Lakers/Jazz Game Two Chat

Kurt —  April 21, 2009

NBA 2009: Lakers Beat Jazz 113-100
It’s a good sign that normally nervous Lakers fans biggest concerns yesterday were whether the fans at Staples should be doing the “We Want Tacos” or “Utah Sucks” chant and if they are in bad taste. (I personally think the second chant is in bad taste, while the tacos just taste bad.) It was a great game to be at.

In some ways it was a perfect game for the coaches — the outcome was never in doubt but there was plenty for the coaches to pick apart and push the team on after the game. For example, the play in the entire second half, particularly on defense. In the first half the Lakers were moving their feet and bigs were rotating well, in the second half they got lazy and that led to penetration by Utah’s guards, sloppy reach ins by Lakers players leading to fouls, and a horrid job keeping the Jazz off the offensive glass.

Darius talked a little about the fouling.

The Lakers kept on fouling and the Jazz benefited from it by going to the line and staying aggressive. And let’s forget about Crawford for a second and understand that the Jazz we bullying their way to the basket. If you’re defending those types of plays/players, you must play better position defense and cut off driving angles in order to make the offensive player stop, change directions, pass, etc. The Lakers didn’t do any of those things, rather they reached more and were late on rotations. And on a couple of occasions they just let the Jazz go right by them seemingly saying, “score or miss, I’m not going to foul right now”. This happened with Gasol letting AK47 get right to the basket and miss a layup and Odom letting Harpring do the same. Next game we must do better.

Expect the game not to be called as tight and a more physical contest. The Jazz are likely to try to ugly it up. Both teams need to adjust to that.

For Utah, Memhet Okur is a game-time decision, although reports in the morning papers out of Salt Lake call him unlikely. That really hurts Utah, they need him to pull Gasol or Bynum out to the three-point line, opening up the paint when D-Will drives the lane. There was very little pick-and-roll from the Jazz without him in the lineup.

The Lakers did a very good job in the first half of last game in inducing the Jazz into jumpshots (and they are not a good jumpshooting team). The Lakers again need to dare them, and to keep them out of the paint.

Bottom line tonight — I don’t care if there is a “We Want Tacos” chant or not, although you’d like to think in the playoffs fans would have more important things to care about. But I hope there is reason for the chant.

Kurt

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329 responses to Lakers/Jazz Game Two Chat

  1. Things go from bad to worse for the Celtics: Leon Powe has a torn ACL and torn meniscus. Ugh. While I want the Celtics to lose, Powe is a good young player, you hate to see that.

  2. I would rather us be the reason for the “One and Done”, but somehow I knew they wouldn’t be back.

  3. That sucks about Powe’s injury.

    I hate to admit it, but I have been hoping for a Lakers-Celtics rematch (assuming, of course, we get to the finals).

  4. Anyone else see the rumor on ESPN Insider that Drew “could” be dating Rihanna?

    Unfortunately, I can’t read the article so that’s all the information I have for you guys.

    I’m almost embarrassed to be interested in such a trivial matter, but not enough to prevent me from mentioning it here.

    Can’t wait for the game tonight!

  5. Also sucks for Powe being a contract year, tough to have an injury like that. I wish no injuries upon any team.

  6. I feel bad for each of the players injured, but I really can’t feel bad for Garnett at this point. Dude has completely lost any likability, in my opinion.

    I hope the whistles are a little less frequent tonight, I felt we came out last game expecting the banging but got bogged down by the officials whistles. I think both teams expected it to be a lot more physical, as most people did.

    I look for Bynum to have a nice bounce back game, hopefully stay out of foul trouble. All the playoff jitters ought to be out now. Did anyone see him on TMZ’s website? Like the purple and gold ride.

  7. I saw there was a quick headline on ESPN Insider saying, “Bynum dating Rihanna?” Unfortunately i don’t have insider so i couldn’t fully explore this juicy news item.

    I wonder what Shann…I mean, Chris, Brown has to say to that?

  8. Yo, shannon ain’t got nothing to say, he’s got the hip-hop in his spirit ma brotha, jus’ like JVG!
    ;-)

  9. I’m just glad tonight’s game is not on ABC. Their coverage is awful.

  10. Maybe the Red Sox curse moved to the Celtics! That would be hilarious.

    Injuries are less hilarious though. I do not like Powe, I think he’s too much of a thug, but a torn meniscus during Game 1 of the first playoff round is unfair beyond words. Even though it is the vile Celtics they deserve the same chance as any other team to defend their title, and I would have loved to see a rematch. But no Garnett, no Powe, and a hobble Rondo… wow. I tell you, the curse moved!

  11. lots of stuff being written about shannon brown today (ding from OC register is really hyping the kid up). glad he’s doing well, and def hope to see him continue to develop.

    sucks about powe, one of my favorite celtics (oxymoron, i know). rising up from his situation… hard not to like a guy like that. i don’t think his talent and drive have been unnoticed around the league, though; regardless of this injury, his value is understood. on a lakers note, since the celtics lost KG, i’d much rather not see the celtics make the finals – no satisfaction in beating that team unless they’re at 100%.

  12. Lakers are in for a physical game, I think Game 2 will be very close. Aslong as the bunch steps up and Lamar Odom plays physical this series should be Won by the Lakers

    ~FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER, lets talk sort

  13. Agreed on the physicality of tonight’s game. There’s been quite a bit of talk on Utah’s end about how they are not nasty enough and about getting nastier. I think that last game was pretty physical, so I can’t imagine what they will try this time. I’m sure they’re hoping to steal tonights game and beat us up in the process.

    Hopefully Phil will have DJ dress instead of Ammo, so he can play the enforcer role with Odom and Powell if things get too nasty. I just hope that no one gets hurt and of course that we win.

  14. Kurt, you brought the Tacos up again, so I feel the need to ask you:

    Do you think that the taco chants are actually about the tacos? I’ve argued that they’re not (it’s a sign of disrespect, and something to challenge your team to achieve when they’ve already acheived a victory. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the taco chants during a game that’s still in question.)

    Now, if they’re not actually about the tacos, then what’s the problem? The team has embraced the goal of holding opponents under 100, a way to push beyond simply getting a W. We as fans are encouraging them to do so. In addition, it’s a great way to razz the opponent in a fairly classy way. Fans chanting for tacos aren’t chanting about rape cases, or DUIs, or people’s sordid pasts. It’s a positive chant about our team, while still saying “We’re so much better than you are!”

    Now, as to the taco chants being the loudest chants of the day on Sunday- the issue wasn’t a bad crowd, or even a disinterested crowd. It was a bad game. The loudest cheers previous to the taco chants was the big run in the 2nd quarter, where the Lakers got our offense rolling, and where there was genuine intrigue as to how the game would play out. From there, you entered a *tremendously* slow second half, with the Jazz shooting 28 foul shots, and the game itself slowing down. It seemed as if there was a foul every time down the floor, on both sides, and the net effect was to kill the energy the game has. The beauty of watching basketball is the movement, the fluidity, and the speed. This was the reason people so loved those Showtime teams – they were poetry in motion. But when each and every play ends in a whistle, and when you couple that with extra TV timesout for a nationally televised game, it simply sucks out the energy.

    It was a bad second half, lacking energy, elegance, and intrigue. When, for the first time, there was something to be concerned for, something to be intrigued by, the fans chanted for their team.

    So I ask again, what is the issue?

  15. That sucks for Powe. He had a payday coming.

    I wish the Celtics were healthy because their fans are so irritating, they deserved to see their team lost in the Playoffs in full health. Now, they’ll feel they have an excuse. Plus, there’s nothing better than exorcising the demons and getting revenge.

    Whatever.

    All for the tacos chant. It means the jazz are under 100. That is definitely something we want. See the good.

  16. Utah is a classy team, despite being hard-nosed. I don’t think we’ll see any injuries/cheap plays. Just tough fouls, tough bodying up, etc.

    If they went out to hurt someone I could actually see Jerry Sloan losing his mind on his own players.

  17. I’m not sure Utah has enough on offense to keep up with us. While I do expect Williams to assert himself more on offense (he looked to set up his ‘mates a lot in the last game), I also don’t expect Boozer to be as effective in this game. Rewatching some of the game last night, I noticed Boozer getting too many open jumpers and uncontested slashes to the basket. I expect us to lock down on Carlos a bit more and make him work harder for his shots. And overall on defense I expect us to play better position D as we understand and realize that the only player that can really go by us off the dribble is Williams. This should lead to more ball pressure and us forcing more turnovers.

    On offense, I expect the Jazz (at least early) to be more aware of our guys shooting the three ball. Ariza and Shannon got too many wide open looks and we hurt the Jazz with those shots. That may have been by design on their part, but if we’re making those shots we become unbeatable. So I expect a better effort in guarding the three point line which should further open up our inside players. I really expect us to pound the ball inside, especially going to whoever is guarded by Boozer. So, look for Gasol to go off early and if that means that Collins moves over to Pau, I expect to see ‘Drew get some touches in order to attack Boozer as well. This should also allow Kobe to pick his spots again.

  18. Am I the only one bored with the Jazz already? I’m tired of the media pandering of that them. They are not the team of last year. This Jazz team is not good and they have no chance. They can try to get physical if they want, it really won’t make a difference. Darius, you’re excellent analysis is no longer needed for this series. It was over the minute they slipped to the 8 seed.

    I thought Kurt was crazy about Chicago, but I was wrong. I still won’t change my prediction of Boston in 6, but I really think the Celts are in trouble (lovin’ it by the way). The baby Bulls are not scared at all. Now with Powe out, Big Baby and/or Perkins HAVE to bring it every game now.

  19. On offense I want to see us try to go to Drew early. Like Darius said, the Jazz will close out better on our shooters, so a good ball-fake should free Trevor or Shannon up for a drive to the hoop.

    On defense I want to see the aggressive trapping element of the SSZ that got us that 20 point lead, and I’d love to see it displayed until the game is put away.

  20. I can understand why analysts would pick apart the “we want tacos” chant, from their perspective. Yet I think there is something very positive in terms of the continuity that it carries over from the regular season. It has become part of the identity of the Lakers’ fan base, a ritual that defines.

    We want the players to continue to stick to who they are, what their roles are, what got them here… Let’s let the fans do the same. We impose our will on the league, not the other way around. If you don’t like our rituals, let’s see you do soemthing about it!

  21. The game was put away at the half on Sunday. The rest was really just us fans obsessing about keeping big leads. Sure we could have done better – and we did provide the coaches a lot of fodder – but we were never really in danger in the 1st game.

  22. 17

    I’ve been saying the Jazz are overrated for months. How the hell can a team that (a) plays no defense and (b) can’t beat quality teams on the road be a title contender?

  23. If not the Jazz, then who? The Timberwolves? The Clippers? The Kings? The Thunder?

    Just saying. Look at the Eastern conference where three of the playoff teams ended the regular season with a record of .500 or lower. At least the Jazz finished the season at .585, and when not injured, they’re fun to watch, and a dangerous opponent to underestimate.

  24. The Jazz are dangerous – if you drop a home game that could be the series.

    I hate all the overconfidence, not just from Laker fans but from the media too. (i.e. Charles Barkley last night claiming that tonight’s game is a “mercy killing”). It becomes a set up to rile up the Jazz and make the Lakers complacent.

  25. Joel – Utah had a lot of injuries this year so I think your characterization of them is not entirely accurate. Also, keep in mind that in the playoff the game slows down and teams (and players) tend to step up their game (See Bulls v. Celtics). Let’s not count these guys out after one or two Laker home games. I think we need to see how they react in SLC before we say anything. Keep in mind tht if they win all of their home games they will take us to 7 games – a proposition that no one here would like.

  26. clutch,
    I understand the boredom. The Jazz are a team that we beat convincingly in the last game of the season qnd in Game 1. We also handled them in last years playoffs and by any measure we are a better team now while they are worse. However, I do think boredom is a bit premature just because this series is far from over and we’re dealing with a talented team with a smart and capble coach. The playoffs are all about adjustments and I’m looking for the Lakers to sniff out what the Jazz are looking to do and continue to improve for this and future rounds. I do think the Jazz are overmatched and that we ahould win this series. That said, I still want to see better execution and the pursuit of the next game being played at a higher level than the last. That may not be possible for every game and (as is my m.o.) I’ll be happy with a win, but that doesn’t change my perspective of looking for growth from the team in preparation for a championship run. The regular season is a time for boredom, but to me the playoffs are a time for separating yourself from the pack and building for that title. That pursuit starts now and executing against the Jazz is our first step.

  27. listen up folks, Utah will PUT EVERYTHING into tonights game. See, if they can “steal” one of our 2 home games, they steal home court advantage, and it’s A WHOLE NEW BALLGAME/SERIES.
    whereas if we do pull this one out, we’ll be up 2 and it should be the dagger that we need to kill any hopes of coming back to life.
    we NEED TO MATCH THE INTENSITY they are gonna bring, cause they don’t have any chances left if we stomp on them tonight.
    bring it fellas!!!

  28. Joel, as you see, you were in the minority.

    Everyone, I admit 2 months ago, I expected them to come on strong, because it looked like they would, shortly before Boozer came back. The thing is, they never did. They continued to lose on the road. They didn’t play defense all year. Then it looked like they would get the sixth seed. They proceeded to stink it up, loosing 7 of their last 9, with losses to Minnesota & Golden State at HOME.

    They’re not dangerous, half that roster already believes they have no shot. 2 more losses and everyone but Williams will believe it.

    As far as playoff teams go, this team is not good. It isn’t about underestimation, they just aren’t. They have no chance and if our boys are serious, they will sweep them.

  29. 14. You have put more thought into the taco chant than I have. Or, I think, 99% of the people doing the chanting.

  30. I think Rihanna was looking for the biggest man possible, someone Chris Brown won’t want a piece of. Or she wants the Brown clone we have and is manipulating Bynum to get closer to ShanWOW. What a storyline. This needs more in depth analysis.

    Really sucks that Boston’s going down like this. We won’t have our shot at revenge. Plus they could have at least tired out the Cavs a bit. Now they have excuses. And Powe is actually a soft-spoken guy from what I’ve heard, he plays tough but he isn’t a thug. Garnett, on the other hand…no sympathy there.

    What was the face Garnett was making when they won last night? Was he seriously celebrating with a kissy-face?

  31. Darius,

    You are right in #16. The Jazz don’t have enough offense. Especially without Mehmet. They don’t have enough defense either (unless they have the benefit of home non-calls).

    I posted before Game 1 that I thought the Lakers needed to stop easy buckets from Brewer and Millsap and the game should be easy. Brewer’s easy buckets were minimized, but Millsap had 15. Mostly on point blank lay-ups, dunks, and put backs. Points that could be stopped with a little more anticipation from LO.

    I expect a better defense on Boozer tonight. It seemed as if the Lakers dared him to step up. He did. So, I think they’ll give him less leeway tonight.

    Anyone else notice Boozer probably finished more dunks and lay-ups last game than he could all Olympics? I hated seeing him dunk and hang on the rim. Like he had to remind himself he could still do it. Chump.

    Put Trevor on Deron. Let Fish chase Korver.

  32. Darius, you’re right, but as a fan, I can muster no more fake concern for a team that is so clearly outmatched.

    The Lakers team & staff definitely cannot be overconfident. This is their time to hone their skills and work Bynum back for the deep run. People saying they’re dangerous are giving the Lakers an out. This shouldn’t be more than a 5 game series. A sweep if we want to send the right message.

  33. 30 Kurt – lmao +1

    Enough with the taco stuff, but to answer your question Tracer, I just have a slight dislike (not anything serious) for the Staples atmosphere. Last year in the Finals, just watching at home, I literally felt suffocated by the Garden fans. Just watching on TV. I doubt any fan has felt that way about Staples. That’s the only issue some people have. Didn’t mean to prolong a pointless discussion, just trying to answer the question.

    We have bigger things to consider. How reliable were the witnesses that saw Rihanna and Bynum?

  34. I predict no less than 2 Techs in the first half. I think the game won’t be as tightly officiated in the first half – but I think Jazz are going to come out tonight and play rugby – I think the officiating will tighten up in the 2nd half out necessity.

    I would not be shocked if a fight broke out (even if that probably won’t happen).

  35. #14
    That’s several good points on the Taco chant. I stand corrected. :)

    Tacos! Tacos! :D

  36. clutch,
    I hear you. And I would add that, from my perspective, the concerns in this series should lie more on how we play. I think if both teams play up to their highest standards that we should win. So I think the teams’ focus should be playing up to that standard while at the same time trying to disrupt the Jazz so they can’t reach theirs. In the end, I have a feeling we see this the same way, but I still am focussing on the details required to get the team to that level.

  37. Kurt- I hope putting more thought into something isn’t a bad thing… But you’re right, enough with the tacos. Now we can all enjoy each and every taco guiltfree!

    ===

    As to the series-

    I frankly see this game as one of the *less* important. We’ve proven we’ll win more than not on our home floor (at the same time, they’ve proven they simply can’t win on the road), so the remaining question is will we win on the road in Utah? How will those games play out? Even if we lose tonight, I’m balls to bones sure that we don’t lose a game 5 or game 7 at home.

    If that’s the case, all that really matters anymore is how many games we’ll win on their floor. That’s the question that still has to be answered.

    The way I see it right now, the Jazz have to win the next two before the eventual outcome of this series (a Lakers win) is ever in jeopardy. I don’t think tonight really tells us much.

    ====

    Tonight, I don’t see how the game really gets better than Game 1 for Utah if MemO doesn’t play. They got an excellent offensive game out of Carlos Boozer, something he’s not really guaranteed to repeat if you look at his historical road production against Bynum/Pau. They got a large percentage of their points at the line, one of their team goals and something again not guaranteed to repeat.

    Game 1 wasn’t a terrible game for them, it was simply a better game for the Lakers. If MemO doesn’t play, I expect game 2 to be much the same.

  38. Off topic.

    What’s Ben Gordon worth on the market? Aside from last night’s game, which obviously sprung the question, he quietly had a really strong season and backed up his seemingly mad assertions that he was worth more than offered last summer. No one was more mocked for passing on a contract, and I’m not saying he was wise to do so, but it’s at least not outright laughable now, right? Has he shown he’s worth as much as Deng? The kneejerk reaction is no, he’s a chucker who doesn’t do anything but score. That might be right, but he scores SO well, and scoring is such an important skill.

    Consider that he averaged 20.7 points per game last year, that he shot 46/41/86% shooting, that he has never averaged below 40% from 3; that his true shooting % (the most valuable measurement of shooting efficiency) was tied with Roy, Deron and Wade and higher than Kobe, Bosh, Dirk, Garnett, Devin Harris, Tony Parker, Butler, Iguodala, Terry, Redd, Richardson, etc., etc. Think about that. He averaged 21 points per game and did so more efficiently than all of those players — at least in terms of shooting. That means his chucking actually greatly helps, rather than hurts, a team offense. He can average 21 points for an elite offense — unlike so many other purely volume chuckers. There’s no more important skill in basketball than great shooting/scoring. And he can do it nearly as well as anyone. That’s worth a lot.

  39. 33- they were your standard paparazzi media so who knows. besides its only been one confirmed meeting between the two of them to my knowledge.
    And hey chris brown wont be beatin on her anymore if he understands what bynum is capable of doing to him with impunity. So win win all round :D

  40. lol chuckers
    i like it!

  41. It is hilarious to me how the media has lready crowned the Cavs champs. The Lebron/Cavs hype Is really turning me off!! Kobe winning the mvp last year came down to the last game of the season and there were still debates, but Lebron could have accepted the award In Jan. Even though I like King james as a player and a person and cleveland is having a great year the anti-Laker anti Kobe sentiment In the media especially on ESPN with clowes like Hollinger Broussard Legler,Thorpe, etc makes me want to upchuck!!! I can’t wait for the Lakers to beat the Cavs In the finals and hear the excuses they give the cavaliers for losing i’m sure they’ll try to diminish It someway somehow

  42. Re: Staples Center atmosphere

    The thing about Staples is it’s a stage. A massive, gigantic stage, in the middle of the entertainment capital of the world. The lights dim, the curtains rise and there’s pressure in the air every night on Chick Hearn Court. I don’t think the Hollywood/Showtime factor can be understated even today; it’s one of the big reasons why it has to be pretty tough for a visiting team to win in LA — even though the acoustics of the building aren’t really conducive to directing fan noise toward the court.

    Also, home court advantage doesn’t just mean wild screaming fans. You get to sleep in your own house, dress in your own locker room, you don’t have to use Mapquest to find the game, etc, etc. There’s a comfort factor. In the Boston Garden people shotgun Pabst Blue Ribbon and curse out the refs at the top of their lungs. That’s not what HCA is all about, IMO.

    But I think our fans could stand to be a little more active during games. And not just when it’s a blowout and we’re hungry for crappy pseudo-Mexican food from a corporate franchise. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

  43. i don’t think the media has a lot of anti-laker sentiment; on the contrary, i think they have a lot of respect for how good a team the lakers are. and i think that’s why lebron gets a lot more love – i think people generally think he’s got a much weaker team than kobe does (i’ve watched the cavs a bunch of times this season, and i personally don’t agree), and yet he finished w/ a better record. anyway, hopefully we’ll get a clash of the titans come finals time, and we’ll see who the top dog really is…

  44. I’m totally with #14. I really don’t think it’s about the tacos, never is. Even in the cheap seats, a crappy taco for free is still a crappy taco. People aren’t stupid, and I’m betting that most people — well over 50% — never even redeem those coupons.

    Chanting “we want tacos” is like cheering for your closer to polish off a 5-0 shutout. You know you’re gonna win that game, but there’s something satisfying about shutting a team out. There’s something satisfying about keeping the other guys under 100. I don’t actually even think it’s a taunt — not even the way, say, “airball” is a taunt. I really do think it’s a goofy way of saying “Finish ‘em off! Don’t let up!”

    And it is goofy — way goofy. I’ve never done that chant. But classless? Man, that strikes me as a real stretch. Especially if it’s coming from Jazz fans, especially after last year’s playoffs. Would that chanting for free tacos when the game’s decided were the least classy thing ever to happen at a basketball game.

  45. 37, Reed, Ben Gordon is worth way more to the Bulls than he is to the rest of the league. Without him, their team has no go-to crunch scorer (at least until Rose gets his legs under him). They have no low-post presence, so high-efficiency shooters who can create their own shot are what they need most. I think they’d be much better off giving away Hinrich and keeping Gordon than the other way around. Re-sign Gordon to a 9-mil per year deal, which will be pretty good in this economy, bite the bullet for one year, then turn all the cap space from Brad Miller, Jerome James, and Tim Thomas into an elite player. Chicago has a nice core of Rose, Gordon, Deng, Thomas, and Noah. Turn Hinrich, Brad Miller’s EC, Jerome James’ EC, Tim Thomas’ EC into one elite player and a couple other nice pieces from teams desperate to cut salary, and you’ve got a nice contender for the next 3-4 years. So long as they land one of the big pieces in the Bonanza of 2010, I’m thinking good things will be happening for the 2010-2011 Chicago Bulls.

  46. Completely off-topic: As a former History Major I find the nick-name King James hilarious. :D

  47. The mdia is just setting LeBron up to not fail.

    If he wins, he the greatest thing since Jordan. If he loses, well his team was supposedly never supposed to be that good anyway. Which is bogus. They get paid $90 million. Ever see the Yankees NOT expected to be good with their huge salaries? Pay equals level of expectations. I’m just waiting fo the next hack to somehow mention Shannon Brown into the list of players that make Kobe obviously have the most talented team. Outside of Pau, our guys were laughed at 2 years ago, but now our talent is obvious?

    It’s all marketing.

  48. Zephid,

    re: Without him, their team has no go-to crunch scorer…

    That reason alone should make him valuable to the Rockets.

  49. #44
    Kobe said something about that in a video interview at Lakers.com… I believe the journalist was asking a question about what happened to make Shannon Brown so much better than he was before he came to the Lakers, and if Kobe could think of the specific moment when that happened?

    His answer: “After the first day of practice. I told him to just shoot the damn ball.”

    Kobe went on to elaborate that from what he’d seen Brown had been on teams where the point guard is expected to drive a lot, but with the Lakers, he’s expected to shoot a lot. So essentially he was always able to do this, it’s just that no one ever gave a chance to show it until he came to the Lakers and was told that if you can’t shoot threes, you’d better learn, and learn fast.

    Yes, a part of it is of course in the marketing, but another part is about having a guy filling a spot that fits him, where what the coach asks him to do is exactly what he is good at.

    I think someone on this blog wrote an article about Kupchak being very good at acquiring people who can do exactly what we need them to do in the position we put them in, not so long ago…?

  50. hey? do we get the game here locally on both FSN and TNT? or is it ESPN?
    who do you prefer? joel/ stu or the tnt guys

  51. Coffee is for Closers April 21, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Ya, I can’t help but root against the Celtics, but at the same time, think it will feel like something’s missing if the Bulls eliminate them in the first round. As for this Jazz series, I definitely think the Lakers defense has to get better – not that it will matter as this series goes 5 at most – for the next series vs. houston or portland. It will be interesting to see how portland rebounds tonight against rockets. Did van gunde really predict a houston sweep?

  52. I think we’re going to see more LBJ hype as the post-season progresses, especially as Boston falls away. The TV ratings show that Lakers games are already pretty popular. The general population (the sort who don’t pay much attention to the NBA until it gets down to a few teams) doesn’t know as much about James as they do about Bryant, so the hype machine has to help James catch up.

  53. Reed,
    This may sound like a copout, but I don’t know what anyone is worth in this market. I think we need to see what this market (ie what teams are willing to spend) before we can say what any player is worth. In a normal market, I think he’s easily worth as much as Deng. He’s arguably the better player. Gordon doesn’t have the injury history, (as you mentioned) is an efficient scorer, and (with the right team) can play PG for more than just spot minutes (I mean look at Eddie House). Plus, by all accounts he’s a tireless worker and a true gym rat (something they say about Deng too, I should mention). On the open market, when considering his age and skill set, I could see him being worth more than Odom, Artest, Bibby, Felton, and Andre Miller. Whether that ends up being the case will depend on what teams have money and what their needs are, but I think he’s a real player.

  54. Taking the Jazz too lightly makes me uneasy, but not half as uneasy as this Drew – Rihanna rumor. AB…please stay away from this drama queen at least until the playoffs are over and we’ve won are long awaited 15th!!!

  55. Laker Kev – Agree 100% Stay away AB!!!!! Just ask Kobe what its like being with a drama queen!

  56. Alex V,

    Good point.

  57. barry g,
    The media may not have a lot of anti-Laker sentiment, but the sure do dislike Kobe – and have since even before Eagle. There are lots and lots of reasons for this, but the upshot is that they want to give Lebron/Wade/Paul credit for carrying their teams, but didn’t want to do the same for Kobe 2-3 years ago, when his was worse than any of their current teams and he still got them into the playoffs.

    The Lakers are on the left coast and they are a lightning rod team – you either love or hate them. Kobe fits this image perfectly. That is why the Lakers get the TV ratings and fill all the building where ever they play. All this irks the ESPN guys so they don’t mention any of this unless one of their broadcasters accidentally mentions it.

  58. Mitch is good at finding people who fit the Laker system, but are a poor fit for the system they are in/or are redundant.

    Phil is great at taking the misc. pieces that surround his stars and finding things for them to do that fit their personalities and skill set.

    That is a heck of a combo and means that the Xs and Os are not as important. The fact that Phil also teaches his team to work their own way through their problems not only reinforces his individual philosophy, but again makes his management of the Xs and Os less important. He just doesn’t have to dominate a game with his input.

    I don’t think this combination of skills, by the Laker brain trust gets enough credit. It is a key point why Phil should have more than one COY. It also proves the intelligence??? of the talking heads.

  59. wondahbap – That’s just how the media works… they set a Storyline for each team (often at the beginning of the season) and then sell that Storyline with everything they’ve got. That’s another reason I don’t usually like ESPN telecasts of games. They’re slaves to the story lines, instead of what’s happening right in front of them

  60. TracerBullet, Mr. Reines: What you say about the taco chant makes sense. I meant it that I just had never thought about it. But I have a better grasp of it now, thanks.

    Reed: I think the current economy plays into the Ben Gordon value question — there re going to be a lot fewer flier taken this off-season. Teams are not going to take big money risks, everything will be more close to the vest and safe. I think that hurts Gordon, who has skills and could fit other places, but may not get a better offer than Chi Town (who need him also).

  61. All the Cavs hype is because such a claim seems controversial and popular.

    People aren’t going to read anything that says the Lakers will win, because everyone pretty much sees the logic behind that, but if you say Cavs are going to win, then you get all those Laker fan clicks ;)

    Anyway, I think hyping up Cavs gives all the right motivations to our team, which really lacks focus regardless of the stage they’re playing in. Hope they just don’t overlook teams on the way to the finals.

  62. New Blazers Blog on the Truehoop Network and the first post I read says somethings in the line of..

    “(…) I’m praying that someone on our roster is capable of hip-checking Aaron Brooks into the second row, but we don’t see that happening until next year.”
    http://www.beyondbowie.com/2009/04/articles/playoffs/game-2-preview-the-blazers-strike-back/

    I don’t think that looks very good for Blazers Fans fame.

  63. I couldn’t care less about the Ben Gordon market value debate. I’m far more concerned about the off-season market for Odom and Ariza.

    The depressed economy and its effect on NBA finances could let the Lakers pony up less cash for both of those guys, keeping the core of this team intact after (ideally) a title run.

    I just don’t see Lamar getting $10 million to $15 million in the coming environment. He’s a great role player, yes, but that’s pricey for a role guy anymore.

    The money being what it is, I wonder how many teams are setting up their pretend “LeBron strategy,” clearing cap space for 2010′s free agents while in reality they’re secretly hoping to be outbid on LBJ, Wade, Bosh and others.

    The runner-up front offices could then tell their fans, “We gave it our best shot to sign a top player” act while then getting by with a lower tier payroll in 2010-11 and beyond. This would spare those teams the negative PR that typically comes with keeping a very low payroll.

    (I’m surprised the Clippers haven’t caught on to this yet. Oh, wait. They don’t care about bad PR. Nevermind.)

  64. Damn, I’m really not a big fan of the Cavs chemestry (that I find a little too forced) but this ad is simply… great.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4S3X6ZoE8w

  65. @60,

    Yeah, and to expand on that a bit more, they sell that Narrative because it’s easy and, let’s be honest, ESPN commentators are not intellectuals. Why base your talking points on empirical events when you can read everything through the prism of your Story? It’s so much simpler. Some guys are okay…Thorpe and his crew, Hollinger isn’t *that* bad, although he frequently says senseless, often PER-related things.

    I don’t really disapprove of the ESPN nonsense however. To a large extent the joy of sports is that it gives one a license to be irrational. Sports talk is just a way to justify our irrational love of the game; it’s not that important. When this kind of absurd commentary enters politics, *then* one worries…

  66. 26

    Well they weren’t very good on the road last year either were they? Their defense wasn’t anything to write home about either.

    It seems to me that after that great run to the WCF in 2007, people naturally expected the young Jazz team to take the next step. Consequently, each of the last 2 years we have heard about them as a “tough”, “physical” title contender. Their physicality manifests itself mostly in the form of fouling everything that moves, which is part of the reason they struggle outside of the (un)friendly confines of SLC.

    I’m with clutch – if the Lakers struggle with this matchup, it would say more about their own focus and attitude than it would how “dangerous” Utah is. I wouldn’t go as far as to predict a sweep though, because winning one game in Utah, let alone two in a row, is not going to be easy.

  67. 48

    I think Kobe has more talented teammates, but you’re right about the difference in how his ‘supporting cast’ is presented compared to LeBron’s.

    At the start of the season, Hollinger’s Cavs preview had their main strength as “LeBron” and their main weakness as “everyone else”. David Friedman from 20 Second Timeout will tell you that defense and rebounding are just as important to Cleveland’s success as LeBron’s heroics, but that is conveniently ignored by a lot of “experts”. Yet whenever the playoffs roll around we are reminded that “defense wins championships”.

  68. Felipe: I agree and also enjoy their friendship as a team. But you have to admit that the Lakers kind of thrive on a spirit of professionalisim. It’s unique to Kobe as well, hence the title “Kobe Doin’ Work” for his documentary.

    I like it – Just wish it a bit more… nasty? :)

  69. Hehe have you guys heard about Kobe’s retort on smush?

    A part of his response aboutcomparing Deron Williams situation to a few years ago

    Okay, so it’s not exactly identical…”It’s not even close. They don’t even have Smush Parker on (that) team. It’s not even close.”

    As for the tacos…

    i’ve never been to a live nba game, but you would often see a comment of mine saying aww shucks no tacos… when the opponent scores 100.

    I think for spectators, or those who care enough to start the raucous tacos chant, It never was about free tacos. Yes they might want to eat it, but it truly is just egging the team on to hold the opposing team to under 100.

  70. 65. You’re right — it’s certainly nothing to get worked up about.

    But as a man who likes mother&%(#*@ accurate commentary on my mother&%(#*@ sporting events, I can still be righteously semi-indignant.

  71. does anyone know if the game will be streamed on the net anywhere?

  72. Reed,
    Gordon’s a FA a yr too early. This yr only a few teams have cap space to pay more than the MLE.
    Memphis has Mayo,Atl has Johnson,OKC has enough scoring. That leaves Detroit and Toronto,and Detroit still has Hamilton. I don’t see Toronto going crazy offering him more than $7-8mil.

    Did anybody see/hear the interview McGrady gave to an Atlanta radio station? He picked the Lakers to win it all and is getting ripped for it in Houston and elsewhere. What I consider interesting is why as he doubted Cavs for not beating elite teams on road and while he thinks very highly of LeBron he picked the Lakers because of Kobe… “He trying to take your heart. He gonna get it. And, he’s gonna shoot 30 or 35 times to get it.”

  73. 71

    That’s just the sort of statement I’d expect from Tracy “Second round experience” McGrady. He’s always had an amazing talent for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

  74. Anyone watching the Rockets-Trailblazers game? I think the refs have switched sides…

  75. This is the same crew that called our game, right? Whistles aplenty already

  76. Don’t hate Tracy. The man’s just telling the truth…

  77. wiseolgoat,
    What do you know, it is! Anyone know who we’re getting tonight?

  78. God I can’t believe these announcers – trying to rationalize after the whistle contact by Blazers. You KNOW that if the same thing happened to the blazers these clowns would be screaming bloody murder

  79. McGrady does have a point about how Cleveland didn’t exactly have a winning record against the elite teams i.e. Bos, Orl, LaL in the league

  80. This is really weird, Portland’s commentators are barely whining about the officiating. I even heard Mike Rice defend the refs on at least two sequences!!!!

  81. Any links for the Portland-Houston game?

  82. My husband was just commenting on the Portland announcers. He thinks this is their playoff personalities emerging, or in other words, they know it’s a national audience, so they actively tone down the homerism.

  83. guess MemO isn’t playing today

  84. pistons down 8, how did that happen

  85. Is that Ron Artest or T-Mac circa 2003?

  86. Man, Detroit’s reserves are giving Cleveland a run for their money. Cut a 22 point lead to 7. You know, after AI and ‘Sheed leave, they have a bright future with all these young guys — Bynum, Herrmann, Maxiell, and Johnson.

  87. BCR – only if they actually play. Johnson has been buried on the bench his entire career, and I think Maxiell has regressed this year.

  88. THAT was Artest. Macgrady would have made that shot, or done the smart thing and passed the ball.

  89. 87

    The problem is, all of those guys are role players. Stuckey needs to become at least a borderline All-Star, and they need to add another with all that cap room, or they’ll remain a middle-of-the-road team for years to come.

  90. Ooouch! My knee hurts just watching what just happened to Mutombo!

  91. Wow, that could be the end of Dikembe’s career right there. :(

  92. Joel,

    Oh, I know. I expect Dumars to make major overhauls and bring in an All-Star caliber player or two. Getting a better coach than Curry may help also. But they have some nice players to build on.

  93. any links to the game?

  94. Please guys, any link?

  95. Lakers D is stifling tonight! Bynum moving on the P&R extremely well thus far.

  96. Hate the ESPN gamecast color selection for Jazz vs. Lakers.

    hard to tell which team is which!

    anyway, looks like we’re not gonna get too many offensive rebounds this game either.

  97. Love, love to see Bynum’s form coming back on both ends.

  98. Wow, when Phil said he wanted the team to go out and match the Jazz’s energy he wasn’t kidding…

  99. wow destroying them inside, lets hope we continue to go there

  100. Bynum looked like he tweaked his knee which made me really worried – but then on the next possession he burned his man down the court for the easy hoop. I guess he’s fine

  101. Bynum looks awesome tonight. Utah’s bigs have no chance when he catches the ball that deep. Which is why they might as well start Millsap so they can go back at the Lakers at the other end. Collins is serving no purpose out there.

  102. Our offense is so beautiful to watch. I don’t even remember Kobe making a shot — and that’s awesome.

  103. i don’t have nba tv, so, what happened to Deke?

  104. LOVINNNNNNNNNN It

    one thing bynum has for sure is passion and drive

  105. chibi – he was banging with Oden for a rebound and it looked like his left knee just caved in. Had to be carted off.

  106. ariza Hittin 3s like radmanivic out there the lakers first six has to be by far the best in the league

  107. shooting 85% at the moment, but the Jazz is also shooting 55%, so ..

    Kobe gets away with layiing off his man.

  108. Wow. Fantastic, fantastic individual defense from Lamar on the switch. Defended Williams as well as you can. Lamar is a very, very underrated defender, fantastic effort on that sequence.

  109. That was some sick passing.

  110. Snoopy,
    You got Reggie tonight. Lucky you…

  111. chibi,
    He was trying to stop Oden from getting a dunk, and his left knee buckled, badly. Looked far worse than what happened to Bynum earlier this year, they ended up carrying him out on a stretcher, and he was obviously in a world of pain.

    It looked like the sort of thing that could be career-ending for someone much younger, and that made me really sad. No one should have to end their career this way, especially not a player like him.

  112. The Jazz left their defense at home but at least Boozer and Williams are doing well.

  113. 14/16 aint too shabby, fish getting murdered by williams though

  114. lol Believe it or not, I was ecstatic earlier today when I realized this game was on TNT. I was getting ready for Harlan’s magic. I completely forgot about Reggie.

    TNT’s fairly smart, putting Reggie with Marv. It kind of masks the suckitude some.

  115. 108

    Odom has a lot of different skills and gets praised for that, but his defense is definitely underrated. He can guard 3 or 4 positions, blocks shots, and defends the pick-and-roll well. I think that’s primarily why he’s usually on the court in crunch time instead of Bynum.

  116. Thanks for the update, #108.

    Man, the Laker defense looks pretty good tonight, keeping Utah out of the paint for the most part.

  117. Do’t tell me we’re settling for Kobe-centric stuff now.

  118. OK, that last post was directed at Snoopy2006. Referring to the numbers on this blog is a hazardous undertaking.

  119. Should we be worried that we are shooting 86%, and yet we are only up by 13?

  120. Magic Johnson, Sasha isn’t.

  121. Without Okur, there is just nothing the Jazz can do to defend us in the paint.

  122. Vujacic makes his presence known.

    My god hah.

  123. we’re red hot. too bad the jazz are pink hot.

  124. Sasha cut his hair!!! wow

  125. j. d. hastings April 21, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    that was a foul?

  126. 122

    Not really, 13 points is a pretty big lead for the first quarter of a playoff game.

  127. agreed with 129. a lead of 13 in the first quarter is about as good as you can ask for.

  128. Odom-Harpring II. Let’s get it on.

  129. Wow, Odom just flung that one at the basket.

  130. Man, you know it’s our night when THAT goes in…

  131. Nice D by the Machine

  132. odom LMAO just pulled a kobe move!

  133. Jordan, I’m trying very hard to like you.

  134. My bad, I really should have added a smiley to that question. :) I’m not the LEAST bit worried… 13 points after a quarter, that is great in any game, even more in the playoffs.

  135. epic flop by Kirilenko there

  136. sasha and jordan up to their usual magic

  137. *Whew*

    I thought Farmar was going to blow that one.

  138. Is this an All-Star game or something? Where’s the defense?

  139. We have Bynum and Odom on the floor, and yet Farmar, Sasha, and Walton insist on making plays. Something’s not right here…

  140. Ah, now this is the Laker bench we know and love…

  141. j. d. hastings April 21, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    I’m not happy with the way this is playing out. The lakers offense will regress to the mean, they better make sure to take the Jazz’s offense down with it.

  142. We keep hearing about Harpring’s “football mentality.” That’s great guys, but unfortunately he’s in a league that involves basketball. Basketball skill in an NBA player would be more useful to the Jazz. (Can anyone tell I have a distaste for Harpring?)

    Bynum needs to learn how to pass out of a triple team. Usually when 3 players swarm you, there’s a better option than shooting.

  143. Bynum is forcing up shots again. He needs to slow down and gather himself.

  144. drew starting to force it

  145. Wow, all the national media is so uninformed regarding the Brown-Radmanovic trade. It was Morrison who was tossed in to make the salaries match, not Brown. ;-)

  146. What an impressive change in Brown’s shooting. I didn’t think he could do it without changing his form. He has a slow release, but has he removed that awkward hitch from his jumpshot?

  147. Nvm I just saw it in slow motion, it does look like the hitch is gone. That’s good to see, and probably explains the better shooting.

  148. @150 Maybe Craig Hodges talked to him about it as well.

  149. Saigs talkin’ about tacos!

  150. j. d. hastings April 21, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Even this latest run hasn’t seemed as much like good defense as Utah incompetence

  151. Reggie Miller is dissing Kobe right and left, talking up how great his supporting cast is. Reggie sounds like a really dumb dude on TV but no doubt he’s still really competitive. Can’t resist the little digs at Kobe.

  152. Right now Utah looks about as ‘dangerous’ as a swarm of butterflies.

  153. j. d. hastings April 21, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Derek. what. are. you. thinking?

  154. YOU NEVER SAVE THE BALL BACK TOWARDS YOUR BASKET!!!

  155. Wow Fish. Nice hustle but wrong way.

  156. You never throw it back towards the opponent’s basket.

  157. Drew, Rihanna is watching. Getting blocked by a 6’8″ guy isn’t helping you there.

    Kobe’s an underrated passer in a lot of traffic. A lot of his passes come in the thick of the defense, with the Jazz crowding the paint, and he’s patient and very accurate.

    Fish, making a rookie mistake? Saving the ball under the other team’s hoop…actually throwing it back towards their hoop. You won’t see that too often.

  158. Let’s see if they can close the half strong with some solid D and finish +20.

  159. Well… A+ for effort, D- for timing?

  160. Kobe, the thief…

  161. Matthew C. is really Reggie’s grandmother. There were no other questions.

    Kobe, that was just cruel. Boozer tried so hard, you should have given it to him.

  162. That was a nasty jab-step by Ariza to set up that 3.

  163. Fish! Please make one.

  164. Guess not. Ugh, terrible defense by the Lakers, terrible end of the half. Fisher is really struggling out there on both ends of the court.

  165. Very sloppy set of turnovers. We need to settle down.

    And I thought we were going to crack 70…

  166. its time for fisher to sit down.

  167. That was perhaps the worst close to a quarter we could have hoped for. Fish is too slow to keep up with Deron and too short to challenge his jumpers.

  168. Joel – how do you do italics and bold here on FB&G?

  169. I love Fisher, but I’m afraid I have to agree. Time for him to sit, and for Brown to play.

  170. Utah is one of the best offensive teams in the league. If the Lakers keep having these lulls the Jazz will take advantage and put points on the board. No way this game should be so close heading into the half.

  171. 170

    This is for italics
    This is for bold

    You post your text in the middle.

    (I hope it comes out properly…)

  172. LOL, it didn’t come out properly.

    Basically you need 2 of these with an ‘i’ in the middle at the start, then 2 more with ‘/i’ in the middle at the end. You post your text in between. Same for bold except you use ‘b’ and ‘/b’ instead.

  173. lol it didn’t. I’m guessing it was something like and ?

  174. let’s see if this works

  175. Geez this is annoying. Just use this link instead Snoopy.

    http://www.web-source.net/html_codes_chart.htm

  176. Success! Lol thanks for trying, this is HTML so I guess it won’t let us display those characters normally.

  177. I know we’re winning and have pretty much controlled the game, but our execution really suffered when the Jazz started to play tighter defense. We’re not setting good screens and have been clumsy catching tye ball in the post. We must sharpen up our game.

    Deron is hot from the outside, but I’d prefer he shoot jumpers than get into the lane. I’d also like to see us defend the off ball screens better. Brewer, Harpring, Miles, AK, Milsap, and Boozer have all gotten good looks from solid screens and Williams is staying patient in waiting for guys to get open.

  178. Anyone have a portland houstan feed?
    I dont have nba tv so i dont get to see it

  179. Aha! The blog understands html :)

    The Houston game is good. I admit to being biased because I like Yao Ming, but wow, this is a good game.

  180. Try this link for the Houston-Portland game.

  181. Ariza trying to do too much, playing outside his role. He is not a ball handler.

  182. Its on here as well.

  183. wow, 2 straight possessions where deron’s penetrations have let to him kicking it out instead of laying it in. lucky.

  184. Kyle Korver has had way too many open jumpers tonight. Fortunately he hasn’t shot very well but Ariza needs to stay closer to him.

  185. I think it would really help the team when kobe facilitates instead of taking most of the shots

  186. lol Deron Williams was terrified of throwing the ball to Ronnie Brewer on that break, and Fish knew it.

  187. Looking at he box score, Kobe has as of now 8 shot attempts, Fish has 11, Bynum 9, Gasol 7, Ariza 7. I’d say that’s a pretty even spread.

  188. now THAT is a great post feed by Trevor

  189. twice the game should have been a 5 point game there, bit of luck, eventually got into gasol

  190. Williams has been really careless with the ball. His turnovers are killing Utah’s chances to build momentum.

  191. Oh yes, and Kobe has 7 assists so far, second on the team.

    Whoever complains that Kobe is shooting too much and is not facilitating enough hasn’t been watching the game I have been watching.

  192. I shouldn’t have complimented Kobe’s passing earlier. I’ve jinxed him.

  193. Wow Bynum is awful at passing out of doubles.

  194. need some shannon brown quickly

  195. Finally got to a bar after work to watch and unwind.

  196. Okay, we should not let Korver keep doing that…

  197. Fish is out of control with his drives tonight – way too many turnovers!

  198. not great stuff from kobe this quarter

  199. Yeah, we want ShanWOW

  200. Play inside and this is a win for sure.

  201. I like Farmar coming off the bench at the time out with energy, smiling and high-fiving guys. I’d be lying if I said his diminished role didn’t make me worry that he’d get despondent.

  202. Jazz playing much better defense, if they play like this in Utah and get Okur back, we’re going to have our hands full unless we step up our intensity.

  203. someone explain to me why fisher is still playing

    nothing against the guy but
    when it’s not your night
    IT’S NOT YOUR NIGHT.

  204. Well, we DO have a great supporting cast, no doubt about it.

    It’s just that ours fit Kobe and the Cavs’ fit LeBron. Problem is that Kobe is a Knight to LeBron’s Queen; Kobe at his best highlights others and really makes them look great, while LeBron at his best makes him gathers attention to himself.

    Irony is, of course, that they’re both known for the exact opposite – Kobe is known for his centricity while LeBron is known for him giving up the ball (for a superstar, that is)

  205. I sort of miss the energy we had in the first quarter… it’s been single digits for a while now. This Jazz team has no idea how to give up, do they?

  206. Fluff sideline reporting in the playoffs = not cool.

  207. Kobe!! That was a niiiice shot.

  208. OK, Kobe’s just showing off with that shot.

  209. That’s the first good defensive sequence from the Lakers I can recall…

  210. Shannon is making his case to get a lot more minutes.

  211. you know, for such a sloppy quarter, we still played them even.

  212. We’re really fighting to maintain that 11 pt lead or so :)

    Would be kinda discouraging if the Jazz find out that no matter how hard they play, the final score always show a 10+ margin.

  213. The way Brown is playing, Farmar probably feels like this guy right now…

    http://familydollarstretcher.com/images/money%20flying%20away%20from%20wallet%20cartoon.jpg

  214. Wow. First serious Phil interview I’ve seen in a long time.

  215. “unconscionable” is such a great word.

  216. Alright, my TiVo just caught up to the live action, and I’ve gotta say that Pau should be taking every second shot. He’s hitting all of his jumpers and everything that he puts up with his back to the basket! Also, where did Lamar go in that third quarter?

  217. Looks like Portland will even the series.

    Sasha looked near tears, wow. I think he felt he was robbed of the first positive play he’d made all night.

  218. Can anybody remember a game when Brown didn’t have a great plus/minus number?

  219. Also, I would love to see some kind of Houston miracle over there in Portland– I really am not looking forward to the possibility of having to play the Blazers in Portland.

  220. Is it just me, or is the refereeing seriously going south…?

  221. It’d be nice to see Sasha hit some open jumpers pretty soon. He’s due.

  222. I think the refereeing has become increasingly ticky-tack, but at least it’s fairly ticky-tack.

  223. Why is Williams suddenly making it rain?

  224. He’s Deron Williams, it’s what he does… if he had any help at all, his team would be very scary. Right now they’re still scary, but not quite as much.

  225. Utah and LA have 43 rebounds combined in this game.

    Let’s just say offense has had the upper hand tonight.

  226. My feed is really freezing up on me. Anyone have links other than justintv?

    Anyway, what’s the moral of the story tonight? Start strong?

  227. Anyone see that drive by Miles a bit ago where he drew the foul on Bynum? Did he travel when Sasha had his hand on the ball?

  228. Is this the NBA or the YMCA?…this is the second game now of ticky-tacky officiating.

  229. Man, Deron Williams is something else. He’s pretty much single-handedly keeping the Jazz in the game. 6 3-pointers and you get the feeling there are more to come.

  230. Wow, Shannon. That’s the same shot Sasha has missed all year.

  231. Wow. Odom wrestles the rebound from 3 Jazz players and then knocks down the corner 3. Sums up the night he’s been having.

  232. I’m surprised Kirilenko doesn’t give Kobe more trouble. Usually long defenders in his mold give Kobe some trouble. Maybe he’s a step slower than Prince?

    That Brown move was straight out of his Mich. St. days. I haven’t seen that so far as a Laker, which shows just how contained he’s staying within his role.

    Drew, even Rihanna is embarrassed for you now.

  233. Pau in/Drew out.
    Quickly please¡

  234. Andrew has really cooled off since that big start tonight. He might be getting fouled every time he makes a move or he might just be going too weak, I can’t really tell.

  235. …and it’s over in Portland.

    If you have tivo and want to watch it, I’d suggest not clicking that link.

  236. bynum’s getting good post position, but then he’s making an unnecessary pivot and exposing the ball. If he just went up straight and straight up he’d get a bucket or at least a trip to the FT line.

  237. joe wright — agreed. Drew is just not going strong or is expecting/hoping to be bailed out by calls he shouldn’t be counting on. I’d say his jitters came back; he’s mishandled the ball not a few times tonight.

  238. Adam Morrison the first one off the bench. True, it was to wrap his arms around Luke in a slightly creepy hug, I love the attitudes of our bench guys. Those are the subtle things chemistry is made of.

  239. Bynum is out of gas, time to bring Pau back in.

  240. If you told me a year ago that out two best bench players right now would be Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown, I would have laughed in your face. I, apparently, am an idiot.

  241. I doubt you’d have been the only one laughing, Nick…

  242. Why does Reggie keep calling Shannon Brown, “Sharon” Brown? I mean, they’re both girls names, but still…

  243. Bynum is completely ouy of the game.He s a great player but his brain doesn t work as fast as his legs.

  244. Utah needs to forget the offense and just let Williams fire away.

  245. Wow what a bailout. Was that really a foul or a Reggie Miller flop?

    Good things do not happen when Ariza tries to attack off the dribble.

  246. Fisher is now the sixth Laker to be in double-figures, that’s a team game kids.

  247. could reggie miller’s observations be more pedestrian?

  248. I take it back, he’s the seventh.

  249. It’s a 3-point game! What happened? :(

  250. It’s anybody’s game now…

  251. Love that. Crucial situation, they passed up Kobe in the post to go into Pau. I don’t care that he coughed it up, 9 times out of 10 good things will happen when going through Pau.

  252. Maybe the Lakers will wake up after this game and beat the Jazz’s face in like they should have to begin the series.

  253. Lakers not playing with much energy or urgency.

  254. If game one felt like a regular season game, then I would have to say game two REALLY feels like a regular season game. Why do we hate holding leads?

  255. Pass the ball inside,stay open and we will get great shots.I hope this game doen t end in a jump shots contest.

  256. we really should have kept shannon out there

  257. snoopy – that’s all well and good, but pau got the ball way too far out on the block. If he’s not gonna take the jumper (which he didn’t) he gives the advantage back to Boozer on defense.

  258. Why is it a close game and I can’t seem to get worried?

    Oh wait, maybe there’s nothing wrong with that, obviously our players aren’t worried.

    Anyway, both teams have identical free throw percentage, though the Jazz made it to the line more. We also have identical FG attempts at this point too.

    Fun stuff.

  259. I just noticed that Carlos Boozer looks like a bald Zachary Quinto and it made me feel a little better…

  260. Pau’s proven to be effective from the low and high post. He didn’t make the smartest decision by driving into traffic, but I’m just glad we’re not seeing Kobe jack up bad shot after bad shot. We’re sticking with what works well.

  261. What was Kobe thinking?!

  262. That was a painfully stupid pass by Kobe.

  263. Now if we could actually make our free throws and avoid turning the ball over, we might be able to put this game away… eventually.

  264. What the hell is Kobe doing with that pass????

  265. Hold the ball! We have the lead!

  266. pretty bonehead play kobe

  267. If only the Lakers had locked in on D like this from the start, we would be having a very different conversation right now…

  268. Stop! Kobe time!

  269. lol Justin Timberlake looks like a nerd. Biel looks slightly embarrassed.

  270. that was PG16 defense..

  271. Is there a more quietly clutch guy than Pau right now? He’s the machine (blasphemy, I know).

  272. That 2 blocks from Pau and Kobe s jump shot made the deal.

  273. Craig Hodges for President!

  274. I’m not sure if there is such thing as a loud assist, but tonight Trevor Ariza has had a quiet nine assists all the same…

  275. I’m still waiting for something amazing to happen on our floor.

  276. Anyone else watching the FSN broadcast and catch Phil dropping f-bombs after that timeout? I’ve never seen his face so red.

  277. at least the quick turnaround (game 3 on Thursday) means less healing time for Okur?

  278. Heh, that smothering ‘defense’ by the Jazz on kobe would be something you would only see on some of the more fleshy nightclubs.

  279. On the whiteboard after the game: 14? Really not like that. Seriously.

  280. Ariza is a starter on my “I’m getting a raise this offseason” team.

    Brown
    Gordon (he hopes)
    Ariza
    Millsap
    Bass

  281. Okur’s one of my favorite players, I hope he returns to full health soon. Maybe in Game 4…

  282. I think I still like the MVP chant better than the Tacos chant though….

  283. It wasn’t pretty, but this is the playoffs, survive and advance is the name of the game now. Survive and advance.

  284. Well, now it’s a 10 pt difference as opposed to 13. Game 3, 7pt game. Game 4, 4 pt game, and we have a sweep ;)

    Anyway, we’re not playing them as convincingly as the Cavs are playing the Pistons, but it’s starting to be a true 1-8 matchup now.

    To think that just last year these two teams met at the WCF!

  285. snoopy2006…we are trying to beat utah…the last thing we need is another 3 point shooter to spread the floor…

  286. It was painful to watch the fourth the way the refs killed the rhythm.

    How about Pau’s D in close games this year? He has had a few blocks that have helped us seal the deal. He gets very little love for his defense, but at the end of games he has been money.

    Not sure why they gave Kobe a little extra hold there at the end. Couple that with the hostile environment in SLC and a road playoff game, and we should probably be on nova watch for game 3.

  287. I think it’s worth remembering that the difference between the two team in the west and the eight team is only 6 games. Meanwhile, in the east the difference is 23 games. Not to make excuses, but Kobe’s right when he’s says the Jazz aren’t a normal eight seed.

  288. Things to do….
    1. Stop committing stupid fouls (Watching you Vujacic)
    2. Box out…don’t even look at the ball when it goes out! Find a man and don’t let him inside!
    3. Be smart about passing and minimize TOs.

    Things you can’t really do: stop Deron Williams. This dude is playing out of his mind.

    Game was too exciting for my taste.

    PS. I love Trevor Ariza

  289. And please Laker fans….lose the *insert team* sucks chant. Don’t ever disrespect the opponents. Don’t give them fuel for fire.

  290. Nick’s point is fairly salient. The difference between Utah and Detroit is heaven and earth at this point. Utah is a stronger team than Atlanta down in the East. Comparing our performances against Utah to Cleveland’s against Detroit’s isn’t exactly a great way to gauge our performance. Granted, we could be playing a lot better, but Cleveland isn’t going to play a team comparable to the teams we have out West until the ECF (assuming Orlando makes it that far).

  291. Peanut Butter Spread April 21, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    UGH Finally that game was OVER!

    Why do all Lakers/Jazz games feel like 5 hour games?!

    They never end!!!

    That beings said, had a feeling this game was going to be close and ugly.

    Refs gave the Jazz too much leniency, so much fouling down low and they just ignored it. Seriously. What the heck, refs?!

    Lakers though, need to wake up. Letting the Jazz cut into another 20 point lead. Not a good pattern. I’m not happy with the way the Lakers played tonight (at least from the last few minutes of the second quarter to end). I know Cavs “lost the lead” too, but come on, while the Jazz are a good team, the Lakers are too good of a team to keep doing that two games in a row.

    Deron Williams was almost unstoppable tonight, great game from him.

    Rebounding still sucks. Carlos Boozer outrebounded 3 Lakers in the paint. WTF.

    Turnovers. WAAAY too many. Kobe, WTF, do not throw a half court pass with more than 1:00 minute left in the 4th quarter and a measly 5 point lead! GAH! I know Utah has players with long arms, but too many of our passes were lazy passes. Again, WAKE UP! Play passionate playoff basketball please!

    AND DEFEND! good lord. Thank goodness Pau had like two epic blocks in the 4th quarter.

    Not looking forward to Game 3 at Utah :( Especially with how the refs have been calling the games. I know I’m complaining about the refs, but seriously, how the heck were the Jazz not fouling on half those plays?!

    Cruise control Lakers makes me irritated. Happy for the win and all, but no more cruise control Lakers.

    I’ll take the W, but I hope the Lakers start moving around instead of watching one person go at like 3 defenders. Too many times, we were caught just ball watching instead of making cuts and making it easier on ourselves with the offense. Pau needs more shots!!

  292. utah would sweep detroit

  293. No, I actually didn’t realize that Okur played for the Jazz and could shoot the 3.

    It’s called 1) wishing the best for an opponent you respect, and 2) wanting an opponent’s best shot, and believing you can take them at full-strength.

  294. We need to play a lot better than we have to take Utah at full strength… especially at home.

  295. True enough, the separation between 2-8 is relatively meaningless out west. But I’m with Hollinger in this one: the west has some inflated wins thanks to the doormats that didn’t even win 20 games.

    So while it’s logical to say that there’s no separation between 2-8, it’s kinda false saying that Jazz is better than Atlanta on Wins alone.

    Anyway, our goal should be to go 4-0 on this one and rest. The series between 4 and 5 tend to go on a bit, but not so sure if losing Mutombo qualifies as an addition by subtraction. I would much rather face a squad that’s happy just to have advanced to the next round, then a team with some truly annoying, outspoken fans.

  296. Peanut Butter Spread April 21, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    I’m a little disappointed with this win tonight. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad for a win and I know the Jazz aren’t a typical 8th seeded team and will go on scoring runs … but we spotted a 20 point lead AGAIN only to have it cut down to like 3.

    To quote Joel Myers, “No good.”

    Too many turnovers. Not boxing out. Committing stupid fouls.

    I guess Phil has to write again: “14? Not like that” but I think he should change it to what Fish wrote last time, “24. Game 4″ because I’m having horrible flashbacks to last year’s finals with these two games.

    No, I’m not pushing the panic button or doubting our Lakers. I just want to see them execute better all FOUR quarters. I know this team is good and can get better and is on the brink of something special, which is probably why I get so irritated after these types of games.

    And I know we give grief to the Laker celebs that watch the game, but I really liked the camera showing how excited Justin Timberlake looked. It was like watching a grown man regress back to a little kid in a candy shop.

    Anyways, I’m not looking forward to Game 3 if the Lakers keep playing like this.

    And was it just me or did Drew’s hands turn into Kwame’s?