Lakers/Rockets Game 3 Chat

Kurt —  May 8, 2009

Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets NBA Game 2 Western Conference semifinals in Los Angeles
I wanted to get away from the emotion of the last game and talk a lot of Xs and Os, but in an email Reed makes a very good point that emotions may well determine this series:

I think that is an often overlooked, but important, subplot in any series — which team allows some emotional/mental/psychological weakness to disrupt their desired execution. This is a real driving force in the playoffs. Often the talent difference is razor thin and the determining factor becomes which team can gain the mental edge and thereby force the other team to play with doubt, fear, or some level of discomfort. By “emotion” or “mental edge” or “psyche” I am referring broadly to any kind of emotion that affects play — doubt, fear, confidence, trust, courage, etc. Those feelings can drive execution — if a team believes in their system, teammates, and personal abilities, then they will execute with real precision and commitment; if they do not believe in themselves or others — or fear their opponent in some way, then that will cause execution to break down as they compensate for perceived weaknesses. This is what happened in the Boston series last year. They were not more talented than us, but they gained the clear mental edge and forced us to abandon what was working. Instead of running the triangle, we reverted to Kobe-ball…. The issue was not that we didn’t care or stopped trying, it was that we let Boston intimidate us — both in terms of gameplan and physical play — and thereby lost the disciplined execution that had worked for us.

It’s a good thing to watch for tonight — do the Lakers get away from what they do best? Does a fired up Ron-Ron try to take over the game single-handedly? Those things will determine a winner as much or more than anything else.

Tonight with the Lakers we get a peak into the point guard of the future discussion, and hopefully we are not left screaming, “Free Agents, we need Free Agents” by the end of the night.

Jordan Farmar could do it, if he plays a little smarter. The man used to just run into the pick in the high pick and roll and become lost, but against Brooks he is went under it. The problem last game was he went so far under it that Brooks could still turn the corner and get up some speed before Farmar was there to try to cut him off (and it was too late). Or, Brooks would just hit the three. If Brooks is cold again (he’s streaky) then the Lakers go under, if not Farmar has to fight over the top. If Jordan can make a couple little adjustments like that, he could have a good night.

Otherwise, more ShanWOW and maybe some Sasha at the point.

The Lakers had a good defensive game in a lot of ways against the Rockets in game two — they fronted Yao and had backside help there early, taking him out of the game. I liked the turnovers that created (allowing a faster pace), while Darius breaks down how he thought just keeping Yao out of the flow was key.

However, I think this game was won based off the work that we did on Yao. We fronted him, pushed him further out to make catches, and then doubled him hard which forced him to pass. Houston’s wing players helped us out a great deal by not looking for Yao on the re-post (as Dwyer explained so well over at BDL), but often times those wing players were up against the clock and went into a bit of panic by forcing jumpers and driving into traffic (and all because of the work we had done throughout the possession). As I mentioned in the last thread, if we can continue to make Yao a passer and limit his shot attempts, we’ll put the game on the shoulders of Artest, Brooks, Battier, Landry, Scola, Wafer, and Lowry. And while Artest has shown how good he can really be, he’s always one play away from making himself disappear (as we saw last night). And in the end, I’m more than happy to take my chances against those other guys than to allow Yao to dictate to us. Plus our fronting strategy put our bigs in much better position to help on Guard penetration. If Fish/Farmar/Brown got beat, Gasol/Bynum were in position to help as they were already in front of Yao (most of time at least) and did not allow themselves to get sealed off by his giant frame. This made Guards reverse course and burn more clock. If we can find ways to continue using this tactic even as the Rockets make adjustments, we’ll be in good shape the rest of this series.

The Rockets are going to make adjustments, as the (wait for it) Leg-en-dary David Thorpe pointed out at ESPN.

The Lakers defended Yao much better in Game 2, fronting him more in the low post and sending Lamar Odom into the ball-side box near Yao whenever the ball handler crossed below the free throw line (which is normally where they’ll feed Yao). It effectively bottled up Yao. Houston can try passing down to Yao from above the line, before Odom comes over, if Yao can keep Gasol behind him. If not, Houston could put Luis Scola in more threatening spots on the weak side, hoping to keep Odom closer to home. Or they can pop Yao out to run side pick-and-pops, possibly opening up driving lanes for Brooks.

I love Trevor Ariza but he is not strong enough to cover Ron Artest, so look for more Luke Walton tonight. As Darius pointed out in the comments, Luke is strong enough to absorb the contact when Artest drives and is too slow of foot to react to his fakes, he just stays between Artest and the basket. And that works.

As I have done recently, I’ll let Kwame a. have the final word:

Keep Landry out of the paint: In game 2 Landry was able to bring the Rockets back with a big 2nd quarter. He made seven (7) baskets at basically point blank range and also took thirteen (13) free-throws. He did this from a combination of out-hustling the Lakers for offensive rebounds and from being left open when the Lakers continued to double Ron Artest. We must put a body on Landry and not double off him. I’d rather let Ron shoot himself out of his hot-streak.

Keep Brooks from collapsing the defense: In Game 1 Brooks had 19 points and was a +11. In Game 2 it took him 15 shots to get 13 points. What was the difference? The Lakers did a better job of keeping Brooks from attacking the hole and collapsing the defense. The Laker bigs did a better job of dissuading Brooks from attacking for lay-ups and forced him to dribble through to the other side. This allowed Fish (or the other PG’s) to recover back to Brooks. Keeping Brooks from getting off is key to the Lakers defensive success.

Keep Yao from getting shots: In Game 1 Yao took seventeen (17) shots and played forty (40) minutes. In game 2 he took four (4) shots and played twenty-six (26) minutes. Most of this was due to foul trouble, but with Pau due to start the rest of the series, foul trouble will be something Yao must avoid going forward. Also, the Lakers fronted Yao a lot more. There were a few things in play here: 1) our guards did a good job of pressuring the entry passer and this dissuaded the Rockets from throwing the ball into Yao often, 2) our weak-side defenders (kudos Luke) did a good job sneaking over and swiping at the ball and doubling Yao on the catch, while still recovering, 3) Yao was not making quick enough decisions when he caught the ball. The Rockets will find ways to get Yao the ball more, but the Lakers need to maintain the strategies they employed in Game 2.

For a Rockets perspective, check out Rockets Buzz (they have a live chat going on game nights).

Also, if you are watching online tonight, ESPN360 has the feed, just follow this link at game time.

Kurt

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506 responses to Lakers/Rockets Game 3 Chat

  1. It’s Legen-wait for it and I hope you’re not lactose intolerant because the next word is – dary.

  2. how big of an impact will the loss of derek fisher be? fisher is like chauncey billups in that he calms everyone down, and recognizes who should get the ball, but is able to hit the “big shot” at the end of the game. He knows how to push the tempo and when the calm things down, much like billups does. i think the lakers need to force a lot of turnovers to get easy baskets. if not, they’ll hurt in the half court offense without fish.

  3. I was thinking about Farmar. It’s easy to say what happened – he plays worse. Ast36 rate went down a little from 4.8 to 4.7, but TO36 has risen from 2.3 to 2.7. He fouls more – PF36 has risen from 2.2 to 3.1 – and rebounds a little less – Teb36 went down from 3.9 to 3.6. But those are minor factors.

    The biggie is his shooting efficiency. His TS% has dropped from .563 to .474. It’s huge. How happened? His FT% is shaqian .592, but it doesn’t matter a lot, he shoots only 1.2 FTA per game. His FG% is down from .461 to .398 and his 3P% is down from .371 to .343. What’s worse – last season ha had (per 36 minutes) 13.4 FGA including 6.5 3PA. This season it’s 12.5 and 4.4.

    What does it mean? He traded some 3-pointers for long 2pt jumpers (steady FT rate means he doesn’t penetrates more, 82games numbers shows that his “close” shots increased from 26% to 30%). Long jumpers are the least valuable shots in basketball.

    How this happened? According to 82games he shoots earlier in the possesions (45% his attempts are in first 10 seconds of the possesion, last season it was 39%). And Farmar’s plays more individually – last season 68% of his jumpers (and 60% of all FGM) were assisted, this season it’s 62% and 54%.

    Why this happens? Let’s take a look at Farmar’s field partners. Last season he played 1683 minutes. His main partners were:
    Vujacic 1014 60%
    Bryant 1010 60%
    Odom 944 56%
    Turiaf 807 48%
    Walton 756 45%
    Gasol/Bynum 605 36%

    Ariza 296 18%

    This season stats are different:
    he played (at the moment I did this analysis) 1041 minutes
    Ariza 807 78%
    Vujacic 704 68%
    Odom 652 63%
    Gasol 594 57%
    Bryant 390 37%
    Powell 351 34%

    Walton 184 18%

    The biggest differences:
    Ariza +60%
    Walton -27%
    Bryant -23%

    I think it solves the puzzle. Farmar is playing less with Walton and Bryant, who are very good passers (according to 82games Walton has the highest “passing rating” among Lakers, whatever it means), and more with Ariza, who isn’t very good in a team offense (he excels in opportunistic scoring).

    I think we were too critical about Farmar. He’s playing in tougher environment, so he plays worse than last season, that’s all. It’s a feature, not a bug.

    My prediction: if Farmar plays with the first unit he should be much more effective than in the regular season.

  4. Anyone remember that Nov 9th game against the Rockets? The Lakers went down 32-16, and then Jordan Farmar came in and absolutely LIT THE ROCKETS UP (16pts, 6 assists), leading a comeback and eventual blow-out win. I would love to see a repeat of that…

    And by the way, if there’s going to be a series where Farmar excels – this is it. A guard he’s familiar with (Brooks) who isn’t strong enough to muscle him around, a slow, plodding defense that is susceptible to his speed, and an opportunity with Fisher suspended.

    If he wants redemption, this is his shot.

  5. The plus side of no Fish, is that Farmar is actually a PG who knows how to get a layup out of a 2-on-1 or 3-on-2. Less PUJITs = happier me.

    The negative side of no Fish is that both Farmar and ShanWOW are unproven playoff performers. Farmar, especially, is a confidence player. If things start out poorly for him he could easily go into the tank.

    The good thing for the Lakers as a whole is that Houston is the one team in the West where you can have subpar PG play against them and still win. Brooks and Lowry are okay players, but they’re nothing special at this point in their careers, and are just as likely to make a poor decision as they are a good one. We will miss some of Fish’s veteran saavy, and we will miss some of the non-calls he gets the benefit of when playing defense, but overall, we should be able to survive his absence.

  6. I dont like the notion that has been floating around about Kobe being able to keep up shooting his 20footers for us to win this series. That notion suggests we are absolutely getting nothing from everyone else. The law of averages will set in pretty soon and when it comes down to it the lakers are the better team.

    On a side note, i somehow end up in a city that battles the lakers in the playoffs or recent. During the phx years i lived in the valley of the sun. Moved to Houston this year and now this.

  7. I guess I’m in the minority because I really liked the speed lineup of Jordan, ShanWOW, Luke, LO, and Bynum. If Bynum decides the join the series, it seems like a very complementary line up that could give Houston’s unit some problems. It seemed ineffective in Game 2 because Ron Artest channelled (and been channelling) his inner Drazen Petrovic. He’ll come back to Earth eventually. I’ve seen it Indiana, Sac-town and Houston.

    Also I likened Landry’s play in Game 2 to those 50/50 plays that Don Collins (Lord please forgive me…) kept mentioning during the Celts/Bulls series. Noah was the beneficiary of those, but in honesty those aren’t plays you can rely on. I would hope the Lakers don’t allow Landry to make a habit out of benefitting from those types of plays as he did in the 2nd quarter of Game 2.

    On another tangent, I can’t believe people get paid to write this foolishness. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/steve_aschburner/05/08/kobe/index.html?eref=si_nba.

    This and some of the discussion of the past few days(boxing out/elbows, etc.) leads me to believe that some people need to get off their couches and play the game of basketball (regardless of skill level) just to get some perspective of the foolishness they believe.

  8. AFB, I saw that article earlier and i swear i lost some brain cells after reading it. There might be some truth to the content but its so poorly written.

    With Kobe/Lakers there is no winning. They are soft if they back down and fake tough if they dont.

  9. Again, I think this is the one series where the zen stuff that Jackson plays may actually bear us some big dividends.

    There is history with Adelman from Sac days; Artest is a powder-keg; I am betting a decent/good game from Farmar (he has a history/is comfortable playing against Brooks, and was a disruptive unit for the R’s in Q4); the league is on notice now re officiating, which at least for this game seems to favor the Lakers, and I think the Lakers finally have found their purpose.

    Tonight FEELS like the Lakers will be assassins, but obviously a very good Rockets team will have something to say about that.

    Mark

  10. Jordan has a great opportunity tonight, I hope he takes full advantage.

    This one will most likely be called very tight, it’s tough to say who that will favor. I just hope the Lakers come out committed to both their defense and RUNNING the offense. No Kobe watch, please.

  11. TRad’s breakdown was interesting.

    Quick question for anyone with knowledge of this: are we certain that Farmar will get the start tonight?

    It seems logical given the match up with the speedy Brooks. But in recent games we’ve seen Brown getting more time, and entering games prior to Farmar.

    Has Phil or the team stated one way or the other who’ll get the nod?

  12. Also, I may make this it’s own post tomorrow, but check it out for now. Amazing.

    http://bit.ly/OOX4k

  13. 11. No official word yet. Honestly, I expect Shannon to start, but I have high hopes for Jordan tonight. He may well let me down. Again.

  14. lakergirl,

    You took the words right out of my mouth.

    TRad,

    Good stats. While Luke drives me crazy most times, when we drew Houston, I thought he would be a key player in this series. And after watching Ariza get outmuscled by Ron Ron, I knew Luke’s size would be needed to at least force Ron to shoot the J.

  15. After just seeing the hard foul that Fisher gave Scola, I have come to the conclusion that he should have been suspended multiple games. I am a Laker fan and a big fan of Fish, but that was just wrong and has no place in the game. I kinda have lost a little respect for Fish.

  16. TRad – great breakdown. Hopefully we will see Farmar playing better with the 1st unit, and focusing on the defensive end more than the other end.

  17. Kurt, one of my favorite moments. Loved that game. I almost turned that game off in disgust because I didn’t wan to watch the Lakers lose in the 4th. Good thing I didn’t.

  18. 13. Kurt,

    From now on anyone who says anything about Shaq being able to win without Kobe will be subjected to viewing this in a loop till they figure out shaq didnt throw that alley oop to himself

  19. Fisher should have been suspended for multiple games? Please. Do you think Scola didn’t sell some of that? He is twice Fisher’s size.

  20. Scola may have sold it but what I saw was Fisher winding up “a la Kermit Washington”.

  21. @TRad, nice breakdown. Makes a lot of sense. I believe Farmar should play well for us tonight (esp relative to Fisher). He is not one to lose confidence, and that bodes well for this situation.

    I would like to see more PNR’s involving Yao. His weakness in defending it should be relentlessly exploited.

  22. I really think Farmar is going to play well tonight. They don’t need him to score 15 — he just has to stay in front of Brooks and hand in his face. Also, PJ loves big guards (remember Ron Harper wasn’t exactly a PG) so I’m interested in seeing Sasha “run the point.”

  23. I don’t think Kobe is dirty, but I think he’s the master of little jabs with his arms / elbow to create space and sell contact to the refs. Remember, this is the guy that Coby Karl said “considers himself the master of fouling without getting called”. He has mastered the game to such an extent that little tricks like that are now part of his repertoire. Think about last game’s play – he would have gotten away with that little elbow / push-off / whatever you want to call it had there not been a huge media outcry about it that warranted a review by the NBA office.

    Really, the only incident that comes to mind where he really wanted to hurt someone is the Mike Miller elbow to the throat – I believe afterwards he said he wanted to send a message that just because the Lakers play in Hollywood, opponents can’t just come down the lane and “be cute”.

  24. Coffee is For Closers May 8, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    The whole kobe-ron thing overplay displays exactly how lazy a lot of the media is – just jump on the easiest angle available and beat it exhaustively to death (ex. – see Favre, Brett).

    I’m excited about tonight’s game. Defense is the key tonight. If the lakers get stops and force turnovers, they should be able to force the pace which is to their advantage. Obviously, brown and farmar need to do a decent job controlling brooks so he doesn’t exploit our interior like game 1. Lakers also need to continue to emphasize getting the ball to pau down low, he can exploit yao with his agility, or force houston into help situations that will help create space and lanes for everyone else.

    You’d think this game is going to be closely called, so lets see what team takes most advantage of a tightly officiating game.

  25. Everyone should watch the video on Seven Seconds or Mess, highlighting the Rockets deficiencies in getting Yao Ming the ball when he was in good position.

    http://7secondsormess.blogspot.com/2009/05/7som-lakers-vs-rockets-game-2.html

    I would like to bring up the fact that the reason the Rockets are reluctant to make the tough pass is because they don’t want to risk a turnover. Turnover’s lead to Laker breaks, Yao getting tired/frustrated, easy scores, preventing Houston’s excellent defense from setting. Sure, Yao is monstrously efficient when he gets the ball in good position, but is the reward worth the risk of giving up an easy score? I’m not so sure about the answer, because LA getting out and running is the worst case scenario for Houston; would they be willing to forfeit a few easy scores to control the tempo? My guess is yes, so I think they’ll continue not forcing the entry in to Yao.

  26. Comparing Fisher’s shoulder block to Kermit Washington’s closed-fist KO is a big leap.

  27. Coffee is For Closers May 8, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    22. ron – I wonder in this post-season if we’ll see any return to the kobe-bynum PNR that was so devasting much of the regular season?

  28. I love how the “experts” are questioning whether Kobe can keep this up for an entire series, yet no one seems to ask whether RonRon can. He’s shooting 55% from the field over the first two games, after shooting 40% during the season and 41% versus the Blazers (and 42% for his career). He’s shooting 54% from 3 against us, after shooting 40% for the year and 28% versus the Blazers (and 34% for his career). Sure, it’s possible that he could keep this up for an entire series, but it’s not likely.

  29. @13. A game seven for the ages. I remember it, but not because I was there. I was driving from Texas to California and stopped in Grants, New Mexico, because it was almost game time. Had only one question for the motel check-in clerk, “Do you get NBC?”

  30. @Coffee, well that would depend on whether Bynum can get off the bench.

  31. @Zephid –
    Good video. But I thought it did a better job of highlighting our defensive work rather than Houston’s deficiencies. We were constantly anticipating, moving, putting a lot of activity and pressure on the passer as well as Yao. And it was a team effort with weakside and on-ball guys just as much it was Pau on Yao (I hope to say “Pau on Yao” as much as possible). Houston has demonstrated they really don’t have a great counter to this strategy because after the first game against Portland Yao could never consistently get the ball. It did open up the free throw jumper for Scola and Landry, but we have to work as a team to take away both options.

  32. Coffee is For Closers May 8, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Don, I also think it depends on bynum being confident enought to leave his feet to catch a pass. Usually, Kobe would throw the pass off that pick at the rim, letting andrew catch and dunk. Not sure he’s confident enough to forcefully go for the ball and dunk like he was pre-injury.

  33. Man, if the Rocket’s were pissed at Crawford last game….

    Javie’s turn tonight. I love Javie as an official, I think he’s one of the best when Crawford has his head on his shoulders, but that rep for being an anti-homer is going to piss off untold numbers of Houston fans.

  34. As Jon Hollinger correctly stated a couple seasons ago…. The easiest way to improve your team is substituting an awful player (Fisher) for an average player (Brown/Farmar). So I am very confident the Lakers will win game 3 without the slow footed Fisher making Aaron Brooks look like Isiah Thomas. And it will be nice to have a PG who can taje it to the hole and make a lay up also. Sorry Fish… your a hard worker and a nice guy… but I can barley remember our championships when you were the big shot maker that everyone couldn’t wait to get rid of, because even back then you couldn’t guard anyone. After this game everyone will know the Derek Fisher era in Los Angeles is over and more championships are on their way. Congrats Lakers fans… Stu Jackson did something for you team that Phil Jackson couldn’t do… get Fisher out of the lineup.

  35. Gr8- You’re going to the game tonight right? Be loud, represent FBG well!!

  36. One of the keys to tonight will the play of our second unit at the top of the fourth. Specifically playing defense without fouling, i’m looking at you Sasha. The past two games the second unit has really killed us with getting in the penalty, and we cant afford to do that with Yao on the floor. Especially with how tight the refs will be calling tonight’s game.

    If something crazy does go down, i’d like to see DJ rush the floor and start judo throwing everyone. Who cares if he gets suspended, i will send him $20 personally to help cover the money he looses.

  37. @35, that comment just doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve been watching the Lakers since the early 90’s and Fish has always been one of my favorite players. He’s the master at drawing charges, he hits clutch shots regardless of how cold he can be during the first 3qtrs. He’s the one that got us past the Spurs with the famous .4 shot, if he wouldn’t have made that, do you think we would have advanced? Yeah we didn’t win the Finals that year but still. I’d like to believe that no Laker fan wants Fisher out of the lineup but maybe that’s just me and calling Fisher an awful player just seem ridiculous regardless of his play vs. Brooks.

  38. One side thread that I am almost remiss to bring up because: A) what’s the point; and B) I sound like a total homer; is that in watching TNT coverage of the Lakers, there is a weird anti-Lakers vibe.

    Doug Collins especially, has a negative spin on Lakers decision making and execution, but even Barkley and Kenny Smith are pretty down on the team.

    Part of this may be legitimate disappointment with the perceived lack of mission and inconsistent intensity relative to Cleveland, Denver (Barkely has been clear on this one), but I wonder if there is a level of secret rooting against factor for Collins relative to PJ; Kenny Smith as an ex Rocket. Add Chris Webber to the mix, and you’ve got a tri-fecta.

    I know, nutty, but I’m raising it just the same.

    Keep up the great work.

  39. Listen… I love Fisher. But he is the 38th to 44th best PG in the NBA. That makes him an awful player. Name one starting PG in the NBA that is worse then Derek Fisher. Even in his prime he played behind guys like 38 year old Ron Harper in LA and journeyman Speedy Claxton in Golden State. He is great guy but people in LA think he is better then he actually is.

  40. I love seeing Steve Javie as a ref when we’re on the road. Not so much when we’re at home. He seems to love to rile up the home crowd. :)

  41. I definitely think there is an anti-Laker feeling in most things NBA.Over The years many,many people have had their hearts broken by the Lakers success,never to be forgotten.

  42. Coffee is For Closers May 8, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    34. jeff – great news re: javie, with his well earned reputation as being a visting team’s best friend.

  43. @35 Re: Fisher

    The stats show something else. Fisher was our most effective PG during the RS. 6.5 WS in 2441 minutes is not bad. And in p-o his efficiency is the same – it’s 0.5 WS in 206 minutes (for example his TrueShooting% is .571 – stellar for a guard).

    Brown in the postseason is sensational (127 ORtg, 107 DRtg, 0.4 WS in only 113 minutes) but the sample size rears its ugly head here.

    Farmar was ineffective in RS (but it could be, as I’ve written, side effect of substitution pattern), in p-o he was a nonfactor.

    I think we will see Farmar as a starter and Brown as a backup – it seems he plays well with the bench.

  44. Fisher is playing with the Starters for all his minutes… meaning he is playing with better players around him. All you have to do it watch the games and see his shot not fall (the only excuse he should be on the floor), see him go into the paint with nowhere to go only to turn the ball over or air ball a layup, or see him needlessly sync into the paint to double team an inferior opponent. That isn’t even mentioning the fact he couldn’t keep my grandmother in front of him.

  45. I love Ariza too but I would be really excited if Walton got more burn, esp. on Artest. He has shown that he can play solid D on guys who like to use their strength, and offensively he forces us into the triangle which means we actually get to use Pau.

  46. Walton made Matt Harpring look like Michael Jordan when he tried guarding him in the Jazz series… and Matt likes to use his strength.

  47. The only way we can matchup with Artest is to start Bynum, Gasol, and Odom together. That would stop Scola from abusing Lamar in the low post like he did in game 2 and stop Artest from abusing Ariza down low like he did in game 2. Because Lamar has always been able to basically shutdown Artest with his length and speed.

  48. my wishlist for tonight:

    1. initiate the O through pau
    2. plenty of weakside cutting
    3A. lamar torching scola
    3B. a close up of scola’s face or chest showing a backwards ‘WWJD’ imprinted there.
    4. artest coming back to earth
    5. a solid run for jordan
    6. kobe not being baited into hero mode
    7. artest being baited into hero mode
    8. the return at last of andrew bynum (which I actually do think will happen at some point in this series)
    9. No Luke-Sasha combinations, esp. if they also include Farmar.
    10. A score > 100 points.

    One can argue that we’ve yet to see a ‘normal game’ in terms of an expected play from both teams. Pau (and the Lakers 3-point shooting) was so awful in game one, and yao was taken out of game two (some pretty bad calls on him, in addition to the lakers D fronting and doubling)– what will this series look like if Pau and Yao both are on their game?

    I expect a mediocre shooting night from artest tonight– law of averages compounded with the extra attention from the fracas. the more he shoots, the better imo, despite his brilliance in games 1 & 2.

  49. By this time anyone who didn’t see Kermit Washington play shouldn’t make comments about his foul on Rudy. Those who do are indulging in the same thing many people accuse the NBA of – confusing the foul with the result of the foul.

    Artest got kicked out so Kobe gets a technical; Fernandez is almost knocked out so Ariza is vilified, etc., etc.

    If we are going to criticize the refs for this kind of dumb reasoning, we shouldn’t indulge in it ourselves.

  50. Aaron,
    I think what you see only what you want to support your views. I think we can all see what Fisher or Walton’s limitations are. But I don’t think you see nearly enough of their strengths, based on your comments. Luke covered Artest quite well for multiple consecutive possessions in Game 2. And Fisher is on the court for much more than his shooting. I understand wanting to point out where players aren’t helping us – we all do that as fans. But discrediting players completely and not acknowledging how they are helping the team is simply unfair.

  51. I really love what Fish brings to this team. That said, I remember all the moaning about fish 2002-2004. He is what he is, just a bit slower than what he was.

    I really like TRad’s (#3 above) analysis of Farmar’s teammates and hope it answers a few questions tonight.

  52. Darius,
    Do you really think Walton could guard anyone well for multiple occasions? I know both their strengths. For one Walton is an above average passer. Thats his one strength. Fisher used to be good at taking charges and picking up offensive fouls. But that was 5 years ago. Up until the last 3 months he was a great spot up stand still shooter. But That was 4 months ago. Right now Fisher doesn’t have any strengths besides looking ridiculously good in a tank top and giving a great post game interview. Crediting players based on emotional relationships developed over the years simply isn’t fair either.

  53. Barry during the Celts/Magic game just called Fish’s hard foul one of the dirtiest plays he has seen in the NBA in years.

  54. And Darius,
    It sounds like you think Fisher is just average or below average for a starting PG. That would mean he would be like 15th to 20th as far as starting PG’s go. Even taking into account the Lakers system… Iw ant you to name me one starting PG on another NBA team that is worse then Derek Fisher. And if you try and name one like the Kings PG… I will point to all the games that Euro ran all over Fisher and dominated the Lakers.

  55. Sometimes you just can’t win.

    Before, the all-knowing Sports media called the Lakers soft and disinterested. Then, for about a half a day, they said we had found our “toughness.” Now it turns out that we are “dirty.” Yet, guys that like to set dangerous moving screens (like Garnett, Scola), that commit far more dangerous fouls (Rondo), stick their feet between an opposing players legs as they jump (Bowen) are called “tough”.

    In the end, I think it comes down to a single thing: what label you give a player is determined in large part on what you *think* of the player as a person. If you *think* you like the player, then he’s “tough” and not “soft”, or “humble” rather than “arrogant”, or a “true competitor” rather than a “cheat” or a “dirty” player.

    I make a point of highlighting the word “think” because, unless you have the fortune of dealing with these guys on a daily basis at a personal level, then you really don’t have any rational basis to form your opinion. Think about it, what you do on the court (and your NBA image) does not necessarily mean that you are the same way off the court. I mean, if that was the case, then a “true thug” like Artest would be doing drive-bys in the offseason, a “tough guy” like Kevin Garnett would spend his weekends in Afghanistan chasing Osama Bin Ladden (and would pick on players his own size), a “fierce competitor” like Shaq would spend his summer working out, getting in shape and improving his free-throw shooting, a “soft” player like Lamar Odom would have turned to drugs or quit the NBA after facing many of the horrendous tragedies in his personal life, and an “arrogant” guy like Kobe would get a tattoo on his body that said something like ” Chosen One”. So in reality, sports writers are no more knowledgeable than you or I when it comes to the character traits of an athlete, except for the fact that they get paid to write about it.

    Oh, and one last thing: Yes, that last paragraph contains an ever-so-subtle swipe at LBJ. I personally love his game and I am amazed at some of the things that he does – but the dude is arrogant as you or I would be if we had his talent. However, because the media and the fans are so in love with him, nobody seems to point out the obvious arrogance of his tattoo and his use of the #23 on his jersey is viewed as an “homage” to Jordan. Can you imagine what the press would say about Kobe if he had changed his number to #23?

  56. 54. The thing is… the Triangle offense doesn’t rely on the point guard nearly as much as other offenses. We don’t need a PG to be much more than a facilitator and a role player. Fish provides more than that — he’s a veteran championship presence and he knows what his team needs. (Particularly during Game 2 when he face-checked Luis Scola. It fired up the Lakers and gave us some emotion to play with. Without that play, we don’t win Game 2 nearly as easily as we did.)

    Plus, his actions in that game are going to KEEP the team fired up. He brought a whole new dimension to the series. If that’s his role, even though he took a suspension, Fish may have just saved our championship run against the Houston Rockets. Just throwing that out there

  57. geez Aaron, grouchy enough today? looking for an argument or what?
    chill dude.
    try to enjoy the game, like’s too short to always be looking on the negative side of things.
    and I agree with darius, Fish is a pro, and what he brings is way more than what you point out are deficiencies, leadership for one. and that’s kind of important, at least to me.
    cheers mate, enjoy the game.

  58. BlizzardOfOz May 8, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Glen Davis (aka Puffin Fresh) just collared Dwight Howard around the neck… personal foul. Is it just me, or is there a completely different standard applied to the Celtics than to the rest of the league?

  59. Aaron, the Lakers upgraded from bad PG to average when they went from Smush to Fisher. Simply put, during the season the Lakers were 8.1 points per 48 minutes better than their opponents when Fish was on the floor — only Kobe and Odom were better. That is not an accident or due to other players, it’s that he provides a solid and smart presence within the offense. Opposing PGs shot just 47% (eFG%) against him this season.

    Nobody is saying Fish is playing amazing ball or that he is the long term answer, but to to suggest he is horrific defies both the numbers and eyeballs. He has been solid. I have hope Farmar or Brown can step up, but there is no real reason to insult Fish in the process.

    Luke is not a bad defender, he is not great, he is pretty much average (opponent PER of 15.9 at the three), but when a guy has success you give him more run. Certainly Ariza isn’t working, nor did the big lineup you suggested.

    And just a word of advice, taking on Darius without laying out a lot of specifics and game breakdowns is about as smart as challenging D-Wade to a game of one-on-one for your car. He has a long record of wise posts around here, you are a newby. Show some respect.

  60. 58. The Celtics have been doing this stuff all year long. The Lakers don’t — and they’re called “soft” for the comparison. Then we lay on a couple hard fouls and the world explodes? Suddenly we’re the dirty ones?

  61. Kurt,
    Smush was really, really bad. But Fisher is still bad. And we were so good when Fisher was on the floor because he was always on the floor with kobe, Gasol, lamar, and Andrew Bynum. He only played with the starters. You have to be smarter then that.

  62. I’m already dreading the ESPN broadcast of this game. They’re going to be harping on about those fouls all game long. I’m so sick of hearing about it

  63. Fisher, over the course of the season, played in a number of personnel combos, not just starters.

    And, know that I have no patience for people who bait comment fights, are personally insulting or disrespectful.

  64. Coffee is For Closers May 8, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    We won’t be getting color from Hubbie Brown, will we? Gawd, that would make the game un-listenable for me.

    I actually kind of like the mark jackson / balki color combination.

  65. aaron you remind me of my step-teenager, she would argue even if she knew she was wrong, just loved arguing, endlessly. so, I learned a long time ago, not to buy into these endless arguments.
    I am just going to enjoy the game tonight, win or lose, because for me, I’m going to be happy if we get a split in Houston, and come back home for game 5 with home court advantage back, a 3 game series with 2 at home. I like our chances, especially with Fish!

  66. haha Kurt, sorry, I know better than to get sucked in…
    breathe…let it go…
    let’s just enjoy the game tonight, eh?

  67. Coffee is For Closers May 8, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Perhaps Aaron should be sent to the espn commenters page area – he’ll fit right in…

  68. Coffee is For Closers May 8, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Don’t worry Celt’s, Scalabrine is comming back in. Everything will be fine…

  69. According to Lakers.com Tweet, Phil still has not announced the starters.

  70. “This is not a game for boys, it’s a game for men.” –Phil Jackson, directed at Artest.

    Zen awesomeoness!
    Can anyone put that quote + a picture of Artest’s pleading face on a T-shirt in time for Game 5? Artest would likely take on all of Staples, and Kareem would be forced to Bruce Lee his rear end.

  71. So, is Anthony Johnson this good or is Skip To My Lou that overrated?

  72. Bryant-Gasol-Odom-Ariza-Farmar is my guess.

  73. I really, really hope Walton, Ariza, and Farmar have lived beyond the 3-point line ever since Game 2. No matter what adjustments are made, I think a large portion of the game will still come down our spacing the floor and hitting.

    70 – I realize it’ll most likely be Farmar to matchup with Brooks, but it just occurred to me – is starting Sasha such a bad idea? Sasha with the bench has difficulty getting very open looks, but with the starters he’ll get plenty. As bad as he’s been, I think he’s still our best option when he’s left wide open. He could catch fire and provide that little spark we need to take this game.

  74. Kurt – I think the politest way to phrase it is: Anthony Johnson has his moments.

    Apparently, this is one of them. Don’t know how Rondo’s not shooting 100% from the field, but AJ seems to be doing fine offensively.

  75. Coffee is For Closers May 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Rondo needs to go to the “tony parker tear-drop” school in the offseason.

  76. I think the lineup Phil starts with and the one he goes to if it is tight in the fourth will be different. He is going to give Farmar, Brown, Sasha, everybody but DJ a chance at the point then go with what works. He has that luxury.

  77. LOL Kurt.

    Aaron,
    Talking worse than or better than really isn’t the point to me. Based off your comment you seem to understand that they system a player plays in does make a difference. But when you’re talking about our team you must also take into account playing for Phil (who can and will trash you to the press), playing in LA AND for the Lakers (it’s like playing for the Yankees or the Cowboys – you better be ready for the scrutiny), and playing with Kobe Bryant who will expect the best from you and will bury you in practice and will let you know exactly where you messed up in games. So, considering all of these circumstances, if you want a quick/off the top of my head list of players where I’d take Fish to play for us right now instead, those guys would be: Duhon/Robinson (Knicks starter(s)), Ridnour (Bucks starter until injured), Chalmers (young player who has promise but is still very green and mistake prone), Conley (same as Chalmers), TJ Ford (not good on defense, poor shooter), Telfair (Wolves starter), and those Kings players that “torched” Fish. I understand that these guys aren’t the best players to begin with, but you make Fish sound like the worst.

    I mean, is Fish the best player? Obviously not. Does he fit what we need from a PG? For the most part, yes. Sure he’s slowed down and his jumper has betrayed him (though mostly from 3 – his overall % from the floor is in line with his career avg.). But you make him out to be the worst player possible for us to employ at PG. And that, I do not get. Also you claim that I’m infatuated with his early season production, but I feel that you’re overplaying his recent performances and completely discount his steadiness (even last game, before the foul -which was an act that had an intangible value – he made some early clock jumpers and was contributing on both sides of the ball. But that doesn’t seem to matter.). I’m sure the truth is somewhere in the middle of our views. In the end, I’ll be the first to say that we could be getting more from any player on the roster. However, with that said I will always find the things that a player is doing well and try to point out a way that those skills can be used to help the team win. Every player has use (save for players with no confidence in their abilities) and I think fans that continue to pound on a players weaknesses while not finding the value in their strengths will always just be the guy that says Kobe/Gasol won us the game. And the fact is, two guys never win a game. It takes a team.

  78. It’s one thing to say Fisher is bad, but do you have a solution? I for one do think that Fisher is well below-average in terms of PG’s in this league, but what are we going to do about it right now? Are we going to bench Fisher because he kind of sucks? What does that give us, other than more Farmar/Brown time, which I’m sure some people want, but not the extent of Fisher’s 30+ minutes a game.

    I agree, Fisher with his shot off pretty much has a negative VORP. However, where do we go for a positive? Both Farmar and Brown are huge gambles, worse shooters, and more likely to crack under pressure.

    I believe we all agree that PG needs an upgrade at some point, but now is not the time to be discussing it. Personel moves are for the offseason; working with what we got is what happens in the playoffs.

  79. BlizzardOfOz May 8, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Well, you know, ESPN’s perspective is that people all across the entire world, from Cape Cod to Jersey City, agree that those Lakers are a bit uppity.

  80. @Aaron

    Define metric you’re using when you’re saying Fisher is one of the worst NBA PGs.

    I did a simple study. Run a query in basketball-reference and rank all guards 6’3” or less (I know, there will be some SG among them but there is no simple way to select only PGs) by their WS.

    There are 45 guards qualifying for scoring title (to leave out borderline backups etc).

    Fisher is 12th among them.

    I think you’re overlooking things Fisher makes good. He takes care about ball. His TO rate is very low – actually in the RS he had the 2nd lowest TO-rate in the sample. He’s a good shooter – TS% .546 in RS and .571 in playoffs is above average for guards. And, only in the playoffs, he’s very often at the free throw line – 22 FTA is a lot when you consider he had only 49 FGA (f.e. Bryant has 51 FTA but 161 FGA).

    Fisher’s game isn’t pretty, but he’s quite good role player. He’s very efficient in using skills he possesses. Yes, I’d love to replace him with Paul or Parker or Billups – but I’m afraid those options aren’t available.

    I believe Lakers will advance to the finals and will have a chance to upset Cavaliers (sorry, but Cavs look more and more like a clear favourite). Burt even if I’m wrong – it won’t be because of Fisher. He’s doing what he was supposed to do.

    And I love his foul on Scola. It was brutal, unsportsmanlike, unnecessary, bush league – but I absolutely love it. Only because there was no way Fisher would hurt Scola – he’s to weak for it and the play looked worse than was in the reality. But every team needs an enforcer.

  81. Darius,
    I like Derek Fisher. I know everyone in LA loves him because he made some clutch shots on our 3 championship teams… but this is getting out of hand. When has Phil Jackson ever come out and trashed Fisher to the media? The anser is never. I am taking into account our offense… that is what is so frusterating to me. Because it is far easier to find an average PG in our system… all that is required of a player is to be a good defender and a good spot up shooter. All the players you listed would give the Lakers a lot more production then Derek Fisher. And your right… those are all below avergae PG’s… and they are still better then Fisher. It doesn’t mean I hate Fisher just because I know where he ranks among NBA PG’s. And I am not one of “those guys” that thinks just Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, and Odom wins us games… although those players are our best players. For instance… Trevor Ariza is a below average starting SF, but he still adds value and production (team defense, slashing). Sasha can lpay above average one on one defense against players that aren’t too long or strong for him. Farmar can push the tempo and create for his teammates in pick and roll sittuations and can take it to the basket. Brown can play great D and take it to the basket. All those players are average to below average players… but they still bring something to the table. Derek Fisher just doesn’t bring anything tangible to the team at this point in his career. His legs are clearly shot. I do play around and try and be funny and ruffle a few feathers… but Im not here guys just to bash on Fisher for no reason. Enjoy the game.

  82. And Im not here to say we need to upgrade in the off season… Im here saying we have 3 players that can play PG that would give us more production (Brown, Farmar, and Sasha)

  83. this is going out of hand (as expected). these little dirty fouls are just part of the game, the game that’s called “whatever you get away with is legal.”

    we even immortalized one of these moments: Jordan’s winning shot on game 6.

  84. Aaron,
    1) Farmar knows the system, but is very headstrong – not a great trait with Phil, on a team where you are young and not the Alpha male – and gets flustered with failure.
    2) Brown – doesn’t know the system enough to start with the other starters yet.
    3) Sasha – Gets too excited defensively and tends to get us into the penalty situation too quickly.

    All these guys have issues and Fish is the most steady under all conditions – a very important aspect with Phil.

    We may all disagree with Phil, but he is the coach.

  85. this eddie house guy can really shoot.

  86. Well, we’ll get a chance to see tonight how our team fares without Fisher at the point in a one game sample.

  87. There are many reaons why stats lie… for one it doesn’t and cant judge defense (Fisher’s worse quality). And Fisher because of who he plays with just stands wide open behind the three point line Have you noticed that Brown is shooting better then he ever has before? Fisher turns over the ball very little because he isn’t asked to and can’t make plays. If you actually look at it… for what he is asked to do he turns over the ball way too much.

  88. Can you guys imagine a Lakers/Magic final?

    “The Lakers push the lead to 20…and it’s a two point game!!”

    “The Magic race out to a 16 point lead…and the Lakers take the lead!!”

    It’ll be the most schizophrenic series ever.

  89. Wow, Boston is switching Scalabrine onto Turkoglu on the PNR. Bad, Bad defense.

  90. There were not better options available than Fisher in the free agent market last summer, because the Lakers only had the MLE to work with. Maybe there will be this off-season

  91. Most of the bloggers here don’t base their assumptions entirely on statistics. If you have been watching the Lakers long enough, you realize what a calming influence Fish is. What he does is allow others to do their jobs. Most of the Laker defense isn’t based on individual skills, but team coverage. Therefore much of Fish’s stats are not going to correlate with anything.

    We all agree he is not a great individual defender, but he does fit in this system.

  92. Marbury and Mikki Moore laughing it up down 15 in the 4th quarter. You think Sam Cassell and PJ Brown would be laughin?

  93. I think we can say Orlando is up 2-1 on Boston. Yeah!!

  94. Notice JJ Redick is getting playing time in the 4th Quarter against the defending world champs in the playoffs. 3 months ago he was buried on SVG’s bench. Shows how far performing well in 2 starts can get you.

  95. its a good thing this game aint close otherwise we’d miss the first quarter

  96. “Statistics Lie” is the lame fallback of people who can’t come up with a credible argument against them. Statistics are, by definition, measurable observation. You use them with wisdom and caution, but they do not lie. Fish is an +8.1 for the Lakers, they are better with them, and he does play solid defense.

    The great thing about statistics is that if you have an open mind, they can challenge your conventional wisdom.

  97. Zephid- Its crazy. JJ is establishing himself as a legitamate starting 2 guard. Great shot, decent passer, average defender. He stretches the floor for them.

  98. Stop fouling and end this game!

  99. wow. espn has plugged rockets-lakers about 200 times during this broadcast. if they don’t cover it from beginning to end I’m going to be a little irritated.

  100. 93. That’s a great point. KG may have had something to do with this.

    But how do you beat a team with Gortat? I’m not sure it is possible. He should have won MVP.

  101. 100

    It’s on ESPN Classic for the moment.

  102. They are running the Lakers game on ESPN Classic right now.

  103. wheres the logic in showing the end of this game

  104. so farmar starts for us. go farmar!

  105. Why do I have to see the end of the Magic/Celtics game exactly?

  106. WHY IN THE WORLD ARE IS THE LAKERS-ROCKETS FEED NOT ON WHEN THIS GAME IS CLEARLY OVER

  107. Lookin at Orlando’s salary structure, they’re going to be good for a long, long time. Lewis, Howard, Nelson, Lee, all signed through 2013, Pietrus through 2012. All their bad contracts come off the books next year. Yea, Rashard Lewis is probably making 7 mil per year more than he deserves, but they’re in a pretty enviable position

  108. 11-4 LA

  109. I love games I tune in and the Lakers are up by 6.

  110. Great Googly Moogly May 8, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    ESPN has screwed up once again. Thanks Disney!!

  111. I get the feeling Orlando was just looking to win one game in Boston and “settled” for a loss in game 2. It would not surprise me if they win on Sunday, drop Tuesday at the Garden, but then clinch it in Orlando on Thursday.

  112. Those aren’t bad shots by Farmar; they’re just not going in. Ariza’s shot on the other hand…

  113. Ariza!

  114. He can’t guard me!

  115. Kurt – I’m not trying to play devil’s advocate, and I agree statistics are incredibly valuable. However, statistics (in general, not bball statistics) should be interpreted very, very cautiously. I’m no expert on basketball statistics, so I can’t speak on those types of stats. But general statistics can very easily be bent or skewed by intentional bias. As a simple example, altering the confidence limit (normally p < 0.05) in a t-test can change the difference between accepting and rejecting a null hypothesis. Again, I know very little about basketball stats so I can’t speak on those, but for stats in general, the saying “stats can lie” sometimes holds weight.

  116. The Rockets are doing a much better job of setting up their entry passes to Yao. Not allowing the easy front.

  117. So far ESPN has barely mentioned the hard fouls… I give Breen/Jackson/JVG credit

  118. Farmar is playing smart. I like it.

  119. Yao is moving in the post, as opposed to sitting still and forcing the Rockets into a lob. Gasol needs to move more and work to contain Yao; whenever Yao gets it deep, Gasol is cooked.

  120. So…who thought our ball movement would be this beautiful with Jordy starting?

  121. Farmar is not only playing smart, the effort is there. Hustling to the ball while on the floor is indicative of such. He really wants to prove himself here.

  122. Farmar is passing very, very well. Good hustle, too.

  123. Farmar came out to play!!!! Love it! That’s why I bought your t-shirt!

  124. great pace…keep it up!!!

  125. I wish Farmar could find the range, but he’s making an impact with his hunger. Just one 3, Farmar, that’s all I ask…maybe 2…

  126. I’m still waiting for Kobe to start missing jumpers…

    I like Farmar’s decision-making early, he just needs to start hitting his open shots now.

  127. amazing how their breaking up the rockets defense, omg i love it. ODOM should have a monster game.

  128. The Lakers offense is just beautiful to watch when the ball moves like this and everyone contributes. And when Kobe knocks down shot after shot with a Battier’s hand literally in his face.

    Hope Farmar can keep this hustle/focus up!

  129. Great Googly Moogly May 8, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Gasol needs to take advantage of his matchup with Yao. He needs to take those 10 foot faceup jumpers from the pinch post, not those fade aways that get blocked.

  130. Ariza needs to get his points within the offense, not on 1 on 3 moves.

  131. Man, Odom is just getting schooled by Scola. That guy can play.

  132. Scola has some good post moves, Odom needs to push him off the block. Ariza needs to stop dribbling.

  133. Great Googly Moogly May 8, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I’m not sure why Odom is getting schooled by Scola. That shouldn’t happen. Odom’s length and mobility should bother Scola. It’s not like Scola is overpowering him.

  134. Why is Odom having so much trouble with Scola?

  135. Scola is too strong for Odom. He is very good, but Odom needs to use quickness and length more.

  136. Scola is stronger than Odom. Someone needs to at least challenge Scola on his dribble.

  137. No one is challenging the dribbles of the Rockets in the post. Our guards need to come down hard on them and get some turnovers.

  138. Why is Gasol still playing behind Yao????

  139. Scola is as right handed as LO is left handed, if that makes sense. When Scola posts up on the right block, LO needs to make him drop step baseline and finish with his left hand or over the top of LO’s contest with his right.

    And you’re right on Kurt, Ariza can’t force it against a sagging Scola. Especially on the strong side where the defense is packed in.

  140. Gasol needs to front Yao again. Walton coming in might be a blessing in disguise, as he defends Artest better.

    And Farmar can dunk?

  141. Great Googly Moogly May 8, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Lakers shoot over 60% and force the Rockets to 4 turnovers (to their 1) AND kobe shoots 5 for 6 and only up by 2 points. That’s a bad sign.

    Hopefully the bench to hold their own.

  142. Thing I like: Houston with turnovers on 18.7% of possessions.

    Thing I don’t like: Lakers have 0 free throws.

  143. The Rockets have made good adjustments with Yao. They’re doing exactly what Thorpe said they would by lowering the entry point and creating better passing angle on their passes into the post and being more active with getting Scola in positions where LO can’t help and recover as easily. They’re also bringing Yao across the lane from weak to strong side and making Pau fight with the stronger player where he can’t hold him off the spot.

  144. I hold my breath every time the Rockets get the ball in the post – they’re inside-out offense is very efficient. Scola loves to fake one way and step through to go under Odom the other way.

  145. Here is a wish that Kobe Bryant is absolutely going to explode in the second quarter and maintain the beautifull momentum he has built up. Kobe is due a “Kobe Bryant Classic games” type of game and let’s hope this is it!

    Go Lakers!

  146. Shannon needs to stop biting on Lowry’s shot fakes.

  147. Again, Shannon Brown bites on a pump-fake from Kyle Lowry. MAKE HIM TAKE THAT JUMPER!

  148. Throwing the ball over the top doesn’t happen enough, especially with the reach of Gasol and Bynum.

  149. Dead on BCR. Shannon needs to pay attention to the scouting report.

  150. Finally out of work and able to focus on the game!

    I like what I saw from Farmar, the little I got to see. Looks like I arrived just in time to see the how the bench is doing… I gather from the comments above that Lamar is not doing well on Scola and Pau is not doing well on Yao, but Farmar came to play and is playing his heart out. Does that sound about right?

    How’s our defense on Artest?

  151. Hey! It’s T-Mac!

  152. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    I out-loud just said “Goddamnit Sasha, stop f*cking doing that”

  153. T-Mac finally gets some second round experience…

  154. TMac=pink elephant in the room

  155. I apologize for my earlier comment in which I thought Sasha could hit a wide open shot. I’ve cut him too much slack for too long, seduced by the amazing single-man runs he used to put up last year. Sasha, you suck.

  156. I find it amusing that people (or at least one person) feels comforatable trashing Fisher as “awful”, ect.

    Aaron – do you consider your basketball judgement to be superior to Phil Jackson’s? If so, please tell us how many rings you have.

  157. Great Googly Moogly May 8, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    I gotta say. Even though he’s from Duke, I can’t hate on Shane Battier.

  158. Shane Battier will be a head coach in this league someday and probably a damn good one.

  159. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Is it just me, or does Drew have a better view of what he’s supposed to be doing tonight?

  160. Snoopy, at this point I think I would love it if anyone on the Lakers makes a wide-open shot…!

  161. Sasha is colder than an icebox.

  162. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    You guys realise that we’ve essentially missed every open jumper tonight, and we’re still only down by 1? Methinks this bodes well for when we actually start to hit our shots.

  163. Chick says “He couldn’t fall out of a boat and get wet.”

  164. R – While I disagree with Aaron’s comment, but if your reasoning is true, then not a single one of us, nor the majority of players, coaches and executives in the NBA has a right to critique Fisher. Does that make sense?

    Fish has been very inconsistent and his production has steadily delcined all season long. That should be a great concern for this Laker team as they progress in the playoffs and, in particular, for next season. Having said that, he’s not “awful” by any strech of the imagination – but he is playing awful.

  165. Bynum is looking good right now

  166. Officials quick with the Ts again.

  167. Somebody, anybody, needs to make an open 3 for the Lakers. I am seriously worried about this going forward.

    On a positive note, Bynum is owning the lane tonight.

  168. TracerBullet,
    It’s not just you. He’s playing well, whether it is the lack of foul trouble or finding his rhythm, or what t is, but it’s working.

    LUKE!! That was stupid!

  169. Someone give that idiot guy in the red T-shirt a technical!

  170. GAME PLAN FOR BYNUM:

    1. Rebound
    2. Block Shots
    3.Rbound
    4. Block shots
    ….(repeat and rinse)
    9. Slam the ball in when receiving a pass within 2 feet of the hoop.
    10. Repeat 1-4 two more times.

  171. Really dumb to kick the ball.

  172. And what’s with JVG saying that Battier should be “more aggressive” on offense? The guy’s an offensive disaster past being a catch-and-shoot three point shooter. JVG actually coached this Houston team?

  173. Way to donate them a point Luke.

  174. Bynum is doing the little things tonight…contesting shots, setting good picks. That’s what we need to see.

    It would also be a miracle to see Sasha hit a shot.

  175. 165 – Second-guessing is every fan’s absolute right, but I feel I must step in when things get out of hand :0)

  176. What does it say about me that I hate A-Rod and couldn’t care less about Manny’s use?

  177. When are we going to start hitting outside shots? This is getting to the point of sheer comedy. Aside from Brown, not a single f-ing role player can hit an outside shot. I’m seriously getting pissed off right now.

    Enough with the technical frenzy. Just play ball. Luke didn’t do anything wrong except maybe kick the ball, but Kobe needs to let that go. I’m afraid with how quickly T’s are being blown, we dont’ want to run the risk of any of our players getting thrown out with a later 2nd T.

  178. Sasha needs to shooting and just focus on getting people irritated to the point of violence.

  179. Great Googly Moogly May 8, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Is it me or are the lakers ALWAYS in the penalty?

  180. Kurt,
    It says you’re selectively judgmental. That’s a survival trait if you follow baseball. ;)

  181. Another boneheaded foul.

  182. More free throws.

  183. Mark Jackson has the best ability to say nothing in as many words as possible.

  184. 170 – which “idiot” one? haha.

    I’m liking what I’m seeing in the extra effort from Jordan and Drew. Hopefully this keeps up. Go Lakers!

  185. do the Rockets ever foul?

  186. Josh Powell in the game… I do not like.

  187. 184

    Ain’t it the truth…

  188. As soon as Powell starts dribbling with a guy to his back, I cringe.

  189. Offense has gone flat again.

  190. What the blue bridges did Scola do to his hair? It’s like a long-haired version of Deron Williams!

  191. I’d rather see Bynum/Gasol upfront than have Powell in right now.

  192. Great Googly Moogly May 8, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    scola = ugly version of Sasha

  193. Yes, put Bynum in!

  194. I’d rather see anything than Powell right now.

  195. @186: do the rockets ever get CALLED for fouls?

  196. Kobe is forcing it now.

  197. You can’t win on the road if you don’t get free throws.

  198. Need to make a pushing going into halftime, this time is crucial.

  199. Gasol needs more touches.

  200. why is LO on the bench?

  201. LO has 3 fouls

  202. oh ok…i kinda just started watching

  203. Lakers need to take the ball to the hoop, too many outside shots

  204. The last few kobe shots are frustrating.

    They were fadeaways or forced shots that had defenders in his face.

    These were the shots he missed in game 1 but made in game 2 and i don’t want to live or die by them

  205. Stop the presses, foul called on Houston.

  206. Walton finally hitting some open shots.

  207. I like Luke.

  208. I’d like it if we picked up the pace a little more, but I feel good about this game.

  209. Great Googly Moogly May 8, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    “hard fought clean basketball” is great and all…but I kinda prefer what we saw in the 2nd half of game 2.

  210. R- Awesome point!

  211. Rockets are like Lebron, they don’t foul. The also draw charges. it’s the double edge sword of home court advantage.

    Lakers aren’t confident in their shots right now. Many of the role players are tentative with their shots and not always taking the wide open ones, which they’re missing.

    Glad Luke stepped up to keep the lead going into the half.

  212. Sasha and Powell need to stay on the bench in the 2nd half.

  213. at least luke confident and decisive, thats we need, if ur open shoot it, they will eventually go in

  214. We hit a 3! Be still, my beating heart.

    This game would be wide open if we had hit the 3’s we’ve hit all year long.

    Love Ariza’s hands in the passing lanes, being active and having an impact defensively. We are not the Celtics or Rockets defensively – our defense is at its best forcing turnovers and pushing the break.

  215. Ah, Avery Johnson on the halftime report. That’s my cue to go get food.

  216. I want to own an awesomeager right now

  217. I’d really like to see us start some possessions on the weakside with an open post to initiate our offense. These sets can be used to set some cross screens on Yao to get Gasol moving to the ball in order to get some easier looks. Asking Pau to play against Yao in one on one situations and shoot over the top is not a great strategy if we hope to see an efficient Gasol.

  218. copy from Kurt:
    Thing I like: Houston with 11 turnovers

    Thing I don’t like: Lakers have 4 free throws attempts.

  219. Rockets 12 of 15 from the line, Lakers 4 of 6.

    Rockets lead in rebounds 25 to 18.

  220. I think we need more shooters… one of the things to address this off-season

  221. i cant watch the game right now, but the difference in fouls is a bit disturbing. Are they actual fouls because of lazy defense or are the refs being biased and calling ticky-tacky fouls?

  222. Lakers miss VladRad this series.

  223. I thought there were some ticky tack fouls against the Lakers when the Rockets were in the penalty.

    Can’t let them get in the penalty so soon.

  224. This is a winable game for the Lakers, very winnable. The key is, they will need to hit some big shots, and it just cant be Kobe. Walton, Farmar, Brown, etc., will have to hit some big buckets, which has been a struggle.

  225. Gasol needs to have a big half.

  226. “The World of Warcraft First Half Stats”

    That is awesome. Welcome to the mainstream, gaming. :)

    Sorry. As an avid, rabid videogamer I just couldn’t resist commenting on that.

  227. Lamar and defense are the key.

  228. Lamar gives up the o rebound and then the turnover- he needs to step it up.

  229. And rebounding.

  230. But that’s why he can be so good- insanely versatile.

  231. Scola’s hair still looks like a long-haired version of the Deron Williams horror.

    Lamar for 3! Finally someone made a wide open shot!

  232. The Lakers are so talented- all of a sudden up 8

  233. Snoopy – jumpers are starting to fall! jumpers are starting to fall!

  234. We need some rebounds.

  235. Kobe with the block!!!!

  236. Farmar is really hustling.

  237. Pff, first offensive rebound of the half goes to Jordan Farmar.

  238. Lamar needs to be a consistent force on the boards.

  239. Funny how the ‘non-shooters’ (Ariza, Walton, Odom, Brown) have been the ones converting most of the outside shots for the Lakers. It would be nice if the established shooters like Sasha, Farmar, and Fisher could follow suit.

  240. Due to their weaker offense or lack of offense when Yao isn’t providing, the Rockets like to supplement their offense by getting to the line due to early fouls. It’s part of their strategy. Lakers play right into it by accommodating. They have been doing it almost every quarter since the series began.

    Good job by Farmar getting that rebound. He’s active tonight.

  241. Rebound!

  242. Joel, one would be remiss to call Farmar a shooter.

  243. Farmar!

  244. #239,
    I think we can safely assume Fisher won’t be shooting much this game… ;)

  245. kobe is 6-15? is he forcing his shots?

  246. Wow, I do not recognize this Kobe Bryant. Unable to get to the rim in transition? Fallaway in transition?

    Finally the shots have started to fall. This would be a really great time to attack offensively and break the game open. We’ve had our chances and have failed to convert a couple times down when we should have gone hard to the rim.

  247. Kobe was forcing his shots in the 2nd quarter.

  248. like the way farmer is playing, im sure playing with starters is helping him

  249. lol Jaybird, trust me, I’m jumping up and down here

  250. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    I love how deep into the clock we’re forcing the Rockets. It seems like every other play has their first shot going up at 6 seconds or less on the clock.

  251. finally a foul call our way…

  252. 240

    Well he did shoot 37% from 3 last year, and he’s not shooting much worse than Sasha this year.

    This Lakers team isn’t exactly loaded with good outside shooters.

  253. When Yao switches to defend Kobe, Kobe should drive right by him or into him. Instead, he’s trying to shoot over him. Yao is 7’6″, it’s not going to work.

  254. Odom shouldn’t fall in love with that shot.

  255. Give them a break Joel. An entire season of shooting well is not invalidated by a couple of games in a slump.

    Pau over Yao!

  256. Houston is doing a great job denying Yao in the post…

  257. artest is looking more like artest today

  258. Again, we step up our defensive effort in the third quarter and build a double digit lead.

  259. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Big points for Jordan Farmar’s hustle tonight. He generated another possession there by simply hustling for an ORebound.

  260. Ariza shouldn’t fall in love with that shot.

  261. von wafer!~

    anyway, getting fisher suspended seems like a blessing now, guys are definitely more fired up and farmar is getting his stuff back..

  262. Pau is a dirty player! He shoved Yao! It’s Kermit Washington all over again!

  263. rockets cant make a shot to save their lives

  264. Ariza is trying to do just a tick too much on offense. He took that jumper off the dribble when he had an open Pau at the foul line and then he occupied the post when Pau was iso’d at the top of the key and wanted to go into the lane. I like that Trevor is more aggressive, but he needs to read the play a bit better.

  265. Keep up the D and we’ll be just fine. We’re forcing them to overdribble and panic at the end of the clock.

    Hopefully we regain the shooting stroke in the 4th.

  266. We celebrated too soon. My God, when did 15-footers become this hard to make? And if you can’t make them, please drive the ball. If you get blocked at the rim, I forgive you. At least try to attack and draw fouls.

    I know, easier said than done, especially with their D. But it’s very frustrating that we’re so close to blowing the game open, and we’re letting them hang around because of passive offense.

    If they’re giving us space, we should call upon our special sharpshooter on the bench. Ah…wait, we dont have one…crap…

  267. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    On the plus side, Newcastle #4 since the start of the game tastes just as good as Newcastle #1! If that’s not a sign that the Lakers are winning, I don’t know what is.

  268. I would like to see the Lakers go for the throat. More PnR, or PnP, and more inside-outside to Pau.

    Yao is looking tired, and now would be an excellent time to get young Andrew in there, and create some more fatigue on Yao. Just have our big fella lean on him, and sprint him up and down the court.

    Be nice to see Bynum, Gasol, Odom, Bryant and Farmer out there for a few minutes, just to experiment.

  269. i wanna see that farmar-brown-kobe-lamar-pau line-up we had going last game

  270. Ron Artest = regressing to the mean

  271. hopefully these 3s keep falling for us

  272. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    I think I’m just going to put a master “Dumb foul by (Bynum or Sasha)” into my clipboard, just to cut/paste here on the site every time it happens. Only thing is, I think that’d get me banned pretty quick. =/

  273. We certainly need to rebound better.

  274. Gotta love it – the Lakers are showing who’s boss!

    Where are those Rockets trolls now?

  275. Our guards keep trying to leak out. They need to box out Lowry.

  276. Lets run up and down the floor all night with them.

  277. Are they chanting “Kobe sucks!” ?? I take everything back, the Taco chant is classy.

  278. KOBE!

  279. KOBE!!!!!!

  280. Stop! Kobe time!

  281. Wow Kobe. Cold blooded!

  282. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    @274- Their FG% is 7 points lower than ours right now, and they’re +6 in ORebs. I’m generally okay with that, as more misses will mean more rebounds.

  283. Kobe at the buzzer for 3!!!

  284. Ouch! Kobe Bean Bryant.

  285. Is it just me, or was that the same play as Fisher’s Point 4 shot?

  286. Dude’s insane.

  287. Kobe. Bean. Bryant.

  288. that should be illegal haha.

    gotta stink if the other guy makes those kinda 3s.

  289. After the Houston fans started the “Kobe Sucks” chant, I KNEW that shot was going in.

  290. YOU?CANT GUARD ME!!!!!

  291. o.O Bryant goes into Hero Mode for a reason… He can be unworldly… WOW.

  292. phil uses that play alot in those situations
    …they did the same with that fisher shot, but kobe couldnt get open and fish was the second best option

  293. Did anyone see Sasha all over Kobe after that shot? I think he was trying to rub some of that magic off Kobe.

  294. Kobe #1.

    But Bynum was wide open under the basket.

  295. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Man, if Father’s Office didn’t have awful seating, I’d go there for the 4th right now. As it is, I might have to wait until game’s over, then go gorge on some tasty Sweet Potato Fries (With the garlic aioli)!

  296. 295

    And if he tried to pass it the shot clock would have run out.

  297. Why are we not posting up Andrew Bynum?

  298. Wow, a Laker making freethrows! Go Brown!