C’s in bank already. A win tonight and they affirm some fortitude. A loss will mean little to them, though.

  12. Lakers are going to do it tonight fo sho especially look for dfish to go off dude launched new web site today http://www.derekfisher2.com

  13. One thing that worries me is that KG may still have a bit of the flu, which might have spread to the team. There was a report that Ray Allen had some flu like symptoms too.

    I hope the Laker players don’t get sick after this game.

  14. I don’t know about you guys but every game versus Boston is important. In fact, it is damn important! Whether pre-season, regular season, or Finals.

    Losing by 38 points is unacceptable and we should be salivating at an opportunity to play them again on their home court and exact our revenge!

    I hate them so much that I won’t even do anything related to green today (whether that’s wearing green, writing with a green pen, picking/puking green, or even recycling). In fact, I’ll be using my credit card all day today instead of cash!

    WE WILL WIN!

    GO LAKERS!!

  15. 7. I agree with everything. It’s alot harder to make Rondo a shooter when you don’t have the big guy in the middle to dissuade any penetration. If everything doesn’t go exactly right for the Lakers, Celtics will probably win by 3-4 possesions.

  16. I really think this is no-lose situation for the team. If they lose this game, the second night of a back-to-back, 5th game on a long roadie, without Bynum, what does it matter in the grand scheme of things? We’ve already proven we can beat them with both teams at full strength.

    But if we win? Given all of the above-cited factors that has to be good for the ole psyche.

    Maybe I’m just setting myself up to not be bummed, I don’t know. And I certainly hope the team doesn’t go into the game thinking that way.

  17. X’s and O’s wise, one thing to look for is how Boston plays our P&R with Kobe/Pau. In the Finals, we built that huge lead by running that play frequently. Kobe would take the double team, LO would flash to the high post, and LO would then make the play. He’d either hit a diving Pau, pass to the wing for an open jumper, or he’d make a play for himself. Boston adjusted to this by going small and putting Posey on Odom and having Posey deny Odom’s flash to the high post. This lone action broke down that entire play and then the Celtic’s standard D (like Kurt described above) took hold and we didn’t execute and they did. Case closed.

    I bring this up, because the Celtics no longer have Posey and don’t have a player that can defend Odom in this same manner in a small lineup. This means that they’ll have to either play their standard big line up more or they’ll put Big Baby or Powe on Odom. In any case, our P&R set is going to be a vital one tonight. I expect that we’ll try to run our standard sets and that Boston will deny ball reversals and make us go one on one with Pau and Kobe even more than they normally do. So, like I said, our P&R will be a key set because it is one set where we can dictate what the Celtics do. If they trap Kobe and can’t deny Odom the flash to the high post, they will be in trouble tonight.

  18. Darius good analysis that will be something that I look for tonight now.

  19. The Cavs and Celts don’t have to worry about Elton Brand anymore this year. Season-ending shoulder surgery, according to Marc Stein.

  20. First thing, I fully expect the Lakers to win tonight. Period. No built in excuses.

    Second, fantastic recap and preview. Player and ball movement got them a 24 pt lead. Standing around and people getting scared and running away lost it all. The bench has to bring it. LO has to bring it. Nobody has to be perfect, just make good decisions and be effective. And play with passion defensively. This is going to be sweet.

  21. 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!

  22. Another thing I should point out is that Fisher is going to have his hands full if we go to our Finals matchups of Kobe/Rondo and Fish/Allen. Ray’s been playing quite well lately and his height advantage means that he will be able to get his shot off easier. I trust Fish to chase Allen off screens, but Ray’s quick release and ability to shoot over smaller players is a concern. I would not be surprised to see us deploy our SSZ some in order to have ready made rotations available when we try to run their shooters off the 3pt. line.

    I should also add that House has been shooting lights out lately and we must contain him when he subs in for Rondo. In the X-mas game, we did a great job of neutralizing House by exploiting his suspect ball handling by pressuring him with Sasha. I’d like to see that same strategy tonight. House is not a strong passer and is prone to over dribbling when he feels pressure. If we can make House work as a ballhandler and then make the C’s bleed clock before they get into their sets, it will only fuel our defense as they rush to get a good shot against the clock.

    Despite what many fans think, both teams have advantages over each other. They’ll use their rugged interior defenders to get our guys off their spots and out of their comfort zones. But they do not have reliable ball handlers outside of their starting 5 and if we play our pressure defense tonight, we will force turnovers because the Celtics are prone to giving the ball away. The other night against Philly, Ray Allen even commented that one of the reasons that Philly was able to control the game was because of Boston’s casualness with the ball and Philly getting out and running off TO’s. We can do the same thing tonight.

  23. I think we’ll just blame the officials like a bunch of Boston fans did after we beat you on Christmas.

    As far as matchups, I’m wondering who we’re going to match Ariza with. He can be vital in stopping some of Rondo’s drive/dish stuff, but I also think he could be fairly solid on Pierce.

  24. I know this one’s a bit dated…but just had to watch ld2k’s video again…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkV0B_GeUuo

  25. I’m one of the people that thinks this game matters.

    I said we need a win in one of these next two games. While I’m going to back off that statement some, I still think these games, especially this one, is huge towards psyche. For both teams.

    I want the Lakers to show that they can take anything the Celtics want to throw at them, chew it up and spit it back at them. On their court. Especially without Bynum.

    The Celtics collapse when they get a dose of their ow medicine.

  26. That being said. That doesn’t mean I think thee next two games are the end all, be all. But they can help big time.

  27. the other Stephen February 5, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    so basically, having a second los angeles vs boston game kind of feels like having a second Christmas. anyone else get that feeling?

  28. The Lakers are in an enviable position re these two games. Between Bynum’s injury and the extensive road trip, as long as they don’t get blown out these losses aren’t that bad, while wins would be very big psychologically.

  29. 13: +1. I have a hilarious image of KG coughing into kobe’s face during timeouts.

  30. the other Stephen February 5, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    other than winning this for honor, pride, revenge, justice, and our awesome hometown, winning this for andrew is a pretty practical goal–in other words, winning it for a teammate and friend who’s going through quite a setback.

  31. Psychology is what the players make of it. And being human beings, I suspect they’ll make the best of it. In other words, if they win, they’ll take it as a psychological boost; if they lose, they’ll forget about it.

  32. Last 10 games the ‘evil empire’ is shooting 48% from 3pt range with House and Jesus shooting over 50%. That is the power of the dark side.

  33. I’m with wondahbap on this one more. Kurt, while I agree this game does not hold relevant bearings over what will happen come June, I do think that a win tonight will spur a hell of a lot of Laker momentum. We can take that momentum into Cleveland and maybe, somehow, get out of this trip undefeated.

    We need to play passionate basketball. Period. I want us to play with no excuses and scrap for every loose ball, close out hard on every three-point shooter, and hit the glass for ferocity. I want us to make Boston fans leave the arena pissed off.

    If we can leave with a victory tonight, we will have a legitimate mental edge over Boston (whether the world believes it or not). To add to that, the mental edge should even increase come playoff time if/and perhaps when Bynum can come back and be a presence inside for us.

    As a fan, I am sure I am dramatizing and overreacting a little bit, but I do think this game holds significance in foreshadowing the future. If we can play Boston tough now and not show any intimidation – play tough and pull out a win – well I really, REALLY like our chances of doing it 4 games out of 7 in the finals (granted, jumping ahead) where our depth leading up to that point is a major advantage vs. a team centered around three older vets.

    Go Lakers – hoping my fraternity’s rush event ends early so I don’t miss much of the first half!!!

  34. No offense folks, but the only reason people are saying that “this game does not matter as much as December 25th” is because Drew is out. If Drew was in, the chant would be more like “now we can show them how different things would have been.”

    Truth of the matter is that this game *must* “matter. All Laker players not named Kobe must treat this as a statement game and must come prepared for a battle – and a win. To take this game lightly means that we did not learn from our mistakes last year. Plus, there is no guarantee that (1) Drew will be back this season and (2) that he will be back to the same form when he left. Based on this, this is a “win-or-die” game – but its a game the team *must* try to win.

  35. Oops… I meant to say that this is NOT a “win or die” game but its a game the team *must* try to win.

  36. I’m right with you Manny –

    “To take this game lightly means that we did not learn from our mistakes last year.”

    I think that about sums it up…

  37. I cannot forget about that last 2 minutes of the Celts – Lakers clash in x-mas… Pau with the clutch… so awesome…

    …can’t wait for tonight’s game!

    Go Lakers!!!

  38. Good summary Darius. One more thing to add: If the Finals were traumatic to us fans, they must have been even more so for players in gold and purple, especially the last two minutes of the last game, with Boston fans singing and rubbing it in.

    That sort of thing stays with you, especially when you come off a back-to-back on the road, and when the guy that really made a difference when you finally got your win is out with a knee injury. We beat them when they came to visit us, sure, but that was then and this is now.

    I have no doubt that the entire city of Boston wants blood tonight, and that the players are going to do whatever is required of them to win. We’re walking into a very tough fight here. It’s a good thing we have mentally tough players this year, because they’re going to have to fight hard for every point they get tonight. More importantly, they need to fight even harder to avoid giving up points. As usual against good teams, the best defensive effort is probably going to win.

    It’s a good thing professional athletes are mentally tougher than the rest of us…

  39. One thing I didn’t really bring up that the Lakers need to do tonight is transition defense. And it better be way, way, better than last night.

    Perkins and KG run the floor well, Rondo can penetrate on the break or off a drag screen, and if you collapse down Allen and Pierce and House go bombs away from three. The Lakers have to get back and pick up a man.

  40. sT agrees with aB.

  41. PeanutButterSpread February 5, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Not to mention, the Boston fans roughed up their bus WHILE the Laker players were inside.

    Imagine how that must have felt.

    So yeah, this is the chance for last year’s lineup for “redemption,” even if it’s only in February.

    At least, that’s how the players should view it, not only as a measuring stick, but as some sort of mental satisfaction (if it’ll help the team gell better on defense and offense).

  42. FOR THIS GAME I WISH….:

    For Chris Mihm to get more than a 3 inch vertical – at least once.

    For Mbenga to play and be physical (and maybe score once)

    For Kobe to be Kobe

    For Lamar to be inspired

    For Ariza to shut down whoever he gets assigned to

    For Sasha not to let his emotions get the best of him

    For Farmar to punk KG (small PG, half white – you know KG won’t be able to resist taunting him, but unlike Calderon farmar looks like he can scrap)

    For my Lakers to play with heart the entire game

    For a win!

  43. I usually don’t “gear up” until the playoffs (2000 Championship Locker Room Hat, old school Forum-style KB8 jersey, generic Lakers leather jacket) but I’m putting it all on for tonight. Christmas was great and all, and the media did a good job making a big deal out of it, but I actually find this game to be more important. It’s in a more critical part of the season when we really need to start practicing championship rhythm (I like to be going into the All-Star break at a higher gear, not try to gun the engines afterwards) and it’s on the road, where real men win championships. And I fully expect to hear the words “playoff atmosphere” a few times. The Christmas game was more about last year to me; tonight is more about this year. So which is more important again? (Not rhetorical, I always welcome a discussion!)

  44. The Ball Don’t Lie sports blog has an interesting comment on tonight’s game:

    “The defending conference champions get to play each other twice a year, and you do NOT schedule a game for either of them the night before either re-match. You just don’t do it.

    Doesn’t matter the proximity, the level of opponent, or if one of the teams gets to return to play at home for the second game. Don’t do it. The fact that the road team had to play pretty far away in Toronto, to through customs, and then show up for tonight’s rematch just makes it so much worse.”

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Game-to-pay-attention-to-Lakers-vs-Celtics;_ylt=AolWUryTZoxJQo0NSnnGCL68vLYF?urn=nba,139286

  45. #5 – I was thinking the same thing as you regarding Powell. I would love to see Powell get some minutes at C and leave Pau/LO to stick with KG.

    Powell is active and quicker than Perk, he can force Perk to keep up with him on the boards. Powell can also hit the 12-15 footer if he’s open forcing Perk to come out and opening up lanes.

    Powell can also race down the court with Perk and beat him.

    Perk outweighs Powell by about 60 pounds so there’s some liablity in the post if they pound it in. But that’s not Perk’s game and it would completely throw Celtics off if they do that.

    I’d love to see how that lineup would work.

  46. It would be nice if they win tonight,but playing well is more important.Hope the 2nd unit kicks ass

  47. #43:
    The most important game is the current one, regardless of who we are playing. ;) So tonight, obviously. Besides, a win on the road in a hostile arena is more of a statement.

  48. I hope mihm can regain some of his form he looked real sloppy last night. Powell was a great pickup. I’d be extremely happy if we cud lock him up for a real cheap contract for 3-5 years. He looks like he can become our version of Charles oakley.

  49. yusef, how about horace grant?

  50. or..AC green?

  51. and trevor will become our new Michael Cooper!

  52. And as usual I have to stay late at work… I will rely on the commenters here to let me know what is happening in the game. :)

  53. Any links to video feeds?

  54. Hey All
    I’m a Lakers fan from Toronto and for some lame reason, this game is not nationally televised here!!!
    Can anyone hook me up with a video feed?

  55. Darius,

    Good analysis.

  56. um…look up.

  57. And here. we. go.

  58. was that not goal tending?

  59. Got it specialM – thanks
    It’s working well

  60. For being a “tough” team, the Celtics sure like to flop.

  61. The Lakers had a few rough, beginning moments, but they have settled down and are getting their shots in the flow of the offense.

  62. Good start to the game. A little sloppy for the first few positions.

    How was that not a moving screen by Perkins on that last 2 by allen?

  63. Kobe is picking his spots early, which is nice. Powell’s ruggedness is going to be useful against a team like Boston. He may not be the most athletic player, but he plays a position game and fights for every inch on defense and on the offensive glass. Pau should go more to his mid range game early to draw out Perkins and then use his first step to attack the rim when he can get a step. I don’t like the open 3′s that they’ve gotten so far, but I do like our interior D and our rebounding so far.

  64. I thought Pau should have gone to the basket on that last play and not passed it out to Powell.

  65. Boston’s half court D is not nearly as sharp as it has been in the past. They’re allowing penetration from Kobe that they did not allow last year. If we could start hitting some of our jumpers, we could extend our lead.

  66. Craig’s words are sweet music to Laker-ears=)

  67. Kobe’s shot is off.

  68. Nice little 1st quarter.

    Love Powell’s presence fighting Perkins to a standstill

    Lets hope Garnett’s disappearing act continues

  69. To go w/ Darius – I think Kobe is putting more pressure on the defense by penetrating into the middle. He’s keeping them off balance.

  70. that first possession for us and the ‘block’ was a goaltend.

  71. Did Vujacic even hit pierce there?

  72. Kobes getting to the rim at will, his shots off. These next few minutes are big. Pierce against Ariza and our second unit.

    And Horace grant is perfect

  73. Nice cut and basket by Ariza. That is certainly something he does that none of our other 3′s can do.

  74. Has anybody else noticed our jumpshots seem to be off long. This is probably a sign of anxiousness and excitement. Which I think is a good thing, I just hope our shooters settle in.

  75. Great transition layup, Fish.

  76. Boston’s bench has been dismal again so far.

  77. And we have a Chris Mihm sighting

  78. Finally home… Fisheeerrr! I knew there was a reason I liked that guy. :)

  79. They are leaving Ariza open. He needs to hit those shots or dribble in and create something nearer the basket.

  80. Can’t be sloppy.

  81. If Sasha was actually hustling back on defense instead of feeling sorry for himself, Eddie House would not have been wide open

  82. Damn Mimsy, I’m still at work. I thought we were in this together.

  83. Great job, Sasha.

  84. Two straight ugly TOs by Sasha and the Celtics score five. Yuck. Our second unit should be overpowering theirs.

  85. Two back to back numbskull plays by Sasha…get in the game dude!

  86. With all Sashas hatred for the Celtics you’d think he will in the game mentally.

  87. Sorry Kurt. I would stay and suffer with you, but the HDTV is at home, and that pesky work firewall won’t let me watch video feeds anyway. When it’s a game against the Celtics, sacrifices must be made.

    And Sasha needs to stop being angry and start to focus… I like his passion, but his temper always seem to get the best of him.

  88. I knew he was making that before he shot it……….

  89. Goal tending?

  90. Can’t leave House open for 3

  91. I don’t know why we have Kobe guarding House though…..complete opposite scheme of Rondo. Fish should be on House

  92. I hate Eddie House!

  93. Does KG really need to be doubled every time he touches the ball?

  94. I wanna see Josh Powell jawin at KG by the end of this game

  95. I hate to sound like a broken record, but man does Pau ever draw a lot of fouls?

  96. that boston run was a direct result of sasha’s 2 bonehead plays
    and that’s 2 missed goal tending calls blown tonight
    so far!

  97. This is a fast paced game. Both teams are trying to run. I think this tempo favors the Lakers.

  98. Ryan, the conventional wisdom is to run on a team in the second night of a back-to-back. Wear them down.

  99. need to rebound the ball

  100. Plus, the way the Lakers transition D looked against the Raptors, I’d run on them now too.

  101. Fisher cant make a good fast break decision to save his life

  102. How did we give them a chance at the last shot, when we had the ball with just over a second left before the end of the half.

  103. I think Luke has a lot of brain cramps in big games…if that 3 went in that would’ve been a huge swing

  104. The Dude Abides February 5, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Man, if Fish had just driven hard to the basket and done a jump stop, Pierce would have flown right by and he would have had an easy layup or pass off. Four-point switch….ugh.

  105. Ugh. Can we start making good decisions on defense some time before the fourth quarter, please?

  106. Just as I tried to tell everyone, Boston is just too tough for the Lakers, they are killing them on the boards. Not having Bynum is really hurts. Two things need to happen for the Lakers to win. They have to keep Boston out of the paint and they must take care of the boards. Also, the Lakers have to be careful not to get stagnet on offense, they have to work their offense quick and efficient. Lastly, they must make their open jump shots, they will not get as many points in the paint. Though the way it looks to me, I think Boston will break this game open in the second half.

  107. the postives-
    kobe, of course,
    pau, again, of course
    POWELL, good first half considering the circumstances

    the negatives-
    sasha’s bonehead stretch
    lamar’s no show

    jordan’s in the middle, some poor decisions

    mihm’s just not ready, rather see Mbenga!
    gotta put a big, tough body on porkins, that guy plays rough, and kind of dirty too.

    for the second half-
    want to see trevor shut down pierce
    pau shut down KG
    Powell neutralize Porkins
    fish stay on allen
    lamar, famar and sasha make up for the poor first half showing

  108. The Celts are killing them on the boards. How many second chance points?

    Why double team Garnett every time before he has hit even one turnaround? He’s been sick, make him work.

  109. the other Stephen February 5, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    when is trevor going to be confident enough to stop passing up threes? this happens all the time.

  110. Yea it aint just the Celtics defense, they got deadly shooters. Cant give House and Allen wide open 3′s, absolutely not.

  111. And easy transition points from turnovers and bad shots. Boston is not impressive in the half court offense, they live off transition as Doug Collins noted.

  112. We’ve had too many mental lapses on D. It’s not about effort, it’s about playing your assignment correctly. Kobe left House and had Powell and Rambis asking him about it. We let Pierce go the opposite direction of the screen and get a free run at the basket. On our rotations to the penetrator, the backside guard has to fight his tail off to body up the crashing big man. I know we’ve given up a lot of offensive rebounds, but half of those have come from no one covering for the helping big man deterring shots at the rim. Also, KG and Perkins are big bodies that will get their fare share of offensive rebounds just because of their length (KG) and bulk (Perkins). This means we need our guards to come down and help on the glass rather than looking for our bigs to get them an outlet pass.

    But all is not lost. We made plenty of mistakes, but the Celtics could not break this game open. They’re not playing great ball either. We need to make their defense move and set good off ball screens because it’s leading to open cutters and shots at the basket. Also, Odom needs to get aggressive with his scoring. He attacked the first time he caught the ball and has looked to pass every other time he’s touched it.

  113. The way “Joe” writes reminds me of Charles Barkley. “First of all, the Lakers have to keep the Boston out of the paint. First of all, they also need to take care of the boards. First of all, they need to not get stagnet (sic) on offense….”

    You said two things need to happen for the Lakers to win and then listed two more things. 2+2=4.

    It’s one thing to be a paranoid and pessimistic (glass half empty) fan. It’s quite another to be negative… it’s quite annoying to read your predictions and analysis with very little logical support.

    I don’t care if Boston is too tough for the Lakers. There are many components (skilled, athletic, strategic, toughness, etc.) to being a good basketball team, and the toughest don’t always win. When the Bulls of the 90′s finally beat the Pistons, it wasn’t because they were tougher than the Pistons, but because they were BETTER (more talented, athletic, smarter, and skilled)

    Celts are clearly a better DEFENSIVE team overall, but the Lakers are BETTER team overall when they keep up their defensive intensity. I hope they prove it tonight.

  114. Ball movement is non existent.. Kobe’s forcing shots, but he’s without legs right now..

  115. We’ll take the lead now.. Rondo will learn a tough lesson here.. Never mess with Kobe..

  116. Lakers playing with some energy finally in the 3rd quarter

  117. wow, rondo already behaves like garnett… kobe´s gonna eat him alive

  118. I tell you now, regardless of the outcome of this game, this thread is not going to devolve into an idiotic debate about “toughness.”

  119. Garnett has a bit more of a resume, he can get away with being a jerk. Rondo has… one ring?

  120. Odom keep stepping up man, don’t back down to KG’s intimidation BS

  121. They finally called a moving screen. There has only been 1 of those every time boston sets a screen.

  122. And now they flop haha, un bleepin real…atleast the refs know the difference

  123. Gotta love the “entitlement outrage” of the Celtics and their fans.

  124. lamar with the KG butt pat!!!

  125. Someone needs to knock Perkins on his ass. Too bad Bynum’s not here.

  126. Guys, are the in game announcers also the ones in the radio broadcast in NBA.com? My ears are bleeding now.. They seem to think that their guys are being fouled in every possession..

    What happened to the “tough” label that these boston guys are brandishing..

  127. Signs of life!

  128. the lakers aren’t being aggressive enough.. twice this game they’ve gotten boston in the penalty early in the quarter but haven’t capitalized on it… and kobe w/ONE FT the entire game?

  129. rondo better watch out!

  130. NO MORE HOUSE PLEASE!

  131. i think our guys are tired

  132. Oh come on. That was a bad call.

  133. Rebounding is 28-31 (8-8 offensive) so far. The biggest difference is 7-12 (.583) and 3-11 (.273) on 3s. If the percentages even out for the rest of the game, I like the Lakers’ chance tonight, but they have to react better and not over-help on D!

  134. their energy level is looking pretty tired. good thing boston isn’t running the court.

  135. i swear to god: the laker defense right now… im proud. and gasol tonight… he looks very, very good. i think we win this if kobe can hit his freethrows and keep on doing a great job on pierce

  136. 12-20 FTs. We’re killing ourselves here.

  137. Wow, Lakers. Hit some free throws.

  138. …and if we were able to make our free-throws we would be ahead by now. That needs to improve, we can’t keep playing physical basketball and then miss our free-throws.

  139. are missed free throws a result of back2back fatigue?

  140. 134. the free throw percentage isnt helping either

  141. We can’t lose to HOUSE!

    WE HAVE SASHA!

  142. ugh, hope ariza is ok. this is not last year.

  143. Tony, I think so and Kobe’s shot is a little flat tonight for the same reason.

  144. i hope he didnt get his head dinged up again

  145. It seems to me like the team is playing defense exactly as they would if Drew were playing. I don’t think we can get away with that, because Drew does a pretty good job of erasing or hiding mistakes and Pau is just not a shot blocker.

  146. House is fire, 4-5 on 3s so far… any ideas how to douse it?

  147. We’ve let up big time when it comes to closing out quarters – Boston’s closed the past 2 quarters. Not sure if it’s fatigue, but on two occassions, Sasha then Kobe, we’re not playing D with their feet…too many risky reach-ins and their guys are blowing by us!

  148. I hope this 2nd unit stint can light a fire under Lamar, he’s way overdue

  149. The Lakers need to stop leaving House open and pick him up in transition. That’s really all it’ll take to keep him quiet.

  150. Free throws!

  151. 147

    Tell Sasha to stick with him..

  152. Do the Celtics flop every time down?

  153. The Lakers are getting to the foul line, but they need to make some of them.

  154. Make your free throws!

  155. Everyone was expecting Rondo to pass that ball and no one contested his shot.

  156. These radio guys are talking about excuses.. They’re enumerating the possible excuses that we might use in case we lose..

  157. I can’t believe our defense right now. We’ve fought hard this game, but we’re making simple mistakes. Going OVER the screen on Rondo? Helping off shooters like House and Allen? A Mark Jackson saying is going through my head right now…bad times.

  158. Farmar’s brain is not sufficiently capable of simulating defensive situations. He lets his man shoot an open three or drive to the lane…aarrrgghhhh

  159. 11 missed free throws? In a 4 point game…solid. Blah

  160. I think the Lakers need to fall to the floor more often.

  161. come on pau. let’s get going. we need you.

  162. Wow . . . free throws.

  163. OMG anothe missed FT. Unbelievable.

  164. Darn it we can’t seem to get over that 2 point – 4 point hump

  165. ahhhh! freethrows, come on, Kobe!

  166. odom! nice!

  167. Odom drives to the basket! Great job!

  168. Odom!!! Finally got his head in this game.

  169. You know its a bad day when Kobe is missing FTs

  170. yes and the free throws too. lamar odom.

  171. i predict a three point attempt by sasha or kobe in one of the next 3 possesions

  172. Kobe has six minutes to get his shots to fall.

  173. Why would Kobe pull up there? He had Pierce beat and settles instead of going to the bucket and probably getting fouled.

  174. Kobe’s 7-21, Gasol’s 7-10. Let’s pound it inside more, yeah?

  175. Kobe always has a hand in his face. Its just that Kobe is missing those shots, whereas in the last few games he was making them.

  176. Kobe makes these shots against everyone but the Celtics.

  177. that’s a pretty good prediction. i would put money on that.

  178. Nine missed free throws and we’re still within three. Amazing.

  179. I dunno how the Lakers are gonna do it… if they pull this off… I’ll be amazed

  180. KOBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  181. Now i know why some celtics fan behave the way they do.. If you keep hearing these radio guys every game, you’ll really think that your players doesn’t commit a single mistake..

  182. we should have put money on it hahaha

  183. Garnett fouling out. Pound the inside people.

  184. yeah. you’re a seer.

  185. Good flop, Fish!

  186. KG IS OUT!

  187. I would be kind of upset with that call if I was a Boston fan. Garnett was fouled first.

  188. Bye bye KG..

  189. no more turnovers. that’s 3 on pau in the last 4 plays.

  190. nice luke..

  191. wow kobe.

  192. Is Joel there?

    Stop! Kobe Time!

  193. oh. my. god. UN. BE. LIEVABLE. The calls that Pierce gets. D-Flop in his prime did not get that call.

  194. Come on Adrian, you can’t keep stealing my thunder!

  195. didn’t notice it at first, but rondo is having a near triple double

  196. wow…terrible call on fish

  197. we can’t win if every other possession ends in a turnover.

  198. That was a soft call. I mean really now.

  199. That looked out on the Celtics.

  200. Sorry dude, won’t happen again, haha..

  201. shut up joel

  202. The foul on garnett was a flop by fish so it evens out

  203. Huh? Is Adrian schizophrenic?

  204. can we get ariza on pierce again?

  205. No, I’m just sick of you

  206. Kobe!!! wow!! just wow!

  207. Stop! Kobe time (again)!

  208. KOBE KOBE KOBE!

  209. We have a chance…YES WE CAN!

  210. Hey, are duplicate nicks allowed here? i’m not the one who said it.. maybe someone got annoyed because im posting too much.. whoever it is, sorry..

  211. I know you didn’t post it. It’s very easy to impersonate someone on here.

  212. It was me dude

  213. Oh come on. That was a bad call. And you have to get that rebound.

  214. People choking at the line. Wow.

  215. damit. this is too close of a game. giving me health problems. no turnovers or (o)dumm plays.

  216. At least we didn’t give Allen the 3

  217. Good D, by Pierce, but Kobe looks kind of winded out there right now.

  218. Wow Kobe, that was a tough one even by your standards.

  219. ray allen at the corner for three

  220. We need to get out of the habit of jacking up jump shots at the end of games. We need to force the defense to react and hopefully even get on the line

  221. that’s a good bet too mico.

  222. Good D by Kobe now. THis has been a great game.

  223. Excellent D by Kobe.

  224. Could this have ended any other way? Overtime!

  225. This game is bad for my health.

  226. Solid D on Pierce by Kobe. Overtime is 1) Kobe time 2) Gasol time. Pound it inside. Gasol or Odom should be able to score on Davis. Let’s go people.

  227. 232.
    No KG either so its looking good for us.

  228. After the way the calls have been going and how we’ve missed so many free throws, im happy no matter the turn out of this game.. we worked hard, and its the second night of the back to back, and third in 4 nights.

  229. Out starters outscored theirs by 6 and their bench outscored our bench by 6.

  230. RIGHT HANDED hook by Odom!

  231. I’m happy with nothing less than a win. It’s gone this far. It can’t fail now.

  232. jump shots jump shots jump shots jump shots jump shots jump shots jump shots jump shots

  233. bad call there. that was out of bounds on the celtics. robbed.

  234. Kobe’s tired and he is settling for too many J’s

  235. That ball was entirely off Davis

  236. Pau! Pau Pow!

  237. what happened to ariza?

  238. What the hell happened there.

  239. THERE you go, Kobe. Get yourself fouled, like at the end of the NY game.

  240. what D-fish!?!? step back and throw kobe the lob already!

  241. Our free throws are killing us.

  242. FT shooting could cost the Lakers this game. 15/27 is not good enough.

  243. I think Kobe really needs to stop forcing these contested jumpers. Pau and Lamar have had success down low, give them the ball.

  244. Im following this game online, so can someone explain why Rad hasn’t played a minute?

  245. imagine if we made those ft’s. this game would be over.

  246. 3rd time this year I have seen Gasol choke from the line

  247. Too many missed FT’s

  248. Wow, Joe, you’ve seen Pau miss 3 FTs? What a loser. Nevermind all those clutch baskets during OT and the closing minutes of regulation.

  249. Need to run a Kobe/Pau PNR.

  250. Oh man. Odom make your free throws. This is your moment. We will forgive everything with two makes here.

  251. come on odom. make them free throws.

  252. Leave it to Odom to hit BOTH his FTs in the clutch…

  253. Odom with the clutch FT’s thats not something you see every game.

  254. Great block by Pau by the way.

  255. Re: Free throws and Pau etc. They are just really tired, second game of a back to back in overtime does that to you…

  256. im just stating the facts, how does that make me a loser?

  257. Wow good thing the Lakers had a foul to give.

  258. Ha! Odom!

  259. allen in the corner or rondo drive or pierce js?

  260. No matter what happens – great game!

  261. What happened to Ariza by the way?

  262. i have no life

  263. Fish tripped over someone’s shoe. Not sure if that matters. I think Pierce took everyone by surprise shooting so early.

  264. PAU!!!!!!!

  265. YES!!! WE WIN!

  266. thats 2 clutch blocks by gasol on allen this season..whooooo

  267. Pau Pau Pau!!!

    So much for not being clutch;)

  268. Oh man, what an exciting game.

  269. LAKERS!!!!

  270. I guess the Celtics just weren’t tough enough.

  271. yeah, yeah, yeah!!!!!

  272. GAAASOOOOLLLL!!!!!!! Didn’t Gasol block an Allen 3 at the end of the Christmas game too. Amazing game. The Lakers gutted that one out, they were really tired at the end there. Not sure why House was not in there during overtime, he was shooting lights out the whole game.

  273. That was the win of a veteran team, a mature team.

    Bottom line, we don’t win that game last season.

  274. AMAZING. Amazing game. i can’t believe we pulled it out in the last few seconds. I’m proud. That seemed like a Celtics win all night, until that last shot. Amazing.

  275. yahoooooooooo!

  276. GO FISH! HELL YEAH! THAT’S HOW WE DO IT!

  277. On second viewing I’m not sure Pau actually blocked that shot, but whatever.

  278. Can’t believe I’m saying this, but props to Lamar with the clutch FTs. And a great foul by Fish (inadvertent or not) on rondo with 3secs left

  279. The whining about refs/Lakers/Kobe/etc. has already started at the Celticsblog forums.

  280. I love it, “We won and we didn’t play our best. Not at all.”

    Different year Lepers.

  281. I’m listening to a boston broadcast.. of course, they think allen was fouled..

  282. Well Garnet fouled out, we got lucky! hahaha

  283. Great win.

    Man, we did everything to gve that game away and still came away with it. Missing free throws, dumb shots, and fatigue.

    We fought. We manned up. We won.

    BIG boost for the psyche.

  284. peanut butter jelly time

  285. To be fair, Fish was definitely reaching as allen was dribbling, but that’s a good no-call in a situation like that. Definitely no foul on the shot.

  286. Joe,

    We got lucky? Luck?

    You can’t be serious.

  287. Now lets give the Crabs their first lost at home on Sunday.

  288. 291

    “Tough” luck for them huh?

  289. amazing game, i can finally tell my heart to stop pounding so hard

  290. I was just satisfied with how the Lakers played tonight, win or loss.

    Okay I lied.

    I’m a bit more satisfied with the win.

    Pau is coming up big after all those Kobe jumpers late in the game. You could tell he was fatigued. He had no lift on those shots. To win this game with a fatigued Kobe was huge.

    Pau! Pau! Pau! Remember the Xmas game it was Pau and his crunch time defense that won that game for us. And it happened again tonight.

  291. I am now very happy.

    For trash-talking purposes, it doesn’t matter why we won. What matters is that they lost, against a team that was missing an important starter and couldn’t make free-throws to save their lives.

    At least Garnett fouled out. It would have been even worse to not have an excuse.