Lakers/Rockets Game 5 Chat

Kurt —  May 12, 2009

Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles
I really am not worried about the Lakers focus or effort tonight. That may sound weird after the last two days where in all of Lakerdom, the team was bashed for its flat effort Sunday. But for anyone who followed the Lakers this season, that effort was almost predictable. Just as predictable, after a flat game the Lakers almost always come out with a very good effort.

Instead, let’s focus on what they have to do.

• Run the offense through Pau Gasol. In game four the Rockets came out with a new gameplan while the Lakers decided not to execute theirs. Entry passes to Gasol, if they happened at all, were sloppy. If you have watched the Lakers since the All Star break, you know that the triangle offense has run best when the ball ends up in the hands of the best passing big man in the game — Pau gets the ball and good things happen. The other guys need to move without the ball, Gasol will reward them, and that will open up ways for him to score.

• The Rockets are a lot more freewheeling and aggressive without Yao, and they have given the green light to shots earlier in the clock. Be ready for that, don’t expect them to run 15 seconds off the clock setting up. That was the old Rockets, not the new ones.

• The Lakers need to change how they defend the pick and roll with Brooks (insert you own joke here about defending it at all would be a change). Bigs have got to show out harder and use their length. The Lakers should even trap him on occasion — Brooks cannot be allowed to turn the corner. But part of that last game was the Laker guards did a crap job of fighting through the pick and recovering to their man, that opened up things as the bigs cannot hold Brooks off for that long. The guards have to help.

Brooks has preferred passing options and if he can’t get up a head of steam those become long passes that Ariza et al can steal, or Scola and teammates will need to come out farther to get the pass, pushing them away from the basket. Either is a better option than last game.

• Stick with your man if he can shoot the three. Kobe, I’m looking at you.

• Rebound like you mean it.

• Get back in transition defense and be aware of your man (the Lakers got caught in a ton of mismatches this way last game).

• Realize that even if you get a big lead, this Houston team will not quit and quietly accept their fate. You have to beat them. Again and again. No letting up.


to Lakers/Rockets Game 5 Chat

  1. Please Phil, I’m literally begging for Hack-a-Hayes. If we combine Powell’s and Mbenga’s fouls, that gives us 12 extra possessions pretty much. If he makes 30% I would be astounded.

    Then again, that’s assuming we can actually rebound off missed free-throws, which the guys have repeatedly shown that they are inept at doing so.

    C’mon, I want a record for lane violations in one game.

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  2. Although I’m not really worried about the outcome of this game or the series, I am curious to see if the Lakers show some heart after that last no-show. No chest pounding, just hard work and continuous effort.

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  3. I missed all of Sunday’s game, thanks to Mother not being a basketball fan, and instead I was in a movie theater watching Ghost of Girlfriends Past. I understand from reading the post game coverage that I probably had more fun at the movie than I would have had watching the game…

    From looking at the box score, it looks like Brooks was absolutely killing us at the PG position, and I am curious to see what adjustments if any Phil will make to account for that and to try and slow him down tonight.

    Pau has been the key all series, mainly because he is an outstanding passer but also because, with Battier draped all over him, Kobe is not going to be able to be as effective as he normally is, either as a scorer or as a facilitator.

    After reading and listening to what Kobe and Pau had to say about Sunday’s game I am looking forward to tonight. I smell blood.

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  4. I am at a point, after reading all these blogs, and after watching the game, where I don’t know if I should worry or not.

    I mean, are the Rockets, without Yao, that much better? Did they cause the Lakers to play the way they did? If so, then I’m worried, because, you would think today would result in more of the same.

    Or, did the Rockets play well, but get even better because Lakers were really not giving any effort. If so, today could be a totally different game where they do show up.

    I mean, looking at the game, the very first turn over, happened because of careless play. The Rockets didn’t force that. The Lakers simply did it. Then the reaction by Ariza, as lazy as can be. That was basically the whole tone of the game.

    So, I don’t know. What do you think?

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  5. As the result of an unfortunate confluence of programming issues (which I don’t want to get into) and some mistimed promises to the mother of my children, I may not be able to watch the entire game on my television tonight.

    Can anyone tell me if/how the game can be viewed in real time on the computers?

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  6. Speaking for myself, I will say that Game 4 left me feeling with the same unconfortable feeling I felt after the Lakers lost Game 4 in the Finals last year. It’s hard to describe, but its that same feeling in the pit of your stomach that I get when I feel regret over making someone else feel sad. I guess extreme dissapointment would be the best qualifier.

    Having said that, I’m not giving up on my Lakers just because of this. I have watched this team for 80 regular season games (I missed 2) and every play off game. I know that this team is capable of winning a championship but, unlike last year, I am well aware of the weaknesses of this Laker squad and I can appreciate how challenging it will be for this team to come together and win it all. Sure, it would be nice to have the label of “clear fronrunner”, but I personally savor victories more when my teams are underdogs.

    That’s why I savor things like the Laker’s 85 and 87 championships more than the three-peat years and why I will always remember the Dodger’s ’88 World Series so fondly. Oh and speaking of the ’85 Lakers, remember that Magic, Worthy and kareem were all embarrassed in the “Memorial Day Massacre” that was Game 1 – only to bounce back and win the championship. Also remember that prior to ’85, “clutch” and “Magic” were rarely used together when describing Magic’s game in the NBA. Funny how now even Magic and Worthy forget about the hard times.

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  7. As was mentioned in the last thread, I would agree the winner of this game takes the series.

    Do we know if LO can go?

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  8. I’m not pushing the panic button just yet either, let’s wait til the 4th quarter for that…but I definitely expect and anticipate a completely focused group tonight and Kobe, Pau and Fish will lead by example.

    We’ve reached the half way point in these playoffs and now is the time to this Laker squad to really kick it into overgear starting with tonight! Protect your home floor, and worry about game 6 or 7 later – that’s why we got the Top seed out West

    I surely hope Odom can at least sustain 20-25 mins tonight, because I’m not 100% sure Bynum has found his comfort zone and his confidence is shot! Tied 2-2 and the pressure is mounting…regardless boys, just put up a FIGHT until the bitter end!

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  9. Today’s ESPN Daily Dime:
    “Bryant added that the Lakers are not the first team to be inconsistent in the playoffs. ‘Go back to Chicago when they won championships,’ he said. ‘They used to do the same dumb thing, too … But when you win a championship, nobody remembers you had a 3-1 series lead or you blew a 2-0 series lead. Nobody remembers Boston had two seven-game series in the first round last season.’ And as for Cleveland and Denver’s roll through the month of May? ‘We did it last year, too,’ Bryant said, chuckling. ‘Except for one time. Boston came away with the championship.’”

    This brought me great comfort. The Lakers still have the greatest player in the NBA on the team. Lebron James is fantastic, but he hasn’t won anything (i.e., a championship) yet. And I’m more certain than ever that Kobe aims to keep it that way.

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  10. Lakers got a wake up call with sundays game. All Houston did was wake up a sleeping Giant. Lakers take series 4-2.

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  11. We weren’t given the entire context of the question or his response, but reading Pau’s remarks in today’s newspaper about how “Gasol said the Lakers were “we could have won if we really wanted to” on Sunday does not sit well.

    What kind of crap is that?

    Back in the day, Magic Johnson would refuse to speak to family members during the playoffs because he was so focused on winning games. How must he have reacted upon seeing his team’s second-best player make a remark like that?

    I’m no Pau basher by any extent, but comments like that are inexcusable. As was Sunday’s effort by the team.

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  12. Pardon the hasty cut-and-paste in No. 6. Here are Pau’s remarks, as cited by the Associated Press:

    “If we want to be a championship team we have to go after it every single game,” Gasol said. “We can’t take for granted that because we’re better individually or maybe collectively that we can play 70, 80 percent. We have to play 100 percent from the get go.”

    Gasol said the Lakers were “outhustled and outplayed and we could have won if we really wanted to.”

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  13. #2 Check out jstin.tv, I don’t live in LA so this has been my lifesaver this year.

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  14. Chris J – Wow I hadn’t heard that comment, but that’s pretty bad.

    “There’s nothing I can say to [Kobe] back that’s going to erase the fact that he scored two points on me,” Battier said. “I learned long ago that I’m not a good trash-talker, so don’t even try. It sounds silly coming out of my mouth.”

    It’s impossible not to like Battier, just seems like a really nice, down-to-earth dude.

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  15. justin.tv

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  16. So, the gameplan is:

    1) Get the ball to Pau.
    2) Play like you give a crap.
    3) …
    4) Win.

    I like it. I am happy to be a part of this plan. What a fantastic plan!

    Let’s hope the Lakers are on board with it.

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  17. Chris J, Snoopy,
    I haven’t heard that comment, only read it, but to me it seemed bitter more than anything else.

    Other comments from Pau:

    “We could’ve had a huge advantage, put ourselves in a great position to finish the series off tomorrow, but we didn’t and we own up to it. That’s why we’re going to come out tomorrow and show what we’re made of.”

    “If we want to be a championship team we have to go after it every single game. We can’t take for granted that because we’re better individually or maybe collectively that we can play 70, 80 percent. We have to play 100 percent from the get go/”

    “[We were]outhustled and outplayed and we could have won if we really wanted to.”

    Again, without hearing them spoken it’s hard to say, but he seems frustrated and angry to me, and not at all cavalier about what happened. If anything, I expect him to come out and be ready to kill tonight.

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  18. atdhe.net

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  19. http://lakers.freedomblogging.com/2009/05/12/phil-weighs-his-options-and-its-not-rosy/16645/

    Sounds like Phil’s leaning away from Bynum, unless he makes a miraculous turn (or playing mind games). Powell’s been really bad lately, offensively and defensively. Can Luke play the 4? I feel like he may be able to guard Scola. But it sounds like he’s still having injury issues too.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-heisler-lakers12-2009may12,0,1953514.column?page=2

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  20. Mimsy – I only saw Chris’s first comment at the time I posted (the second one must have been held for moderation). You’re right, when all of Pau’s interview is looked at, nothing seems odd. It’s just that one line by itself (we could have won if we wanted to) that surprised me at first.

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  21. thanks, good people. you’ve done wonders for my ongoing happy marriage…

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  22. Snoopy/#14:

    I don’t know… everytime he face guards Kobe and manages to do it without fouling I want to punch him in the nose. 🙂

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  23. I’d love to have shane battier on my team. I still remember the clutch plays he made on that Duke championship team…and I don’t even really like Duke!

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  24. Anyone who has followed this team this year knew that Sunday was coming. Conversely, anyone who followed them knows it’s nothing to worry about because every once and a while this team plays down or relaxes or whatever BUT they have won every single big game all year long. Lakers in 6. Like everyone said in the first place.

    An other point, I’ve liked basketball a long time and I have never seen some much, for lack of a better term, ball washing, that the rockets are getting. It’s so annoying and I hope the Lakers pound them by 50 tonight to remind everyone who was in control of the series before a temporary case of Ewing Theory kicked in.

    “oooh, they’re so care free”

    “ohhh, they have so much fun”

    “oh me oh my the work sooo hard”

    Seriously? they won ONE game on their home floor when they were galvanized by missing a big piece of their team and the Lakers weren’t ready for the energy they had. I’ve never seen a team get 1/8th of this. Very annoying. Go Lakers.

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  25. Mbenga + Morrison = Championship

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  26. Given Lamar’s day to day status or game time decision, I’d love to see Kobe play the 3 more if Ariza is struggling to keep up with Artest…
    I hate to look ahead (and clearly we’re in no position to do that) but it would also be a good precursor to gauge matchups to come against Denver & Cleveland. I have my doubts with Ariza being able to stick with Carmelo & Lebron

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  27. Check out Hollinger’s PER Diem link at ESPN as he ranks the playoff teams left

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2009/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&page=PERDiem-090512

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  28. 9, After reading that, I came away with the opposite feeling that you did. Instead of taking accountability for what happened on Sunday (even if it wasn’t his fault), he downplays his team’s performance saying that the Bulls “did the same dumb thing too.” Is this “everyone does it so its okay” mentality one that the supposed best player in the NBA should have?

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  29. I hope that Lamar feels good enough to play AND contribute. I don’t want him on the floor and have a 0-0-0 night or to make the injury worse.

    As far as Bynum, I think the kid needs to strenghten them legs in the offseason. Part of the reason he has been so innefective is that he can’t push/bully his way into the basket. While upper body strengh helps out, strong legs are the key – and Bynum has some chicken legs. Not a knock on Drew here as I completely understand that he was off his feet for like 3 months. Just making an observation and trying to set expectations at the right level.

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  30. I know this a laker forum, but anyone who enjoys basketball should find this a good read.

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/justice/6419553.html

    Heres hoping for a good game tonite, Go Rockets!

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  31. The Rockets executed exceptionally well last game. In games 2 and 3 the Lakers did a good job of fronting Yao and preventing passes into the post. This caused the Rockets offense to slow down forcing Artest, and Brooks to try and create shots as the shot clock was running down. In the last game they initiated the offense a lot quicker through dribble penetration (particularly Brooks) and they had fantastic spacing which led (along with the Lakers lack of defense) to wide open shots. I think the Lakers need to try and force them into shots later in the shot clock.

    I hope Lamar is feeling OK. Doesn’t surprise me that he is playing. The guy has shown that he will play through energy. His focus may not always be there but his heart usually is.

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  32. In addition to the other mentions of let downs by eventual champions, the Celtics were blown out by Cleveland 108-84 in game 3, and 94-75 by Detroit in game 4 of that series.

    So, a lapse, even a bad one, isn’t an indication that a team can’t win it all.

    What worries me more is the lack of execution. For them to give up 83 points in three quarters is bad, but shouldn’t be the end of the world. An average game for them would put them down by less than ten at that point. The real problem is only having 40 points with 6 minutes to go in the third.

    Everybody wants their team to resemble the ideal of passion and heart, which the Celtics did so well last year. This team will never be that, though, and we should learn to accept it. This team is more akin to the Duncan Spurs or Jordan Bulls or Magic Lakers in that their game is predicated on skill and execution, not passion.

    Not that they are devoid of passion, or don’t need it, but they can win by playing a lot smarter, and a bit harder. It seems to me that this team doesn’t necessarily do well when they get too fired up. Most of them just aren’t that type of player; Odom, Pau, Fish, Ariza, Walton. Their strengths are skill and execution. If they execute really well, the team does really well. If Kobe, Bynum, and Sasha get too passionate, they tend to tear apart the ability of the team to execute the game plan.

    Their advantage against every team in the league is their overall skill level, and that’s what they should use to win. This team will never play with more passion and effort than Houston or Cleveland or Boston. But, they don’t necessarily need to in order to win.

    I hate to say it, but it seems that they would win if they were just to listen to Phil, and get in trouble when they don’t. Fortunately, after getting blown out like they did in game 4, they are much more likely to listen to the coaching staff and execute the game plan, which may be why the tend to do so well immediately after losing.

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  33. Jim – I don’t agree with you. The partial quote in #9 is misleading as it is a blurb from a complete video interview (I think the LA Times posted the entire video) – so I think you are jumping to conclusions.

    The video that I saw is of a Kobe Bryant who is very pissed at the way the team played at the last game . It’s pretty clear that he understands the severity of the situation. Whe he says other championship teams have done “the same dumb thing” he’s in no way “downplaying” the teams performance, he’s acknowledging that the team played dumb basketball and that the Lakers need to play smart and be on their toes to win this series.

    I’m not quite sure what you hoped that Kobe would say here. Also, since Kobe and Gasol had a decent game, would it not be more appropriate for Fisher/Farmar/ Sasha/Powell to own up to the crappy way they played instead of Kobe? Perhaps you are looking for him to say that “my teammates played like crap”, but don’t you think a statement like that would be counter productive to the team’s confidence? Isn’t a better strategy to tell your teammates – and the world – that you are confident that things can be turned around because other Championship teams have been through the same thing?

    Dude. We lost game 4 of a 7 game series that is tied 2-2. There’s still at least 2 more games left to play. Like my mom would say, you worry so much that you will end up giving yourself an ulcer 🙂

    On a side note, I get the not-so-subtle feeling that you are a Rocket’s fan hiding in sheeps clothing (or perhaps our old friend Celtics Nation) – although you have said before that you were a “huge Laker fan.” There’s no need to hide your preferences for a team in this blog. We can respectfully disagree.

    I’m not saying that to be a fan you MUST love this team, but it’s hard to find a Laker fan that has nothing positive to say about their favorite team. I mean, this isn’t the Clipper or the Knicks – it’s the Lakers: the most famous and popular franchise in the history of the NBA, winner of more titles in the modern era of the NBA (i.e. since 1980) than any other franchise; home of Showtime, The Logo, Kareem, Magic, Wilt and Kobe. So, if you truly are a Laker fan, relax, enjoy the game tonight. Win or lose it has been one hell of a season thus far.

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  34. Jim Smith – I don’t think Kobe was saying that it was OK. I think he was saying that it happens. He knows it wasn’t ok, and I don’t think that let down is a good argument against him being the best in the NBA. Many of the greatest players in NBA history have had let downs in a game, and in a series. I just heard Michael Cooper talking about the punch in the mouth his Laker team got in their 148-114 game 1 loss of the finals before they went on to win it all back in 84. Do you think that means Magic wasn’t one of the best? Or Kareem? Or Mr. Post-season Big Game James Worthy?

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  35. Snoopy, I hadn’t seen Chris’ second comment either. I copy pasted the stuff I did from Yahoo! Sports game preview for tonight, during my break.

    I have always suspected Pau of having quite the mean streak, and I’m eager to see it come out and go for kidneys and hamstrings tonight. 🙂

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  36. The Lakers failure to show up for the last game was embarrassing. This lack of mental will to compete at a high level and win when they should is nothing new as we’ve witnessed during the season. It’s just extremely disconcerting that they’re still at it in the playoffs.

    I’m trying to figure out why it is that “they are who they are”, the-flip-the-switch-play-down-to-their-opponent type of team and I think it’s a leadership issue. I think it starts with Kobe. I love the guy and his game and I think his competitiveness and commitment to the game is admirable and sets a good example for the rest. I also think that his attitude and his history with the Lakers influence this team’s mental approach to the game greatly.

    The team is young, very impressionable, and can be very emotional with their game. They obviously look to Kobe for leadership. If Kobe doesn’t bother to step up defensively it’s not hard to see that the team will follow (this is besides the fact that team defense falls apart if Kobe fails to play his role in the defensive scheme). This Lakers team is less talented than the all-star Olympic team that Kobe was on. Even with superstars on his Olympic team Kobe had set an example as a non-vocal leader with his defensive intensity to inspire his teammates. If Kobe brings it hard on D, the rest of the Lakers are more likely to bring it. If not and their offense fails, then things fall apart.

    Kobe is someone who leads by example. Kobe’s tendency to compete only against the best and overlook “less talented” and “unworthy” players by not bothering to guard them sets a bad example. The team tendency to play down to their opponent is indicative of this mentality.

    Kobe is a flip the switch type player and the team exemplifies that in their own play. If things fall apart defensively and the Lakers fall behind, the team hopes to flip the switch and turn it on in the 3rd or 4th quarter and squeeze out a win. When the switch fails, it’s Kobe to the rescue.

    Compounding the problem is Kobe’s history with the team. Before last year (and to some extent part of last year) Kobe’s cast was not so good. He didn’t trust his teammates to make the shots. He often had to go supernova to pull out a win and his team to an extent expects that. Though they are better now and there’s more trust by Kobe, they still have a tendency to wait on Kobe at the end of games to bail them out. Except for Pau (and Lamar in some instances) who consistently still makes plays at the end of games (he doesn’t share the same history with Kobe the other players do), the rest of the team just waits on Kobe. The team’s flip-the-switch, play down to opponent mentality compounded by the failsafe that is Kobe-nova makes this team who they are, an inconsistent talented team that loses focus and disappears from time to time. Supernovas are cool to watch, but it is a very destructive force that can blow up in your face. In the end, it’s not all on Kobe, it’s a whole team problem.

    That lost was not the end of the world, but it is disturbing that this mental approach may cause a few more unnecessary losses and potential heartaches, holes in walls and lost of hair and sleep for us fans.

    I hope they come out to play tonight. Lakers in 6! Sorry for the long post.

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  37. #36, MannyP13,
    Exactly. Kobe is doing what we have been wanting him to do for so long: Showing some mature leadership. He’s saying that other champions have done this and still won the series, so there’s no reason we can’t do that either. Is he happy with the way his team played Sunday? Absolutely not. Is he going to tell the world that via a press conference? No, because he now knows better, and knows that doing that will not help. To say, “We played horribly and lost, so let’s play our best and win tonight” is by far the better approach.

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  38. Brendel Jackson May 12, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I am a Kobe die hard fan. I think the world of him. He and the whole Laker team let me down Sunday. I was a little stronger after this lost. The first lost took a real toll on me. I think Phil and teammates need to help build Bynum’s confidence. He looks beaten and depressed. He just need to get back to business. We all know what he can do!

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  39. (Sorry Jane, I didn’t see your comment… I think I just echoed what you said. 😀 )

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  40. Wow Melo’s fiancee is crazy. I don’t know what the Mavs fan said to her, but that kind of behavior is rarely excusable. Twice she tried to throw something at the fan. Here’s the video:

    http://www.totalprosports.com/blog/index.php/2009/05/carmelo-anthonys-fiance-gets-ejected-from-game/

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  41. 36, I only read the quoted portion of Kobe’s interview in post 9 so my comments were directed what he/she posted verbatim. The quote even has him chuckling so I figured he wasn’t in a serious mood. If Kobe was in fact disgusted with team’s performance then that’s what I would have wanted to hear.

    I have never stated that I am a huge Lakers fan. Not sure where you read that. I have only stated that I am not a Rockets fan and no I am not a Celtics fan. As for only stating positives, anyone else here can do that. I am just trying to provide what I believe are objective criticisms. Not every fan needs to fit in the Lakers-are-the-best-team-ever-Kobe-is-the-best-player-ever mold. I do think the Lakers are currently a good team. Are they championship caliber? Using their uninspired performances thus far in the playoffs as my basis, I don’t think so.

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  42. #41, I agree with you. I agreed throughout the call of that game that they really need to look at who starts at PG. I thought Jordan’s hussle was outstanding and ShanWoW was hitting jumpshots (who knew?).

    While I agree with everyone here not being “worried” about tonights game, I worry about this up and down level of intensity. Its been happening all year and its been brought into the playoffs. While Kobe says “championship teams of the past have done this”, but not like the Lakers have and are doing it. Do it against Boston again or the Cavs and its goodnight.

    So, lets mix it up. DFish is getting burnt at the point, lets be honest. Start Jordan, bring Fish off the bench. So start Jordan, Kobe, Trevor, Lamar and Pau. Bring Fish, Sasha, Luke, Josh and Andrew in as the second unit. Fish might even try to be more agressive offensively with that group too.

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  43. Whoa there Jim, I was going to ask you what team you are a fan of, but with that “not every fan needs to fit in” line, it’s about to get heated in here.

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  44. 46. The Rockets ran the pick and roll differently and their entire offense differently with Yao in there in game three. And, in game four, did you really think Farmar and Shannon played that well against Brooks?

    47. I think the thing is we don’t see your criticisms as objective or valid, not because we are Lakers fans but because you take a Kobe quote out of context or don’t grasp individual talent vs. team matchups. Basically, there are valid criticisms to be made, you’re just not making them.

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  45. I’d like to see Kobe resisting the jump shot early on and dragging the defense in the first half with some well placed drive or drive and kicks.

    Although the Rockets probably won’t make shots in LA like they did in Houston, the Lakers need to make sure of it with more inspired close outs.

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  46. It’s impertative the Lakers win the first quarter. The rockets are undefeated in these playoffs whenever they win the first quarter.

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  47. 50, About taking Kobe’s comment out of context, as I explained I only read the portion which was provided in the quote. I think any reasonable person would have come to the same conclusion that I did after reading that what the poster chose to include.

    As for not grasping individual vs team matchups, I understand your points. You were the one who did not want to hear any dissenting opinions to the point of moderating my comments.

    I realize this is your blog and you make the rules and if you don’t want to hear my opinions you can always ban me. Please note however that I have never said stuff like the Lakers suck blah blah blah. I have only stated my personal beliefs whether they are right or wrong.

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  48. Mr Smith, when you’ve been around this blog a while you’ll notice that we have no problem with dissenting opinions. However, if you mind having your opinions nit-picked to pieces by those who disagree with you, this blog may not be the best place to post them. 🙂

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  49. 54, I have no problem with people nitpicking as long as I am able to respond back. What fun would this place be if everyone agreed with each other?

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  50. 53, Last time I checked, reasonable people didn’t jump to conclusions from one-line of text.

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  51. 56, Yes, you are right. It was foolish of me to read a full paragraph of Kobe’s light-hearted comments and Kobe chuckling to assume that Kobe did not care about his team’s performance.

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  52. That video of Hayes is hilarious. I don’t think PJ will go to the hack a Hayes though, he’s always been about playing basketball the ‘right way.’ Of course, Popovich did go to the hack a shaq after resisting it for awhile, but only when they went on runs.

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  53. I once had an awkward moment, just to know what it felt like.

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  54. Jim Smith – I put in the whole quote as it appeared in the column. I don’t think the conclusion you came to as a result was one any “reasonable” person would share. Kobe is entitled to “chuckle” at the mention of Cleveland and Denver coasting through, knowing that the Lakers did so last post season and it didn’t result in a championship. He wasn’t taking the issue/challenge lightly; he was merely recalling the facts of his own experience and how the journey doesn’t necessarily define the end. THAT’S a reasonable person’s conclusion.

    P.S. Kurt, Darius, Zephid, Clutch824, Mimzy, kwame, snoopy2006, magic, and more I have forgotten off the top of my head: Thanks so much for all comments and insight as lovers of the game. You guys are great, you make this roller coaster tolerable and even enjoyable, and constantly make me wish that the men in my life cared about basketball, and specifically the Lakers.

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  55. is there anyone out there who does NOT think the winner tonight wins the series? I don’t see either team having the psychological toughness to survive losing this game– it would mean the Lakers having to come to terms with dropping 2 straight without Yao…. or Houston having to rally to win two huge games including a game at 7 staples.

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  56. 61. Yes and no. If we lose, I won’t think the winner will win the series, but if we win, I think we’ll win it 😉

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  57. Anything seems possible in this series, but I would say that tonights loser probably doesn’t see the next round. I expect there to be an emotional drop-off from the Rockets tonight, but at least they will show up. I hope that I’m wrong but I think the Lakers could win big tonight.. I do think that the Rockets could push it to seven even if they lose tonight but don’t see them winning game 7 in LA.

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  58. The Dude Abides May 12, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    The more Farmar is matched up with Brooks, the better. I can’t believe he only played four minutes in the first half of Game 4, after the job he did on Brooks in Game 3. Phil is stubborn about matchups sometimes.

    I remember before last year’s Finals, I posted over at the LA Times blog that Kobe should “guard” Rondo, and Phil didn’t do it until Game 3. I’m sure we could have stolen Game 1 if Phil had done it. I mean, the entire Eastern Conference roamed off Rondo in the playoffs, so why did we wait two games?

    If Fish gets the bulk of the minutes on Brooks again, and Brooks proceeds to carve up our D again, then we get what we deserve. It’s not just the 34 pts and several assists, it’s the “hockey assists” Brooks gets by penetrating and kicking, and the offensive rebound baskets the Rockets get when he blows by Fish yet again and one of our bigs forces him to miss at the rim.

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  59. I see us winning tonight, but no way will this be a blow-out or a 15-20 point margin…Houston is playing on cloud 9 right now

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  60. I just hope tonight’s game is a game where I don’t feel ashamed about our players’ effort.

    Thank god there are no Rockets fans where I live; it would be unbearable to have someone gloat about how their team always gives their best, is resilient, etc., since I can’t make an counterargument either by denying what he says or by claiming that my team does the same.

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  61. #65, I said the same thing earlier, but Phil is VERY stubborn, always has been. Even when everybody else on the planet thinks he’s mad. DFish can play against a Deron Williams or larger guard, but he’s too old and slow to play against Brooks.

    #67, I think it comes down to this. The Lakers will win if they want to win. They can go all the way if they want to go all the way, even against LeBron. It’s all between the ears….

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  62. 62, lil pau, this series has had so many twists and turns that nothing would surprise me at this point. That being said, I do think that if the Lakers lose tonight, they have a better chance of beating Houston twice than if Houston loses and they have to beat LA twice, 95% due to home court, 5% due to talent alone.

    67, wow harold, you have it so easy. Two of my closest friends that I also work with, one is a Blazer fan from Portland (so he basically thinks the NBA doesn’t exist when Portland isn’t playing), and the other is a Rockets fan from Houston. When Portland beat LA by thirty and Ariza took out Fernandez, all I heard about the next day was how Ariza tried to murder Fernandez. The other guy wrote “Beat LA” on my facebook page 5 times.

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  63. zephid you think that is bad trying living in san antonio with all the spurs fans who are all laker haters im surrounded here with trash talk all the time its great when we win but it sure does suck when we lose i represent real strong so i get a lot back

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  64. 71. I would say Landry and Scola move more fluidly to their pop position than Yao ever did, and that caused us issues (as the guards were slow to recover and Laker bigs were late getting back and the whole thing broke down. Maybe I should have said they ran the P&R more smoothly, that might have been more accurate.

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  65. I find joy in the Celtics losing. Doesn’t matter where, when or to whom.

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  66. Okay, I need an unbiased opinion here. Does Kendrick Perkins get away with more physical play than any other player in the league or is he just that good defensively?

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  67. Kendrick Perkins eats children for pleasure. That’s as objective as I can be.

    On a more serious note, I’d take a long serious look at Stephon Marbury if I were any team needing a PG this off-season. I don’t know if his attitude change is solely because he’s trying to get a new contract, but the way he’s been playing team defense, playing unselfishly, and now beginning to take some shots himself, he is arguably the best back-up PG in the league. Not saying I’m pro-Marbury, but he has definitely cleaned up his act.

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  68. The Magic are having a Lakers moment.

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  69. “C’mon, I want a record for lane violations in one game.”

    Do you go to baseball games and root for catcher’s Interference?

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  70. Great line from Bill Simmons on Twitter: We’re running the 2006 Knicks offense with Marbury as Marbury and Big Baby as Eddy Curry. And it’s working. I will now do another shot.

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  71. @ 74.
    u prolly shouldnt be asking for nonbiased opinion of a celtics player on a lakers website

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  72. Just heard on 570 KCAL that there’s still no news on Lamar, but if he plays, he starts….

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  73. I get that Dwight Howard is limited offensive, but the Magic, again, can’t get easy offensive looks in crunch time.

    Why didn’t the refs look at the replay to determine whether the ball hit the rim or not? Why have instant replay if you’re not going to use it?

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  74. is it just me or do some of these calls seem very questionable?

    0

  75. Odom is in….and will start!

    0

  76. Now, that non-reviewed play has somewhat impacted the outcome of the game. “Somewhat.”

    0

  77. 77, dude Mason did you see this video?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55zIDCYSOMs

    Carlos Boozer’s reaction is priceless. C’mon don’t tell me you don’t wanna hear Lamar do something similar at least once.

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  78. I don’t think they are allowed to review every questionable play. Only certain plays are reviewable.

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  79. Zephid – Agree with you about Marbury. I never thought he was malcontent prior to arriving in New York. I always thought he was a selfish basketball but without the attitude if that makes sense. Yes, teams have gotten significant better with every franchise he has left, but Marbury was a pretty good player prior to coming to New York. If I were the Lakers, I would take a look but I wouldn’t sign him. I like the Shannon Brown and Derek Fisher combo. Maybe the Lakers draft a young player in the draft and develop him. There is always Sun Yue!

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  80. emh101 – Its not a reviewable play, and that’s ridiculous.

    0

  81. Hang on, Bynum is starting….Odom is on the bench. Typical Jackson…no idea what he will do minute to minute.

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  82. Well, the Magic can thank themselves for the outcome of this game.

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  83. Did EJ just say that Bynum is going to start? I kind of like that. I just wonder if Scola is going to guard Pau or Drew.

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  84. I can’t believe the refs somehow magically decided that was NOT an airball, despite the fact that a) that was the call on the floor, b) there was no indisputable evidence that was not an airball and c) they couldn’t even review it. complete and utter BS.

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  85. I’ve seen it Zephid, and it is hiLARious. It’s the most hideous foul shot I’ve ever seen. He *needs* those lane violations to make up for the randomness that his hitches introduce.

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  86. 91. Darius, that’s right. Bynum to start, Odom is on the bench looking like the “Michelin Man” according to Thompson (on KCAL).

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  87. WOW..the magic just gave the term blowing leads a WHOLE new meaning

    that sucks
    i feel bad for them
    but props to the celtics as much as i dont like them

    LETS GO LAKERS!

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  88. #6, Jane,
    My husband is even more of a Laker fan than I am. I know he reads this blog, but I haven’t seen him comment yet… it’s thanks to him that I became a Laker fan 🙂 You’ll find someone who cares, don’t worry. (If you’re already attached, I am of course talking about future sons. If you’re not, keep looking, you’ll find him some day 😉 ) I also fully agree with you on the reasonable conclusions to Kobe’s comments. Frankly, anyone who knows anything about how competitive and focussed he is cannot come to any other conclusion. For Pete’s sake, Kobe dies a little inside every time he loses at anything!

    #89, ozlaker,
    It is very typical Phil… and it does have the extra bonus that he is unpredictable to everyone, including the opposition. Phil is the mind game master.

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  89. Now I know why Dwight Howard gets 20 rebounds a game, because no one else on Orlando rebounds. Literally, watch every single offensive possession. The shot goes up, and everyone except for Howard immediately runs to the backcourt. If Howard puts it in, good for him. Then on defense, the Magic gave up 2 huge defensive rebounds because no one other than Dwight can actually get them.

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  90. I believe that Kobe throws out one of his all time great games tonight. The stage is set.

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  91. If Bynum starts I think this is it for him — he either breaks out and becomes a productive, key member of the team, or he totally unravels and they turn to Mbenga or Powell from here on out. I pray the former.

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  92. Too bad this game is not on ABC. I love to hear Mark Jackson’s insights.

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  93. #98 Reed, I reckon they try and get Bynum to work early. With this line up, the Lakers HAVE to control the tempo, which will be somewhat slower than the Rockets would like to run tonight….

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  94. hey folks,
    stuck up here in toronto and was watching justin tv, the only way to see it, when it froze up just around 10:30PM (eastern)
    anybody got any working links?
    darn!

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  95. Let’s see if that interior passing between Gasol and Bynum stays.

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  96. Smart Pau. Great to get Bynum involved early.

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  97. I like this already. Volleyball offensive rebounds and a high-low for a Bynum dunk.

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  98. why is kobe STILL playing battier that loosely on D?

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  99. With regards to Bynum, he has WAY more talent than Powell of Mbenga, and he is not even close to 100% after an injury. Give. Him. Time. He will become a monster. Just give him time.

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  100. So risky to go even bigger against their small lineup. Either brilliant or playing right into their hands.

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  101. Lakers are looking pretty sloppy early…

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  102. No Odom, most likely.

    Fisher starts.

    Kobe throws up a long 2 with 12 seconds left.

    On the plus side, Bynum is going well on the offense.

    I got a bad feeling…

    The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over but expecting different results.

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  103. If Gasol turns and faces Hayes, he can make him foul. We have to tighten up the boards.

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  104. Love, love Bynum’s aggressiveness.

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  105. Andre Iggy is sitting behind the Laker bench.

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  106. Way to go Andrew. Attack that basket!

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  107. I love Fish, but he’s in a funk.

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  108. #116 Darius, why does Phil stay with him then? I love Fish too….but its painful to watch (or in my case, listen to).

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  109. Oz,
    I think it’s to maximize Fish’s strengths with do match well with the starters. He’s struggling though. BTW, I posted a link, does it work for you?

    http://atdhe.net/7002/watch-houston-vs-la-lakers

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  110. fish has no buisness in this game. none

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  111. I never liked the saying that insanity is trying the same thing and expecting different results. Statistics tells us that one should expect different results over time, especially given outliers.

    That being said, the Lakers are absolutely not defending Hayes, and I like it.

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  112. That was great team defense — damn artest

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  113. I have to agree on Fisher, mainly because I love the guy and I’d like to see him end on a more positive note than as the point guard that was torched by Aaron Brooks…

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  114. Two fouls on Hayes. What to do? We can wear them down…

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  115. @E-ROC
    …i thought that was him. whats he doing in la?

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  116. Artest should get traded to the Clippers. He plays well at Staples.

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  117. One can only hope that it’s Brian Cook’s time to shine.

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  118. #118, Darius, I can’t watch because I’m at work…can’t stream stuff in (arghh). So listen to KCAL!

    Is Fisher strength with the starters also costing us with Brooks running circles around him?

    What do the Rockets do now?? Play Scola at Centre? KCAL just said that the Rockets have activated some bloke that is 6-9 “500 pounds”…..

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  119. Lifelong Laker fan here, but it definitely doesn’t help refute any conspiracy theory when Chuck Hayes is whistled for a BS 2nd foul early in the 2nd, with Bennett Salvatore as the ref. I really want the Lakers to win, but I don’t wanna win that way.

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  120. Hey, if we keep going in to Pau and Andrew, life will be good.

    At some point, it is simply not THAT complicated. Do what works. Stop doing what doesn’t work.

    Inside game works.

    Fisher vs Brooks does not work.

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  121. We do have to be aware of Cook. I know we can attack him on offense, but on defense we need to mark him and run him off the three point line.

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  122. Cook has to play at some point.

    And that “Where will amazing happen this year?” commercial with Kobe crossing over Pippen and throwing the alley-oop to Shaq…good memories.

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  123. Fish needs to be pulled. He is hurting the team too much right now. A spotty defensive sequence and then a forced shot. I cringe when he drives.
    Great activity by Gasol. 3 blocks already?
    That was definitely not a foul on Hayes. Now he has to sit. I wanted to see Pau school him and put to rest this crap about anyone who can stop Pau.

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  124. Anon – AI and Kobe have the same agent and I think they are best friends too. Remember when the 76ers beat the Lakers in LA? In the post game, AI said he used a move that Kobe uses and I think he said Kobe taught him that move. Ariza should’ve fouled! lol

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  125. I like Bynum attacking. I almost threw a tantrum on the comments section recently about how everybody in the NBA and surrounding it have such a short term memory, and how this relates to ‘Drew who dropped over 40 and 20 at one point this season.

    Now I want to see the Lakers cutting down on their turnovers and the Rockets offensive rebounds.

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  126. i really dont like when fish tries to score in the paint…

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  127. Odom in the game. Interesting.

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  128. Whoa did i just see a Laker turn to box out?

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  129. It was a foul. You can’t put two hands on a guy in the post. It’s in the rulebook.

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  130. I think when Fish is on Brooks we have to be more aware in our team D, which has not proven to be our strength. Fish could definitely be better in his individual matchup but I do think we need to play better as a team regardless. What hurts us most is when Fish isn’t making his jumper because then if Brooks is scoring the matchup is really one sided.

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  131. Love the steal and dunk by Trevor… I like what I see on offense. Offense works. Defense… um, needs work.

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  132. oh god fish, it doesnt matter if your guarded by a midget dont post him up

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  133. Kobe really has that quick first step tonight.

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  134. @E-ROC
    lol unfortunately i do remember that game…it all makes sense now

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  135. No Yao, no shotblocking.

    Even Kobe’s pullup just now was closer to the hoop than what it used to be – that’s a good sign.

    Now, if we could only stop turning the ball over…

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  136. 5 houston fouls to 1 laker foul, lik that ratio

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  137. 141 –

    I think Fish just wanted to shoulder check Brooks a few times. It’s like going to the body in a boxing match.

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  138. I’m on the gamecast at work (hope to be home for the second half). Is anyone from either team grabbing a defensive board?

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  139. Besides Fisher, we’re not settling on offense…that’s a good sign.

    Rotation on 3 point shooters is still suspect.

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  140. Kurt,
    We’re doing okay on the defensive glass. Some of the O-rebs that Houston has gotten were off long misses from deep jumpshots. That was especially true on one possession where they got two on one trip down.

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  141. Even in his earlier years, Artest was a thick dude!

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  142. Kobe is gonna have a great night i think

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  143. Kurt,
    According to Yahoo Sports both teams are, but emphasis is on offensive boards.

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  144. odoms 3s falling is a good sign

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  145. thats two fastbreaks off of steals that resulted in laker turnovers.

    kobe is looking good, getting closer to the hoop, but Pau NEEDS to get some touches.

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  146. Ariza should never handle a fast break.

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  147. I want Kobe to play 45+ minutes tonight. Even if we’re up by 20 entering the 4th.

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  148. Farmar always makes those!

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  149. Farmar making his case for minutes.

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  150. STOP….

    Farmar time..

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  151. I was going to type “Farmar is going to make this…” Too late though.

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  152. Farmar has been money at the end of quarters all year. I wonder if he shoots more freely, knowing that the clock is up against him anyways.

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  153. how dumb were the spurs to skip on scola, with him they’re still title contenders

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  154. Jordan Farmar on the other hand is doing good so far. He’s staying with the gameplan tonight. I like that.

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  155. That’s the quarter buzzer beating farmar that we know, hehe..

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  156. Darius, he definitely has a habit of making those….

    Good 1st qtr, Kobe isn’t going to let this game go. Guarantee he doesn’t stay on the bench long if Houston get this back to 2-4….

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  157. I like how we’ve played so far. Our bigs are really giving them problems and we’re making shots. Normally that’s the death combo for any opponent. If Houston continues to turn the ball over, this lead could grow pretty quickly. Lets hope Sasha can give us some productive minutes right now.

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  158. Odom’s back injury might be a blessing in disguise if he can keep hitting those 3’s and aviod getting offensive fouls by driving in the lane.

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  159. Man, I never NEVER doubted the Lakers (honest).

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  160. andrew igoudala is at the gamee?! how cooolll! he has good memories here haha

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  161. When is Kobe going to realize that Shane Battier is not Ronnie Brewer and he cannot play off of him like that, if a) he’s not going to get back in time, and b) no one on his team is going to clean up for him. I know the guy chases the ball on defense, that’s the way he plays, but come on…

    Other than Battier being open, though, there always seems to be a three-point shooter open because the Lakers hedge off of their man to help on ANYBODY. Kurt, why do they double EVERYBODY? I’ve never understood the way they play defense. Obviously they need to bring help on Brooks because Fish can’t stay in front of him, but other than that, what ever just happened to digging in and manning up?

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  162. Now, lets not be surprised if the rockets quickly come back. You know the Lakers will get “comfortable”

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  163. At the end of the quarter, the Lakers are shooting 70% eFG% and grabbing 66% of their missed shots. I can live with those numbers.

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  164. Gasol needs to abuse Cook while he’s out there.

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  165. Cook is BY FAR my least favorite laker of the last 5 years. I gasped with joy when I learned we traded him.

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  166. i think its fair to say von wafer hates sasha, but then again lots of ppl do

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  167. now THERE’s the cook i remember!

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  168. Gasol’s like one of those cartoon characters that’s stuck on an island and hasn’t eaten forever. He looks at Cook and sees a steak.

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  169. Cook with the gift jack up three

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  170. Reed, have you blocked out Kwame Brown and Smush Parker?

    At least Cook added points and was competent once in a while…

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  171. Of all the things Walton does well, perhaps none is more valuable than his insistence on getting Pau the ball in the post.

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  172. I am loving the offense right now. Gasol is turning and facing, looking for cutters, if there’s nothing, he’s backing down Cook and making him cry Uncle.

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  173. I will always have a soft spot for Kwame. Not sure why. I live my life as if Smush never existed.

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  174. Sasha with a dunk!

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  175. Sasha is KILLING Von Wafer. Wow.

    0

  176. DUNK by vujajic!!!

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  177. Sasha DUNK, all is going fine…

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  178. Best Sasha sequence of the playoffs. I smell a new Machine video on the way…

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  179. Definitely a foul on Sasha, but lovin’ it right now.

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  180. Sasha owns Wafer this series – Wafer is too mentally weak and volatile and Sasha is waaaaay into his head. Even if he got away with a foul there

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  181. Hahaha Reed. Your memory got erased. Smush? Who? Never heard of him.

    0

  182. The Lakers better not relax ….

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  183. AIR VUJACIC!!! Ha ha ha.

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  184. Dunk like machine. 🙂

    0

  185. I am loving how they are force feeding Pau every time. Take it

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  186. Machine block shot by silly hawk hair man. Machine breal and dunk ball. Slamma jamma.

    0

  187. They have to keep running this score up…the rockets wont go away and they cant get comfortable, destroy this team! They have no size to stop us

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  188. u know how ppl talked about how players rodman got into players head’s, i think sasha excels at the same thing

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  189. man, look at Lamar out there – he looks and moves like an old man. He needs some rest ASAP

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  190. Bah, Lamar is fine 😉 We could use a better defender at point though.

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  191. How is Lamar looking? I’m hearing him hussling on boards and things….can’t see him though. Is he ok?

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  192. ozlaker,
    Lamer looks like he’s a bit stiff and in pain, but able to ignore it to do what he needs to do. Great example of taking one for the team.

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  193. We are on fire.

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  194. I want more ShanWow!

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  195. Down Town Shannon Brown!!

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  196. I love how Brown just bodied Lowry on that pass that became a turnover. As Lowry tried to get up Brown raced down court and buried a three. Beautiful play on both ends from WOW.

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  197. with shannon and farmer playing like this can we stick a fork in fish, at least until the denver series

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  198. Even though Pau is out, they should still be going down low to Drew. It will help his confidence against a 6-6 Hayes.

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  199. I knew wearing my gold FB&G t-shirt would help the Lakers tonight, nothing to worry about, right?

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  200. james,

    Amen. Guarding Billups and especially Carter will feel like a breath of fresh air for FIsh.

    0

  201. I just saw 5 seconds of deity-level defense from Kobe Bryant when he had to switch on to Brooks. So it’s there, he just chooses when to unleash it.

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  202. Captian Obvious states that the Farrmar/ShanWow combo is better for this series. Lets rest Fish for Billups

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  203. Before game 2 and 3 I got a pearl tea smoothie on my way home from work. I got one today too. I’m just saying.

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  204. I dunno – if you saw Billups yesterday, he was blowing by Kidd like his feet was in cement. I don’t have high hopes for Fish’s ability to contain Billups either…

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  205. Darius, you are hereby ordered to have a pearl tea smoothie before each Laker game for the duration of the post season. Understood?

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  206. they need to completely destroy the rockets tonight

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  207. I’m telling you, ShanWoW thinks he’s Billups right now.

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  208. bynum running the floor love it

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  209. Don W,
    So. What do we need to do to maintain this delusion?

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  210. Brown just pulled a fisher, driving in the lane like that….

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  211. I want 70 points in the first half.

    Is that too much to ask?

    0

  212. Interesting that Andrew got a new brace — maybe he’s moving better since it feels more comfortable?

    0

  213. Lakers +/- all positives, Rockets all negatives, injured Odom +20.

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  214. Seeing this makes me even more mad about Game 4.

    Still, it’s Game 5 and am happy to see our team awake.

    0

  215. 7 steals, 5 blocks for us, compared to 1 steal, 0 blocks for them. i like it.

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  216. at this pace its definitely not too much to ask

    0

  217. Mimsy, I’m on it. Today was avocado.

    Houston seems intent on giving us the ball every other time down the court. They continue to commit the types of turnovers that almost don’t make sense.

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  218. Oh WOW! Kobe!

    0

  219. Kobe is feeling it.

    0

  220. Kobe is like the Cobra Kai right now. “Sweep the leg.”

    0

  221. The Rockets wanna start being worried if Kobe is hitting those shots followed by a 3….reminds me of THE Raptors game.

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  222. in all fairness, although we are turning them over seemingly every trip down, they are getting a LOT of wide open shots. Just not making them.

    0

  223. “You have a problem with that?”
    “Um, no coach.”
    “Then do it.”

    Is it bad that I quoted that from memory?

    0

  224. Mimsy, Mr. Miyagi would be proud.

    0

  225. I like that we got Pau some rest at the end of this half. A fresh Pau will go a long way in making the second half look like the first.

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  226. I love this Kobe/Lebron puppet commercial.

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  227. really darius?? i think its strange…why would they do that? are they saying kobe is not as excited for the playoffs as lebron? the where amazing commercials are great but i dont get this one.

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  228. Yum. I love avocado pearl drinks. That’s the best.

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  229. Don’t be too surprised if the Rockets close this gap in the 2nd half. They’re shooting 14-45 from the floor, 3-15 from three. They should come back in the 2nd half. It’s our job to keep forcing turnovers and pushing the pace.

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  230. That Kobe/Lebron commercial is awesome. Hella funny.

    0

  231. Do you think for next years “Where Amazing Happens” commercials, they’ll just take clips from each game of the Celts v Bulls series?

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  232. Mimsy, just make sure to ignore the Will Smith remake that’s supposed to come out.

    Good half. Let’s see Lakers clamp down in the 3rd and cruise control in the 4th for the win.

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  233. Ha ha ha. Money just said, Kobe is in “I must break you” mode. Ha ha ha. Love any Rocky reference being used….

    0

  234. Who’s Pau Gasaul? Kenny has me confused.

    0

  235. Think the commercial was just playing off stereotypes of both players. Kobe serious and professional, lebron jokin around with his dust and antics. Pretty funny imo.

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  236. It’s hard to complain when you’re up 25, but I’ll give it a shot anyway: why over the last 5 minutes of the 2nd half did we refuse to set up Drew in the post? I mean, the crazy fadeaway Kobe hit over Artest followed by a long 3 was nice, but why go away from dominating the Rockets in the post? And why not continue to build Drew’s confidence?

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  237. DB-

    The crazy fade-away had two seconds on the shot clock.

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  238. Jesse,
    I just think it plays up Lebron’s enthusiasm and Kobe’s stoic/focussed nature. I also love how they make fun of Lebron and all that powder.

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  239. DB, your guess is as good as mine. You wonder why Drew’s confidence is shot when they don’t get it in to him against either a 6-6 Hayes or 6-10 “No Defence” Cook????

    They do it time and time again….and it drives me nuts!

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  240. i love the fact that lakers are punishing rockets for their missed shots and turnovers.

    we let them off easy last game.

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  241. According to Chuck and Webber, it’s PAUL GASAHL.

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  242. If the Rockets start making their outside shots in the 2nd half, the Lakers will be in trouble. Rockets have been getting many many open 3’s, they’re just not falling. Our 3 defense remains a problem.

    We need to come out with a little more defensive intensity to further frustrate the Rockets and prevent them from getting into any offensive groove. Convert a few TO’s and close the game out.

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  243. Darius, you ever read Ding’s column couple of months back where he jokingly complained about all that chalk getting into the laptops? Of course people took him seriously and ripped him. *sigh*

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  244. DB,
    I don’t think we need to force feed Drew down there. All his buckets came off natural offense or his hustle on the offensive glass. If the Utah series showed me anything about Drew, it’s that when we try too hard to get him the ball inside for him to isolate, the offense slows too much and he just ends up shooting rather than running any motion. I’d rather continue to go to Pau and Kobe or run our sets to get motion and create good looks. Plus, Kobe was in a mini zone and I don’t mind him forcing a shot or two when the lead is that big and he’s trying to extend it and kill the other team.

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  245. 1. Will Smith remake of Karate Kid is a BLASPHEMY.

    2. Wax on. Wax off.

    3. We are, so far, owning the offensive end of this game.

    4. I will now leave to watch this with my husband, who just got home. Laters, FB&G blog 🙂

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  246. Mason–

    Yeah, I’m not really complaining about that particular shot, but the many sequences the preceded it and followed it. Kobe (and ShanWow) was going for the knockout spectactular play at the expense of sticking with the game plan: pound the ball down low!

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with how we’re playing, but as Lamar says, I’m aiming for perfection!

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  247. DB, it’s closer, but I still don’t understand how you can mispronounce such an easy name so often over such a long period of time. It’s not like he’s Nikoloz Zkitishvili.

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  248. isnt it technically pronounced “gah-thol” since hes from spain?

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  249. oh and will smith remake of karate kid is nowhere near as blasphemous as the will smith remake of oldboy thats in talks…

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  250. Only if the Spanish guy has a lisp, I think. 😉

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  251. lol @ kaifa’s comment.

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  252. 257-

    Naw… That’s the ‘z’ that comes off as “zth”. As in “Ztha-ra-go-ztha” (Zaragoza). It’s also more of a Castilian thing, and he’s from Catalonia.

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  253. @kaifa
    lol…nicely done sir, nicely done

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  254. Mimsy, I can’t believe Jackie Chan is old enough to play Miyagi. That makes me feel old since I’ve watched him growing up.

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  255. Darius–You have a point as usual. But I’d still like to see us get Drew some rhythm shots. Let’s see some pick and rolls and high-low action. I loved the sequence that kicked off the game, maybe we’ll see more of that to start the second half. I think we really need to come out strong in the 3rd quarter…

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  256. Jackie Chan? Miyagi? Remake? Is this a rumor or a fact? Why have I not heard about this?

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  257. Always wanted to ask, how long is halftime in an NBA game?

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  258. Oh… And don’t ever tell a Catalan he speaks “Spanish”.

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  259. Wow I’m loving Bynum making a breakthrough. Bynum is just like our team system: his defense flows from his offense. When he’s scoring he feels involved, so he’s active defensively.

    Our interior defense is so improved with Bynum/Gasol in there, it’s staggeringly noticeable.

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  260. isn’t halftime around 15 mins?

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  261. Exactly what I was looking for…

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  262. wow everything seems to be working perfectly this game

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  263. Trevor bailed us out, but our spacing was awful on that play. We had yellow jerseys bouncing off each other on that one.

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  264. On Bynum, I wonder if having the knee sleeve instead of the brace for the second game in a row is helping. He admitted that he had no pain and it was mental. With a bulky brace, you can’t help but think about it. The sleeve isn’t as much of a reminder.

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  265. Ok Phil… Fisher on Brooks just isn’t working. He’s getting penetration. Do something about that, please?

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  266. Bynum is owning the paint.

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  267. Bynum is getting really good offensive rebounding position.

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  268. seriously, take fish out

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  269. Artest is shooting the rockets out of the series, but he’s got no choice but to keep on jacking it up I guess.

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  270. Bynum still has no explosion. But maybe that’ll force him to rely more on positioning and blocking out instead of his length and athleticism.

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  271. If the fouls on the Houston bigs keeps up at this rate, we could see an all-guard lineup from the Rockets.

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  272. The Rockets can’t wait for this game to finish. I hope we don’t let up at all, and take away any chance of them carrying momentum into game 6.

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  273. Wow, so much for Hack-a-Hayes.

    Hayes just hacked himself out.

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  274. Anyone know the biggest win margin in a playoff? Lakers and league wide?

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  275. if that was lebron it wouldve been and1

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  276. 283: Denver’s 58 against NO must come close, i think.

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  277. i think denver tied the record

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  278. How can they say that LA hasn’t found a way to stop Brooks? Do they mean that Fisher hasn’t found a way to stop Brooks?

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  279. if that was lebron, it would have been a flagrant

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  280. 6 minutes left and in the bonus.

    Come on now, let’s capitalize!

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  281. Crap.

    TNT’s hosting the Eastern Finals this year? I was really looking forward to the WCF on TNT. This sucks. Their intros last year gave me goosebumps. Now we’re stuck with the morons at ABC/ESPN. Worst news tonight.

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  282. anyone else think t-mac looks like he’s gained some weight? it’s showing a bit in his cheeks haha

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  283. Wow. If only Kobe could have found his jumpshot like that last June…

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  284. #290 Snoop….that’s f***in great news!!! Ha ha ha. It means we’ll get WCF beamed into Oz on ESPN!! (sorry, but if it was TNT, I wouldn’t see a Lakers game).
    WOOHOO….Best news today! Thanks Snoop!

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  285. Practice list for tomorrow:

    Free throws.

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  286. Wow. If only kobe was left wide open like that last june… 😉

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  287. Kobe needs to get his 30 before subbing out for good.

    Anyway, anyone know how to put your website on the website box? whenever i put something in, it eats my messages…

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  288. jesus christ kyra sedgwick has no idea how to talk about basketball. What a waste of a good courtside seat

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  289. Omg, Kyra Sedgwick, WORST, INTERVIEW, EVER.

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  290. That was a painful staged promo interview

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  291. Gotta love Cook. He plays like he’s still on our team.

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  292. How come Phil doesn’t get any credit for the twist and turns the Lakers team endured last year? That was three different teams. Injuries, major trades and then injuries to Trev who had started to settle in.

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  293. I love how Lamar is blatantly sagging off of Cook Kobe-style

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  294. Do you reckon Kobe, Fish and Pau are having bets on how long it will take before DJ dunks on someone????

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  295. Did you see that ball roll around the ring like 10 times and then go in, wow, it is our night.

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  296. Are we trying to crush Denver’s record? Heh.

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  297. Von misses!

    And Cook passes to Trevor!

    Almost like playing 7-3 a while…

    So, a full 40 pt game now. Can we get outscored by 40 in a single quarter, even if we don’t use any of our starters?

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  298. Surely even we can’t blow a 40 pt lead going into the 4th quarter?

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  299. its hard to phathom the differnce in this game from the last, all I know is that we are awesome on our day

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  300. 58 by the Nuggets was the tie for highest winning margin. Is 60 beyond the Lakers???

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  301. I hope we don’t see Pau / Lamar / Kobe / Fish in this game again. Rest them the entire quarter, get the other guys some burn.

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  302. yeah, if we manage to blow this lead and lose this game, i’m shaving my head, becoming a monk and giving up all ties to the world.

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  303. The Rockets have missed a lot of open shots, but the Lakers have played really well on defense. We have kept them out of the paint, i mean, almost everything is a 3 by the rockets.

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  304. get Pau out!!!

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  305. why is gasol out there?

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  306. It is still important the Lakers finish strongly, dont give the rockets any confidence going into game 6.

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  307. Why are we sagging off one of the best three point shooters (and one of the highest career TS%) in history in Barry?

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  308. Sasha is trying hard to equalize the number of fouls called for both teams so that it doesn’t look too bad on paper.

    … and he should dunk rather than attempt 3s 😉

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  309. This group on the floor simply cannot generate offense. Why isn’t Bynum on the floor?

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  310. i think i can say that even i would hit the rim on a wide open 3

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  311. I’m outta here guys. See ya next game, which is Thursday. Damn…at work again!

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  312. We should get Walton out too, given that he’s still nursing an ankle issue

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  313. MESSAGE TO THE OTHER TEAMS: We can turn this thing on when we want to. Just wonder what we can do if we decided to do this night in and out…where’s the fun?

    GO LAKERS!

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  314. Can you imagine if Brent Barry would’ve signed with the Lakers instead of the Rockets? He’s probably kicking himself right now.

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  315. Let the Ammo chant begin…

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  316. Time to get Sun in there. It really isnt a good sign for the other team when he comes in….

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  317. la_resistance28 May 12, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Panic time! They just shaved a 40-pt lead down to 30!

    Oh, and Snoopy, from wayyyy up earlier in the thread, yes, there is a Karate Kid remake in the works, but it’s “re-imagined” with a Chinese flavor

    Jackie Chan = Miyagi
    Jaden Smith (Will’s Kid) = Daniel San

    No joke. *sigh*

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  318. e-roc, brent could have been the steve kerr for this team. But realistically, I don’t know if he would be even in the Lakers’ radar given the roster sitch.

    Kurt will you have to moderate the overreaction posts tomorrow?

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  319. J – The Lakers extended an offer to him, but he chose Houston.

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  320. Brent would’ve played the role of Radmanovich at best, I’d think…

    Now, can we close this thing out in 6?

    We’re not a bad road team, but we’re a horrible team when it comes to consistency 😉

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  321. all’s well this time. i think the laker got the message. they’ve brough back the lead up to 39. but that is how strong this team is preached to be on paper and commentary. so i’m pleased.

    if we do another blowout next game, at least i know we got the message loud and clear and have our swagger back. denver should be a fun challenge. but am not discounting dallas just yet, partly because i want denver to keep working. though all this workout has been good for us

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  322. I think we have found the formula with Bynum/Gasol front court. Now if we can bring some energy to start game 6 then we can wrap it up in H-town.

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  323. Is it very sportsmanlike to dunk when you’re leading by… 40?

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  324. harold,

    Eh, Mbenga is a crowd favorite and honestly he doesn’t really score any other way (besides a horribly ugly elbow jumper).

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  325. and look at that – so much for giving them momentum, we tied the 4th quarter after going down big.

    About the only negative was not getting Sasha off

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  326. BCR – I know, I was just being… sour? I should enjoy this win, and seeing the Miami-Hawks series I understand how you could have routs each way every game, but this made me wonder just how unprepared we must have been to be blown out by this team before.

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  327. e-roc, thanks. Can’t believe I missed that, I’m usually enough of a junkie. My friends are officially revoking my status as the most hard core.

    Harold – I think he’d be better than Rad only because he’s not as brain dead. Plus being a big guard that could handle the ball. Phil would have loved him.

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  328. Before, I had no feelings about The Closer one way or another, other than hating the commercials. Guarantee hurt their ratings with that interview. That was painful.

    Very late comment, but anon – if you think Shane Battier has left Kobe open on jumpshots, you clearly have not been watching the same games the rest of us have. Shane Battier has played picture perfect defense on those jumpshots at most times this series. Give the man some props. Kobe isn’t always open, he’s just nailing tough jumpers (not so much tonight, but in other games).

    That remake will be interesting. Can’t take anything away from Jackie, but remaking a favorite like Miyagi won’t be easy.

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  329. So… are we resigning Farmar next year, or what’s the deal with all that?….

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  330. Good win. Expected us to win big, but the way we did is great. Glad to see Bynum and Gasol do damage and impose their will. ShanWoW is great, and Kobe shot magnificently.

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  331. hey darius, thanks, the link worked very well, and what a great game to watch. I will be up here in Toronto all week, so I have to watch Thursday’s game on the net too. but this weekend, I’m back home in LA, my wife tivo’d these games so I’m gonna enjoy them again! (at least I hope Thursday is a great game for us!)
    now it’s late out on the east time zone…so check ya’ll later! cool beans, love his one fo’ sure.

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  332. Dominance. Seeing a 40 pt margin in the final box score is definitely a beautiful sight to behold. I’m going to enjoy this win for sure. Especially after a game 4 like that one. Man, I hope Phil coaches us forever. Beautiful performance tonight.

    I’ve really been impressed with Farmar/Brown’s point guard play in this series. Fish is in no way washed up or below average like some one dude here kept commenting recently. Just a horrible matchup for Littlerock. Combined with the horrible timing of an off shot his past 15 games or so. If I had to pick a pg outta our 3 to be struggling, I’d trust Fish to bounce back the most. So I’m satisfied there. Just glad Jordan rediscovered some of that swagger.
    Odom stepped up tonight. That fall he took sunday was nasty. I’ve felt that Odom’s fall was a lot more harsh because of the fact that Scola was pushing LO down toward the floor while helpless in the air after a late Battier slide for the charge call. Back contusions/spasms are nothing to play with. Bynum definitely stepped up tonight as well. The perfect description when Bynum and Gasol were in together, think Doug Collins used it, was that it looks like they were volleyballing rebounds to each other. No height on houston. Forget us trying to match with their speed. Let them match up with the one thing they absolutely can’t with us, and that’s our huge size advantage. No Yao/Mutombo, means more Gasol/Bynum. Might benefit LO to get some rest for a deeper run.

    Oh and with the help of Snoopy, I figured out who the perfect pg would be for the triangle: Chauncey Billups. That link to the article you posted yesterday was an amazing piece. Billups had my 3rd place vote for MVP this yr. Just seeing his impact on their troubled young studs this season, simply amazing.

    So please no negative thoughts for the next couple days, I’d like to ride this win out.

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  333. The Lakers have a set pattern. When they don’t feel challenged they can look bad. When challenged they respond. This pattern holds true against top competition (which Houston is). I think the Lakers win a close game Thursday. I think we’ll see a Lakers team focused more often against Denver because they are good enought to challenge the Lakers but homecourt takes the series in 7.

    Is anybody else looking forward to watching the champions heart go against the upstart. The Celtics are having a great season and frankly I think this run is just one more argument I can add to my long list of anecdotes which indicate KG is overrated by a long shot. I think a series between them and the Cavs gives us 5 hard fought games where LeBron pulls out 4 close wins with the Cs winning 1 game on champion’s clutch.

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  334. Peanut Butter Spread May 12, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Shout out to the Ducks!!

    Disagree with Chuck/Kenny that the Lakers are arrogant.

    I agree that they get complacent and rest on talent – but that’s a fault, not arrogance. It bothers me with these “sports analysts” label teams like that: arrogance, soft, tough, hard-working, selfish, etc. It just pisses me off. Gives casual viewers of the game inaccurate labels and assumptions of teams.

    I’m interested in how the Lakers will approach Game 6 too though. I hope it’s with intensity and energy. I don’t want a game 7.

    Anyways, feel bad for the Orlando Magic. Giving up leads like that always sucks, the refs didn’t help them, but if you live by the three, and die by the three, when you have Dwight Howard, you deserve to lose. Sucks for their fans. We should know.

    It’s disgusting to listen to the greens gloating about the win right now, but whatever, they won’t win against the Cavs if they go to the ECF, unless KG comes back.

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  335. On a slightly off topic note, before this round of the playoffs, for that HP/ESPN prediction thing, I really struggled with Orlando/Boston. Do you take the team with more talent that doesn’t always play smart and up to it, or do you take the less talented team that will play over their heads and deal with pressure. I switched between Boston in seven and Orlando is six 15 times or so, before settling on Orlando.

    Kicking myself now. I should not underestimate desire like I do sometimes.

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  336. Farmar has played well and made some VERY good passes, especially this game. He saw the open guys and got them the ball.

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  337. I have to say that I really enjoyed seeing Brian Cook play meaningful minutes for Houston, and see Trevor Ariza play meaningful minutes for us. Thanks Mitch! 🙂

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  338. Looks like Mbenga isn’t just a fan favorite, but a Kobe favorite. For slightly different reasons:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jwSjgEWp78

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  339. Watching tonight’s 40 point win is a reminder that the Lakers are not taking the first three rounds too seriously. They KNOW that they are the best team in the WEST. Last season, they weren’t sure, as the Cleveland is right now. They gave great effort every night, and showed it by breezing through the first three rounds. They weren’t ready mentally against the Celtics, and it cost them the championship. But this year, they are much more assured of themselves. They know what they have to do. Will they give maximun effort every night? I don’t think so. They think they have enough talent to carry them through the WEST without putting in the maximum effort. Cleveland, other hand, like the Lakers last season, want to prove to the WORLD, that they are the BEST, though they are not the most talented team. They need to give maximum effort to win each night. Actually, the East is so bad this year, they won’t need to give their best every night, and they still win by double digit margin. I think the Lakers are finding out that the West is a lot tougher than even last year. However, they have the supreme confidence that they can overcome any obstacle to get to the Finals vs. CLE or BOS.

    I think it’s too early for the fans to judge this team. If they go on and win the Championship despite having every series from here on go to 7 games, I think we’ll say how great this team is. However, if we sweep Denver, yet lose to CLE in 7 games, we’ll say how we’re just not tough enough. I don’t care how we get there. We just need to win 16 game whether we win them all by one point or by 30. Win is a win is a win.

    Remember, one of the most agonizing, yet enjoyable season was ’87-88, when we had to win three game 7s, and the one of the most enjoyable, yet agonizing season was ’88-89, when we went undefeated throughtout the playoff until the Finals, where we got swept by the Pistons. I’d rather have ’87-88 season result this year than that ’88-89 season result.

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  340. Its puzzling how this team can go from blowing the MOther’s Day game to being brilliant in this game. I guess they are consistently inconsistent.

    HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT:

    1) Ariza steal followed by an almost dunk that turned into a round-and-round-and-round shot.

    2) THE KOBE AND LEBRON PUPPET COMMERCIAL. Funny. Smart. Pure Genius.

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  341. This was by far the best, and most satisfying Lakers victory of the entire season. 48 minutes of heart and effort. Winners on the majority of hustle plays. Smart passing, great defensive extension on the screen and roll and a DJ Mbenga highlight to cap the night.

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  342. PeanutButterSpread May 13, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Snoopy, that’s a great clip! how did I miss that?! I think no one on the Lakers bench got Kobe’s joke though lol

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  343. Well played by everybody. Even Brian Cook, for the first time in his career made key contributions to a Laker playoff victory.

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  344. A few things:

    1. I’m tempted to go back to the chat from g4 and paste the comments from people saying the Lakers can’t beat the Rockets and so on, but I’ll restrain myself.

    2. The first half showed exactly what happens when we run the offence through Pau. The other team’s big men get in foul trouble, and every Laker get better shots – including Kobe.

    3. It’s great, and I do mean great, for the Lakers if Bynum can build upon this game. If the Lakers run the offence through Pau, and get productive minutes from Drew, they are going to be incredibly tough to beat. Kobe will show up no matter what, and when we run the offence through the post he’s at his best if you ask me.

    4. I don’t always agree with Doug Collins, but I do agree with his statement that the Lakers’ defence feed off their offence. Whenever the ball is going in the basket, they also try at the defensive end. We may dislike this all we want, but the best thing is to simply make sure that our offence keep rolling (again, by feeding the post). Also Drew plays a huge roll in this, not only by the defence he brings himself, but his presence also puts Pau in a position to get rebounds and blocks from the weak side. Again, having Drew in there playing well is just gravy (and let’s not forget that this trickles down to the second unit as well, since it enables Lamar to be out there with them and lead).

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  345. sasha and luke are useless!

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  346. Dwight Howard goes off on one of Shaq’s classic tirades. But if you read the ESPN article, there’s an interesting excerpt:

    “According to ESPN Stats and Information, Howeard…touched the ball on the offensive end just three times in the fourth period, and only one time in the final 6:50 of the game. That was a harmless entry pass with 5.9 seconds remaining, and Howard was intentionally fouled.”

    Doesn’t that answer part of Howard’s question? Why would they throw the ball into a 50% FT shooter if Boston is simply fouling? Improve your game before criticizing your coach, D12 (a stupid nickname, by the way). Too bad he’s been learning from the master of immaturity in S32.

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  347. It’s amazing to actually see what happens when we play with heart and intensity for an entire game. This is the team that we have been waiting to see.

    Now the key is can we put two games together and close this thing out. We MUST end this now, no game 7.

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  348. I think this 40 pt win is a little misleading. Yes, LA was the better team tonight, but the fact is that Houston simply missed a ton of shots. 29-89 from the field, 5-29 from three? Some of that was improved Laker defense, but most of it was simply shots not going in. That being said, if Houston had made about average percent of their shots, this still would’ve been a 20 pt win. Now for some likes and dislikes:

    Likes
    1.) Kobe Bryant, 10-19 from the field.
    When Kobe starts driving, like he did tonight, we’re almost unstoppable. He forced up maybe 2-3 bad shots, but mostly we stuck to the game-plan, ran the offense through Gasol, then switched to the Kobe-GasolPNR so Houston couldn’t get too comfortable. Like Doug Collins said, when he scores 1.4-1.8 points per shot attempt, we’re unbeatable.

    2.) Houston Rockets with 17 turnovers
    Admittedly, some of this was Houston simply passing the ball to the Lakers. However, as we’ve all seen, when the Lakers get turnovers, both our offense and defense really get going. Everyone gets hyped up from seeing Trevor or Sasha dunk, which gives us more effort on the defensive end, which forces more bad shots and opportunities to push the pace. Turnovers really fuel our team, so the more we get, the better we play.

    3.) Ron Artest, dribbling
    I started becoming almost school-girly giddy whenever Ron Artest started dribbling the ball outside the 3-point line or in the corner. Of course some of this was Ron Artest being Ron Artest, forcing up shots, but the Lakers did a great job trapping him and forcing him to pass, something he’s really, really bad at, evidenced by his 1:4 assist to turnover ratio last night. I seriously think that with each dribble, Ron Artest lowers his team’s chances of scoring by like 5%.

    4.) Derek Fisher, 18 minutes, Jordan Farmar, 22 minutes, Shannon Brown, 17 minutes.
    I really liked this distribution of PG minutes. Yes, Fisher got beat a couple times by Brooks, but I don’t think we should under-estimate the couple times that Fisher posted Brooks up. Like was said, Fisher posting up Brooks is like delivering body blows to a boxer; it takes his air. I doubt Brooks was used to taking a beating like he did in the post against Fisher, so I have a strong feeling that it affected his game, 4-11, 0-3 from three as evidence. Farmar and Brown also came in and played great, almost mistake-free basketball. Can’t really ask for more from our PG’s.

    Dislikes
    1.) Officials: Ken Mauer, Bennett Salvatore, Derrick Stafford
    I don’t think we could’ve gotten a more home-team favorable officiating crew than the one we got tonight. The Hayes fouls were all fairly ticky-tack, while a lot of Laker contact went uncalled, especially Andrew Bynum man-handling dudes underneath the basket. Not saying that the Lakers didn’t earn the foul calls on the Rockets, it’s just that the favorable officiating helped.

    2.) Derek Fisher, 1-6, Sasha Vujacic, 1-5
    Our top two shooters, going 2-11 from the floor, including 0-3 from three is a bad sign. Sasha’s big brick in the 3rd quarter had him really upset, as you could see Kobe “consoling” him on the bench. That being said, we need these two to step up and start making shots. I don’t feel confident with the game on the line having to kick out to Odom, Ariza, Walton, Brown, or Farmar for the win/game-tying basket. We can only hope they can back on track soon.

    3.) Von Wafer, dribbling
    For those of us who actually watched the last 6 minutes of the 4th quarter, it was disturbing how easily Wafer was getting in to the lane. He was lightning quick out on the perimeter, repeatedly beating our guards off the dribble and getting easy scores. Some of this was lax Laker defense, but I for one would love to see Wafer taking contested outside shots over driving on Sasha any day. Sasha has done a great job on Wafer all series long, so I’m a little disturbed by Wafer getting to the basket at will in the 4th.

    Overall, it was a great win for the Lake Show. Good to see them close out a game strong, finally. Let’s hope this win doesn’t go to their heads and they come out strong in Houston.

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  349. Snoopy2006 – I agree with Dwight Howard actually, though his tactics were wrong. The Magic have lost games in the same manner as last night’s game multiple times in this series and in the playoffs for that manner. I get that Howard isn’t a great free throw shooter. Heck, his post game still needs work. However, the Magic were throwing up awful shot after awful shot. Letting Dwight Howard get a touch in the post would’ve probably yield a better chance at making a basket than maybe any other play. Even if he’s making half of his free throws, those points are still crucial during those stretches.

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  350. harrydoballin May 13, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Ouch Houston down 3-2. Losing by forty last night. Can they bring it back? I don’t think there’s an app. for that….

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  351. my problem with the way they’re utilizing Howard is that he’s the most physically dominating and athletic big man in the game – give him the ball rolling towards the hoop! I’m sick and tired of watching Hedo or Alston eschew the “roll” part of the pick and roll, instead opting for ridiculous contested layups and hoping for a call (Hedo) or ridiculous airballed running hooks away from the basket (Alston). I don’t know if that’s on the players for not doing it, or on SVG for not drawing it up, but come on!

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  352. Great win by the Lakers. Hopefully, this game can put to bed the silly notion that a Yao-less Rockets somehow matches up better with the Lakers.

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  353. Zephid,
    That is a great summary of the game! Thanks for a good analysis as always. 🙂 The paragraph about Ron Artest made me chuckle. Is there a formula for coming up with the 5% or was it an educated guess?

    Sasha is an emotional player, one of those who plays better the better he plays… when he thinks he’s made a big mistake or when he misses shots he knows he can make, he gets upset and when he plays upset he makes more mistakes, which in turn makes him more upset, and… I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.

    I loved the way Bynum played, with a lot more confidence than in previous games, and Shannon Brown was solid as always. Farmar improved as well, and as a result I feel a lot better about our point guard situation today than I did on Monday.

    Oh, and coming in about a year: The Kung Fu Kid

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  354. “Kicking myself now. I should not underestimate desire like I do sometimes.”

    That’s a big part of it, but there are also specific issues:

    1. I love Dwight Howard, but he has no reliable low-post move.
    2. With KG and Yao gone, no one ever talks about Jameer Nelson’s injury–but Orlando has really missed him the last two games.
    3. SVG needs to run plays for Rashard Lewis when they need a hoop but does not seem to do that.
    4. KG is not really a loss offensively, so the impact of his absence is a bit less overall than many believe.

    All that said, Orlando choked and the Celtics really do deserve credit for playing with the “heart of a champion” much as I hate to say it–21/21 at the line alone shows some “clutch.”

    As to the Lakers, Bynum does still not trust the knee–but when they get SOMETHING out of him, they are tough to beat. There were many other reasons they won, of course, but that is one thing I was watching.

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  355. Yeah that’s a good point. If they had a legit consistent perimeter scorer, then I’d have more problems with Howard’s statement. But you’re right, their perimeter players have a habit of forcing up low-percentage shots often (although I do remember Lewis was on fire at one point, I missed the Boston run so he could have cooled off by then).

    Goat makes a good point too. Howard’s having a lot of trouble with Kendrick Perkins, instead of posting him up, they need to find Howard more on the move. It’s easier said than done, because Howard’s so big and wide that any player focusing on him may be able to pick up charges. But Howard’s low-post game isn’t strong enough to be a go-to weapon against a strong defender.

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  356. LAL-HOU
    -I almost died when Mbenga got the ball in the post, signaled for the isolation with his right hand, then proceeded to take a fall away airball. (think this happened on the other post too)

    -Who needs Billups for the triangle when ShanWOW is playing like Billups right now? Pull up jumpers, 3’s early in the shot clock, solid D. I hope we don’t get caught up in playoff hype and sign him for too much though.

    -I agree that Hou was missing a lot of shots, but as I’ve said and Darius has elaborated upon, the key fact was that we were simply not prepared to deal with the completely different type of offense without Yao. We made adjustments this game, like leaving Hayes or Landry to help on Brooks at the top of the key, or forcing him one way instead of allowing him to use the screen, or making the second and third rotations after a wing had to come help off the screen.
    Our closeouts were crisp early, which led to some missed open shots. Like Webber, I believe in momentum and I think good defense will earn you missed open shots.

    BOS-ORL
    -Dwight Howard was out of line to publicly say that about getting the ball. And I don’t think he’s right either. His only baskets were off motion from set plays or PNR. When he went one-on-one he took awful shots against great coverage. I don’t blame Van Gundy for not going to him, especially when he hasn’t shown he can consistently score in the post. But Orlando went back to their quickshooting, no looking for Howard on the roll, and no passing offense that got them in trouble.

    -Hated the TNT coverage last night.
    Shouldn’t have missed free throws when 6 seconds left and no timeouts?
    Calling the Lakers arrogant/lackadaisical? You don’t win 60+ games like that. The difference was more basketball adjustments than character flaws.
    DH getting the ball

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  357. RobinRed is right, I think the injury to Nelson gets overlooked a lot. But they miss him terribly.

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  358. A sweet win w/ our not mentally disciplined for prime time players….

    Profs to J, #279, Bynum may be slowed due to his injury. But b’ball is a game of spacing…Injury not withstanding, if Drew can spot up, he’ll block our the paint hard.

    Frankly, I think we can win either way. But if Drew plays smart ball, I’m not sure who can touch us.

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