Preview & Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

Kurt —  April 10, 2009 — 228 Comments

Los Angeles Lakers v Portland Trail Blazers
Records: Lakers 63-16 (1st in the West) Trailblazers 50-28 (4th in the West, tied with Spurs)
Offensive ratings: 112.6 (3rd in league) Trailblazers 113.8 (1st in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 104.6 (5th in league) Trailblazers 108.6 (17th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Trailblazers Brandon Roy, Steve Blake, Nicolas Batum, Lamarcus Aldridge, Joel Przybilla

Lakers notes: For the first time in eons, Kobe Bryant will not be the most hated Laker in the arena tonight. Congratulations Trevor! The good news, in my limited dealings with Ariza, I don’t think boos or anything else will bother him in the least.

On another note, a few people were surprised last night when I said I thought the Lakers would lose tonight’s game in Portland. Let me explain. It is not that I think the Blazers are a better team than the Lakers or that LA can’t win in the Rose Garden (although it is not easy).

But every NBA team faces some scheduling quirks that make a few games almost unwinable. The obvious example is the teams that play in Los Angeles one night then in altitude at Denver the next night — Popovich sat all of the Big Three when it was on the Spurs schedule this year.

For the Lakers, this is pretty close. A late night game followed by a flight where the Lakers got to bed at 3 am in Portland and so not even a morning shoot around gets in. Portland is a good team, give then an advantage like that and they are almost impossible for anyone to beat.

The Lakers will have Andrew Bynum back — he looked solid if a bit rusty last night. His timing was off, he was missing some rebounds he normally anticipates and gets, but that is to be expected. The good news was he seemed to move very well. And while his minutes were limited he didn’t seem to labor too much. Of course, tonight on a back-to-back could be different.

The Trailblazers Coming In: John Hollinger is among those that think the Blazers are the second best team in the West, and I think we are now starting to see the team that the Blazers will become in a couple years emerge.

To get a little more insight into the Blazers, I asked Sean of the Oregon Live Blazers blog a quick question:

There seems to be a growing confidence in both Blazers fans and in the team itself. How does tonight’s game play into that? What has to happen in the playoffs for that growth to continue into next season?

Anytime the Blazers can beat the Lakers it’s going to make this team (and fan base) feel better about itself. The Blazers have been playing so well lately (save for the Houston game and a quarter here and there) a win tonight would just help keep the momentum going. Finishing the season strong would just increase the confidence and belief that even though they are the youngest playing rotation in the NBA, they can still make some noise in the postseason.

Making it into the playoffs is a huge first step to next season’s continued growth. It was the preseason goal for the entire organization and mission accomplished. But the thing is, winning 50 games (maybe more) and finishing the season in the fashion they have, this team feels they can really do something now. It’s a quiet confidence, but you can sense it. Whether the Blazers make it out of the first round or not, it’s all about experience at this point. The Blazers just need this experience of playing playoff basketball, which we know is much different than the regular season, to build off and use next season. Plus, this will give Kevin Pritchard and Nate McMillan a better sense of what this team is all about and where tweaks may or may not need to be made. You learn a lot about your team in the post season. And as you can tell, everyone around here is excited about it.

You can see my answers to his questions here.

Keys To The Game: Slowing the Blazers starts with slowing Brandon Roy. In a game this close to the playoffs, it is a great night to try a number of different things on Roy and see how he reacts, who has success. I would like to see the long Trevor Ariza get a shot on him .

The Blazers beat the Lakers up here last game with a pretty simple formula — Roy (or another guard) would drive the lane (not getting enough resistance from the guards) and then the Lakers defense would collapse then the ball would kick out to a jump shooter. The Blazers love the jumper, and they are good at it. First, only one Laker center needs to protect the rim. Next, the Lakers have to stay with and challenge these shooters — Gasol (and/or LO) have to stay with Aldridge and make him out the ball on the floor. Don’t leave Blake at the three-point line.

The Blazers do play at a faster pace then they get statistical credit for, but they still do not run much. The Lakers should. Especially the bigs, more of Bynum running the floor and getting deep post position before the defense sets would be great.

Last meeting the Blazers defense did a great job of contesting jumpers on the perimeter. The Lakers did a bad job of countering that by getting the ball inside to Gasol (who looked tired in that game) and now Bynum. Soften them up with body blows inside, that will open up the wings. Inside out tonight, inside out.

The Lakers must crash the defensive glass hard — not just Bynum/Gasol/Odom Walton, Kobe and Ariza too. Przybilla alone had seven offensive boards last game, that can’t happen.

Where you can watch: KCAL9 in LA with a 7 pm tip off. Nationally, League Pass and the other usual suspects.



228 responses to Preview & Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

  1. Thanks Kurt. I thought we had a game today. I’ve been waiting all day. Thought I woke up in some weird parallel universe since there were hardly any new comments or post until now. The world is ok again.

  2. am i the only one that hopes we get to see portland in the playoffs? not just because i’m absolutely confident that we can take them down pretty easily in a series, but also because i don’t like the idea of finding the “easier path” to the finals. my ideal path to a championship was phoenix -> portland -> san antonio -> boston (all the teams that are thought to give us the most trouble). that way, we silence the critics along the way (to the extent that you can actually silence critics). plus, if the lakers can’t beat portland or houston, then they don’t deserve to go up against boston or cleveland in the end. no asterisks for me, thank you very much.

  3. p.s. that WAS my ideal path, until phoenix started being not so good, and san antonio lost ginobli. now it’d probably be something like utah -> portland -> new orleans.

  4. PeanutButterSpread April 10, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    I am still on a Laker high.

    I was at the game last night for my 22nd Birthday and first of all, I want to say, being at a game is SO MUCH better than watching it on TV.

    Second, my FIRST Laker game EVER and the LAKERS WON! Best. Birthday. Ever. My birthday is actually today, so I’m hoping for a Laker win!!! We just celebrated it yesterday at a Laker home game 😀

    It was such a fun game, but you could totally tell the Lakers were in cruise control.

    I don’t care if the fans aren’t as rowdy as others, just seeing Kobe play in person, for the first time in my life, I can die happy now.

    DREW!!! His first quarter wasn’t great, but in the 2nd half, he was a beast. WELCOME BACK!!!

    PAU!!!!! Always the consistent one, Pau had a great game, got tired at the end of the 3rd quarter, let Nene beat him on a couple of drives, but otherwise, it was beautiful watching El Spaniard gobble up those boards.

    KOBE!!!!!!!!!! I can not believe some of the ridiculous shots he made in this game. It was crazy. Unfreakin’ unbelievable. Like I said, I can die happy now.

    Shannon Brown, I believe he’s a new Laker fan favorite, he got a lot of positive cheers from the crowd. He did very well in Fish’s absence.

    D-Fish didn’t play well tonight 🙁 It was really obvious, five fouls, 2 points, 1-2 free throws? Not good, there were soooo many open threes that he missed. We were really excited every time he launched one — but then he’d miss.

    The referees called this one really close and then other times they’d just let it go. I didn’t think they called it well for the Lakers or the Nuggets (but in the end, the Lakers got more foul shots so, why am I complaining?)

    Overall, sucked that there was no tacos tonight (darn you JR SMITH!) but a win is a WIN. And I still am on this incredible Laker high.

  5. Does anyone recall Brandon Roy saying that he expects the Lakers to try to punk them by acting tough? I’m sure Kobe remembers…

  6. ROY for MVP

  7. The Lakers have to guard the three point line, Outlaw, Rudy can’t be allowed to get hot and fire up the crowd.

    Adlridge might score a few in the paint but it isn’t really his game.

  8. I would give a kidney to have the Lakers win tonight.

    I have so many friends from Portland, and all they talk about is how great Portland is and how awesome the Blazers are. I would give up half of my alcohol consumption capabilities to be able to throw it in their faces when they lose at home against the team they hate the most.

  9. Don’t know the Lakers are going to beat the Blazers tonight,but I do know they’ll give it a hell of a try.They’re not happy about the other games in Portland this year and will give their best. Plus Bynam is back! Changes everything! Think I’d bet on them winning.

  10. sup lames……

    i just got one thing to say……from here on out…no more excuses these Keys to the Game is not going to work for me any more…

    i’m just here to let y’all know that the Lakers are pretty much limitless as far as offense/defense go.

    right now its about the chase….no more x’s and o’s…me and you all know that this year is all about winning the Championship…

    now that Bynum’s back that should give the Lakers all the relief they need knowing that they have their starting center back

    and the sniper guy Kobe Bryant who paced himself all year will be ready for the championship from Game 1 of the playoffs…


  11. Everyone thinks they have a rivalry with the Lakers: the Blazers, the Kings, the Suns, The Clippers, the Spurs, the Warriors, etc. Part of being the NBA’s glamour team.

    The Lakers see it every road game – a sold out arena, pumped up announcers, teams playing their most energetic games of the year ….

  12. This has really been bothering me lately. Why doesnt the majority think that Utah and New Orleans are our biggest threat? Both of those teams have been suffering from injuries all season and now they will be at full strength during the playoffs (if Chandler and Posey come back as anticipated).

  13. PS: I think itll be lakers portland in the semifinals and also utah hornets in the semifinals..setting up for utah lakers reunion in the conference finals..hmmm

  14. at last this back to back is in the same time zone.
    that last one in Denver was harder because it was 1 hr earlier in mountain time.
    the NBA should make it a rule not to ever book back to backs outside the same time zone, ot only if they are going westward, thus giving the traveling team an extra hour.
    I think the team will be extra motivated tonight because of that last loss. it shouldn’t be too hard to find some ‘gloating’ in the films from that game

  15. lets go philli

  16. I agree with you CL.

    Chris Paul is a terror against the Lakers and how difficult was that Utah series last year?

  17. The time zone back to back thing works against west coast teams as a road trip moves east and favors east coast teams as a road trip moves west.

  18. TA is going to get his share of derogatory comments coming from the fans tonight. However, I doubt Kobe’s will be diminished. This is likely to be the largest crowd of the season at the Rose Garden and there will be no shortage of noise. One key to any game in the Rose Garden is keep the crowd out of the game. The Blazers feed off the crowd (we have one of the best home crowds, if not the best in the NBA) more than a lot of teams. If you can keep us quite, you keep the energy down.

    With Rambis filling PJ’s shoes, it may be tougher to stop the seven game streak than LA fan’s hope.

    In my opinion, the difference in this game for the Blazers is going to be LaMarcus Aldridge. The guy has developed an Amare-esk attitude to playing the post over the last few months. If he gets hot, I think the Blazers will throw up another blow out win. If Pau can play his best defense of the season and contain LMA’s output, I give LA a chance but I think the Blazers will win this one regardless.

    See you in the playoffs.

  19. 20, PTown Jake, I think you’re too modest re: your boys: LaM Aldridge’s attitude and skill-set is in every way is better than merely ‘Amare-esque’. I also think that, from a Lakers’ perspective, guarding the perim (Outlaw, Rudy) and stopping penetration (Roy, Blake) is more important than trying to slow down what LA does, although he’s obviously someone who can be unstoppable for 4-5 possessions in a row and take over a game…

    There’s no doubt that Portland is a very good team with unlimited upside- we look forward to reestablishing an excellent rivarly with you guys over the next 4-5 years… but, please, leave the ‘Sheed throwbacks in the closet…

  20. This is such a huge game for the Lakers. If they win, they will prolly win out and have a great chance at snagging homecourt. They arent going to lose to the grizzlies and Utah while no pushover, is horrible on the road and prolly wont win at Staples, especially since it will be a back to back for them. This is the game that may decide homecourt for the Lakers. Lakers need to give a heart and soul effort and do everything in their power to steal this game!

  21. Supporting Act April 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    I followed the link to the Blazers blog and read the comments. Wow. Kurt, thanks a lot for keeping some adult oversight and prevent something like that from happening here.

  22. Blazer fans always come to other teams sites to talk trash.

  23. correction

    * always go to other teams’ sites to talk trash

  24. I agree the key to this game will be the Laker perimeter D. One thing I’d like to add is that penetration forces bigs to come out and help, freeing up guys like Pryzbilla to scoop up offensive boards.

  25. I want the bench to have the breakout game. Like one of those games where we have 6-7 guys in double digits but no one has more than 25 points and starters rest towards the end.

    Now that would suck the living soul out of the Blazers dreams and completely put the Laker’s dominance beyond any doubt.

  26. blazers are #1 in offensive rebounds and offensive efficiency, have to limit their rebounds and play at our pace.

    we’ve really got to make each possession count, i dont think we’ll win though. i dont know what it is but we just can’t get a win in the rose garden. im keeping my expectations low, and if some how a miracle takes place, we click on all cylinders tonight and squeeze out the win i will be one happy camper. realistiaclly though i dont see that taking place.

  27. Man, I was hoping to have Stu and Joel on League Pass instead of these other buffoons…damn.

  28. Why the “big three|? Since when are we a 3-star team. Lamar has and should always be mentioned as the fourth wheel to the Limousine

  29. Looks like I’m stuck with Portland’s announcers again. Oh joy! 🙁

  30. I’m muting these clowns.

  31. Fish’s poor decision making on the fastbreak leading to a fastbreak triple by Roy. When both your big men are running the floor on the break, you HAVE to reward them with the ball!

  32. This is a link with the Laker announcers

  33. We’re giving the Blazers way too many open looks from 3-point land. We’re getting good looks on offense, just not dropping.

  34. I know that here it’s a well liked guy, but as a playmaker, Fisher is really horrible…
    A pure point guard would never ignore a center running as a wingman in a fastbreak…

  35. That fastbreak was managed really poorly…

  36. Lakers arent looking good at all…cant rebound, bad defense, cant hit open shots…yet they are still in the game.

  37. Some of these calls are pretty harsh, is the crowd influencing the referees you think?

  38. that BS “push-off” call on Kobe was atrocious.

    At least now we know that Shannon Brown being fish’s sub last night instead of Farmar wasn’t a fluke

  39. Kobe was going into Iso for a minute or two there, not a good sign right there. But I believe we’re getting more offensive rebounds than them, and that I do like.

  40. More ‘telekinesis’ defense from the Lakers. What do they have against actually contesting 3s as opposed to just praying the shot won’t go in?

  41. It worked on that Brandon Roy 3 though =p

  42. I’m impressed with how comfortable Drew has looked, not too much rust. He seems to be moving pretty well, exhibit A being that half-an-oop against Oden…

  43. Man it feels infinitely better seeing Bynum coming in for Gasol rather than Powell or Mbenga.

    Interesting to see Bynum-Oden, any remote chance Oden will be at Bynum’s level in the future? It just seems like Bynum has so much more upside.

  44. Odom is just killing Portland’s backup bigs.

  45. LO is being monster LO we saw in Cleveland again, it seems he wakes up for these kind of road games, he’s really on fire tonight!

  46. I wonder if Jordan’s widely acknowledged “super confidence” has taken a hit?

    Either that or he just being a Farmar

  47. This is the Odom that I know and love: ultra aggressive.

  48. There’s the Farmar that refuses to hit a wide-open Sasha in favor for a defended foray to the hoop…

  49. Does Farmar ever think of passing? He is a pg after all.

  50. sign me up for the shannon brown bandwagon… he did everything pretty well while he was in, and most importantly didn’t make any bonehead mistakes. farmar, on the other hand…

  51. Is Farmar turning into Starmar?

  52. 52

    If we find out he drives a Farmalade it might be time to let him go…

  53. I love how these announcers love talking about the Lakers “beating up” the Blazers when they’re just playing an ordinary game…there’s that victim mentality of the Blazers

  54. Our defense is somewhere between 2 and 500 times better with Andrew Bynum in the middle…

  55. If we are going to battle Portland for the next few years for the right to go to the finals, then we have to find a way to keep Lamar (and Ariza of course).

  56. Bynum is really playing at a high level now, I like that the coaching staff waited until he was ready to put him back in.

  57. I don’t recall Bynum getting so many early deep entry scores – easy offense .. was this the case before? Lovin’ it

    We really need Kobe to be efficient on offense tonight. I hope his killer instinct of wanting to completely deflate the Blazers early doesn’t hurt us.

  58. This lineup we’re having with Kobe at the SF and Sasha at the SG, while still keeping our twin towers out there has been fantastic, especially on D. Credit Pau for guarding Blake out on the perimeter on one possession and forcing him into a Bynum-contested shot, and then drawing the charge on LA on the next possession.

  59. We’re winning this game through defense. Pau and Bynum are playing inspired D, and while our weak-side rotations are still a little late, all of their inside looks and mid-range shots are difficult.

  60. I love Rambis’ substitutions patterns……let’s see if it continues in the 2nd half.

  61. Damn, they’re having a bit of a spurt to end the half…

  62. Big shot by Sasha to stop the bleeding.

  63. Great hockey assist by Kobe, hitting Lamar and trusting him to make the right play

  64. 19 minutes for bynum already?

  65. The legs really don’t look there for Kobe at this point. Some foul trouble causing him to a sit a bunch over this last spurt of games might not be the worst thing in the world. It pains me to see him leaving free-throws short and getting shots pinned on the glass by the Ghost…

  66. The third quarter scares me. Lakers are tired and they have to stay focused. Cant allow Portland to have a big quarter.

  67. I think we re dealing with a problem here.More Bynum shots=Less Lamar&Pau shots.
    Andrew should take his shots from the low percentage shots from Kobe(the forced ones).Otherwise he get his numbers but the team is not improved

  68. Except on the deffensive end, of course.

  69. Bynum’s conditioning and timing have been a huge surprise. I forgot out how much more well rounded this team is with him in the lineup. Everything from rebounds, blocking/altering shots, and the trickle down effect it has on the bench and substitutions.

    I have been sort of out of it for the past few weeks, did I miss something with Farmar? Is this a PJ motivational thing or is he really in the doghouse? His confidence looks destroyed.

  70. That Loose ball call was ridiculous! These refs are making some real bad calls

  71. I’ve always wondered, is it possible for Phil Jackson to coach through the phone while the game is going on, idk maybe call a certain play while watching the game on tv?

  72. Bynum might want to think about passing out of the post once in a while…

  73. These refs are ridiculous. How can you call that loose ball foul on Fish and ignore Przybilla blatantly getting the forearms of Bynum?

  74. Blazers are about to rip this game open….Dont blame the refs, Lakers are just really out of sink.

  75. Cayucos Surfer April 10, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Yeah, im not very big on complaining about refs. but i just turned the game on. and so far EVERY SINGLE TIME the blazers are on offense, free throws or lame fouls. that one on Pau against Batum was about the only legit call. Hopefully they will bite their whistles a little bit and actually let us play defense.

  76. That was a hell of a move and finish by Brown.

  77. Wow, 8-0 run on a great transition basket by Kobe and a sick spin by Shannon Brown. Dude looks like he has some potential.

  78. OMG
    Shannon Brown>>>>Jordan Farmar (for this game)

  79. I used to be a basketball ref myself. It is so much harder than it looks. I cant imagine what the NBA officials go through.

  80. Wow, Shannon Brown with the nice step and using the glass. He really wants this job.

  81. Brown playing with some unexpected poise.

  82. I understand that the players on the court are the ones determining the fate of the game, but there are key moments where the refs can really affect the momentum of the game, by taking away a stop on one end, putting your best player in early foul trouble, or not giving you points when you deserve them. There have been times tonight when all those things have happened to us.

  83. How to pull your team back in the game, by Kobe Bryant:
    1) attack, draw the double, assist a wide-open Pau
    2) drain the 3 with the shot clock almost out
    3) attack on the fast break for the 3-point play

  84. STOP…..Kobe Time!

  85. I don’t want to complain, but when Stu and Joel are complaining about the refs, it means that they’re really, really bad.

  86. Yeah, the refs are atrocious, really being affected by the crowd…

  87. Ouch. When Joel was discussing Oden’s FT%, he said it was 63%, higher than “some guards,” one of whom is on our team.

  88. I am liking Lamar off the bench now days.

  89. I mean, as soon as the Blazers get on a little run and the crowd gets into it, the refs give the Blazers complete license to foul and get away with it, thus extending their momentum and getting the crowd fired up even more. How does Pau not get the call there?

  90. No the problem is the Lakers leaving three point shooters WIDE open….which they tend to do too often

  91. Nice shot by Sasha!

  92. Where are these fouls coming from?

  93. Wow, go Shannon.

  94. Shannon! I’m liking Shannon over Farmar more and more.

  95. it’s nice to see bench players with a positive +/- again.

  96. Was that Lamar and Sasha getting into it on the sidelines as we went to commercial?

  97. That was a big 3 by Brown, all set up by yet another offensive board from Odom. The bench looks so much better with him out there.

  98. Is it too soon to say Shannon has taken over Farmar’s spot? I really like what I’m seeing from him… he’s just staying within himself and letting the team run the offense.

  99. The bad calls in this game is probably good prep for the Lakers with the playoffs coming. They’ll need to learn to adjust and play through it cause it’s going to happen a lot more often in the playoffs.


  101. How did Oden not walk on that possession?

  102. The entire team is going to foul out at this rate.

  103. Maybe the refs figure there’s a chance that the Lakers might win this game so they’re trying to help the blazers out?

  104. Gotta get a stop soon…


  106. Brown is really playing nicely, too bad the refs are beating us

  107. Hrm, we have a way of getting good trades, looking at SB…

  108. I like like this guy S. Brown tonight.

  109. Shannon is keeping us in this game.

  110. When did Shannon Brown learn to shoot 3s like this?

  111. Glad we took Luke out of there – poor mismatches everywhere with him on defense.

  112. Kobe . Wow.

  113. Finally! We get a call.

  114. These announcers are seriously making my ears bleed. I mean come on, where is your professionalism.

  115. Joel,

    Brown actually came into the league billed as a decent shooter from beyond the arc. He averaged 39% 3P% from beyond the arc in his junior year at Michigan State.

  116. Kobe time continues

  117. Sure hope Kobe doesn’t lose this for us. Pass it inside to Pau and Lamar.

  118. Kobe and Roy are taking over this game.

  119. Stop kobe and Roy time. Whatever team can stop either of those two players will end up winning.

  120. Portaland is legit, at least on their home court. Good thing that we have HCA against any potential matchup against them.

  121. They are double/triple teaming Kobe, but no one is moving off the ball to get to a spot where they can get the ball from him.

  122. Kobe is trying to do it all himself. He needs to consider his teammates…and the Lakers gotta score on thia possession.

  123. They are too use to standing and watching Kobe do his thing in the last few mins of every game to move. Bad habit we need to break.

  124. The Dude Abides April 10, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Man. How did Fish not get a call on that rebound? They’ve been calling the same thing against us the entire game.

  125. It was clear Fisher wasn’t going to have a good shot. Why he didn’t reset or wait until a fly by, I’m not sure.

  126. We did not need a three, just a couple of points.

  127. Portland scores here its all over and Lakers will lose all hope for homecourt advantage…we need a stop!!

  128. I want a quick 2

    Maybe that’s the answer instead of the home run 3

  129. I’m not one to complain about referees, but this has been a horrendously officiated game. The only thing that’s necessary for an official is to call it the same way on both ends, but that’s obviously not the case in this game. The non call on the loose ball foul on Fish versus the loose ball foul on Walton against Przybilla, the travel on Bynum versus the non-travel by Oden, this game is full of biased calls.

  130. What a horrible shot. Reminds of a couple years ago.

  131. Well, we just gave it away…

  132. Yikes. What the hell was that?

  133. Lamar just killed us….gameover

  134. Why? Why Kobe? Why?

  135. Game over.

  136. i think kobe thought it was a foul… but bad coaching by rambis he should have went for a 2..instead of fishers 3 and kobes 3

  137. Those were the worst endgame tactics I’ve seen us play in a long, long time.

  138. bonehead after bonehead play

  139. Ugh. Portland curse strikes again.

  140. What in the world was Kobe thinking?

  141. Terrible, terrible offense at crunch time. I don’t think the Lakers have created one decent look in the last couple of minutes.

  142. Now we’ll be jacking up quick 3’s.

  143. why is Luke in instead of Sasha? Makes no sense

  144. Err okay,

    scheduler’s loss or whatever, ths was still very frustrating.

    I would have truly preferred a strong drive instead of the 3s

    But who knows, maybe kobe can work his magic like the last game of the season a few years back

  145. The Dude Abides April 10, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    There is absolutely no reason for Sasha not to have been in the game for the final minute. We need threes, and he’s been shooting them well. Neither Trevor, Luke, nor Fish are shooting well tonight.

  146. That was very poor decision making by Kobe at the end of games

  147. Uhm… okay, some really ‘creative’ end game plays tonight.

  148. Wow this made me pissed.

  149. We can take one thing away from this game, Bynum is looking real good…

  150. I swear, it looks like they don’t even know what they want to get out of these possessions. Total chaos.

  151. please dont hire rambis when phil is donee

  152. Kobe had a brain fart the last minute of the game…WOW

  153. I hope they practice some good end game plays. It’ll come in handy in the playoffs.

    What is it about the Lakers in Portland, the Bobcats or is it just young fast athletic teams?

  154. Thought Bynum looked better but took some questionable, covered shots. Seems to be trying to prove something and get his numbers rather than having the offense come to him. Kobe again seems a step slow, settling for low-quality shots.

    The bright spot was Shannon Brown, maybe he’ll be somewhat of a cure for our backup point guard woes.

    But I’m not too worried about this. The officiating was a big issue and our execution was really out of character, yet we still came away close. We shouldn’t see this in the playoffs. The game was a good sign that, contrary to Henry Abbott, we should expect to take care of the Blazers w/o any doubt come playoff time.

  155. Nothing like a good game wasted by last minute idiocy to leave a bad taste in fans’ mouths

  156. Man that sucked. But, there are some good positives and negatives to take away from the game.

    1.) We managed to stay with them for the whole game, on the 2nd night of a back-to-back, traveling in between, and despite the referees best attempts, almost won the game if not for some poor decisions late from Kobe.

    2.) Regarding those poor decisions, it was mind-blowing that Kobe adamantly refused to drive the ball to the basket. He was getting lay-ups and And1’s earlier in the game. Why does he have to refuse to drive in crunch time?

    3.) Our bench played really, really, really well. Other than Luke having a relatively off night (mostly due to the abhorrent foul calling) and 5 Farmar minutes, all the bench players played extremely well. I agree above, I think we would’ve been much better served riding Sasha and Shannon to the end instead of bringing in Fisher and Luke/Ariza to close the game. Also, our defense noticeably suffered when Bynum left. I would’ve much preferred to have seen a Shannon, Sasha, Kobe, Odom, Bynum closing lineup, but I think that has more to do with Bynum’s conditioning than anything.

    4.) “Hold on a sec, Pau’s not in that lineup” you may say. And yes, that is purposeful; Pau was getting abused by Oden in the post, whereas Andrew had the muscle to keep him out of the lane. Couple that with the fact that the refs were calling any slight push on Oden as a foul, and there really wasn’t anything Pau could do defensively.

    5.) I think this is a good sign for us going forward. It shows we can compete in their building, even when the refs are having an off night. This gives me a lot of confidence going into the playoffs if we do end up playing them. As long as we bring the same effort, I don’t see any way that a series with Portland goes beyond 6 games.

    Overall, I’m really bummed out that we lost, but I’m taking heart in the fact that the bench is coming back to life, Bynum looks really good, Sasha seems to be coming out of his slump, and Shannon continues to improve and make the case that he should be the primary backup behind Fish. Now if we could just get Fisher back on track (he’s shooting terribly over the past couple games), and get Kobe to work on his crunch-time decision making, we’ll be unstoppable.

  157. Laker fans, you don’t want Portland in the playoffs!

    Seriously though, I’m a Blazer fan but I’m glad it was a good game. It really felt like a playoff game. Portland’s not quite to the title contender level yet, but starting next year I really can’t wait for the rivalry to start again, the Oden-Bynum matchups will be epic I think. Before you judge Oden against Bynum, please remember that Bynum is in his 4th year and Oden in his rookie year. Oden has improved a lot already since the beginning of the year. He will be legit.

    Good luck lake-show fans and I hope to see you in the playoffs! Would be a good battle

  158. 116, Tremble, I think before you criticize Mike Rice and Co, you should realize that they’re catering to an audience of raving lunatics who for some unknown, likely irrational reason, believe that Portland is the best/only place in the world. I asked one of my friends, who is from Portland and is a die-hard Blazer fan, to name me Denver’s starting lineup. He got Carmelo and Chauncey, then blanked. They’re in the same division for Kobe’s sake!

    I asked another Blazer fan to name me the 8 playoff teams in the East. He got Cleveland, Boston, and Miami. He didn’t even get Orlando! And then he finished it off with, “Dude, who cares about them, they’re not in the West.” Man, Monday is gonna suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck…

  159. Blazer fan here – I willingly admit that the fouls seemed one sided. However, you guys had the talent to win, but for some reason there was no offensive strategy in the last few minutes of the game. Maybe it was because Phil was stuck at home.

    Please don’t get knocked out in the first round, because we can’t wait to beat you in the second!

  160. this game could be a blessing in disguise.

    Right now, with these standings it seems like we will go against Utah (especially if we beat them on our home floor) for the first round. The 4 and 5 matchup as of now is Houston vs Portland, even though San antonio can go into the mix but i see things remaining the same. Houston has home court over Portland and they have won twice on their home court and lost once, so I do believe they will win the series against Portland.

    Then if the lakers progress forward, they will go against the Rockets which they have shown to have control over. We would never have to face Portland ever again, not that I’m worried about them haha.

  161. looks like Utah is our first round opponent, especially if we beat them Tuesday night. It would be interesting however to see the mavericks lose some and the race between 7 and 8 being on the line during that last game of the season. If you were the lakers, would you lose the game to utah so we would face dallas in the first round? haha

  162. kobe vs roy at the end. difference was, portland was cutting without the ball or moved into seams for the open pass from roy. kobe and pau were running PnR while our other 3 just stayed beyond the arc like they’re all knock down assasins from 3.

    horrible, horrible offensive sequences from us once portland got it to 101-98, up 3. a little of that has to do with no PJ on the sidelines tonight, lets hope for a speedy recovery.

    we’re still mathmatically in the running for HCA throughout the playoffs but honestly getting back bynum healthy was the biggest priority over anything else(snapping the rose garden losing streak/sending a dominant message to the league/stealing HCA from cleveland/improving our bench play/phil not coaching tonight). it is still no guarantee cleveland will be meeting us in the finals. but I’ve always felt if I had to choose between the 2, I’d way rather have homecourt over boston than cleveland.

    just a couple more prep games before the real season starts. we got our big ol young stud back healthy. gotta get bynum ready for his first serious playoff run. can’t wait at all.

  163. No we want Portland. Then we can show them and their fans whos boss. They will never beat us at staples, and this game showed we can win on their homecourt.

  164. im hoping portland will see houston in the playoffs.

    we played horrible, those last few possessions were UGLY. we look discombobulated, and the fisher 3 was unnecessary because we were only down by 3 with lots of time, should have gone for the easy 2. dont know why we didn’t plus taking shannon out when he was the one consistently making his shots left me perplexed as well.

    also ran out of time outs during crunch time was not something to be happy about either. during crunch time we just weren’t polished and didn’t play how we should have. during that time we looked sloppy and like we didn’t know what to do – discombobulated even. since home court advantage in the finals is basically out of reach PJ should decide to rest pau and kobe. pau looked gassed out there, he didn’t even jump for rebounds looked like his shoes were glued to the hardwood. it’s unsettling that he couldn’t handle oden, kind of disappointing we have to watch out for portland in the playoffs. the calls tonight didn’t help, after kobe got the game close (with the and 1’s and driving to the hole)he then settled for 3’s and jumpshots why? why go away from something thats working? and why did pau only get 9 shots.

    odom was really active, his defense was really good. he did a lot of things that wont show up on the stat sheet but bobbling that pass chewed up important seconds off the shot clock which then forced kobe into shooting a bail out 3. not good.

    on to memphis.

  165. Kurt. I owe you a Lou Malnati’s Pizza.
    How in the world do I send this?

  166. rambis definately showed he isn’t ready to take over the coaching job if phil retires…. running out of time outs? never a good sign.

    would like to know what plays he drew up during the fouls because if the ones that were executed are the ones he drew up… well phil might have to have a little talk with him cause those were horrid.
    im not sure he drew those up, its questionable.

  167. jeremy..i think you’ve been listening to those portland announcers wayyyy too much haha..keep dreaming kiddo.

  168. Hey ya right,

    I am may be a Blazer fan, but I’m not stupid. The Blazers winning a series against LA is a very long shot, I admit that. But that’s why we play the games right?

    – good night!

  169. I really liked our Pau-Bynum-Kobe-Sasha-Brown lineup, especially defensively. What I didn’t like was Pau only getting 9 shots – it must have been deflating to see Aldridge show more energy yet be unable to go back at him on the offensive end

  170. bright spots in this game:

    shannon brown’s 3 pointers
    sasha is getting into his groove, looks more confident
    bynum increasing minutes

    i’m happy with how the team looks going into the playoffs. maybe now we can start resting the starters for the playoffs?

  171. Brown’s budding improvement is encouraging. He’s certainly a better defender than Farmar, and if he’s hitting shots like he did today, there’s no reason for him not to be out there.

    And also, let’s not be too hard on Rambis. He was basically forced into this situation, and it’s the first time in a long while he’s had to do this.

  172. With Bynum back in Pau really is rarely able to get into positions in which he can do damage. That’s as much fault with coaching, Bynum, as it is with Pau. They need to make it work better. And until Bynum shows he is better than Pau in the post I would refrain from feeding him as a first option unless he’s deep in the paint.

  173. Having Shannon Brown at the end of games is ridiculous. Fisher is a gamer and come playoff time, he’ll show up (again). I think we should start all games with Fish, Kobe, Ariza, Gasol, and Bynum. However, at the end of games we should have either Sasha or Ariza depending on the situation (need offense = Sasha, defense = Ariza)

  174. i have not been following my beloved lakers for about two weeks now due to work at office, so if any of you can tell me this: what happened to our back-up guard rotation?

    it seems to me farmar is getting into the coaches doghouse and is losing his minute to our new guy shannon brown… anything happened?

  175. Kurt, please crank up the spam filter.

  176. I’ve moderated several comments already. We are looking for discussion not baiting and name calling. Refer to the commenting guidelines at the top of the page if you want further explanation.

    I didn’t watch the game, so I don’t have anything to contribute but if you did and want to comment about it be respectful and try to provide some evidence to support what you say. We’re looking for intelligent discussion, not a pissing match. And that goes for everyone.

  177. Shannon Brown’s play tonight was really interesting. I wonder how many minutes, if any, Farmar is going to get come playoff time.

    Let the Blazers fans have their moment of glory. We want ours in June, not in April.

  178. Good win for the Blazers, not going to take anything away from them. I personally didn’t like the decision to replace Brown with Fish especially considering the clutch 3’s Brown was hitting. I say stick with the hot hand for as long as possible but you cant argue that Fish knows how to play under pressure. All in all this game makes me optimistic because come the playoffs we wont be playing a game coming off a back-to-back and hopefully won’t arrive in any city at 3am, so if we could almost pull out a W in Portland under those conditions and without our coach than come the 2nd round with AB with more games under his belt,I like our chances.

  179. The strategy from on out should depend on whether Cleveland loses on Sunday or not. If they win, I say put on “practice games.” By that, I mean play Shannon more, Farmar more (maybe equally to really see their efficiency), but don’t worry too much about the record now.

    I was looking at our record so far and felt slightly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the Lakers did a great job. I just felt like if the Lakers had won the games we “should” and could have won (ie. Sacramento, Indiana, Charlotte twice, Portland twice, one of the close Orlando games), we’d be on track to 70-12. Just wishful thinking, but the Lakers, as last year, played great without Bynum.

    However, I don’t think we should be quick to label these losses as “Oh, not big deal because they don’t happen often,” look at last year’s 40 point loss to Boston. We kept it close enough in Game 1 and 2, and yet somehow we were completely OWNED in Game 6.

    Now, Sunday’s game between Cleveland and boston just doesn’t seem as important/exciting as it was to me before this loss.

  180. Everyone is welcome to post here, Blazer fans included, IF you are respectful and contribute to a thoughtful conversation. Otherwise the comment is deleted. I just deleted a lot from both sides due to bating and general stupidity.

    There are other Lakers sites where that style of conversation can take place but not here.

  181. Laker fans, I don’t know how you can lose 8 straight in Portland and still say that you will just blow by them in the playoffs….explain that to me

  182. No one thinks that we’re just going to “blow by” Portland should we meet in the playoffs. They are a capable team with great players and an intelligent coach. At the same time, we’re not going to wake up with nightmares about having to play the Blazers. We have handled our business at home this year, and will have home court in a potential matchup. We also played it close tonight, on the second night of a back-to-back, Bynum’s second game back, and without our coach on the sideline (which actually mattered because it was a very close game).

    Would we have won had we been rested and had Phil? Maybe not. But I still think that we could take a game or two in Portland in the playoffs. Sure, we’ve lost 8 in a row there, but the postseason is a completely different animal.

    Portland will be a tough out for anyone and they play the Lakers very well at home. That said, we are the most potent team in the West and it shouldn’t be a surprise that we’re confident that our team could take anyone, at anytime, anywhere.

  183. Good post, bruinsfan. Very good answer. I think it would be a fun series, especially since the teams seem to get chippy at each other a lot

  184. The Dude Abides April 11, 2009 at 12:20 am

    183. All it takes is one game in Portland refereed by Javie’s anti-homer crew and the calls are the same for both sides. A Javie refereed game in LA is a 10-15 point victory for the Lakers. In Portland, it’s probably a 2-5 point win. Also, Phil will play Sasha instead of Ariza in the final minute if we’re behind, and call better plays during crunch-time time outs. He likes moving Kobe to the SF spot down the stretch in certain situations, and realizes that when we need a three late in the game, Trevor is not the guy to shoot it and his man will just double Kobe. With Sasha in the game, that won’t happen.

  185. At this point, beating Cleveland for HCA is basically not going to happen. Unless Boston channels some serious mojo on Sunday, they’re not going to beat Cleveland without Garnett. If Cleveland beats Boston, then we should transition into giving Kobe, Pau, and Fisher more rest. Bynum can get more burn, we can see how Brown performs as versus Farmar, and give Sasha more time to get his stroke back.

    As the standings look, we’re probably going to play Dallas. Utah (47-32) has Golden State and the Clippers at home, which are obvious wins, and then has us on the road for their last game. Dallas (48-31) has a road game against New Orleans and then home games against Minnesota and Houston. New Orleans (48-31) has Dallas at home and away games at Houston and San Antonio.

    Now, let’s say Dallas loses to New Orleans, wins against Minnesota and loses to Houston, giving them a 49-33 record. New Orleans probably loses to Houston and San Antonio, also giving them a 49-33 record. Now, Utah obviously wins the pair of gimmes at home, giving them a 49-32 record going into Staples for the last game. New Orleans would beat Dallas in a tiebreaker due to a 3-1 head-to-head situation. Even if we decide we want to beat Utah, Utah will come out on top over Dallas due to a better conference record (as they split the season series 2-2).

    The only way we’re not getting Dallas is if New Orleans loses all three of its remaining games, Utah chokes in one of its home games, or if Dallas wins all three of its remaining games. All three are pretty unlikely, given that New Orleans and Dallas are both facing Houston, which does not want to lose the #3 seed.

  186. We need to give Portland a great deal of credit for putting together all of their “pieces” going into the playoffs–testing Laker “pieces” as few teams can.

    Our most important “piece” to test, Andrew Bynum, looked impressive, while Kobe, Fisher, and Gasol looked tired. Trevor seemed still a bit punchy from his concussion, but Lamar seemed on fire–performing like the superstar he sometimes can be both on offense and defense.

    Jordan Farmar appeared totally lost, playing out of synch with his team. Maybe he should spend a whole day just looking at the ocean. . . . .

    Sasha seemed on his way to playoff form, and Walton seemed ready for the next step.

    The surprise of the night was Shannon Brown, who outplayed all of the other Laker backcourt players both on offense and defense. Can he really be that good?

    I would have loved to see a few minutes of Mbenga Mbanging Oden–but that might have to wait until the playoffs–if Portland gets that far. Powell may not get much action in the playoffs barring injuries to key players–and that is more a tribute to the guys who will play rather than a negative statement against Josh.

  187. Give Portland credit, they played a great game and we played a great game. Something tells me this game turns out different if it wasn’t on the second night of a back to back, but that is how it goes. Playing at Portland in the playoffs will be a good test of our resiliency and by then Bynum will be better conditioned and can hopefully play around 30 minutes. I thought the game turned at the beginning of the fourth with Bynum on the bench and Oden and co. getting some put back points. In any event, we completely scrapped our offense the last 5 minutes which made their D that much easier.
    Let’s rest up Kobe and Pau now.

  188. HCA will be pretty tough to get now. As I said a week ago, this game is the one that will just about decide HCA. Had we won, Cleveland would’ve had to win both of Boston, @Indiana in order to keep up. Now, they just have to win one of those games (I still stand by them losing at Indy), and they’ll still be in the lead.

    While I am taking a lot away from the Blazers, their offense did consist purely of free throws for a critical stretch in the 4th quarter. However, this game was lost at the end of the 3rd, when the Blazers made back-to-back threes and a Greg Oden tip to take a 4 point Laker lead and change it into a 4 point Blazer lead. Plus the Portland clock-keepers were very biased. You could see time running off the clock after each Blazer score in the last 2 minutes while the Lakers were still taking the ball out of bounds.

    This game will be a whole different animal in the playoffs, when we have a better officiating crew, league-hired 3rd party clock-keepers, and 2 days of rest in between games.

  189. I think the Blazers have a great team with a great coach, but at the same time their inferiority complex is getting to me. The whole organization seems to think they’re being persecuted by the rest of the league (see the Darius Miles email), or the Lakers (see the announcers pulling out the “Lakers want to beat us up card”) everytime a Blazer gets fouled. That’s why, I believe, they resort to cheap tricks like replaying the Ariza foul before the game, and showing Lakers fans leaving early after the game – anything to manufacture a psychological edge.

    Before this game, I wanted to avoid the Blazers, but now I’m with Kobe – I’d welcome a 2nd round matchup, Rose Garden or not.

  190. Unfortunately I don’t think Shannon is that good. His jumpshooting form suggests that unless he makes a drastic change in his technique, he will regress to a spotty jumpshooter at best. As we see more and more of him, I think we’ll see him make some boneheaded offensive decisions a la Farmar. Right now it’s sort of his honeymoon period, don’t forget who in love with Farmar we were for much longer. However, what I like about Brown is that he doesn’t try to step too far past his limits. He lets the players around him run the offense and contributes where he can, not holding the ball or messing up the flow of the offense. And he has the physical tools to do what Farmar cannot, and we know on half the floor he can definitely be an improvement. At the very least, we have a defensive option at PG for big guard matchups.

  191. Pau is as important to this team as Kobe. Discuss.

  192. Hope the Blazers paid the refs what they were worth because they’re the reason the Blazers won. I think bad officiating causes bad play.
    Derek and Pau both had substandard games.Bynam looked great.Players looking to playoffs.Season over.

  193. While this was one of the worst officiated games I have seen this year, it was not the reason the Lakers lost. The Lakers were on the 2nd night of a back-to-back with late travel, everyone was shooting poorly, and Kobe decided that he could beat Portland all by himself, totally ignoring Gasol at the end.

    I was really POed at Kobe at the end of the game, but after about an hour I cooled down and realized that the other players (except Gasol) were not playing that well. All you who say Bynum should play more minutes in the next two games better realize that he now has two games in with 5 fouls each. He needs to reduce his dumb fouls before he can play more minutes. Yes, I know he just got back, but he can’t play more minutes if he fouls out.

  194. Portland matches up well with us, and they’re one of the few teams who are more athletic than us. They have a lot of offensive weapons (night off by one player is covered by someone coming off the bench and exploding) and they’re long on D. Their success at home is the result of a two-fold effect caused by one factor – the crowd. That crowd boosts the players’ confidence and intimidates the refs (similar to the effect in SLC)

    While watching last night’s game I realized that Blazers don’t have enough experience to push us any further than six games in the playoffs. Derek is not going to have such horrendous shooting nights, Pau will certainly get more touches down the stretch, Kobe will attack the basket even more to get the Blazers in foul trouble. Not to mention that the refs won’t be as easily intimidated in the playoffs. Despite all those factors playing against us, we were in the ballgame for 47 minutes in what’s considered a ‘cursed’ venue for the Lakeshow. There was plenty of positives – Shannon Brown, Andrew, Lamar, not folding every time the other team went on a run. All season long I thought we wouldn’t have as easy a time getting to the NBA Finals as everyone predicted. Now I’m sold on that theory.

  195. Folks – bad officiating or not, Portland played better and that’s why they won. I hate it when the fans of other teams give me excuses like “oh, if Garnett was back we would have won”, “if Lebron did not have an off night we would have won,” etc. – so we shouldn’t use those lame excuses either. Simply put, our guys looked flat and, despite being on a second night of a back to back, they came close, but failed, to send a message to the Blazers.

    What this means, wether or not you want to admit it, is that we match up very well against this Blazers squad and we should be thankful that we have HCA over them in the event we have to face them in the playoffs. Having said that, these guys are going to be tough to be beat by anyone. Let’s give them credit.

  196. Couple thoughts:

    Shannon Brown is gonna get some run if we play Utah in round one. We all remember the Deron vs. Farmar results. Seeing as HCA is pretty much gone it will be interesting to see is the coaches big Shannon a lot of minutes against DWill in the last game of the season.

    Craig W. Yes Bynum made a few dumb fouls (which I think is expected after missing 30 games) but he still played 31 minutes which I believe is over his season average of 28. So it doesn’t seem to be affecting/dictating playing time. He definitely tailed off a bit in the 2nd half but playing 10 more minutes on a back to back is a pretty good sign.

  197. Kurt, perhaps you can provide an answer to something I have been trying to figure out. I somehow saw the game differently last night. Despite the free throw disparity, the game was close and we still had a chance to win. Thus, I can’t decide whether Portland is simply a better team than LA ( a lot of people on the forums seem to think that). whether they just played better than us last night, and whether LA has the capability to beat them.

    Unlike the game in March, I am not sure whether Portland was really able to enforce their will on the Lakers this time around. To me, it just seemed like the game came down to one or two posessions, since it was so close….

    What do you guys think?

  198. Only caught the second half…any particular reason why Farmar only played 5 minutes last night? Shannon Brown played well, but did Farmar piss off Rambis or something?

  199. LakerFan010,
    Yes the Blazers do match up better with us than almost any other team. Yes, the fact that the game was so close – given other considerations – does mean the Lakers don’t have to fear the Blazers.

    The lack of back-to-backs in the playoffs should help the Lakers, but – and this is a big but – the Lakers were one of the best teams in back-to-back wins this season. That means the Portland match up in one of them does mean something.

    The most dangerous thing is that so many of the Lakers had bad games last night. Many of our players have been really down over the last month and the big guns have really carried much of the club. Additionally, the Blazers are a good defensive club. These two things do give me pause going into the playoffs.

    How do we get our guys back?

    Portland is dangerous and their lack of experience isn’t as much a factor as we would like to imagine. This has been argued in several places on the internet and I come away feeling experience is good, but overrated – except perhaps in the finals, where the pressure takes on a whole different feel.

  200. do you guys really believe that portland can take out spurs / houston (their plausible team to be matched up with) and win a series because i really don’t.
    don’t count the spurs out now that they dont have manu. duncan always brings his best game in the playoffs, also he said his knee feels just fine or much better now. duncan will NOT let the spurs be ousted the first round. c’mon guys think about it they have duncan, parker and new additions im thinking someone will step up big time for them in the playoffs.
    and if portland faces houston, well that will be good because houston matches up with portland VERY very well.

  201. Farmar is done as Fischer’s backup…he’s the 3rd string PG now.

  202. Lakerfan010,

    I think Portland may be the Lakers biggest playoff threat. Many people would disagree because of their inexperience, but they have really thrived in close games this year and a big part of that is Brandon Roy. Their ability to win close games time and time again, is something the Lakers havent done particarly well this year, and last night this difference showed. However, their inexperience does show for the fact that they are not a good road team. I dont think this team can beat the Lakers at Staples, unless the Lakers have a really off night. Lakers however, have the ability to win in Portland as last night game showed, and Lakers will have homecourt advantage. Therefore, it is unliely Portland will beat us if they meet us in the playoffs. Next year though, Portland may be a lot scarier.

    So no, Portland is not the better team, but they have the ability to take us to at least 6 games. They are deep, they have a center who is strong and can clog up the middle, they have a superstar who can take over late in games, and I think they have an underrated defensive team. This is the third time this year they held the Lakers under a 100 points. But I say bring them on, it be nice to take them out and let their fans and announcers choke on defeat from the Lakers.

  203. 201 — It was a road game, second of a back-to-back, against a team that plays amazingly at home. Our starting center came back 48 hours ago. We were in it and even had a lead with 2 minutes to play…

    Not making excuses, but saying the blazers are a better team? Wondering whether the lakers have the capability to beat them? You can’t be serious.

  204. @Lakerfan010
    I don’t think anybody sane thinks the Blazers are a better team. Even Henry Abbot concedes LA is the team to beat. And obviously LA has the capability to beat them, we can beat anyone. We just didn’t play as well as we could’ve.

  205. As a Blazer fan I’m gonna state the obvious: If PTB and LAL meet in the post season the Lake Show will prevail unless a miracle occurs.

    Yes Portland is playing great ball. Yes they are an up and coming team. Yes Roy and Aldridge will be dominant players for years to come. But still that’s then and this is now. Fact is, when the s**t hits the fan only one team will walk away smelling fresh as a daisy and it won’t be Portland.

    That said, we’re coming for the Lakers and everyone else in the west. The new will soon repalce the old. Enjoy your glory while it lasts.

  206. The Blazers definitely match up better with the Lakers than any other team in the west. Pryzbilla and Oden give them very good interior defense, Aldridge, Outlaw and Batum bring length and athleticism, Blake is solid off/def without lots of mistakes and Rudy gives them 3pt shooter and Roy takeover guy in clutch.

    However, I’m believe the Lakers will handle them in 5gms (6 at most) if they meet in playoffs because a) Lakers will kick up their defense another notch, b) Bynum will have 6-7 more games under his belt and will be playing better, c) Kobe and Gasol will be rested with long days off in early rds of playoffs and limited minutes rest of reg season.

  207. I’m with the majority that the Lakers win a series against Portland but we are witnessing a contending team emerging.

    Also, to steal a though Darius had in an email, they look like the Lakers in how they are built. Gasol/Aldridge, Roy/Kobe, Bynom/Oden etc. Offense first teams. They are a lot alike.

  208. How smart was Pritchard not to trade Pryzbilla? People were so sure Oden would be a defensive/rebounding beast quickly that I remember some writers were suggesting Pryzbilla might be able to net them a stronger SF. Pryzbilla is a huge part of that team’s success.

    On a side note, Gortat from Orlando reminds me a little of Pryzbilla. He may be similar he can pick up more PT with a different team.

  209. Remember that even a full 7-game series is only one permutation of an endless amount of possible results — it’s hard to predict with certainty who will win — the ball simply bounces one way or the other (as it apparently has for us the last eight times in the Rose Garden). But a lot of it is mental. I believe Boston won the Finals last year because they convinced the Lakers (and everyone else) they would, in Game 4.

    That’s why I’m really starting to worry about the mental makeup of this team. Apart from Shannon Brown (who will have a coming-out party during the Playoffs, hear you me) our guys seem to be caught in a downswing three games away from the postseason. I’m not much of an X’s and O’s guy, but it looks like several players have been hanging back on offense, not executing plays, moving around on the court without the confidence that world-beaters should have.

    I think Pau Gasol is playing tremendous ball, and he might well anchor us all the way through to June. Kobe is still Kobe. Bynum will return to form. LO, Ariza and Luke will keep on keepin’ on. With a potential Icebox (Shannon Brown) to keep Fish fresh, we might have ourselves a championship team — but only if they can pull together and start believing in themselves.

  210. Glad Laker fans are feeling Shannon Brown. As a MSU alum and Lakers fan I was happy when the Lakers got him. I saw him play virtually every in college. He was always a great athlete, but his jump shot and defense improved dramatically every year in college. He’s still young (only 23 yrs old) and raw (haven’t got much pt in league), but here’s what he brings to the table – he’s a great athlete, good defender with long arms, good scorer –can finish at basket and shoot the 3. But his best asset is he’s fearless and plays his best in big games. Remember he played great when GWallace got hurt (by Bynum) and scored 14pts including big 3 in OT when Charlotte beat LA earlier this season.

    His negatives are he’s not a good ball handler for a SG and a poor ball handler for PG. I expect teams to start picking him up full court if Lakers try to let him bring it up. However Lakers have plenty of other guys at SF/PF who can handle that when Shannon is in the game (Walton/Odom). Shannon is not good at creating for others and sometimes gets himself in trouble if he’s dribbling in traffic. The beauty of the triangle is it not reliant or guards to create off dribble as much as other systems.

    All n all this could be the perfect system/team for his skills (like Ariza). I fully expect Shannon to help make a few plays and help the Lakers win at least one critical playoff game.

    FYI…he was a high school teammate of Dee Brown (Univ of Illinois) in Illinois at Proviso East. Same HS that produced Doc Rivers and Michael Finley.

  211. P.S. the fact that we were even close in this game means we’re doing SOMETHING right.

  212. If Jackson has the guts to rest Kobe and Pau the next three games, we are a lock for the championship. Who’s going to want to face those two guys with fresh legs and Bynum clogging up the middle.

  213. LOL at the idea of Shannon Brown lighting up the playoffs.

  214. kurt i agree, portland looks like a young lakers team.

  215. Shannon Brown doesn’t have to light up anything – he just needs to hustle on D and hit the open shot if presented with the opportunity. That’ll be far better than what Farmar has given us since his surgery.

  216. I am just looking forward to seeing how Bynum keeps improving his game since being out for some 30 games this year. Let’s see how Shannon Brown plays these final games of the season before making any judgments on him one way or another. The Jazz are not a team I would like to face in the 1st round.

    Life is to short to be existing and not living.

  217. At least we know this much:

    Shannon Brown > Stephon Marbury

    Mitch Kupchak, I salute you once again.

  218. People here are saying Shannon Brown is inconsistent and not the answer for the Lakers. What is inconsistent has been his shooting and this is NOT what we need from him. We need defense, aggressiveness in going after the ball, and willingness to stay within the system. He is fairly consistent in delivering those things this year. Therefore, I do think Phil will use him in these last two games to determine how he may use him in the playoffs.

    Shannon has opened his own door. What happens now is up to him.

  219. the other Stephen April 11, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    let it be known that on this day, on the cusp of the playoffs, i miss ronny turiaf. i wish he were here to block the hell out of some greenies.

  220. Man, Utah is in some funk. Golden State leads 93-76 after three quarters and they’re starting three rookies and are on a back-to-back. They’re simply being aggressive, working harder than Utah, and not backing down from Utah’s hard play. For all the crap Nelson has pulled this year, give him this: he’s getting superb contributions out of three undrafted rookies (C.J. Watson, Anthony Morrow, Rob Kurz) and Randolph is going to be special in a few years.

  221. And Utah gets smoked at home 118-108. Career night for C.J. Watson with 38 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists, 16-16 at the free throw line. Pretty damn impressive for an undrafted rookie.

    In any case, we play kingmaker now. It’s up to us next Tuesday whether we want to face Dallas or Utah (assuming Dallas loses to New Orleans and Houston and Utah wins against the Clippers). Given how poorly Utah has been playing recently (they’ve now lost seven of their last ten), I say crush Utah at Staples Center and face them in the first round.

  222. @ 225 — Given how well Dallas has been playing recently, I’m not sure I’d take them to lose to either NO or Houston.

  223. laughing hard,

    True, but I’d expect the Hornets to put up a better effort on their home court (not sure how much of a better effort Paul could make over his stunning performance in the last game, but anyways) and Dallas has noticeably performed worse away from home. Also, Houston doesn’t want to lose the #3 seed in order to avoid us until the WCF, so count on them to be motivated. Houston also matches up fairly well against Dallas; if Artest or Battier takes Howard out of his game, it will be extremely difficult for Nowitzki and Terry to carry the entire scoring load.

  224. If I were Dallas, I’d be very happy to be #7 rather than #8. With their veterans, they could easily upset Denver and at least make the second round. With all their players healthy and together, they are surging, whereas Utah . . . .

    That would leave the Lakers with the Utah Jazz in the first round.

    I think that the Lakers match up much better against the Jazz this year, with Bynum and Ariza starting. Having Shannon to help defend Deron, and Mbenga to, well, Mbang are decorations on the frosting.

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