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.


495 responses to Lakers/Rockets Game 3 Chat

  1. 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.

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

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

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  4. 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.

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

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  6. I want to own an awesomeager right now

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  7. 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.

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

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

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

    Rockets lead in rebounds 25 to 18.

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

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  11. 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?

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  12. Lakers miss VladRad this series.

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  13. 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.

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  14. 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.

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  15. Gasol needs to have a big half.

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  16. “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.

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  17. Lamar and defense are the key.

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

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  19. And rebounding.

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

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  21. 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!

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

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

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  24. We need some rebounds.

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  25. Kobe with the block!!!!

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  26. Farmar is really hustling.

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

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

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  29. 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.

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  30. 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.

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  31. Rebound!

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

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  33. Farmar!

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  34. #239,
    I think we can safely assume Fisher won’t be shooting much this game… 😉

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

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  36. 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.

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

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

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

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  40. 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.

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  41. finally a foul call our way…

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  42. 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.

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  43. 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.

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

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  45. 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!

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

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  47. artest is looking more like artest today

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

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  49. 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.

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

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  51. von wafer!~

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

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

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  53. rockets cant make a shot to save their lives

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  54. 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.

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  55. 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.

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  56. 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…

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  57. 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.

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  58. 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.

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

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  60. Ron Artest = regressing to the mean

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  61. hopefully these 3s keep falling for us

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  62. 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. =/

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  63. We certainly need to rebound better.

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

    Where are those Rockets trolls now?

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

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

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

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  68. KOBE!

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  69. KOBE!!!!!!

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  70. Stop! Kobe time!

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  71. Wow Kobe. Cold blooded!

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  72. 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.

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  73. Kobe at the buzzer for 3!!!

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  74. Ouch! Kobe Bean Bryant.

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

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  76. Dude’s insane.

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  77. Kobe. Bean. Bryant.

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  78. that should be illegal haha.

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

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

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  80. YOU?CANT GUARD ME!!!!!

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

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  82. 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

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

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  84. Kobe #1.

    But Bynum was wide open under the basket.

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  85. 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)!

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  86. 295

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

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  87. Why are we not posting up Andrew Bynum?

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

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  89. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    @Zephid-

    That wasn’t working too well in games 1 and 2. Landry plays best when his man tries to back him down.

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  90. Sasha finally hits the open three.

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  91. So much for me worrying about guys hitting open shots…

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  92. machine! finally with a 3.

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  93. I like Brown taking it aggressively to the basket.

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  94. sasha finally makes a shot!!

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  95. Did Sacha just score?

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  96. I still like Sasha. I don’t care what anyone says, I remain defiantly fond of his energy, aggressive fiestiness, and… hard foul! Yes! Clock him!

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  97. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Wafer jumped into Sasha. No Flagrant.

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  98. And then Sasha makes a moronic foul on Wafer.

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  99. Wafer jumped into Sasha there. Foul should be on Wafer.

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  100. sasha u fool

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  101. That is entirely on Wafer. Why on earth is he dumb enough to headbutt an elbow anyway?

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  102. As a rocket fan, no flagrant.

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  103. Wafer jumped into him.

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  104. If that’s a flagrant foul they might as well disallow contact in the NBA altogether.

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  105. i cant believe i actually agree with something JVG has to say

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  106. That was bogus. Wafer jumped sideways into Sasha.

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  107. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    That was a hell of a catch by Drew to avoid the turnover there. Kobe dumped that behind him and he still managed the one-handed grab.

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  108. I like that the Lakers are getting into the paint.

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  109. Way to pluck that ball out of traffic, Drew.

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  110. Starters! Send in the starters!

    Please please please…

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  111. Bynum is finally doing what the Lakers need him to do: rebound, protect the rim, and make Yao work. Solid game from him despite the lack of scoring.

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  112. Bynum continues to play well, play hard, and play the way we know he can. That is GREAT. If the problems were all in his head, this can turn it around.

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  113. suspend vujacic!!

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  114. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    BTW, has anybody noticed that that Pull-Up Nowitski jumper “Amazing” commercial happened with 2:38 left in the 3rd period? Really now, we’re defining a play that happens 15 times a night per team as “amazing”?

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  115. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Kobe F’in Bryant.

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  116. If only Farmar played this under control all the time.

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  117. Rebounds damit rebound.

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  118. Welcome back Ronnie.

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  119. Good to see Phil calling a tactical time out there. Some lapses you do not let your team play through.

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  120. I agree Wafer jumped right into Sasha. When did the rockets start playing so dirty?

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  121. Even if kobe ends up shooting just ok, this is one of the best all around games he’s played all year. Subtle dominance.

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  122. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    I don’t much like Kobe taking that shot, even if it does go halfway down.

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  123. I had a roommate after college who, when nervous during a game, would get up and clean the house. It was his way of dealing with the nervous energy. I miss watching games with him and how good the house looked during the playoffs.

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  124. You know, the Rockets are damn good this year. No surprise that the loss of McFady makes them better.

    I can tell they are really good, because I am still worried they might pull this out…

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  125. Farmar playing BIG.

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  126. Um . . . bad shot Farmar.

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  127. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Excellent job by Ariza there to not do is normal “bite on the pump fake and fly by as the guy gathers for his shot”

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  128. Artest is going into hero mode.

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  129. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    **his

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  130. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    **his

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  131. I love the way Jordan has played, I do not want the offense to run through him right now. He should not be taking early threes in the clock, I don’t care how open.

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  132. We need to stop shooting outside jumpers and keep pounding it inside. Can’t settle and let them creep back in.

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  133. I can live with that shot by Farmar, He was wide open and that’s a make-able shot.

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  134. bad 3 by Farmar. too early in the clock and he had open lane.

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  135. I want Drew to get in there instead of LO. LO is not rebounding at all and his defense is much worse.

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  136. LO is a way better passer, and his shot is falling so he spreads the floor

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  137. Odom has 10 rebounds, the most for the lakers.

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  138. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    Kobe is a bad, bad man.

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  139. KOOOBE!!!

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  140. Go KobE!!!

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  141. Stop! Kobe time! (again)

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  142. dagger shot!!

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  143. Yes. Gasol is getting with the game plan. Rebounds!

    And Odom with the big dunk-in.

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  144. HUGE

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  145. Kobe with the clutch shot.

    And nice to see the energy from Odom.

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  146. Loving, Loving the offense here. Attacking Yao off the dribble.

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  147. go kobe! go LO!

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  148. And Lamar seals it. We just have too much talent for Houston (or anyone else in the League- even the LeBrawns) and it shows when we play defense, rebound, and have patience on o.

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  149. Is Yao hurt? He’s limping and looks in pain.

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  150. From the broadcast team on the shot clock buzzer beating 3:

    Kobe Bryant beating the clock… it should be a crime being that good

    nice

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  151. Yao looks hurt, the Lakers should drive right at him

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  152. you make shots, you win. sometimes it’s that simple.

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  153. yaos a tough mofo

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  154. Cash em in Trevor.

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  155. Yes, Yao is hurt. The were treating his ankle earlier.

    I admire a guy who plays through pain just because he thinks his team needs him. Classy, brave, strong. Admirable.

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  156. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Now’s when you pull Jordan for Shannon – Free throws, no matter how confident Jordan is tonight, are not his strong suit.

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  157. Make your free throws!

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  158. Free throws, please, gentlemen?

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  159. Why did Kobe leave Artest there for the 3? He was on him and then he just left him. Sometimes I wonder about Kobe defensively.

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  160. can phil free throw shooters in there?

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  161. im starting to like yao more and more

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  162. These missed FTs are killer…

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  163. Get the ball to Kobe, everyone else is bricking FTs.

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  164. we need fisher to shoot FT!

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  165. how come scola didn’t play for most of the quarter? is he hurt or something?

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  166. Big steal by Farmar. He’s really working for his minutes tonight. That’s a good mentality to have.

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  167. Farmar with the steal, he is showing he wants playing time

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  168. i hate to agree with Van Gundy but i think farmar should start

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  169. Flagrant 4!

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  170. Sweet steal! Go Jordan Go!

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  171. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Looked like a play on the ball, I’m fine with nothing besides personal.

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  172. bad call…that shouldnt be flagrant

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  173. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    F2?!? Really, that’s not right.

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  174. That should be just a normal foul, no flagrant

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  175. That’s a flagrant two for Artest? Wow.

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  176. These refs are drunk. A flagrant 2???? You gotta be kidding me.

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  177. That should not have been a flagrant 2. Flagrant 1 maybe, but NOT Flagrant 2. That is wrong.

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  178. ok these flagrant fouls are getting ridiculous. that’s barely a flagrant 1.

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  179. flagrant FOUL!!!
    LOL
    white guys do get some calls…

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  180. As a Lakers fan, that wasn’t a flagrant 2, it wasn’t a flagrant 1. It was just a foul. Terrible terrible call by the officials, even I don’t think Ron deserves treatment like that.

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  181. So how many flagrants is it till a mandatory suspension?

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  182. That was not a flagrant on Artest. Not close.

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  183. That’s a bad call.

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  184. So…let’s see if the world has an uproar about a “dirty” play now. For some reason, I doubt it.

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  185. that is not a flagrant 2

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  186. That was a reputation call. It will be downgraded.

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  187. Not even a flagrant. If I’m being honest here.

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  188. I’m sorry, that was weak. Less flagrant than Kobe’s elbow. He hit the ball for god’s sake!

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  189. TracerBullet May 8, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    This is when a normal league office would issue an apology to the Rockets and Ron Artest.

    Then again, this isn’t a normal league office.

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  190. I’m glad Gasol got his left leg out from under him because it was close to bending the wrong way.

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  191. #394: 4

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  192. i cant believe i actaully feel sorry for artest

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  193. You know, just before that call I was going to say that every time a hard foul is given you half expect a flagrant of some sort.

    Right on cue, Artest gets tossed on a BS flagrant 2. I’m sure his history played a major role in that call as well.

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  194. it seems like flagrants are called based on how hard the player falls/acts after the foul nowadays

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  195. Maybe they didn’t like the right hand action? It looked like it might have hit Pau’s throat, but the contact wasn’t that hard.

    Strange.

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  196. Solid win. Took home court back, let’s see whether we can bring the effort in Game 4.

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  197. if there was a silver lining in fisher being suspended its getting farmar confident again…granted its one game, but it might be that break through game he needed.

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  198. Kobe playing w/ his taped fingers. Yeek.

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