Lakers/Nuggets Game One Chat

Kurt —  May 19, 2009

NBA: APR 09 Nuggets at Lakers
First a couple programming notes — tomorrow at 1 p.m. come by the site for a live chat with myself and Jeremy from Roundball Mining Company as we talk game one and if Nene and Kenyon Martin could win the WWE tag team belt. If you want to get a preview of that chat, check out the ESPN.com NBA podcast today as Jeremy and I go at it (and I think he bests me).

Second, if you haven’t seen this yet, Kurt Rambis had a job interview:

Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis has interviewed with the Philadelphia 76ers for their head-coaching vacancy.

Rambis, 51, met with 76ers President Ed Stefanski at a hotel in Los Angeles on Monday. The Lakers gave the 76ers permission to speak with Rambis.

“I met with Ed and I thought the meeting went well,” Rambis said. “Beyond that, I have no further comment. Right now, I’m focusing on helping the Lakers defeat the Nuggets.”

What should Rambis be focusing on right now? Here’s some suggestions from Bill Bridges.

If I were the Laker coaches, I’d be stressing:

1. Take care of the ball (run the offense). Denver has thrived off turn-over fuelled runs.

2. Pump fake, Pau. Pump fake, Lamar. The Denver bigs are shotblock happy and ripe to be put into foul trouble.

3. If the Lakers get 2 consecutive stops, look for Chauncey on a pull-up 3. Guaranteed.

4. Each and every Denver big has one move, which is a counter move. They take one dribble in one direction and pivot the other way. Its like they got the complete Pete Newell big man camp DVD, except the disc got stuck on the “Counter spin-move” section and in repeat play mode. Play for the counter and take position: charge.

I like Sasha on JR. If Houston was Farmar’s redemption, will Denver be Sasha’s?

And a few final thoughts from Reed:

I think our length on defense is going to make life more difficult for Denver than they think. If Bynum can stay on the court (by both being productive and avoiding foul trouble), we should be able to prevent Denver from really racking up points in the paint, which is the foundation of Denver’s explosive offense. The Nuggets led the league in dunks and were second in points in the paint this year. This led to them placing 7th in eFG%. Add in strong FT shooting and they were 3rd in TS%. However, despite having several high profile perimeter shooters, they are a mediocre to poor outside shooting team. They were 7th worst in the league at 2-point perimeter shots (we were 3rd thanks to strong midrange shooters like Kobe, Pau, etc.), and middle of the pack in 3 point shooting.

It will be difficult to stop Nene, Melo, Martin, etc. from getting good looks inside, but we are well positioned relative to most teams to do so given our length inside. Utah is another team that relies heavily on interior scoring and we were successful the last two years at pushing them out and bothering their close shots with our size. If we can tempt Martin into that horrific midrange shot, keep Nene from dunking, and allow Melo to shoot long 2s (even though he’s admittedly good from there), then I think we can hold down their offense and outscore them 4 out of 7 nights. I’d love to see us force the ball out of the hands of Billups, Melo, and Nene early in the clock so that Martin and Jones are often forced to make a play with the clock running down (like we forced the ball to Brewer and Harping in the Utah series). There will be nights when their shooters are hot and we lose, but the odds and stats say that won’t happen consistently.

I expect Gasol to demolish Martin, Nene to abuse Bynum, and the series to come down to which teams gets more two players impact the game more from each team: Kobe and Odom or Billups and Birdman (whose impact on the game can be monstrous at times and invisible at others — like Lamar…).

Let’s Get It On! And we’re also talking NBA Draft Lottery in this thread.


to Lakers/Nuggets Game One Chat

  1. Let’s start strong, lets take the Nuggets out of the game early and watch Carmelo try to claw the game back himself which he can’t do.

    If Lakers take Nuggets by 12+ in game one with Kobe on the bench icing his knees, it should rattle the Nuggets enough to worry them the rest of the series.

    Go Lakers!

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  2. the other Stephen May 19, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    rambis…what a swell guy. i always feel a swelling sense of solidarity when i glance over and see him and shaw on the bench.

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  3. j.d. Hastings May 19, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    I just did some quick calulations and Blake Griffin has a 47.5% chance of landing in the Pacific Division.

    Every team but the Lakers (knock on wood) in this division is in complete turmoil right now.

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  4. hasheem thabeet looks like an elongated avery johnson.

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  5. Although I would love to keep Rambis in La, I’m happy for him. He’s a good guy and he deserves a head coaching job. Good luck Kurt!

    Or maybe we can talk him into staying in LA and give him Phil’s job when Phil retires?

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  6. Mimsy,

    As much as I admire coach Rambis, I still can’t get over the time he did take over at the Lakers as head coach (after Magic left???).

    The SSZ was (as far as I know) his idea this year so defensively his schemes work. I don’t know what he’d employ offensively though.

    If Jim Clemens stayed, would he continue to employ the triangle on offense (probably), and as long as Kobe/Fish/Luke/Pau are around, its probably an offense that works best for us.

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  7. Oh dear, Sacto got burned.

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  8. Washington too. Wow. I thought about calling Memphis as a joke but didn’t actually think it would happen.

    What would happen if the Clippers got Griffin?

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  9. 8. Thats because they had a viewing party in sacramento. Who has a viewing party for the draft lottery…losers.

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  10. I hope the Clippers do not get the #1 pick. That would be terrible luck for Griffin. I’m still hping for OKC though front court of Griffin and Gasol would be a good young front court.

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  11. hahahahaha, I’m sitting with a Kings fan, and he’s super bummed right now.

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  12. sucks to be the kings

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  13. Wow, Kings got shafted. Not even a top three pick.

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  14. if thunder griffin they’ll be awesome in 2 years

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  15. The Clippers would be good for us, Griffin would be most likely to leave his first team for FA.

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  16. Kurt- Grats on your first place standing.

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  17. OMG.

    Clippers with top pick.

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  18. poor griffin, now he’s got to share time with zach randolf

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  19. I feel kind of bad for Griffin. Thats probably the worst case scenario for him.

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  20. Yay Clippers.

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  21. j.d. Hastings May 19, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    I understand Zach Randolph is waiting on site to sucker punch Griffin just to let him know who’s boss.

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  22. Rubio, Mayo, Gay, Gasol…nice foundation.

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  23. Coffee is For Closers May 19, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Everyone hear that scream comming from oklahoma, “NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”

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  24. Coffee is For Closers May 19, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    How long before blake griffin tears his MCL?

    /I’m just sayin….

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  25. Coffee,

    Thabeet or Harden will be great additions to them. I think they’re happy for the top three pick. Chances were always against them getting Griffin.

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  26. Look, LA is THE place to play sports on whatever team.

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  27. Awful for Griffin, great for us potentially. Now in 4 years Griffin will be itching to leave that mess of a franchise. But Blake’s already adjusted to Los Angeles over 4 years, of course, and he won’t want to move his family to a new city, so in swoops Mitch Kupchak…start the bandwagon!

    ESPN: “Blake, what were your thoughts, seeing the Clippers come up with the #1 pick?”
    Griffin: “Well, I was kind of wondering how badly you can hurt your draft stock in 1 month.” He should have said it. We all know it was what he was thinking.

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  28. Thunder at #3 is an easy call. I bet they’re willing to gamble a bit (especially in this draft) and go with Thabeet, he may be Chandler-esque in a few years.

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  29. He is smiling on camera but crying inside. Though the clippers got a nice young core with Gordon, Thornton and now Griffin, too bad they are completely dysfunctional (the whole organization from the players to owner). The clips not have a lot of big men, no idea what they are going to do with them all. Randolph is unmovable, so I guess either Kaman or Camby gets moved.

    The Grizz have a tough choice, they have Conley (who I am not convinced will be a great player) and they have Gasol. So who do they take Rubio or Gasol? My guess is Rubio.

    OKC will probably take Thabeet as a defensive anchor (if hes still there) or Harden.

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  30. Yes, I think Memphis at #2 is very good for them. Start Rubio and get out and run and that is a fun and pretty decent team.

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  31. Camby or Kaman is traded this summer, probably Camby.

    Memphis takes Rubio. They’ve mistrusted Conley too much and he’ll be a better backup. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them trade down and get Jordan Hill. Toughness on their front line is what they definitely need.

    OKC takes Thabeet or Harden, probably Thabeet. OKC isn’t in any hurry to win, and it’s a fantastic base (Westbrook, Durant, Green, Thabeet) to build on.

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  32. ozlaker,

    I’m not very knowledgeable of that, being new to this whole basketball thing. Was it very bad? Oh, and was it long ago? After all, coaches do learn and grow as well… I would hope that applies to assistant coaches too 🙂 Either way, I wish Rambis luck with the Sixers job, if he gets it.

    Question: Is it just me, or was the announcer introducing the team one of the least interested and passionate home announcers ever heard on TV? He sounded like he was introducing the away team!

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  33. LET’S GO LAKERS!!!

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  34. Kobe defending Billups. Interesting.

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  35. It’s only been 2 plays, but the Lakers feet look sluggish, not active like Game 7. Pau couldn’t even be bothered to go get that rebound. At the other end when the Nuggets were volleyballing it, not a single Laker was there.

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  36. Good to see Phil knows what’s up. He doesn’t want to let Billups get off at all.

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  37. Looks like Griffin will have the ideal role model as a rookie big man – Zach Randolph. Yikes.

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  38. Haven’t gone inside to the post once yet. Why?

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  39. Can you believe the NBA hasn’t started the Audio LeaguePass for their the Denver or LA broadcasts….arrrggghhhh. They do this all the time.

    No idea what’s going on (apart from ESPN Gamecast/Scoreboard).

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  40. Not looking sharp. Come on guys!

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  41. anyone have a link for the game? stuck at work

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  42. If they’re going to leave Martin on Bynum, we MUST take advantage.

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  43. Wow. I know the Lakers are sagging off Nene by design, but I think that shot is well within his range.

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  44. why is gasol standing around the perimeter handing the ball off?

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  45. Gasol hasn’t touched the ball once. What is going on. Terrible passes left and right, non-existent defensive rotations. Where is the urgency?

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  46. how freakn BORING is staples center man

    this iis so pathetic

    honestly we need some LIFE into this game

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  47. Not to discredit the Nuggets, but our passing has been awful. Can’t say rust, but it may be a little bit of fatigue. The sharpness just isn’t there, offensively (lazy passes) and defensively (watching Nene walk to the rim).

    Bynum doing a great job of getting position, and they’re doing a good job of looking for him.

    Why is Pau hanging around the perimeter? Clearly by design, but why? To clear some space for Bynum?

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  48. 45, james i was wondering the same thing? wtf? this makes no sense when they can post bynum and gasol
    i keep thinking that the lakers effort in the previous series will be correted they keep proving me wrong – apparently they enjoy making things difficult for themselves – gasol and bynum standing there while nene dunks is disgusting – they offense is not moving the ball well

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  49. Early start = No crowd.

    Regarding the Draft, the Clippers are a great example of why it doesn’t work, and why it doesn’t create competition. Good management creates competition.

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  50. let’s hope we don’t create too big a deficit before waking up again…..deja vu

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  51. #46, 48,
    Honestly, the announcer needs to take some of the blame. He wasn’t exactly enthusiastic when he introduced the team…

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  52. the other Stephen May 19, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    HA! perhaps dahntay jones is made out of tofu.

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  53. They’re definitely sagging in on Bynum now. We’ll need some 3’s to space the floor and open up our post game.

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  54. Too many perimeter jump shots. Its not even that Denver is playing great D the Lakers just are not attacking the Basket.

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  55. Bynum looking great so far.

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  56. SOMEONE TAKE FISHER OUT OF THIS GAME

    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD

    TAKE HIM OUT

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  57. Energy’s picking up now, Bynum ripped that one away from Andersen.

    I hope Lamar’s coming in for Pau, Bynum’s in a groove right now. Don’t take him out, Phil. Follow conventional wisdom for once.

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  58. lakers offense is completely stagnant – they are not moving the ball properly gasol did one post up – they all should drive to the basket like ariza just attempted

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  59. Fisher is the X-Factor for us winning.

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  60. Not looking good for LA. Looks like Denver is definitely the better team.

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  61. 8pt deficit with melo hot isn’t that bad (looking at the gamecast, not the game).

    who’s ariza matched up with? he’s taking 4 shots?

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  62. Martin is making tough shots right now. We can live with that. Nene getting dunks off cuts is something we cannot live off. We need to trap ‘Melo better, which hopefully Luke can do by forcing him into our help defense.

    Like Bynum’s early aggressiveness, but we need to stop taking jump shots. Getting their bigs into foul trouble is key.

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  63. Team still looking sluggish but liking Andrew’s activity. Gasol, where art thou?

    Looks like the Staples crowd got T-shirts, they should be pumped for that alone! Still peeved that they gave out foam fingers for a Game 7?

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  64. Why can’t Phil use the Fish-Kobe-Odom-Bynum-Gasol rotation? I’m wondering.

    That one has been feared in the offseason. But it never really showed during the season.

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  65. kobes never winning one without shaq

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  66. judging from the box score, i think i should be in the ‘glad it ain’t worse’ category, 3 assists to denver’s 7?

    no 3’s falling? this is going to straigthen out, i think.

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  67. Pau needs to get going. And if they’re gonna leave Ariza and Fisher open for 3’s, they need to knock them down. Looks like Phil is taking Bynum out =(

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  68. Birdman,

    Doesn’t space the floor as well. Odom isn’t a consistent three point shooter.

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  69. Cayucos Surfer May 19, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Great. Another one of these games. No effort in the first quarter. So now we can sit around and guess when they will start trying. Hopefully it won’t be too late.

    Last thing we wanted to do going into this game was give Denver any extra confidence. So far, i would say we have failed. But we will see. We’re still only down 8, and Fish won’t be shooting all night.

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  70. 59- The better team? No. The team that is playing with effort? Yes.

    I simply don’t understand the love affair with the long 2. Just step back and make it a 3. You will make almost as many, but increase your scoring by 50%…

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  71. Mimsy, don’t blame Lawrence Tanner. Staples Center is notoriously quiet. it’s why Denzel looks at me like a freak when I am near him. The lower the seat, the quieter (most) people seem to be. I am appalled!!

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  72. Another bad pass. Come on, no more unforced turnovers.

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  73. This team’s pick-and-roll defense is absolutely dismal.

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  74. When did Melo become a reliable 3 pt shooter? I really didn’t hear him shooting 3s before the playoffs.

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  75. Wow this is ugly. One team is moving the ball and attacking the basket, the lakers are stanidng around and taking long outside shots.

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  76. Wow, i’m having trouble understanding the rotations at this point.

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  77. Please tell me Sasha hit a turning point.

    Please

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  78. At least we are getting some production on the offensive end. On the defensive end on the other hand… it’s just not working out. At all.

    Deja vu.

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  79. The only good thing about this first quarter: Sasha hitting that three. If that gets him going, it would be amazingly great for the Lakers.

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  80. i dont understand how they are not playing with effort

    i blame staples center 30%.

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  81. Okay, for as dismal our start was and how hot ‘Melo was, we’re only down eight. I’ll take it. Let’s see whether we come back with more energy and smarts in the second quarter.

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  82. praise the lord – it’s only 8 after an abysmal start – i think no one has any answers for the lakers right now – this is the same thing every other game – i can’t understand it – but i am losing faith in their ability to get through this series and/or the finals – with this attitude

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  83. 75

    He did shoot a career-best 37% from 3 in the regular season, but like the rest of his team he’s been lights-out in the playoffs.

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  84. Carmelo is 7/8 with 16 points. Do we try putting Odom on him?

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  85. I dont think that the Lakers are showing poor effort. They just have to rotate better on defense and they will be fine.

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  86. must win for the lakers tonight

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  87. Thank goodness for the timely threes and the two bricks by Billups.

    I think we got this. We had abysmal showing and still did okay. 8 point deficit is something that can be worked on, especially if we can get our defense online.

    I’m waiting for our frontline to wakeup tho. It’s just wrong when Kobe has as many rebounds as Pau and Odom combined.

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  88. Coffee is For Closers May 19, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    As bad as that was, it could have been worse. PNR defense needs improvement, and we need to get gasol the ball down low and he needs to go to work. I’m fine with the outside shots martin is shooting.

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  89. Now I know what opposing players must feel like when Kobe goes off. That was a flat-out pure scoring clinic from Melo. On the other hand, Kenyon Martin can’t keep hitting those shots, can he?

    I actually like this. Phil is showing a willingness to try and experiment instead of forcing Fish on Billups and Ariza on Melo. I wish Bynum hadn’t gotten the hook, though, he was playing well.

    Sasha was the one who came in and gave this team a spark, hustling after loose balls and then hitting the 3. We needed that shot of adrenaline.

    Critical stretch here. Nuggets could put the game out of hand, or we could pull the game back within reach.

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  90. The Lakers got killed on the PnR and dribble penetration, need to clean that up, especially the rotations off of the PnR, no way should we be giving up 3 uncontested dunks off of cuts. Melo was hot and Martin hit some shots he normally does not make, which I guess you just have to live with.

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  91. It’s not just about attitude and effort with the Lakers. This team simply doesn’t have a lot of smart defensive players, which is why they make so many boneheaded mistakes.

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  92. The roll has been on us thus far.
    I don’t blame you guys for not understanding that we have played a better basketball this postseason.

    But, please, if the Lakers were gonna treat us like the Rockets, we’ll sweep you guys, honestly.

    Coming into this series, I was kind of 50-50 with us winning the series in 7 games.
    But now, i’m 80-20.

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  93. Again, our mystical FT line defense at work.

    And boy, Sasha! If he gets back to last year’s level, we’ve got a good shot.

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  94. Denver is making a concerted effort to have all 5 guys rebound the ball.

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  95. The crowd is finally waking up!

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  96. Holy mother of sporks. Chris Andersen’s hair makes Deron Wiliams look good! For the love of aesthetics, please someone shave his head!

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  97. is there a reason kobe needs to sit out this long?

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  98. The bench is bringing a lot of energy, thats good to see, they are really getting after the ball, and moving the ball on the offensive end.

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  99. Luuuuuke! The force is strong with this one tonight 🙂

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  100. Coffee is For Closers May 19, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    umm, Luke providing that settling influence – nice!

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  101. Thank God for the bench! Haven’t said that in a long while…

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  102. anonymous;

    why mess with a good thing? we’re not losing any more ground here.

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  103. Farmar has really been playing pretty good that last few games. He seems to have his swagger back.

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  104. Lakers’ bench playing very good thus far.

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  105. Is that the bench mob I see????

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  106. Now we’ve got a game. That’s reality for me.
    You guys are just so, so, so, so, deeply-talented.

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  107. Now this is the bench effort we thought we would see at the start of the year.

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  108. Coffee is For Closers May 19, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    98. This is his normal rest period. PJ brings him back after the 8:00 mark.

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  109. Oh the pain…all I’m getting is this thread (thanks everyone!!!) and GameCast.

    The boneheads at the NBA haven’t turned on the Radio broadcasts!!

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  110. It’s a game, folks. Our bench is outplaying theirs.

    Man that feels good to say.

    Why does it look like our guys have butterfingers today? Lots of bobbled rebounds and passes.

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  111. the crowd didnt wake up… they just got there…

    LA crowds are never on time

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  112. someone has got to tell the LAKERS that points in the beginning of a game count AS MUCH as points at the end of a game!

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  113. i agree shaq was the greatest

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  114. Birdman,

    The Nuggets are not that good. Being on a roll is one thing, saying that you would sweep the Lakers if they play like they did against the Rockets is another. As I recall the Rockets owned you this year.

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  115. Their just fashionably late.

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  116. our bench is hot!

    HOPe the starters learn some sh*t from them.

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  117. Kurt, please crank up the spam filter.

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  118. Wow, just wow.

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  119. We seem to beon fire from 3.

    Again, I’m box score watching. So i’m hoping that those threes are a result of kick outs from penetration or post play

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  120. Terrible terrible call there. See the ball don’t lie.

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  121. The curse of Shaq is on the Nuggets, they can’t make free throws!

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  122. This link worked on my laptop at the time of posting:
    http://www.justin.tv/tammimma

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  123. Let’s see if we can get the good Odom for the rest of the game…

    a timely Ariza steal.

    a timely Billups steal.

    And Billups single-handedly putting all our guys in foul trouble.

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  124. why can’t the lakers drive to the basket every time and shoot free throws like denver – denver keep driving

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  125. The Rockets owned us this year. Right.
    But the Lakers owned you this year too? Not until they started showing disrespect to their opponents.

    And that’s what will happen if the Lakers don’t play focused and steady.

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  126. kobe is shooting over 2 players in his face – drive to the basket please!

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  127. A lot of bad/blown calls BOTH ways.

    Did the refs have a long lay off as well?

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  128. Someone text Pau and tell him that the game against Denver has started.

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  129. Our bench with all +, our starters with all -.

    We need to tag their starters with fouls, and do so quickly, but so far the opposite is happening. Thank god our bench is playing the best of this postseason, else we’d be down 20 by now.

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  130. Terrible calls so far but the lakers need to reestablish Gasol In the post

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  131. Denver is missing a lot of easy layups.

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  132. thank you ariza – he heard my call!

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  133. There we go attack the basket and get to the FT line.

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  134. the other Stephen May 19, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    i think what we just almost saw was vintage ariza: the sort of fake and drive poster dunks that we have not seen too much of since he came to the lakers.

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  135. Who is that tall white guy pretending to be Pau Gasol?

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  136. Urgh. Odom getting tagged with that 3rd does not bode well. He was our best player out there by far.

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  137. Our board is being hijacked.

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  138. every time we pull to within 2 denver is responding

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  139. And now Bynum’s tagged with his 3rd.

    This game is going downhill quick unless Pau wakes up.

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  140. I know I miss the intelligent Rockets fan. At least they had something intelligent and useful to add to the conversation. Birdman is doing a pretty fair job of commenting all the other Nugs fans are not.

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  141. RE: board hijacks:
    They’ll get deleted, just ignore them 🙂

    I do not like the free throw discrepancy. Either the refs are blind and idiotic, which would be bad, or we are not even trying to get into the paint, which would be worse.

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  142. Most of these fouls are coming off of Denver pick and rolls… we leave two guys out there with the ball-handler, who easily finds the big man rolling to the basket. The help gets there late and it’s a foul or an open dunk.

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  143. The Lakers shooting 42% (eFG%) and not getting to the line and still only down 2. I have a good feeling, honestly.

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  144. fisher may make us lose single-handedly – stop shooting those shots

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  145. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    I wonder how long Phil is going to leave Fish in. It’s not just the misses, it’s the misses before the ball has a chance to go inside.

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  146. Gotta love Fisher’s shot selection…

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  147. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Finally…a shot in rhythm!

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  148. And of course he makes that one. 🙂

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  149. Fisher… wow

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  150. if it werent for fisher we wouldve been up by 10.

    REDEEM URSELF

    U FINALLY MADE A BASKET WOW. AM I DREAMING?

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  151. BUZZER BEATER!!!

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  152. The only thing Fisher needs to hit a shot is for the clock to hit 0.00

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  153. how come martin don’t get a tech for that taunting yell?

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  154. 20 points from our bench as versus 3 for the Nuggets.

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  155. I know he knocks the last 3p,but Ariza/Fish/Walton 18Fg Attempted and Pau/Lamar/Andrew only 10????
    That s otrageous¡¡¡

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  156. Fisher with the big shot. Need to do a better job of getting the ball inside (though the Nuggets are trying to front in the post and really packing the paing). Also need to attack the basket, the Nuggets will foul and getting to the line will allow the Lakers to get their defense back and set.

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  157. good, we knew if the 3s started falling, this would be a much more even game.

    now that this has become a foul fest, my agenda is this now:

    1. no stupid offensive fouls
    2. no stupid techs (you kobe)
    3. sasha on melo (we can seriously get him suspended for one game in this series)
    4. odom/bynum to be agressive despite their 3 fouls; foul out if you have to.
    5. wake gasol up.

    i have this bad feeling that it’s going to take one stupid offensive foul call to get the guy tech’d and cost the game.

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  158. GASOL has got to step up – he was terrible on defense and we need him to sore -someone made a great point during a previous game – when he struggles on defense he is less effective/aggressive on offense – very true –
    we would be way ahead if we didn’t give up so many free throws- we’re really lucky they missed so many – and gotta stop those easy dunks!

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  159. Isn’t that the reason we have Fisher int here?

    That’s a veteran making one when it counts. That’s a veteran forgetting he missed his last 6.

    Good job to the bench for answering the call.

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  160. If there’s one thing we need to execute right now, it’s post entry passes. The Nuggets are doing a great job of denying, mixing up different looks (including fronting). We’ve had some bad passes into the post that have resulted in TOs, and then players have gotten hesitant making difficult passes. We need to do a better job of establishing our bigs and Kobe in the post and getting them the ball.

    This is like beating a dead horse, but I have to say it – Fish is giving us very little. Enough with the savvy. We need players who will produce, Brown is getting very little minutes for a guy that produces that well.

    Our bench is coming thru in a big, big way. Our starters looked mired in mud until Sasha came in with some energy.

    The defensive match-ups are unlike anything I’ve seen from the Lakers so far. They’re giving everyone different looks, exchanging interchangeable wing player. We’ve had Kobe, Fish, Brown, and Ariza on Billups, 3-4 guys also on Melo. Now if only someone could fine Nene on those open rolls to the rim.

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  161. I love Fisher. I really do. The .4 second shot is the most epic one in the history of the game by a roleplayer. But damn, he is not the player he used to be. Phil is damaging the team leaving Fisher as the starter.

    Fisher can no longer shoot. He overdribbles, makes bad decisions with the ball, and, worst of all, doesn’t realize he can’t do the things he used to do.

    These shots that Fisher is taking, which others have been commenting as bad shots, are the same shots he’s been taking for the last DECADE. The problem is that he can’t make them consistently anymore. He can’t stay in front of opposing point guards anymore. (Which is why Kobe was guarding Billups at the start of the game.)

    I absolutely want Fisher on the team and in the rotation, but he shouldn’t be the starter any longer.

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  162. Only 8 shots for Bynum and Pau combined. Get the ball inside in the second half.

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  163. We’ve got to be aware of Denver’s bigs slipping screens. I know that we’re all upset at our lack of rotations and Nene getting dunks, but that’s because he’s getting the ball really quickly with little time for the rotator to step up. The one time that Bynum actually did try to read it, he was still late and picked up his third foul. I think we’ve got to lay back with our bigs to make sure that the screener doesn’t slip the screen and also make Chauncey turn the corner on that P&R and finish in the lane over our size.

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  164. I think I might like to see Ariza on billups and Kobe on Melo. Let Fisher guard Dahntay Jones.

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  165. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/draft2009/columns/story?columnist=ford_chad&page=MockDraft-090519

    Ford’s mock draft. I personally don’t think the Kings go with Hill though. He isn’t that big of an upgrade over Thompson to justify a #4 pick, and I think Jrue Holiday or Brandon Jennings fits a need better.

    As such, I’d expect Nick Calathes to be available at #29, whom I think would be a great fit. He has good size (6′ 5”) for a one guard, works great in an uptempo system, is a great passer, and can finish and shoot the jumper.

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  166. pau needs the ball, he hasnt have a lot of opportunities yet, but yeah he must be more active defensively, Nene was just blowing by him up on the open floor

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  167. How many minutes does Brown have? I will riot if he doesn’t get more PT. He’s too good on both sides of the floor right now, too productive a player.

    This is getting a bit ridiculous. We’re giving them a handicap. No knock on Fish, but Brown is that good. He needs to play.

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  168. Will Calathes really be available? I haven’t seen him at all, but David Thorpe loves him and that’s usually enough for me.

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  169. magic is dead right on the commentary – gasol + bynum + odom =14 = BAD NEWS

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  170. dang man! this early tip off time messed me up, but anyway, I found it at the start of the second, and from what I heard, I’m kind of glad I missed the 1st qtr.
    well, second half, let’s see what adjustments we make and let’s hope for some better reffing.

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  171. By the way, sorry the site seemed down for a minute there. Having bandwidth issues with the jump in traffic. It will be fixed and fast.

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  172. I have a bad feeling we will lose this game.
    We don’t really have that much of a history of making comebacks.

    I know that sounds stupid since we’re down by only a point, but we don’t just pick it up in terms of emotion.

    IF we’re down, we tend to rush things (a sign of a young team) and stop playing wisely, setting up the spots and wait patiently for a high-percentage shot.

    But of course, I expect the Lakers to play this well and be as resilient as they have been in the Rockets-Lakers series.

    That buzzer-beater by Fish was a dagger. A big one. I don’t know if it changes the flow of the second half, but hey, we still have a chance of winning if we just patiently set our offense the way we did in the first quarter.

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  173. If the Nuggets keep fronting the post, try to get it to our bigs by having them move through the paint. Pau tried it a couple of times but failed to create some space. I could see this being more successful with Bynum who can use his weight and length to create a big target for entry passes right in the middle of the lane.

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  174. Snoopy,
    Denver is also doing a great job of using their size to shrink the court and cut down passing angles. If we’re going to be better at getting the ball into the post, we must create better movement from all our players to get their defense moving where they can’t just sit back in passing lanes and pushing our bigs further from the hoop. We need to set better screens and also back cut more to not let Denver mark us as easily.

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  175. bandwith, jump, traffic = bandwagon.

    sorry, poor word association.

    Anyway, we were aided big time by Denver’s inability to make FTs (thanks billups) and our sudden downpour in 3s. This will normalize and we’re looking at a difficult half:
    two of our key players tagged with 3 fouls each, and with no real trips to the paint and FT line despite our touted talent there.

    For Denver, Melo is cooling, and tech’d which doesn’t bode well for the game and the series, and we’re getting Martin close to where we want him – making stupid fouls.

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  176. and also less PUJIT for mr fisher.. but that was a great shot at the buzzer

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  177. i agree birdman – i think we can still win but can’t afford to make a lot of mistakes – this is first really competitive game of the whole playoffs for the lakers – we will see if they can pull through in a tight contest

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  178. Snoopy,

    The teams that have point guard needs in our area are Portland (#24) and Minnesota (#28). I think Portland prefers Collinson as Ford suggests, as he’s a superb defender and Calathes works best in an uptempo system, which is the opposite of Portland’s system. Collinson is already coming from four years under Howland, so the adjustment is probably easier. There’s a chance Minnesota might pick him, but you never know what they might pick that low. They’ve shown an unnatural loyalty to Telfair at the one, and I haven’t seen any indications that they’re interested in Calathes.

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  179. imposibol, that’s because that was not a PUJIT, that was an open shot in rhythm created by the offense

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  180. Snoop! I’m with you all the way with the Fisher thing…..

    Last series showed how badly out of form his is in. He’s out for game 3, we win and win well with Jordan running the point.
    Jackson’s trust of “the big point guard” in Fisher has got to end. Enough already!

    P&R, P&R, P&R. I’ve been hearing the same thing on here all year. How much does Pau, Drew and Lamar make per year? Yet they still can’t figure out the simple fundamentals of defending the P&R. C’mon guys, I’m teaching my U/12’s how to play it and adjust.

    Look, for all the complaining about things on here (me included) about how s**t the Lakers or individuals are playing, we’re up 2 at the half. Gotta bode well!

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  181. Darius – That’s a great point, I’m sure Phil will talk about it at halftime and hopefully they’ll come out and execute. There were a couple times that simple fronting (without help) gave us a lot of problems, you’d think we’d have prepared for that from a smaller frontline.

    I’m loving the advantage on the boards, 9 offensive boards so far. Need to keep up the aggressiveness, ever since Sasha and the bench came in, we’ve matched their intensity.

    The bench really came through in a big way. If they had come in flat like the starters, the Nuggets could have blown the game open.

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  182. Sure, getting the ball inside more would be nice, but Denver is also doing a nice job of denying this. Pau gets semi-doubled a lot of the time before even receiving the ball. Drew seemed to get going pretty nicely however, but picked up those fouls.

    Thank god for Kobe (and the bench actually).

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  183. my bet is fish has naked photos of someone in the front office.. maybe jeanie?

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  184. bryant needs to drive – denver is smarter they drive right at us – i hope this is not a foul fest or we wil lose

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  185. Things to fix for my Rockies:

    1) Start making those Free Throws. 12-for-21 (57%) is not good, especially when two of your best shooters goes on a combined 4-of-10 in the FT line.

    2) Pound the ball inside.
    25 points (11-of-18) for K-Mart and Nene versus 11 points (4-of-8) for Gasol and Bynum. Put the ball in the paint, and good things happen after that (dish or dunk)

    3) Higher-shot percentage selection.
    17 assists on 20 FG says it all. If we start becoming a one-on-one team and rush everything, we will be gone in a jiffy and lose to the Lakers in a no-contest 2nd half.

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  186. Kobe is approaching 1pt per shot mark. That’s where everyone loves him to be at…

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  187. Quicker passing. We can’t let them double Kobe like that and not get an open shot out of it.

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  188. 185 – Everybody in the world has naked photos of Jeanie Buss. It’s called Google.

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  189. oh-kay.

    oh-kay.

    sorry, double dribble.

    now, i love TA and all, but he does seem to get a silly call like that every now and then.

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  190. God the NBA sucks…still no audio feed.

    Can someone tell me whether Kobe’s look are good, bad or otherwise. 18 shots to him with Fisher and Ariza next on 7 each.

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  191. right now – the game favors denver – they have us right where they want us – we can’t win without gasol + bynum inside

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  192. somebody please tell this poor gamecast-waching soul what on earth is happening?

    denver really amping things up, or are we dying to hand them the game?

    how do you give up two fouls to Carmelo and still let him score from the 3? He’s 4/4?

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  193. fish comes down the wing on the break and im just thinking “uh-oh”

    money.. the call. not the shot.

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  194. how many quick fisher misses – have turend to easy baskets for the nuggets – dear god hear our prayers remove him NOW

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  195. The Nuggets must worship Fish’s PUJITS. Something good happens for them every single time he tries that.

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  196. ozlaker,
    Does a video feed work?
    http://www.justin.tv/tammimma

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  197. Melo making us respect his range will be a killer, but my god this is frustrating to see our own team play schizophrenic in the same quarter and still even the score.

    Thank god for Odom, thank god TA can make up for his mistakes, and pray god that Kobe finds his touch.

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  198. Is Phil Jackson crazy? Why play fish so much?

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  199. 190 u got the link? jk

    kobe hasn’t been forcing shots.. he was posting up alot early.. generally taking it to the hoop..

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  200. we came back from last time – but we can’t aford to lose home court this time – i really like this is a near a must win for the lakers – but they probably don’t think so

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  201. Snoopy2006 , to tell you honestly, I do fear that kind of jumpshot in transition or PUJIT.
    It’s the same as Billup’s jumper but he only does it behind the 3-pt line.

    Studying the law of momentum, it’s as good as any shot. But studying the law of basketball, it’s an ill-advised one.

    But of course, Fisher doing that kind makes me wanna close my eyes, who knows? There might some Billups in him.

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  202. The 3 second call on Odom was the quickest 3 second call in the history of fthe NBA. thats one of the most inconsistent calls. Sometimes they call it at 5 seconds sometimes at 10 seconds never at 3 though.

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  203. I thought this was a home game? haha

    pathetic fouls on Trevor, just pathetic calls.

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  204. Wow, what a shot by Fish.

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  205. Mimsy, at work as per usual so can’t stream video in. I’ve got it taped at home so might leave at start of the 4th and ignore everything till i get home.

    Just hate waiting though….

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  206. FISHER!!!!!

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  207. Fisher’s shot has been so awful that one make can lift this entire team up. Maybe that’s why Phil leaves him in?

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  208. So much for Jones being able to guard Kobe.

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  209. ozlaker,
    Aw. That is just unfair!

    Fisher is making shots again!

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  210. Tech number 5 on Kobe. Great decision making. Only 2 more.

    He’s got legit beef. They’re playing really physical, but he has to adjust.

    Kobe in the post is a beautiful thing to watch.

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  211. Yeah, that’s the Tech i thought we’re gonna get.

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  212. What a dumb technical by Kobe. Does he realise he’s 2 away from a suspension?

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  213. I have said it before…and I’ll say it again…we better start talking about the fact that he is getting a suspension for his techs

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  214. there is anywhere from 8-14 games left…

    he will def get his two techs

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  215. Wow the Nuggets are mauling them inside. That is some physical D in the paint.

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  216. honestly i dont complain about calls but this game should be submitted to the league.

    fish gets a foul for that but kobe gets put to the floor and he gets a tech?

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  217. REALLY BAD MOVE BY KOBE that #5 great – 2 more from sitting out a game – just when we had momentum – we had a lead – then lost it all starting with that technical – geez – just let them get free easy points at the line!

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  218. The calls have been very inconsistent. The are letting some very physical play go but Ariza got called for 3 touch fouls.

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  219. fisher is a gr8 when he’s catching n shooting.. kobe has ton’s of trust w/him catching that ball on the wing/corner.. thats a good shot even w/the game on the line and the clock running down.. but the pull ups.. coming off screens n chucking the way he has.. zzzz

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  220. Why are we still not playing inside???
    It s so obvious….

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  221. Question…

    7th technical means 1 game suspension

    8th technical?

    9th technical??

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  222. I don’t care if the refs are letting them play physical, but I hate it when they are inconsistent. Bynum’s fouls were all ticky-tac, so is any foul on Carmelo or Billups, while Kobe gets wrestled and hacked in the paint.

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  223. It’s clearly an issue. I think Kobe can put away the barking because he works the refs deliberately. But this is exactly what I said before – he’s going to get techs caught up in the heat of the moment. It’s a dangerous line he’s walking.

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  224. That’s one thing we have improved during the offseason, toughening up our D and playing physical defense.

    Obviously that has a lot to do with having legitimate shot-blockers and great help defenders.

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  225. #211, Mimsy, I live in Oz (hence OzLaker) so its 1pm over here. Not a lot of companies let you stream vid in from work.

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  226. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Bill Bridges was right with his earlier post. I hated this officiating crew in Game 1 vs Houston, and I hate them today. They have not called one foul on the Nuggs on any of their strip attempts, and right now it’s 26 FTs for them and 11 for us.

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  227. 223, you are right – i think if we lose the difference is gasol – we need him to score 20 points or more in order to win –

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  228. Just open the court.Put Fish/Luke wide open and they can t go double team on Pau without riking an open shot¡¡
    For god s sake,I can t see that and I have only trained amateur teams…

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  229. The offense absolutely needs to be run through Pau for a while. Birdman will commit fouls and Pau will get some good looks. Make it happen Lake-show.

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  230. Turrible,
    It’s a 1-game suspension every second tech after the 7th. Very bad 🙁

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  231. Kobe’s got the edge in the post (though he’s missing a bunch) but the Bigs aren’t getting any touches.

    Earlier, you had Gasol and Bynum both sitting on the weak while Kobe worked the post. Why have two 7 footers if you don’t use them?

    I hope they’ll mix up it a bit more and get the Bigs more involved as the series goes on.

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  232. luke to gasol… awesome

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  233. ozlaker,
    Ah, that makes sense. My company actually used to let us stream in things… until an employee was caught streaming in very adult videos. He is no longer with the company.

    What the? i think that tackle by Kleiza would be illegal in hockey.

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  234. Wow GREAT effort from Brown on that last play after being laid out.

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  235. 234 is completely right.2 seven ft plus Lamar and we give the post to Kobe.
    It makes no sense…

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  236. This is a real critical stretch here. Should Kobe stay in?

    I say rest him for just 1-2 minutes, get him back in at the 10:00 mark. Can’t let Game 1 get out of hand.

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  237. the other Stephen May 19, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    i’m loving shannon brown’s heart right now. none of this “milking hard fouls for all they’re worth BS.”

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  238. 1 more quarter to go!

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  239. Stern implied that the Nuggets are going to have to pay money to McMahon because of the double-booking, but he said they could avoid it by letting the Lakers be the host for Game 4.

    Do it, Stanley. Be greedy.

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  240. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    The Lakers have to keep going inside. They’re getting discouraged because they’re not getting to the FT line when they’re being fouled. However, the home team usually gets the calls in the 4th quarter in the playoffs, even if it’s been one-sided the other way the entire game. Remember Game 6 vs the Kings?

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  241. The Lakers are fully capable of winning this game, regardless of referee performance.

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  242. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    244. No doubt they are capable, but they have to pound it inside. Let the three-pointers come in rhythm after it’s gone inside.

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  243. Alright guys, have fun watching the game.

    I’m OUTTA HERE. I’m gonna watch it when I get home in 3 hours time….

    I’ll post my comments later.

    Go Lakers!!

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  244. Too many turnovers!!! they started turning the ball over plenty in game 7 last series they must clean this up!!

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  245. i am getting nervous for us – bad start to the quarter – gasol is a terrible defender – he lets people blow right by him – we said our two 7 footers were the key to this game – and so far nothing – not good unless kobe gets HOT and takes over

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  246. Have to go inside. And they can’t let the refs and no calls affect their games.

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  247. wow as a nuggets fan i hope we dont lose k mart thaat could hurt and as far as the fouls they do say usually the more aggresive team gets the calls
    also it is good to see melo isnt struggling that was a key to us making the series competitive

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  248. I really really really hope Kobe’s hand isn’t hurt.

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  249. The Nuggets are being allowed to play very physically here. I wouldn’t complain if we were getting the same calls on the other end.

    Whatever. No excuses. Have to adjust. Love the hustle from Sasha tonight.

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  250. gasol again HELP

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  251. Wheres the foul there. THey let the same thing go on the other end all game.

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  252. have the lakers come from behind in the fourth this entire playoffs? let’s see if we have what it takes

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  253. Can we please play some D?!?! Just for something like 3 mins. I mean obviously we can’t ask for more than that. Come on now!

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  254. I think he’s fine.

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  255. snoopy2006 yes they are getting the calls but that is because they are being aggresive but we are still in trouble because you guys are draining threes right now

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  256. Why are we letting the Birdman look like an All Star? Come on now, Box Out!!

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  257. That two last calls on Pau are a joke.Shame on you referees¡

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  258. They’re more intense right now, fighting for every board. We’ve got to match that intensity.

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  259. difference in this game – denver inside defense over ours – bigtime

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  260. Terrible shot by Sasha. Need to go inside either to Gasol or Kobe.

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  261. Where Is Bynum?

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  262. we also look desperate because we haven’t come from behind!

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  263. If we lose and play hard I can live with it but when it just feels as if the nuggets want it more than us its hard to take

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  264. We have to get tough inside. We need to fight for every board. Where is the urgency?

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  265. Re: The refs. The aggressive team nearly always gets the calls, right now the Lakers are not the aggressive team. Attack at both ends and the calls will come.

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  266. How did that CA “boxout” on KB not get called? He had both arms in Kobe’s pits and lifted him off the floor. WTH?

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  267. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    264. Lewis, I would be pleasantly surprised if Drew is put back in the game.

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  268. If Fish is in after this timeout, I will jump out my window.

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  269. wow our inside defense is better??????????even i as a diehard nuggets fan i had to agree with all of you that we reaally have knowone for gasol or bynum

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  270. the calls are the calls – but kurt is right – the aggressor gets rewarded – they lakers need to stop complaining and step up – this is a critical juncture – i don’t think we will come back from more than 5

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  271. As a fan of the Denver Nuggets, I love the way things are going. The aggressiveness, the calls the come to our way.

    But as a basketball fan, it’s pretty annoying to me. The way these refs decide (or anticipate) calls is such a BS. They are allowing the other team to play physical, but on the other end they ref as if it’s an amateur game.

    It pains me to see how inconsistent and horrible officiating is now. The refs shouldn’t be given this much power. They are only here to call what is written in the books, not favor such a team.

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  272. Why Is he not In the game?

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  273. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Good try on that drive Lamar, don’t get discouraged. Keep going to the hole and you’re bound to get at least one call, right?

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  274. we ARE playing tough thats the difference

    U cant allow physical play on one side and not on the other. It is just pathetic and it shows how pathetic the NBA has become.

    If we win this game I will be extremely proud of our guys.

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  275. We need some stops. Just one at a time. Come On Now!

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  276. too early to count this one as a loss, though we’re in a bad position right now..

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  277. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Drew you need to put your hands up!

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  278. It’s worrisome to me that ‘Melo is really the only Nugget whose been playing any kind of outstanding and we’re still trailing in the fourth… at home. I mean, I was a freshman at ‘Cuse the year we won the championship, so I know the ‘Melo is a beast, but when he’s beating us singlehandedly… well, it’s troubling.

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  279. Bringing Pau out of the game now is plain stupid.He always needs 2 or 3 minutes to get into the game.Bringing him out now is like saying “o.k.no more Pau contribution today”

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  280. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Wow! First FT attempt of the half. Good play Kobe!

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  281. There we attack the basket. I agree Denver is being more aggressive and therefore getting the calls. but the same contact is not being called when the Lakers attack. They still need to attack the basket though and the calls will come.

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  282. I just hate it when Bryant decides to take over a game.

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  283. Again, the free throw discrepancy is disturbing.

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  284. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Obvious foul on Carter. What’s he even complaining about?

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  285. Nick The Great…cuse here too!

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  286. i gotta say i agree with birdman about the refs but i wouldnt be surprised if now we see the other big problem with nba refs and that would be makeup calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  287. Need to get some stops.

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  288. anthony carter is guarding kobe, you cant blame kobe for shooting every shot till the end of the game

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  289. 288. behzad – ‘atta boy, though clearly I’m rooting against our boy right now…

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  290. doesnt look good.. Machine missing a whole lot

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  291. odom wtf! we can’t trade baskets

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  292. Odom has played . . . interestingly.

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  293. Need to box out. But to be fair Anthony is a good Offensive rebounder.

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  294. Lakers not making the plays when they are right there to take this.

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  295. costly turnover

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  296. Honestly, the play of Gasol is really bothering me right now.

    I am not kidding, I have never seen a guy be so invisible in a playoff game.

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  297. Too many turnovers!!!

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  298. Walton needs to be in because Ariza and Kobe simply aren’t strong enough to deny ‘Melo post position or offensive rebounds. He’s killing us right now.

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  299. Kobe in “I am legend” mode.I hate it.Even when it works.That s the NBA not a playground.

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  300. everytime the Lakers try to put a run together they either turn the ball over, have a bad offensive set or give up an offensive rebound.

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  301. when does Bynum come back? we could use him…

    oh wait…he played?

    oh wait…hes playing now?

    oh.

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  302. 297. yes the plays are there but the nuggets are also trying to blow this game they are taking shots too quick and too many jumpers they are ruling the paint they need to keep driving and draw fouls

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  303. 300.And what do you want from him?He s being completely ignored by the “small” guys”.

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  304. Im thinking it’s kinda like the houston game. we were able to bring the lead down to 2 (54-52, i think) then a kobe turnover killed us.

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  305. 300, i agree i have been harping all night GASOL is a milk toast – our second best player must score over 20 for us to win – his defense sickens me – he is extremely inconsistent on both sides – sometimes great – every other game BAD

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  306. Why are we playing so small at a time when we need to play big? I am going to be sick.

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  307. Where is Pau?

    0

  308. There has been a Gasol sighting!

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  309. 2 stops.. pullup 3 by bullups next..

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  310. Gasol finally showing up on the defensive end with two great deffensive plays. And a huge shot by Fisher.

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  311. Pau taking over, as usual in big games;)

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  312. Gasol is one tough dude. Missed FTs or not, he’s being aggressive on both ends.

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  313. Pau . . .

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  314. good call anon

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  315. what’d i tell u?

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  316. Have to hit the FTs now.

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  317. Please, Pau . . .

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  318. Oh wow. I still believe every word I said about Fisher earlier, but now I’m thinking my timing wasn’t the best…

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  319. Good D by Odom there. We need more of that.

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  320. what a great game

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  321. I hate it when Kobe takes forced shots

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  322. Didn’t like the shot but good hustle by Pau fighting for the rebound.

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  323. We just need to hit our free throws, Denver will be kicking themselves if they don’t win this game because of how many they have missed.

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  324. First to 100 wins?

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  325. WOW that is just as good as a quick score

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  326. This is a great game.

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  327. I bet the Nuggets are calling “foul” here.

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  328. No 3. Defend the 3!

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  329. i hope we pull this out

    pplease God pleasee.

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  330. pau fighting for the rebound? the brick slammed of the board and into his hands!

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  331. You know everyone is having a bad night when Fisher is your 2nd leading scorer.

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  332. wow… i’m sooooo glad the ref called that a foul!

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  333. No 3s…please…

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  334. NO 3’s!!! Do not give a 3

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  335. Billups for 3?

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  336. This is easily the best Laker game so far in the playoffs. I would say the best of all, but I watched the Bulls-Celtics series…

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  337. That’s hilarious Birdman!

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  338. Can’t allow a 3 on the other end. Need to get the ball out of Melos and Billups hands. They both love these shots gotta make someone else beat you.

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  339. Great D by the Lakers down the stretch. Stupid shot by Billups, but he made it. Stupid fouls by the Nugs, but they’ve been doing it all night long.

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  340. Kobe playing 43 minutes. Good thing the bench played well while he sat out.

    Gasol playing 41, but not sure if he was actually playing that long. He sure picks his spots.

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  341. Hoping for Big Shot.

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  342. Ok I know 100 percent what the play will probably be. Drive into the lane by Billups or Anthony and then a dish out for a three. PLEASE…..NO HELP DEFENDERS ON ON DRIVE. Stay with all 3 point shooters. No open 3’s. We can live with a 2 pointer. Lakers have been killed by this play many times this year.

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  343. ARIZA!!

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  344. ARIZA WITH THE CLUTCH STEAL!

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  345. Los Angeles safety warning: Watch out for the snakes!

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  346. I’m thinking JR smith

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  347. ARRRIIIIZZZAAAAA!!!!!! Its in the refrigerator (if he hits the FTs)

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  348. OMG i’m gonna cry

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  349. OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG

    MOST AMAZING PLAY EVER OMGGGGGGGGGGGGG

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  350. j. d. hastings May 19, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Woah Nelly! That was a football interception

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  351. AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRIIIIIIIIIZZZZZAAAAAA!!!!!

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  352. defend 3!!!

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  353. That’s what Ariza does, right?

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  354. Wow.

    Wow.

    Wow.

    That’s a dagger right there.

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  355. ARIZA YOU ARE MY HERO

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  356. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Kept attacking the hole and we finally get the calls in the 4th quarter, starting with 7 1/2 minutes remaining.

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  357. The Lakers play in the fourth was great all things considered.

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  358. Again NO 3’s, defend the 3

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  359. JD good analogy there. He sized that pass up then just took it away from Anthony.

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  360. Great steal by Ariza and it looked like Billups immediately fouled him by grabbing his shoulder right after that.

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  361. ARIZA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  362. Cobra #1

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  363. how fun has it been to watch kobe and melo going at each other

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  364. Billups, huge.

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  365. Why put carter in?

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  366. Wow what a shot by Billups. That was a tough tough shot.

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  367. Billups was out of bounds!

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  368. j. d. hastings May 19, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Billups was out of bounds

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  369. he stepped out!!!

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  370. Who the heck is this Ariza guy?

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  371. aww comeon fish.. we know u can foul harder than that!

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  372. Thank God for the foul. I was half expecting them not to foul there.

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  373. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  374. Exhale.

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  375. There was that time running heave people talked about in earlier posts.

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  376. Wow. Great game. I can say that now that we won.

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  377. yesssss yesss yesss!!!

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  378. Damn, Billups is money. Even though he stepped out of bounds. Great Game. We def. stole it!

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  379. amazing game my goodness

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  380. Ah that was great. Feels weird to see Spike Lee rooting for the Lakers though..

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  381. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    I really, really hope Smith is OK. This could be an amazing series if everyone’s healthy.

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  382. Kobes singular focus is pretty amazing. I don’t know how many times that Kobe has just willed himself a rebound when he had to get one. I remember him getting a O rebound off of a FT miss over the whole Houston front line last year.

    I hope JR Smith is not hurt.

    Great match up in the 4th between Melo and Kobe it was fun to watch.

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  383. Awesome. Way to make a come-back.

    Also, I really hope Smith is not seriously injured. Hurt is no big deal, man up and fight through it, but injury? I don’t wish that on anyone, no matter who they are and who they play for.

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  384. WOW thank god! we definitely took the game from denver – and they will be killing themselves for so many missed FTS – great win – but we must play better and not expect them let us back in in the future – especially on the road – we need to figure out how to get GASOL going then we got this

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  385. Lol. Spike Lee is in the courtside! Wasn’t he a Knicks fan?

    By the way. nice Game 1 win for you guys. You deserved it because of the way the refs are screwing you up.

    Nene and Anthony were the only Nuggets to wear the uniform high tonight.
    As I’ve said, we’ve played too much 1-on-1 (ala Kobe style) and relied to much on Anthony bailing us out.

    Game 2 (i hope) is on us!

    Thanks guys!

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  386. Well we took their best shot, and we got the win. We have to tighten it up and please start the game with some intensity!

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  387. WOW WHAT A GAME!!!!

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  388. JR’s has a knee injury…possible ACL or MCL…

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  389. Not only did we take their best shot, we also played like absolute garbage for most of the game.

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  390. Funky how we won this, we shot 7% less from the field, only 2% more from the 3, had 11 less FTs…

    We did rebound more, but had Denver shot close to 70% from the FT line, we lost.

    And those FT misses came at key junctures too, had Billups made his earlier FTs, we’d have been blown out.

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  391. Birdman

    glad to have you here

    honestly I am happy you are a rational Denver fan, makes me happy=]

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  392. I hope JR is alright. you never want to see someone go out like that.

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  393. Ariza with the play of the game on his steal in 4th Q

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  394. MVP of the game: *A*R*I*Z*A*

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  395. I knew there was a reason I like Ariza. He always plays with 100% effort, and fights harder than anyone out there, except maybe Kobe… please can we keep him for next year?

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  396. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    I don’t blame the refs for missing the out of bounds call on Billups. It was just his toe, and it’s hard to see when you’re mainly watching the three-point line. What bugs me is the conscious, or subconscious, letting one team play physical because they have a physical reputation, while not letting the other team play the same way because they’re seen as “soft.” At least our guys fought through it and kept attacking the rim in the 4th, and we were finally able to get some calls.

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  397. Great focus down the stretch. Both Pau, Fisher and Ariza coming up big.

    And Kobe? What more can be said. You can’t close the game any better than he did in my opinion: Didn’t settle for jumpers, made all his FTs and grabbed that last HUGE board.

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  398. Just thought this was interesting

    Carmelo
    14-20, 4-5, 7-8, 6 Reb, 4 Ast, 1blk. 3To, 39pts, 1 tech

    Kobe
    13-28, 2-3, 12-13, 6reb, 4 ast, 1blk, 1TO, 40pts, 1 tech

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  399. wow I worked out this morning but I didn’t sweat this much.

    great gutting-it-out win. arizzzzaa! kobeee! pau playing some good defense down the stretch. fish hitting a big 3.

    carmelo is a beast. billups is a stud. it’s going to be a tough tough series.

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  400. Coach Karl had a brainfreeze when he had Anthony Carter throw in the ball. Yikes! Good stuff by Ariza though. Gasol came up big in the latter stages of the game. Good game all-around from both sides.

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  401. And speaking of Kobe, is it just me, or was he mentioned maybe once in the post-game summary? Seriously. Beyond incompetent journalism.

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  402. Kobe passing shaq wth 56 career 30 pt playoff games. Thats impressive considering how dominant Shaq was in the playoffs.

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  403. With the way the game was going, I thought I was going to eat my words about us being more mentally tough. But redeemed down the stretch – much better execution. Stops, did what we want on D. Some ridiculous shots by the Nuggets on the road and mostly good defense. Hat’s off to them. Great game.

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  404. out is out. the refs just blew the call that’s all.

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  405. Granted that neither team played well, but with the free throw discrepancy and our front line inadequacies, I can’t believe we took this game.

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  406. Congratulations! You allowed Carmelo to shoot a higher percentage than ever in his career, got nothing in the post, and still won. My prediction is that this is the lowest points output you will get in this series. Judging by playoff results, you will typically win if you score more than 100. The Nuggets don’t have the ability or the desire to keep the score lower.

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  407. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    On seeing the replay of the final missed FT, the Nuggs physical play may have cost them JR Smith’s services, if indeed he is truly injured. Andersen shoved Ariza off the entire floor, and while Trevor was sliding, he took JR’s legs out from under him. I hope that injury isn’t nearly as serious as it looked.

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  408. people are respecting us on TV

    “Denver played like a challenger, LA played like a champion”

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  409. The big difference — 17 Laker offensive boards.

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  410. No doubt the Lakers lucked out getting this win tonight. Kinda like last year, they came back and stole game 1 from the spurs and then wiped them out the rest of the way. I guess we will see if this game kills Denver’s soul.

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  411. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    413. Right, Kurt…the “soft” Lakers killed the “tough” Nuggets on the offensive glass. I think Denver shot its wad as far as road games go. We had Bynum, Odom, and Gasol all in foul trouble for much of the game, we had a FT deficit of 29-11 late in the 3rd quarter, and we still won the game.

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  412. Pau played poorly….but came up with a huge block and stepped in and took a huge charge.

    Fish shot the ball terribly…but hit two huge shots, one at the end of the half, one to put us up late in the 4th.

    Ariza got torched by Melo…but came up with a huge steal to seal the game.

    Kobe played a focused game and made all the key shots, but it was great to see these guys all make big plays after struggling.

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  413. None of the other playoff games looked like that.Why do they let teams play the Lakers that way? I hate watching wrestling.

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  414. part of me thinks we didnt play that well especially in the post but i also think we took all the nuggets could throw at us and overcome, no way melo shoots that well again, i think kobe averages 40 per game in this series

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  415. magiclover,
    Not that I doubt your sincerity or anything, but did you watch the Bulls-Celtics? If we’re going to talk about physical games… yes, the Nuggets play hard, but at least they haven’t drawn blood or thrown a Laker player into a table yet.

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  416. Good thing we have Home court advantage…

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  417. Agreed with others, hope Smith doesn’t have to miss any time. Would dull the edge of a gritty win. Have to think the Nuggets are going to regret the loss, considering they got a homecourt-type free-throw edge on the road and wasted a great effort by Melo.

    It was nice to see the Lakers take the late foul. Hollinger has talked about it ad infinitum, yet you don’t see too many NBA teams make the foul. Wonder if it came from the bench or was something Fisher did on his own.

    Props to Birdman for being an honest yet opposing voice in the thread. With all of the vitriol found on most forums, it’s nice to see friendly conversation.

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  418. Mimsy… there wasn’t the holding on every play like tonight.I don’t mind a hard foul now and then but hate the grabbing and slapping every play

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  419. When I talked about LeBron and Kobe earlier, I conveniently forgot the other aspect of being clutch.

    Being able to step up in all fronts when the game is on the line. Those 6 free throws, that last rebound… not sure if the Cavs would like to put LeBron, a 70% with the last possession.

    Anyway, my god that was a game, although the only good we can take from this game is that… we can only play better? 😉

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  420. I’ll take it.

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  421. Kurt,

    I know your opinion of Artest, and I agree that he would be a bad fit for the Lakers. But…Do you think that he could make a difference in this series on Carmelo? Or would you rather deal ith who is available for the Lakers? or even Battier? Just hypothetical conversation.

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  422. the Nugs have got to be depressed. they played a great game, jumped out early, (not unlike us sometimes, when we get an early lead, I get nervous, and we clawed our way back into it).
    anyway, the Lakers kept fighting, never quit, even while some questionable calls, or non-calls were happening. we fought back consistently, they even had the lead at 99-98 or there abouts, near the end anyway and we still got the stops and made the FT’s and GOT THE STEAL! (from Trevor)
    so, like someone said earlier, it’s like we stole game 1 tonight, they had us and couldn’t close us out.
    that, has got to be depressing.
    let’s see if we keep our foot on their throat…or let them get back into it on Thursday.
    I hope we get the first 2 here at home, get a split on the road, and close it out in 5.
    what a friggin’ game!
    I’m exhausted!

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  423. I’d take Battier in a heartbeat. If that dude retires without a ring it’ll be a crime, because to me he’s the epitome of what a role player is all about. He does everything a championship team needs.

    Artest would give Melo trouble, but he wouldn’t be able to play within the triangle so he’d hurt us on the other end. And he might bite Kobe.

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  424. Good game..slow start and solid finish. Surprise right? Not really. As the current underdogs, it was great. One more in LA…then get one in Denver.

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  425. Snoopy2006,

    I agree about Battier. The funny thing is that there are so many casual fans in Houston who berate him because he doesn’t score 17 points/game. It just amazes me that they don’t understand the intangibles he beings to the table. There are still a huge amount of Houston fans who complain about the trade for Rudy Gay.

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  426. A couple of X’s and O’s points that I noticed…

    1). I mentioned this way up in the thread, but we need to do a better job of marking the Denver bigs in P&R situations. Billups is so good at staying patient and controlling his dribble and their bigs are so much better at finishing when they can get momentum going to the basket that we must adjust to how they’re playing in these situations. Nene and Martin got layups and drew fouls almost every time they ran this action in the first half. Denver also ran the P&R the same way earlier in the season, so we should recognize this. We must do better. Ultimately, I don’t think we should show so hard against Chauncey. I know he’s dangerous shooting off that pick, but I’d almost rather live with Billups shooting a 20 footer than having their bigs attacking the basket full speed.

    2). Phil mentioned this in the post game presser, but we must do a better job at getting the ball into the post. Denver took away our passing angles very well and we were tentative with our passes which led to TO’s and ball reversals instead of post entries. Our bigs need to fight harder to establish position (take a cue from Kobe in this regard big men) and our wings need to be decisive with their passes. As far as some actions that we can run, I think we can start with an empty post on one side and then bring our bigs across the lane to receive the pass; we can start on the strong side and then initiate our offense with a ball reversal to start our motions flowing from one side of the court to the other (not only with the ball but with player movement as well); we can also bring our post man up further to the FT line area and enter the ball to the high post and then run our sets to where the ball gets swung to the opposite side and one of our bigs cuts across the baseline to receive an entry pass. In the end though, we need to be more assertive in making those post entries.

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  427. I’m in the Battier group as well, and I think he could cause Melo some problems. He can be more physical than anyone the Lakers have. But Melo i’s sort of like Kobe or LeBron now in that you can slow him but he still gets his.

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  428. Battier will hopefully be a coach somewhere in the league some day. A player like him should not be wasted on retirement.

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  429. Battier, I’d take. Artest, I’d not.

    Battier is the Bowen type I’d take every time. Capable wing defender who can knock open threes when they’re available.

    Artest is somebody I’d take if I had to gamble. Maybe he’ll have some sort of synergy with Odom, but I think not. I’d probably take half the starting Rockets over Artest.

    As for making a difference in the Denver series, well, you don’t need to stop every player to be successful, so I’m not not really that into that, and on whose place would I take them? Over Morrison, no brainer. Over Walton, likely. Over Odom, not so sure.

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  430. PeanutButterSpread May 19, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Cherry on top of this win.

    Kobe Doin’ Work:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8wG9iYsP5c

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  431. Kurt,

    Yeah, but 70 plus percent from Carmelo is unacceptable regardless of the player. That is a percentage that Yao, Shaq, or Howard would be envious of.

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  432. la_resistance28 May 19, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    “None of the other playoff games looked like that.Why do they let teams play the Lakers that way? I hate watching wrestling.”

    Cuz the league is getting us ready for when the Lakers, Nuggets, and the WWF square off in Denver next week!

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  433. Snoopy…you just made me realize what a perfect Laker Battier would make. The triangle offense would be perfect for him. His perimeter and help defense would be so awesome in our scheme. He would be closest thing to Pippen, though he doesn’t have the playmaking ability or the athleticism. But his intelligence and hustle would be a great addition to our squad. However, there’s no way HOU ever lets him come to our team.

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  434. I know that we shouldn’t talk about trades…but if HOU were to accept, would you take Battier for Ariza straight up?

    Who would you rather have right now?

    Although I love what Battier brings, I think Ariza has just too much upside to give up. Plus, what Battier can do, Ariza can do. But what Ariza can do, Battier cannot.

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  435. Sorry for the double post. But a couple of other quick observations:

    *I’m not sure why Karl went to Carter in those closing minutes. Van Gundy mentioned this, but Karl says that when they’re winning, they’ll go to Carter because he’s better on D. However, they’re so much worse on offense with him in there and they needed to keep matching buckets in order to maintain their lead. Instead, our D tightened up, we got stops, and then we scored anyway – evaporating their marginal cushion. Kobe was in penetration mode and we got to the FT line and got some real open looks (Ariza and Fish’s threes, especially).

    *Those last fouls by Martin were exactly the type of fouls that we were talking about in the series preview. Martin played with great composure (on offense and defense) for most of the game, but in the closing minutes he pushed and reached for no good reason and it cost them. Nene also struggled with fouls all game. And while the big Brazilian did well with his offense in those aforementioned P&R sets, he was not as active on D and didn’t show well in help situations. If that trend continues, the Nuggs will be in trouble because I’m not sure if they’ll get that same level of offense from Andersen and Martin with the same consistency in the rest of this series. I could be wrong on that, but some of those runners that Martin hit and those Birdman drives seemed a bit lucky to me. And if they’re not scoring AND fouling on D we will control the paint and series.

    *When we do get the ball in the post, we need to be more patient. They got several blocks just because we seemed too eager to shoot when we got close. The paint was a tough place to gain access to in the last series, and we acted like we hadn’t been there in a while by rushing shots against the Nuggets. We need to be more deliberate, ball fake more, and make them either get out of position or foul when we make our moves. Both Bynum and Pau can get good looks against this team – we just need to execute our post entries and then we have to be patient by letting the side clear with our cuts and then go to work.

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  436. PB, No way we trade Battier for Ariza. But if we did I would become an outright Lakers fan. Well that may be going a little far, but I would not be happy. Ariza is a solid player, but he can’t play defense like battier, or hit the 3 as consistently as Battier.

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  437. you know, it’s funny sometimes to go back and read how angry, upset, PO’d, frustrated, etc we all get.
    one time, we’re all mad at Fish, he’s old, over the hill, can’t hit a shot, can’t stop quick guards, etc.
    then we’re mad at Phil, won’t make adjustments, or call time outs,
    then we’re all mad at Pau, he’s too soft, dissappears on D, etc
    or Kobe, goes into hero mode, and kills our team…
    you get the point –
    so here’s a small clip from tonight’s LA Times…

    That defense led to Carmelo Anthony’s grabbing an offensive rebound and scoring for a 96-92 Nuggets lead.

    Lakers Coach Phil Jackson quickly called a timeout with 3:25 left.

    The Lakers responded with a basket by Bryant, a blocked shot by Pau Gasol on a Nene shot attempt, a three-pointer by Fisher and with Gasol taking a charge on Anthony.

    The Lakers took a 97-96 lead after all that.
    (end of quote)

    so, how about that folks?
    remember that play? Carmelo is the only Nugget under the rim, buts still grabs the offensive board and puts it back in. PJ jumps up with a quick time out. the rest as they say is history, but I find it very interesting that the hero’s of tonight’s game were all blasted at one time or another, even in tonight’s game thread.
    I know, it’s human nature for us fans to gripe.
    but let’s remember, PJ is the leader of this team, and has years of solid experience, it’s been his life, and not sure we can all say that, eh?
    he’s the one who had Fish in tonight, would we have done that? (heck no, we’re ready to kick him off the team)…I could go on, but I think we all get the point.
    patience, faith… be good fans, and… enjoy the ride!

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  438. Great Wall,
    I am not surprised there are fans who want Rudy Gay over Battier. Most fans really don’t understand the game, only the ESPN highlights. There are lots of LA fans that want us to trade Bynum because he doesn’t score enough. They have no concept regarding young players or players contributing by providing defense.

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  439. Craig W,

    You are absolutely correct!

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  440. The Nuggets were really overplaying the passing lanes. We need to backdoor them a few times for a couple easy baskets to dissuade them from overplaying our spots in the TRI.

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  441. chris h,

    what that fails to mention is this:

    Fisher was 0-7 or so with 2 turnovers in the first quarter. Change that to two FGs and 1 TO, or at least two less efforts, we’re not in an 8pt hole.

    Kobe did not go hero mode tonight, he went to the line. 12-13, with only 3 attempts or so from the 3. He did get that T so he’s not completely off the hook, but he played as we wished him to play for the most part.

    Gasol, had he made those two FTs or had been more assertive, that block/charge would be routine and a footnote.

    Still, the game is played over four quarters and the series over at least four games. Yes it is not right to sway on each and every play in a game, but considering that this year is our best shot at the title (reasonable assumption), it is reasonable to react after a series of plays.

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  442. Another potential move Phil could make is playing Luke and Ariza at the sametime. This could work when Denver is running JR, Melo and Billups at once. I feel Kobe did the best job on Billups and Luke did the best job on Melo. In this scenario, Kobe would be able to guard Billips, Ariza could guard JR and Luke could guard Melo. On offense, Luke could intiate the offense and this would hopefully also help us get the ball in the post

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  443. harold, I disagree with you that those end of the game plays were routine, or due to some event earlier in the game, none of that matters, what matters is that these guys are savvy veterans, and they delivered at the end, on both ends of the floor.
    and I wasn’t being critical, this has gone on all year long,(our complaining) just pointing it out that it takes a little faith to get though a game, a series, a season.

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  444. ONE THING I NOTICED: With about 45 seconds left in the first half, Fisher took a contested jumper right as Kobe was coming off 2 screens to a wide-open look. ESPN showed the close-up replay of that and showed Kobe yelling towards Fisher as they came back to play D.

    Fast forward 42 seconds … Kobe passes to an open Fisher in the corner and he buries the 3 to give the Lakers a 1 point lead and the momentum going into the locker room.

    We need the second Fisher, not the first. Kobe probably trusts him the most out of many of his teammates and we need him hitting his shots and making good ball decisions.

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  445. j. d. hastings May 19, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    I never know what to make of a game like this.

    The playoffs are a relationship, and the first game is only the first date. Often the undercurrents of the game come to define the series more than the final score.

    Moreover, in deeper rounds teams are coming off of previous relationships. In the Laker’s case, they’re coming out of an LTR that ended 2 days ago in a process that caused a lot of introspection.

    Because of those transitions between teams, game 1s can be extremely hard to measure. In the first half of game 1 against the Magic, the Celtics clearly still had a foot in round 1. In hindsight, the magic lead and the Celtic’s comeback predicted much of what followed in the series- including the Magic’s ability to pull it out in the end.

    In the Houston series the Lakers came in fat after they were able to casually dominate the Jazz. It cost them the first game, but the tone of that game was similar to the hard fought 2nd and 3rd games- the result was different, but the relationship was largely the same until yao went down. That then threw the entire relationship out of whack- A new, dysfunctional relationship was defined on the fly.

    So now we come to this game. Which traits in it will come to define the series? The leads Denver got or the Laker resilience? In their previous series Denver played close on road and blew Dallas out at home. Is this close finish proof to them that they can beat the Lakers or does it crawl into their heads and bring doubt?

    Was the Laker ability to get over the hump against a team with a lead a good thing, or was their trouble scoring sign of a greater problem?

    I know the stat about teams who win game 1 winning series, but that’s largely skewed by sweeps and uneven matchups. Right now I’m not sure what this means. I hope for the best, but we can’t really know until game 2 and then we see them change venues.

    But At least we got the win. That’s always the best way to end a first date- in the nba playoffs amyways.

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  446. latecomer here, glad to read birdman’s and especially this discussion, Great Wall’s comments. I’d take battier in a heartbeat over artest for reasons already cited. i think ariza can be a battier given time and more effort. their built are about the same and ariza has some hops. he needs to wise up and learn to work around games instead of fading when he doesn’t get his rhythm.

    the lead bloggers of this forum led by kurt, darius and the likes of craig are also a class of their own. they tame the biased fan in me and make me a more rational, discerning and in turn, pumped up fan.

    just some cents: no way melo is scoring like that again. ariza has to man up or somebody else will. the lakers were subpar but as many times before this series we took their strong hit and clawed back. am rather suprised bynum and lamar are not mentioned as much so it just tells me there’s nothing much to say about their games tonight. we expect them with pau to do better in game 2. that said, i like our chances in game 2 and for the fact that kobe can go off like this more often than against houston. but denver is explosive and they too can show up ready to steal one. i don’t think this is the same team that rolled and died in the past. there’s a fire in them and looks like it’s staying.

    wishing jr the best too. he is my death-dealer in 2k9. he has ridiculous range. GO LAKERS!

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  447. Hey, Kurt, you see the Sports Guy’s twitter?

    “I enjoyed Kobe Bryant’s prime.”

    On the night the dude scored 40, 18 in the fourth, leading his team to a HUGE win. What the hell was that supposed to mean?

    The funny thing is that he wrote that article about how he doesn’t dislike Kobe, even though he obviously does and has even said it, and doesn’t try to hide it.

    One of the best performances of Kobe’s career tonight. To hell with Kobe haters.

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  448. chris, imagine that the game unfolded backwards, and that those plays happened in the beginning of the game and not the end. Do you think their mistakes would be highlighted more, or do you think their heroics (if people even call it that, if they take place earlier in the game) would be highlighted?

    fair or not, they’d be seen more routine.

    and i don’t disagree about the faith thing. but sometimes you wonder if you have to leave it to faith.

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  449. Also- I think George Karl noticed Reed’s observation that Pau would demolish Martin and decided to put his best post-defender-Nene, on Pau. Next game we should look to the ball to Drew. At 6’9, Drew should be able to get off a good shot.

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  450. kudos to you, birdman. DEN has really improved on their D. it doesn’t bode well for LA but Melo sure played good D on KB, methinks

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  451. One thing about Denver’s D. It seems much more physical than Houston’s. Houston uses their feet to get to a spot and their hands to distract and cover people. This is extremely distracting, but doesn’t draw fouls and requires lots and lots of endurance.

    Denver seems to use their arms to push up against people and then their legs to move into another position. This results in much more grabbing and shoving with shoulders. When allowed, we see something like the matchup between Kobe and Melo on ESPN highlights. However, tighter officiating results in fouls. Since this is the playoffs, I doubt fouls will be called as easily, but Denver should have more fouls – on average – than Los Angeles.

    As the less experienced players (Farmar, Ariza, Shannon, and even Pau) go through more of this, they will adjust. This means the Lakers will 1) be less emotional about it, 2) learn to work with it, and 3) be able to refer to this if we get through this series with a win.

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  452. Kwame, I agree on the points you’ve made. I think we need to attack Martin on the block. Not only does he lack the size to really contest shots, but he’ll foul. I think we can throw into Bynum, but I also think if we rebound and change ends quickly we can force Martin to stay with Pau in transition and establish Pau on Kenyon that way. I also agree that we should find ways to keep bigger defenders on Billups. Late in the first quarter, Phil went to Sasha before Farmar/WOW and we had our Machine/Kobe/Ariza lineup out there. I think we can go that route too and just have Sasha chase Smith around as he did better on him than I thought he would. Plus if Smith isn’t 100% it may give Sasha a slight edge as he’d no longer be chasing around a much superior athlete (similar to how Phil used him against a hobbled Manu last season in our playoff series against the Spurs). But I think we could try the Luke/Ariza/Kobe lineup as well, although I worry because those are the only guys we have that actually play SF for us. And if all those guys get tired or pick up too many fouls we may mess up our normal rotation just for the sake of experimenting. But I do like your logic.

    On other note, I think we have to force Melo baseline, regardless on what side of the floor he’s on. He showed me that he’s much better going right than left, but regardless of what hand he favors, he’s less dangerous going baseline than when he’s attacking the middle of the court. I also think we need to shade him better as when he’s got the ball at the top of the key. We allowed him to drive parallel to the lane line and draw fouls against Drew way too easily. We need to close the gate on him better and make him string out his dribble more so that the help can actually show and not just careen into him and foul. But man, was he impressive tonight. Such range on his jumper and the ability to shoot with no space – he’s so similar to Kobe in that way…doesn’t even need two inches to get his shot off. And his footwork? He is a special, special scorer. I know I’m gushing right now, but honestly, he can fill it up.

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  453. 455. I enjoyed Bill Simmon’s prime.

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  454. Kurt,
    I always liked Simmons, but he has hit that stage where a lot of his creativity is gone and he just seems to rehash the same tired storylines and use the same recycled jokes that he’s used for a decade. He’s like that music artist that is trapped in a bad record deal and is just fulfilling his commitment until he can move on to some other label and do the kind of music he really wants to make. I am interested in his book on basketball though. Even though I read that it’s ridiculously long.

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  455. This game was easily the best Laker game of the entire playoffs. I am not usually a screaming, yelling, cheering fan when I watch games. I try to be as calm and observant as I can, and usually overly cheering for one side can blind us to obvious observations, such as good foul calls and bad non-calls. This game, however, had a totally different feel to it. This was a game that we had to win; losing this one really would’ve affirmed all of our fears about the Lakers mental intensity and desire to win. Yet, our team pulled it out in the end, with some key stops and some key buckets coming from some unlikely sources.

    Once again, we did a masterful job on the offensive boards. While we could have easily done better, outrebounding them 17-7 on offensive boards won us this game, and for that, we must thank the heavily maligned Pau Gasol. For all the crap we give him for his lack of defensive intensity, he brings it on the offensive boards.

    In the end, it was the little plays that mattered for us. Kobe kicking the ball out to Fisher for three instead of taking a contested jumper gave us a jolt and allowed us to take the lead after trailing for almost the entire game. Pau Gasol rotating and taking the charge on JR Smith which turned a potential three-point play into a Laker possession took firm control of the momentum in the game. And lastly, Lamar Odom getting up in Anthony Carter’s grill and forcing him to throw that high lob to Billups, magnificently stolen by Trevor Ariza, which ultimately won us the game.

    So yea, our guys didn’t play the greatest game; you can tell that from the box score and the comments. But they made the plays when the game was on the line. Despite having only two days to prepare, our coaching staff did an amazing job deciding to stick Kobe on Billups early then switching him on to Melo when Melo got hot. For all the crap we give them about not playing hard, not wanting to win, this team just showed us that they can fight. They can claw. They can scrap with the best of the league and come out standing in the end.

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  456. The Dude Abides May 19, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    That was easily the best all-around game I’ve ever seen Melo play. Such a quick release, we knew he was an excellent rebounder, and he played tough D as well. I really like Trevor, but Luke is a better matchup on Melo, who’s simply too strong for Trevor and will get him in foul trouble. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but I think Phil should start Luke and let him play about 20-24 minutes in Game 2. It would throw off Denver’s between-game adjustments, and Luke would do a better job at shuttling Melo to the baseline and help from our front line.

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  457. well played kurt.

    if the celtics/paul pierce did what the lakers/kobe just did, he would have had an aneurysm and would have written a 150k word column about it.

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  458. One other point: Another option for Phil- when LO and Ariza are in the game, Phil may want to try LO on Melo. He can hide Ariza on Martin or Andersen, and if the Nuggets try to make a point of posting those guys up, the Lakers already are smiling. LO may be the best possible option we have on Melo. He is taller and stronger than him and has the length to give him a step to compensate for Melo’s speed advantage.

    Also- one last option. Phil can run the lineup he has never run: Drew, Pau, LO frontcourt. This would allow LO to matchup straight up with Melo.

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  459. Game 2 will be a game of adjustments.

    In his post-game interview, PJ credited the Denver for making post-entry passes difficult and cutting off passing angles.

    So, the onus is on the coaching staff to introduce different tactics to get Pau and Drew more & better touches.

    I think the key to game 2 will be how well the Lakers execute these new tactics, and how well Karl and the Nuggets anticipate and/or adjust to these tactics.

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  460. With the officiating so biased, it’s fortunate that the Lakers won tonight. This gives me more hope that the officiating will probably favor the Lakers more on Thursday and Lakers pull out an easier win in Game 2.

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  461. kurt.. bill bridges was dead money in your/his post.. that sequence where we took the lead on pau’s 2 defensive stops (block + drawing charge).. right after that billups comes down the wings off a pick.. pullup 3.. money.

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  462. Watching the replay of the game on ESPN. The lakers were called for at least 3 3-second violations, several traveling violations and once Lamar was called for not being able to cross the half-court in 5 secs. These are pretty ticky-tacky violations and if the NBA started calling them correctly almost every play would be a violation. Also, at least 2 of the so called Nuggets blocks seemed to be golatends to me. The good part is that Lakers did not get boged down by bad officiating. But it still seems pretty fishy to me that the lakers were called for so many of these mnor fouls, whereas in my recollection, the Nuggets were not even called once.

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  463. Thanks robinred.

    Actually, I am a basketball fan/purist first before a Nuggets fan.
    I enjoy pure basketball (you heard that refs). That’s basketball based on skill and athleticism combined.

    And though Lebron James shows unearthly athleticism, I’m really not sold out in the idea that he is the best player in the NBA today. I like him, but unlike others, what he does is just one part of the game.
    That’s why I am preaching Kobe even though I’m a Nuggets fan, because as I said, I am a basketball purist first.

    Like someone said in the ESPN NBA Page, if you try and slow-mo Kobe’s moves, you’ll find finesse in his game, skills honed into perfection. I love Kobe because of what he brings in the NBA that only few (really) players can parallel.
    The art of dribbling and moving in such a rhythm as the beat of the bouncing ball.
    The art of defying gravity, changing different moves while suspended in the air is beautiful in my eyes.
    The perfect high-arched shot gently touching the net brings music to my ears.

    That’s why it’s easy to appreciate Kobe’s game despite his faults (everyone has).
    That’s why I hate Kobe as well. He is not on our team.

    But anyways, Game 1 may be devastating to us because of what transpired (mental mistakes turned to missed shots and individual basketball), but I’m confident enough to say this Nuggets will provide a better show in Game 2.

    You can not contain Billups and JR Smith in 2 consecutive bad nights.

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  464. Part of the reason this is going to come back and haunt Denver is that all three of our primary bigs (Pau, Lamar, Andrew) all had rather limited nights. Part of it was foul trouble, but we never really established Andrew or Pau on the low block, where they can really hurt Denver. We were taken aback by their aggressive fronting and efforts to wall off the paint, but I foresee efforts to counter that in Game 2, so we’re going to get better nights from them. Bynum also seems to have gotten a bit of his confidence back; even with the fouls, I thought he was fairly effective (although he didn’t get nearly as many touches he should have). As Kurt and many others have indicated previously, Denver has no answer for a confident Bynum, and it will be interesting to see how the frontcourt dynamic plays out.

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  465. Hi guys,

    You wouldn’t believe it. Get home to watch the game, saw 3 3/4 qtrs of the game on my DVR, then it stops with 1:12 left to go. DAMN!!!!

    Anyway, he’s my summation of the game.

    Kobe – 13/28. If you look at the box score, that doesn’t look so good. But in all honesty, find me a bad shot in the 28 shots taken. He knew he’d have a mismatch with Jones and Carter, so he took them to the block. We will no doubt see more of this in the series.

    As much as everyone (ok most) were bagging out Fisher, we saw in the second half why Phil stays with him. Second half – 4/6 and hit some BIG shots at much needed times. No more PUJIT though, please.

    Carmelo Anthony was a monster tonight. Absolutely massive. Will he have another game like that, more than likely.

    Two other things I liked. The Lakers bench mob showed up as a unit, finally. Sasha showed great hussle, Luke made some great passes, even J Powell was good in his limited minutes. We need this off the bench to either extend leads or catch up (as was the case tonight). I was also pleased with Bynums effort. He got caught out on the weakside rotation during the pick and rolls and that’s where most of his fouls came from.

    The other good thing was the defense on Billups. We can probably like with Carmelo having big nights, can’t afford both Carmelo and Billups to have big ones. I think Kobe has more chance of shutting down Billups and being a force offensively than playing Carmelo all night and being as good offensively.

    One bad point for the Lakers was P&R defense. It wasn’t bad, it was horrible. Were the Lakers instructed to double Billups on the P&R and rotate? Looks like it, but thats a horrible mistake. We haven’t rotated well on P&R all year, so why not just straight swap. If they run the P&R with Nene, play Pau on the pick, allowing Bynum to prepare himself for a Billups penetration with someone following. Allowing Nene 14 points on mainly dunks is disgraceful.

    So, lets be honest. The Lakers started slow and let Nene dunk 3 (or two) times in the opening 8 minutes. The Nuggets fronting Bynum and Pau is not something they’re used to seeing. Kenyon Martin hit nearly every outside shot I saw him put up which won’t happen again.

    The Lakers will make the necessary adjustments and come out in Game 2 looking a lot better than they did tonight. I honestly think the Nuggets gave close to their best shot tonight and still fell short.

    After seeing this game (finally, I saw a game!), Lakers in 5 for me.

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  466. He is the great wall for NBA Sports.

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  467. As strange as this sounds, I think this is a perfect game to get Kobe’s confidence back.

    He had been a bit tentative towards the end of the Houston series, as the constant pressure from Battier & Co. was beginning to wear him down.

    18 points in the 4th, some key assists and tough defense on Melo all lead me to think that Kobe has found his pace again, and has decided “14 games left, at most. I can play hard the whole way through.”

    You cannot overstate how tough Kobe is.

    Great game to watch.

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  468. “It was a lot of fun, he’s a bull down there,” Bryant said. “I am a little out of my weight class, but I’ll give it my best shot.”

    That’s one of the amazing things about Kobe. We treat all “wings” like they’re interchangeable, but Lebron and Melo are truly forwards. Kobe doesn’t have the strength or length to deal with them but he manages to do it anyway. Kobe guarding Roy or Ginobili is a fairer matchup; guarding Melo is truly guarding out of position.

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  469. http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-plaschke-lakers20-2009may20,0,2277904,full.column

    Ariza’s good, but Bryant’s defense (while very sporadic) is on another level when he’s locked in. Last night really showed that.

    And I’m sure people have heard, but it turns out that finger injury was a dislocation – Kobe had that finger popped back in and still tore the game up afterwards.

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  470. I think I understand what Simmons is saying about Kobe. I was thinking during the game last night that things don’t come quite as easily for him – he has to work harder than he used to. It’s some combination of losing half-a-step, the hand injuries, or being tired because of not having a break since the summer of 2007. Still better than anyone else, with the possible exception of LeBron, but not quite what he was a couple of years ago. Which will probably make him appreciate the title even more this year if they win it.

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  471. Simmons suffers from performance anxiety. His writing style was great when he was a nobody and Boston’s sports teams sucked. You look a lot better playing ball in a pickup game than in the NBA.

    Now he has national exposure, coupled with the fact that Boston sports are enjoying a Renaissance. He just can’t get the mustard on the hot dog with everyone watching. He doesn’t have the chops to be where he is, but he will still cash the checks.

    And the great New England sports conglomerate will keep him there. But that’s OK, my reward will be watching the Celtics team implode during the offseason.

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  472. The hand injuries and no break since 2007 can be cured by an operation and forced rest in summer 2009. I suspect Kobe will be even better – maybe not so obviously dominant, though – next year.

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  473. I only watched the 4th quarter last night, but how did bynum do in the other 3? Obviously his box score impact was limited, but Phil and Kobe don’t seem too down about it:

    http://lakers.freedomblogging.com/2009/05/19/bynum-wasnt-all-bad/17157/

    I was very happy with his hard foul on Melo after he shrugged off kobe though.

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  474. MSN’s NBA sports headline reads:

    “Kobe’s Selfishness Saves Lakers.”

    Unreal.

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  475. @479

    Genius. Absolutely beyond money genius.

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  476. JR Smith is day to day with a hyperextended knee, but Karl believes he’s going to fine. Balkman (potentially another Kobe defender) is questionable for game 2 with an ankle sprain.

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  477. OK, 13/28 is not on fire, or transcendent, the way Kobe can get, but it’s still 46.4%, which is close to Kobe’s season average (and better than Melo’s), and 40 points still comes out to 1.4 points per FGA, which ain’t so bad either. I’ll take that kind of game, with that kind of D and those rebounds and assists.

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  478. @461—Also Kurt— I enjoyed KG’s prime, Paul Pierce’s prime and Ray Allen’s prime.

    Goodnight Celtics..

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  479. I will take any player who is past his prime and plays like Kobe. So what if he has lost his explosiveness and first step. So what if he has to work harder to get his. All these things come with age. Lets not forget the number of games he has played, the dislocated fingers and all he has endured. For the simple fact that he adjusts and does what is necessary to play at a high level is ok with me. Why is the media in a rush to crown lebron?

    Did West say what he said to push Kobe? Was it a calculated move on his part? The timing couldnt have been better…I wonder.

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  480. PeanutButterSpread May 20, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Jane – does anyone still use MSN as their front page anymore?

    Google and Yahoo >>>>>>>>> MSN.

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  481. New post up.

    And don’t forget the chat at 1 p.m. today Pacific.

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  482. j.d. Hastings May 20, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Roundball Mining Company has an excellent breakdown of the game last night.

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  483. 487-Laker Girl:

    I was wondering the same thing. West’s timing seems very appropriate.

    Probably just us searching for something more, but that will certainly drive Kobe, especially in a match-up against LeBron.

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  484. @488 – Google is my front page, but I always peek at MSN and hilarity ensues.

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  485. I think, looking back, that what I enjoyed the most about yesterday’s game (aside from Kobe’s Mamba show, Bynum playing hard and fearless, Pau taking over when he needed to and Ariza playing like a star) is that our perimeter shots were falling. If Fisher and Sasha find their shot again as a result of yesterday, that will make the series a lot easier for us.

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  486. Great close to the game. Kobe lookin in tip top shape courtsey of Mr. West, check out why his comments in regards to LeBron fueled Kobe last night..
    http://kaliphornya.wordpress.com/2009/05/20/thank-you-mr-west/

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  487. I also used to like Simmons “in his prime”. He used to be an earnest journalist, but now that he has national exposure he has become a pretentious and conceited attention seeker. He artificially digs up controversy and always tries to play “the wise man with the unconventional view” to the point that almost everything he says is just fabricated for attention. He’s no longer earnest he just tries too hard to appear earnest as the guy that isn’t afraid to speak his mind. In reality that is precisely what he is not. He created a controversial shell of himself over the past 2 years and he tries to keep up appearances with shallow journalism.

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