Basking in the Sweet Afterglow

Kurt —  February 6, 2009

Boston Celtics v Los Angeles LakersI’ve said before that I don’t think there is much if any carry over from regular season games to the playoffs.

Man, I hope I’m wrong.

Last night provided not only another thrilling game, not only more proof that these two teams are pretty evenly matched, but also even more hope that these Lakers are evolving into a champion. A Lakers team with a ton of excuses to lose rejected them all and found a way to win. Reed laid out a very good argument as to why I am wrong an this game and that kind of win will matter.

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 psychological 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 psychological 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 calmly 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.

I hope he is right.

Kurt

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161 responses to Basking in the Sweet Afterglow

  1. I hope he’s right too. While our victory definitely toughened up our own psyche and made us believe in our own aggressiveness, the way Ray-Ray and the C’s fans have been whining about that last call makes me feel they aren’t gonna swoon and spiral like they did after Christmas. We completely beat them in that game, and they knew it. But after this game, there’s a good chance they’ll feel “cheated” (hah!) and try to exact revenge either on the rest of the league or in our next meeting.

    But I’m proud of our guys and think we have some big pieces to a blueprint on how to smash the Green. I am completely confident we have the C’s number here on out… the C’s just haven’t realized it yet… ;-)

  2. PeanutButterSpread February 6, 2009 at 2:43 am

    I hope Reed’s absolutely correct and that the Lakers will take the intensity of this win and carry it starting now and till the end of the regular season and through out the playoffs.

    Absolute, great win, the teams deserves a hard earned two day rest.

    Proud of how the Lakers etched out the win at the end, but to be realistic, the playoffs are a whole different breed of animal. It’ll be up to the Lakers to step up and not just relax on being happy they took the regular season series.

    Also, the psychology theory’s a good one, but for every theory, there’s always an exception. Take for instance the Anaheim Angels, always losing to the Boston Red Sox. Even though last year they won the season series, they still lost to the Red Sox in the playoffs.

    I bring this up, not to be a pessimist, but just to say, I really hope the Lakers did gain the psychological edge and that they won’t be satisfied with the regular season win. They should be gunning for the ultimate revenge and letting no team stop them.

  3. Shorter Ray Allen: We did not shoot 28 more free throws than the opposition, which proves the refs were biased against us.

  4. What a game. I have to admit, the Lakers did get away with few calls, but i think that went both ways, so I won’t complain about that.

    Without Bynum, rebounding is still an issue. Few key possessions that would’ve resulted in much more comfortable outcome for the Lakers, had they boxed out and secured rebounds. Granted some rebounds just fall on opponents lap, but I think this is something we could always improve on.

    Allowing faster guards to penetrate and shooting a mid-close range floater, jumper, whatever you want to call it. During the 3rd quarter, Rondo was caught doing that several times. Ultimately, it came back to hurt him because he became over-confident but still, it needs to be defended better.

    As much as I miss having Ronny on the squad, I just loved the way how Josh stood up to Powe’s attempt to intimidate him after a play. Powe may have thought that Josh was going after Rondo, but totally uncalled for and typical dirty and physical play the Celtics tried to impose on the opposing teams all throughout. But overall, way to stand up and hold our ground.

  5. Kurt & others, if that post doesn’t change your mind about this subject, nothing will. I was planning to say something similar, but Reed articulated it better than I ever would have.

    Every season GMs, coaching staffs, & players sincerely talk about how certain games are “bigger” than others. Sometimes a loss is more than a loss, sometimes a win is more than a win. On an intangible level, it can matter. Like Reed said, you don’t always know at the time, hindsight is 20/20. Both teams WANTED this game and they both gave everything, they help nothing back, no excuses. A win doesn’t get you a win later, but it serves as proof that we can play with you & we can beat you in a war, at your building, when you give everything. It means a lot. After seeing Sasha, Pau, and our other supporting cast huddle afterward like they won a championship, how can anyone argue otherwise?

  6. kc,

    When a game is called like that, both team get away with something. I find it funny that Celtic fans are whining about officiating (again), when it was that type of game that they thrived in time after time. only now, supposedly, it the officials fault. It won’t work anymore.

    I’ve repeatedly said after the Finals, that we didn’t need another player, or trade, just an application of increased intensity, focus and desire. So far, this team has done that in every big game this year.

    The Celtics tried to be the intimidators, and it blew up in their face. We responded. through very tough circumstances too.

    I said yesterday this game meant a lot in psyche. Not only for us but for Boston. Now they know, they can’t out tough us, they can try to be the bullies down low. We took that, and showed we’re the better team this year. We beat them in their house in our 5th game in 7 nights, in the 2nd game of a back to back, having just lost the player everyone said we *needed.* Our guys were exhausted.

    If we happen to see them in the Finals again. It’s now in their head, that their strategies have weakened. The tactics have stalled. Our guys have eliminated the doubt, to an extent.

  7. Reed,

    Great comment by the way. As you can see, I’m 100% with you.

  8. Eh, this win doesn’t do much for me. It literally could have went either way. Luckily, the Celtics made more mistakes than us and we came out victorious.

  9. This game was a confidence booster – that means a lot. It also plants seeds of doubt in the Celtics minds. This is not the finals by any stretch, but it sure means a lot more than a win against the Clippers.

    I was over at celticblog – Is there any team’s fans that complain about the officiating in losses more? Granted it was not good – but it went both ways. Celtics like to push, but cry when people push back – it’s pathetic.

    We played in Boston, second night of a back to back, winding down a road trip, without our starting center – and it is about the officiating?

    Gutsy win by the Lakers and I think it does send a message to the Lakers (as Kobe said) and to the rest of the league.

    VoR

  10. How does it feel Boston?! How was the cold ride home? Lakers 09 Champions!!!! Who can stop us now? When Bynum comes back the beating will be that much greater!!!

  11. VoR,

    Everyone cries about the refs. I hate to say it, but I’ve seen many Laker fans do the same. PJ has complained about the officiating on numerous occasions. He’s gone so far as to complain about the rims in Boston.

    Although, this win was huge. Hope it carries over into the playoffs.

  12. It is my first post here and I have to say first that this blog is great. I am enjoying basketball much more since reading it.
    I think at least for the Lakers those 2 games in regular season were important in order to prove themselves they can beat the Celtics.
    And after seeing how those 2 games have developed, I think it is true that the Celtics they know this is not last year.

  13. Lakers once again prove they’re the 09 Champs. Odom was a beast!

  14. The refs were wearing Lakers jerseys last night, but I loved it!

  15. Well said, Reed.

    Just saw this: “Basketball is a humiliating sport, it can humble you right in the middle of the game,” Odom said. “But tonight I just left all that behind.”

    Intriguing. I hope this is the start of a new Odom.

    And as much as I loves me some Turiaf, I kinda likes me some Powell, too…

  16. i agree.. this one was so close.. its waaaay to early to say we ‘have their number’.. but its good to see the lakers competitive even w/bynum out, tons of missed FTs and some of the role players having sub-par games.. there were a few disappointing moments though.. particularly on the defensive glass and defense in general.. someone mentioned the lakers not needing a great defensive game to win.. i remember 2 instances in particular where rondo jumped through 2 lakers (i think pau and powell) to grab an offensive board.. same for leon powe.. w/bynum out we don’t have that rebounding presence in the paint.. now replace rondo/power w/bronbron and its GG.

    i can’t wait to rewatch the first quarter though.. bryant was in 7th gear and seemed to have an all-access pass to the paint.. i know he was fatigued and all.. but he REALLY settled for jumpers the rest of the way.. the kobe iso in crunch time is way overdone.. at least before the last shot anyway.. :D

  17. If anything last night proved we’re bigger, faster and stronger than the Celtics. KG who?

  18. So, I noticed three interesting things on that last play in overtime.

    1. Ray buckled his legs out from under himself to get free throws. Anyone else notice that? As for the foul call, no ref in the NBA is going to call Fisher for fighting through the pick if the shooter gets off a clean shot on the last play. No one. There was no contact on the shot, so to complain about the minor contact leading up to the open look is pointless.

    2. Big Baby set one of the worst picks I’ve ever seen on a final play. He literally moves away from Ray as he screens him. If he got even half his body in the way, Fisher wouldn’t have been able to ride Allen and he probably would have freed himself for a better look than he got.

    3., Ray jumped on the inbounds pass. I believe that’s a traveling call? Anyone know for sure?

    Great game. I wore my Lakers boxers to my classes all day and boy, is the payoff sweet.

  19. Nice Reed,

    I hope he’s right too.

    I’m not even afraid of the Celtics anymore. Please give us better competition. The Cavs maybe, but the Celtics? Please.

  20. The Lakers are soft? Please, the Celtics looked like pillows last night. I love the fact that the Celtics are complaining about the refs. Sorry Celtics fans, unlike you we don’t need calls to win the game!

  21. the other Stephen February 6, 2009 at 7:54 am

    As for Odom, I quoth:

    “I want to be a Laker for the rest of my life. I’m a rock star. I can’t help it. Some people want me to go, some people want me to stay.

    “I want to stay. I love L.A. I’m done moving around. I’ve been in L.A. since 1999. Why would I want to go anywhere else? And I want to win the big one. Why not? You’re playing, you might as well want to win, right? I’ve lost plenty. It’s time to win.

    “Then I’ll sail off to the sunset one day on my white horse.”

    hahaha.

  22. HAHA!

    Love the Odom quote other Stephen!

    Well, if Odom wants a championship all he has to do is wait until this summer because the championship is ours this year! I can feel it! Now that we beat the Celtics TWICE, we’re in their heads. Bye bye Boston!

  23. I have always assumed that the Celtics losing streak that happened after Christmas was simply a result the exact same mentality and psychology as when a schoolyard bully finally comes across someone who isn’t afraid of him. It hurts, it bleeds, but most importantly, it shows all the other kids that he’s not nearly as dangerous as he seemed. So all the other kids now stand up to him and punch back as well. The bully eventually picks himself back up and starts frightening kids again.. until one day that first kid comes along once more, and once again hits back.

    Wait, that’s what Reed said, wasn’t it? Never mind then. I agree with him.

  24. Incredible win last night. My weekend is going to be great. Sunday is the real finals preview. Celtics lost to Cavs and Lakers, so what can Celtics fans brag about? Mark it down – Celtics don’t make it out of the first round.

  25. Great play all around buy our guys last night. Odom proved a lot of his critics wrong last night. I agree with Barney, Celtics won’t make it out of the first round. They won’t get home court and they’re collapse. They’re not even on our level anymore.

  26. Celtics are one and done. Cry about the refs some more Celtics fans while we dance ourselves to another Championship.

  27. Wondahbap-Agree. I find it hillarious that Doc can muster the nerve to complain about the refs when their whole game-plan revolves around physical play and defensive 3 seconds all game long. Pot, meet kettle.

  28. Great game. Loved the intensity on both sides. Loved the chippiness. Loved seeing guys getting in other guys’ grills. No one playing dirty, everyone playing HARD. That’s the kind of basketball I love to see the Lakers playing. Tell me that did not feel like a playoff game last night. Now to see if they can bring that same intensity into Cleveland on Sunday, put a blemish on the Cav’s home court record, and show the whole league what they have to fear come playoff time.

  29. As great as last night was it is now time to concentrate on Cleveland. Kurt, could you put up something on the Cavs tonight, instead of Sunday morning. Doesn’t have to be a full description, just some tidbit.

    I want to start planning for Sunday tomorrow morning.

  30. I almost woke up expecting Henry to have something to nitpick at Kobe’s game…I was not wrong. The agenda against Kobe has been really resurfaced this week. I really wish people would just enjoy him while he’s here and instead of always finding things he can’t do, marvel in the things he can

  31. Historyinthemaking February 6, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Bring on the Cavs – the real finals preview.

  32. kwame a.,
    There isn’t much he can’t do — unless you want to include acting like a freight train coming down the lane into traffic.

  33. Kwame a,

    I totally agree. Kobe showed last night that he can’t be stopped and that he’s better than the entire Celtics roster. This is one of the best Laker teams in their history and I’ve been around for a while.

  34. The Celtics are out in the first round? Not on our level?

    Those sentiments are, frankly, stupid. And you wonder why Lakers fans are thought of as arrogant. Did you watch the game? Did you notice it went to overtime? The Lakers and Celtics have now played 8 games from the Finals through yesterday — one, just one, was a blowout, and that wasn’t a Lakers win.

    The Celtics are a very, very good team. They are maybe half a step behind a healthy Lakers team, but they stand a very good chance of coming out of the east. They still stand a chance of beating the Lakers in a seven game series. They are freaking 41-10.

    I got to wake up this morning and be disgusted by my own site’s comments. I feel a little sick. We are respectful at this site, if you’re not going to be there are other Lakers sites to visit.

  35. I think Kobe took some terrible shots. But he’s Kobe.

    Just because his legs were jello, and he didn’t have the energy to drive, doesn’t mean he has to shoot it. Especially with KG out, the Lakers could’ve moved the ball around for a good look. I’m as big a Kobe guy as there is, but I was very disappointed in the some of the shot selection down the stretch.

  36. Kurt, that was a really hard fought game – on both sides – and anyone who doesn’t doff their cap to the loser doesn’t really understand basketball.

    I liked that Boston doesn’t handle pressure well, when the opponent doesn’t back down to Boston’s physical play. See Atlanta and Cleveland series last year. The thing about this is that we did it on their home court. Now that is the measure that could help erase our loss last year.

  37. I woke up laughing this morning.

    Reed, you should have titled this article – The Lakers are better than the Celtics in every aspect of the game. Would have been sufficient.

  38. Some Celtics fans are trying to come to grips with this:

    http://celticshub.com/2009/02/06/that-was-unpleasant/

  39. Tough tough win. I would have lost the farm that LO missed one of two free throws at the end. Loved the way that Kobe and Lamar did not back down to the Celts bully tactics. I thought Kobe really sent a message that the Lakers were not going to be taking any of that last night. It’s the kind of thing I wished we would have seen during the Finals last year.

  40. I still believe the Celtics are the best team in the East and our equal. It was a toss up game and we were fortunate to win — taking from that the imminent fall of Boston is nonsense.

    I was just trying to make a big picture point that some games do seem to affect players psychologically, and that carries over to how future games are played.

    From LA’s perspective, I think the victory, even coming in such a close game, could be critical for our future psyche. They were embarrassed by Boston last June. They spent all summer hearing that they are soft and mentally weak. Outside of Kobe and Fisher, we have a lot of players who haven’t yet experienced overcoming all — there is some fragility in Odom, Farmar, Sasha, maybe even Pau. Last nights win might go a long way towards fortifying the team mentally so that they do not break when things go badly again. They just suffered terribly deflating news with Bynum’s injury, perhaps instilling some doubt or “why me” thoughts; the last time they played in Boston they were demolished in the deciding game of the year; they were playing the 5th road game in 7 days, the second night of a back to back; they had to throw out a previously untested Mihm-Powell lineup when Odom picked up 3 first half fouls and coughed up a 9 point lead; Boston repeatedly tried to bully them; they couldn’t hit a free throw — and yet, despite all of this, they won. That’s huge in my mind. It means more than a victory in the standings. If they return to Boston again, they will come knowing that they won when they had every reason not to, and won’t be as prone to breaking under physical play, hostile fans, or a rough stretch when shots don’t fall. Odom and Gasol will remember that they carried the team through overtime when Kobe’s shots weren’t falling. Etc., etc., etc.

    So, I think the game means more than another victory in the win column. It gives us a psychological boost, maybe even an edge, the next time we face Boston . Or perhaps just more generally when we face a must win on the road when things look bleak. There might be that sense of “we’ve done this before, no need to panic or doubt.” Just as important, it tells the team that Drew is not the missing piece to getting past Boston. As much as he’d help, they can do it without him. So they can move forward without the “what if” card hanging in their minds, knowing that with or without Drew, they control their destiny.

  41. RickedRoll’dya February 6, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Ultimately, this is a great win because it was on their home court. It’s such a confidence booster. It allows the Lakers to realize that they’re better than the Celtics and they can beat them anywhere and at any time. The Celtics are worse than last year and we’re better. Without Posey and PJ Brown the Celtics aren’t much of a contender. I just can’t wait until we play the Cavs and get another confidence boost.

  42. Kurt, if it helps, I interpreted some of the initial “one and done” comments as in the Celtics will only win one championship, i.e. not repeat, because the Lakers can and will beat them in the Finals. But yeah, the subsequent comments shooting off about the 1st round are wholly inappropriate.

  43. NBA fans are some of the most fickle people in the entire world. One night our team is unstoppable, the next night our team won’t make the playoffs. While I am in the camp that agrees that this win was bigger than most (psychologically, at least), this, if anything, will make the Celtics better when we see them again.

    The Celtics are a physical, defensive juggernaut. This is not going to change. If you actually watched the game, the Celtics were playing their usual game, with tons moving picks, pushoffs, and undercuts. This is how they play, and some days we will be the beneficiary of some calls. Other days, they will let both teams play, and we’ll have to show, like we just did, that we are capable of being just as physical and just as rough as they are.

    One play in particular has me very curious about NBA rules. I call it, the “sliding door.” In this play. Ray Allen is lined up on one side of the court, with 2 guys (usually Perkins and KG) on the other side. Allen then runs along the baseline, Fish trailing him the entire play, and proceeds to run right in between KG and Perkins. After Allen squeezes through, KG slides over and he and Perkins form a 2-man human wall. I’ve seen them use this play a number of times, and almost every time, Allen is left wide open because Fish gets creamed by the sliding door.

    The only affective way I can see to defend this is to have one of the bigs, preferably Gasol, jump out on Allen as he catches the ball. However, when they run this play at the end of quarters or the game, Gasol is usually sticking tight to KG, and it’s very very dangerous to leave a big man with a clear lane to the basket. So, this will leave our other big (either Odom, Powell, or Bynum when he returns) guarding both KG and Perkins, while Fish has to help on one of the two. What I would like to see is Fisher run KG over, and get a blocking call (if KG is still moving, this will be the case).

    This was a great win, but we still have many things we can improve on, the defense of this and other of Boston’s staple plays. Plus working on some of the end-game offense to be something other than Kobe-Iso would be nice.

  44. Calls? C’mon, Paul Pierce is the new Dwyane Wade, he is constantly on the line in the 4th quarter.

  45. Nice to see Pau and Lamar step up in the clutch in big games on national television. Very important for them.

  46. That was a great game, incredibly competitive, a LOUD crowd, and other than the Laker’s free throw woes some big time players stepping up in crunch time. Unfortunately I could not watch the game because every time I tuned in, be it through live chats or TV feeds the Celtics would make a run, so sorry about that guys, I ended up not watching the last 4 minutes of the 4th quarter and the entire overtime, so I am personally claiming credit for the win :)

    People who claim things like we are “10 times better than the Celtics at every position,” all I can do is shake my head in disappointment at you. You have this incredible opportunity to have a high level basketball discussion with people who genuinely know and understand the game of basketball (I am not one of these people) on this site. You should take advantage of this.

    Kurt, do you plan on doing a piece about how huge Gasol has been since Bynum went down? I know Kobe has been filling it up, but the big man has been shooting the lights out, and really helping us in our post MCL wins.

  47. The Dude Abides February 6, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Celtics don’t make it out of the first round? Do you two even KNOW how bad the 7th and 8th teams in the East are?

    Also, for as physical as the Celtics play, for them to complain about a HAND CHECK a full second prior to Allen’s last-second shot is wussification personified. Their freaking HEAD COACH was chirping about that play. What a bunch of WATB they are (google it). To me, this says that the Celtics vs Lakers dynamic has become the Suns vs Spurs dynamic, with the Celtics becoming the Suns.

  48. Reed,

    This game had psychological implications for both teams. Just as much as it helped the Lakers, the Celtics now know, that even without Bynum, we can and will win in tough chippy games. they can’t just walk around with their chests puffed out thinking they can jut turn up the physicality to beat us.

    The road trip aspect to this win should not be overlooked. 5 games in 7 days. Boston wanted this one just as much as LA did. Boston has shown last year, and this year, that the road is a problem for them. We won this game under very tough circumstances.

  49. LOL emotions and sensitivity is running high on the CelticsBlog. I was just over there telling them the 6th foul on KG was terrible, Fish was acting, etc… but they just can’t complain about Allen not getting calls at the end.

    And I got banned for being a troll. Yikes

    Some really hurt and sensitive people over there right now

  50. Thanks Kurt. Let’s try and stay classy everyone?

    The psychology of winning streaks is fascinating. The longer they go the harder they seem to be to snap,for simple mental reasons. It’s the big bully on the schoolyard all over again. And for the same mental reasons, once a winning streak is snapped, it may take a while to recover from that.

    If we had lost last night, the creeping feeling of “if we can’t beat them in the regular season, how can we beat them in the finals?” would have been with us for the rest of the season, and into the playoffs and it would have been suffocating. The Celtics on the other hand, are unlikely to suffocate. After all, they know they can beat us in the finals. They’ve done it. Let’s not do one of the league’s best teams the favor of underestimating their potential and determination, not to mention their skill and talent. Let’s not get over-confident.

  51. Not sure where people are coming up w/ the “we dominated” stuff. We won by 1 point, in overtime.

    Look, I’m as happy about this win as the next guy. I was screaming at my tv and wanted to take the streets in celebration last night…but the Celtics are still a scary team that will certainly get to/or close to the finals again this year.

    I’m not taking anything away from our win, and I certainly am not going to agree w/ any of the weak excuses many Celtic fans (well, fans on the blogs) are coming up with. But the bottom line is if you think the Lakers “own” the Celtics and that the Celtics are over the hill you are flat out wrong. Huge confidence boost for us, big confidence drop for them but it’s February 5th.

  52. SVB,

    Thanks. But I think we’re allowed to imagine for at least one night that we were the better team there. Not unless you own our minds also, then I have no say in that.

  53. Happy with a W but hate Kobe’s one man show in the 4th and OT, especially after KG fouled out. (Also, horrible call on his 6th, obviously; indefensibly bad.) As soon as KG is gone that ball should pass through Pau’s hands every time down the floor.

    Did anybody else want to strangle Sasha in the first half? Up until that 5 point swing on his mindfarts the bench was doing great with Kobe out — what the heck has happened to him?

    And to the new celtics-haters:

    You guys aren’t really going to continue making derogatory comments about the Celtics, are you? You realize we won by 1 point in overtime with their defensive presence fouled out on a bad call, right? If fbg is going to get flooded by middle school dropouts that’s a shame.

  54. Quick recap on the calls: KG’s 6th was weak, the final play was 95% clean, and the officiating was generally a bit sloppy. That said, the complaining about calls from a physical team like the Celtics is pathetic. Classy teams don’t make excuses, even when they have a case (see the Spurs last year in the playoffs). And in this game, the Celtics didn’t have much to complain about. Take your lumps and come back next time.

  55. The Truth_The Facts February 6, 2009 at 10:13 am

    I think they might lose a couple games. The got backhanded the first game and that stunned them. They really wanted to win this game, I don’t care what Doc Rivers or anyone else says. But they still couldn’t pull it off. Forget Bynum, KG fouling out, late fouls not called…it’s a physical, man’s game…a contact sport and the Lakers had more points at the end. All Boston had to do was get 1 stop and they would’ve won. They’re gonna lose at least 1 more.

  56. I love watching these old timers’ championship dreams slip away from them. Every time they play an elite team they’re slowly realizing that there is a slim chance they’re going to do anything in the playoffs.

  57. Wow…that was a GREAT game…and as soon it went into overtime I was satisfied with it….win or lose…to know that both teams fought hard till the buzzer…I was stoked.

    I am uber glad that the Lakers pulled off the win and I think it will help them in other games…to know that they got it in them…especially how Lamar shook of KG’s tough guy nonsesne…Lamar remembered that he is from Jamacia Queens and he aint no punk!!

  58. lol burningjoe,

    I love lamar. He so much stronger than KG and finally he’s realizing it. We have bynum, we win by at least 15 maybe more. It’s going to be a sad day for the Celts when we have lamar, gasol, bynum beastin on them in the playoffs!!!

  59. 61-Celts are far from irrelvant, and will be there till the end, count on that. Their bench is improving actually, Davis and Powe are solid, but they are a little small. They need another backup guard and would have been in business had they gotten Mcdyess or Mutombo. Their roster as is can win a title, but they will have to lean heavy on their starters, and if they do that all season to get HCA then they may be gassed come playoff time. However, irrelvant is not a word to use for the defending champs, and I for one would love to play them in the finals.

  60. Just picked this off BDL, but maybe this’ll help people see something more about that last play:

    http://www.hermitology.com/2009/02/waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.html

  61. wondahbap – I can’t possibly address the full range of posts on here, from the most level headed like yours to the most delirious. I thought the reffing was one sided in the last five minutes. Maybe that was balanced out by crummy calls during the first 43 minutes. But I also thought a few ‘lesser’ Lakers stepped up huge.

    robinred – You think I wouldn’t get banned on a Celtics site? I’d get half way through writing that KG plays like a punk and that’d be it.

    Anonymous, the Lakers were better. As I said. But they squeaked by a Celtics team that was sloppy, and that got jobbed on several calls or non-calls at the end. While this game should give the Lakers a psychological advantage if they meet again in the Finals, it shouldn’t be deluding 2/3 of the people on here proclaiming some kind of Lakers dominance over the Celtics.

    And I’m just giving you Laker fans a hard time. I’ve been to a Laker game. I saw more than one person with multiple blackberries, and one person with two blackberries AND an iPhone. I don’t know what’s up with LA, but you all must be rich if you can afford to go to a Laker game and NOT watch.

    I’m a Wolves fan. I watched KG and Wally World nearly beat Kobe and Shaq in their prime. In all their primes. Then I watched KG become a psychotic drill sergeant about a year before getting traded to the Celtics. I’m definitely NOT a Celtics fan.

  62. “Bailouts are for banks and automakers, not basketball teams.”

    Hahaha. Nice link Anonymous. Hopefully other Celtic fans see that one.

  63. All this talk about how much better we are than the Celtics, how they will lose in the first round and how the Lakers dominated them last night is stupid at best. I mean really the Lakers won by 1 point in overtime. One call, one lose ball, or one shot goes differently and Boston would have won that game.

    There might have been a little bit of a foul at the end there, but no way does that get called at the end of a game. I don’t think that gets called 60% of the time no matter when it happens.

    Bring on the the King crabs on Sunday (I think they should change their name). Is it too much to hope that the Lakers hand them their first loss at home this season? Thats an amazing record by the way. What is the longest home winning streak?

  64. 61) Dennis
    “I’m just sick and tired of hearing about how good the Celtics are and how ‘good’ their defense is. Can we put it to rest now? Did you see how better our defense was and how we picked them apart?”

    Big win for the Lakers, but they hardly “picked the Celtics apart”. Hopefully the Lakers won’t be as cocky as some of the fans.

  65. “How does it feel Boston?! How was the cold ride home? Lakers 09 Champions!!!! ”

    I absolutely hate comments like this. Last time I checked, last night was just a regular season game – and we are not yet in the NBA Finals. Also, a single win in Boston, during the regular season – and by only 1 point – does not make us NBA Champs. In case this clown forgot, there are still 40+ games to be played and a little thing called the NBA Playoffs to be dealt with before anyone is crowned “2009 Champs”.

    I love my Lakers, but c’mon.

    Personally, I have a feeling this is a comment from a Troll. Even the most ardent of Laker fans know that as great as last night’s win felt, the game could have gone either way (helloooo, we won by 1 pt!). As Kurt pointed out, these type of comments belong in other Laker forums.

  66. If I understand it right, the complaint is not whether Pau fouled Allen during the shot, or whether it was a clean block or not. The foul that Celtics fans claim took place was Fisher on Allen, as just as Allen got the ball back and was driving past Fisher to step back and shoot.

    I think it could have gone either way. If it had been Kobe that shot and missed, I would have wanted a foul called, because Kobe never misses in the clutch and the rules don’t change just because the clock does. Since it was done to Ray Allen, I want the refs to let it go because they should not decide the outcome of a game, the players on the floor should.

    Perspective is everything.

  67. 65.

    Lol, a Laker fan posted the link on Celticsblog and it was promptly taken off.

    Personally, I give credit to the Celtics fans for being unabiding homers and not turning on their team after a tough loss.

    As far as last night was concerned, I thought that the calls did lean our way and ultimately influenced the outcome when KG got a chippy 5th and 6th fouls. Of course, this would not have mattered if we had just hit our free throws.

    The Celtics did edge us in physicality (+5 on rebounds is a large margin and Powe in particular really hurt us) and frankly without Bynum they’re going to edge us in that category most games.

    That being said, I’d like our chances against them in 7 even without Bynum if we had homecourt advantage.

    With a healthy, focused Bynum though… fuggedaboutit, they simply can’t touch us the way that they are currently constituted.

  68. Oops, I meant 64.

  69. I’ve watched the last play of the game a dozen times. And yet, no one has mentioned that Eddie House was wide open for a three. Sasha got caught on a blatant moving screen by Glen Davis. How come the C’s fans conveniently ignore that? The C’s are notorious (especially late in games) for setting egregious moving screens and yet the only get called 1 out of 8 times a game. Last year, I specifically remember PJ Brown grabbing and falling ON TOP of Pau Gasol at the end of a game.

    And for C’s fans to whine about KG’s call….the dude pushed Fisher….the refs had no choice but to call that.

    By the way, I’m still perturbed that Ariza wasn’t in the game defensively. Granted, he might have had an “off night” (although, I think he had an unfairly short leash for some odd reason) but I still think our best defensive lineup is when Kobe is on PP, Ariza/Fish on Allen, and Fish/Ariza on Rondo.

    What do you guys think is our best defensive lineup against Boston at the end of games (assuming Boston goes with their starting lineup at the end instead of going small)?

  70. Again, who knows what will happen in June, but the biggest impact of this game isn’t so much for the Lakers. Its for the Celtics. They disregarded the Christmas Day loss by saying “we’ll get them on our court.”

    Sure it was closer, but they failed to win on the court they protected last June. In the process, Gasol dunks ferociously on them and Odom stares right back at KG.

    I don’t know if the Lakers expunged all doubt from their own minds, but they most certainly planted some doubt in the Celtics’ minds.

  71. Kurt, why did you censor me? All I said was that hopefully this win will keep out all Celtic trolls.

  72. #63
    Spot on.

  73. You’re right lolsaan,

    We’re tougher than the Celtics and we showed it last night. They thought they were tougher than us last year but now we’re realizing that all you have to do is push back and they fold. It’s amazing how no one picked up on this before. The Celtics were exposed last night and are now the soft team. Have fun trying to find a Posey and PJ replacement Celts!

  74. *about last night’s game, not about Laker fans. You think we all live in LA? :D

  75. 70. That was a mistake. I clicked the wrong button. Sorry.

  76. Laker-lifer here in Boston (uprooted from SoCal). I can’t stand these “Pink-hat” Celts fans (i.e., bandwagoners who cheer on the C’s b/c it’s suddenly stylish a la Red Sox 2004+).

    To me the key of the game was LO in the 2nd half. I don’t get to watch too many Laker games, but I cannot stand it when I see Odom smiling, wagging his tongue and missing free throws like it’s his job. This guy has a world of talent, but I want him to get mean! Seriously, if he’s nasty, he can take this team to another level. DOES HE HAVE IT IN HIM TO DO WHAT HE DID IN THE 2ND HALF CONSISTENTLY?

  77. It’s only a regular season game but the Celtics really don’t have any player that can stop Kobe, Gasol, Bynum (when healthy) and Odom. KG RAY and PIERCE’S stock should have dropped significantly last night.

  78. How does us beating the Celtics make them irrelevant?

    I feel we are better then them this year, but they did have a 12 game winning streak before the loss. Now they’re irrelevant? C’mon.

    SVB,

    Don’t generalize any teams fans. Any team’s fans could be stereotyped. there are many Laker fans that think Celtics fans are bandwagon, fairweather, frontrunners who only complain abou the rfs when they lose. I don’t think that’s a fair assessment of their fans. I know some very knowledgeable Celtic fans.

    Sure, there are some dumb things being said here, but I can tell you, that most of them a new here, like yourself.

    KG played well, but nearly beat us? No.

  79. The post probably got overlooked in the flood of self-congratulatory posts, but I noticed some things [Post #19] that might clear up [or muddle] some of the conversations.

    Any thoughts? I’d like to get #3 answered by someone who knows more about league rules than I do, if y’all.

    I’m feeling confident about the Cavs game on Sunday, although Mo Williams is playing with a severe chip on his shoulder after being snubbed twice, and LeBron wants to prove himself against Kobe.

  80. Celtics aren’t the beast of the east. They’re not even top 5 team in the nba. They can barely defend their home court let alone win a road game. The Lakers/Celtics discussion is over. NEXT!

  81. “The Lakers had a foul to give, and Derek Fisher gave it, with three seconds left in overtime. And then … did you see that? Kobe Bryant, screaming angry. Anybody know what the story was there? I know the commentators speculated he didn’t think they had a foul to give. But what really happened?”

    Is Henry Abbott trying to stir the pot?

  82. Lots of thought swirling through my head at the moment. I like that some previous commenters feel great about the Lakers’ win. It’s fun being a fan and sometimes part of the fun is vicariously living through your team and talking a little trash. That being said, I’m not sure how you can say anything more than “that was a huge win and I love that we won.” Saying “we dominated” or “Boston is no good” is fine for some settings, but around here, most people want a little more analysis than that.

    I am personally annoyed that the Celtics and the C’s fans are blaming this one on the refs. I don’t disagree that the reffing messed with the flow of the game (unlike the Christmas game, which was great) but to say that it was one-sided sounds whiny and defensive. I can watch the game and pull out a bunch of examples of calls the refs blew in favor of the C’s. at 9:41 remaining in the 1st, Pau gets slapped on the arm by Perkins in the high post and loses the ball which leads to an easy layup. Garnett and Perkins set numerous moving picks throughout the game, very few of which are called. At 5:41 remaining in the 1st, Perkins sets a moving pick to get Allen free for a three in the corner. The most obviously bad call in the first quarter is at 1:51 in the 1st. Farmar goes up to stop an alley-oop to Paul Pierce. He gets his left hand on the ball to deflect the pass and while he’s touching the ball, Pierce hits Farmar’s arm knocking the ball away. Guess who got called for a foul? Farmar. Guess who got fouled for another foul two seconds later on the inbounds when Rondo uses his off arm to create space? Farmar again. That was just the 1st Quarter. Farmar’s 3rd foul was also a pretty questionable blocking foul. Rondo ran right into Farmar’s chest. (And yes, the refs missed a few that the would have benefited the celtics)

    The point is not so much that the Lakers got screwed or that Garnett wasn’t fouled before he committed his 6th. I just want to point out that the refs were ALSO having a difficult time making calls the Lakers should have gotten. I’m one of the first Lakers fans to critique the refs when they favor the Lakers unfairly. This game was just inconsistently reffed and both teams had to overcome the officiating. Obviously that’s not the ideal situation for any NBA game, but the yacking going on at CelticsBlog about the one-sided reffing and conspiracy theories on the part of the NBA is laughable. I know we’re not having that whine-session over here (mainly because we won) but I want the record to show somewhere that the reffing was not systematically favoring the Lakers.

    —————

    Last night, gasol really contributed positively. Not earth shattering but Pau’s lack of bulk puts him at a slight disadvantage against the strong, heavy bodies of Perkins and Powe. He’s not able to establish deep position more than a handful of times. And still he found a way to use his height advantage and make Boston pay. Really a great job by him of adjusting to the matchup.

    Luke also had a very quietly important night. He had very few negative plays and quite a few positive plays like his improvised pick and roll with Josh Powell in the second quarter and a nice steal a couple possessions later. Props to one of our favorite scapegoats.

  83. 77.

    Magic smiled his way to 5 championships.
    Demeanor is overrated.

    As far being nasty, that just ain’t LO. The dude is who he is- a plus player who’s more than a bit flakey.

    He’s not going to change, and people would just be a whole lot happier if they could just accept this and spend a little more time focusing on the value that he currently brings to the Lakers as a back-up who can start for us without us experiencing much of a drop-off.

  84. Simply put, our team is better than their team and our players and better than their players. I hope we play the celtics in the finals so we can destory them.

  85. 70 – Yes. Moving screens all night long, not just at the end of games. I can’t believe their frontcourt is allowed to continue moving on screens. It’s blantant and ridiculous! When will the refs stop allowing KG, Perkins, & Davis play that way?

    86 – Yes Henry has had something against Kobe for quite some time with very little substance which is why I stopped reading his blog. And Kobe turned and yelled the same reason I did. He thought Fish made another boneheaded play that would cost them the game. Then we realized there was a foul to give…Funny thing is Fish got tripped by Perkins? and that’s we fell. And how did he get tripped? Yes sir, on a moving screen.

  86. 85, 87, 88

    Really? Really? I mean, last night showed that the Lakers are better, but only marginally. How much closer than a victory in overtime could a Laker W be?

    70, 89 – I really dunno what Henry’s deal is. Maybe he is still bitter about the Conference finals a few years back…

    His Kobe stuff bothers me less than his Bynum stuff did. He was almost as bad as a troll, insinuating what he did about Bynum’s flagrant and subsequent injury. Really disappointing.

  87. Loved the way we pulled it out and just a few comments.

    1. Someone mentioned Phil complaining about the rims in Boston and i find that even on TV you can tell they are not normal rims, they seem too thin, maybe they have kept their old school rims i dont know but it would definately help HCA because every other team seems to have the same rims.

    2. I really hope we are able to keep Lamar this summer, he came up huge in this win for us and there is no one in the league who can do what he does at his size and with his knowledge of the triangle. Buss please keep paying the tax man.

    3. I really hope Celtics do not find anyone at the trade deadline to help them for the playoffs because we are lucky that 2 out of 5 starters cant shoot and they have a terrible bench aside from house (whom you should never help off of) PJ came up with huge baskets defense and rebounds for them last year and you can tell they really miss him, also if they happen to get one injury to anyone in their rotation what will happen to them as a team?

    On a final note, this was my first post and im a canadian who still thinks kobe got robbed by nash in 06 when he was insane and i love the ability to interact with other Laker fans, thank Kurt

  88. Both teams obviously wanted to win this, but this win means more to the Lakers than the loss means to Celtics. Celts are the champs and until proven otherwise, the team they beat to earn it (Lakers), still has that monkey on their back.

    That said, every bit of new data should give the Lakers a psychological sense that this isn’t last year, and that they’ve taken the next step. And perception has a way of becoming reality.

    That is why I am glad to see Kobe change his tone coming into and out of these games. In times of yore, he would demur that this is just another game but now his tone is that this is a
    “measuring stick to see where we’re at.”

    This lets his teammates know that they should treat the game as same, knowing that the outcome will be their grade coming out of the game.

    So far, that message has served the Lakers well in understanding that mental toughness and bringing it is not something you can turn on/off at playoff time.

    Each of these key matches is a steppingstone to “knowing” that you will beat all comers come playoff time.

    It’s noteworthy the way Pau has stepped up in both these games (esp on the boards) and give Odom major props for showing up big in second half and hitting those two FTs, as in past he definitely would have missed 1.

  89. Great, great game last night. Very pleased to come out with a win, but I’d have been okay with a loss too, considering how they competed. But please, spare me the “Celtics are dead” and “we need a real rival” smack. Until this unit wins a title all of that talk is silly and premature.

  90. Why shouldn’t Kobe be upset. Even if he knew we had a foul, a foul stops the play, and let’s Boston set up an inbounding play for a potential game winning shot.

    As the play was winding down, it was chaos at that point. What were the chances of a good look while Rondo is scrambling to just keep control of the ball. A foul, then a set play changes the situation. I’d take my chances with the chaos.

  91. On a random note: Is Tim Legler a complete Laker Hater? On ESPN this morning he was saying that Bynum will not be back this season considering that this injury was worst than last year and that it took him all summer to rehab. I thought it was the opposite.

  92. I’m just so glad bynum is confident that he’ll be back for the playoffs. the lakers will be tougher when he gets back because other players will have had the chance to step up, like Odom. It’s bound to be a great confidence booster, especially with the win against the celtics last night. great to see Pau and Lamar play tough and not back down. AWESOME!!! This team will be even better next year, believe that.

    Now let’s focus on Cleveland. We still need to have the best record to secure homecourt advantage. And let’s hope the Lakers don’t let their guard down after this road trip. They need every win they can get.

  93. I don’t think the Lakers knew they had a foul to give, from the reactions of several people. The TNT announcers knew it, but it just appeared like the coaches did not bring this up in the previous timeout. I was actually yelling for them to foul, it worked out perfectly.

  94. For those not catching on, every “Celtics suck” post is just getting cut. It’s taking a second to keep up with the volume, but today has gone from some pruning a rose bush to cutting it way back as one needs to do in February.

    This has given me a lot to think about.

  95. Great win. No way do you call a foul on Fish on that last play – come on, that shouldn’t even be a topic of discussion.

    I know the main storyline for this win is going to be the Lakers’ increased toughness and defensive resolve, but I actually think the Lakers’ improved offense this season (#1 in the league) is a big reason for the win. The usual paradigm is that your defense can keep you in a tight game until your offense starts clicking, but I think this Laker team actually flips that approach.

    Everyone seems to take the Lakers’ offense for granted, but there have been many games this year – and last night’s was one of them – when the Lakers are able to stay in a tight game simply by scoring effectively, until they are able to find a defensive rhythm. And last night it wasn’t just Kobe making jumpers or Pau in the post – it was Lamar and Luke and Sasha hitting open 3’s, Fish making his shots, Jordan driving and penetrating, Powell on the pick and pop, etc. – it’s just very, very hard for teams to keep the Lakers off the scoreboard for more than a few possessions.

    Let’s hope that holds true in Cleveland, and that the Lakers can make their free throws, because they are going to need to put points on the board to win that game.

  96. By the way Kurt, thanks for the “pruning” – I enjoy this site immensely as it’s intended to be and I know you’ve got a tough gig keeping an eye on things.

  97. I agree with you Kurt about the foul to give. Nobody knew it, that’s curious (I’m very surprised about that)… Even Fisher, he just falls over Rondo, he didn’t think, “we have a foul, let’s do it now”…

    Great win by the team… I’m “on the Reed side” about the meaning of this game. I think the Lakers sent a message yesterday.

  98. To all of you who think the Celtics are done and there’s no way they’re beating us in the post season, remember that the Celtics can still make a move, and most likely will make a move, either for a big man or a PG or both. Someone along the line of PJ Brown would be very effective against the Lakers.

    If this happens, coupled with any kind of set back on Bynum’s recovery, and Celtics just may gain the upper hand.

  99. does anyone know if trevor ariza is okay? i watched the highlights and after paul pierce plowed into him he looked like he was wincing in pain on the floor. plus, the box score said he only played about 10 minutes? any cause for concern?

  100. if the C’s fans want to complain about the reffing, how about the 2…(two!) missed goaltending calls that we didn’t get?
    hmmmm???
    I backed up the tivo, and watched them in slo-mo, they were definitely goaltending! no doubt. end of story.
    that’s 4 points in my book

  101. The Lakers played better because they are better. It’s like they took everything they did wrong from last season and fixed it. With that being said, we’re going to roll for the rest of the season. This win gives us the confidence to know we can’t be beat.

  102. I have a hard time believing Kobe wasn’t aware that they had a foul to give. Makes more sense that he didn’t want to give up a foul just for the sake of doing it, especially with the Celtics dribbling frantically without their offense set. And he probably thought Fisher got shoved into Rondo, too.

    If Fisher doesn’t hit the deck, the Celtics probably don’t get a shot off. You know Rondo wasn’t looking to shoot it.

    Wonder if last night’s game had the C’s questioning their decision not to overpay on Posey to bring him back.

  103. I need to rewatch the 4th quarter at home (I watched at ESPNZone LA Live last night), but I felt like the refs, if anything, gave Boston the typical home court calls you can expect for a big time nationally televised games.

    92 – Pretty sure the marginal Legler doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I wouldn’t worry about it.

    91 – That’s an interesting point, but I’d rather give my defense a chance with a set play with 3 seconds to go. Even tho the Lakers unintentionally fouled, using that foul to give is pretty common basketball practice.

  104. 101 – Forgot about that! But I only remember one – where the ball had actually gone off the glass and was inches away from the rim.

    But that was an absolute blunder by the refs – not a homecourt advantage call – it just had to be missed.

  105. I disagree with a previous post. I don’t think the Celtics can or will get anyone new. They can’t No one wants to trade with them because they have nothing to trade. They get Marbury? Yea, like that will happen. The Celtics are panicing right now. They were relying on the Lakers folding from fear, but they didn’t fold. Now the Celtics stand behind the Lakers by a large distance.

  106. SVB,

    I agree. That’s what I was trying to get at.

    Lakeshow,

    Who cares what Legler thinks. He’s not a doctor. By the way, I think he’s given the Lakers and Kobe a lot of props when deserved.

  107. The Lakers and the Celtics are both polarizing teams. You either love them or hate them. That’s the reason some of the commentators sometimes appear stupid – they can’t let go of their biases.

  108. Ariza comment: I think Phil gave his minutes to Luke. I don’t think he did it because Luke played better than Ariza did (though every time I start to think Luke Walton is useless he does something absolutely brilliant), but because Ariza played scared, reluctant to shoot, uncertain, et cetera, whereas Luke might not have been at his best, but at least he refused to back down.

    My theory, for what its’ worth.

  109. “robinred – You think I wouldn’t get banned on a Celtics site? I’d get half way through writing that KG plays like a punk and that’d be it.”

    No one wants to ban you. But Kurt runs a pretty tight ship–he apparently deleted one of my posts, not liking its tone. I think Celtics (or Wolves or whoever) fans are welcome, but there are plenty of places to taunt.

    As to the game, I agree that it helps the team psychologically, quite a bit. End of a road trip, without Bynum–big W. But it settles nothing, any more than than Orlando’s two wins over the Lakers does.

    As I said in the deleted post, to me, the key thing is the tough attitude on the road in Boston, as much as the W itself. They will need that if they make the Finals again, against either Cleveland or Boston (or possibly Orlando).

  110. Firstly, speaking about the refereeing…is it just me or did it look like Ray Allen performed a jump pass on the inbound? If so, I don’t think Ray Allen should be complaining about the officiating at all.

    Secondly, the Lakers will absolutely gain a psychological edge from this game and the Christmas game. It was just a few years ago that it seemed like the Suns had our number and we couldn’t seem to win on their home court. It took two wins last year – on the road and at home – for the Lakers to gain the confidence necessary to hold a mental edge over the Suns for subsequent games. We’re a team that, when we figure out the right way to play against an opponent, we stick with it and allow that knowledge to propel us to momentum in a favorable direction.

    I think we got in Boston’s heads after the Christmas win, partially because they knew that we were fielding a bigger, improved team. I’d expect that mental advantage to grow now that we beat Boston on their home floor with virtually the same personnel as last year’s Finals. The Lakers proved to everyone that they can and will compete anywhere at any time.

  111. One thing that I can attest to is the change in my own psychology: I was watching ESPN this morning and Legler says that the Celtics are still the favorites for the championship because they have proven that they’re ‘tougher’. Well, I didn’t grit my teeth, shake my head, or throw the remote at the the tv. I just chuckled and changed the channel.

    That was a great win for us last night. The way Kobe looked gassed at the end of the game and couldn’t create any space reminded me a lot of the finals. What was different was our improved defensive play (which was apparent on the last few possesions) and the improved confidence of Pau. Lamar also came up big, but I’ll be honest, I still don’t know what kind of consistency he’ll provide in a 7 game series.

  112. #43 (DX): You say we “will” beat the Celtics in the finals. Again, this is a bit premature. First, you assume that the Lakers and Celtics will make it to the Finals. The Cavs, Spurs, Hornets, and Magic may have something to say about that – and that’s just the teams that are on our radar for now. We should not assume we are a lock for the finals. For one, the Laker D has been notoriously poor against teams that shoot high percent 3-pointers and that could come back to bite us in a playoff series against teams like Charlotte/Utah. Also, the Rockets have had at least one starter out in each game thus far this season and if that team gets healthy in time to make a playoff run, then they are serious contender. This may also be particularly worrisome in the event that the Lakers end up with a #1 seed, are Bynum-less and get to face a healthy Rockets team as the 8th seed. I agree that if the Lakers have the roster to make a run at the championship, but there are far too many games left in the regular season to be predicting playoff match ups – not to mention NBA finals match ups.

    #57 (Blake): Are you serious? Old timers? Slim chance of doing anything in the playoffs? Dude. In case you did not see the game last night, read about the two winning streaks the Celtics ahve put together thus far this season, caught the score in last night’s game, or caught a glimpse of the Celtics record this season, let me fill you in quickly: The C’s are one of the best teams in the NBA. To say they have a “slim chance of doing anything in the playoffs” is just plain ignorant. Also, don’t forget that the “old timers” you mention are all in the All-Star team this year so it’s ridiculous to count them out. I hate the fact that you are making me defend a team that I absolutely hate, but your comment is absurd.

    #59 (Dennis the Menance): Did you watch the game? Last time I checked, a hotly contested game, with multiple lead changes, and where both teams fought back from 9+ point deficits is not what I would call “picking apart” an opponent. We played great D during the game, but were far from “picking apart” the Celtics.

    –Sorry to be a pest, but the reason I love this site so much is because of the in-depth commentary and insightful posts from folks who know their NBA stuff (I’m not one of them).

  113. If the Celtics suck, why are we so giddy that we beat them?

    It’s not like this when we beat OKC, and they really do suck.

  114. hey kurt – bound to happen w/ the increased exposure. there’s good and there’s bad.

    as for the lakers, seems like gasol’s beginning to understand that there’s nothing to fear about the celts. he is a true go-to guy, and if he can play like that throughout the playoffs, man… also impressive was that the team didn’t back down from boston’s physicality. free throws were pretty sad, and kobe’s shot selection was extremely questionable (settled way too often for well-guarded long jumpshots). overall, though, i was impressed by the maturity of the team last night. definitely seems like they’ve grown since june.

  115. Celtics remain dangerous…

    Yet during the game I realized that win or lose, it was turning into a moral victory either way. Especially once Lamar went at KG. Lamar instigated the whole thing, by spanking KG on the behind after the turnover.

    Not only did we push back, we seemed to be pushing first.

  116. #115 deleted in…3 2 1 ;-

  117. 112 – I don’t like it when Kobe gets the ball outside of the 3 point line and he’s expected to operate on his own against the Celtics defense. Those guys are masters of closing the lane. So even though Kobe could get past Pierce with an open floor, in a game situation, he winds up stuck and trying to figure out ways to create enough space in a setting that just doesn’t offer much space. Instead, they should 1) try to get Kobe the ball at the pinch post so that he can easily rise up for a mid-range jumper or use the jab step to create room or 2) run a high pick-and-roll with Pau on the screen and Lamar at the free throw line. This would be the best way to create a higher percentage shot while conserving Kobe’s energy.

  118. barry g – yeah, it looks to me like gasol has gained a noticeable amount of confidence between last year and this year. maybe it’s just more time in the offense. maybe it’s just the failure of the finals. or maybe it’s just the fact that he spent the first part of his career on a perpetually lousy team where expectations were low and the pressure was basically non-existent. I think anyone taken from the grizz and plopped onto a lakers’ finals team would need a little time to adjust to the new circumstances.

  119. mohan – you might be right. in those late game situations the celtics defenders tend to blanket kobe knowing that he can’t blow by since the lane will be clogged by the green goo. if we meet these guys in the finals, I’d prefer to see us serve them a consistent diet of high PNRs with pau. especially considering his great late play against the celts in 2 games this year.

  120. Other potential reason Kobe was “upset” after Fish got called for the foul: he played great d on pierce, pierce missed the shot, and we didn’t get the board, letting Rondo get an O board in that situation had me upset too, but things worked out for the best.

  121. I thought having the foul to give, even if it was instigated by Fish trying to get around an illegal pick, was a positive for the Lakers. It allowed them to reset on D once a play was developing for the C’s and forced them back to setting a new play. I didn’t get the sense that chaos had taken a hold of the play for the C’s as much as it had for the Lakers on D. There were two players the had to worry would hit a jumper (Pierce and Allen) and three that might penetrate for the win (Rondo, Pierce, Allen). The Lakers had the advantage of being able to take time off the clock and then cheat on the shooter with the second inbounds play. I thought it was a good foul.

    Anyone who counts the C’s out is chest thumping and that is all. They are not as good as last year but last year was plenty good. They have some important pieces missing from last year but lets see how things move around the trading deadline. It looks like names such as Salmons, Amare, Ty Thomas and Deng are being put out in serious trade proposals and while this won’t include our team, it’s always that trade that comes out of nowhere that makes a major impact. The talk about a Sheed move to San Antonio would shake things up pretty considerably.

    The Cav’s injury situation is at least as big as ours (I think they deserve major kudos for keeping the team playing at such a high level with 2 good quality starters out) and I think Bynum’s help on LBJ was a big part of the win we had against them last month. A lot will have to go right for us in order to come out with a win on Sunday. Hey, a lot has to right for a team anytime they win a championship, so why not?

  122. Agreed with all who noted the Celtics constant moving screens, and those who questioned anyone saying that Ray Allen deserved free throws at the end. He got off a clean shot. It missed. End of story.

    Back to the psyche angle… I loved seeing KG pull his punk act and get in Lamar’s face, only to Lamar jaw back at him. The fact that he was fired up and didn’t back down, in my mind, had a lot to do with why LO was so effective last night. For whatever reason, he wasn’t going to slump away and let Boston punk him again.

    Paul did the same thing on Christmas. It was almost like a light went off in his mind at the end of that game, like he’d finally come to terms with, “I’m a great player. I’ve led my teams to world championship levels. I can play with Kendrick Perkins or Big Baby Davis.” And so he did.

    I know it may not take much for either of those guys to revert to shrinking violet mode, but hopefully the success they’ve had against Boston this season will stay in their heads. You’ll never play well against anyone if you don’t believe you’ve got the ability to beat them. That goes back to the playgrounds and driveway games we has as kids.

    As Reed said, psychology does matter,

  123. I wish I had a nickel for everytime I’ve typed “Paul” when I meant to type Pau.

  124. The Celtics don’t need to pick up anyone. They just need Garnett to recover fully from the flu, and to not foul out again. I shudder to think what OT would have looked like with him in the paint…

    I think I have said it before in this thread: This was a great game and a great win, and our team deserves all the credit they can get for hanging on to the end. But let’s not assume that just because we won last night, the Celtics are finished and we will win an automatic title. Anyone who has ever competed knows that the best way to kill your chances of winning is to assume you’re going to. The Celtics are *good*.

    Besides, doesn’t it feel better to squeak out a win over a very good reigning champion, than over a bunch of tired has-beens? ;)

  125. I think Lamars extended time on the bench served him well. It took him out of the game early and when he came back it seemed like he had observed the game and seen where to contribute. So it was like he was coming off the bench and not starting. Great effort from him though.

    LOL @ Rondo trying to get at Kobe. If i were kobe i woulda smacked the little kid.

  126. 126-I’m on my 58th viewing and it just keeps getting better!

  127. I’d take Fisher over Ray Allen any day of the week

  128. I literally don’t understand the “…if they’re even considered a good team now” type of talk. I mean, they’re 41-10. We won by one point, in OT, in a crazy game. It just…I mean…I don’t get it.

    Big win. More confident. Not at all sure we can beat them in a seven game series. Though I’d love to see it.

  129. I duno if I’d take Fisher over Ray, but I’d def take Gasol over Garnett(not) any day of the week.

  130. For any person that thinks last nights lose ensures the demise of the C’s, what would your reaction have been had the Lakers (with the same effort and zeal) ended up losing by 1 pt? Would we be toast at 39-10?

  131. Are you kidding? I’d def take Gasol over Garnett. Garnett is not a winne, he’s a choker who gets fouled out of the most important game of the season.

  132. I’d take Ray Allen over Fisher any day of the week. Love Fish, but he can’t shoot as well as Ray, doesn’t defend as well as Ray.

  133. Fantastic win on many levels. Obviously it was nice to get a victory in the site of last year’s Game 6 meltdown but just as importantly, it was so satisfying to see Pau and Lamar come up huge with so many people questioning their character after last year’s finals.

    I love to see how Pau has adjusted his game against the stronger Celtics big men to emphasize his hook shots and face up moves. Also, his block of Big Baby’s jumper with 20 seconds left was the unsung play of the game, denying the Celtics a chance to take a 3 point lead and forcing the foul on Lamar to prevent the leak-out.

    Speaking of Lamar, I was really heartened by his getting in KG’s face and then calmly hitting the tying and winning free throws. I have to admit that I did not have much confidence that he was knocking both those down but he proved me wrong.

    Finally, I think it is excellent that they were able to come up with four huge stops on make-or-break possessions (one at the end of regulation and then three in overtime). It helped that KG was out of the game but the individual and team defense on Ray Allen and PP was tremendous. The Celtics are a tough team but the Lakers had plenty of excuses if they had decided to mail this one in and it reflects great maturity that they didn’t fold.

  134. In other news…ESPN and CNNsi both report that the league is removing a rebound from Lebron’s stat line against the Knicks. What would have been his #9 rebound is now credited to Wallace.

    Personally, I think this is dumb. Even without an actual triple double, his performance was amazing. I would hate to be the team that faces him next as Lebron is going to be on a tear…. Oh wait, sh%#, that’s us!!!!

  135. how can anyone write that the celts haven’t beaten an elite team? or that they are the worst of the best teams in the league? they’ve been absolutely plowing through the league for extended periods this season! they’ve handily beat the cavs, the magic, new orleans, etc…

    they had one bad stretch (after a certain christmas day loss). but aside from that they’ve been incredible.

    save the ‘celtics suck’ chant for when you’re sitting courtside in the finals.

  136. 122 – P. Ami, there was definite chaos on that last play. wondahbab was right about that. And I don’t you tripping over a moving screener’s foot can be called a good foul. That said, it’s a toss up whether Boston would have gotten a better shot on that broken play than what the got on the inbounds. Good thing we don’t have to worry about it.

    123 – (“I’m a great player. I’ve led my teams to world championship levels. I can play with Kendrick Perkins or Big Baby Davis.” And so he did.)

    Please tape that to the inside of Pau’s locker. He needs reminding from week to week. It took him the 1st quarter last night to say enough is enough.

  137. The nba stripped Lebron of his MSG triple Double:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3889674

    I guess there still hasn’t been a 50+ point triple double in my lifetime…

  138. I certainly want to agree that this was a very nice confidence win for the lakers. I also believe the reffing was very inconsistent both ways and didn’t favor one team in particular. As for the C’s complaining about the final play the refs will never call a hand check two steps before the shot if the player is able to get up a clean shot. To me, Allen’s feet slipped when he tried to plant, though I don’t know how much Fisher influenced that.

    This game did highlight my dislike of the double T because I thought clearly Boston instigated both of the situations and got away with it. Rondo clearly shoved Kobe and Kobe’s response, while very obvious, did not result in him touching Rondo at all, which would have been an instant double T. I am open to interpretation on this point. I also thought that the Powe situation was clearly a Boston T. The foul was on Rondo, the play was over and Powe was not in the play. He clearly walked from out of the play to stand in front of Powell for no reason. Again the double T was assessed because Powell did move around someone that was intentionally in his way. I guess I should get used to it, but I would like the refs to try to do a better job of punishing the instigator in these situations to actually make it a deterrent. Or maybe both teams should shoot one free throw.

    Two other quick thoughts

    1 – I wish Kobe would drive a little more with the game winding down. I know he can beat Pierce of the dribble if he commits to take the extra step. He makes so many difficult jumpers that we expect them all to go in, but in crunch time I would like to see him use his speed (I realize I should never complain about Kobe as I would never trade the opportunity to watch him, but even the best can get better (written by an armchair noboby))

    2- Don’t remember who asked, but I think our best lineup is Kobe, Ariza, Sasha, Gasol and Odom (or Bynum, when healthy). We can switch all the perimeter players and still have shooters. I think the length makes this lineup the toughest to deal with. IMHO

  139. 139 – Ha Ha! The sports media’s going to have to find another new reason for service at the church of Lebron on Sunday.

  140. As probably the only Wolves fan on this site, I can tell you that you’re drinking the kool aid if you’d rather have Gasol over Garnett.

    He went certifiably insane during the 2006-2007 season, and has never fully recovered, but he is, by far, a much better defender, transition player, and jump shooter. Pau has him edged in the post, but that’s it. He’d be great in the triangle because he’s a better passer, a better ball handler, and a better jump shooter.

    And he won’t start to zone out if Kobe decides he’s not passing for a full quarter or two. Whereas Pau really disappeared in the Finals for long stretches because he just wasn’t being involved on the offense.

    Garnett is definitely not a closer or a go to guy at the end of the game. But to say he’s not a winner is silly. He’s a champion. What has Pau ever won? Did he take a team to the Western Conference finals with the next best player being Wally “the contract” Szerbiak?

    That said, Pau certainly doesn’t motivate the other teams like Garnett does. Garnett and his big mouth (and Pierce and his big mouth) are the reason teams love to beat the Celtics. And the reason you saw Lamar Odom stop sleepwalking.

  141. NBA to Lebron-

    NO TRIPLE DOUBLE FOR YOU!

  142. i’m starting to get the feeling that there are just a bunch of celtics trolls at the forum who are trying to bait us into celtic bashing…

  143. so i just rewatched the game and another couple of things stand out

    1. Ray Allen definately jumped at the inbound pass

    2. Perkins should have been called for a foul for pushing Pau to the floor, you can seee him get close and then follow through the push under the basket during Pierce’s miss before Rays miss at the end.

    3. Pau could have easily gotten a ”Pierce” foul on his 24 sec at the end of the game

    4. Dont teams send tapes to the league to make sure they look for things like constant moving sceens and even screens out of bounds.

  144. HenryUniversity February 6, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Love the article Reed,

    Can’t say enough about how good we played last night. I mean, who knew Odom could be so dominant? I just love our starting 5, especially the way we’ve come to mesh recently. This road trip says a lot about us as a team and makes me believe wholeheartedly that we’re the best team in the league. To go into Boston and smother the overrated Celtics is something not many teams can do. I do agree with other posters who say that this Celtics team just isn’t as good as they were last year and have a lot of problems with their team that they need to fix. They can’t find anyone to trade or pick up so I think they’re stuck with the same squad, which is great news for us. I’m really looking forward to the playoffs and getting another championship.

  145. clutch824,

    I didn’t mean to insinuate that Fish’s foul was intended. Obviously he wasn’t in control of his body, what with gravity having insisted on our PG head-butting the parquet. I thought it was the right time to foul and get the defense a chance to reset and do its thing for 3 seconds, especially since the C’s had subpar scorers at more positions then not.

    My impression of discussion rules is that we are not to speculate on invented trades but that we might talk about trades that are speculated on in published reports. I really worry about the possibility of a Sheed move to San Antonio. That could be a great move for them.

  146. Kurt all you had to do was wait until after Celtics/Lakers II to announce/become a part of Truehoop network!

    I can’t believe some of the posts in this thread.

  147. J.D.,

    Wow. What’s the point in that. That’s cheap. Great. Piss him off before the Laker game.

  148. The Cavs will be plenty amped. Just like Phil tried to target Ray Allen early last night in the hope of getting him in foul trouble, he might be wise to do the same with Mo.

    Mo is surely seething at getting overlooked AGAIN for an all-star spot, and will be looking to take it out on Fisher, Walton, Vujacic, and whomever else Jackson throws at him.

  149. 149-To counter JD, Reed needs to write another post about LBJ being better than the Kobester…Reed’s reverse psychology worked masterfully on MLK day.

  150. Kwame — I still regret coming down so strongly for Lebron. Never again….

  151. G1: Not specifically a travelling call, but it is a violation.

    Rule 10, Section IV.a. A thrower-in shall not … (8) leave the playing surface to gain an advantage on a throw-in.

  152. P.S. Instance (3) should henceforth be called the Lamar Odom Rule:

    Rule 10, Section IV.a. A thrower-in shall not … (3) touch it on the court before it has touched another player.

  153. I’m suprised nobody has touched on this yet: the reason Kobe was so angry after Fisher got called for that foul with 3 seconds left in 0T was because Davis had the ball out on the three-point line, and would either had to have shot it (a low-percentage attempt), or quickly find a team-mate for a hurried heave.

  154. reggyray (155): Someone has touched on that. It’s certainly plausible. But unless Kobe or someone else on the Lakers comes out and says it, it’s still speculation.

    Frankly, as far as the other ideas are concerned, I think it’s more likely for Kobe to lose track of the foul count (it’s OT, different rules apply) than it is for him to NOT plead his case to the referee if he really was complaining that the call was bum.

  155. Commentator said Kobe in the heat of the moment probably forgot they had a foul to give. That seems more likely.

    It’s been quite a trip. Only a few days ago, the Lakers were staggering from a punch to the guts. Now they’re looking to go 6-0. Honestly, how many of us thought 5-1 or 6-0 was a high likelihood before the trip began? I figured they’d go 4-2, with one loss to Boston or Cleveland and one to one of the scrubs. Of course I never figured Bynum going down or Kobe going for 61.

    But that’s why they play the games, as Chickie used to say.

  156. I had a feeling after last night’s game that was reminiscent of the big regular season Lakers-Blazers matchup in Portland in 2000 ( http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/200002290POR.html ) when both teams came in tied for the lead league at 45-11 and the Lakers pulled out a three point win. That was a real turning point for the regular season as the Lakers went on to finish 21-4 from that point forward while Portland only went 14-11 the rest of the way after losing that game. And of course, one could definitely argue that that one game may have played a huge part in what transpired in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals that year.

    Really a regular season game like that or like Christmas Day or last night from this season shows something tangible to both teams: those regular season games are battles of wills, and in both occasions the Lakers proved their will was stronger than Boston’s. Last year it was reversed in the regular season, and when the Finals rolled around the Lakers not only got blown out of Game 6 but also got beat in three other games which all came down to the wire. In tough fought games like that, it’s almost like a game of chicken, to see who will fight harder to win. Both times this year Boston has blinked first, and to me that will matter should these teams rematch in June.

  157. Lakers trade Vladimir Radmanovic to Bobcats for Adam Morrison, Shannon Brown?? Is that accurate or some internet host… and secondly … does this make any sense as a trade and why? I hope it’s just baloney… weird…

    http://www.insidehoops.com/blog/?p=3350

  158. sorry i meant internet hoax…