Lakers/Rockets Game 1 Chat

Kurt —  May 4, 2009

NBA: NOV 09 Rockets at Lakers
Time to stop talking and start playing.

But, if you can’t get enough talking, I have a few thoughts up over at Dime Magazine (as do the guys from Dream Shake) about why the Lakers will win this series. Consider it the last two posts condensed down to 250 words.

Also, Bill Bridges asked and answered his own question in the comments about why Bynum is back in the starting lineup.

Why is Bynum going to start when the Gasol is so effective against Yao?

If you put yourself into Phil’s mind for a moment. You might think this: I know I can always go to Gasol/Odom at any time – especially crunch time. Gasol defends Yao as well as anyone (poking the incoming post pass is a favorite tactic). But Bynum might create problems for Yao that might make the games easier to win.

As effective as Pau is, he doesn’t get Yao into foul trouble. Bynum’s length, athleticism plus the fact that Yao is not a flopper creates the possibility of Yao working on defense and possibly getting in foul trouble. Unlike Collins and Okur, Yao is not a flopper (credit to him) and is unlikely to draw charges against Bynum.

A Rockets team with Yao in foul trouble is cooked. If Bynum is effective early and has the desired effect, great. If not, PJ knows what Gasol and Odom bring.

The game starts at 7:30 (or later) on TNT. I believe we get Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins. Whoever it is, they won’t screw up the call as bad as Tom Durkin did with the Kentucky Derby.

Kurt

Posts

434 responses to Lakers/Rockets Game 1 Chat

  1. Wow this would suck if Yao’s seriously injured. I have so much respect for this guy. I think the play that encapsulated it was when Odom drove into the paint and basically drove his elbow into Yao’s ribs and Yao got called for the foul. That guy does so much and plays so hard, hate to see a guy like that go down.

  2. Get Fisher out of there!

  3. Ouch. Hard hit Yao took there.

    And Lamar was not out of bounds.

  4. Man, this takes all the fun out of winning if Yao is hurt. I feel bad for the guy, he plays hard and brings it every night.

  5. I’m looking at play-by-play because of the office firewall. What happened to Yao, please?

  6. refs completely screwed odom on that breakaway…

  7. Put Farmar in.

  8. Oh crap. I would NEVER wish a severe injury on any player, but still… this makes the series a lot easier on us.

    I am very conflicted right now.

  9. Mimsy, thanks for a witty return. Hope Yao comes back all right. Looks like a bone bruise perhaps

  10. thedon,

    Kobe’s knee collided with Yao’s knee when Kobe drove and tried to break the double team. Yao went down and looks like he’s in pain.

  11. Come on Yao. Please!!!

  12. Just because Yao is out doesn’t mean we’re going to win.

  13. Yet again, the focus is not on the players, or the flow of the game. The focus is on the referees.

    Ultimately, fans will decide they are not paying to watch referees. Stern and Co need to fix the problem.

  14. Glad to see Yao return.

  15. Lakers need to test that knee.

  16. Kobe’s gone cold. Need more ball movement. Maybe some PNR.

  17. We cannot just have Kobe Hero mode, high pick and roll, run some of the offense, get some points in transition.

  18. kobe going cold, not good

  19. How was Kobe? Good to see Yao get back. I mean, in a respectful-opponent-sorta-way.

  20. Okay, this is dumb of Houston. Save him for game 2.

  21. man 3pt% is atrocious tonight

  22. 313. The Lakers are not losing this game because of the refs. They are doing it all themselves, with an assist from the Rockets. Too many missed open shots. Like that one by Fish.

  23. Lakers have been out of sync all night.

  24. Lakers can’t hit any open 3′s tonight.

  25. The Lakers have missed so many open jumpers tonight.

  26. we need a couple of stops and it’s all good

  27. Kobe is shooting us out of this game.

  28. I hate to amit it but we don t deserve to win

  29. well that should do it, congrats to rockets they played great

  30. Wow we’re about to give this one up. We took the Rockets far too lightly. I wasn’t calling this one in 5, but I didn’t think they would lead like this wire to wire.

    We can play so much better, but that was never the issue. The issue was which Lakers team would show up. We have ourselves an uphill series, barring some heroics.

  31. 327

    He’s getting plenty of help from the rest of the team in that regard.

  32. Rockets took advantage of the Lakers poor play.

  33. I mean admit it

  34. It is not good. And it is not on the Rockets for playing great. If any one of our players would actually make a wide open shot we would be in the lead by now.

  35. game. over.

  36. This game is over.

    For all those fans who didn’t give Houston a chance to win a game you are full of it.

  37. Please please please put Lamar back in the lineup next game Phil

  38. we did everything we could to lose so we will.

  39. An awful, flat, inexcusable effort. What a letdown.

  40. Kobe is far from shooting us out of the game. He may have 29 shots, and we are also 2-16 from 3 pt range. I’m willing to bet ten of those misses were wide open. Kobe is far from the reason we are losing in this game.

  41. If we’ve been getting wide open shots, then that means that the plays are being executed well, right? So it’s just a matter of making them.

    Ah well… I guess we’re not taking the title with a 16-1 record anymore.

  42. Clutch, Zephid – I hate to say I told you so, but…

    although i guess there’s still plenty of time for us to win in 5

  43. Kobe waits until 1:36 to decide to drive. Excellent idea. Even when he was on fire, I had a feeling we’d die by his jumpshot. That said I can’t criticize Kobe because no one’s done anything else except LO.

    Kobe always comes back with a vengeance. Nasty loss, though.

  44. I respectfully disagree Kurt. The referees can, and do swing games.

    Odom’s out of bounds was not only likely 2 points, but also a big momentum swing and crowd-pleaser.

    And, the tone the referees set, such as allowing Brooks to run into Lakers bigs to create fouls, or calling touch fouls on Odom and Bynum, or not calling the constant hand checking/body bumping on Artest or Battier.

    All that matters.

    In a game where the difference between winning and losing is measured in 2 or 3 possessions, that adds up. In the NBA virtually every game is that close.

    Why do we expect the players to be the best of the best, but allow the referees to be suspect, at best.

    Do you really contend that the Laker-Rocket game was called to the same standard and tone as the Celtics-Magic game?

  45. well NOW Kobe gets to the line.

  46. We lost because we missed a ton of open shots, which is not going to be a problem as the series goes on. Gasol is not going to miss the uncontested 15 footers, we’re going to hit the open threes, and so on and such forth.

  47. wiseolgoat – Props. I’d rather take an opponent too seriously than too lightly anyday.

  48. No surprise. Speedy point guard and mid-range shooting big expose our weaknesses once again.

  49. Kobe is part of the problem tonight. Too much 1-on-1 and cast offs. Not enough running the offense.

    The team just decided not to run any triangle offense and their shots were off when just going 1-on-1 – normal when playing the Rockets.

  50. That’s one of the few times I’d like to see Phil call a timeout. Quick shot would have saved us 10-15 seconds

  51. Maybe not, at this point I’m just frustrated

  52. 3 point shooting (or lack thereof) killed us tonight. We got shots we wanted, and just didn’t hit them. Credit to the Rockets for scoring consistently, but I don’t see us having 3 more games like this.

  53. 344 – Complaining about the refs gets us no where. We had plenty of opportunities, very few players showed up today.

    Nasty punch in the mouth. When was the last time we lost a series opener as the favored team, dating back to the championship teams? (Last year’s Finals do not count).

  54. The Lakers were out of sync, the spacing was bad, sloppy passes, and lots of missed open shots. Disappointing loss. But I have to hand it to the Rockets they played great tonight (Yao was awesome) and they answered every run the Lakers threw at them.

    Oh well, need to regroup, look at the tape and fix the spacing on the offense. And knocking down some shots would help.

  55. kobe shouldve been driving all game…im cool w/ jumpshots when the majority of them are going in, but cmon…

  56. 3 – I agree with you 100%. Obviously it’s a stretch to say that that the refs were completely responsible for us losing, but at key moments in the game they have made calls that stemmed our momentum.

  57. Nobody showed up to play but Kobe and Bynum why did Phil pull Bynum?

  58. @snoopy2006 in 352

    the 1 loss in our 16-0 was a game 1 homeloss

  59. And we have some of the worst fans ever where is the energy? from the crowd

  60. Would have preferred to see Andrew have more burn. His shots were going down against Yao.

    I think Phil will make the necessary adjustments as the series goes on. We were flat the whole night and our shots will start falling.

  61. Why do people think it’s so easy for Kobe to drive against Houston’s defense?

    I’m not bothered about him taking a lot of jumpers (which he always does) but with all the isolations down the stretch. Where was the triangle? Where were the pick-and-rolls to exploit Yao?

  62. F#%$!!!! This was not a good loss!

    Did anyone other than Kobe and Andrew show up to play or even to put in an effort?

    Yes, I am very unhappy with this loss. Not with the fact that it is a loss, but with the way we lost it.

  63. It’s absolutely laughable to blame the refs, the fans, etc. Houston played great D, and we were flat, didn’t run the offense and, as Reed suggested, Fish defending Brooks was indeed our fatal flaw. Any other view is total denial.

  64. mico

    which team did we lose to and which series?

  65. And where was Pau’s game tonight why does he play so wimpy?

  66. we ran some pick and rolls, but Kobe as the ballhandler needs to attack harder on them to get Yao moving more. As it is he probes and stops, thus letting Yao not have to cover as much ground before Battier or whoever recovers.

  67. 344. The refs can only determine a game if you play poorly enough to leave it in their hands. First, Odom’s heal was over that line and may or may not have gone down on it but it was close. And that goes back to my first point — hit some threes, play smarter in the first half, and it doesn’t matter what the refs call later.

  68. that sucked.

  69. Lakers will win game 2, no doubt. They just played a bad game tonight and were very unprepared. Time to wake up Lakers

  70. I think they’d play more consistently if Phil Jackson picked a lineup and stuck with it. It seems that Gasol does not know how to play the offense with Bynum which is understandable from the time missed. Good win though by Houston, I’m becoming a Yao believer.

  71. I bet the Cavs dont lay an egg tuesday

  72. I actually thought Kobe and Bynum hurt us the most. A lot of bad, contested shots, no ball movement, and lackadaisical defense. Never tried to establish Pau or run the offense. We knew the 3-pt shooting wasn’t going to continue, but there’s no excuse for Kobe playing the way he did tonight. I didn’t think Houston did anything amazing. Playing like that we would’ve lost to anybody.

  73. the other Stephen May 4, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    big ol’ props to shane and yao for coming back and playing hard.

  74. I totally agree with a lot of posters here. The refs were very bad tonight. I do not remember one Kobe possession where he was not pushed or shoved by Artest or Battier. You do that to anyone, even Aaron Brooks and that’s a foul. I have no clue why Kobe does not get respect from the refs even though he is a superstar.

    And in a 2 possession game like tonight, every missed call matters. Yes, the Lakers did not play very well, but they should have won even with that performance if not for the refs.

  75. I will tell you now, if you want to make a point about losing go ahead, but frustrated ranting will just get deleted.

    366. I really hate it when people decide Gasol is “wimpy” because he can’t bang with 7-6 Yao, that is plain poor logic. He had an off night shooting, but don’t start coming in here with the soft thing. He was not great tonight, not up to what we expect of him, but he was not soft. Do better than to regurgitate what the media tells you.

  76. It’s not so much the effort but Houston’s gameplan and some untimely possessions. It’s up to the Lakers to find a way to counter or this series could be a long one.

  77. Jordan has the only positive +/- , that’s saying something

  78. 362 – No one’s saying it’s easy, but Kobe’s shown to have a quickness advantage on Artest. When the game starting getting out of reach, he also started driving much more, with no major changes in the Rockets defense. It’s not easy, but very possible, and it’s something that we needed.

    Agreed, the main problem was awful execution the entire game from the entire team. We hung around through some steals, a couple players turning it on in stretches, but we never exerted influence on this game. The passing was never crisp, the triangle offense never really run for long stretches.

    Odom did a yeoman’s work on the boards. Not overall (only 5 boards) but he kept us in the game with a few offensive rebounds tonight.

  79. Why is everyone blaming Kobe and Drew? they are the only ones who showed up

  80. j. d. hastings May 4, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Weird Stat: Houston had 10 more team rebounds than the lakers. Not that they had 10 more rebounds than the lakers as individuals, but on “Team Rebounds” that aren’t credited to any player they had 10 more than LA. These are shots that bounce out of bounds, etc.

    That’s 10 extra plays literally due to the bounce of stray balls.

    Nice Paul Pierce by Yao Ming.

  81. Lewis,

    Comparing Houston to Atlanta is like heaven and earth.

  82. You’re right Kurt but damn he has to try to dominate scola etc

  83. I’ll admit I was wrong, but much like poker, just because you won the pot doesn’t mean you made the right play. We lost because we missed 7-8 open threes. If we had made even two of them, we would have won. If you can say you predicted we would shoot 2-17 from three, then props to you, but we were still in this game despite our Top 3 scorers having sub-par games (Kobe, Gasol, Odom). If anything, this game reassures the observations I made earlier, where the Rockets simply cannot score against us in the 4th quarter (16 of their 30 points where from the free throw line).

  84. Kurt, I am not blaming the refs for the loss – we shot the ball poorly, never got a rhythm offensively and played with little passion. I just don’t understand how contact can vary so much, why there is no consistency in the way they treat fouls. I’ve coached high school for over 10 years, all I expect is the game to be balanced and consistent. The box score is skewed by the fouls in the end, but 26-14? Battier/Artest with 4 fouls total, with all of the holding/hand-checking that goes on with Kobe? You can’t expect it to be perfect, but at least players should have a clear sense of what will be a foul and not a foul.

    Game 1 we deserved to lose, no question. I just hope that Jackson sends a message that Battier/Artest can’t continue to grab/ride Kobe all the time if the Rockets are going to get all of those little touch fouls.

  85. The Lakers came out lethargic and dug themselves into a hole that they just couldn’t get out of. You missed a lot of easy shots. But the Rockets played tough and did what was needed to take advantage of what was given to us. I don’t expect the Lakers to play so poorly the rest of this series, but I will say again that the Rockets with push this series far. One win really doesn’t mean anything against a team as good as yours, but I’ll take the effort that the Rockets put out there tonight and live with the outcome of the series.

  86. People saying Bynum showed up? He looked tired, lazy and slow to me. Not hitting the boards, not taking it to the hoop. I understand with the bad knee and probably not in shape, but seriously. The Lamar and Pau combination was working better afaict.

  87. I wondered how Houston would survive the fourth. I predicted that Phil’s change in defense would take the ball out of Yao’s hands, and Ron’s 1-on-1 game would help us. But they actually got a great balanced effort, that started with Brooks. Brooks not only hit timely shots, but he found Yao for a couple open jumpers and made much better decisions with the ball than Artest.

  88. Thats why In my opinion the Lakers have a tougher road to the finals then the Cavs BCR

  89. Lewis – it’s also why, claims to the contrary, this “Eastern Conference resurgence” is a myth.

  90. And sorry for the double post, but I agree with the poster mentioning the hand checking of Kobe. How is it that Battier and Artest are allowed to violate the NBA’s cardinal rule every time down the floor? In LA?

    But, I agree with Kurt, hit your shots and the refs can’t do anything.

  91. As we all know it comes down to shots

    but if i need to hear about “the lakers losing another 20 point lead”, I think I might go senile.

    So, because we are a favorite to win the championship, it is assumed that we will blow out our first round opponent by twenty points plus every time we gain that lead?

    I love Chuck, but somebody please tell him that basketball is a game of runs.

    The Lakers will be fine. This may be the best game the Rockets play all series.

  92. Then again, I do agree with his philosophy towards defense: it builds consistency. However, making shots vs. not making shots makes the game a little clearer

  93. On a random note, I find it ironic that the Lakers fan base has the reputation of having the most trolls. If you look at the game threads tonight on both major Laker blogs, I see very little non-basketball criticizing of the opponents, unnecessary bashing, and disgusting homerism overall. Most of the criticism is fair and directed at our own players. If you look at most blogs for other teams during any series, you see far more homerism and bashing and nonsensical conversation than you do in the Lakers game threads.

    Can you imagine Kobe going down with an injury and having most opposing fans actually pleading for Kobe to be OK and re-enter the game? Kudos to the members of both blogs for representing real Lakers fans well.

  94. I don’t expect Pau and Bynum to all of a sudden become Russel /Chamberlain on defense, but he must start to defend the lane better Pau offer no resistance when players drive to the basket that has to stop

  95. wiseolgoat & Zephid,

    Too soon for me to admit defeat. You’ll have to wait until at least after game 3 for me to do that. We’ll see what happens. Zephid made a good points above, too.

    That said, I’m pretty pissed right now. What I just didn’t happen only because of too much rest. The playoffs must’ve started because I’m actually angry. I’m out until Wed night/Thursday. Peace.

  96. Things we did well:

    -Make Yao turn the ball over: Gasol was able to poke a few balls away and Fisher got his hands on a couple as well
    -Kobe drive on Artest
    -Get in the passing lanes
    -Rotate onto three point shooters

    Things we did not do well:

    -Make open shots (2-17 from three)
    -Push the pace (only 92 points, with a large bunch of them coming in the last 2 minutes)
    -Double Yao quicker to force him to get rid of the ball
    -Hit the offensive glass, hard
    -Stop Brooks’ penetration

    We’ll bounce back well. The Rockets can take their moment of glory, but we will have the last laugh.

  97. Kurt why you delete my comment? The Lakers were bad tonight and deserved to lose. Thats all I said. You should be deleting these people comments who blame the refs for the loss.

  98. “I like turtles” May 4, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    I can’t believe I’m saying this but I think Farmar needs to get more burn in this series. Aaron Brooks was eating everyone up, including Shannon Brown.

    I guess this game shuts up all those predicting a Lakers sweep (incluing John Ireland) Houston creates some matchup problems for the Lakers at almost every position. This is going to be a battle.

  99. clutch – trust me, I’m pretty pissed right now too. I was hoping you’d be right but it doesn’t look like it’ll happen.

  100. The series will be defined by how the Lakers respond on Wednesday.

  101. Joe – It didn’t really add to anything. FB&G isn’t a private diary for everyone to voice their tears. Suggestions for improvement and adjustment are probably a better idea and less likely to get moderated.

  102. Where to start?…

    For all the talk that Gasol is our biggest advantage we seemed to feel that he’s best served shooting mid-range jumpers rather than going into the post against Scola. Phil was dead on when he commented that “I don’t like the way we’re using Gasol”. I know he didn’t have his touch tonight and if he makes some of those FT line jumpers we have a different game, but when those shots weren’t falling we did not adjust. I mean, what’s the point of starting two seven footers if we don’t go into the post where we have a size advantage at PF? Both Bynum and Pau settled for jumper after jumper and while Andrew made some, Pau did not. Our entire plan must change if we are to win games and ultimately the series. Ultimately, some of those post Iso’s that Bynum got against Yao early in the game need to go to Pau on Scola. Simple and plain.

    As for Kobe, in P&R situations, I think he needs to come off the pick with more conviction and look to attack the big man showing on defense. If he attacks that big, he’s bound to draw some touch fouls or collapse the defense to get shooters better looks. When you look at what he’s doing, he’s using the screen to gain two inches of separation and get Battier/Artest on his hip. That’s a decent technique against most defenders, but these guys contest and don’t foul and it’s bothering his shot. I feel Kobe let the Rockets off the hook by playing the P&R this way – it allowed Yao to stay in the paint without fouling and it allowed the wing defenders to collapse the paint and still recover because Kobe was playing in second gear coming off those picks. Plus, this technique made it so he didn’t draw fouls, ultimately ruining any chance he had at efficient offense. If he’s making those jumpers it can be demoralizing to the opposition, when he’s not making those shots it’s just plain bad times.

    As for our defense, it was fine, but we really struggled with Brooks (hat tip to Reed) and with Artest (hat tip to me). Brooks killed us with his speed, but I’m amazed that we played him as tight as we did considering he wasn’t that effective with his jumper (I know he’s a much better shooter than Rondo, but we still need to play off him and make him make jumpers). He was blowing by Fisher with ease and getting to the rim and finishing in front of slow rotating bigs. As for Artest, this was the type of game I feared from him. He played under control (for the most part), made his jumpers, and bulled his way to the basket – drawing fouls in the process. And while I agree with Kurt that it’s doubtful Ron plays this well over the entire series, this is what he’s capable of and we have to stick to a plan when defending him. He goes left to shoot his jumper and drives right to finish in the lane – we have to play him to do those things and respect his offensive arsenal. I thought Trevor did a decent job on him, but we still let him get to his spots to get the shots he wanted and, ultimately, he found his rhythm.

    Overall, it’s obvious we played poorly but we did do some things right. We controlled our defensive glass and we forced 11 steals. We did a decent job of marking their spot up shooters – forcing them into 5-18 from three point territory. But all of those positive were mitigated by our inability to take advantage of the matchups that do play in our favor. Oh, and one last thing – I was pretty disappointed with LO tonight (and being one of his bigger advocates, that’s saying something, I think). He was awful at the FT line and didn’t have any rhythm on his jumper (suprise, suprise to few, but he was making that shot against the Jazz). He was scrappy on the offensive glass with four on that end, but when he only gets 5(!) total (so only one defensive rebound!! in 32 minutes!!!), he’s not working hard enough. Plus, if he’s not rebounding on our defensive glass, he can’t push the pace or start the break from the glass which is a major advantage he can give us. So, I was upset with my guy. I hope he’ll do better in upcoming games, but Adelman was extremely smart in putting Ron on him and, as we saw when Boston put Posey on LO, Lamar struggles when SF’s who can stay with him on the perimeter and body him when he cuts guard him. He needs to go to the post more in those instances, but we’ll see if he adjusts his game.

    Man….I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight. Who needs a DVR when I’m going to be replaying this game in my head ’til 3 in the morning. Damn, Damn, Damn.

  103. lakers gotta come out and play with some serious passion…it can be done but i havent seen them do that in a while

  104. I don’t expect the Lakers to play this poorly again. I think they were rusty, simply put — too long a layoff, Kobe not at 100%, Pau having his 1-out-of-50 inefficient games, Bynum hesitant and dispassionate (even though he looked okay on offense). These things all converged to get us in a hole we couldn’t crawl out of, we never got in any sort of sustainable rhythm (save for the late 3rd early 4th run), and honestly we should have been crushed the way we played. Somehow, we weren’t.

    I hope the guys take that to heart, though again I don’t think this is a “wake up call” kind of game. I mean, any home loss, especially to start a series as a heavy favorite, is a wake up call — but these guys know they played a fluky horrible game, that nothing was really working and that in all likelihood that won’t happen again. 2-17 from behind the arc? Not happening again.

    All that said, knowing they can’t play that poorly again — I hope that doesn’t make them complacent.

    Oh and I second the comment that, and it’s hard to say this, Farmar get some more burn. Brooks killed us.

  105. to post #394 that’s because the true fans are generally the ones who can’t afford tickets to the games.

  106. Great game plan by Houston. Anyone else notice that Brooks abused us like Nash did several years ago? Don’t think PJ saw that one coming.

    It doesn’t help that Kobe tries to win these games by himself. He’s 32 now, he should know that the Lakers play better when he doesn’t force the shot.

    PJ needs to write a word in bold in the locker room S-O-F-T. Pau and Bynum were not taking the ball to the rim on a consistent basis. They constantly settled for jump shots. The Lakers need to find some nastiness in Game 2.

    There also needs to be some stronger cuts to the basket. Possibly set up a screen and run the triangle.

  107. @394:

    That’s because Kurt moderates the comment section.

    As far as the whole referee thing goes – I think when a game is really being called one-sided, it’s readily obvious (like Game 2 of the Lakers-Celtics series last year). Most of the time, I think it balances out. This game did not stick out to me in that regard.

    Lakers lost. Too flat. Seems like they shot worse than 44%, but only because 44% for them is like 39% for anyone else. They’ll play better, and this may just be a wake-up call, the wake-up call they needed, because they still haven’t played a really good game yet this postseason.

    Lakers in 5. Watch.

  108. frustration is the word of the evening. rockets played great. that defense was stifling. the lakers were really taken out of their game. lakers played okay defense but had no answer for yao. hopefully the lakers can wear him down over the course of the series.

  109. @81witness: i think we’re pretty much on the same page except the softness of gasol and bynum. both of them challenged yao where they could. gasol played terrific one on one defense to deny yao position and post entry passes. bynum had some luck using his midrange jumper and post up moves on yao. but i mean, a 7’6″ guy with tree trunk legs isn’t exactly going anywhere. you can’t move him out of the way to get where you want to go. you have to use his strengths (size) against him. force him to keep moving and to extend his defense away from the bucket.

  110. Kobe is 30 not 32

  111. Peanut Butter Spread May 4, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    ZOMG! Season’s over!!! The sky is falling!! LAKERS SUCK!!!

    I’d be feeling that but for some reason, I’m not too worried about this loss. Sucks, but hopefully the Lakers will bounce back.

  112. #385,
    While I will certainly agrre on bad/inconsistant refs being a problem,for the first 46 minutes the FT was @16-12. Considering the Rockets were the aggressive team and the aggressive team usually gets the calls,that’s not much of an edge.

    Lets be honest,superstars are called differently. They get all kinds of calls on offense,are allowed to travel on their pet move,rarely get called for offensive fouls,etc. To balance that-and to keep them from completely dominating every game-the refs allow their defenders to be far more physical than they allow against other players.

    One thing Laker fans should be aware of. Over the past 4-5 yrs the Rockets have had a running battle w/the League office on how Yao can play defense.
    The League has stated that if a player makes contact w/a defender who jumps straight up and keeps his arms vertical there is NO FOUL on the defender. Strictly speaking,it’s a charge,but that’s never called,in practice it’s a no-call. The refs finally started calling it this yr the way the League said it should be called. If the defender slides,throws out a hip or lowers his arms,it’s a defensive foul.
    If a Laker drives into Yao who is jumping straight up and keeps his arms high,it’s not a foul. If a Rocket drives into Bynum who swings his arm trying to block a shot,it’s a foul. Whatever we may think of the reasoning,that’s the guidelines from the League that it want’s it’s refs to follow.

  113. Peanut Butter Spread , you forgot Gone Fishing…’

  114. One problem w/the Gasol/Odom pairing is they are players who get rebounds more by being athletic and using their height. Rocket bigs are not particularly high-leapers,they rebound by establishing position and out-muscling their opponents.
    Yao,Scola,Landry and Hayes seem to be able to body Gasol/Odom out of rebounding position.Bynum looks able to hold his ground and that’s why he’s so valuable to the Lakers. I expect Ariza to start crashing the boards again.

  115. I thought the Lakers did a pretty good job closing out on shooters. Obviously Brooks’ penetration was big. Kobe being sick could well have contributed to his weak cuts off the P&R. I did see passion from the team and the biggest problem was the rusty shooting. Hit more of those shots and maybe Bynum and/or Gasol get better position to do something in the post, rather then shoot over Yao so much.

    GreatWall mentioned what it is that many of us are thinking, the Lakers are good enough that we can see that a few adjustments and, most of all, hitting the open jumpers, could well come into effect next game and carry the team to winning in 6. Still, Houston played great. Their defense made scoring difficult for long stretches. Brooks being able to do what he did is no anomaly. Artest looks like he has the right focus to keep this up for long stretches (in other words I wouldn’t count on him going into shootout with Kobe mode), and Yao is a baller showing real heart. They look like a really solid focused team with players who know their roles and that is always difficult to beat. The Lakers win 2 of the next 3 games and they’ll be fine.

  116. I agree w/ darius: “…some of those post Iso’s that Bynum got against Yao early in the game need to go to Pau on Scola. Simple and plain.” Its imperative that the Lakers establish Pau at the start of the game. That’s a big mismatch right there; not Drew on Yao. Go to Pau more and let Drew roam in the paint or draw Yao out or set high picks for others. Lakers probably have the greatest 1-2 punch in KB & Pau (heck, I’d pick LO as the 3rd scoring option); we don’t need to force it into the young Drew.

  117. #411, PBS,
    I’m on your side. It could be so much worse, but it isn’t. And that means we will recover, and we will return.

    ;)

  118. I think the Lakers will shake it off in the next game, and we’re more than capable of winning in Houston. I was concerned this series might go seven, and I saw nothing tonight to change that point of view.

    I’m a big fan of LO, but he was not very good off of the bench tonight.

    Gasol was not hitting at a good percentage, some of that was us not getting the ball to him in the low post when he was being guarded by shorter bigs and some of that was him being a tad sluggish (how many times did the “slower” Yao go around Gasol rather than vice-versa? I counted at least 3).

    Bynum was decent offensively in that he was hitting jumpers, but in the second quarter when he had smaller bigs on him he wasn’t able to push them off of the block. This concerns me greatly.

    Kobe was obviously not 100% tonight and it affected his approach to the game. Like Darius pointed out, he wasn’t using the P&R to get in to the paint, but to get jump-shots. We need him to drive into the paint, and then – of course – it would be nice to see someone hit an open jumper.

    Defensively I was very happy with the vast majority of what we did that did not involve guarding Brooks. In the Finals last season it took us too long to make the Rondo adjustment, and I am supremely disappointed that we threw away a full game (at a minimum since we haven’t seen a change yet) to make the same adjustment on Brooks. We don’t have a 1 that can stay in front of him, we need to play off of him and force him to shoot jumpers.

    All in all we got sub-par games from everyone on the floor and we lost – just like we should when we come out lethargically and just not there mentally.

    My guess is that the Lakers take the next two before finishing the series in seven.

  119. 416 – Correct me if I’m wrong, but Brooks is a much, much better jumpshooter than Rondo. Helping way off Brooks won’t help anything. We do need to limit his penetration, but we can’t utilize the free-safety defense we use on Rondo.

  120. Lakers just have to come out and take control of the next game. They played too much catch-up all night. And everytime we caught up, Rockets went on a big run. Lakers need more ball movement on offense and have to hit there open shots, especially the 3 ball. On defense, Yao was contained I thought, but Brooks killed us. He needs to be more contained next game.

  121. #394,
    Every team probably has the same percentage of fans that are trolls, it’s just that there are sooo many Laker fans, you have a far larger number of people spouting stuff like “KOBE COULD WIN 1v5″ or “Why is the other team even showin up to take on the Lake Show!!one!” than anyone else. Fortunately most of those folks relegate themselves to the espn.com comment sections and you can still find awesome blogs like this one with rational fans sharing normal and insightful opinions.

    With respect to this series, as a Nuggets fan I would much rather go up against the Rockets in the Conference Finals, but a Lakers-Nuggets matchup would be fantastic to watch (plus it would be nice to have a chance at revenge for the ass-whipping you folks gave us last year).

  122. 422
    “as a Nuggets fan I would much rather go up against the Rockets in the Conference Finals” – obviously ‘coz Houston’s a lighter challenge than LA for Denver. LA-DEN matchup for the Conference finals would indeed be exciting!

  123. Man, I stayed up until 1:30 am EST to watch the game and I am very dissapointed in what I saw.

    The whole team looked out of synch. Alsmost like they all suddenly caught Kobe’s cold. In particular, our passing game was horrible. Too many passes were off their mark or guys were driving into a sea of Houston rockets only to try and make a pass to the outside that either missed its mark or went out of bounds.

    As far as our team, Fish just can’t seem to snap his dwindilling shooting streak. He makes two in a row, but misses three in a row. His passes were way off and at he seemed to develop a new bad habit of driving into the basket even though there were 4 rockets posted in the paint. Not sure what is going on there, but I think a little more ShamWOW and less Fish may do this team better.

    Kobe was sick, so his game was off. Pau was effectively guarded all night – but a smart player like him should be able to improve for the next game. Lamar was fantastic most of the game. Ariza had his moments too. Andrew was better offensively, but a non-factor defensively (the same pattern we saw with him at the start of the season).

    Bottom line: We played desperation ball and it cost it the game.

  124. I was impressed with Houston’s poise. To be honest, I was sure they were going to tighten up and give the lead away with sloppy play and missed shots. But they never seemed to feel pressure, and they certainly hit the shots they needed to hit. Kudos to them.

  125. I said it before the series started and I will say it again – Rockets in 6. The Rockets front line is too much for the Lakers to handle – sure Scola, Landy and Chuck Hayes aren’t the tallest guys in the world, but they have girth and heart which makes them too much to handle. As long as the Rockets can ensure that it’s Ariza who keeps hoisting the 3 pointers, we’ll be golden.

    Rockets in 6 baby!

  126. I really dislike buzzwords like “tough” and “heart” and “soft” and even “clutch.” They don’t tell you anything. They are so general and vague and mean too many different things to too many people. I think there are better terms and better ways to make an argument.

  127. Looking on the bright side, I really liked the defense that Sasha played on Von Wafer. He really got under his skin, drew an offensive foul, and chased him from the court.

    Unfortunately, Adelman ended up benching Wafer in favor of the Brooks-Lowry backcourt which I thought turned the tide in their favor in the 4th quarter there. They were too quick for the bigger lineup we were playing and really beat us to a lot of loose balls.

  128. People seem pretty focused on the offense, but I think the defense is more important. Talking on another blog to a guy like “RocketsRoll” I said I thought the problem for Houston would that they simply would not score enough to win four games. You give up 100 to the Rockets, you lose. Even going 2/18 on 3s, the Lakers scored 92, which can beat the Rockets. But if Artest and Brooks combine for 40, you’re done.

    One bad thing from the Lakers’ POV is that Houston did not shoot the lights out–47.9 from the field overall and 5/18 from the arc–and still hit 100. The game was won at the line as much as anywhere.

    So, I think Game 2 is more of a question of being aggressive and getting to the line more, and keeping Artest or Brooks around 10 points. The team can live with Yao going 28/10–he’s beast. But they cannot let the other guys score that much again.

    Also, I know crticizing Phil too much is considered bad form by some, but I think his preference for veterans is creating a problem. With Houston’s personnel, Bynum needs to be getting 25-30 minutes. He needs to stick with Bynum even when Bynum makes a mistake. I have developed great respect for Lamar Odom, but the guy is not a star.

  129. A lot of people in the media, analysts and us fans haved pointed out many valid & at times frustrating points when referring to the Lakers play thus far in this postseason. But, in my personal opinion, I think one thing is clearly forgotten with this team and that’s the energy from player 1-12. The Lakers too often fall into lackadaisical efforts when playing teams below them and it showed late in the season and for the better part of the Utah series and Phil knows that, and the team turned it on when it needed (sometimes it worked and other times it didn’t). That’s why he’s called out his team for that killer instinct. Yes, last night was probably a glitch in the system as Phil pointed out that the team didn’t use Pau the way he’d like to have seen and the offense wasn’t flowing properly etc. etc. No excuses from the refs and missed calls & open looks.
    Last year, shortly after the Pau trade…you got the sense that the team had a purpose and it sparked getting the top seed in the West and it countered with Kobe getting that missing MVP award on his mantle and that ‘energy’ carried the team throughout the conference and up to the Finals.
    This year, that emotional journey is evidently missing and I think that’s what’s separating the Lakers from the Cavs today (look at how that Cavs team acts & comes together on & off the court as shown in the Coach Of The Year and MVP press conferences). As much as it sickens me to see this and as much as I want to see the Lakers prevail this year and spoil the whole LeBron James show and their achievements, the Lakers must rise up to the challenge and will themselves mentally and emotionally. Yes, they have the most talent at their disposal but their biggest competition is themselves. We need a Phil Jackson “Zenlike” behind closed doors pep rally to rally our troops. A few Kobe picking up the tab team dinners wouldn’t hurt either.

    Phil has seen enough and I’m certain you’ll see a stronger more focused team now that the snooze button has been turned off in our locker room.

  130. The Lakers don’t seem to match up well in the post-season against tough teams that play good defense.

  131. I think this is the best thing I’ve read on game one, not a shock it’s from Kevin of Clipperblog fame:

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-40-15/Houston-Gets-Defensive.html

  132. dave in hillsboro May 8, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    I’m not one to comment a lot, but I’ve been reading this site for most of the second half of this season. I just want to say, I’m proud of Farmar tonight. I was losing faith in him, but he showed tonight that he is worth the money the Lakers pay him, if not more. That was a quality win, and I am proud of our guys. Pau, LO, Drew, ShanWOW, Trevor–everyone had a hand in this. Of course, there is nothing that can be said about Mr. Big Shot. That three to close out the third was insanity. Let’s get this done in five.