Now We Have A Series

Kurt —  May 7, 2009

NBA: MAY 04 Conference Semifinals - Rockets at Lakers - Game 1
Welcome to playoff basketball, this is fun and going to get better.

Let me start by discussing the topic du jour, Derek Fisher decleating Luis Scola.

I loved it as a Lakers fan. This team has been blasted as being soft for a year now, and as recently as a couple days ago by an LA Times columnist. But anybody who watched this team this season saw the mentality was different— this team pushed back, they fought, they were tough. They learned the lessons seared into them in the ugly game six in Boston last year. There have been some hard fouls, some pushing back all season long.

What Fisher did was a team leader saying “Don’t f$*%&$ with my teammates.” This is a team sticks up for each other and will push back. There are those that will call this overcompensation, others that at the next loss will pull out the soft card again, but frankly those are people who have not really seen how this team has changed. They are people who do not really have a grasp of this team. That includes LA Times columnists.

• Scola, to his credit, learned a lesson from Brad Miller and put a little extra into it to help sell the flagrant.

• If Fish is suspended and we have to go with Brown/Farmar/Sasha at the point, I don’t think the drop off is huge. But one of them needs to step up and drain threes consistently.

• I like what ESPN’s Eric Neel wrote after the game about the Lakers:

And it’s hard to explain, but watching them, you knew, precisely because of that civil discourse, precisely because they were taking shelter in short answers and trotting out clichés like Crash Davis, that they were loving where this series has gone, that they were itching for Round 3.

• Kobe was 10 of 17 with Battier on him in game two after a rough game one.

• The real key to this win was the Lakers defensive pressure leading to Houston turnovers in 21.7% of their possessions, and turning some of those into easy baskets in transition. When the game grinds down to a halfcourt battle, the Lakers play to the strengths of the Rockets. When they get out in the open court and run, they win. And that all starts at the defensive end. I don’t know if I’ve ever said this before, but the Lakers will go as far as their defense will take them.

• Game three is going to be called more closely from the start, an advantage for the Lakers.

• More game breakdown stuff coming down the line.