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.


to Lakers/Rockets Game 1 Chat

  1. Harlan and Collins! No Reggie Miller! Lakers Nation rejoice!

    The first game of a series, I feel, is the easier one for the road team to steal, especially since the Lakers have had such a long layoff. I hope to see the rust come off quickly and see some sharp execution.

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  2. the other Stephen May 4, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    ixnay on the flopping.

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  3. “I think we have become immune to public perception and public expectation of us. We’ve been counted out so many times the past couple years. We have expectations for ourselves, and those are the expectations we care about.” — Shane Battier

    Really? All I remember is the Rockets being picked as one of the elite teams over and over again, and consistently disappointing. I remember when the Stromile Swift trade was hailed as putting them over the top. I remember experts picking them to be one of the upper level teams year after year, until finally after too many disappointments people were afraid to pick them until they actually got out of the first round.

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  4. Kurt, what were your predictions for this round of the playoffs?

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  5. 4. Lakers in 5, Denver in 5, Orlando in 6, Cleveland in 5 (it might have been 4, I submitted that one a couple days ago).

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  6. exactly the same as my prediction:)

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  7. No Reggie. Thank You. He is pretty damn annoying. I don’t think he thinks before you speaks. One game during the Utah series he was commenting on how big a mismatch Odom is because he could drive to either hand and finish with both. Odom was awesome in that series but I bet you I could count how many times he drove to his right on one hand.

    Lakers if 5 (could go six if Houston manages 1 of the first two in LA). Denver in 5, Orlando in 7, Cleveland in 4.

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  8. Orlando really putting it to the Celtics.

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  9. Orlando up 18 at the half. Always thought their biggest problem would be Davis guarding Lewis, and it shows.

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  10. 8- Other problems to compound that one is the fact they only have 1 person to defend D-Howard.

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  11. i have a question for the bright minds here. for the past couple of years (at least) kenny and charles have this little banter going when looking at highlights: “what kind of party is it?”
    “A block party”
    “who’s invited?”
    “everybody’s invited!”

    does anyone know how they came up with that or if it comes from a movie or something?? i don’t seem to have the magic touch with google.

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  12. Finally home from work! Celtics – Magic are on the TV behind me, food is just about ready, and the beer is nice and cold…

    A quick question Kurt, if I may: Have you changed any of the scripts on the blog? I used to be able to check it from work during my breaks, but since the playoffs started it loads extremely slowly and frequently crashes, dragging down Firefox in the process. Just curious if you made any changes, or if I should look for the cause of the problems on my end?

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  13. The Celtics look out of it.

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  14. It’s raining 3’s in Orlando

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  15. Ahhh, the beautiful sight of the Celtics getting their tails handed to them. I haven’t seen Garnett making kissy faces on the bench so far tonight.

    Only thing that would make this more beautiful is if we were playing them.

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  16. emh101,
    The Bulls wore them out 😉 But they don’t look focused either… as if they’re still so worn down from the first round that they don’t care how this first game goes.

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  17. I hate Reggie’s mailbag….

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  18. JJ Redick is having a pretty good time in Orlando despite the nay-sayers.

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  19. In as much as I wanted Kobe to win it. Lebron is just such a chill dude.

    Im down wid it.

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  20. Lebron deserved it though. Kobe has had a great year, but the Lakers are still a contender without him, at least for a Conference final. The Cavs without Lebron are… Mo Williams.

    Well done, Lebron, well done. Now let us win the big team trophy, okay?

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  21. Boston’s lack of focus and intensity is what helped them lose Game 1 against the Bulls.

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  22. Wow Boston’s cut the lead to 14

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  23. Howard is getting pushed around in the paint BADLY with no calls…

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  24. In the last thread, Reed raised some interesting questions/thoughts/things to look for that I want to touch on…

    *I love Yao Ming. But I don’t think we’re ever going to see another big man that carries his team to a title without significant help from one or several great wing players. The last player to even come close was Duncan (pre this version of Parker) and before that Hakeem (in the season before Drexler). Every other team that had a real dominant Center has had a HOF guard/wing player, including the 80’s Lakers and the ’83 Sixers. So, while I don’t know if Yao is going to be satisfied with reaching the 2nd round or if he’ll ever be the #1 that everyone thinks he can/should be, but I do know that with the zone rules that (can) limit Bigs and the no touch rules that favor Guards it will be extremely difficult for any Big to carry a team to a title without a wing player that is equally dominant and able to take over a game/series.

    *While I’m not down on Bynum, per se, I am worried about his moping and his lack of effort in making the simple plays. I don’t think anyone expects Bynum to match Yao, but I think we do expect him to perform his duties to our team. So, I too am interested to see how he bounces back and if he’s able to raise his intensity to match the moment in these playoffs. I think he’s capable and that we’ll see it. And as I mentioned in the last thread, I think his motivation to play against the league’s best at his position will bring out the intensity that we’re looking for. But if it doesn’t….man, I don’t know.

    *I don’t think our PG play is a fatal flaw. While I’m not in love with Fisher’s recent level of play and also share concerns about ShanWOW’s recent uptick in quality (fools gold?), I have full faith in our guys to play well enough for what we need. Plus, I think we can put the onus on Kobe and Ariza to be primary defenders on any PG and use LO/Luke/Sasha/Kobe to be primary ball handlers on offense. I do have concerns about shotmaking, but if none of our guys are making perimeter shots (Fish, Sasha, Shannon, Luke, Ariza) I think we’re in trouble anyway and then I wouldn’t really say it’s PG that’s killing us – it would be moreso bad timing for everyone to be cold.

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  25. I guess the Celtics found their focus and intensity.

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  26. seems magic has the same as lakers in the last round: lost big lead in the 4th qtr. they lost leads to sixers too.

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  27. Darius,
    Great analysis, as usual. Thank you. 🙂

    I think one of the things it’s so easy for us to forget at times is that for all his talent and amazingness Andrew is still very young. He’s 21, and at that age, we are all of us still a bit insecure, and reliant on our peers for support and for a large part of our self-image. Heck, when I was that age I was panicking at the thought of facing my college finals… the NBA finals would probably have sent me into babbling insanity.

    Andrew is under a lot of pressure from high expectations, very early in his life. Taking that pressure off and giving him a break might actually help him. I’m convinced that he will eventually become the force of nature that Shaq was in his beat years, but for right now, Andrew needs to focus on finding his rhythm and finding his groove with the team again. It’s just the second round yet. He doesn’t have to be Shaq right now, and I can’t help thinking that the sooner he internalizes that and ignores everyone who has high expectations on him, and just focuses on doing his thing, his way, he’ll do just fine.

    It’s just a matter of mentally getting to that point.

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  28. no overtimes, please.

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  29. please lets not have overtime in boston

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  30. Orlando just takes way to long to get into their offense right now. Stop the first option and guys have to suddenly put up a shot against the clock. Also, they had a lot more motion and picks earlier, why do teams go to iso late in games?

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  31. They call 8-seconds with 35 seconds left on the clock? WHAT?

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  32. :35.1 ORL – 8-second (backcourt) violation

    wtf

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  33. He got over the line and there was 16 seconds on the 24 second clock, maybe a premature call?

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  34. Here the refs go… 8 second violation with a minute left…

    Can it get anymore blatant how badly they want the celtics to win?

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  35. Orlando should give Howard the ball, instead of shooting long jumpers that cling hard off the rim.

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  36. Pierce is “hurt”, he must have gotten fouled.

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  37. Cayucos Surfer May 4, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    This better not go into OT. I shouldn’t have to miss lakers games just because orlando choked.

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  38. Pierce needs his wheelchair!

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  39. Cayucos Surfer,

    Barring Allen heroics, I think this one is safely in the bag.

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  40. The eight second call was correct watching the replay. On the other hand, that last play where Pierce got “hurt” there was legitimate contact with Howard, where he was inside the restricted zone. So C’s fans have a legitimate beef, even though they’ve been getting away with pushes on Howard inside all night.

    38, I was thinking the exact same thing. Wheelchair time!

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  41. Cayucos Surfer May 4, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    I can only hope..

    Yes! It’s over. Let’s go lakers!

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  42. I know that they came fighting back, but it might be time to stick a fork in the Celtics. They’re going to get more run down as this series goes on, not less. I’m just hoping that the Magic can give the Cavs a run for their money…

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  43. How many big shots has Paul Pierce hit this year?

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  44. Wow, I’m amazed Pierce didn’t get that call. Howard did go straight up but I was sure Wheelchair Boy was headed to the line.

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  45. Can we start the game now? CAN WE START THE GAME NOW?? God, I’m antsy.

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  46. Paul Pierce is Lucifer in green…

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  47. 46- And Ray Allen is Beelzebub. KG’s too evil for that place.

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  48. The Magic should learn from the mistakes of the Lakers: when you are outscoring your opponent in the paint by 3-1 ratio and build a 20+ point – STOP SHOOTING 3’S!!!!!

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  49. Hey now, let’s not say anything bad about Ray Allen. If he was on any other team, we would all admire his free throw shooting, oh and ah over his clutch mentality, and envy his general amazing skill and talent.

    At least I would. The guy is frickin’ scary.

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  50. Why is TNT so bent on starting games late? I thought we might finally get a 9:30 start and now they go to studio. It’s killing me. It’s almost 10pm over here. I feel for the east coast.

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  51. (oops hit return too early)

    …. stop shooting 3’s and go with what has been working so well. Geez.

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  52. 48 – Not only that, they went to the Lakers playbook of going away from great ball movement (what got them the lead) to more isos, more ball stuck on one side of the floor.

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  53. 49. At least you dont live in England, its quarter to 4 in the morning here

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  54. #53

    And we thought we had fan cred… we salute your perseverance. And your caffeine addiction 😉

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  55. Here’s the thing that gets me, the Celtics are better on paper than the Magic even without KG. I mean, look at it this way:

    Rondo > Skip, Jesus > JJ, Pierce > Rashard, Big Baby < Hedo, Perkins < Howard, the benches are pretty even, and Doc is the better of the two coaches… I’m just sayin’

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  56. Thats a cheapie

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  57. 1st ball 1st foul.Damn¡

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  58. Ah, it appears Bynum isn’t happy with starting or the prospects of more minutes. I think he grew comfortable on the bench. If that’s the strategy, excellent ticky-tack foul.

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  59. Kobe just blew two closeouts in one play.

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  60. ‘Drew picks up a foul on the first possession. That’s not ideal. Bryant wetting a jumper over Battier, however, is.

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  61. Is it just me, or are the Rockets really not just settling for moving up from the first round this year?

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  62. There goes Bynum…

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  63. Well, hope ‘Drew enjoyed his two minutes of burn. Back to the bench for you, sir. Enjoy.

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  64. That was a really stupid foul

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  65. Dammit, Odom too!?!?

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  66. I didn’t think Bynum could have disappointed me further than he already has. I guess I was wrong.

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  67. Two fouls in three minutes of play…. Way to play with your head Andrew. Hope we can afford to keep you on the bench until the second half.

    Maybe someone forgot to tell him Kobe was feeling sick.

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  68. Okay, what’s Bynum reaction now — that’s what I want to see. Does he fight through the foul trouble or give in. We’ll see.

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  69. Wow looks like Kobe and Bynum read this blog and tried to do exactly what would be bad for us.

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  70. That’s where Kobe needs to catch: the block. he got an easy lineup

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  71. Yeah, Kobe looks really out of it…! 😀

    Somebody please tell me what in the name of possessed meatballs has happened to Artest’s head?

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  72. wow. artest with a nasty dunk. and nasty mohawk. lakers really struggling on adjusting to the houston defense. lots of pressure and great one on one defenders.

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  73. need to start pushing the pace. we’re playing at houstons tempo right now

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  74. mimsy, he lost a bet with von wafer. if the rockets made it to the second round, he had to wear a mohawk.

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  75. Kobe stop taking long jumpers. Get closer to the hoop or step outside the arc.

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  76. Mimsy,

    Artest was being interviewed in the Portland series, and saw Von Wafer walk by. He said if the Rockets got to the second round he would cut his hair like Von. Not sure about that scribble on the sides though.

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  77. Lets hope Fish has it going tonight

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  78. Great D by Pau on yao

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  79. Maybe that made Artest 3 will actually work in our favor: if he starts thinking he can make that with regularity, he’ll shoot Houston right out of this game.

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  80. Lakers are missing a ton of shots at present, and we’re still only one off the lead.

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  81. This is fools gold for Ron Ron.

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  82. All analysts I have read from have said that we should start the plays from Gasol and he s not even touching the ball¡

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  83. Thank you both for clearing that up. Now, someone needs to shave Artest’s head…

    Go Trevor!

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  84. I’m really excited that Pau checked for blood and FOUND some. Feels like an important moment.

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  85. At least we got a nice homer foul call on Yao there…

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  86. gasol great defence on yao and contensting jumpers, shame about our offence

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  87. I take it back, he (Yao) initiated the contact there at the end…

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  88. Fisher with the worst series of moves in the paint in NBA history.

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  89. Fisher is a disaster out there.

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  90. Ummmm…..can we have PUJIT Fish back?

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  91. get fish out please

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  92. I don’t know if we’re just rusty, or if it’s the Rockets defense, but our interior passing game just isn’t clicking tonight. Passes aren’t being caught cleanly, or they’re getting deflected

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  93. Lakers can’t expolit LO on Scola cause Scola is on Trevor. Ron is a pretty good matchup for LO. We should be trying to spread the floor and involve Yao in some high screen and rolls.

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  94. the rockets defense is allowing the fisher and ariza to get some looks. they’ve got to punish the rockets more for their disrespect. so far, the rockets are right to do that.

    the pace is good for the lakers, but apparently it’s better for the rockets. Yao excepted. he’s tiring a little. giving up an offensive rebound to pau is a little chink in the armor.

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  95. We’re just missing shots is all. When they start falling, we’ll be fine. I like our defense.

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  96. Who was it that wanted Fish to post up? I could go the rest of my life without seeing that.

    Definitely a lot of rust, the offense looks awful and our jumpshots are rimming out. That’ll change.

    Right now the focus should be simply to stay within striking distance while the rust is coming off. Clearly this is not close to even average Lakers basketball.

    That said, the Rockets are great, and they could add to this lead very quickly. Scola on the break was impressive, that guy does a little of everything.

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  97. I think we look rusty, but I might just be frustrated at the fact that none of our shots are falling yet… I hope that changes soon.

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  98. Doug mentioned he coached MJ, I’m shocked, truly shocked. How come he never mentions he never won squat with MIke?

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  99. nice curl by sasha there.

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  100. Machine can force turnover and make cut.

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  101. Only took Collins 10 minutes to make his first Kobe-MJ comparison…

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  102. Nice job (for once) by Sasha of “pestering” without picking up the foul 30 feet from the hoop.

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  103. with the small front court, can the lakers take advantage? they need to.

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  104. Wow, that’s a ton of blood on Battier’s face.

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  105. good ol’ Vujacic.

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  106. well, sasha missed that 3 but he’s definitely been making his impact on the game.

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  107. Well, for how flat we started, we’re only down three. I’ll take it.

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  108. Wow the Laker fans sitting in the first few rows annoy even me. I can see why people dislike them so much.

    Battier’s been like this before. Wow he must have thin skin. I’ve seen him just like this, actually with even more blood. That’s crazy, he’s a class act, hope he’s not seriously hurt.

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  109. Sasha with the Rambo hairband draws first blood. Epic.

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  110. Yikes! Like Houston fans needed more of a reason to dislike The Machine …

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  111. how the HELLL did all that blood come out o god i feel scarred

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  112. Pau has some serious blood angst. Look at him making sure every drop is cleaned up.

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  113. Hemophobia? The key to defeating the Lakers?

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  114. If Pau was secretly a vampire like in Let the Right One In, that would actually answer a lot of questions …

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  115. I got a better look at the “scribbles” on Artest’s head. He has a shooting star on one side, and the Rockets logo on the other.

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  116. SASHA. getting steals, driving the paint, frustrating von wafer, providing a spark, matching battier’s bloodied face with his jersey… other than his missed open shots, good to see him giving us some life in that rusty 1st quarter.

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  117. Our rotations are pretty solid right now. Aside from Kobe going into ultra lazy mode.

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  118. Wasn’t Artest supposed to get a mohawk, though? That Anthony Mason mess isn’t exactly the same thing.

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  119. Rick was not messing around in that little interview there. He made Phil look downright long-winded.

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  120. Reed, I think that would be strange considering Pau was studying medicine before playing hoops. Maybe that’s why he stopped though.

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  121. We need to go to Pau.Actually, I’d put Drew in right now and let him get some good looks.

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  122. Darius, that would actually explain his concern about blood. I grew up in a family of registered nurses, and human blood is actually very unsanitary. It carries a tons of ailments in it, just from being blood.

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  123. Lakers look . . . off.

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  124. I put this Houston scoring run on Phil – terrible line-up on the floor.

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  125. Getting a bit sloppy. We really need to run the offense through Pau when Yao is not on the floor.

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  126. Terrible passing, trying to force things that aren’t there.

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  127. those couple of days off have really affected their game… hopefully somehow they can fight through their sloppy play.

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  128. seriously – isolating powell or running all these curls for sasha is really dumb when yao has a 5″ advantage on his defender. I don’t care if that keeps the ball on one end of the court if we can keep on abusing that matchup.

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  129. Lakers are missing a lot of easy shots they normally make. Also Artest has hit some shots he won’t (hopefully) make all game long.

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  130. Lowry is giving us problems, Reed your PG concerns have been apparent thus far.

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  131. Kobe is pretty much carrying us… and the Machine Terminator Blood Bath, of course.

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  132. lol, lineup of Shannon Brown, Sasha Vujacic, Trevor Ariza, Josh Powell, and Pau Gasol in Game 1 of the 2nd round of the playoffs. Wth, seriously.

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  133. brilliant! the team is looking rusty so we go in to bynum who has had the least minutes in the last series…

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  134. that was sarcasm in case it wasnt obvious

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  135. Having watched the Celtics-Magic game, I absolutely HATE the inconsistency of the refereeing in the NBA.

    Rondo actually laid down ON TOP of Alston, stealing his steal, and nothing was called.

    Odom bodies up on someone in motion and the whistle blows…

    No clue as to what is, or is not, a foul anymore. Flip a coin… and then wonder if the home crowd might attack and call accordingly…

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  136. anon:
    Oh, trust me, it was obvious…

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  137. Bynum hitting his shots. He might be regaining his touch when everyone else is flat.

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  138. Why pull Drew when he just made a couple hoops?

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  139. I would like to close out this half with a good run and get the lead. And then come out and scorch them in the third.

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  140. kobes gotta start taking it to the rim…jumpshots aint falling tonight

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  141. @Kwame a

    So Drew doesn’t pick up his 3rd

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  142. This performance is almost as bad as Game 3 against Utah. And we’re only down by 6. I like our chances.

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  143. I don’t hate what I’ve seen out of the Lakers, I mean I would say that most of the threes have been wide open, and they’ve been hustling out on D, but it’s frustrating that they can’t take advantage of having Yao on the bench.

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  144. The next few minutes are key. Gotta close out strong. Keep the lead at 6 or cut it down, but worse case scenario is a double digit lead heading into halftime.

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  145. I enjoy stating the obvious.

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  146. I really don’t think our shooting will continue to be this bad, nor some of the sloppy things like Ariza’s last turnover.

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  147. I like Fisher’s play tonight.

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  148. Ariza is getting stuck behind every screen. Not helpful.

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  149. i know kobe’s ill but he’s not exactly exerting himself

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  150. Phil-please: I dont think we need to save fouls for drew because LO will be in at the end of the game.

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  151. Good D there.

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  152. I think Kobe’s conserving energy for the stretch run.

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  153. so apparently its legal to smack ppl in the face in the nba

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  154. All right, I will be the one to say it: We miss Walton right now.

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  155. I’ve been waiting all week to ask this: anyone else thing that Brooks looks like a miniature version of the actor who played Pootie Tang?

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  156. 152 – Conserving energy by missing shots? Doesn’t sound like a logical strategy to me.

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  157. Bynum’s a scoring machine!

    Six pts in six minutes.

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  158. Terrible half by the Lakers. Only down by 3. Wow.

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  159. i eat my words, kobes shots still OK…maybe battier is bothering him tonight

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  160. Kobe 3-11 and Pau 1-5 and we only lose by 3???
    Poor Rockets doesn t have a chance in this series.

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  161. For as bad as we shot, we’re down three.

    I expect a much more focused effort in the third quarter.

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  162. 156 Conserving energy by taking jumpshots and not consistently driving it. And he’s not handling the ball as much as he usually does.

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  163. i didnt think it was possible…but ron ron’s hairdo is worse than von wafer’s

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  164. that foul on pau, “tripping” brooks – what is he supposed to do there? brooks dribbled into his foot incidentally; pau didn’t exactly actively trip him…

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  165. at least if the lakers are behind, there’s no chance of them letting up and allowing the other team to catch up.

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  166. Fortunate to be down only 3 at half
    I hope the boys shake off the cob webs because this sloppiness is painful to watch on the East Coast!

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  167. I’m excited to see what Chuck and C-Webb have to say about us at the half.

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  168. Kobe is missing shots he normally makes. His shot looks a little flat, I think he is a little tired right now. The lakers are playing good D for the most part but their offense looks out of sync. Some of that is Houston, but the Lakers are missing a lot of easy shots.

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  169. Kobe is just missing shots. He missed a couple of bank shots where he got too deep and should’ve shot one dribble earlier or passed out for a better shot. Overall, I’d like to see us get better offensive rebounding position. We should be getting more rebounds against such a small Rockets team.

    We have to keep pushing the pace. The more we tire out Yao, the more likely his shots are to fall short in the 4th quarter.

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  170. This was the worse offense I seen the Lakers play in a long time. Give some credit to the Rockets defense, but wow, were the Lakers flat. No ball movement, bad passes, no offensive rebounding….just terrible.

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  171. btw Kurt, could you email me the list of words that cause comments to need moderation. Thanks.

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  172. This is the most physical game of the playoffs I’ve seen this year.

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  173. @Kwame – I think it’s more about Drew being able to play with confidence and without fear in the 2nd half. Even if Odom closes, if Drew can play freely without worrying about fouls in 2nd half it will be easier for him to be aggressive on both ends. I think Phil’s trying to nurture his confidence slowly, not trying to rush him back into things.

    All things considered, being down by only 3 when Kobe and Pau shoot that poorly is a good sign.

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  174. there just rusty i dont think theres need for too much concern

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  175. *theyre
    …dammit i hate my own mistakes

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  176. Doug Collins: “Chuck Hayes reminds me a lot of Big Baby Davis.” Yes, give or take 500 pounds and tearful temper tantrums.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a defeated team’s fan base rally behind their opponents as much as I see Blazers fans cheering on the Rockets. They hate the Lakers so much, I’m not sure whether to be amused, offended, or feel sorry for them. That whole L*ker obsession thing is a bit sad.

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  177. The things we’re doing well are obscured by our sloppy play and missed shots. I mean, we’re 0-7 on threes and have 10 turnovers (which is a TO on almost 25% of our possessions). On the positive side, we’re rebounding pretty well (+6) and have 10 assists on our 17 makes. We’re playing pretty well on defense, but Artest is making shots and they’ve gotten some easy buckets in transition. Overall, I feel okay about the first half. Yao’s been somewhat controlled and the difference in the score is (if you want to look at it this way) is Ron-Ron’s crazy bank 3. Think about all the times we’ve just given the ball away…Ariza made a horrible bounce pass on a fast break trying to hit Pau, Ariza also has given away his dribble, and we’re not catching passes cleanly at all. Come on, we can play so much better (and even if Houston can say the same thing, where is it going to come from? Artest?). We’re gonna be fine.

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  178. Was JJ Reddick ever this swol in college? All those DNPs must have at least helped him with the women.

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  179. Snoopy – I doubt it. there was definitely at least a year when coach K questioned his fitness. I think he was too busy writing poetry to get in the weight room

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  180. Poetry? Reddick’s a man of many talents. Maybe I shouldn’t have made fun of his hair so many times. It’s probably jealousy.

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  181. Lakers passing is suspect.

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  182. kobes gotta start “facilitating” imo

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  183. For God s sake¡Play Pau on Scola

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  184. Jumper, jumper, jumper (contested). We need to get inside!

    0

  185. good things happen when kobe goes inside…

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  186. Wow Artest let Kobe walk around him. I guess it’s true he’s reaching more and moving less these days. Battier’s probably a better option, although Battier’s the better help defender, so it’s kind of a toss-up.

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  187. Bynum has the hot hand.

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  188. Lets GO!

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  189. Yay Trevor! Go for the rim!

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  190. Bynum is hot tonight. Thats good too see. And Ariza is his usual self creating turnovers.

    0

  191. Defense leading to easy offense. I like it.

    0

  192. Both Pau and ‘Drew with three now, yikes…

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  193. OK, now would be a good time to turn things up. Rust is an excuse for 1 half. Excuses out the window now.

    Why am I talking like the Machine?

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  194. Nick,
    Lamar has only two… it could be worse.

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  195. Awful shooting from Pau tonight

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  196. Kobe or Trevor on the PG, stick fish on Battier.

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  197. Lakers carrying over their fouling ways from the Utah series.

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  198. Have I mentioned I really like Trevor Ariza? The guy is a pitbull.

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  199. Kobe feeling it.

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  200. Bynum needs to force him into the double there. Can’t let him spin baseline.

    0

  201. Gasol is looking terrible on the defense…

    0

  202. Brooks is torching Fish off the dribble, I might like to see some Shannon on him sometime soon…

    0

  203. awful defence from bynum and fisher this quarter

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  204. Kobe is killin it…but when are they gonna call a foul on Battier for the ridiculously pervasive hand to face?…I don’t have tivo but i’m pretty sure that last one connected.

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  205. I think when LO comes in here we go on a run.

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  206. Please get Fischer out of there!

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  207. our spacing on offense looks pretty poor – why is Pau not the one that’s free by the elbow instead of Bynum? Bynum should be scrapping for the board and Pau taking the jumper, not the other way around!

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  208. Pau needs to get his offense going. And looks like Kobe got hot now, I still think we are going to win this one.

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  209. Bynum is a broken toy for Yao in the deffensive end.And ind the other end he doesn t create any spaces for Pau bringing Scola near the ring.We need to work on that during the series.

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  210. @ adam t
    the nba is lenient when it comes to smacks to the face
    …ask brad miller
    …and gasol…and battier

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  211. PAU DO SOMETHING MAN

    6 points?! r u kiddding me

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  212. Pau is not allowed to touch the ball in the post against Scola. It is forbidden.

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  213. woah… farmar sighting…

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  214. How is it that the Laker defense is making Aaron Brooks look like Tony Parker circa 2005?!

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  215. That was a cheap foul from Lamar…

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  216. it was only time for Farmar to step in…Fish is getting torched by Brooks

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  217. Touche Anon, but I’m not asking for a flagrant foul, just a simple personal shooting foul..

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  218. @adam t
    my bad…i was trying to be facetious

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  219. 214.Completely agree.That s crazy¡

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  220. Big opportunity for Jordan here.

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  221. Ugh, we’re heating up a bit, but we’re still missing a ton of ft’s and threes. It’s just maddening to see because there’s not a ton you can do about it…

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  222. There goes Dat Man

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  223. Stop Kobe time.

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  224. Kobe s life is easier whe Pau is playing the 5.

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  225. Kobe is waking up.

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  226. Lamar! Get. The. Rebound!

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  227. Aaron Brooks shoots the half court shot well, that is a couple he has just missed now.

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  228. Farmar of all people with the three. Be interesting to see what the minute distribution is between him and Shannon this series.

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  229. First the Celtics-Magic and now this one.It s a night of terrible basketball

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  230. dont know whats up with odom, seems like he’s miles away, that basket by landry he just stood and looked at the ball as it hit the rim

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  231. Too bad that Kobe three didn’t fall on that two-for-one attempt at the end of the quarter, it was halfway down…

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  232. I think Farmar will get more run. We need the tempo he brings and the offense against this D…penetration has been lacking

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  233. i think shanWOW was more of a necessity against the jazz because of farmars history vs williams. farmar should get more minutes this series

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  234. I hope Kobe has some left in the tank; he’s carrying them right now.

    what’s going on with Pau?

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  235. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE PHIL RIPPING ON SAGER’S SUITS!

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  236. Down 3, with kobe starting to feel it again

    I still like our chances.

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  237. We need to make a push when Yao gets his rest rght now.

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  238. Phil jackson has a career as a comedian after he retires.

    0

  239. Phil! That made my night.

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  240. Phil needs a talk show…on Discovery Channel for sure

    0

  241. next time someone tries to take a charge someone needs to foul HARD and give less incentive to take it

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  242. This has been a very uncomfortable game. Kobe’s carrying us right now.

    We need to turn this up now. We’ve been pretty fairly outplayed all game now, taking this now would be a great blow.

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  243. Pau is off.

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  244. Gasol normally drains that 15 footer and he has missed three I can think of now.

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  245. Gasol simply doesn’t miss those shots … not sure what’s going on tonight. Thank goodness for Kobe.

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  246. PJ is money…calling out Sager.

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  247. boo…no foul
    …maybe vujacic

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  248. Nice job LO….he just needs to keep working and the baskets will come

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  249. Odom got mugged.

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  250. PJ finally hits w/ the interview opening joke

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  251. There you go Pau.

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  252. Great pass by Lamar for the alley-oop to Pau!

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  253. you just have to wonder why we cant do that more often

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  254. Boom! Now THAT’S the Lakers offense we all know and love …

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  255. Yay Sasha! And WOOOHOO for Lamar and Pau!

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  256. sasha really playing great d, lets hope we dont fall in love with kobe iso

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  257. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltpqPd3t5V0
    …i know its a celtic, but i LOL’d

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  258. man Sasha just scrapping out there.

    I really liked Lamar’s patience on that alley-oop – i initially thought he had an open jumper, but he probed and made a fantastic play for Pau.

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  259. One of the reasons I think our starting unit doesn’t do as well is because Pau and Bynum do not play too well together. Odom and Gasol are much more in sync.

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  260. Ever time we get close … Need to keep the intensity up.

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  261. I strongly believe that Pau//Lamar is a far better frontcourt than Pau/Drew orLamar/Drew

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  262. Oh how good it would be if we could se real-LO and real-Pau for the rest of the game.

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  263. The boy still has to learn to read the game.

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  264. LO and pau are amazing at the passing game…bynum not so much

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  265. DAMN that kids got hops!!

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  266. Get the lead and I think we’re good.

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  267. Exact same play as the one by Trevor Ariza on Fernandez, except it was by Lowry on Brown. Brown just didn’t go down in a heap.

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  268. Aww…

    I was waiting for Shannon’s breakaway dunk to ignite the crowd.

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  269. wooh amazing, no foul but wow

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  270. Andrew is still young. Give him time…

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  271. Get the lead again and we’ll be better.

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  272. I really don’t think Ron Artest can keep hitting these shots all series. But for one game…

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  273. Bad shot.

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  274. Every time we get close, Houston regroups. Come on – we are running out of time!

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  275. am i the only one who cringes and crosses fingers when i see LO step to the line?

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  276. Make free throws!

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  277. Lamar is in one of those nights at the free throw line. He was money from the line in the Utah series.

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  278. unacceptable lamar

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  279. No anon, you’re not. There’s two of us over here…

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  280. Oh come on, we can’t score!

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  281. Lakers feeling the pressure.

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  282. take vujacic out put ariza in…lowry cant guard kobe or ariza

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  283. So far the Rockets are answering the challenge in the 4th. I hope we can keep it up!

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  284. I don’t think Pau Gasol got the memo that he’s playing tonight.

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  285. We’ll be fine. Six minutes to go…down six, call it an omen

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  286. Go at Yao. Go at Yao. Go AT Yao!

    Interior passing, get some bodies moving to the basket, collect some fouls and get him out of there.

    He is a very good man defender, but less so moving to help. Take advantage of our strength.

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  287. If Houston doesn’t win this game … everything has gone their way.

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  288. We re so used to Pau shooting near 70% every single night……

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  289. arent sixes a bad omen?

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  290. Is it just me, or is it nearly impossible to tell what is a foul/not a foul anymore? Battier/Artest are allowed to drape themselves all over Kobe, while Sasha gets called for a touch foul on Artest and Brooks runs into people and gets calls. It was clear with the Celtics-Bulls series – there is no rhyme or rhythm to the fouls. I think it really detracts from the game, as much as I love the NBA.

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  291. Only if it’s three of them anon, only if it’s three of them… 😉

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  292. fish shouldnt be guarding brooks

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  293. @@#$%^&*()(*@#&U&!!!! He was NOT out of bounds!

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  294. I hope Yao is well.He s a nice clean opponent

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  295. hope yao’s OK…i dont want any excuses when the lakers win
    …but seriously it sucks when ppl get injured

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  296. Never out of bounds. No way

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  297. 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.

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  298. Get Fisher out of there!

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  299. Ouch. Hard hit Yao took there.

    And Lamar was not out of bounds.

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  300. 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.

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

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  302. refs completely screwed odom on that breakaway…

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  303. Put Farmar in.

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  304. 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.

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

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  306. 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.

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  307. Come on Yao. Please!!!

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

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  309. 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.

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  310. Glad to see Yao return.

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  311. Lakers need to test that knee.

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

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

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  314. kobe going cold, not good

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

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

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  317. man 3pt% is atrocious tonight

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  318. 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.

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  319. Lakers have been out of sync all night.

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  320. Lakers can’t hit any open 3’s tonight.

    0

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

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

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  323. Kobe is shooting us out of this game.

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

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

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  326. 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.

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  327. 327

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

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  328. Rockets took advantage of the Lakers poor play.

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  329. I mean admit it

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  330. 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.

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  331. game. over.

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  332. This game is over.

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

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

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

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

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  336. 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.

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  337. 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.

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  338. 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

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  339. 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.

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  340. 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?

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  341. well NOW Kobe gets to the line.

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  342. 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.

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

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

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  345. 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.

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  346. 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

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

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  348. 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.

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  349. 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).

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  350. 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.

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

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  352. 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.

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

    0

  354. @snoopy2006 in 352

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

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

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  356. 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.

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  357. 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?

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  358. 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.

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  359. 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.

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  360. mico

    which team did we lose to and which series?

    0

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

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  362. 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.

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  363. 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.

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  364. that sucked.

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

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  366. 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.

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  367. I bet the Cavs dont lay an egg tuesday

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  368. 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.

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

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

    0

  370. 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.

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  371. 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.

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  372. 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.

    0

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

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  374. 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.

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

    0

  376. 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.

    0

  377. Lewis,

    Comparing Houston to Atlanta is like heaven and earth.

    0

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

    0

  379. 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).

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  380. 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.

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  381. 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.

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  382. 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.

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  383. 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.

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

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

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  386. 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.

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  387. 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.

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  388. 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

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  389. 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.

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  390. 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

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  391. 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.

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  392. 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.

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  393. 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.

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  394. “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.

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  395. 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.

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

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  397. 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.

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  398. 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.

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

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  400. 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.

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

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  402. 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.

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  403. @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.

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  404. 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.

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  405. @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.

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  406. Kobe is 30 not 32

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  407. 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.

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  408. #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.

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

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  410. 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.

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  411. 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.

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  412. 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.

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  413. #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.

    😉

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  414. 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.

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  415. 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.

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  416. 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.

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  417. #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).

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  418. 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!

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  419. 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.

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  420. 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.

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  421. 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!

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  422. 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.

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  423. 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.

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  424. 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.

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  425. 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.

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

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  427. 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

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  428. 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.

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