Lakers/Rockets Game 4 Chat

Kurt —  May 10, 2009

Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles
I think everyone with an emotional interest in this series is sad to see Yao Ming go down with the broken foot and be out. He had played with the heart of a lion, a real warrior, and he was just great to watch as a fan of the game of basketball.

In the preview for game three, Reed talked about the team dealing best with keeping their heads and executing their game plan in the wake of the emotional game two would win. That holds true for game four — if the Lakers now let up because there is no Yao, they will lose. This is a scrappy Rockets team, one that is not going to give up. Execution remains the key, the Lakers need to keep doing what they had done.

With Yao gone there is little need to double, they need to be smart man to man. The Lakers have forced an average of 18.3 turnovers per game this season (while giving up 10) and if you can force them sans Yao to create shots on their own we can force more of these. Also, they can get blocks — the Lakers have averaged seven a game in this series (compared to 2.7 for the Rockets). Energy on defense remains the key.

So now what for the Rockets? I would expect Landry to start, and for the Rockets to go with their small lineup. That group has given the Lakers fits and it will take away some (if not all) of the advantage the Lakers have had on the break (and for the playoffs the Rockets are 7.1 points per 100 possession better on offense when he is off the floor, and they are +14 in this series). The Lakers will need to execute better in the half court (even if that is more freelanced offense on the secondary break) than it has so far.

Look for Artest to start out strong, but his shooting has dropped off by quarter in this series dramatically (.550 in first quarter; .502 in second; .413 in third; .303 in fourth). No matter how mad he is at him, Adelman needs Von Wafer because he needs the guy who can create offense. Wafer can also make questionable decisions, and the Lakers can take advantage of it.

I also am curious to see what happens with the Rockets defense — last game when Kobe came off a Gasol screen Yao pulled back and Battier fought over the top then tried to funnel Kobe to Yao (this worked sporadically). Now, I bet you see a lot of showing out on the screen, meaning Gasol’s man is going to step out and they are going to if not outright trap Kobe they are going to try to cut off his driving lane and likely try to get the ball out of his hands.

Game three also saw a bit of a shift in how the Rockets dealt with Kobe philosophically — rather than being okay with him getting his but trying to make it hard and cut off the passing angles, they really just collapsed on him. That opened things up for everyone else, and the other Lakers made them pay. (Well, not Sasha, but he’s just ice right now shooting 23.5%.) Does that change?

For the Lakers defensively, they need to play smart man-to-man now, with very limited doubling (when Scola starts backing down Odom there should be help, for example). The Rockets don’t have starters that can create their own shot well, outside of Brooks (who would prefer to pass) so the Lakers want to essentially force them to do that. And hope that Artest feels he has to take this game over.

The Lakers get Fish back, and while there is a sudden vocal minority on this site that doesn’t think so, this is a good thing. Fish was the starter on 185 straight games for the Lakers (regular season and playoffs) and has in that recent time led the team to the NBA Finals and the second best record in the NBA. Since he returned the Fish/Bryant backcourt is 141-51. That is not an accident or in spite of him, and there has not been a dramatic drop-off . That said, I hope to see plenty of Farmar today, his effort earned him more minutes — but this is a good matchup for him. Fast but not physically strong point guards (like Brooks) play to Farmar’s strengths, so the Lakers should use him. (Next round, against Billups, we will be very thankful we have Fish and not just Farmar and Brown.)

Note to Shannon Brown — Kyle Lowry almost always fakes first on his perimeter shots. Please stop biting on that and fouling.

There are reasons to feel good — Phil Jackson is 22-1 in the playoffs when his team has led 2-1. And Adelman’s teams have never come back from that deficit. But we know this Laker team, they are fully capable of laying an egg.


Kurt

Posts

332 responses to Lakers/Rockets Game 4 Chat

  1. 191 Man, I agree. I do not even want to imagine what kind of stuff they will write tomorrow on ESPN and other mainstream blogs. Lakers this… Lakers that. And the saddest part is that they totally deserve to get ripped apart after today’s “performance”

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  2. I think Gasol gets too much heat but I do wish he was like 10 percent tougher.

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  3. This is a nazi site. everything being policed. wack.

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  4. After this game I would agree that both the Nuggets and Cavs have more stones than the Lakers.

    We though Andrew would make our front line tougher, but I guess not. Now we have to live with Gasol and Lamar – both of home have toughness (read body up defense without fouling) issues.

    Also, this team never really ran the triangle. This entire game was mostly 1-on-1 basketball against a team of superior 1-on-1 defenders. That is really, really dumb – therefore I have to question our IQ.

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  5. Why is Sasha playing? He’s not gonna start magically hitting shots Phil.

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  6. Btw, can we have a contest predicting what the LA Times headline for the Lakers will be? Or even better, what the headlines for Plashke and TJ Simers’ articles will be?

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  7. We all need to look on the bright side.

    Personally, I’m excited about Hayes’ performance. As an undersized guard that constantly gets posted up, Hayes has shown me that even with half a foot disadvantage, you can annihilate a skilled post player. I’ll be watching a LOT of Hayes footage to prep for my games.

    Please Houston fans, bring the Kobe Sucks chant louder.

    Why are Kobe and Gasol still in?

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  8. DTC, I agree, especially when the Lakers play like this. They do not inspire much confidence. Good effort here in the last five minutes though.

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  9. To everyone who thinks that:

    1) This is the end of the world.

    2) The whole team should be traded.

    3) We can’t beat Houston.

    Get a grip. We laid an egg. Joy. Come back, absorb it, and do better next game. Overreacting here (like Mark Jackson and JVG are doing) is not a solution for anything.

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  10. Yay! 77 points! 13 point deficit! It’s semi-respectable now!

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  11. Fool’s gold fellas…fool’s gold.

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  12. Snoopy: Annihilate might be a strong word when Pau has 23 points on 13 shots?

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  13. well at least there showing some fight, about a quarter too late but better late than never.

    worried about Odom though

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  14. I don’t know why I’m still watching. But if Kobe can go T-mac on the rockets we can still win. Shannon playing like Billups right now. If this gets under 10 i say hack the crap out of Hayes

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  15. They could use Tyrone Lue against Brooks. Oops, I forgot he isn’t with the Lakers anymore.
    Hey, bottom line, it’s just a game to them. They get done and go home to their mansions and hot wives, and lambos. This year they have all the tools, but until their mind set changes they ain’t winning a championship.

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  16. why are all my posts deleted – this is crap

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  17. Way too much overreaction here. Yes, lakers came out flat. But this talk about Pau lacking toughness is unwarranted. He’s not exactly getting any calls either.

    As for people being pulled out, you can’t have it both ways. Do you want Lakers to show they never quit or they just wave the white flag. I’m okay with everyone staying out there and hustling.

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  18. Andreas, this is why watching the game is more meaningful than box score stats: Pau’s stats are inflated by 1) the time Scola spent on him and 2) Hayes helping on drives and being out of position. When Pau has posted up Hayes 1-on-1, his conversion rate has been awful.

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  19. I agree that many people are overreacting, but I think questioning/talking about this team’s mental approach/effort is definitely in order. This not just an Xs and Os issue. It would not surprise me if they roared back and won the title. It would also not surprise me if they lost to Houston or Denver. I thought they would win a close one today. I did not expect this, so I am going to give up on anticipating how they perform.

    @199,

    The Cavs have played very weak competition. In addition, LeBron is better than Kobe, and the Cavs play better defense than the Lakers. The Lakers do have more talent overall, yes.

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  20. And that call on Pau is a prime example of what I’ve been complaining about all day. How can Pau hustle if he’s worried about being called for a foul like that?

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  21. you know — and I have no idea why I’m watching this game at this point, but —

    that last rockets offensive rebound was a bit ridiculous. there were at least 3 rockets fouling gasol in order to get that board.

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  22. J, DTC, you are right. It’s not Phil’s style and I do think it does more good for him to just sit there than to get tossed. Hey, I get emotional. It’s just one of many reasons I wouldn’t make a good NBA coach. I never liked him when he coached the Bulls, but the rings speak for themselves. The man is definitely smarter and wiser than me.

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  23. Snoopy: Hmm I disagree. 13 of the points have come in the fourth for instance, with Hayes guarding him all the time.

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  24. J – Especially after what had happened on the Rockets previous shot on that possession where three Rockets came over the top on him.

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  25. JVG is full of cr@p about these being fake stats. Lakers get the call on that Battier foul, they come down and score, it’s under 10 and I’ve seen Rox collapse under worse circumstance. Adelman is coaching this like it’s not over. Heck look at the faces of Rox players, even they aren’t sure this is over.

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  26. 13 points! Almost seems like a win is attainable. Ok maybe not.

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  27. Why all the acolades for Cleveland? The played an under 500 Detroit team ready to go home and a totally overrated Atlanta team. If they do this against Boston or Orlando then that will say something.

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  28. Wow, that whistle was blown for Scola before the foul was even there. Talk about anticipating the call.

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  29. To me Fisher is a liability this series, they should go with Farmar, Brown, and Kobe at the small forward spot.

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  30. I agree that Cleveland’s success in the playoffs has been a tad overrated considering their opposition. But I think Denver is have a great playoff run. Though if the Nuggets ran into stiffer competition, they might crack emotionally.

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  31. If this game had another quarter, the Lakers would win.

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  32. Maybe I haven’t been watching closely enough. A lot of points I’ve seen Pau score have been on layups after someone has penetrated and Hayes has been out of position. When Hayes has been set and Pau’s posted up, I remember a couple of good spin moves but mostly trying to back Hayes down and ending up with a missed hook or fall-away. I could be wrong, though.

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  33. Guess you guys are all forgetting the fact that all these teams, whether they are .500 teams or above are still NBA players. They can ALL play and beat you if you don’t have desire and heart. The Rox just proved that today against a championship caliber team. Nuff said.

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  34. 188&195 – True, getting tossed is not Phil’s usual style. But … I remember Phil DID get himself tossed once during a playoff game with the Spurs (I think it was during the three peat era).

    The Lakers were losing, Phil had a Tech earlier, he got another, stood there a while, preening, before he walked off. The Lakers rallied, won the game, and the series.

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  35. I don’t think I’m overreacting. If the Lakers laid an “egg” today, then didn’t they also lay and egg in Game 1. So that is two eggs in four games. The other two were not beatdowns – we only won in the 4th Q. I’m sorry but we should bench Bynum, and maybe play smaller to match that Lowry – Brooks lineup.

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  36. 230 – This game made me realize that Cleveland deserves their accolades. Regardless of the opponent, they play hard and focused. That’s how you win a ring.

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  37. This is very subjective, but here is what I feel when I watch the Cavs, Celtics, and Lakers play:

    Celtics last year – “this is it for us, the big 3 are not getting any younger, this is our time, it’s now or never.”

    Cavs this year – “Z and Big Ben are getting old, and if we don’t win this year, Lebron might leave us, then everything we’ve fought for is over.”

    Lakers – “holy moly we’re talented, and the West’s spot in the Finals is basically ours for the next half decade.”

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  38. Snoopy: Hayes is always doing a good job on Pau, you’re absolutely right. I just thought that annihilate was a little strong=)

    Pau with 30 points and 9 boards – sounds like a game the Lakers should have won. But not really..

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  39. A silver lining: maybe with enough of these losses, if we do make it to the Finals, hopefully we’ll be considered the underdog. With this team’s makeup, they’ve heard for 2 years how great they are, without having won anything. It’ll be good for them to hear doubt from the media, I think.

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  40. Farmar showed me something by playing well even though he didn’t play for a while. If I were Phil Jackson I wouldn’t play Bynum the rest of the series and pay close attention to how he comes back in the Western Finals.

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  41. Lakers in six, I don’t care what anyone says. Props to Kobe for not trying to take over when he went back in and trying to get everyone else involved. Contrary to popular storyline, he’s not going to be selfish. He’s doing what he thinks is best for the team in the long run.

    Well, at least this was a fast game and I still have most of the afternoon and all evening left.

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  42. Great Googly Moogly May 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I posted the following post a couple days ago and got ripped b/c I put Denver above the Lakers. Does anybody have a beef with this now?

    FYI – I’m a HUGE Lakers and Mavs fan, so I’m not being biased.

    Great Googly Moogly wrote on May 9, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    My Power Rankings (of teams still alive) as of today:

    1) Cleveland
    2) Denver
    3) Lakers
    4) Houston
    5) Orlando
    6) Boston
    7) Dallas
    8) Atlanta

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  43. @240:
    unfortunately the lakers seem to think the same thing;
    that they don’t have to play the games to get there.

    But to everyone saying the team needs to get blown up: are you insane? They got their asses handed to them, they’ll be back next game and win in 6.
    Go lakeshow!

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  44. DTC brings up a great point. I was sick of the Cleveland comparisons because the Cavs have had a cakewalk first two rounds compared to ours.

    But isn’t that the entire issue? Us not showing up against inferior opponents?

    The Cavs come to play regardless of how “weak” their opponent is. Can we say the same about the Lakers with certainty? We may have swept the Pistons on pure talent, sure, but the Cavs play gritty defense at all times.

    Anyway, comparisons like that are pointless. It’s not going to affect much if we do meet the Cavs in the Finals.

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  45. Who wants to sit next to Kobe on the flight home? He’s going to be pissed.

    One thing bothering me other than the obvious things in this game: the announcing crew lauding Battier endlessly for that charge drawn on Odom. I know, the rules allow it, so it’s technically the right play. But he gets there very late, just in time or even a split second late. But Odom is already on his way up at that point, unable to change direction anymore.

    I just hate the current rule or it’s interpretation because it discourages proper defense and forces a lot of these dangerous falls.

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  46. If you really break it down with Bynum playing like Kwame Brown, the Lakers aren’t a much more talented team then the Rockets or any other team in the playoffs. They are getting the least out of the point guard position out of all the playoff teams, Ariza is hot and cold and their bench is ineffective. We should stop pretending we have way more talent then everyone else. The Lakers are going to have to fight for it and we shouldn’t be shocked if they don’t win it all

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  47. The Lakers need to abandon the ssz and just play straight up man to man they give up way to many uncontested 3’s In my opinion. is that too much to ask

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  48. “we’ll be considered the underdog”

    There is almost no question about this. If Denver wins Monday, and the Lakers beat Houston, the the Lakers will only be slight faves against the Nuggets.

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  49. Lewis, I think strong side zone is fine, the problem is the Lakers were lazy today and didn’t rotate, or two players would rotate to the same guy, which should never happen

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  50. Can I just say that I love the fact that this site exists? I’ve learned a ton by reading posts from the experts and reading comments. Plus, it gives me a place to vent to people who care rather than wearing out my old man on the phone.

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  51. 238-
    Game one was a robin’s egg if it was even an egg at all. Sometimes you can only get your shots halfway down even though you get a good look.

    I chalk this one up to having to adjust on the fly to what is essentially a different Rockets team. Yeah the guys came out flat and all, but it’s almost as if Phil and Co said, “We have no tape of what Houston will do without Yao, so let’s just keep doing what we’re doing and improvise from there.” JVG’s “fake stats” argument aside, what the Lakers were doing later in the third quarter and into the fourth seemed to be bothering the Rockets some. I wonder what further adjustments we’ll see going forward.

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  52. 248, I absolutely agree with you. The announcers are the biggest Laker haters and Battier got the charge which is what he is supposed to do for his team but if you noticed the play he actually let Odom touch him and then he fell real fast backwards which made Odom fall flat on his back. btw 250, I have always said Lakers can’t defend a 3 point shot.

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  53. The downside – I’m not sure how likely it is Artest has a shooting night like that again.

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  54. The game was lost after the first 6 minutes of the 3rd, but I liked that PJ left Gasol in. He was able to get some buckets on Hayes one-on-one, especially when he faced up and used his quickness (took 3 quarters to figure that out?). And that could do good things for his confidence. I think Hayes’ good defense was compounded by Pau’s lack of decisiveness. He would take too long to get set, which has been a problem.

    It also gave the bench a good run. SB and Vujacic hit some shots. They played some good D on the Rockets. Much different than the 1st half when they were just getting beat every time. Aside from the obvious lack of effort, think we got caught with our pants down in terms of preparing for a Yao-less offense. (even PJ admitted after practice they had not considered Yao was going to be out) Things were more freed, less clogged, Brooks was able to penetrate more and given the reins, which suits his style and allows him to be more comfortable. RA has always had the ability to put in offense that works and instill confidence in guys w/o their superstars.

    There are some comments here venting frustrations and some saying quiet down it’s not the end of the world. But I think both are a little extreme. It’s simply unacceptable for the Lakers to be playing like this. Having done so, looking ahead is more important than looking back. Nevertheless, we’ve had too many ‘wake up calls’ to not be able to substantiate questioning of our mental toughness. I’m absolutely distraught right now, I feel embarrassed and jipped as a fan but I don’t mean let’s trade everybody or we’ve going to lose the series.

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  55. I have the key to Game 5:

    Hack-a-Hayes.

    Phil Jackson, you’re welcome.

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  56. Snoop, last 2 games artest shot crappy

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  57. Fisher, Odom, and Bynum all had their worst games of the season, so I’m not going crazy over the loss, but we do need to make some defensive adjustments

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  58. Bynum coming back was supposed to be a wildcard. He’s not giving us anything. Is he hurt? Is he sulking because of not starting/minutes? What gives?

    Not hustling is sickening.

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  59. Lakers in 6, but that means they have to win in Houston again. Stay tuned.

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  60. guess the rockets blew a big lead! hahaha!

    lakers in 6!

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  61. Phil Jackson is an overrated coach. Absolutely no heart. He continuously gets out-coached in big games. This is so frustrating. Put this mediocre Rockets team away! We’re the Lakers for heavens sake! At least act like we’re the best team in the league!

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  62. Haha I think the Lakers just want to make this series interesting. Lakers in six no doubt.

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  63. I couldn’t stand the commentary during this game. Does anyone else agree?

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  64. @Jenkins
    “Phil Jackson is an overrated coach. Absolutely no heart. He continuously gets out-coached in big games.”

    What is your definition of ‘big games’? Maybe 9 championships, there were some big games in there?
    Today was not a big game. PJ is not overrated.

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  65. Play hard!!!! Play hard!!! Championship teams play hard!!! Wake up guys!!

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  66. With all the injuries happening to teams this playoffs, I feel like we should be cruising to the finals.

    The Rockets are a joke and we can’t even beat them without Yao.

    Kobe’s going to rip his team I bet, rightfully so. He should be coaching the games.

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  67. I’m not worried by this loss. The next game is a blowout guaranteed. Heart of a lion, Lakers!

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  68. He’s due! I know it’s Artest, he might very well throw up another stinker, I’m just saying we can’t necessarily count on a 4-19 game again.

    Nothing new, but this series has revealed to me our lack of a true 3-point specialist. Today I looked down the bench looking for someone I’d have confidence in taking a 3, and the best I could find was ShanWOW or Kobe himself. Ariza and Walton are solid when left wide open, but their percentages seem to drop a little with strong closeouts. Sasha’s corpse, I weep for you. Fish has been slumping. 3 point shooting is a very fickle thing. Last series, I never imagined all our players would slump at the exact same time. Houston’s D has to have a lot to do with it.

    (I know we were solid from 3 today, but I still don’t see a “specialist” that we can really count on when needed)

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  69. gotta love Aaron Brooks’ fire engine red suit and bow tie in the post-game interview

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  70. 265-

    My wife, who is not really a sports watcher except when I have a game on, has compared this afternoon’s team, and the profession in general, to talking heads on [evil news network of your choosing]. They add no value, only volume.

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  71. Wow. The Lake Show loses and even appropriate comments take an hour to post. Today’s display DESERVES criticism as long as it’s not crude.

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  72. Houston, you have a problem. His name is Kobe Bryant, who will end this in 6.

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  73. Brooks is the Valet for the arena part-time.

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  74. Totally agree with the comments on the commentating, they definitely weren’t impartial. Wahtever he who laughs last laughs best.

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  75. Jenkins,

    Maybe Phil hasn’t been amping up the team as you see other coaches do, but he’s methodical and has 9 championships that prove his worth. Don’t fret, we’re winning this championship.

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  76. Wow phil said F*#@ on tv.

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  77. The reason we’re beating the Rockets in 6 is because we’re the Lakers and they’re the Rockets. We’re getting the last laugh.

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  78. Wow is a man with 9 rings seriously getting ripped? This is a man who coaches for the long term, and does an excellent job controlling personalities and getting the best out of discarded players (ShanWOW!). This loss is on the players as much as it is the coaching staff. These are grown men, do you want Phil to bust out with pom-poms to get our guys revved up for a semifinals playoff game? Promise the guys “special favors” if they play hard? If his defensive philosophy was to leave 3 point shooters open tonight, then sure, I can understand blaming Phil. But I highly doubt that was the gameplan going in.

    I’m hesitant to level any criticism towards a man with that kind of resume. However, it may not be sacrilegious to suggest that Phil is not the best at adjusting mid-game, as Bill Bridges brought up initially. Not that Phil’s subpar at X’s and O’s or anything, but it is true that his offensive system was invented by Tex, and his old defensive system with the Bulls was a simple man-to-man. He’s a master at dealing with personalities, but perhaps he’s not quite genius-level when it comes to X’s and O’s and making adjustments on the fly. It may also be the case that (as great a job as he’s done with this group) Phil’s laid-back style may work best with veterans.

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  79. CouldShouldaWoulda May 10, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    You’d think Kobe would want to one-up LeBron and his performance last night. Oh well. We’ll get ’em next time.

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  80. This ain’t the Kobe show and don’t compare Atlanta to Houston.

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  81. Poor performance tonight by out guys. Wish Odom would step up.

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  82. Kobe gets his first championship without Shaq this year. Watch.

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  83. first time posting here, but I’ve been coming here this entire season. Love alot of the comments.

    Thoughts on the game:

    A) Phil Jackson may love to not call timeouts, and let his team work their way through it… but since the Shaq/Kobe era, has this strategy really worked the majority of the time? This team is too young to work their way through drops in confidence. Also, the Rockets were VERY emotional. Tell me how a quick timeout at the 9 minute mark to quiet the place down a bit, have some players settle down, etc… is not a good idea?

    B) Kobe Bryant deserves alot of blame for today’s game. Don’t give him a free pass. I love him to death, but he drives me nuts at times. His Ronnie Brewer defense on Shane Battier killed us in the first quarter, and pretty much the whole game.

    C) Andrew Bynum. Don’t even know what to say. I’ve heard and read every excuse for his poor play, but even when he was playing good, you can see his flaws. He doesn’t get the offense. He doesn’t pass out of double teams. He can’t hold the ball with two hands (reminds me of someone we recently traded). His inability to keep an eye on his man is beyond embarassing. I’m almost ready to go along with JVG and MJ and say… use Mbenga and Powell, because right now, Bynum is about as useful as Adam Morrison and Sun Yue… COMBINED.

    C) Fire Kurt Rambis. Outside of the few years he gave us reasonable effort as a PLAYER… when has this man been effective as a coach? As a head coach, he was a complete failure. As an assistant coach, I’ve seen no benefit. His new defense is an embarassment. Players have no idea where to rotate. People are unsure on whether to go for the block or stay back on their man.

    D) I love Fisher… and I say still give him the start… but enough is enough. 5 minutes in the 1st quarter, maybe 3 in the 2nd… wash, rinse, repeat. Farmar and Brown proved that they want to play.

    E) Trevor Ariza. Ugh. He has NOT blossomed as we hoped, and maybe now I can see why he bounced around several teams for awhile. He had a reputation as a slasher, and he had some Kobe-esque moments earlier in the season, but he is an offensive catastrophe waiting to happen. He can barely hit a 3 point shot, even if open, and if I was the defense, I would actually chase him off the line (where he has only a 32% chance of success) and force him to put it on the floor, where he’s more likely to dribble it off his foot, or right into 3 defenders in the paint. Enough is enough, Trevor. We love your defense, but the point of the game is to put the ball in the basket.

    F) Who played hard? Kobe tried to keep them in it, but couldn’t. Gasol played good once he had a defined role. Brown and Farmar played great. Sasha played hard, as usual, and considering the minutes he played, I’m surprised he didn’t foul out, but he still has completely lost his shooting touch. And Walton, who has been VERY effective on Ron Artest, played decent. He had some boneheaded mistakes early in the game that contributed to the massive rout in the making, but on the flip side, he was there to help lead a spirited comeback that made me proud.

    All in all, this game was mostly an embarassment. The Lakers short-lived comeback made me happy that they didn’t completely fold over, as they did in last year’s Finals. I’m not terribly surprised at how the Lakers played the first half, considering the age of most of the roster (avg age 25, not including Kobe & Fish). The Rockets came out hard, emotional, and at home, so once again, not surprising. Had this happened in LA, I’d be alot more upset with the team. I’d also like to note that the Lakers struggled to beat Houston in Game 2 when Yao only scored 4 points, and was in foul trouble the entire game. So no Yao does not guarantee victory. (Note the 4-0 record against LA when Yao doesn’t play).

    I expect LA to come back and play hard, maybe hand Houston it’s own rout in Game 5. Game 6 will be a test, but hopefully by then, our defense will be back in proper order, plus the right players will get the right playing time. (Less by Bynum & Ariza, more by Walton, Farmar, and Brown).

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  84. 285 –

    Odom did step up….



    (Wait for it)

    into Shane Battier.

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  85. Obviously Brooks performance was not foreseen or defended against well enough. That was the key to the game. The hero of the game was Brooks and the goat was Odom.

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  86. Man you could just feel the arrogance on the first possession, “oh yao’s out this should be a cake walk….WHOA! there goes the ball…”

    It’s so sad Kobe has to get like 15 quick points and at least have a little lead after the first because this team just CANNOT come back from behind, no experience or even desire doing it. There is still time though, the third quarter in game 3 was when we saw “championship” lakers, so obviously they know how they should be playing.

    I think everyone is really overhyping the cavs and especially the nuggets. Neither team has played anywhere near a decent opponent. So just relax with the “boo hoo cavs and denver are so good whats the point in even going on.” Anyone who knows anything about basketball knew this was going to be our biggest test until the final.

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  87. pocket_rocket May 10, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    I did not expect rockets to play the way they did. I am truly disappointed that Lakers fans are coming up with the theory that this is just part of the grand plan of things that PJ had, and from the get go the Lakers are playing to win the series in 6 games. Give the credit where it is due, the rockets won today fair and square. The Lakers may be very well be winning in 6 games, but the rockets are playing on House money and with a bigger heart.

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  88. I hope nobody calls this a wake-up call. How many wake-up calls are you going to have? Wasn’t last year the wake-up call? Losing to crappy teams at home while you were trying to get HCA? Or a little fresher in the memory bank, game 1 of this series?

    I guess we Lakers fans can take comfort in the fact that the Celtics, too, struggled last year during the playoffs. But they had it good: they got to play US in the finals. We won’t have that luxury. Assuming we can get there. Or even out of this round.

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  89. Aaron Brooks scored 34 points against us! I don’t know what else to say.

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  90. 287

    A season’s worth of pent-up emotions bursting out for your first post.

    Welcome.

    The fact is that if you graphed the players’ performance like a stock chart, only two players are above their 50 day moving average. Brown and Farmar. Everyone else is below. Some are at Citibank and GM like lows like Bynum.

    I like giving Mbenga a 2 minute stretch in the 1st half to rile up Bynum.

    Also, as far as your gripes. One of these days we are going to have to talk about Mitch’s decision to lock up Bynum early. But that for a later day.

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  91. 287
    Logan, you wouldn’t happen to have a movie out right now?

    A great, detailed first post at least deserves a thoughtful response.

    A) That’s a fair criticism of PJ. I don’t know how much a timeout would help this team, though. They should be used to Phil’s use of TOs by now. I would say overall the Lakers have broken even with the number of times this has hurt or helped them over the years.

    B) Gonna somewhat disagree. This philosophy of giving up 3s is PJ and the coaching staff’s. They’ve made a commitment of swarming players and denying points in the paint for at least the last 2 seasons. They believe that more times than not they can survive a team making a few 3s against them. I kinda agree conceptually. The problem is the execution has resulted in routinely giving up WIDE open Js (2s & 3s) because of laziness, complacency, I don’t know. See D) for more.

    And to be completely honest, Kobe has “coasted” more & more on D every season as he’s been getting older. It was excusable when he had to do it all on those JV squads, but not so much now.

    C) Offensively, I agree completely except about the hands deal. Drew has great hands, what games have you been watching for the last 4 years? He wants desperately to be a 20-point guy, but he’s not smart about it. He’s turning into a mini-black hole, he could do so much better if he learned the art of reposting. The injury really messed us up, because I fully believe he was just turning the corner on all his offensive faults.

    On D, I think he’s capable of greatness. Right now, he’s just not going to be effective this post-season. He’s not 100%, his timing is not there, matchups are bad, PJ has really screwed up with his minutes, he & Pau have never meshed so you can’t play them together, and the team doesn’t know how to play when he’s in the lineup. I don’t see how he will be effective for any long stretch this year.

    D) If Rambis really did champion this SSZ, then I totally agree. This zone has justified a mentality of giving up open Js. That problem actually started last year, but the SSZ officially solidified it’s place in our scheme. For a team that lost primarily because of defense, I never thought it made sense this year. We needed to foster a responsibility for individual defense, not more excuses for poor defenders and lazy attitudes.

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  92. Knowing the Rockets and knowing our lakers, did this come as a surprise to anyone? I mean, ANYONE with a sane, rational mind?

    The only silver lining I can come up with is that now we have a chance to get extra revenue from a game 7, and maybe from television rates for game 6?

    Anyway, that’s why I respect the Rockets and hope, really, hope that the Lakers get just a little bit of their mentality through osmosis. If it takes 7 games to learn to play like the Rockets, so be it.

    PS. I thought this game was oddly fitting as an homage to Chuck Daly’s passing. Dream Team getting dismantled by a disciplined college team, this reminded me of.

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  93. I only followed the game from afar, but I give you this:

    LO questionable for game 5 with “immense back pain”, says Kevin Ding.

    …fantastic

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  94. @295

    I suspect that was a Buss decision as much as a Kupchak one but as you say, that is for another day.

    Jackson is in a tough situation w/Bynum. They need to get something out of him, but the playoffs are not the time to be working through issues and problems with a player.

    When the Lakers have problems, the Xs/Os, effort and personnel all interact:

    1. I think the basic issue with the team’s personnel is that no one who plays much is a d-first guy. There is enough talent on the team that that works most of the time, but if the offense gets disrupted, they get tight and things go downhill since they cannot conistently shut opponents down. This is also why they blow leads.

    2. And due to the great O talent, they sometimes do not put out full effort on D, and there is not enough defensive talent on the team to get away with that.

    3. Which leads to 3–when they get tight on O and cannot fall back on tough D, they have trouble executing. Adjustments are made, but then the pattern (e.g. Aaron Brooks) returns.

    I continue to believe that whatever happens in the rest of the playoffs, Bynum is the key to where this team goes over the next 2 years. If he stays healthy, develops and fits in, the team is truly special. If he doesn’t, it is merely very good–as is the case right now.

    For Game 5: they need to concentrate on shutting down Brooks, obviously. With Bynum struggling and not having PJ’s confidence, I would consider going small at times–Walton/Bryant/Gasol/Farmar/Brown.

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  95. I am more concerned about odom’s return than our chances in game 5 and 6. Immense back pain and questionable status from our x-factor is disturbing for me. that leaves us with a kobe-nova (who i think should be pissed at himself and team play) and a solid pau with a host of some talented though seemingly reluctant role players. odom is not a yao but seeing houston play with some heart and willingness to trounce us back to la tells me we’d be needing every man willing to man up.

    that said, i want a blow out next game. sure, chances are we’re getting another fight but i don’t see houston going off that hot again in this series. if they do, it’s clearly on us. as i said before, i need to see passion and intensity and do wish phil preached about this more often. it goes way beyond x and o.

    kobe did have his off-game tonight. i expected 1 of those and never will that happen again. pau should also come back smelling blood. i want to picth in in the bynum-signed-early discussion but not the right time.

    and don’t get me wrong, if we drop and fall short of the trophy, i’d be fine with that. jordan’s bulls waited some time. though kobe doesn’t have jordan’s age when he first won as the lead dog, i think he still has 2-3 to win in his career…all with the lakers. THIS is it only shows us what we lack inside more than our talent. and if drives us to becoming a defined, intense and championship-worthy team, so be it.

    then again, lakers in 6. so i’d rather have it now. GO LAKERS!

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  96. Well, I missed from around mid 2nd quarter to the end of the game, what happened? I am reading the comments somewhat and it sounds like we just fell apart and played poorly, I guess it was not a game I was supposed to see through today, huh. We still have HCA in this series, right? From the boxscore are shots were just not going in it appears, ShanWOW seemed to have a good game for us, the highest +/- on the team. So is Bynum not going to be worth the 16m a year we are going to pay him for three guranteed years.

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  97. *our shots

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  98. This team really does have an attention/focus issue going on. In the first half, it really looked like the Lakers were looking to win the game with a minimum amount of effort. They looked almost disinterested at times. Contrast the energy level today with that of game 3. My thought was the Lakers must have been out partying last night. They did not look to hae any energy at all.

    Oh well.

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  99. Lakers die-hard for 25 years here and, wow, what a disgrace today. This team just drive you crazy sometimes. So much talent, so little heart.

    Here is my top 10 mind-dumps:

    1. Kobe may be the most talented player not named Mike to ever play, but can you imagine a Magic Johnson team playing so heartless? Kobe versus Magic to start a team — give me Magic.

    2. Drew would you please stop looking scared and learn to CATCH the ball.

    3. ShanWow is a stupid nickname. Seriously, I can’t stand even seeing it on my scream, and it doesn’t make any sense.

    4. Get the ball into Gasol down low. Hello?

    5. LO is outta here next year in favor of a Charles Oakley, Rich Mahorn type player. And frankly it’ll be good for LO, where at least he can be Robin on most teams, not Batman’s butler.

    6. Ok, for 25 years the Lakers’ kryptonite has been a) small, fast, young or big-d*cked point guards and the pick & roll.

    7. Brooks, aka Sleepy Floyd, looks like he’s 10 years old and wearing a fake goatee.

    8. No, seriously, get the ball to Gasol.

    9. Nice freaking defense boys. Solid.

    10. This game is the slap-in-the-face-wake-up call which we’ll point to when the Lakers win it this year, or it’s the panties coming off exposing a weak and heartless team.

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  100. sT, be glad you didn’t watch this whole debacle. It remained ugly. I still think Bynum will eventually be worth the money if he can stay healthy. I live in the South, so I don’t get the benefit of watching every game, but it just seems like we were more powerful with a healthy Bynum. He doesn’t get as many rebounds as he should, but he’s still young. Plus, I liked Lamar Odom coming off the bench and fueling the second unit. I read a post a couple of months ago that summed up Odom pretty well. He simply is who he is. One night he’ll go for 16 and 14, two days later he’ll go for 2 and 6. He simply is who he is. However, I hope we resign him because you can’t replace his talent. He’s worth the occasional off game where he literally disappears. I hope his back is ok because we really need him. Even if the back was the reason today, he still is who he is. I still want him on my team. Funny thing is, I don’t think it’s effort. I just don’t think he can harnass his amazing physical gifts consistently. As one of the experts said, he is who he is.

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  101. Yes, I said “he is who he is” four times. That really sums him up for me, but I still love him and think we are a better team with him than without him.

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  102. 11. Luke Walton just drives me nuts sometimes. His passing is his biggest strength — and weakness.

    12. Farmar has guts. I don’t give a damn what people say, at least he’s fiery.

    13. Lakers will still win in 6, but added travel and a talented and gritty DEN team awaits. Not looking forward to seeing B_B_Billups.

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  103. As Iverson said “I would rather have more heart than talent any day” Where is the heart Lakers….

    http://kaliphornya.wordpress.com/2009/05/10/where-is-the-heart/

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  104. The Bynum debate will be for the offseason, but this is who he is (in terms of recovery time). Remember how long it took him after last year’s injury? A full offseason, training camp, and several months into the season before he started clicking. I expect the same thing to happen this year. He’ll be fine, and over the long run I think he’ll be worth his contract (provided he stays injury-free). It just takes him a long time to get his timing and rhythm back after time off, and get integrated into the offense again.

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  105. I thought the Lakers would have another let down game and figured it would be game 5 because they would think the series won and not give the effort. When Yao went down I started thinking game 4 would be the letdown seeing that their mentality is “we are up 2-1 and Yao is down. This should be a cake”. Instead it was a flying pie in our collective faces. Believe me, they will talk themselves into thinking this game doesn’t mean while pulling together for game 5. This is going to be over in 6.

    I agree that Fisher does not belong on the court for this series.

    The game was in the Lakers’ hands and proper concentration (and the accompanying execution) would have made this point moot but the refs did call too many touch fouls. Let them play. It’s not the Lakers’ fault that they are so much bigger then the Rockets right now.

    I hope LO is okay because we will need what he brings more and more as this postseason whittles the teams down to the last.

    The Lakers are fine and dang it, can we just let this team play the season out before firing up the trade machine. That is no flex capacitor in there and there is no way we fans can change the course of this season. Live the present and then lets see how we feel about our team when it’s all said and done.

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  106. Why do people keep acting like Houston minus Yao is trash. This seems to be a case of not having enough knowledge of the players who are contributing to Houston. Hell, all year Wondahbap was noting that Yao slowed them down against us and were better with him off the floor. This type of loss was also predicted by Kurt. Yea the way it happened sucked, but it was not like they lost to the Grizz.

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  107. I just hope the Lakers win this series and then beat the nuggets. I am so sick and tired of everyone treating the nuggets like they are this great team. With no inside game, its hard seeing them beat the Lakers. The Rockets are better than Denver for crying out loud.

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  108. Btw, I hope in practice, they reteach Andrew how to catch a ball with 2 hands, it would be nice and a good start for Andrew 🙂

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  109. Wow, a few letdowns and everyone but Kobe must go?

    Relax.

    4-2, even 4-3 is fine as long as we pull out. Panicking may start when we’re down 2-3 or tied at 3-3.

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  110. The lakers against the Rockets without Yao are 0-4

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  111. Clutch824,
    The SSZ is designed to stop elite wing players. Before the season started possible Playoff foes would have Mcgrady,Carmelo,Roy,Ginobili and either LeBron or Pierce out of East.

    Against the Yao Rockets it was/is effective because the help defenders against wing penetration are close enough to help out on Yao as well as being in position to prevent easy entry passes.
    The Yao-less Rockets are attacking the Lakers from the top of key where the SSZ is at it’s weakest. If the weak side defender helps he’s leaving 2 shooters open and the strong side defenders have to hustle hard if they’re going to help and they can’t reverse direction and close out hard.

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  112. Ray Sharpe,
    “However, I hope we resign him because you can’t replace his talent.”

    You can’t replace his potential. You can replace his output.

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  113. Stephen,
    I appreciate your detailed explanation of the SSZ in relation to this last game. However, you compartmentalized my comments to a single game when I was referring to the entire season. And for this entire season we’ve basically conceded jumpshots to teams, all teams. Admittedly, this may not really be a result of the SSZ, because as I mentioned we had the same issues last year.

    In either case, consistently going long stretches in any game allowing open jumpers is not a recipe for success. Not in the NBA. It just puts too much pressure on the offense. You can survive it in the reg season when teams can’t really prepare for you. But in a playoff setting, when teams can thoroughly assess your strengths and weaknesses and take things away, that’s a different story. That’s where we’re at now.

    When you play inconsistent D like we do and your offense isn’t working, you’re going to be up and down, just like we are. The question remains is there a team that can take advantage and win a series against us. I’m very interested in finding out the answer.

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  114. some of those turnovers we are blaming on Luke, well we simply don’t know, or ever will, if it was on Luke, or where the other recipreiant of the pass was supposed to be moving to, so we can complain, (it’s a free country) but we are not experts on this, unless we sit in the team’s film room or are an insider.
    which, let’s face it, none of us are.

    for me, todays’ game, we’ll they just WANTED IT MORE THAN WE DID, period.
    I really only was cursing at 2 players, Bynum and Sasha, they are really hurting us. both lack confidence, and it particularly annoys me that they both just recently signed deals which really means they are set for life. the team saw potential, a world class team, and invested in them.
    it’s now time that they man up, and deliver. get their minds right.
    just find a way. $15 million (sasha) or $50 million (drew), sometimes I think sports professionals don’t understand what the real world is like.

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  115. Point made, but who are we going to sign instead of him?

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  116. I think we all expected the Rockets to come out with emotion, but I didn’t think they could keep it up for the whole game.

    I know this sounds weird, but this might be one of the best things to happen the Lakers. Everyone is ripping the Lakers a new one for their lack of emotion, intensity, and focus. With all this doubt, I think the Lakers will really step it up. It’s not like we’ve seen it before….remember that road trip where Bynum went down?

    And for anyone hitting the panic down, the playoffs is a long journey. It may be 2 months but it feels like 4 with the way everyone changes their opinions on teams on a day-to-day basis. Last year, the Celtics couldn’t win a road game for the first two rounds while the Lakers cruised through the tougher West. We all know how that ended…

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  117. Glen Davis just hit a buzzer beater jumpshot to win the game.. sigh

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  118. I really don’t understand all the panick. I realize we played poorly and most of that was (seemingly) effort based. But I happen to think that we just did a really poor job of adjusting to what type of team Houston is without Yao. Understand that there isn’t a team in the league that changes more than the Rockets when they go from having to Yao to not having him. With him they are a post first, inside out team. And that is the team that we’ve planned every thing for and had mapped out our plan to win against. Now, without Yao, we must adjust to a completely different team that plays an entirely different style. Both versions of this team are very good teams and it’s a different game when you’re facing one vs. facing the other. It’s how they could have the winning streak that they had last season with both version of this team winning at least 8 games in a row.

    Anyways, against this version of the Rockets we need to play a style that can take advantage of our strengths. Many are down on Bynum right now, but I actually think he’s a guy that needs to play more now, rather than less. I’d like to see us go to our Bynum/Gasol front court to pound the Rockets inside with post offense and with offensive rebounding while also defending the paint easier and allowing our perimeter defenders to stay home more. I’m not saying that Bynum should go back to starting, but I think we should go back to our early season rotation pattern, only LO can start and Bynum can sub in for him at the 7 or 6 minute mark. At that point, we can also bring in Farmar for Fisher or Luke for Ariza (depending on how those starters are playing). We can then start the 2nd quarter with Shannon, Sasha, Luke, LO, and Gasol. I think we can utilize our advantages with these types of substitution patterns and wear down a team that is lacking depth right now.

    Van Gundy may have been correct in that a lot of our late game stats were “fake”, but I do think we can use some of those same tactics that inspired that run to be effective in Game 5. Gasol can score pretty easily when he gets iso’d at the FT line against any Rockets defender that’s on him. We can have our Bigs roam on D in order to congest the middle of the court, as long as they recover to Hayes/Landry to secure defensive rebounds. We can get good looks in transition, especially with post sprints when Scola is guarding Pau. This series is still in our control – we have the home court and are the better, deeper team right now. I don’t get how one loss (no matter how bad it was) can inspire such overreaction (ie the comments about Phil, Bynum trade considerations, and how Odom is now very much replaceable).

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  119. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention one thing

    Kobe NEEDS to get to the free throw line

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  120. I understand how pumped Big Baby was after making the game-winner, but it didn’t seem necessary for him to fend off the little kid in the front row!

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  121. Darius – if LO is unable to go in game 5, I assume you think we should start Bynum / Pau together instead of Pau and Powell?

    I only wonder if all this jerking him to and from the starting lineup is taking his toll on him – maybe we should just let him and the other players adjust to coming off the bench?

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  122. Phil Jackson: “But you say as much as you can as a coach and then the players have to execute and do it on the floor.”

    Bingo. Anyone who thinks Phil played a part in encouraging lethargy and complacency is kidding themselves.

    To those who are calling for the firing of Rambis: you have to understand the reason we went to the SST. Our coaching staff much preferred a simpler defensive style (similar to the Celtics), but they realized one simple truth: our players just have awful defensive instincts. They don’t know when to help, how to switch and rotate, etc. If they did, we would have never needed a complex defense. The SST was instilled to give them a specific set of instructions, so they no longer had to make decisions defensively. What we saw today wasn’t all flaws in the SST necessarily, but in our execution of it. Our players do not have great defensive instincts and intelligence, and that leads to problems executing our defense too. Give Rambis personnel with high defensive IQs and he’ll look like a genius.

    Darius – You suggested something I was thinking about, but for different reasons. I have a high respect for Hayes, and I was trying to figure out how to exploit him. The advantage of the twin towers lineup is that at least one of our post players can take advantage of Scola. The problem is, Bynum is so much a shell of what he used to be, I’m not sure if he could score consistently on Scola. I hope I’m wrong, and in that case we can overwhelm the Rockets in the paint.

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  123. Darius, thank you for bringing some levity to the discussion. I posted that I think the Lakers will still win in 6 and I didn’t knock Phil, Bynum or Lamar, but this game really made me angry. It’s nice to hear from someone with some perspective.

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  124. Well looks like we may have no choice but to play more Bynum – Odom with back spasms. That is really bad news. Back spasms are often chronic. I hope this doesn’t bother him the rest of the playoffs.

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  125. wiseolgoat,
    Yes, if LO can’t go, I think we need to start Bynum. IMO, I think we need to find a way to try to control the glass while being able to contain shooters. I also think having our two bigs on the floor helps our P&R D as the big who is hedging on the pick needs to stay a bit longer with the guard turning the corner and that second big can be the guy that is controlling the lane and (hopefully) working the glass against the backside big that is crashing. And call me cynical and/or naive, but I don’t like Powell doing that at this point, but can see Drew doing it.

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  126. our SSZ is going to be far less potent without Lamar out there – his length and roaming ability really add an extra dimension to the defense.

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  127. @330

    Throughout the last week, I have been calling for more Bynum, and with Yao gone and Odom hurting, the present situation seems to call for it even more.

    That said, given how quickly AB17 is picking up fouls, and how little confidence he seems to have in himself and PJ seems to have in him, I am not sure at this point–hence my earlier suggestion to counter small with small.

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  128. No killer instinct whatsoever.

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  129. lakers game 7
    LA

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  130. I know I am a biast Laker fan but did we get the blunt end on alot of the calls last night? Kobe could not buy a whistle….On that note check out this article its pretty funny

    http://kaliphornya.wordpress.com/2009/05/26/denver-is-hardcore-with-a-capital-h/

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