Lakers/Rockets Game 2 Chat

Kurt —  May 6, 2009

Kobe Relax
The T-shirt idea posted over at the LA Times Lakers Blog (and shown above) really sums up my thoughts. There are a lot of people saying the Lakers lost home-court advantage, but that’s not how I see it — of the six games left, they are split evenly. What having the HCA gives you is breathing room if you have a bad game. The Lakers had theirs, but this is far, far from over.

As for what the Lakers need to do, it is get back to their offense, which I think Houston assistant coach Elston Turner described very well in a TrueHoop story (from Kevin) that I thought was the best on the first game:

“Spontaneous creativity — that’s what makes them so tough,” Turner said of the Lakers, as he marked up the board. “They’re so flexible offensively. That kind of flexibility is unique, and you need defensive flexibility to stay with them.”

One of the most insightful commenters here had a great rundown of things that need to change after game one, and so I’m just going to let him have the floor:

First of all a strategy that depends on Yao wearing down is not going to work. I don’t know what kind of ginseng he’s been taking but the Yao of yesterday does not drain that 20 footer at the end of the game and 40 minutes of court time.

Some of the Lakers problems were temporary. Lack of shooting touch, slow on rotations, etc… these will naturally be improved. But some problems are structural. These problems need a change in strategy.

1. Aaron Brooks. The problem he posed was different to the problems D-Will and even to some extent, Chris Paul poses. He broke Fisher down without needing a screenroll. The Lakers have gotten better at defending the screenroll with Pau or Lamar showing hard and recovering to his man. But Brooks just blew by Fisher, never giving the help defense the chance to affect him. Brooks is similar to Parker, a shoot-first point guard who can get into the lane and finish. The Lakers should consider putting Ariza on Brooks who can leave space to prevent penetration and still bother his shot. This would leave Kobe on Artest (Ariza did not slow Artest at all) and create a matchup problem with Fish on Battier but I’d rather have Battier taking up Yao’s low post possessions instead of taking the corner 3. I’m not convinced that Farmar can stay in front of Brooks as he’s not demonstrated this ability against any other point guard in the league whereas Fish is strong enough to hold his position against Battier.

2. On offense the Lakers simply have to do better executing 2 simple plays. High screenroll with Kobe and Pau and mid-post with Kobe. The Rockets are doing a good job defending the screenroll by having Battier cheat off Kobe toward the right side of the court. Ideally Kobe would have the ball on the strongside (left side of the court) and Pau would flash up to screen his man, resulting in either in a Kobe dribble drive down the right side of the court (the new strong side) or being double -teamed which can create the highly effective hockey pass to Odom on the high post and Pau diving to the hole. But the Rockets anticipate this screenroll and when Pau flashes up to set the pick, Battier is in front of Kobe and already shading to the weakside. Thus when Pau sets the screen, the pick is a backside pick and the only avenue left for Kobe is to double back toward the strongside (left side) where the defenders funnel him toward the baseline. This defense is exactly out of the Michael Lewis article. To combat Battier’s stance, the Lakers have to change the initiator of the triangle sequence. You know the sequence that Fisher runs where he dumps the ball off to the high post, cuts down and then doubles back to receive the hand-off (yes picture it, Fisher usually takes a 20 foot jump shot off of this sequence). Instead of Fish, this has to be Kobe. If Kobe initiates this sequence on the left side of the floor, he can receive the hand-off from Pau who also picks off a trailing Battier. The screenroll now is dangerous, with either Kobe one-on-one with a showing Yao or being doubled by a trailing Battier. The Rockets now are rotating furiously to cope and shooters are open everywhere on the floor. I’m disappointed that the coaches do not have a solution for this defense because this is what the Rockets have run each and every game since last year.
Also, Kobe must simply work harder to establish the mid-post position on the right side of the court. You know the plethora of moves he has from this position. We saw this once last night with Kobe getting a good shot in the lane.

On a macro note, some times it is not your night. The 50/50 plays went the Rocket’s way. Someone posted about the team rebounds being an indicator. There were many sequences where the Rockets made shots with the clock winding down. And still the Lakers had chances. I expect the Lakers to win the next game as Kobe should come out very aggressive continue his forays into the lane that he started late in the 4th quarter. But the win would be easier if Phil addresses the structural problems and not just count on more effort. I don’t know whether Phil’s adjustments will have any similarity to the ones being suggested by FBG readers but it will be interesting to see what they are going to be.

Nomuskles suggested in the comments the Lakers may need to give Brooks the Steve Nash treatment — don’t let him facilitate, make him score. He will, but it’s less dangerous. Maybe that’s an option.

But what I really want to see tonight is some made shots.


to Lakers/Rockets Game 2 Chat

  1. I’ll put this one in for Warren!
    go Lakers!

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  2. Yeah I am not too worried. Its just one game and the lakers are the best road team in the league so I they can win in Houston. Now if they lose tonight than that might be the time to worry.

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  3. Upon reflection the defensive switch I advocated should be plan B. A swarming, trapping team SSZ defense should be plan A. Channel back game one of the season versus Portland and the Lakers will be fine. But they should have a plan B in case Fisher really has aged a dog year this season and Brooks continues to run around unchecked.

    From Phil’s comments I don’t expect drastic changes. He seems to believe that crisper execution is the solution and not change in strategy. This is partly true. Many passes were slightly late, or behind and whilst not resulting in turnovers, the receiver did not get the ball in rhythm to make a play.

    However, if the team has not made an adjustment to attack Houston’s screenroll defense, they are still making it needlessly hard for themselves.

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  4. The question the Lakers have to ask themselves is whether Game 1 was an aberration or have the Rockets exposed and capitalized on the Lakers’ systemic weakness in the following manner: tough, contested shots for Kobe with quick double-teams, open 3s for the likes of Ariza (instead of allowing Ariza to drive) and bodying up the likes of Odom and Gasol.

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  5. Some things I wanna hear/see tonight:

    -More primal screaming, less checking for blood from Pau.
    -More “Ooh!!’s from Lamar, as it indicates him driving to the hoop as opposed to settling for jumpers.
    -No possessions that consist of “Pass to Kobe, dribble, dribble, dribble, pull-up/turnaround with Battier-hand in face.”
    -The Staples Center crowd actually cheering on their team and caring.

    Let’s see some intensity from the guys. I have yet to see any of our guys come out with half the energy that Eddie House, Joakim Noah, and Birdman Andersen give their teams. If we come out with that kind of effort and energy, there’s no way we’ll lose any game, ever.

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  6. I think Game 1 was an aberration. We have seen the Lakers play a lot better in the past, bothy against the Rockets and against other teams, and they can and will play better when they have to.

    How much better, is the real question. How close will the game be?

    Also, I want that shirt. 🙂

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  7. lil pau, personally I think moving LO to starting would be a good idea. it seemed like every time we did get the ball down to ‘Drew, the rhythm of the play just froze up, ‘Drew hung on to the ball, looked for a way to attack, wound up forcing it up and … well, it wasn’t good.
    and the point about him being about to tower over the Rockets bench sounds like a good way to get him back into believing in himself.

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  8. My lovely fiancé is supportive enough of my Lakers obsession to procure me a Kobe-themed cake for my birthday, but she’s not a sports fan herself … after a particularly tough loss (like Game 1) I can tell she struggles to understand why I’d invest so much in an endeavor that can be so frustrating. However, I’m in it for times like tonight: speaking as a fan, if this team can face adversity and rise to the challenge, there are few feelings that can compare. Before the series began I might have predicted the Lakers in 5, but if they can still pull out a series victory in 6 or even (shudder) 7 games, that triumph would be all the sweeter.

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  9. It’s time to see the Lakers team that slammed the Cavs, beat Boston twice, should have swept the Spurs, and beat a certain team from Houston four times in a row!

    LET’S GO, BOYS!!

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  10. Hey now Zephid… let’s be fair. Sasha always plays with that level of energy. Maybe not with that efficiency, but he definitely has the energy level. 😉

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  11. This game is my only study break while studying for the USMLE, I need this win to keep me going. I will be representing hard for the Lakers in Kansas City.

    Thanks for the great game breakdowns Kurt.

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  12. I can’t believe how quiet the Staples Centre was on Monday (sorry Sunday night). More noise people.

    Once again, I think many people underestimate the loss of Luke. Phil generally sends him in when the offense is stuttering a bit to try and get that ball movement going again, and he can play Battier without leaving him open for threes (unlike Kobe).

    No panic from this end, bad shooting night, stagnant offense at times….what do you expect after a week off?

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  13. @ Rockets Roll:

    I don’t think any Lakers fans here are necessarily thinking of Game 1 as an aberration. It’s certainly faults we’ve seen from the Lakers all year, and strengths that everyone knew the Rockets had. Heck, the NYT wrote an article on it!

    But I would counter with a question that the Rockets should ask themselves: Was Game 1 the result of the better team winning or the better team getting caught off guard? I’m not talking about the better team that night, which Houston clearly was. (Might I pat my fellow Lakers fans on the back for NOT trying to blame that game on the refs, by the way.) I’m talking about the better team, period. Time will tell.

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  14. Rockets Roll – I’ve been saying all season long that a healthy Rockets team, firing on all cylinders, was the biggest threat to this Laker squad. Game 1 proved that.

    The Rockets are no walk-in-the-park by any means of the imagination, but they are also not invincible.

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  15. I expect this to be a great game and remainder of the series. I laid out before the last game the reasons that I thought Game 1 was the Rockets’ best chance to win in LA. Luckily for me all three reasons came to fruition (Kobes sickness was evident, Lakers were lethargic, and Yao looked fresh).

    I’m sure that the Lakers will come out with much more intensity tonight. I’m sure Phil will make some good adjustments, and I’m sure the Lakers will shoot better. The talent that they have is too good to continually play like Monday night.

    With that said, the Rockets now feel that they can win this series, and not just compete. The intensity and defense that they bring won’t waver during the game or series. The Lakers are going to have to come close to matching that intensity throughout to win.

    The majority of talk is on the fact that the Lakers didn’t play well, while everyone seems to think that the Rockets played close to their best game – they didn’t. They did some good things, but also stumbled in a couple of other areas. I hope that the Rockets match the intensity from Game 1, but address the problems that they had on the glass and with turnovers. I think they will improve the rebounding, but they are a turnover prone team so I’m not sure about that one.

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  16. Farmar could get some real playing time tonight.

    We shouldn’t throw Jordan under the bus. Yes, he played bad at the end part of the season. But, if it is true he came back from his knee surgery too soon, he did it for the team as Fisher was playing huge minutes, and they didn’t have Shannon Brown yet.

    Farmar could be a key factor in this series.

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  17. I have no support for this whatsoever, but how is Kobe a perennial first team all-defense? His closeouts are lazy, he gambles, he can stay in front of his man when he tries but does he ever try?

    I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong. There has to be a better explanation than ‘he’s Kobe’

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  18. anyone know when luke’s supposed to be back?

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  19. 8) chris,
    “‘Drew, the rhythm of the play just froze up,”

    Yes – quicker decisions was something that he was just getting better at when he was injured.

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  20. The graphic at the top of the page reminds me of this:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdhillen/2848911432/

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  21. i am not as panic-stricken as some members of the expert team down in espn. but i won’t take time to foolishly blast at their comments. heck, even if we drop this one or win by a nail, i wouldn’t be that concerned. i also agree that our problems are more or less in passing and should be shaken off tonight.

    i agree, the lakers better bring out their a-game tonight. what team identity are they bringing in? the defensive lock-down team? the offensive barrage team? or the lethargic bobcats cmon beat us twice team? i doubt the third will apply tonight. what i am hoping though is that they bring out a statement from start to finish (not from the third quarter, not til the third quarter). cleveland had 9 days off. they shook off the rust pretty quickly. and please don’t say atlanta is a long shot from houston’s level of play. if any, we played the way atlanta was in some stretches and they got fried. we got beat JUST by 8. so this tells me of whay talent we have. sadly, that won’t be enough.

    i know a lot of people want all the others lakers involved, but i think that will be, should be a given tonight. but i will be watching kobe. this is his jordan moment. and no i don’t want to fire up another debate because it is not worth having. kobe has to own this playoffs and so does the lakers. tonight, he has to tell the basketball world, that NO ONE is going to pull off another rabbit hat trick against us AGAIN. the cavs are a notch better in this effort than us.

    in the end, one game is one game. i will make no excuses for our team should they fall or struggle tonight. but for goodness sake, bring your a-game tonight. GO LAKERS!

    and oh, they should really do something about the pg position this offseason…as well as polishing the defensive schema.

    about kobe being a perennial defensive 1st-team: that tells me something about what he can do (against what he forgets doing at times) and i’m happy with that.

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  22. Really quick on Kobe’s 1st team all defense selection. We see Kobe every game and tend to focus on the mistakes or laziness that we see. However, I think that coaches, who sit courtside, see his communication, directing of traffic, and the subtle things that he does to disrupt the oppositions offense. For example, Kobe is great at cutting off angles by how he plays through screens, he’s a very good weakside shot blocker (ala Wade), he’s also a very good defensive rebounder for a guard. Plus he can go into lock down mode – which is something that many other players can’t do (this is also very impressive and memeorable in a “wow he’s really good” kind of way). Does this add up to 1st team all-defense? I think to many coaches it does.

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  23. Not sure if anyone’s mentioned it, but ESPN’s reporting that Odom’s starting tonight. Likely, anyway. Walton should be back.

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  24. I think Lamar Odom is more deserving of a defensive team award than Kobe this year.

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  25. Warren Wee Lim May 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    LOL CHris… I just figured that the times Kurt posts this is like 1pm LA time so that means its 4am here :O

    ANyhow, I have money on the Lakers beating HOU by 11. Talk about relaxed 😀

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  26. Does anyone think Wade should resign this offseason? I guess given his injury history, maybe. But from a pure bball standpoint I’d say no way. If I were in his shoes, it’d be all about being with a franchise that would put him in best position to win multiple ships. Riley’s done it before, but I’ll be very blunt when I say I’m not a big fan of Riley the GM. The 06 title team was more about Wade’s greatness than Riley’s genius moves (for what it’s worth, I think the 05 Heat team was better than 06, and was a D-Wade rib and Shaq thigh away from knocking off the Pistons at their best).

    All I can say is I hope both Wade and Lebron are surrounded with satisfactory talent for the next decade. They could produce something really amazing in the East that’ll be remembered for a long time to come.

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  27. I think Darius put Kobe’s defensive prowess in a good perspective, however, there is something else to note. Individually Kobe is a great defender – and this is what the award is usually for. He is not as great in team defense, because he takes on other’s issues too often.

    We criticize him mostly for his team defense lapses and take his 1-on-1 defense for granted. The coaches don’t do this; they emphasize mostly individual defense.

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  28. If any of the big guys who are free agents in 2010 (Lebron, Wade, Bosh, Dirk, Amare, etc.) want to have to best shot at winning the title, they will wait and run their current contract’s course, wait for their team to sign other players, then re-up with their new contract. Why is this? Because they all possess Larry Bird rights with their current teams, so they can freely be re-signed without salary cap implications (albeit luxury tax payments still apply).

    Given Cleveland’s current contracts, assuming they don’t re-sign Big Z or Varejao, they will have about 37 mil committed, with possibly 1-2 mil for a draft pick, with 17 million of that amount committed to James. If James waits, his team can go out and sign free agents up to the cap level, which will probably be around 57-58 mil, then re-sign James. This way, they’ll be able to sign two max contracts in addition to James.

    Similarly with Miami, assuming they renounce the rights to James Jones’ corpse, they’ll only have 8 million committed to players other than Wade (Beasley, Chalmers, Cook), so they can use all that money to go out and hunt FA’s to pair with Wade.

    Thus, for the player, waiting is by far the best strategy: not only do they get to test the free agency waters, but they also get to see who is interested in teaming up with them before deciding to destroy their team’s cap flexibility for the next 6 years.

    I know this is super off topic, but salary cap info is my thing :).

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  29. Lakers Viewing Party tonight in Chicago….Lakeview Neighborhood…let me know if interested……

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  30. Thank God Reggie Miller is the Magic and Celtics fans’ problem now.

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  31. As a fan, there ARE grounds to be worried though. G2 is essentially a must win. Going to HOU down 0-2 is not a good prospect with a young crew such as LA. Taking G2 lightly is tantamount to underestimating HOU.

    I think that with his statement, KB’s just trying to relax the team (perhaps even the city); take it one game at a time and don’t pressure themselves too much. This is good, just as long as they stay focused on the task at hand.

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  32. Watching Magic/Celtics wind down and waiting to see if the Lake show can do just what the Cs did…come back in strong fashion. I think so!

    Who has a better chance of upsetting the Cavs…the Magic or the Celtics?

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  33. Rob L- What’s up! You have brought the playoff karma, we are winning tonight.

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  34. We make so much of Craig Saiger, so we’ve got to give props when he comes in with something good. That tidbit on Lamar was noteworthy.

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  35. I’m glad to see Lamar starting tonight. Coming off the bench will take a lot of pressure off of Andrew, and that pressure is his biggest problem. I mentioned it in an earlier thread, that he’s still young and in his first “real” playoffs, and that’s a difficult mental situation to be in. Whatever is going on in his head is far more of an obstacle to him than his injured knee.

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  36. Hopefully Fish can find his stroke. That would be nice.

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  37. i am nervous! it is a must-win for us. go lakers!

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  38. someones gotta call a tech on artest for having that haircut

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  39. off-ball screen leads to open Kobe J. Hooray!!1

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  40. wow, there you go. actually feels like a playoff game now. monday night not at all, the crowd was dead. I’m digging the vibe right now.

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  41. I second anon’s motion. That haircut is a travesty.

    This is a good game! Go Lakers!

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  42. kobes got that look on his face…

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  43. Great start. Scola is the only player on Hoston bringing it right now. We need to put them to bed early.

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  44. Now this is how we play.

    Great 16-8 start.

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  45. I like this start. Let’s keep this up.

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  46. One of these days Battier is going to poke someone in the eye. Hopefully not Kobe.

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  47. It’s early, but the pace is for 99 possessions. Much better tempo.

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  48. I like Scola, but if he is the player scoring for the Rockets we are fine. He is not option #1.

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  49. need a stream…justin.tv not working..

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  50. Shut. up. doug. collins. You can still make your quota of stupid without talking every single second of the game.

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  51. Rockets are playing to LA’s hand right now. Already 2 possessions Yao has had good position and Brooks is to0 busy dribbling to notice.

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  52. Cant double Yao so passivley. If its not a hard double, dont do it

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  53. The Rockets are the new Spurs

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  54. Alex- Doug has been muted in my house. I’ll let the Itune shuffle provide the audio. Can’t stand Kevin Harlan’s fake enthusiasm either.

    Nice to see fish hitting early.

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  55. Did Fish call bank?

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  56. Okay, I have to ask: What on earth has happened to Pau’s freethrow shooting since the playoffs started? I’m hoping it’s just perception on my part, but it seems he’s been missing an awful lot from the freethrow line since the post-season started.

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  57. Nice pass from Kobe to Gasol. Good ball movement. I like it.

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  58. the rockets havent gone far enough or even been consistent enough over the yrs to be called the new spurs

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  59. Lakers are on fire. Shooting 85%.

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  60. this is the kobe we need! i’d do the honors early joel…STOP IT’s KOBE TIME!

    any links? hard viewing things via gamecast.

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  61. lets just hope they can hold on to a lead tonight…

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  62. Interesting that Kobe hasn’t caught the ball in the post yet.

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  63. If you are going to give up 80% shooting, at least get the rebound on the few misses there are.

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  64. gasol’s overall shooting has been a bit off lately too

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  65. mohan, that’s the scary part…for the rockets at least as early as the game has gone. go lakers, HOLD ON and keep on punishing!

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  66. 4/4 can’t be bad for pau to start

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  67. how’s the staples crowd? man our boys need some pushing

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  68. Link to game. Scroll to the bottom:

    http://atdhe.net/

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  69. My TV receiver decided to reset itself in mid-possession. Not happy. 🙁

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  70. Artest has really been good, I can’t hate.

    I’m telling you, Scola is a problem, dude kills LO

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  71. Odom is a little sloppy tonight with all 3 of our TO’s.

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  72. u know kobe knows the importance of this game

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  73. Fantastic first quarter. Let’s see if the effort keeps up.

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  74. Odom has been on the receiving end of a couple of bad passes, and the one turnover he had in the backcourt he never had real control over.

    That being said, Odom pushing the pace has been the reason we’ve been getting easy buckets.

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  75. Any post player with a good up-and-under move will get the best of Lamah.

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  76. “I like turtles” May 6, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Is it me or are the Rockets hitting all their open jumpers? These guys are efficient!

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  77. Battier’s defense is great – but isn’t face-guarding illegal??

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  78. Let’s see if Bynum can get it going against this smaller Rockets second-unit.

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  79. Um, wow, Phil is really experimenting with lineups isn’t he. How many minutes has this group logged together?

    I’m glad Luke is back…yup, I said it.

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  80. Our interior defenders need to stop allowing guys on the baseline to make that pass to someone in the paint. It’s an easy angle to cut off but they always give it up anyway.

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  81. While I’m not sure we can keep up the offensive efficiency, I do know that we can keep up this pace and continue to extend our D to force the Rockets into mistakes. Also, that post play against Wafer is where we missed Walton. I love Ariza and Sasha, but Luke is our only wing besides Kobe that is truly comfortable in the post. He can draw fouls and score down there against any Guard that Houston puts on him. I also like Pau’s activity and decisiveness. He’s driving the ball and crashing the offensive boards hard. And that aggressiveness got Yao out of the game. We couldn’t ask for a better start.

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  82. kwame, i mentioned it earlier. The second unit, and even the first, seems a little more settled with Luke in the game. His passing adds a lot more than people give credit for.

    Not a bad first quarter by the LakeShow though 😛

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  83. rockets climbing back

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  84. Bynum needs to hit the glass…

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  85. Not a good slo-mo replay for Drew, he didn’t make too much of an effort for that board. How long can he go with this lineup?

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  86. We should be able to rebound better than this, given our height advantage.

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  87. I don’t like the way our bench is playing right now. Aside from losing half our lead, there is a lot less direction and focus on the floor right now than there was five minutes ago.

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  88. horrible rebounding…there were like three yellow jerseys watching on that last play and brooks was the only one actually going for the board

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  89. Does Bynum even give a crap?

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  90. Darius/Joel R-ha, you guys saw that too huh?

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  91. Yea, this Rocket team isnt just defense like I thought. They shoot lights out.

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  92. I am not liking Andrew Bynum’s play on defense. Everyone else is playing fine, it is simply Bynum not getting position or rebounds that is hurting us a ton

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  93. Odom is not having a very good night (so far) and he’s anchoring the bench with a rusty bynum and a bunch of guards. Interesting experiment by Phil.

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  94. Two straight possessions where we struggle to control our defensive glass. Bynum needs to do more right now than just body up Hayes. He needs to find Hayes AND move for the ball. If he secures those boards we can get out and run with Houston trying to crash the offensive glass.

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  95. Interesting age chart for playoff contributors that TNT just flashed.

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  96. Kobe is back already?

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  97. What an effort by WOW.

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  98. Why is Bynum so bad? He doesn’t look like he cares.

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  99. 4-11 to start the 2Q ain’t good

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  100. Its the 4 position for the Rockets that has been consistently scoring on us

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  101. i expect battier to get back in soon too

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  102. i’d take shanwow and bynum with their bench…man are they killing us

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  103. ShanWOW…

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  104. Two beautiful opportunities to build the momentum…blown.

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  105. At least Shannon Brown and Sasha put in effort and produced some results… not thrilled with the rest of the bench though.

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  106. Bynum needs to put forth the effort while on the floor.

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  107. @H
    bynums gonna need a while before he gets back into rhythm. he was out for a long time and only played a couple games before the playoffs, and he didnt play much against utah

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  108. Sasha is horrible…..just horrible…anyone else agree???

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  109. Bynum is disinterested. Is that a word? = no/low rebound numbers.

    ShanWOW is hustling and interested. = steals.

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  110. *I love Luke, but putting him on Landry is a tough cover.

    *I’m loving Sasha’s speed and effort on D, but he needs to slow down on offense. That jumper off that down screen was incredibly rushed.

    *I think we need to run some P&R with Bynum just to get him more active and moving. Get him some dives instead of wandering around the block.

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  111. #111, Joe,
    Darius said what I was going to say. Sasha’s effort and energy on offense is admirable. On defense… not so much. All that energy gets in his way.

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  112. Sasha tries and plays hard, but he cant shoot anymore

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  113. cmon! we gotta extend the lead as much as possible while yaos out

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  114. I’m glad LO is coming back in.

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  115. Uh-oh… is it just me, or are we falling apart…?

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  116. The Lakers are being sloppy the last few minutes. They need to calm down a little bit.
    Artest is killing them.

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  117. The double teams are leading to open shots. Why needlessley double? Phil is messing up with that strategy. Single cover the rockets!

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  118. We’re falling apart because Phil Jackson seems to think it’s a good idea to play Josh Powell more than zero minutes.

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  119. not just u…definitely falling apart

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  120. Shannon needs to be in the game and Trevor cannot stay with Artest.

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  121. Kobe isn’t even touching the ball. Why.

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  122. what lead? rockets being consistent and determined while we hit another flat note. our bench play makes me wanna have a fire sale. i doubt their level even on paper now. since when have we been giving them grace to improve play? not at this level guys. cmon let’s get our act together

    artest is burning us too.

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  123. anon,
    Somehow, that doesn’t make me feel better… 🙁

    Did anyone count how many possessions it’s been since Kobe touched the ball?

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  124. Make Artest go right.

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  125. if bynum continues to play like this, why bother even playing him? We would get more out of DJ Mbenga…

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  126. Where is our post game? When was the last time Gasol got consecutive touches on the block? Where is our off ball screening for Kobe? Phil is going to get these guys back in gear.

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  127. Apparently neither can Odom- it’s time for Kobe to step up and take RonRon

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  128. ya like honestly WHY is trevor guarding ron…ariza i love you but I think kobe should guard ron and ariza should guard battier…

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  129. Typical Lakers, they get a lead and give it right back.

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  130. painful to watch turnovers on the lakers end, and trips to the free throw line for the rockets. the rhythm of the game is totally messed up.

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  131. Zephid-Exactly. This is on Phil. He ran a bs lineup out there to start the 2nd quarter like this is some December regular season game. He needs to cut the damn rotation to 8 or 9 players and let the starters do the heavy lifting so at the end of the game he can run his experimental lineups in garbage time!

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  132. Our bench bigs are giving us nothing. Bynum and Powell might as well be invisible; they’re contributing nothing.

    I don’t see why Phil is sitting Gasol for so long. He’s been playing great with Odom, and now Phil takes Gasol out in favor of Josh Powell? C’mon.

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  133. Fisher is a liability.

    It is time to hand the reins over to Farmer, for better of for worse. Fisher is costing us too many possessions, and committing too many reach fouls. He simply doesn’t have the foot speed or endurance for his position anymore.

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  134. Kobe *is* first team all defense….I think he’ll step up to the challenge of guarding Ron.

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  135. Let’s face it. The Rockets are a better team than the Lakers. They’re basically a poor man’s Boston Celtics team.

    Good Defense & efficient offense.

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  136. I agree need to put Kobe on Artest. Ariza can’t guard him.

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  137. frustrating to watch the second quarter for sure.

    trevor’s specialties (D and occasional 3’s) are non-existent…

    bynum just seems frustrated and lost out there…

    gasol’s postup games are not being utilized fully with yao out of the game…

    kobe is not getting the touches… while

    ron ron is going crazy… ugh!

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  138. this could be the end of our season, the rockets want it and we dont simple as

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  139. @yes man
    …trolling?

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  140. Stop doubling off the block! Why are we making the same mistake over and over. The Rockets 4 man is torching us

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  141. We cannot have Kobe shoot over Battier for the rest of the game. That will. Not. work. The rest of the team needs to step up.

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  142. Ariza should just stop shooting altogether. He has no touch at all.

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  143. #137=troll

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  144. Lakers are being out hustled right now. Need to stop fouling and get out in transition again.

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  145. Yao is out and we are underusing Pau.I don t get it.Really

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  146. bring back vlade!

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  147. That s it¡

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  148. Pau needs to go strong like that every single time.

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  149. now HOU up..urgency in the 1Q was simply gone. wow…

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  150. Thats a little better. I dont understand why Gasol is not getting more touches in the post.

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  151. there should be a guy in our coaching staff who gets on their faces for every bad stretch on the court and we ought to pay that guy good money.

    our staff is too calm, too quiet (too scientific perhaps?) as is the crowd. we need raw emotion here. hustle. passion. intensity…absent for the most part.

    this concers me more than the rockets. our inability to take the trophy and dominate.

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  152. & pau misses FT..my

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  153. go in to gasol EVERY possession plz…it seems like we went in to gasol more with yao on the floor

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  154. Seriously Pau, make the free throws!

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  155. Someone really needs to introduce True Shooting Percentage to Doug Collins.

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  156. Rockets PF’s: 23, Lakers PF’s: 0.

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  157. man… couple missed shots and now the whole team is afrad of taking shots…

    luke passing on a wide open 3… gasol is being pushed aroudn by hayes…

    come on lakers!

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  158. We’re playing dumb and hurried. No reason for Odom to be out that far fouling Landry.

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  159. This is very frustrating and ugly to watch.

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  160. Excuse me: Lamar has 2, but Landry sunk a couple more Ft’s so make that Rockets 24, Lakers 2.

    Next half we will need LO to be a factor. Both sides of the ball buddy

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  161. The Lakers are rushing everything.

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  162. this is not fun, we are literally falling apart

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  163. I notice Kobe still isn’t touching the ball. Urgh.

    What bothers me about this game is not that the Rockets are in the lead right now. It’s that we gave them the lead.

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  164. The shots have stop falling. They need to make more of and effort to get to the rim and not settle for jumpers in the 2nd half.

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  165. Walton is rusty.

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  166. When people talk about the Lakers being “soft”, the second quarter is exactly what they refer to.

    Lack of heart, lack of effort, lack of focus.

    Great teams play hard, the whole time.

    The Rockets are showing they have that. The Lakers simply don’t have it.

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  167. wow, not the kind of result i expected.

    just got back from my honeymoon, and i find my lakers trailing, and already having lost game 1.

    they better start winning now that i’m back!

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  168. We need someone who can hit an open jumper. Maybe a lineup of shannon, kobe, fisher (spotting up- if he can still hit from distance), lamar, pau

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  169. dont even trip…they usually come out strong in the 3rd

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  170. Holy crap, they suck. Not tough enough…mentally and physically.

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  171. We’ve gone cold and are rushing the pace instead of pushing the ball and playing under control. Just as Collins relayed from Phil – We need to space the floor and be patient by going into the post.

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  172. Or Kobe can just do that.

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  173. the most worrying part about all this is that Phil has no clue what to do

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  174. odom
    it’s time to freakn step up and do something.

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  175. what should not be said of a championship team:

    “they make their runs, and oh the other team makes their run and takes the lead because it just happens in basketball so as long as we win with that drama and a big sigh of relief from our fans.”

    disappointing close to the 1st half of a must-win game. lakers learning the hard way. umph…am still saying this…lakers win this game (convincingly, is now an afterthought).

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  176. our 2nd unit definitely seem to have lost their mojo.

    they look lost and afraid out there… as if they can’t handle the pressure of playing with the lead.

    i mean they used to look like they were having fun out there on the court and looked like they couldn’t wait to be out there. now they just look lost and scared… almost to a point where they just want the time to pass and get back to the bench.

    tied game… who would’ve thought it after the first quarter like that.

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  177. The spacing was terrible in the second quarter. One play at the end, Gasol, Odom, and Walton were all on the strong side within 5 feet of each other.

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  178. Carl Landry and Chuck Hayes destroyed us in the few minutes that Andrew Bynum and/or Josh Powell were on the floor. Both Bynum and Powell are playing with no energy, which is very disappointing.

    Luke is hesitating on his threes. He needs to be decisive and either rise and fire or take it to the rim.

    We need to go to Gasol; He’s come out with the fire I wanted to see and he and Kobe are really carrying the team.

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  179. its not just odom that needs to step up

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  180. Need more Zen from the Zen Master. The guys are feeling the heat and pressing, which is resulting in turnovers and rushed shots.

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  181. i started watching at the start of the second quarter. I can’t help but feel that was partly my fault. Unfortunately for us, I’m not going to stop watching. Let’s hope I had nothing to do with that boneheaded quarter.

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  182. Simply a case of not properly understanding the opposing personnel:

    • Don’t rush Lowry off the three-line, he wants to get into the paint
    • Don’t force Artest left, he wants to dribble left and pull-up
    • Don’t double off Scola or Landry, the only way they score is off open jumpers or layups
    • Don’t force Kobe into iso’s at the top of the key where Battier thrives, let Kobe catch the ball in scoring positions
    • Don’t try to beat the Rockets from the outside when Yao is on the bench in foul trouble

    Lets see if we make the proper adjustments next half.

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  183. I talked a long time about this Laker team being soft, and this forum simply ripped me apart for even having that thought. Well…..maybe we aint always soft, but sometimes we are. Rewatch that second quarter to see what I mean. Outhustled the whole way, blowing a 14 point lead.

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  184. I first got worried when Phil decided to follow Adelman’s matchups instead of dictating matchups the way he normally does. It was one of the few times I can remember him following the opposing coach’s lead, putting in Brown/Farmar/Sasha. That lineup gave us nothing.

    Brooks/Lowry/Wafer annihilated our trio. I’ve been the biggest proponent of Sasha’s playing time, but right now we’re in a desperate situation. We can’t wait for him to snap out of it. He’s not going to get many open shots against this Houston D, which really hurts him on the offense end.

    I’d like to see Kobe pull a Lebron and play through the 2nd half. Our bench is a recipe for disaster right now. If we (hopefully) get in a good groove again, I think Phil needs to play the group that’s doing well and worry about rest later.

    Anyone see Phil with a hand on Powell’s back, talking to him as they went back to the locker room? Looks like he’s really trying to get Powell to settle down and have an impact.

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  185. Now’s where Phil earns his contract/reputation/owner’s daughter/10th ring and makes some adjustments. We win this game (and the championship) on defense. Kobe needs to shut down Ron. If we stick with Fish, then I agree with the idea of putting him on Shane. I don’t know if Trevor deserves much pt- Shannon has played with confidence and ability on both sides of the floor and should be in for the second half. And Lamar- step up.

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  186. its all ur fault nomuskles!! STOP WATCHING NAO!!
    …thats the only explanation i can come up with to how they can start so perfectly to playing so horribly

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  187. Kwame is right in that our PF’s are giving us close to nothing. But the entire problem is the cross matching. If Ariza/Luke/Sasha can’t make shots we won’t be able to effectively run our offense because of Artest being able to limit Odom’s effectiveness and the Rocket’s PF’s being able to clog the lane. Plus, we’re not rebounding well enough to get out and take advantage of their PF having to chase our SF up the court. We saw what’s possible against them in the 1st quarter and we need to get back to basics – extend our D, rebound the ball, get the ball up court quickly, and take the open shot.

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  188. 184, we ripped you apart because you never, ever say anything positive, not because you called the whole team soft. If you weren’t a constant downer, people wouldn’t rip on you.

    That being said, I agree that the team got worked in the 2nd quarter, and it is entirely our backup bigs fault. Our guards played fairly good perimeter defense, but the missed shots didn’t matter because our bigs couldn’t corral rebounds.

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  189. kwame a – Good points. I hate to criticize the coaching staff, but do you feel like our boys are less prepared? Or maybe they apply the knowledge less than they should.

    I do feel like Phil needs to tighten the rotation right now. Enough is enough. It’s cute when we’re in control and we’re trying to get guys to play better. Right now we’re in a 1-0 hole, we need guys that will contribute. Keep the starters in. The bench is looking that bad right now, aside from Brown.

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  190. no magic sauce for making shots. =(

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  191. Artest is shooting way over his head.

    Landry and Hays are like Millsap, you need to block them out.

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  192. Landry has more FTA than the entire lakers team. Thats not just the ref’s fault.

    Lamar, Luke, Ariza are just not forcefully trying to draw contact in the paint. Its almost as if all the offensive fouls last game made them very afraid to take it to the rim.

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  193. This is the 2004 Finals all over again: everyone looked at the opponent, declared them inferior, and then watched that team take a big steaming crap all over the Lakers’ hopes.

    Phil hasn’t made a single adjustment in this series so far and they’re on their way to being swept out of the playoffs.

    Bynum’s clearly still injured. At this point, every second he’s on the floor is lost time. I’d rather see Sun Yue playing than him now, and he’s normally my favorite player.

    I seriously want to puke.

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  194. Anon & Bizzy,

    I’m not trolling. I’ve been a Laker fan since the early 80’s. But I’m realistic. What I see is one team with a lot of heart and passion and one team without it. You tell me which team is which.

    My comment regarding the Rockets = Poor man’s Celtics. Let’s take a look at this. Boston is built around their defense and their tough bench. Their game isn’t pretty but they do all the little things from scrapping for loose balls to setting the right picks to free up their spot up shooters.

    Boston and Houston have a lot of similar players too:

    Artest = Pierce (too strong for Ariza)
    Scola = Perkins (scrappier than Pau/Odom)
    Landry = Powe (stronger than Powell)
    Wafer = House (better shooter than Sasha)

    Plus they have Yao creates matchup problems on both sides of the ball (similar to KG). The only player key player I haven’t mentioned is Battier, who actually acts more like a Bruce Bowen type.

    Lakers are more talented but the Rockets might be a bad matchup for this team unless they can get more production out of unfamiliar places (Bynum, Fisher, Bench).

    I’m not a Laker hater. I’m just trying to keep it real.

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  195. Hate to say it but VladRad would help now – on Artest and he wasn’t afraid to shoot.

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  196. 190) When Artest is playing under control, he is one of the top 3 or 4 players in the league. HE has played very much under control so far this series (and for the majority of the season)

    He isn’t shooting over his head

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  197. On offense, we cannot turn into the Kobe show. Again, this is on Phil to talk to the Mamba and tell him to play with patience, get his teammates involved, work into Pau, find cutters, etc.. Patient, but aggressive. But, again, the defense is the key- stops will create fast break opportunities and give us confidence to relax and hit shots on the other end. The offense will come- I trust in Kobe and, most of all, in Phil to be preaching patience and defense right now.

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  198. I will take this! The 1st quarter was the best that the Lakers could throw out. Even at the half, with Yao playing 10 minutes – I have to think that the Rockets are feeling good about their chances. I figure it will be pretty close through the 3rd, then the Lakers will turn it on. I hope the Rockets can absorb that run again.

    Odom has done exactly what I expected against the Rocket defense – disappear.

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  199. 193. Defonitely, or anyone who could make open threes, what I would give for the Sasha of last year

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  200. Chris J – Jackson hasn’t made any adjustments? LOL. Apparently you haven’t actually been watching the games. On the Lakersblog, some are complaining because he is making too many adjustments.

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  201. Artest doesn’t even have his eyes open on some of those shots.

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  202. I really don’t understand how the Lakers could play this bad. Almost everyone predicted Lakers in 5, and look where we are now.

    Having lost Game 1, it didn’t worry me much. The Lakers are a good road team and (now hopefully) will win one in Houston. The thing that worries me is HOW they’re losing and HOW they lost Game 1, and now, especially, HOW the Lakers can’t seem to pull it together.

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  203. I got a chuckle out of Eddie House saying the Celtics don’t use bush league tactics.

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  204. The lakers really need a Eddie House type player off the bench, a role player that will hit open 3’s. We thought Sasha was that player but apparently 07-08 Sasha was a figment of my imagination. The Rockets don’t respect any Laker shooters and have basically packed it in and dared the lakers role players to beat them.

    I hate to say this but with Bynum playing like Olawakandi, and Farmar, Fisher, and Sasha incapable of hitting open shots, last year Lakers were a better team then this years team…

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  205. Zephid, I have said many positive things about this team, Kobe is amazing, but does that really need to be said?? Gasol has been ok, but as for everyone else, they have plaid badly the whole night, most notibly the bench, which is my book, is now a big weakness for this team.

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  206. I just hope that Pau can hang in for the rest of the game, because Bynum is offering nothing out there.

    That was awful, but I have to think that we can’t play any worse. The game’s tied. Think of it as a two quarter game. But hell, this is really a two quarter season right here.

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  207. Yes Man, no real Laker fan would say the series is over before halftime of game two. That’s how you get called out for trolling. Simple.

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  208. 207–Fisher is hitting his shots. He’s 3-4.

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  209. @ yes man
    if ur not trolling, then i think ur panicking too soon. its a tied game at halftime. we saw how well they can play in the 1st. the rockets are definitely a tough opponent that have a legit chance at winning, but i think some of it is the lakers fault just for losing focus. phil using random lineups never used before doesnt help either. i have a feeling theyll come out strong in the 3rd.

    …even tho optimism can be slightly delusional, it cant hurt 😉

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  210. We’re panicking quite a bit and I’m sure with hindsight some of our comments will seem twisted by panic and the heat of the moment, so I may regret saying this – but a lot of this is on Phil. He can’t make guys make shots, but Adelman has outcoached him so far in this series (admittedly, their personnel allows them to exploit mismatches better than ours does).

    194 – I was actually thinking along similar lines. The Rockets and Pistons are very little alike basketball wise but the situation is the same. Underestimated, tough, scrappy defensive team.

    I hate getting blindsided like this. It’s a worse feeling than when we were the underdogs against the Suns.

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  211. Rafer Alston shouldn’t get suspended, but a fine of say……$25K would work.

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  212. The difference in this game is that the Rockets are getting the production from the exact players they need it from considering Yao and Brooks have been non-factors. Landry and Wafer hit shots to close the gap and then give the Rockets the lead. Meanwhile Odom, Sasha, and Ariza have been relatively quiet (with only Ariza flashing any punch waaaay back in the 1st quarter). Someone (or someones) are going to have to help out Kobe/Gasol or this game is going to be too close for comfort for the entire 2nd half.

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  213. I think Odom expended all his energy while walking to Staples…
    Bynum situation is mainly a confidence and mental factor. Not sure how he gets up for games, but not supporting the team in huddles and sulking is evident on his face.
    3rd QTR efficiency is extremely important and the series is on the line now…we better start hustling and throwing some weight around. We’re getting pushed around by “undrafted” and 2nd round journeymen.

    Sorry for venting like this…

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  214. i’m diggin that pocket hankerchief thing in harlan’s pocket. let’s see more transition and more pau gasol. and a few three’s landing wouldn’t hurt either.

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  215. I was going to hold off on posting at all during this game, but I’m just too stressed out by that second quarter! Landry and Artest are both hotter than either player has any right to be! Meanwhile, Ariza, Luke, Fish, and the rest of our shooters can’t get an open look to go down. I mean, things HAVE to even out, the law of averages is just on our side, but I am losing hair waiting for it to happen! Again, I found myself immensely frustrated by the Lakers losing ground when Yao was sitting.

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  216. Rockets shooting 63% eFG% for the game. Pace now back to 92 possessions for the game (one slower than last game). Simply, the Lakers need to defend and convert that into points in transition.

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  217. Thank you Kurt. 🙂

    Now, back to business. We do not have a problem with softness. “Soft” and “tough” are lame labels people use when they need a cop-out and feel too lazy to actually think and analyze. Our problem is one of a short attention span. We lose focus the moment things have gone our way for ten points or more. If we could just stop being so f-ing complacent once we get the lead we would own this game by now.

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  218. Alas, Artest is allowed to go left.

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  219. i dont think ive ever seen artest be so efficient…hopefully he cant keep it up

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  220. brilliant ball movement on that first possession.

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  221. @ 214 E-ROC, I say you’ve got to suspend him, even though it was open handed and not that hard, Skip was clearing not doing anything except trying to incite some further fighting. I mean, maybe he caught an elbow there, I can’t really tell, but that could have exploded into a much worse situation and the NBA can’t let it stand…

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  222. 214. Slap to the head? I want the Magic to win but you HAVE to suspend Alston. That is as good as a punch.

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  223. calls starting to go our way…

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  224. Good point, Nick the Great.

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  225. #225,
    They didn’t suspend Rondo, so why suspend Alston? Note that I have not seen the situation, I’m merely being difficult. 😉

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  226. gotta like how we’re starting this half. phew. i wasn’t the jinx!

    much more active defense.

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  227. a fisher 3, an ariza block albeit a pau miss…good!

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  228. Kurt, you’re rooting for the Magic and not for the opportunity to get revenge in the Finals?

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  229. Gasol needs to block that Artest layup.

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  230. exhelodrvr — maybe I should rephrase it: Phil’s not making any effective adjustments, in terms of getting through to this team. How many times will they play smart for a quarter, then go completely away from what had been successful.

    They worked the offense through Pau in the first quarter and good things happened (with thanks to Kobe’s hot shooting). Second quarter, they went away from Pau, went away from crashing the boards, and look where that got them.

    Where’s the desire? Where’s the smart game plan? It’s up to the coaches to instill that, and this team has seldom shown that in these playoffs.

    When’s the last time Houston played stupidly? If they get beat, it’s because the other team is doing more things right. When the Lakers lose/play poorly, it’s more often because they’ve quit doing things right.

    I’m pissed now so maybe I’m not totally rational. But this has got to turn around quickly of it’s summer vacation.

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  231. dear ariza. your shooting card has been revoked. please turn it in to the front desk.

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  232. I think Kobe has come to the conclusion he’s going to have to go supernova for four games to win this series…

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  233. kobe burning the rockets… hopefully that opens up things.

    don’t want to see kobe have to do this night in and out

    tonight, he can not afford a cold spell

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  234. Whoa there Jorge. Troll a bit more obviously, would you?

    in other news, Kobe still it The Man. The Mamba.

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  235. we cannot CANNOT rely on kobe to keep hitting these jumpers. others need to keep pushing. keep pushing. don’t just rely on kobe.

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  236. Can we hire battier as a defensive coach when he retires?

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  237. If Battier is guarding Odom, Odom needs pin his ass in the post and do work. But Kobe has everything covered. 😀

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  238. Jon, the Cavs are coming out of the East, not the Celtics. And I hate the Celtics. I wanted them to not make the playoffs. I wanted them to lose to the Bulls. I want them to lose to Orlando. I want humiliation. I want Bill Simmons to cry.

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  239. I just want to know why we are walking the ball up after a rebound….

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  240. Give the ball to Kobe, his shot is falling right now

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  241. like KB said, “relax”, guys

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  242. can kobe please drive the ball instead of shooting outside shots

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  243. i agree… this is one case in which kobe has to take over since no one else is stepping up. but i’m concerned cos i don’t know if he can keep it up for the whole of the third and fourth. bad things will happen again if phil sits him.

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  244. kobe will only stay this hot if he gets a substantial break in the 4th or end of 3rd

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  245. On a side note, I heard the NBA cares.

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  246. Apparently this Bryant character can score some… I hate having given up that lead, but I at least like what the Lakers are doing to respond. Pau’s jumper is falling some and it’s going to force the defense (read: Yao) to spread a little, giving Kobe more room to operate, and dude is just torching Battier at present…

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  247. i’m w/ you on #240, Kurt!

    @lakergirl: that make’s two of us! i say push push push!

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  248. The Rockets FT defense has been amazing tonight. Everyone on the Lakers are missing FTs.

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  249. @ 241 Kurt – the thought of a broken hearted Simmons is what keeps me going on bad days…

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  250. Now that’s how you attack the basket.

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  251. Love Lamar going straight at Yao.

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  252. Does Yao even have any points????

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  253. attack yao now!

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  254. That would have been SO PRETTY.

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  255. Lakers need to attack the basket more and get to the FT line

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  256. We can’t lose to a team with Brian Cook on it. We can’t.

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  257. yao’s out. let’ get the most out of this and not the 2Q all over again!

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  258. Odom showing some desire out there. I like it.

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  259. If the Celts have no chance of beating Cleveland, wouldn’t you rather allow squeaky-voiced Simmons and Bostonians false hope in return for a greater stomach punch of a loss (to use the admittedly funny Simmons’ phrase) against LeBrawn?

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  260. odom (to yao): sitdown boy!

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  261. Wow Ron Artest is playing at a Kobe like level!!!

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  262. Artest earned a little grin after that shot… Of course, Kobe is earning some smiles of his own.

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  263. i cant stress how much i love fisher

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  264. Now that’s how you go for an offensive rebound. Great job Ariza.

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  265. Trev is so good when active.

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  266. I was catching up on some of the earlier comments from the 2nd quarter as we were losing that first big lead. My favorite Chicken Little moment was probably when somebody posted that the Lakers were “literally falling apart.” If any of our guys lost a limb, I must have missed it.

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  267. Houston is still hitting some shots, but they are tough, contested ones. I can live with that.

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  268. That’s what I want to see from Ariza. Use your quickness to beat Scola.

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  269. It takes a lot of stregnth to tie up Artest he is big guy, but so is fisher (not as tall though but solid).

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  270. cant someone just throw a drink at artest, we need him to enter the tyson zone quickly

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  271. Make Scola finish with his left hand.

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  272. Im glad we came out good, but thats to be expected. Key question is, can we keep it up?

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  273. This is what I’ve wanted to see from Kobe on the P&R. Attack the hedger and try to turn the corner. That’s twice he’s drawn fouls on Hayes on the hedge.

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  274. Wow who would have thought that Odom couldn’t guard Scola

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  275. The key is our defense. We won’t beat houston unless we start getting consistent stops. Everything hinges on this.

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  276. Now that the Lakers are up by a few points, is it time for them to slack off again?

    (kidding)

    0

  277. wow, almost all rockets shots came from the right side (?) of the court and most were misses.

    attack and take a trip down to free throw lane

    0

  278. This third quarter is very much an improvement over the second. Love the focus and how we’re starting to go for the jugular. Hit the weak spot! Hit them where it hurts!

    0

  279. The Lakers are getting to the line tonight. When you can do that against the Rockets, who built a defense around not fouling, you are in good shape.

    0

  280. R,
    Do not jinx this!!!

    0

  281. What is Kobe doing? Rotate!

    0

  282. wow, artest is mighty efficient tonight. he’s been keeping it close.

    0

  283. Wow poor rotations there, no rotation actually. Can’t leave a hot Artest wide open.

    0

  284. what ever happened to that height advantage in the front court when Yao goes to the bench…hmmm…
    And nice defensive rotations leaving Ron Ron wide open for 3’s
    Phil better say the right things in this time out

    0

  285. Has Artest always been a lights out shooter?

    0

  286. Ok, so maybe Gasol should’ve rotated off the stiff known as Chuck Hayes and get to Artest?

    0

  287. That three was all on Kobe and Odom, I just replayed it and they both went into the paint and played freelance defense near Scola, leaving Ariza out high with Battier and Artest.

    0

  288. what happened to the real ron artest?? this cant be him

    0

  289. I must say Artest is wowing me out there. I’m praying something sets him off.

    0

  290. E-Roc,
    Kobe was out of position but was at least helping on the baseline. We were in scramble mode and really that’s Gasol’s rotation but he stuck to Hayes. Kobe was only out of position because he got sucked in on Brooks’ penetration. I wouldn’t put that one on #24.

    0

  291. The Lakers are a half-step slow right now on their rotations.

    0

  292. And Kobe dribbles into a corner

    0

  293. rockets playing with a lot of confidence.

    0

  294. Scola can not guard Gasol, why are we not gong to Gasol on the block.

    0

  295. Look at the +/- and it looks like so many Lakers games at the end of the season — every starter in double-digit +, every bench player in the -, while the Rockets are in reverse.

    0

  296. Here we go again.No Yao ,no touchs for Pau.It s driving me crazy¡

    0

  297. I love Collins throwing a Butch & Sundance quote in there. Right now the difference seems to me that the Rockets are hitting their open threes and the Lakers are not. As I said, at some point that will even out!

    0

  298. kurt, is there any point trying to predict when lamar is going to have a good series, it seems entirely random to me

    0

  299. The Rockets do a great job of bodying players without fouling.

    0

  300. There are a lot of fantasy players watching this game and thinking “where was this Artest all season?”

    0

  301. The Rockets looked like they traveled twice on that last possession.

    0

  302. We’ll take that call.

    0

  303. This is fun.

    It may be nerve-wracking, but this is a dogfight. It reminds me of the old Kings series, or battles against the Spurs. A real gritty battle against an equal, worthy team.

    0

  304. and that one

    0

  305. How long will Kobe be out resting?

    0

  306. Kurt, the funny thing about Artest is that I think he’s a player that’s built for the playoffs. It’s a lot harder to go astray mentally when you see the same guy on the other side of the court every other night. And when you look at his team success when they actually reach the post season and he’s done well.

    BTW, beautiful pass by Luke.

    0

  307. OMG, I could swear I just saw a beautiful execution of the offense.

    0

  308. L.O.! Show some aggression!

    0

  309. Sasha and Scola with the battle of the Hair!

    0

  310. LMAO did anyone see Jack on the sidelines trying to calm the refs down?

    0

  311. joey crawford…it was just a matter of time before techs were called

    0

  312. LOL, even the refs are pushing Scola away.

    0

  313. The Houston Rockets definitely have the Lakers attention!!!

    0

  314. I would pay at least $20 to hear a transcript of that chirping.

    0

  315. wow! what happened? so many technical fouls!

    0

  316. Especially after watching Luke’s Life as a Laker videos.

    0

  317. Ha. Odom. All smiles all the time. Dude has fun out there.

    Ok, I don’t get why Powell is in there. Maybe Mbenga can do better.

    0

  318. What’s obvious is that Phil has lost all confidence in Bynum.

    0

  319. All that chirping and missed the free throws.

    0

  320. That’s a flop

    0

  321. Oh wow.

    Wow wow wow.

    That was uncharacteristic. I’ve never seen that from Fish.

    0

  322. wow…that was some serious acting. i mean fish is strong, but scola’s twice his size

    0

  323. Oh, man. Fisher with the shot to Scola.

    0

  324. Fish can lay a hit

    0

  325. bring in shanwow.

    0

  326. FISH! Linebacker hit. That was a de-cleater.

    0

  327. Ah, Fisher no need for that.

    0

  328. This is getting really, really physical now. It’s detracting from our game now. Lamar missing the FTs, Fish gone. This is uncharacteristic.

    0

  329. That’s my man, Fisher. Hopefully, the team will wake the hell up. Will that be a suspension?

    0

  330. What’s wrong with Yao?

    0

  331. Fisher is going to be tossed

    0

  332. Are they ejecting him!?! That is completely uncalled for! Scola flopped that worse than a dying fish!

    0

  333. This could be a rallying point for both teams. Lets see who grabs the reigns.

    0

  334. wow. fish is out.

    0

  335. Flagrant foul 2? Just looking at the play-by-play. What happened, please?

    0

  336. This false toughness thing of the last couple of minutes is going to come back to haunt the Lakers!

    0

  337. i dont know if that was really stupid by fish or good for sending a message

    0

  338. No, this is bush league folks and Lakers are a team. This is not toughness. This is if you can’t beat them, pummel them.

    0

  339. wow. so fish will be out next game?

    0

  340. i hope he doesnt get suspended, we need his experice and clutchness

    0

  341. Did Doug Collins just make the same point as me?

    0

  342. Wow Sasha. Excited much? I did that once in a Y game in 5th grade and have never done that since.

    0

  343. That’s what I’m talking about. Fish just sent a message that all this soft talk about the Lakers is b******t. And more pt for Shannon.

    0

  344. Not sure if that was smart or not, but it had spine and toughness, and it made me pump my fist and grin.

    Much needed demonstration of stones. Now let’s show some brains and heart.

    0

  345. How about that for soft?

    0

  346. We need to play ball and not get caught up in being “tough”

    0

  347. I don’t know about this, I worried about Fish checking Brooks after game one like everybody else, but we can use his shooting in the fourth. Now does anybody know if there could be a suspension coming for Fish after a flagrant two like that? It’s a concern for me.

    0

  348. I’m wondering what made Fish decide he should do that. That play totally reminded me of Zidane in the World Cup.

    0

  349. Go FISH!! I love it. That’s what this team needs…someone to light a fire.

    0

  350. Fishy just dopped a 187 on a mothafuggin rocket.

    0

  351. does this mean kobe has to be a supernova again come game 3 in a fairly hostile houston arena?

    0

  352. Cmon Fish, you’re a vet. Could have got him some other time, that was way too blatant. Cheap shots don’t make you tough…

    0

  353. I think Fish could have been a little more crafty in leveling that foul.

    0

  354. if this doesnt pump the team up, i dont know WHAT WILL! Fish just stuck up for all of them…u go tiger

    0

  355. Ugh, now the bench.

    0

  356. If the lakers didn’t have a rep of being a soft team that backs down to toughness then Fisher wouldn’t have done that, he’s definitely sending a message that there is no way they are going out the way they did last year.

    0

  357. Zephid, its just stupid if you ask me. Up by double digits, the last thing to do is to do something to get ejected and give the other team free throws and possessions to get back in the game. Though, Fisher is tough, we all knew that.

    0

  358. Wow, serious? You guys honestly think Fish thought, “Let me show my toughness”? I percevied it as “Don’t f*** with my teammates!”

    0

  359. That was not the ideal time for us to give the Rockets free points with the technical and flagrant foul … I hope it doesn’t become a factor in the game’s outcome.

    0

  360. kmart did something similar to dirk and it fueled the nuggets. lets hope it does the same for the lakers.

    imo, fisher usually fights tough through screens, it just so happens that scola didnt fight the contact and fell. that, and fisher raised his elbow quite a bit. i wouldn’t say it was vicious, it just had a bit more umph to it.

    0

  361. Fish thought he was play hockey and gave Scola shoulder check. A bit unexpected from Fisher.

    0

  362. Do you guys even realize how much brotherhood between the guys is going to come as a result of that f*&#king awesome hit?

    0

  363. Now the articles tomorrow won’t be about being tough. It’ll be about being unintelligent. The media, gotta love it.

    0

  364. He better not be suspended- it was a good hit but Scola for sure flopped. Phil knows how to sell this.

    0

  365. wow…ron artest makes that same play and doug collins would spend two minutes denigrating him. But because it’s derek fisher, it’s somehow commendable. fine if you want to hit someone hard, but that was bush league. I agree with emh…could have been a lot more crafty.

    0

  366. Great Wall- I agree. All that fugazy crap is clown shoes. Lets just blow them out and talk about toughness later.

    Ominous start to the quarter.

    0

  367. Can’t crowd lowry at the 3 line.

    0

  368. Uh oh, the dreadful second unit…..

    0

  369. I think Fish might get suspended. He raised his elbow pretty high.

    0

  370. theshmoes,
    So what you’re saying is Scola flopped very blatantly which made it look like an ejection-worthy foul? *innocently*

    0

  371. Funny. Lakers got it bad. When they play tough, it’s called fake toughness or pummeling. when other teams do it, it’s tough. Can’t win them all.

    Bynum comes in and it’s a free drive through the lane. Bynum needs to d-up.

    Stop with the early fouling already.

    0

  372. Interesting that Phil is going with Farmar to start the fourth here and not Brown. How huge would it be for Jordan if he produced…

    0

  373. wow…amazing tip

    0

  374. How is this lineup in the game right now?

    0

  375. and now the refs are punishing the lakers for fish’s foul. love those nba refs.

    0

  376. And dammit Reed, I’m hating you cause you look right about Drew

    0

  377. For God s sake Phil¡It s 4th quarter of game 2.Bring Kobe and Pau back RIGHT NOW

    0

  378. Blatant travel by Luke- lucky that didn’t get called.

    0

  379. Yeehaw!!!! Go Luke and Sasha!!

    0

  380. Three fouls in the first two minutes. Great, hustle by Jordan though to hit the court…

    0

  381. Ron Artest, you are not Kobe Bryant.

    0

  382. Great defense.

    0

  383. This is why Fisher makes that foul, Joe. Look at our team play. Look at the effort.

    0

  384. Luke Walton: “X Factor”?

    0

  385. That’s what makes Lamar so good- coast to coast and the pretty dish from the 6’11 dude.

    0

  386. That’s some life from our bench.

    Farmar is doing what we thought he should do at the start of the year.

    0

  387. If Farmar ends up being the difference-maker in this 4th quarter, I’m not sure there’s much that could make me happier …

    0

  388. The Lakers are digging and getting strips. Its nice to see. All those plays were going to the Rockets on Monday and in the 2nd quarter tonight. We need more of that.

    0

  389. Though he should’ve thrown it down in Brooks’ face.

    0

  390. now they gotta prepare for the inevitable rocket run…

    0

  391. welcome back bench mob. we’ve been anticipating your arrival.

    0

  392. Luke is getting his body in front of Artest, Ron thinks he can just take him and Luke is being physical, and that keyed the last couple turnovers, slowing the drive and letting the help get there.

    0

  393. Honestly, it’s these last two plays by Luke on Artest that make me feel like he can be effective against Ron. Lukes got a big enough body to take the hit and Luke also lacks the quickness to over react to Ron’s herky jerky style (if that makes sense). And how about Farmar with some hustle!

    0

  394. LOL, Sasha was attempting a dunk and then realize it wasn’t going to happen and save himself from embarrassment with a nice lay in. Sasha dunking is a rarity.

    0

  395. farmar! for more! ..am typing in lower case as not to jinx him.

    this is a must-win game so i guess i would be more fired up if this were game 3 at houston

    0

  396. Tell me no damn it! Tell me no! Come on fish take a damned bow you deserve the credit for this 4th quarter blowout!

    0

  397. I can’t remember the last time the Lakers second unit forced the opposing team to call time out

    0

  398. harrydoballin May 6, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    farmar playin shannon brown defense of 3 weeks ago = me likey

    0

  399. Exactly! I felt Luke was our best option against Paul Pierce too, because his lack of foot speed isn’t as huge a concern, but Luke’s so strong and uses his body very effectively.

    0

  400. Whoaaaaaaaaa, Von getting banished to the locker room. That’s insane!

    0

  401. Some things about Wafer apparently don’t change.

    0

  402. Artest was using his size and strength advantage to bully his way into the lane, he can’t do that against Walton. Obviously Walton is not as quick or athletic as Ariza but he is stronger.

    0

  403. That was clean. We’re already in the penalty?

    0

  404. I think fish’s foul was stupid. Ron Artest driving into the lane and coughing up the ball does not = great chemistry caused by Fish playing tough.

    It’s a good defensive lineup, and the rockets are playing right into it.

    0

  405. Tough call for Luke.

    0

  406. The three blind mice are delirious at the moment because of the 3rd quarter.

    0

  407. it seems like theres a foul called every time someone strips the ball from yao…that one looked clean to me

    0

  408. Fronting Yao in the 4th, typical of Phil to change the strategy in the 4th. It’s working well so far.

    That chick in the 2nd row sitting back and giggling through all of this needs to give me her ticket. Jeez, lazy fans tick me off like no other.

    0

  409. Von Wafer is banished by his own coach, our bench has founds its ba… er, mojo, Fisher energizes everyone by showing how to fight in the playoffs…!

    I like this game better now. 🙂

    0

  410. Refs are going to call those bumps way out on the court. Time to adjust. Also, I’m liking Drew’s effort on D against Yao. He’s doing a good job of fronting and that position he’s fighting for is enabling him to show against guards when they penetrate. He needs to rebound though.

    0

  411. WTF IS THIS FOULS BEING CALLED ON THE LAKERS? ARE WE PLAYING ON THE ROAD?

    0

  412. farmar with brown and kobe.. WOW!

    phil is either showing some tricks or is having a hard time.

    we’re in penalty…not good/

    0

  413. Get Bynum out of the game. He’s not healthy and can’t hang right now.

    0

  414. Houston’s Already in the bonus not good for the Lakers.

    0

  415. These touch fouls are outrageous.

    0

  416. Fouling Yao = 2 points

    0

  417. Bynum was playing some good defense there for a bit. Hopefully he can bring that energy next game.

    0

  418. I’m happy to see Landry go to the bench.

    0

  419. yao with only 6??? anyway, he and bynum can cancel each other out

    0

  420. Great box out by Luke.

    0

  421. the refs are trying to take this f*kn game away.

    btw. adelman sent wafer to the locker room

    0

  422. Farmar is having a good game. Really making use of his minutes.

    0

  423. Wow. Luke.

    0

  424. Hell yeah- T him up.

    0

  425. Ron is going nuts! You had to know this was gonna happen eventually during this series.

    0

  426. Its the Joey Crawford show

    0

  427. What happened there?

    0

  428. The old Artest is back, new the nice Artest act couldn’t last forever.

    0

  429. And that’s why you put Kobe on RonRon

    0

  430. Well, it was only a matter of time before Artest melted down like this.

    0

  431. artest ejected! WOWOW! go kbe!

    0

  432. Wow, Ron-Ron cracked.

    This may be the breaking point for the series.

    0

  433. There is the Ron-Ron we know.

    0

  434. Wow. Everyone is getting into it. Artest is out too. who else? Kobe with a T?

    0

  435. Artest is gone

    0

  436. Uh, Ron went nutz!

    Again, I say- Luke Walton: X-Factor?

    0

  437. Jekyll and Hyde. Wow.

    0

  438. The games in Houston will be interesting.

    0

  439. Did they just eject Ron Artest?

    Way to go Kobe. Way to go. 🙂

    0

  440. Stu Jackson in the buildin’!

    0

  441. Stu Jackson in the stands texting David Stern: “Crazy Pills has to go.”

    LOVE the reaction from Kobe. No talking, no anger, nothing. We need that focus.

    0

  442. WOWWWWWWWW this game is CRAZYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY im lovin it holy moly

    0

  443. If I was artest I would be mad too. Kobe did hit him with a bow to the throat

    0

  444. Who is Stu Jackson texting? Booty call?

    0

  445. man… turning out to be an ugly game…

    kobe got away with one there.

    0

  446. Great work on Yao.Keep going Pau¡

    0

  447. Oh wow. I really, really, really hope they won’t suspend Kobe for that elbow. That would suck beyond words.

    0

  448. It looks like Kobe caught him with an elbow, but even Artest has to know better then to RUN ACROSS COURT to get in Kobe’s grill! The foul situation still has me nervous, especially with Yao getting to the line.

    0

  449. this games gonna take a while to end with all these whistles…

    0

  450. Is Stu Jackson looking more and more like Lawrence Fishbourn?

    0

  451. This game is on Phil Jackson. His insistance on mass substitutions in the 2nd & 4th qtrs is costing us so many points and so many fouls that it could wind up costing us the game.

    0

  452. Its going to be a whistle and FT fest from now on.

    0

  453. Did Yao put that ball in for the Lakers?

    We’re going to let them back into this game if we keep fouling.

    0

  454. joey crawford needs to retire

    0

  455. nice attack by shannon on yao…that’s 5 fouls and the houston meltdown for ya.

    that’s why kobe is a perennial 1st-team defender. lock-down til u backdown or like here, crackdown.

    0

  456. Is Kobe gonna get reprimanded for elbow?

    battier’s stupid smirk irritates the hell out of me.

    0

  457. Now the refs are just flaunting their authority. No reason for a T there

    0

  458. “You can’t guard me.” equals a technical?

    0

  459. man I guess battier can do just about anything he wants and not get a foul…what a terrible game by the refs

    0

  460. @451 Mimsy – Kobe won’t get suspended for that elbow, it was just him trying to grapple for position, no malice behind it. Also, that last tech was garbage..

    0

  461. I think Joey Crawford just gave me a technical here on my couch.

    0

  462. refs sure are trying to put reign on this emotion driven game…

    but looks to be way too trigger happy with their whistles…

    0

  463. we need those “kobe says ‘you can’t guard me’ ” shirts too

    0

  464. 9 point lead is good. we don’t need a brooks explosion though.

    0

  465. I wonder what they’ll do to Crazy Pills since he actually ran at Kobe to confront him.

    0

  466. Yahoo sports says it’s a “taunting foul”.. what’s that?

    0

  467. I’d wear a Kobe says “you can’t guard me” shirt.

    0

  468. Time to put Yao out of the game.Balls to the post

    0

  469. Can’t have the fans wear the “you can’t guard me” shirts or Joey will throw everyone out.

    0

  470. The refs lost control of this game so now they are gonna call everything

    0

  471. And that elbow by Fish could be the turning point in this series one way or the other.

    0

  472. is it just me, or does this game remind you guys of the 2002 lakers against adelman’s kings?

    0

  473. I think Fish being thrown out is exactly what Farmar needed. Now he gets extended minutes and he gets the chance to get into a rhythm. Once Shannon showed he was capable, Phil put the leash on Jordan and every mistake was getting him yanked. But I give Farmar credit in that he’s responding well to this extra responsibility and is playing very controlled.

    0

  474. Anyone else tired of the Rockets making miraculous clock-beating shots?

    0

  475. #464, Nick,
    Agreeing on both…though wishing very hard for the first and cussing a bit at the second. 😉 I literally choked on my beer a that technical, that was the most ticky-tacky let’s-compensate-you-for-tossing-one-of-your-players T I’ve seen in a long time. And those should not happen in the playoffs.

    0

  476. They’re calling it tight to prevent this thing from getting out of control.

    0

  477. The NBA has gotten soft. Jordan spent his whole career telling cats much worse than you can guard me. And those Bulls/Knicks playoff games were 100x more physical than this and there were no ejections. Just break it up and get back out there

    0

  478. No way Kobe’s suspended- it was part of a box out motion. But it does raise the question of whether Fish will be suspended to make it seem like the league is coming down on the Lakers. Given the Fishman’s recent play, I’m not sure this is a bad thing, given Fisher’s recent play, and as it would give the young guys a chance to show what they can do. Obviously we will need Fisher’s veteran clutch play and shooting later in this season and our championship run.

    0

  479. Luuuuke!

    0

  480. Come on Kurt… you know I’m right. Maybe the girl comment was overboard but you get my point.

    0

  481. WOW!!! Luke Walton has definitely made a difference tonight

    0

  482. man..this game’s ugly, regardless if we win it

    0

  483. Finally someone finishes the fastbreak. go Kobe!

    0

  484. this is the kobe play we need. and 1s strong to the hoop!

    0

  485. Yao and Landry fighting each other for the rebound.

    0

  486. Fisher’s WWF move is my favorite play of the season. No question. It caused me to stand with pride and love.

    0

  487. that was awesome.

    0

  488. KOBE- WHAT

    0

  489. WOOOOWWW!!!

    0

  490. Oh my god. that was awesome.

    0

  491. yao had a dunk, but brought the ball to his knees. bonehead.

    0

  492. OMG! Kobe with the off the board pass to himself! Where Awesome happens.

    0

  493. ShanWoW, Farmar, Walton-Kudos.

    0

  494. I think we’ll see a lot of Pau on Yao this series. great matchup for the Lakers.

    0

  495. Holy crap, what is this the All-Star Game!

    0

  496. That was a tremendous re-post by Yao. Reminiscent of Shaq.

    0

  497. Farmar coming alive as well.

    0

  498. And1 on Yao

    0

  499. I’m really curious what the TNT guys will have to say should the Lakers win this one. I get the impression that Chuck will like all of the hard-nosed stuff.

    0

  500. I have never seen a move like that move Kobe pulled off.

    0

  501. that play by Kobe was as sick as I’ve been feeling last couple days.

    0

  502. this win should be gift wrapped because of kobe and pau to an extent. all the rest need a day off and again rethink their roles here. phil needs a clear plan on defense that will not involve take downs and egos exploding.

    0

  503. Amaing Kobe.Fantastic¡
    Great work of Pau over Yao plus good numbers.
    The way to the 4-1

    0

  504. 176 – I was thinking the same thing. tough series that was.

    0

  505. Oh wow. I had no idea Kobe could do that. I’m pretty sure he broke a few laws of physics on that play.

    0

  506. all they do is talk and try to look good

    0

  507. Great pressure D by the Lakers tonight, it’s led to 13 more shots taken by the Lakers. Huge.

    0

  508. game’s not through yet. gotta finish this strong & gain momentum going into G3 @ HOU

    0

  509. Let’s be honest, if the league really wanted to suspend both Kobe and Fisher, they can. Fisher’s flagrant was blatant, not much to argue there. Kobe’s “boxing out” motion was a quick back hit with the elbow before he went up. If you watch, Artest was all over Kobe’s back, so frustration was understandable.

    Oh yeah, Ron Ron could be suspended, if they really want to. Ron Artest could have ignited a whole new level of confrontation with that move there.

    0

  510. fisher should be suspended for game 3 and so should kobe…..same elbow throwing that got dwight howard suspended for a game

    0

  511. Has LO even played the 4th quarter?

    0

  512. let’s not get too careless to close out the game now.

    come on lakers! finish strong!

    0

  513. Dwight’s was after the play was over and much more blatant. Don’t suspend Ron or Kobe. Maybe Fisher.

    0

  514. Ejections, you cant guard claims, elbows, and now….taco chants.

    0

  515. Yao decks Lowry. Awesome!

    0

  516. Dwights was after a rebound….same as this

    0

  517. This one’s had it all. And a crucial W.

    0

  518. the crowd is chanting “defense” instead of “tacos”.

    0

  519. I think the Lakers are on to something by going small in the 4th

    0

  520. instead of competing for PT, live with each other shanwow and jordan…what a result! should be a wrap.

    am a bit more confident now about us taking game 3 and well, add game 4

    0

  521. did kobe get the supernova ovation?

    0

  522. Game 3 will definitely be different

    0

  523. 525. Archon – We also had the benefit of having Artest ejected for most of the courter and Yao sitting at 5 fouls. It makes it easier for those little guys to get into the paint under those circumstances…

    0

  524. That is the Brian Cook I remember.

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  525. Okay, that makes me irritated. If your team mate is down and injured, you call a time out. Classy, Houston. Classy.

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  526. I don’t think Ariza played in the 4th quarter either.

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  527. I’ve got to give it up to Phil and the guys whose numbers he called to close out this game. Luke, Farmar, and WOW played with poise and with extreme effort. They made the simple plays and were active on defense.

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  528. fisher should be suspended for game 3 and so should kobe…..same elbow throwing that got dwight howard suspended for a game

    ===

    No. Not hardly. DH’s was just an elbow strike. This was just a box-out that wasn’t even called as a foul. If he got hit in the throat that hard, he wouldn’t have been able to run over to the ref to whine, and then run across the floor to jaw at Kobe.

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  529. There was a lot of fighting in this game. didn’t care for it much, but I’m glad for the win. Sheesh. I hope no one gets suspended. I’m not so sure about Fish though.

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  530. Dwight’s was a much different motion. He watched the ball go through the hoop, turned around, and then threw an overhand elbow (almost like a punch, without the extended hand). Kobe’s was just a quick bow as the ball was going through the hope- could be passed off as a boxout motion.

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  531. closed fist to the face=no suspension
    elbow to the head=suspension?
    confrontation after ejection=suspension?

    we will find out soon~
    NBA: we know drama~

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  532. Kobe is being very democratic in the post-game. “We’re just playing basketball, there’s alot of contact” and (on Fish) “I didn’t see it, so I don’t know.”

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  533. deep breath.

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  534. Vanessa in the buildin’!

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  535. Lakers in 5 or 6.

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  536. Nick,
    He’s just being smart. He’s not saying anything that can get him in trouble, he’s saving that for on the court in Houston 😉

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  537. Fish looked pretty dapper in his suit. All cleaned up nice and early.

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  538. he has to be democratic. he doesnt wanna say he and fish were wrong, but he doesnt wanna get fined by the nba for disagreeing w/ the refs either

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  539. did anyone else hear doug collins say he’s seen kobe do that lots of times? I think Doug just has to sound like the guy who’s seen it all.

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  540. @ 535 actually I love this kind of bball. Physical, intense, much better than the lackadaisical boring play you find on most nights in the regular season

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  541. Yeah how did b.cook get on this squad.. hahaha i hate him

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  542. @anon – I stand corrected, although the spirit in which I made my comment still stands!

    The pressure’s on us to win (at least) one in Houston now, but I feel confident that LA can regain homecourt. This team hasn’t been one to wilt on the road.

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  543. Well, Fish certainly has a chance to escape suspension. Just look at Rondo. The nba only suspends the tall guys. This could be a watershed moment for clarity from the oh-so-vague flagrant rules.

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  544. Kobe’s public persona is as polished as his game.

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  545. Farmar and frankly the Laker coaching staff should send Fisher a thank you card.

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  546. @Joel R
    i wasnt trying to be a dick or prove u wrong…just thought u might enjoy that

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  547. Kobe said that because it was the right answer. Truthfully, it warrants an ejection, if the league wants it to. Kobe isn’t going to say, “Yes, suspend him” or “No, don’t suspend him.” Good move, Kobe, almost as nice as that shake-n-bake, pass-to-yourself-off-the-backboard move.

    Good enough win, I’ll take it. At least they did not fold, which is what I’m most happy about it.

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  548. Great Googly Moogly May 6, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Here are my observations:

    – The tensions in this game will work to the Lakers advantage. They need this intensity. Especially Lamar and the bench.

    -Farmar needs more burn. He’s a good matchup for Brooks.

    -Artest is a hot head but you have to take the good with the bad. If he brings it the rest of the series, nobody will remember his little blow up.

    -Yao will have a better game 3 and the Rockets will win. But the Lakers will win game 4.

    -I don’t always drink beer. But when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.

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  549. Mighty early to proclaim Lakers in 5 or Lakers in 6. They looked that good tonight? with Artest out most of the 4th quarter, with Yao having a sloppy game, and with a possible suspension against Fish?

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  550. I have to agree with whoever said our bench came back and played with poise. We kept our heads and played well. Let’s hope this is a wake up for them and for the rest of the team.

    Interesting to see how all these ejections and techs pan out.

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  551. @anon – I didn’t take it that way at all, no worries. And I enjoyed it very much!

    0

  552. So, who is going to start game four, Shannon or Jordan? I really have no idea whatsoever…

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  553. Chris,
    The problem is that Vujacic, Farmar, and Walton (to a lesser degree) have been inconsistent all year. Odom fades in and out. Walton is coming off of a minor injury. They are trying to rehab Bynum and work him back into the lineup at the same time, in the middle of a tough playoff series. Gasol and Bryant are tired after not having a break since August of 2007. Fisher can’t guard the opponent’s PG, and his shot has been inconsistent. Brown is still very new to the system. Powell looked really good in garbage time, but not nearly as good in more extended minutes. And you want PJ to know what substitutions to make out of that? It’s a testament to his coaching skill and abilities as a juggler that they have done as well as they have so far this season.

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  554. Nah Fish will be gone. That wasn’t a basketball play. That’s OK, any other loss would be worse.

    What a tough, gritty game. Required supreme execution on both ends to pull it out. This Lakers defense really functions best when forcing turnovers, without TOs we’re not great at contesting shots (at least not without Bynum at his best).

    The key now is coming out hard and aggressive in Game 3, and predicting Houston’s adjustments and countering them.

    Any ideas as to what adjustments Houston will make in Game 3?

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  555. Loved this win. Enough cannot be said about our team’s mettle in the 4th quarter, coming out and taking the win instead of strolling to the end. A few notes:

    1.) I absolutely, absolutely loved Jordan Farmar’s defense on Brooks. I cannot imagine someone playing him any better in the 4th quarter. Farmar and Brown together really took Brooks and Lowry out of their game, and their defensive energy really took Yao, Artest, and Scola out of their comfort zones.

    2.) We needed the FIsher foul. Somebody needed to send the Rockets a message that we weren’t going to let them stroll to the victory; they were going to have to earn it.

    3.) Fronting Yao was excellent; why didn’t we do this earlier? Yao simply could not get the ball when Pau or Andrew Fronted him, and we got lots of steals when Yao actually got the ball and put it on the floor.

    4.) Luke Walton came in and really bodied up on Artest. Artest was having his way with Ariza; Luke came in and really made Artest work for his shots.

    5.) No more minutes for Josh Powell please. I was one of his biggest regular season proponents, but that was the regular season.

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  556. Chuck: “It’s the playoffs. Earnie, I gotta tell you something, I loved this game tonight.”

    I knew this was going to be right in Barkley’s wheel house, I love him. He’s really the best.

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  557. svb,

    We were already up around 10 when Artest was suspended. Yao had a sloppy game because our defense was much improved on him- especially by Pau. And look at Landry’s line: 7-9 from the field? For the Lakers, no one outside of Kobe, Pau, and Fish was in double digits. Lamar had a particularly bad game and Ariza was spotty. I expect performances like this from Kobe in the next few games, and that the Lakers will steal at least one in Houston and either finish there or back in LA for game 6.

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  558. totally agree with chuck right now. in terms of talent, lakers have rockets beat at every position (except center). In terms of toughness, only Fish is better than his man.

    0

  559. Am I just a homer, or does it look like Artest elbows Kobe in the neck on the same play that everyone is talking about Kobe elbowing Artest in the throat?

    Great win by the Lakeshow, Farmar + Shanwow seems like a winning combination. And Bynum? Needs to hit the gym for another week.

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  560. It seems to me that the TNT crew is underrating our supporting cast, we haven’t seen the best they’re gonna play in this series. Odom, Ariza, Bynum, they’re all gonna produce much better than they have thus far. I think the matchups (even aside from Kobe) still favor us! Moral of the story, we don’t need three more nights like this from Kobe, because eventually some other dudes are gonna step up.

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  561. Actually I thought Fish did a great job on Brooks too. He gave him more space, but Fish did a much better job keeping Brooks in check.

    Chuck made a rare semi-salient point. Kobe may really have to do this 3 more times for the Lakers to win. We talked a ton about how the Rockets won’t be able to match the 4th quarter scoring 3 more times in the series, but right now you have to give their defense the benefit of the doubt. They’re showing that it will take a superhuman Kobe effort (plus great efforts from Pau, Lamar, and several others) to take them out. We have to consider it from that viewpoint as well.

    Chuck is dead wrong on the Artest scenario. If that was any other player (other than maybe Harpring), I’d say Kobe was in the wrong. But you simply cannot make a career out of playing as physical as Artest does and not expect some physical grappling and elbows to be thrown. If anything, he threw a hissy fit when the opponent responded with similar physical play.

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  562. rofl Charles Barkley telling Fish to kick him in the balls

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  563. Jon,

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, just saying it’s might premature to assume that this game two is the real guidepost for how the series will go.

    The D on Yao was huge, but I have to believe between he and Adelaman, they’ll figure out a way to (1) adjust to the defense, and (2) not be limited to 26 minutes by fouls.

    You’re going to need Kobe to hit a high percent of tough jumpers…he was on, but the rockets are obviously going to live with him taking contested j’s.

    Ariza – he’ll be solid on the intangibles, but I don’t think his game has come so far in a season for you to be able to depend on him for offense every game.

    Anyhow, you will likely be right. I doubt the Rockets’ ability to match buckets with the Lakers. But their defense on Kobe is exemplary, and that could be enough.

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  564. Uh. Fish is out next game. Dont see too many ways around it. Jordan probably gonna get the start.

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  565. Does anyone expect Von Wafer to crack Adelman’s rotation for the remainder of the series? Could be a small but very real advantage for us if he’s out of the mix.

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  566. The studio crew wants a foul on Kobe on the Artest play? What? Artest’s left arm is draped up on Kobe’s shoulder holding him down.

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  567. Nick – I really do hope you’re right. But Sasha and Farmar have been slumping for far too long to be depended on. Brown’s played fairly as well as we expect. Ariza may pick it up, but you also have to expect a less productive game from Odom/Gasol. I think we’re a bit too comfortable, too confident everyone will show up. I certainly hope it’s the case, but it’s hard to make that assumption given Ariza’s 3 point history, Lamar’s inconsistency, and Fisher’s likely suspension.

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  568. Artest is some character.

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  569. “don’t you know you’re hitting ron artest?” translation: come close to doing that again, and I’ll trade half of next season for the rest of your career.

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  570. Fisher could get suspended. It just depends, I think Stearn flips a coin to decide if someone should get suspended. Jackson is (at leat partially) right Williams did a similar thing to Bynum last series and was only called for a foul. Rondo’s foul on Heinrich where he threw him into the scorers table was just as bad and he didn’t get suspended. So it could go either way.

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  571. Ron Artest really showed some intelligence with his response. He did deserve only a technical, but not an ejection.

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  572. I’m glad I’m not playing against Ron Artest, he is one scary dude. Good thing he’s guarding Kobe in game three and not me, cause I would run under my bed and cry instead of lacing them up…

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  573. Who the hell is Tyler Perry, and why does he have so many unfunny shows?

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  574. As much as we all love Kobe, I think Artest was justified. You can’t let anybody (i don’t care who it is) give you cheap shots and get away with it. He wanted a T, he just didn’t plan on getting ejected by the sensitive refs.

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  575. Fish-Suspended by fashion police- pinstripe suit, random stripes shirt, very random checkered tie.

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  576. He got tossed because he didn’t calm down. He was all up in Joey Crawford’s face.

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  577. Artest is trying so hard to say the right thing. I think Kobe has him owned mentally and that will be a major factor in the rest of the series. We’ve proven we can win in Houston and on the road in the playoffs (against Utah), so I’m not too worried about overcoming the Toyota Center crowd.

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  578. 574-

    Except that by saying that, he upped it to more than half of next season. Premeditation’s a beast.

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  579. Sorry…”he” being artest….Zephid.

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  580. Fish is laying a solid, articulated preemptive defense.

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  581. Big J-
    When you give cheap shots out like skittles, you can’t whine about getting them back.

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  582. Can someone tell me why Phil insists on subbing in 4 people at once at the start of the 2nd & 4th qtrs? Especially when this year’s history shows they are very likely to 1) foul a lot 2) lose any leads accumulated and 3) insure the other team is hot when the starters return.

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  583. This game reminded me of the Cleveland and Boston games this year. We showed something in all of them. I keep telling Houston fans, you will not try to out tough us and win this year. We keep our composure and we’re more talented.

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  584. the other Stephen May 6, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    ron should not have gotten ejected. fisher should probably get suspended. but he did good by me. nothing has changed about him. he’s ALWAYS been the lakers’ enforcer.

    i really agree that if you’re going to dish the physicality, you have to be prepared to take it as well.

    still alot of stupid collapsing, walton in particular. he stands away from his man to shadow yao, but you’ve got to question whether he’s close enough to help with yao, or fast enough to recover to his man.

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  585. Ron Ron is gonna get fined because he won’t shut up.

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  586. I can’t wait to read the headlines in the morning. Those Lakers are a dirty team with their fake physicality. blah…blah….blah.

    Fisher will no doubt be suspended for one game. Starting in his place will probably be Farmar with Brown coming off the bench.

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  587. is artest on drugs? that was one long winded tangental answer.

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  588. I’m with Artest, he should have gotten T’d up and that would have been that. Kobe also should have gotten a personal.

    As per his response, I thought it was very smart, but he’s got to realize that Kobe doesn’t give a hoot in hell who Artest is, he’s going to do whatever he wants.

    Also, I’m not so sure how much the physicality is going to help Houston. Kobe and LO actually seem to wake up when you hit them in the mouth; the only guy who might get bothered significantly is Pau. And when Pau is guarded by Yao then that really wont be a factor.

    Aside: DJ Mbenga is a 7 foot, 255lb. man with a black belt in judo who hails from the war torn nation of Congo. Just sayin’.

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  589. If nothing else, Sasha has contributed by totally getting in Wafer’s head this series. Two straight games absorbing an elbow to the head, culminating with Wafer blowing up and getting sent off by his own coach – I applaud his scrappiness.

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  590. omg, I’m loving Ron Artest’s story-telling. Breaking off a metal chair leg and running it through a guys heart in the middle of a pick-up game back in the hood? Wow, too amazing.

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  591. Other Stephen,

    I disagree. The 1st tech was earned. The 2nd tech was inevitable because the throat slash in the at situation can only be taken one way. The refs were determined to tone the pay down and the throat slash appeared to be a threat.

    Wrong thing to do at the worst time.

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  592. Note to self…Never play with Ron Artest near tables…..

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  593. Ron is sounding a lot like Raja Bell right now.

    Only issue is that Ron is 100 times more dangerous.

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  594. I applaud Odom, Walton, and especially Fisher.

    Those techs did two things:
    1. Brought the team together.
    2. Led the refs to call the game much more closely, especially on the perimeter. And that favors the Lakers.

    Lastly, these incidents are fallout from the league refusing to sanction Rondo for that foul on Miller. When you don’t enforce the law, stuff like this happens.

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  595. Fish looking sooo fresh

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  596. Raja’s just a punk though. Ron’s a little crazy, but he’s true to the game.

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  597. Ron will cool down tomorrow.

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  598. Wow I do enjoy the Dream Shake quite a bit, but let’s just say they’re not on board with Matt Moore’s petition for sanity (look at their latest post).

    Now this feels like a series. I actually like the Rockets quite a bit, and now that Artest has gotten a bit more Artesty, I’m finding it a bit easier to muster up some serious dislike for the Rockets. And Von Wafer is just annoying. Can anyone imagine him and Vujacic in the backcourt? The other team’s heads might explode.

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  599. Don’t let it get lost among the talk of big hits, elbows, and suspensions that Kobe THREW THE BALL OFF THE BACKBOARD TO HIMSELF for an and1 layup during a PLAYOFF GAME.

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  600. Bruinsfan – Kobe Bryant studies Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee’s martial art. He uses it to make him a better offensive player. I think youtube has an interview of Kobe talking about studying the art.

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  601. Just remembered he did that in the Utah series last year too. That dude is ridiculous.

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  602. I am sorry, but Ron Artest is full of crap. Now he’s trying to act like all his actions were justified while at the same time telling us in the post-game interview how he has witnessed someone dying on the basketball court while growing up. No one gives a crap–be professional. And don’t pretend like you don’t love fighting. That’s just your nature. Let’s not forget the Detroit incident now. And so what that you got elbowed? It’s freakin playoff basketball, of course there’s going to be contact, especially under the basket. But you don’t just run into another player’s face like that. He could have easily lost it in the heat of the action and thrown a punch too. If anything, Stu Jackson needs to consider Ron Artest as one of the people that should be suspended for the next game.

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  603. ron artest’s interviews remind me of muhammad ali’s interviews from his hey dey for some reason. kind of a raspy voice with lots of bravado and a meandering style of storytelling.

    fisher’s suit was very very sharp. i want me one of those.

    what artest says is right. the refs don’t enforce the normal rules of acceptable contact during the playoffs and this leads to more physical play. we have seen many times this season and last that physical play, even dirty play doesn’t punish the physical team. they go on to win championships and advance in the playoffs. how many times have you heard the phrase, the refs reward the more aggressive team. that’s a nice way of saying, teams that foul a lot or are physical can get away with a lot. it’s a real winning strategy.

    I’m a big wussy, so I think his point is right. teams should win if they are skilled and good, not if they can knock people on their asses. that’s my stance.

    However, until then, it’s good to see Fisher send a real message that Scola better keep his mouth shut and his hands to himself. it’s stupid that the lakers have to be the bully but the league and the refs reward such play with wins and championships.

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  604. First, I’m okay with Fisher being ejected. That was a premeditated hit on Scola (who had it coming no matter what was said, but that’s another story). I would be interested to know what Scola said to LO that so incensed Walton and DFish.

    And I definitely agree that calling the game closer favors the Lakers. The Rockets, especially RonRon, Battier, and Hayes/Landry pretty much get away with whatever they want in terms of hacking/slashing. After the game got really chippy and the refs had to start calling everything, the Lakers got to the rim a lot easier.

    I’m a little worried that Fish may get suspended for a game. Like I said, that was a premeditated elbow. I’m also a little worried that Kobe could get one as well, but that one clearly wasn’t pre-meditated, and in slo-mo looked like it was a retaliation for RonRon pushing the back of his head down and then swinging his elbow up and over Kobe’s shoulder/neck.

    Fun game, though. If I were Houston I wouldn’t be all that upset about the loss. They played well and were able to weather Yao’s subpar game pretty well. RonRon was insane (in a good way) tonight before he went insane in a bad way. Hayes and Landry really gave them a boost in the 1st half. But the Lakers should feel good as well. They won fairly handily while still not shooting all that well (outside of Kobe and Pau of course), but they were held their own on the boards, took care of the ball, and did a much better job on D. They actually played RonRon really well, but he just hit some amazing shots.

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  605. Does that count as Kobe getting 40 against Artest? Is Kobe as good as Brandon Roy now 🙂

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  606. No, BRoy dropped 42.

    Ron’d.

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  607. I’m wondering if Scola did or said something earlier in the game that pissed off some of our guys. LO got in his face, Walton got in his face, Sasha was mixed in there, then the uncharacteristic Dfish hit, which, by the way, was the play of the season – physically, he just isn’t the same guy anymore, but his hit fired up the team and the fanbase – just when all of us needed it.

    Some great minutes out of Farmar – he missed a couple of easy ones but I can see his confidence coming back.

    “He cant f***ing gaurd me”

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  608. What a great game.

    – We pulled away to 10-15 pt lead twice, looked like we were going to blow it wide open, and both times they hit difficult shots without hesitation and came back. If we had done this in game one, it would’ve been a 25 pt blow out. Instead, we gave them confidence that they can not only play with us, but beat us. Nevertheless, I credit our guys tonight for coming out and playing with intensity and poise whenever the game got close.

    – Both Farmar and Bynum look like they’ve lost some lift. But Powell’s minutes should be going to Bynum to get him in rhythm. But he seemed to get the message tonight to not force up shots that lead to a stagnant offense.

    – Gasol played a fantastic game. He plays within the flow so much that it allows Kobe to get more touches and play to his strengths.

    – Fisher probably won us the game with his hard foul. The defense tightened up tremendously after that, we went on a run and closed it out. Walton was very smart sealing and helping out on Yao from the weak side. I really liked the Farmar-SB-Walton trio out there for us. It put SB in a position to attack, farmar in a position to shoot, and Walton to be the setup guy.

    – I expect Fish be suspended. There was more windup and follow through (coupled w/ Scola’s exaggeration) than D-Will’s hit on Bynum. Kobe shouldn’t be. His elbow was in the context of being physical and fighting position, different than Howard’s elbow which was not a basketball play. And of course Alston should be suspended for his Master of Disguise ‘respectful’ hand slaps.

    Overall, very happy with the effort tonight. We’ve figured some things out. Namely how to play like LA and not Portland. Fisher being out may do us just as much good as harm since he’s not been shooting the ball well, and as said, Farmar/SB is the antidote to their two pt guard lineup.

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  609. Hated that foul by Fisher. Dirty and unnecessary. As far as I could tell, Scola had only been jawing and getting testy, not playing dirty, so it didn’t merit that response at all. I would’ve rather Fish got thrown out doing the same thing Artest did, by getting into Scola’s face. Now he will be and should be suspended. The Rockets will now be feeling they’re the aggrieved party. We don’t need to give the Rockets and their home crowd additional fuel for the fire.

    Anyway, I think we’re better than that.

    I’m happy to see the bench playing better on defense, even though we’re still struggling from the field. Odom is rebounding (more PT practice please!) Luke had a very nice game. Still concerned that we’re not consistently exploiting our supposed front court advantage. Still too much reliance on Kobe.

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  610. Step up Farmar!

    I really miss someone like Rick Fox on the team. Fish had to be that guy tonight.

    I wonder what Von to make Adelman kick him out of the game…

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  611. As a Rocket fan I will tell you that I think tonights game worked against the Lakers. The Fake Physicality (Yes, drob, I said it) will not work out in the long run. The Rockets were in this game with Yao not even participating. Artest will get Kobe back for the chop to the throat, and RA will make adjustments. I think that the lakers cheap play will awaken the Rockets and they will sweep the next two games. Before this game I thought that the Lakers would win the series, but I believe that they just played into the Rockets’ hands.

    Rockets in 7.

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  612. Anyone who thinks this is fake physicality, and that this team is soft, has not watched it all year. That includes columnists at the LA Times.

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  613. Kurt – I agree. I think the underlying reason for that overreaction is that people were shocked by the type of physicality and who committed it. I don’t think anyone, even Lakers fans, expected Fish to a lay a hit like that.

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  614. Brave face, Great Wall, but really, wouldn’t you have rather been up two going home? And Rockets in seven with a sweep of the next two by Houston? You really think your side has a better chance to win games three AND four than to win a potential series-clinching game six? You must not be confident in the Rocket’s ability under pressure.

    Oh… And there’s no such thing as fake physicality. It’s all real, but the important question is, can you get away with it? Can you get away with the loose ball pushes, elbows, shoves and holds under the rim? Can you get away with leading every single dribble drive with your bent free arm? Can you get away with driving, dishing the ball, and then plowing over a planted Luke Walton in the second quarter for a no call? Up until the third quarter of this game, the answer was “Yes, you can.”

    If future games are called like the fourth quarter of this one, then the answer to all of those is, “No, you can’t.” I don’t believe that that would favor the less talented team.

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  615. @ Great Wall
    Nobody has got a clue what ‘fake physicality’ means. It’s just a manufactured idea to satisfy your psychological need that the Rockets still have something on the us. We come out, play our game in transition, rhythm offense, force turnovers, the way we’ve been beating teams (including the Rockets) all season, and somehow this worked against us?
    Can you ‘sweep’ two games? Can you play your game, execute, beat a team handily and play into the opponents hands?

    Sorry Rockets fan, I believe that the Rockets have a lot to feel good about, but in no way shape or form did this game ‘play into their hands.’ I don’t think RA woke up today and said, I hope the Lakers will be physical, because it’s fake, and then we can be real physical later. Yao didn’t think, I hope they play aggressive and drive the ball into the paint and get fouls on me. I hope they front me and take away my angles to force Artest into contested 20 footers.

    This game showed that Yao can be effectively denied post entries, as he was all series against Portland. What other adjustments can you make if you couldn’t do that for a series? Artest is not Kobe and will not continue to hit ridiculous shots like he did tonight.

    Like what’s been said, refs reward aggressive play. We’ve shown that we are willing to do that. And the Rockets should be worried.

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  616. “And I definitely agree that calling the game closer favors the Lakers. The Rockets, especially RonRon, Battier, and Hayes/Landry pretty much get away with whatever they want in terms of hacking/slashing. After the game got really chippy and the refs had to start calling everything, the Lakers got to the rim a lot easier.”

    I think that is exactly what Fish was trying to do, get the game called closer. His foul on Scola lead to Artest’s ejection because the refs weren’t about to allow anything resembling a fight break out, and the Lakers started getting the ticky-tack calls in their favor for a change at that point.

    I’m not sure how much of that hit was a message to Scola and how much of it was a “No, THIS is a foul” message to the referees.

    I think Fish will be suspended, but I don’t think he should be if the league has let Rondo play after two obvious suspendable offenses (admitting to hitting Miller in the mouth with no play on the ball, followed by throwing an elbow at Heinrich).

    I think Fish gets suspended and the Lakers lose the next game and then rally for game 4.

    I still have my concerns about the series. We needed Kobe’s 40 to win tonight. With Houston’s defense, we can’t rely on that to happen. I’d almost say DON’T get Yao in foul trouble because the small lineup for Houston is giving our defense fits.

    I think Walton made a huge impact tonight. Better passing and some pretty smart defense on his part. Our best unit against Houston may be (if Fish is suspended) Farmar, Kobe, Walton, Odom, and Gasol.

    I’m becoming concerned about whether Bynum’s issue in the playoffs his his knee or his mentality. Is his knee that bad or can he not handle playoff pressure? He altered a few shots tonight, and he pushed Yao out a few times, but he’s not active enough on the boards to really help us where we need him.

    The Lakers are still missing too many open shots, and until we start hitting open 3’s or even 2’s with any sort of regularity, we’re going to see Houston pack the lane with 4 players and dare Kobe to try and get inside. It’s hard to get a good entry pass to Gasol when the Rockets are essentially playing a zone with 4 guys lined up along the lane.

    Going to be interesting to see how the next game is officiated.

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  617. Mason and Don W,

    The fact is that the Lakers are not near the physical team that the Rockets are.

    By fake physicality, I mean Both Kobe and LO trying to act tough and then backing away because they knew who was going to win if the sparring became any more than words, As for the Fisher call – I have always admired his toughness and think that he is by far the toughest player on your team.

    And yes, I do think that the rockets will win the next 2, lose the following two, and win game seven on your court, but you could be right; we may win game 6 or you could win one of the next two. My theory is not an exact science, only what I see based on my understanding of basketball

    You didn’t find some magical defense to contain Yao, he didn’t play at all because of foul troble. There really isn’t any reason to be defensive of another person’s comment unless you are a little insecure of the outcome of the series.

    Like i said, I thought until tonight that the Lakers would win, but my opinion changed. I will say it one more time…THE LAKERS PLAYED INTO THE ROCKETS HANDS TONIGHT. Compaq Center will be rocking!

    Healthy disagreement is ok.

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  618. Great Wall, I thought it was the Toyota Center. Did they change the name of the arena recently?

    As per the toughness argument, I disagree with fake physicality being applied to Kobe and LO. The former needs no explanations and the latter, well, LO grew up with Ron Artest in the same area.

    As for Fisher, though, although some may glorify the foul and debated that it lit a fire in the team, I’m with the other stance that it was not a good move on Fisher’s behalf because now with the inevitable Game 3 suspension, the team has to rely on Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown to step into Fisher’s shoes to be that steady anchor and I don’t know if they are up to the task.

    I will healthily disagree with you that the Lakers played into the Rockets hands for now because we haven’t seen how Game 3 will unfold. But I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me in saying Game 3 is a critical game.

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  619. David Stern must be very happy tonight.
    No fight occurred.
    No one got hurt.
    But every sport page and talk show will be talking NBA playoffs and Lakers-Houston game 2 and upcoming game 3 for the next 2 days.
    All other sports will be background noise.

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  620. You defined fake physicality as “both Kobe and LO trying to act tough and then backing away because they knew who was going to win if the sparring became any more than words.”

    Other would call that intelligence. If Ron hadn’t been so “tough,” he might have helped the Rockets in the 4th. That sort of toughness ends championship hopes (see the 04 Pacers).

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  621. Hertaginism, you are corrrect! I am a long-time Houstonian who has been here from the Summit- to Compaq center- to Toyota Center.

    Kobe is a great bsketball player, but he is not near as physical as Artest some of the other players in the league.

    As for Odom – I don’t care where he is from. In my neighborhood there were tough kids and weak kids. If Odom was so tough he wouldn’t go so long, so often without anyone knowing he was on the floor. He is very athletic but that is where it stops.

    We are all entitled to our opinions of how the series will turn out. Mine changed tonight, but if yours didn’t then more power to you.

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  622. “I think that is exactly what Fish was trying to do, get the game called closer. His foul on Scola lead to Artest’s ejection because the refs weren’t about to allow anything resembling a fight break out, and the Lakers started getting the ticky-tack calls in their favor for a change at that point.”

    I agree that he might have been trying to get the refs involved, but the closer foul calls definitely didn’t go our way in the 4th, Houston in the bonus pretty much entirely on ticky tack calls after like one trip down the court. I’m not going to pretend to be objective on that score, but while I know the Rockets foul at a lower rate than pretty much the whole league (adjusted for pace) I don’t see what we did in the 4th as anything they don’t do as a matter of practice.

    And Artest hung himself, the refs were happy to T him up once but then he had to go running after kobe clear across the court…

    As if the rockets need to stand up for themselves because suddenly the lakers are crossing a phyicality line… right. Artest has been playing like that with clear pushing, shoving, and slapping, since he was in the league — the incidental elbow shouldn’t lead to anything against kobe: if he blindly flails his arm 3 inches lower he hits Artest in the shoulder (the same shoulder that had been draped over him on the play, illegally) and nobody cares.

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  623. Snoopy 2006,

    Let’s keep in mind who threw the elbow! I played ball and I know that is not a normal box-out motion. Artest never even put his hands on Kobe, he just let him know payback is coming. He didn’t do anything to get ejected and you know it.

    My point about Lakers playing into Houstons’s hands is that they riled the Houston base up, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kobe curled up on the floor a time or two.

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  624. Great Wall, the Laker base is riled up now too, and as you know that means basically squat on the court.

    And, please, by all means, knock Kobe down a few times and really piss him off. Please.

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  625. Kurt, the difference is that the next two games are in Houston. I don’t think Kobe getting pissed-off is going to help you any more than Artest getting pissed is going to help us.

    If you played then you know what I mean about curled on the floor. An accidental knee, or an unintentional fist to the nads. Not condoning it, but it is Artest we’re talking about.

    I

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  626. I say Artest comes back down to earth in Gm 3 trying to hard to take over and show Kobe up. He will not continue his hot shooting streak. (which has been impressive) How is a team that has finally gotten out of the first round “naturally tougher” than the Lakers? When’s the last time the rockets won a game 7 at home or on the road if it were to go 7 games?

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  627. Great Wall,

    And then Kobe torches Houston for 50 and Artest goes into hero mode and throws up bad shots, as glaringly evinced by the game earlier this season.

    Stop making these absurd comments about “who is tougher” or “who is more physical.” The Lakers took Houston out of its game tonight, Yao was neutralized by Gasol fronting him and forcing him into turnovers, and the Lakers torched Houston on the fast break. If the most you can say about the rest of the series is that Houston will win because they’ll be more motivated, then that means squat. Unless you begin to address the problems Houston has against the Lakers’ play, then you’re harping about a dead horse.

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  628. During the season Defensive FT/FG:
    – rockets = .192
    – lakers = .213
    – average = .236

    In a 80 FGA game like this one (also the league average) that would mean the rockets get maybe 1.5 FTA more than the lakers.

    Not +3 like this game or +10 like last game, especially given HCA.

    Shows that the ref have been letting contact go the last two games and will probably be calling it a lot tighter from now on.

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  629. http://www.freep.com/article/20090506/SPORTS03/905060359/1051/Report%20%20%20Sheed%20wants%20$8%20million%20next%20year%20Pistons%20Basketball

    On another note, ‘Sheed wants $8 million to play next year. Eight million. If I was a team remotely interested in him, I would barely shove more than the biannual exception on him. Looks like his career his over.

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  630. I’ve been saying this before, but Pau really has Yao’s number. Anyone who watched Spain vs China in the olympics will know what I’m talking about.

    1. He does as good a job as anyone defending him. A mixture of fronting him in order to deny him the ball, and poking it away once he receives it. Of course, Yao can still go off for 20-10 – one cannot forget that he’s one of the game’s best players.

    2. The best D on Yao however is Pau’s offence. There’s simply no way Yao can stay with him. Be it on the break or in the post, or even stepping out for the midrange jumper. This has two extremly important effects: First of all Yao gets tired, and second of all he gets into foul trouble. The refs tend to call fouls on bigger players more easily (probably out of some weird sense of justice: “aw don’t hurt the little guy!”), which is why Utah for instance gets away with totally abusing Pau without any calls, while Yao isn’t allowed the same luxury.

    It still amazes me that we keep going away from this as the game progresses. I love Kobe’s game, and when he’s on he can be deadly. But even when he’s on fire we’re STILL more efficient when we go through Pau. It get’s Houston into foul trouble, and it gives every Laker more open looks.

    On a sidenote I think that people are seriously underestimating Luis Scola. We’re talking about a two time MVP from the Spanish league (second best league in the world) and one of the key components in Argentinas success on the international stage. And Doug Collins compares him to Chucky Hayes? Come on now.. I’m not saying he’s at the level of Yao or Pau, but this guy has some serious game – including post-moves and a good midrange jumper.

    As far as the series goes, it’s the Lakers’ series to lose. The Rockets actually played great this game, but the Lakers are simply too good. If they get out and run, and play through Pau in the half-court, they will advance. Also, Artest will not keep hitting shots like he did this game. What he will do however is keep shooting. I actually think that his huge game 2 can be a blessing in disguise, since he’s now convinced he’s at Kobe’s level and hence will take bad shots in the coming games.

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  631. This notion of fake physicality is just stupid. What does that even mean? The Rockets are a more physical team based solely on who is on the team (Hayes, Artest, Landry). But the Lakers are not going to back down, especially Kobe. If Artest and any Rocket fan thinks that pissing Kobe off and talking crap to him is going to make him play worst, than they don’t watch Kobe play very often. Kobe can be the most singularly focused player in the league since Jordan and pissing him off only makes him focus more. That’s not a good thing. Don’t forget the game in Houston where Kobe after a confrontation with Artest torched the Rockets for 18 pts in the last 4 1/2 minutes of the game.

    If the Rockets keep turning the ball over at the pace they have in the last two games it will be a hard series for them to win. Turnovers mean easy points for the Lakers. The Lakers have been doing a good job so far in the first two games of forcing turnovers (35 total). They have also done a good job on the boards (for the most part).

    Yao will have a better game in game 3 if he can stay on the court, but that does not automatically mean a Rocket win, I doubt Landry goes 21, 10 again. I like Landry but he is not going to be that effective every night.

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  632. If Rondo didn’t get suspended for throwing Hinrich into the scorer’s table, it’d be tough to make the case for Fish to get suspended. His arm / shoulder hit the upper chest of a standing player and knocked him down. (As an aside, when normal people like you and I get hit with an elbow in the chest, we don’t hit the ground ass-first like we’ve been shot. Only people schooled in the art of flopping to do that. I’m just sayin’…)

    Kobe’s elbow looked to me like something in line with normal play – trying to dislodge Artest’s arms from his with a 6″ windup. Certainly doesn’t compare to Howard’s UFC-style elbow throw.

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  633. Plenty of terrible calls on both sides last night. I doubt Kobe will be suspended, Fisher might, both of them and Jackson will be fined. I’m happy with the way my Rockets played overall, though they turned it over a bit too much. Battier defended Kobe about as well as you can, no way to stop him if he’s scoring 40 points on (mostly) contested jumpers. If the Rockets keep Yao out of foul trouble and get him the ball a bit more effectively, a different game. If Kobe goes off like that three more times, the Rockets will have a hard time getting to the next round, but otherwise I like their chances.

    I’m not sure I like either of these teams’ chances against the Nuggets, though. They are playing out of their minds right now!

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  634. I cannot wait for Friday and Sunday’s games!

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  635. Over 600 comments?? Safe to say this is the most excitig second round series?? Go Lakers!!

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  636. Also, I thought Bynum gave some active 4th quarter minutes. They didn’t necessarily translate into points or boards, but he clogged the lane, played good active D on Yao by fronting (save that one cheap one where he got called for the push), and moved the ball (I’m thinking of the hand-off to Sasha followed by a brutal screen to his guy that resulted in the made shot). Good to see.

    And I thought Farmar showed a ton of mental toughness – buried on the bench, written off by many (including myself), and still brought it tonight. Props.

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  637. Also, I have to agree with KD here:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Behind-the-Box-Score-where-the-Lakers-followed-;_ylt=AmZmt0KxbZK_1Hi4kV2ZdgbZrYZ4?urn=nba,161780#remaining-content

    I loved these types of ridiculous games from Kobe, but not at the expense of getting our offense in rhythm. I’m afraid that this type of effort from him isn’t sustainable in the long run (maybe the 2005-2006 Kobe could do it, but not now), and we need to prepare the rest of the Lakers to step up offensively and trust the system.

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  638. It would be a good idea to put Mbenga in the next game. He will give you six fouls, good energy and a type of enforcer in the middle. Bynum is becoming a shrinking violet, sometimes you must show testicular fortitude but in Bynum’s case, he’s still a green-pea and has a few more years before he’s ready for play-off basketball.

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  639. Everyone can debate Fisher’s play – was it toughness, a dirty play, meant to inspire his team, send a message to Rockets, etc, etc. I don’t know what it was, but it seemed like it was payback to Scola in a moment of frustration. Scola (like Varejao for example) is a player that is tough and plays right up against the line of clean play. Consistently, he’ll grab a jersey, he’ll push, he’ll hold – and that’s fine. I think what gets players upset is when innoncence is proclaimed after one of these actions and then when the same thing is done to him an exaggerated over selling of that action against him occurs from his end. I think Fish just got frustrated with that stuff and with Scola running his mouth to LO. That’s why it reminded me Zidane in the World Cup.

    As for the Lakers being “fake tough” and the Rockets being a “truly tough” team, I don’t really think it’s relevant. I say this because toughness needs to be backed up with real skill. In game one, we saw a tough and skilled Rockets team. Yao was dominant, Artest was superb, and Brooks was everything the Rockets could hope for after handing him the reigns of the team. However in game two, the Rockets were just as tough but all that skill we saw in game one didn’t transfer to game two. Yao was contained, Brooks came back to earth some, and while Artest was superb again, he allowed a series of plays to distract him to the point where he got thrown out of the game (fair or not). These subpar performances were counteracted from very strong performances by Scola and Landry, but turnovers and playing to the Lakers pace for too many stretches made it so the Lakers could control the game and ultimately win. So we can talk toughness all we want, but it better be backed up with smart, skillful basketball. Last night the Rockets didn’t do that. One last point on this and then I’ll stop – many fans think that Boston beat us in the Finals because they were the tougher team. And while they were the tougher team (physically and mentally) they were also the more skilled team. Their defense was excellent and their ability to score when needed was too much for us. They made jumpshots and didn’t turn the ball over. They played with heart, with grit, and with their heads. It’s how they won. I say all of this because the Rockets being tougher isn’t going to win them a series. This isn’t the UFC or a boxing match where your ability to win a *fight* matters in the escalated physical moments; it’s more about your ability to stay focused and still execute in the escalated physical moments. I think last night the Lakers did that and Houston did not, hence we won the game.

    (Sorry for the rambling) Oh and one last thing. Before this series started, Stephen – our resident Houston fan – said that the Rockets have an unbelievable record when Yao scores 20+ points and game one bore that out. In game 2, I think the Lakers really tried to make sure Yao would not have a repeat performance. So when Rockets fans say we did not find a magical elixir to stop Yao, I agree. However, we did use the same tactics that have worked on Yao all season and in seasons past. We made it hard for him to catch the ball and really made him work hard to receive and entry pass. When he did receive that pass, he often found that he had worked himself into position where he did not have an advantage and he decided to pass the ball out again. When he did make clean catches in position to make a scoring play, we came at him hard with a second defender and with Yao being unselfish, he passed the ball. If the Lakers can continue to make Yao work to catch the ball and then when he does catch it he’s either not in good position or we double him he will pass and his numbers will be down. This will make other Rockets beat us, and ultimately puts the onus on Artest, Scola, Brooks, Landry, Lowry, and Battier (and Wafer, that is if he still has a job). I think the Lakers will live with the results that come from those guys having to carry the load.

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  640. on a totally unrelated note, can referees throw fans out of the game? allegedly jack nicholson was making obscene gestures at the Houston bench and berating the refs courtside – can refs do anything about that? Either way, it’s pretty hilarious

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  641. I think the refs warned Jack during a playoff run a few years back that they would toss him if he didn’t get himself under control. Jack’s response, For the amount of money I pay for these seats, I would like to see them try.

    But the refs certainly have the authority to toss anyone in the arena . . . I think.

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  642. Phil was complaining about Fisher getting tossed and said that Williams only got a personal foul when he did the same thing to Bynum that Fisher did to Scola. Anyone have a link to this clip?

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  643. Just signed on and am floored by the number of posts. The Laker Nation has been awoken! I thought in the beginning that we would win in 6 and I still believe that. Pau and Odom are the keys. If they play well we roll. And will someone tell Lamar and Pau that Free Throws are critical, please!

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  644. #635:

    Rasheed Wallace = Latrell Spreewell

    Less crazy than it seems.

    Another thought that may be less crazy than it seems. So far this year in the playoffs, the Lakers seem more like the Celtics last year (getting battle tested) and the Cavs seem like the Lakers last year (coasting to the finals, LBJ gets the MVP like Kobe, team wasn’t expected to be as good as they got, etc). I like where this may be going, people…but we do have to get there to make it happen.

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  645. What a game.

    a) I don’t think Fisher should be suspended if the NBA goes by the rules they’ve been following all season regarding flagrant 2’s. However, I think we will probably be missing him because you could see him load up, and as usual the NBA will want to protect it’s image.

    b) I can’t remember if it was on here, or on another message board but I’ve seen mention of Kobe possibly being suspended for the elbow…that would be completely bogus. Stu Jackson has suspended him for more ridiculous things in the past, though.

    c) “Fake physicality”? We pounded Houston on the boards last night if I’m not mistaken. You can call the Lakers “soft” because they play a finesse style, but a lot of the time last night the Lakers beat the Rockets in a Rockets style game. There was a reason why we had as many fast break points and it was tough, aggressive defense. Wish we played it for 48 minutes.

    This series could end up nearly as good as Chicago/Boston if the NBA allows it. I hope they do.

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  646. Yeah I’ve seen a fan tossed for throwing things. But this was no Jack Nicholson. He was really into it last night, trying to get Staples center into a frenzy.

    I think those who doubt that Kobe can keep this up for 3 more games (including Barkley) need to realize that he is setting the Rockets up to make adjustments in game three and beyond. He is forcing the Houston coaching staff to look at what they must do differently on defense. Whether it’s ball denial, doubling, or trapping, it will open up our role players for easy cuts and 3’s. He’s always carried the notion that if he’s covered one-on-one, he will score. And if Hou decides to continue to do that, I will put my money on Kobe encores.

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  647. Jane # 653 I was thinking the same thing you are really on point

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  648. I meant 650

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  649. I can’t believe that Kobe being suspended is even up for discussion that elbow was hard playoff basketball

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  650. the only reason the Kobe play is even being scrutinized is Artest made a fuss of it. I mean, if you scrutinize any play where players are tangled up under the basket fighting for position/rebound, you can find something flagrant to call.

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