Preview & Chat: The New Orleans Hornets

Kurt —  February 20, 2009

NBA: FEB 18 Magic at Hornets

Records: Lakers 44-10 (1st in the West) Hornets 32-20 (5th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 114.4 (1st in league) Hornets 109.3 (8th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.5 (9th in league) Hornets 106.2 (10th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Hornets Chris Paul, Rasual Butler, Peja Stojakovic, David West, Hilton Armstrong

Lakers notes: I have to say that the best thing about the trading deadline is that none of the Lakers key opponents for the title got noticeably stronger. Out West, the Spurs stood still, as did Denver and Utah. And the Hornets when it was all said and done.

But Boston and Cleveland also decided to go with what they had. With KG’s injury (hope he is back soon for the good of the sport) I just keep thinking Cleveland is getting the home court advantage out East. That side of the bracket is going to be interesting — come in second and you will have to play a good Orlando team in the second round before you get the top seed. That can wear you down, so Cleveland getting the top seed could be huge. By the way, that noise you hear is the sound of the cash register in David Stern’s head as he thinks about a Kobe/LeBron finals.

On a different topic, about Kobe’s clutchness: He has made 13 go-ahead field goals in the fourth quarter this season. That is tied for third in the Association (with Danny Granger) behind two Spurs — Duncan and Parker.

Last meetings: This is the fourth meeting this season, the Lakers have won two of the first three (all three were won by the road team). The first two games in the Big Easy were pretty comfortable Laker wins, with the team jumping out early and not having to worry about anything but a late run. The Lakers got balanced scoring in the first meeting, the second time it was the Kobe and Pau show.

The last meeting, in LA, was the David West show. He had 40, CP3 added 32 and 15 dimes.

The Hornets Coming In: What is the feeling in Louisiana after the rescinded trade for Tyson Chandler? This comment over at Hornets24/7 pretty much sums it up, I think.

The Hornets emerge from the madness with nothing much to show for themselves but a credibility hit. Tyson Chandler won’t have an easy time redevoting himself to a franchise that was so willing to part with him. Chris Paul and David West are obviously glad to have TC back, but they must be questioning the direction of the team when management seemed more concerned with saving money these past few days than keeping a great core intact.

It was not the sprained ankle that has Chandler out tonight that nixed the trade. It was his big toe, which was operated on a year ago. Ironically, the doctor that did the surgery is the one who did the physical for the Thunder, and he told them that while the toe was fine now it could go in a big way at any time, and they’d be taking on a big risk with this trade. So the Thunder backed out.

One other topic worth noting (and I’m cribbing here from an APBR thread that becomes about adjusted +/-) — Chris Paul is the defensive lynchpin of the Hornets.

He himself is playing better defense this season: opposing PGs are shooting 46.7% (eFG%) against him this season, down from 51.8% last season. When he is on the floor, the Hornets give up 106.1 points per 100 possessions (better than last season’s 107.6 when he was playing).

But, when he is off the floor, the Hornets give up 113.5 per 100 possessions. To give you an idea, if they played like that all the time, they would be 29th in the league in defense (only Sactown would be worse). What is shocking is that last season they improved when Paul sat — 101.4. I’m not close enough to the situation to know why things changed, but they did.

Keys To The Game: Based on that last paragraph above — the Lakers bench needs to make big runs in the few minutes CP3 is sitting. Take advantage of his absence.

The last meeting between these two was the game when Odom hyperextended his knee in the second quarter. It is no coincidence that the David West went off in that game — Odom frustrates West, but he is really the only Lakers that does. He Odom back tonight and him holding West in check as he tends to do will be key.

The Lakers are not going to stop Chris Paul, they never do. Nobody does — CP3 has scored or assisted on 48% of his team’s baskets this season (the highest figure in the NBA). (Kobe, by the way, is fifth in the league at 36.7%.) But the Lakers cannot let Paul rack up 15 assists like he did last game — they need to give him the “Steve Nash Treatment.” Make him a shooter, not a distributor. He’s a great shooter and scorer, but the Hornets by far are a more dangerous team when he is getting everyone involved and not just shooting himself.

Lots of pick-and-roll tonight — in the past the Lakers length has bothered the Hornets on their bread-and-butter play, but that means active bigs. The Lakers need to use their size to slow the probing of the defense by Paul as well as not let West get a bunch of open looks. West (and Posey) are not going to pass, you have to take the shot away from them.

Where you can watch: 7:30 start at Staples Center, and this is an ESPN Game. If you want to watch online, there’s a good feed at ESPN360.


303 responses to Preview & Chat: The New Orleans Hornets

  1. Do you think that Celtics fans feel the same way about Bynum (“hope he is back soon for the good of the sport”)?

    I don’t want to wish injury or hardship on anyone, myself. I feel the same way about KG that you do. More competition is better for everyone.

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  2. Go ahead field goals is not the only – and perhaps not the best – measure of clutch. The key is that you make a play (not necessarily a score) the changes the momentum, resulting in the win. Scoring is necessary, but overrated. Besides, I don’t want to encourage those “Kobe against the entire other team” type of plays.

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  3. As Dodger Thoughts would put it, DFA’d from the previous thread:

    If the ‘09-10 cap matches the current estimate of $57.3 mil, then the only teams who would be able to sign LO to an initial salary of >$8 mil are:

    Pistons: $33,093,746 commited (7 players)
    Grizzlies: $36,274,350 commited (8 players)
    Thunder: $39,006,888 commited (11 players)
    Hawks: $40,865,197 commited (7 players)
    Raptors: $45,753,371 commited (7 players)

    So, the question is do any of these teams make sense for LO and vice-versa?

    Maybe Detroit, as both McDyess (34) and Wallace (34) are UFAs who are significantly older than LO (30). And with only $11,148,760 committed to ‘10-11, they could easily sign LO and have room to pick up another banner FA at that time.

    Maybe Ok City, as they lack quality veterans to help guide their young players and have nobody who can play in much less facilitate from the post on their roster. Plus, they don’t have to spend any big money on their kids until ‘11-12 (Durant and Green) and ‘12-13 (Westbrook).

    As for Memphis- they’re terrible and are going to be for a while. I don’t see LO signing there for a couple of extra mil.

    Atlanta has big money already committed to one tweener (Josh Smith) and has several key rotation players who are UFAs (Bibby, Marvin Williams, & Pachulia). I don’t see where LO would fit into their plans.

    Toronto’s current roster precludes the need for LO. But with so of their players statuses up in the air, it’s hard to know what direction they might go in.

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  4. 1.

    It may be a bit petty, but I wish for KG to be just as healthy as and to be back at the same time as Andrew.

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  5. Frankly, I think Odom is playing himself off the lakers. He’s finally figured out that he’s one of the best rebounders (on both ends) in the league and is improved his finishing at the basket (which was terrible) to the point where players on the weakside must challenge his shot, exposing the offensive glass for other players. Odom is going to get a 4yr/42 million dollar offer for a team that sees him as the missing piece. He is not the missing piece on the lakers if Bynum is healthy, but for laker fans that’s starting to become a much bigger if.

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  6. The Hornets should move to St. Louis. I’ve always wondered why St. Louis didn’t have a basketball team. They support their other teams pretty well, it seems.

    New Orleans has bigger problems to deal with. It’s easier to make 8 football games than it is to pay for 41 basketball games.

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  7. I’m a St. Louis native, just east on the Illinois side. Is there any truth to that? I have doubted our chances at getting a team for a while now.

    We have great support for our teams, I just don’t know if the portion of society that can afford to pay the prices will want to go to the games. Hopefully I am wrong. But if it was to watch Chris Paul and whoever is in town that night, what a miracle.

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  8. PeanutButterSpread February 20, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    It’s going to be a challenge tonight.
    The Hornets beat Magic pretty much all because Chris Paul went supernova.
    The Laker guards have to guard the 3, make sure CP3 is kept in check and LO just needs to worry about making West struggle. This is a game Pau needs to go crazy and just dunk on everyone every time.

    On a topic not related to the Lakers,
    How did Amare get his retina injured?
    it’s got to kinda kill the Suns roll they were on
    if he misses a lot of time

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  9. 8. I killed the first comment to which you referred. While there have long been rumors that the Hornets would move out of NO (they barely supported the team pre-Katrina) there is nothing close to official. And when a move does come look for Kansas City, Vegas and Anaheim to be in the mix too, they have all been mentioned.

    There is no deal, there is nothing close to a deal to move the team.

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  10. Brought over from the last thread, JDH made an interesting point: “What I am taking from the economics situation is that this team really isn’t built to be a dynasty.”

    I agree. It seems like for over a year all we’ve been talking about is how we’ll be around for a long time because of our youth. But Kurt’s timely post yesterday (and the ensuing comments/debate) show that there’s much more involved in a dynasty than just age. Ideally, we need people like Rick Fox – guys who are willing to give up a ton of salary to win a championship. Usually those types of players are veterans, young guys rightfully want a big payday. Farmar, I’ve heard, has already talked about wanting to get paid. So nothing’s a guarantee.

    I agree about needing to draft well, but realistically, at the position we’ll be drafting, it’s hard to find players who can have an immediate impact. To stay on top we’ll need 1) players (from Kobe on down) willing to sacrifice a few million, 2) Buss willing to take a big hit, or 3) slowly replacing our players as they leave with key veterans hungry for a title. I like that last option least. Nothing against veterans (which will obviously help) but I like the idea of our players growing up together.

    9 – He got poked in the same eye against the Clips, by Thornton I believe.

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  11. 9-I think Amare went up to block a dunk attempt and the dunker’s (someone from the Clips) off hand accidentally poked him in the eye. It didn’t look like much when it happened — in fact, Amare only missed a couple minutes of play before returning.

    It’s really sad. I’m no Suns fan, but It’s great for the league to have that team firing on all cylinders. It think it really helps the NBA for that style of play to succeed.

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  12. With respect to Kurt, there will be no NBA team moving to Las Vegas anytime soon.

    The NBA and David Stern openly blasted the Thomas & Mack Center as inadequate when the All-Star game was here two years ago, and the plans to build a new NBA-quality arena have proven to be nothing more than talk, especially after the local and national economy went south.

    The sports betting issue hasn’t gone away, and there was a large distaste among many residents following All-Star week following some thuggish behaviour by those in town for the event. (Pacman Jones included.)

    I’ve lived in Las Vegas for my whole life, and even covered the tourism industry here for the local newspaper for several years. (Including the city’s quest to land the All-Star game in 2007, which was a story I broke for the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2006.)

    This city’s readiness to host an NBA franchise was questionable, at best, two or three years ago when the economy was soaring. As things now stand, it’ll be a while before the NBA calls this place home to more than a summer league and a Lakers exhibition game each October.

    I wish that weren’t the case, but that’s how it is.

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  13. As always during the stretch run of an NBA season, injuries are about to start having a major impact on playoff seeding. Just off the top of my head, here’s a list of teams … all of them contenders or considered contenders at one point … who are currently feeling the pain:

    Celtics (Garnett)
    Magic (Nelson)
    Suns (Stoudemire)
    Rockets (T-Mac)
    Hornets (Chandler)
    Spurs (Ginobli)

    And that doesn’t include teams like the Sixers or the Jazz, who’ve been dealing with major injury issues all season long.

    We’re fortunate that our incredible depth has allowed us to handle the loss of Drew while hardly breaking stride; at least a few of those teams listed won’t be so lucky.

    We’re also fortunate that the Spurs did not land Marcus Camby before the trade deadline (as was rumored). That could have been a killer!

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  14. Asked if it was difficult to avoid getting frustrated when he wasn’t playing much earlier this season, Josh Powell recoiled as though he’d been told to give Charles Barkley a deep-tissue massage. Then he gave a response that illustrated how much it means to him to be part of a title contender.

    “How do you avoid (frustration)?” Powell said. “Let me see. Let me think. I’m on the best team in the league. I’m playing with the Lakers. I’m playing with the some of the best guys in the league. How else do you want me to put it? I’m in the NBA. There’s a lot to be thankful for. It’s tough. Me and everybody else, you want to be able to participate and show what you can do, but we’ve all got a lot to be thankful for.”

    Nice excerpt from Josh Powell. We really are lucky to have some quality guys on our team.

    As for tonights game I look for the Lakers to come out ready. They seem to get up for games where they have something to prove and I don’t think tonight will be any different.

    Hopefully we can contain Chris Paul and the 3 ball. I think we’ll have more success on West tonight w/ Odom (as we have in the past) and Pau shouldn’t really have a problem handling their bigs. I also think Kobe will get out of his mini shooting slump that has been going on over the last few games, hopefully my feeling is right.

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  15. Figures that Amare would get hurt the one and only time he tried to play defense. 😉

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  16. So long as David West doesn’t go nova on us again. Chris Paul I can handle. I expect that. But I hate seeing the “17 foot Assassin” go off. Hope not, LO’s starting on him now.

    By the way, what stupid nickname for a PF. KG should be the “3 1/2 Quarters 18 Foot Killer.”

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  17. I love to watch CP3 play. Simply put, he is the best PG I have ever seen besides Magic. The ball is like a yo-yo, I’ve never seen anyone dribble with such control. What he is doing is far mor impressive than what Nash did in his faux back-to-back titles.

    I think Odom is gonna be able to defend West better than last time, and Pau should have his way with Hilton Armstrong. I’d also like to see Ariza get some CP3 time, with Fish or Jordan guarding Butler or Mo Pete.

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  18. Oops, only in a nightmare did Nash win any titles, I meant MVP’s

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  19. From the discussion on the last thread, some of us are aware of two important facts on the payroll for the first time: the fact that minimum salaries don’t count against the luxury tax, and the fact that the league partially reimburses teams for signing veterans to pay scale minimum contracts. Knowing this, and knowing Jerry Buss’ history, I’m almost certain that both LO and the Cobra will be re-signed. Fisher’s contract comes off the books after next season, so the team can offer to pay LO a little less in 09-10, and make up for it in 10-11 and 11-12. The only way he doesn’t re-up with the team is if someone else totally overpays him ($11m per yr or higher).

    Yes, we’ll need to draft well. I am crossing my fingers that either Patty Mills of St. Mary’s or UCLA’s Darren Collison is available when our turn comes in the draft. I would actually prefer Collison, as he’s a deadeye outside shooter in addition to having blinding speed and good defensive fundamentals.

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  20. I wonder if it was the same eye Amare injured earlier this season.

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  21. Has anyone noticed that Kobe is more likely to struggle against big, athletic defenders. That’s what he has been facing recently. Tonight he will face Posey. Nobody stops Kobe, but these types of players do slow him down. The problem is that Kobe reacts to these people by trying to go 1-on-1 with them. Then the rest of the team just stands around and doesn’t move to open places to make a pass from Kobe easier.

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  22. anyone know for sure if chandler is playing tonight? From the latimes article below, it seems like PJ is expecting him to:

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-lakers-fyi20-2009feb20,0,5855717.story

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  23. I want KG to be healthy not only for decency’s sake but also because I don’t want the Celtics to have any excuses when we beat them (if they make the Finals).

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  24. Great side-by-side look at Shannon Brown’s monster block and the reaction from the Laker bench. Hilarious!

    http://lakerlogic.blogspot.com/2009/02/shannon-brown-welcome-to-la.html

    Go Lakers!!!

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  25. Pj, the Celtics wont even make the finals without KG. Also, the magic have no shot without Nelson, so it would be the Kobe and Lebron showdown

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  26. 23. Chandler is not playing tonight. He has missed 14 games and is not going to be back until next month, according to the Hornets yesterday.

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  27. kurt,
    in the ‘keys to the game’ last sentence about LO and west is messed up.
    well, I’m finally back home in LA, thanks darious for the advice on seeing games via the net…
    and wouldn’t ya know it…it’s on espn.
    hey, I’m good now, get to see games in pacific time from the comfort of my home…yeah.

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  28. Any chance the Lakers would be players with the annual “waive me so I can play on a contender” folks? (ie Joe Smith, everyone on Sacto, etc.) Seems like everyone thinks that the Celts and Cavs are the preferred destination, but last time I checked, the Lakers weren’t too shabby!

    Also, would Mihm possibly fall into that category as well?

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  29. DY,

    We’d be happy to sign a big for the minimum, but I don’t think the front office is actively searching the waiver wire like the Cavs and Celtics are. Not a whole lot of bigs we’d be interested in. Smith would be great, but KG and him are chummy and he played for the Cavs, so he goes there before coming here. Moore likely goes to Boston. Gooden still has a groin injury and might not get a buyout. Nesterovic has a one-way ticket to San Antonio if he gets bought out — he won a ring there and knows the system. And yes, Mihm falls under this description, but he frankly isn’t going to contribute as much as some of these other names.

    Anyhow, as for the game, give it to Pau. He should abuse Armstrong or Ely all night long.

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  30. Kobe sure likes hiding his face in his hands. That’s a new gesture. A little less provocative than the Cassell dance.

    29 – I’ve always wondered why those cheap veterans who want to hitch onto a contender never really seem to consider LA. I think part of it is that our team is so deep, there isn’t really a hole to fill. Maybe our front office never makes any overtures. Part of it is franchise player charisma (I’m thinking of GP joining Shaq in Miami), although if a veteran wants to win, playing with Kobe should be #1 on the list. Plus who wouldn’t want to live in LA? I’m not sure I completely understand it.

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  31. 22) Craig W, Yes.

    Kobe could easily make an instant, noticeable improvement in the Lakers, by sending the ball inside instead of forcing the issue with isos (as you mentioned), by not gambling so much on defense, and by hustling back on defense instead of complaining to the refs when he doesn’t get a call. Probably 3-4 points improvement in the point differential, which would be very significant.

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  32. The only nba-team-moving-to-a-different-city rumor that should be encouraged is for the Clippers.

    I wonder if we can start a petition to have the team expelled from the County???

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  33. Kurt,

    The game is also supposed to be on FSN locally.

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  34. Chris H- One of the best things in the world is coming back to Cali after being away for awhile. Welcome back, now go hit a taco truck, I know they didn’t have any of those in Tennessee

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  35. That post with the bench reaction to Brown’s post is hilarious. Made me feel better about working on Saturday.

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  36. If Chandler plays anytime soon, OKC fans should be angry at their team doctors.

    BTW Kurt, I saw this today:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/bracketology

    Are you excited about your Long Beach team? My mom graduated from there also. I learned even more respect for them last year when I shared a Jet Blue flight with their basketball team up to Oalkand the day of their game.

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  37. FYI on an NBA loss: Utah Owner larry miller passed away today.

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  38. I am confused.

    I understand that if you go over the luxury tax…you pay dollar for dollar on how much you are over…that money goes to all teams which are below the luxury tax…

    i also understand there is a salary cap. But, what if you are in between?

    Lets use easier numbers, and hopefully someone can explain that to me.

    If the salary cap is 10 dollars…and the luxury cap is 15 dollars.
    and your payroll is 17 dollars. You would actually be paying 19 dollars. because the 2 dollars over would double.

    but what if your payroll is at 12 dollars?

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  39. 7,8 – St. Louis doesn’t have a pro basketball town, because it’s not a basketball town. I also doubt it could support 4 pro teams.

    17 – If someone puts a hand in West’s face tonight and forces him to drive, we’ll be fine. If there’s the standard piercing glance for jumpshooter defense, there could be trouble again.

    22 – True, but I don’t ever remember Posey having great individual success guarding Kobe. Any success he had in the Finals could be attributed to the team scheme.

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  40. Stern will NOT allow a team to play in Vegas. I just don’t see it. I think San Jose and KC are the most viable options.

    Anaheim is pushing for one, but I doubt the league will want 3 teams in 1 market.

    Maybe the league will contract by 2 teams (Hornets & Memphis?)

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  41. Jon Barry just reported on ESPN that he heard “it’s gonna be a month” before KG returns.

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  42. 37. I’m actually going to see Long Beach play tomorrow against Green Bay (who beat Butler a couple days ago). I really like what Dan Monson (one of the architects at Gonzaga years ago) is building, Long Beach has a couple of scorers who are older but their best players and core are freshmen. They keep recruiting and getting better and they could be the best team in the conference consistently in a couple years.

    That said, the Big West is wide open this year, there are about 5 teams that could win the conference tourney and get the bid. Each team has flaws (LB is weak inside and sometimes those talented freshmen make freshmen mistakes under pressure). But the program has come so far in two years, backers have to be happy.

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  43. 39. Salary man, you would pay $12 in that scenario. The only way you can go over $10 is with specific exemptions, for example you resign one of your own free agents or you bring in someone for the mid-level exemption. The NBA cap is a soft cap because of those exemptions, but when you go over it you just pay the salary (up to the luxury tax number).

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  44. Sorry if my post (#42) qualifies under rumors. I was just so happy… errr…. sad when I heard it that I had to post it.

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  45. thanks Kwame! one of the nice things while being away was being able to be a part of this family at FB&G.
    taco cart is a good idea, but we have a great little taco shack just down the street.
    actually today was a mid afternoon lunch at my wife’s fav…Yang Chow in Chinatown, if you like Chinese food and have never been there, ya gotta try it one of these days, now we have leftovers for a couple days too.
    for tonight, yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how LO brings it, he fills it up around the boards. but then when Trevor, farmar, and now Josh Powell start bringing it on the 2nd unit, it’s just a relentless press on our opposition.
    How many times are we yelling as our second unit builds on the lead, (or reduces theirs) only to realize…”hey Kobe’s been on the bench…Pau too…wow, these guys must get bummed when they also realize this, (the opponents)”.
    Hornets are going to be tough though, they know this is the big stage, so we have to be ready to match the effort.

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  46. @39 :
    1. You don’t pay any luxury tax.
    2. You are restricted in any additional signings to exceptions such as bird exceptions, MLE, etc
    3. Other teams A,B,C happen to pay luxury tax. this is divvied up among the non-luxury tax teams and you get a nice checque.

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  47. (40) clutch824,

    Well, what makes New Orleans a basketball town? Or OKC, Seattle, San Antonio, Utah, Charlotte, Orlando, Miami, Portland or any other city a basketball town? There’s really no such thing. You can call Charlotte a “basketball” town due to their love of Duke and UNC, or Indiana, but they both rank near the bottom of the NBA with 75% attendance rates. Would you consider Dallas, home of the Cowboys, in the biggest football state a basketball town? The Mavs are at 104% percent (must be SRO tickets).

    I’m sure they can support an NBA team better than a lot of cities in the NBA. St. Louis has a history of having good attendance for their pro teams. Per ESPN the Rams have a 91% attendance rate, the Cardinals have 90% rate, and the Blues at 87% this year.

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  48. Is anybody watching the Cavs-Bucks game?

    LeBron… WOW.

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  49. lebron has 41 points and theres still 8 minutes left in the 3rd… wow

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  50. 38-Bummer. Diabetes, what a brutal way to go. First he had both legs amputated, and then he didn’t live much longer. I hope Miller was alert enough to watch his Jazz defeat the Celtics last night. That would have made him happy. Our team owes him a debt of gratitude for the classy way he treated Derek Fisher, despite the fact that Fish’s departure helped the Jazz salary cap-wise.

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  51. A few quick thoughts before the game.

    Gotta wonder what the Hornets mental attitude is like. They know they’ve underachieved this year and then their owner basically ‘gave up’ on them by trying to dump Chandler’s salary.

    The possibility of the Hornets moving must make Sonic fans upset. If it wouldn’t have been such bad PR the Hornets should have stayed in OKC, thereby making it impossible for the Sonics to move there.

    Re the above questions about Amar’e. Yes it’s the same eye he injured in pre-season. The Suns’ eye doctor (and other Phx pro teams as well) was on local radio today saying that Amar’e had reported seeing ‘floaters’ in his eye before the game, but not ‘shooting stars’ or other signs of a detached retina. Other than pain he didn’t have any sight problems due to the injury in the Clips game. In fact the doctor said it’s not certain that the injury during the game had caused the detached retina. Phx team docs, to be safe, had Amar’e see the eye doc yesterday. The eye doc said Amar’e is lucky they did because if they’d waited just 1 or 2 days “he could have had serious trouble” (which I take to mean possible permanent damage).

    Get back soon KG, Bynum, Chandler, and any other important cog for playoff teams. I hate seeing anyone get injured, especially if it effects a team’s chances for playoff success. Apparently a few Laker fans went to CelticsBlog to cheer the inury. Disgusting.

    Go UCI in the Big West, says this former Anteater!

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  52. OT-I’ve noticed that approximately 70%of my comments are delayed for moderation, including my recent comment on Larry Miller. Is there anything I can do to avoid this, such as avoiding typing certain keywords that may trigger the spam filter?

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  53. LeBron is 8/10 from 3, and one of those misses was a fullcourt heave.

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  54. Anyone else as sick of A-Rod as me? I’m trying to figure out a way to block the ESPN crawl at the bottom of the screen right now.

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  55. PHX has 79 points at the half. What the heck is going on over there????????

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  56. 53. Dude, you do for some reason have issues. I’ll shoot you an email with the list of words that triggers the filter. But there are some other things as well in the system. You’re not sending from hustler.com, are you?

    56. It helps that the games since they went back to running that they have played the Clippers and OKC, not exactly the best defensive teams in the league.

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  57. 56

    They picked the perfect time to switch coaches and reinstate the SSOL system. Games against OKC and the Clippers will always help you pad those scoring stats.

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  58. yes man –

    and lebron has 47 points.

    wow its an impressive offensive night haha for the suns and for bron. maybe for us too? i hope so, enough to come out with the W at least.

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  59. I actually have the same problem as The Dude, and I’m pretty sure that I’m not writing anything offensive.

    Could it be that I’m posting from a Swedish ISP or something like that? (And no – not from some Swedish version of hustler.com;))

    Sorry for the off-topic.

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  60. Oh no, Mark Jackson again… 🙁

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  61. Joel: Today he has JVG by his side though, and that makes it much more endurable. Or maybe it’s just me having a man-crush on JVG:D

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  62. Andreas:
    En till svensk? Heja Sverige! 🙂

    Out of courtesy to Kurt and the other blog mods I’ll go back to English from here on: I have a similar problem, but only when posting from my laptop. It happens when I hit Tab to highlight the “submit comment” button, and then hit the space bar to submit. If I use the touchpad to move the cursor and click with one of the laptop mouse buttons, I don’t have this problem. It never happens on my desktop computers either at home or at work.

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  63. And in the greatest feat of irony ever my first post was hit with “awaiting moderation”. Is it because of the smiley?

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  64. 62

    As long as JVG doesn’t try too hard to be a comedian I’m fine with him.

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  65. Odom…. right hand?

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  66. gotta be at least a one game suspension coming Villanueva’s way

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  67. 48 – I guess I stand corrected. That’s just my feeling, though.

    55 – Definitely sick of seeing anything to do with A-Rod. That’s one of the worst things about NBA on ESPN. You have to get all their “expertise” for all sports during games.

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  68. kobe is struggling, looks a little tired still

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  69. bad gamble by sasha

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  70. #55, 68:
    Could not agree more. Baseball = steroids, as far as I am concerned, right now anyway. If they wanted to do the sport a favor, ESPN and the like would focus less on A-Rod and more on everyone else.

    Back to the Lakers… is it just me, or is our bench playing slightly better than the starters right now?

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  71. RE: PHX
    Barbosa is sizzling of late.

    RE: CLE
    Bron bron has 9 assists and 5 rebounds. The rebound kinda speaks to where his mind is at nowadays, I guess.

    RE: LAL
    Kobe’s in a shooting funk of late. He needs some Barbosa in him.

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  72. We’re supposed to extend the lead with Paul out, not let them come back.

    *Sigh*

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  73. @71, mimsy i think its just you. 6-0 this quarter and free throws coming. They’re fouling way to much

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  74. #73,
    I was afraid of that 🙁

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  75. Shannon Brown?

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  76. That would be why…?

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  77. i like the hustle! go shannon

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  78. Wow, Brown flew across the floor to try to get that loose ball. Ball of energy.

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  79. If nothing else, Shannon needs to get some sort of reward for that block he pulled. Give him some minutes, and if he does good, give him more.

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  80. I think he might need to work on his jumper a bit.

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  81. This is a brickfest. Why is Kobe the only good outside shooter on the court for the Lakers?

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  82. Cause sasha and farmar are both playing like they have taken over for good ol’ space cadet

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  83. since the 61 point game, Kobe’s shooting % has not been good. Today he’s 3-10.

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  84. 3-11

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  85. This is the type of game where we miss Bynum. We’re having trouble establishing an inside game and we’re settling for far too many jumpers.

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  86. wow, someone scored!

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  87. 3-12

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  88. So far, our best player in this game has been Luke. When he was in the game, the ball went down low into the post for either inside shots or catch and shoot open jumpers.

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  89. We have to give Pau the ball….don’t we?

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  90. Don’t take this the wrong way, because I do like Luke, but when he is the best player on a team that has two All-Stars, something has gone wrong….

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  91. That was hilarious. I wonder if that was retaliation for Kobe’s cherry-picking.

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  92. Mimsy: Ja för fan – halvspanjor iofs, men nära nog;)

    And now the Lakers go on a little run – Swedish seems to be a good luck charm!

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  93. the hornets’ pathetic 1st quarter play just put us to sleep. once they took the lead, we seemed to pick up our play.

    I’m sure we’ll be asleep soon again.

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  94. 422 points for Phoenix in their last three games. Granted it was against the Clippers twice and OKC, but it’s pretty impressive.

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  95. JVG had it right, (besides Ariza) our bench has not played well, especially our guards. Since Fish and Walton have come back in we’ve looked much steadier.

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  96. did everyone else hear phil “ohhhhhhh” on that shot?

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  97. This is just a hideous game

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  98. Halvspanjor är nära nog för att räknas som svensk. 🙂 Mer än mig i alla fall, jag har bott i USA i fyra och ett halvt år nu…

    According to US stereotypes, a Swedish woman who loves sports and who is good at cooking is a good thing to have nearby 😉

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  99. Honestly, this is some of the worst shooting I’ve seen from 2 NBA teams in a while. A lot of these jumpers haven’t even been close.

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  100. Let’s call off the second half and have both teams head to the santa monica pier. Firt team that manages to throw the ball into the pacific ocean wins.

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  101. Note: it’s always a good idea to fire your coach right before a Clippers-Clippers-Thunder stretch.

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  102. Incredible night for lebron, I don’t mean to be a downer, but of the 8 3’s he made tonight at least 6 of them were “bad” shots, amazing, but not quality shots. he was just on. If it were kobe taking those shots everyone would be all over him for being “selfish”. i just don’t understand the double standard

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  103. Mimsy: Actually, I think that’s a more or less universal truth. Even the Swedes themselves scour the land for such women;)

    Derek: Spot on. Anazingly bad shot selection, and amazingly good results. I guess that’s what separates players like Bron and Kobe from the mere mortals huh?

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  104. amazingly*

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  105. Derek, you just bemoaned a double standard that only occurred in a hypothetical in your head. Kobe dominated the ball in the New York game… and was praised by nearly everyone. He and Lebron are the consensus best players in the league- some people just disagree on who is #1. I don’t understand the persecution complex.

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  106. Carmelo Walton out there tonight.

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  107. Give the ball to Luke and get out of the way?

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  108. Wow. Go Luke. Something clicked somewhere.

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  109. Luke Walton is playing out of his mind right now. He’s basically been the difference between the 2 teams tonight.

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  110. luke ate his wheaties this morning…

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  111. I take back what I said earlier. Luke is the Skywalker tonight.

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  112. There is nothing as difficult to stop as big to big passing. That is pretty.

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  113. 113-Odom and Gasol have ridiculous chemistry. They just move to the right spots on offense like they’ve played together for 10 years.

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  114. Some day Chris Paul’s trick of pivoting into his defender off the dribble to draw the foul right as the defender is reaching around him will be taught in text books. It’s the equivalent of swinging your arms up for a shot when the defender sticks his hand in your face.

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  115. 114-I know everyone gave Kobe credit for Pau fitting in last year in the way he did, but really I think it was LO and Pau fitting in so quickly that let him adjust so rapidly.

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  116. That was Lamar Odom at his absolute best. Beautiful pass.

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  117. j.d. I realize that they are number one and number two and very few if any think otherwise. But Kobe very often is cast as selfish, and on the other hand lebron has never been acused of being such. thats all im saying.

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  118. Those full court galavants by LO remind me of when he was at Rhode Island, and he looked like a young Magic handling the ball at 6’9.

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  119. 117

    For what’s it worth I agree with you Derek, and your example is not hypothetical – it’s already happened time after time.

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  120. Right now CP3 has a -19…no typo

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  121. Jack smack talking Chris Paul? Love it.

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  122. JD Hastings, by the way, next weekend Cal baseball is in town to take on Long Beach. Probably head out to that. LB has an amazing baseball program (Longoria, Bobby Crosby, Jered Weaver, Jason Giambi and many more).

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  123. Sorry, but having Bobby Crosby come from your program can NOT be a good thing. Especially to an A’s fan.

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  124. Thank you joel. I don’t think lebron should be cast as selfish. I just dont understand why kobe is. IF they are the best two players in the league they should be shooting more often… especially if they are shooting like kobe was at MSG and lebron tonight. I just think that there is a little bit of a double standard between the two. During the course of a game kobe is mostly in the flow of the offense other than the last few minutes of a close game or if hes shooting lights out. Where as lebron basically has the ball in his hands nearly every possesion.

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  125. JVG, shut up. You’re not a referee. You’ve complained to refs as a coach for trivial calls. Don’t be a hypocrite.

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  126. Wow. Fish made the pass at the right time on a fastbreak. I can’t believe it.

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  127. The reason the Lakers are a good team is because you know, I know, the announcers know and most importantly, the other team knows that at some point the Lakers will rip off a 22-6 run, and a close game is not close. It is the mark of a great team and the Lakers are making it routine these days. Key to this 4th quarter is closing the door early.

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  128. I think kobe IS selfish, but that’s part of the drive that makes him great. Occasionally the criticisms have had a basis (Lebron didn’t have to define himself while alongside shaq in his prime). The last couple of years I think a lot of that criticism subsided (as he got the mvp).

    Now I think Lebron has improved over his career by becoming MORE selfish, in part by being constantly compared to Kobe. Only selfishness could have led him to take over that game v. Detroit on the way to the finals. Selfishness led to how he played in game 7 v. the Celtics last year.

    Some peole do just dislike Kobe, but that comes with success in sports and some of the obvious other things. I don’t think that praising lebron = criticizing kobe though.

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  129. 127

    Well we’ve already seen Odom drive and finish with his right hand, so why not Fish running the perfect break?

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  130. Anyone else enjoying the irony of Van Gundy saying someone needs to play at a faster pace?

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  131. Eh, Van Gundy lacks the brain capacity to speak without contradicting himself every 2 minutes.

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  132. Marc Jackson is such a reactive commentator. I wish he could be more proactive and let us know what might be coming being that he was a point guard. He talks most during replays, telling us in precise details how the play unfolded.

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  133. 129- You may not criticize Kobe while praising Lebron, but many people have. Bill Simmons is the obvious one, but he’s not alone. Ive heard and read many people over the last few months who just cannot give Lebron a compliment without dissing Kobe. And I just really don’t see why that’s necessary.

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  134. I agree with all that. They both are selfish sometimes but nobody uses “selfish” in the same tense you do. whenever it is used its ALWAYS negative.

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  135. farmar’s defense has improved dramatically.

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  136. They don’t call anything for 3 quarters then suddenly call everything. That happens a lot.

    The +/- differential between the benches and starting units is ridiculous.

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  137. 133

    Jackson just waits for someone to score so he can say “That’s just bad defense” or something like that. If you’re hoping for him to provide some kind of useful insight you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.

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  138. I know this is an oldie, but may someone please explain to me how it’s possible that while playing with the second unit Pau is not our first option in offense?

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  139. how is that call even possible?

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  140. god I love these officials. they’re really upping their game for the 4th quarter.

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  141. Not holding my breath for any insight. His best saying however is “that was good defense, just better offense”

    At lesat JVG can be funny sometimes and i rather just listen to him ramble and contradict himself all day.

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  142. Our bench didnt hold us down today

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  143. I know the Lakers’ philosophy is to pack the paint, but does that mean they’re not allowed to run out on shooters when the ball is kicked out? Sheesh.

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  144. lakergirl: I agree totally.

    How was that last play a foul btw?

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  145. i cant believe im saying this but i think we need luke back in there

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  146. Paul even makes Marks look good. What a player.

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  147. We really have not got the ball to Pau enough. We either should be going inside to him (allowing Kobe to come off the ball) or have Kobe and Pau run the pick and roll. On defense we need to play more honest, the SSZ is getting ripped because the hornets are overloading the weak side or making the skip pass, we need to stay at home.

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  148. Bill Simmons has his own opinions. That does not a conspiracy make. I never said nobody criticized Kobe. People criticize Lebron too. His lack of a post up game, his poor outside shooting… Its just the Kobe crowd are so over-sensitive. Seriously, does it matter if not everybody loves him? Sometimes Kobe does take too many bad shots- see the loss to utah as an example. Just because somebody acknowledges that doesn’t mean they have an agenda to slander the man.

    Simmons said kobe would be top 10 all time if the lakers win it all this year. Look at this list:

    http://www.basketballreference.com/leaders/leadershof.htm

    Simmons would bump one of those people for kobe. Does that sound like hate or unfairness????

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  149. Unbelievable!

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  150. And no foul was called there? Unbelievable.

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  151. Bogus offensive foul. Wow.

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  152. some shocking reffing going on here

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  153. Now this is just getting out of hand:

    1. Pau got fouled.

    2. That was a blocking foul on Posey.

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  154. I don’t usually complain about the calls, but Chris Paul grabbed fisher’s arm -no call- fisher runs into Posey, who is IN the restricted circle and its an offensive foul.

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  155. Kwame a. you are right, time to go to the Kobe/Pau pick and roll for a few times down. NO has stepped up the defensive pressure and running the O through Odom and Walton is not working.

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  156. If Fish fouls out we should put Kobe or Ariza on CP3. Where is LO??

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  157. Time to go to the Kobe-Gasol-Odom strong side triangle play. No easy scores for a while now.

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  158. Brutal charge call on Fish. Posey was both in the restricted area and shifting over after Fish left his feet. Should have been two points and the FT.

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  159. Let’s face it, the officiating is awfull, but today the blame should go to PJ, I know that you are going to tell about letting them grow…but he let the second unit being beaten for too long at the begining of the fourth

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  160. We have got to attack the basket on O.

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  161. Please stop with the ISO’s

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  162. Why do the Lakers keep running these isos for Kobe in the 4th? How often does it produce a good shot? Once every 4 possessions?

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  163. 5-5 3pts in this quarter, and none of them was even contested…

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  164. Wow. Not sure Fish was set there, but the calls have been off all night.

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  165. Wow. Huge, huge bailout there. Great flop Fish.

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  166. Make up call.

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  167. The is the worst game (on both ends) I’ve seen Kobe have in years. He’s taking selfish shots, not closing out on defense and no attacking the rim agressively. This loss is on Kobe if they lose.

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  168. the team has looked downright panicked at moments here.

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  169. Questionable calls both ways. The hornets are the aggressors right now. We are just reacting.

    Kobe’s Isos are getting old….

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  170. The NO bloggers and commenters complain about Posey all the time, and a lot of national writers say that NO gave him too much money for too many years. The sad thing for the Lakers is that he seems to only play well against them.

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  171. Fisher = clutch.

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  172. Derek Fisher is ridiculously clutch.

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  173. fisher saved us this quarter.

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  174. clutch fish…. its ours in OT

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  175. Kobe as decoy: UNSELFISH

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  176. Good play by Phil. Im glad they got an open shot from Fish instead of the usual contested 3 from Kobe

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  177. Okay, no time out by NO, but don’t you have West come out for the P&R. Pure Iso for a pullup? Not the shot you want.

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  178. 0-4 from 3 goin into the 4th, 2-3 in the clutch, including game-saving charge and game-tying 3 ball…D Fish.

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  179. Fisher always seems to be caught in momentum/game changing situations. Tonight it was the Charge and clutch 3!! Way to Fish!!!

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  180. my question is… why cant they run stuff like that more often in the fourth instead of the iso’s?

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  181. Does anybody embrace the moment like Fish. Wow. So, lets win this thing!

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  182. I think a large part of Kobe’s less then stellar crunch time numbers is our utter refusal to run anything but Kobe iso down the stretch. Other teams know it’s coming and plan for it. Why don’t we ever give it to Pau down the stretch?

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  183. 180

    This game hasn’t been the greatest for offensive execution…

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  184. Kurt: All the teams seem to fall into the same trap more often than not during the closing seconds – they just give the ball to their best player for an iso which usually leads to a low percentage shot.

    The fact that the Lakers didn’t do it this time, and that NO did, was what saved us.

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  185. Fish was open because Paul thought kobe was getting the ball on the handoff.

    Hornets still have the momentum, but the thing about momentum is its always changing.

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  186. Stupid refereeing which throws back to 2 years ago when you could jump into defenders to “draw a foul”.

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  187. finally Kobe is playing like kobe in OT.

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  188. I love Poseys game, what team couldn’t use a guy like that. Clutch 3’s hard fouls, what’s not to like

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  189. What’s annoying is that the Kobe-Gasol 2-man game has worked so many times in so many close games, and still they don’t go to it enough.

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  190. Chris Paul, that call just made up for the non call on the foul the last possession.

    Did they pull fans out of the stands to ref this game?

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  191. We just lucked out. Kobe fouled him.

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  192. 193-exactly. when he tripped over his own feet.

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  193. nice to see NO forgot to play D on the most important play of the game.

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  194. We should do that…every play late in games.

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  195. Stop! Kobe time!

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  196. Kobe coming through in OT.

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  197. Holy ****. Kobe really IS he best.

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