Lakers/Nuggets Game 2 Chat

Kurt —  May 21, 2009

Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers
I expect this game to be similar, yet very different, from game one.

Similar in the sense that I expect it to be close. Maybe this series will have its blowout game — all series seem to — but for the most part the games will be close and the difference will be execution under fire.

How I expect it to be different is in how the Lakers attempt to dictate the game — this time they will go inside and attack mismatches with Denver’s front line. If Nene is on Gasol, then Bynum needs to tear up Martin. Clearly the Lakers wanted to do that last game but were taken aback by the fronting strategy and energy that Denver put into stopping the post entry passes.

As there always are in the triangle, there were counters to what Denver did but the Lakers didn’t seem to execute them. First, I expect the Lakers will try to get Bynum and Gasol (and even Kobe) running and trying to get early position deep (and hopefully they will get the ball this time, the Lakers did not reward running bigs last game). Also, look for the Lakers bigs to move from week to strong and get the ball as they do, look maybe even for the bigs setting screens for each other.

What the Lakers need to do is attack — they started doing that at the end of the last game and that is when they got calls. Before that, Denver got the calls because they attacked the rim. (Hopefully the officiating is a little more consistent for everyone tonight.) But off the dribble or pass to the post, the Lakers need to get to the rim.

When that happens the Nuggets will collapse, and that is when Fisher/Farmar/Sasha/Ariza/Walton need to make them pay with threes.

The Lakers can score off the Kobe/Gasol pick and roll, that is a deadly combination, but the Nuggets are a good pick-and-roll defensive team, so hopefully there is not a steady diet of this.

Defensively, the Lakers need to do better early in the clock and in transition. The Lakers need to do better finding Billups and Melo in transition and not letting them make the play.

Denver wants to get fast break points but when that is not there they almost always set a drag screen (a big behind the play stops up for an early-in-the-clock pick and roll) and after the deliberate pace of the Houston series the Lakers did not adjust well to this. Billups is not going to have another off game shooting like that, especially if the Lakers bigs do not do a better job on that drag screen. The Lakers bigs need to show out, take away his jumper and easy path to the basket, then recover,

I don’t expect Melo to be as hot, but he won’t be cold either. He is playing well right now and the Lakers need to just make him work for his points. Whether it is Ariza, Walton or Kobe, somebody needs to step up and step out on him a little. And that may be hard because I expect Denver will start having him attack from the top of the key, where the Lakers rotations are not as paint-by-numbers.

The Lakers need to continue their domination of the boards. And the bench needs another good night

Bottom line, I think Bynum is going to be a good barometer for the Lakers this game. And I hope Ding is right.


to Lakers/Nuggets Game 2 Chat

  1. If you read one thing today, read this piece. Amazing:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/lee_jenkins/05/20/lakers.nuggets.game1/index.html

    Just truly shows how much winning changes perception. And the mix of Lakers legends – West coaching Kareem, Wilt and Kareem going back and forth – makes for a fun historic read.

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  2. Great preview, as always.

    Am I wrong, or have the Lakers been reticent all year to get the ball to Bynum (or Pau) as they come through the lane weak to strong? It was such a devastating play to run with Shaq yet I’ve seen so little of it this season.

    One other factor: I don’t see K-Mart having an equally effective offensive game tonight.

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  3. Lakers may want to take a similar approach to what Orlando is employing against Lebron. Go ahead and give Melo his 45 points, but shut down everyone else. Make Melo a one-man show and dare him to try and beat them singlehandedly.

    The Nuggets of last year were very weak because they just kind of took turns every time down the court with one star dribbling around a bunch and then shooting. Deep down, I’m willing to bet that Melo wants the recognition that Kobe, Lebron and Wade get.

    If we tempt him, he may decide to go all Artesty on us by trying to take over the game and heaving up contested shot after contested shot.

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  4. On a side note, one thing I want to say about the Kobe vs. LeBron debate. As great as both players are, one of the many reasons why I (and many others) prefer Kobe is his clutch shooting, whether it’s a jumper or a free throw. I was never worried about making the FTs late in the 4Q. Although there are other reasons why the Cavs lost, some are pointing to LeBron’s 3 missed FTs, which is unfair.

    Just pointing out why I prefer Kobe over LeBron

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  5. “You have to practice the way you play,” Sasha says, wiping the sweat into his free-flowing hair. “And, yes, sometimes it is good to be annoying.”

    Good to see he knows his strengths.

    Who wipes sweat into their hair? Is there a lack of mousse in Los Angeles?

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  6. Jim C,

    I was telling someone that exact thing earlier today, but I thought about it a little and admitted I was wrong. Melo doesn’t create offense with passing for Denver like LBJ does. Melo wants to score and him scoring big is what his team wants/needs. Him going for the big number puts us in jeopardy. He has to be somewhat contained, unfortunately I think we’ll continue to give him whatever shot he wants on the perimeter for the rest of the series.

    And I don’t see him being anything like Artest. He’s turned a corner. I think he knows and relishes his role now.

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  7. I was at game 1, and I agree the Nuggets are not going away. They had no fear of being on the road, and in fact seemed to relish it (shutting up the fans with some big plays as well as acting like they’ve been there before after those plays). I also think the Lakers made progress, as they didn’t blow up on offense yet still were able to grind out a win with effort.

    Now that the “drain” of playing a game 7 is behind them, and they’ve had some time to focus in on Denver, the adjustments of working the ball inside will be more evident. Gasol is Gasol, I don’t think he’s suddenly going to explode in terms of energy or activity, he’s a polished player who will do his part. Bynum, on the other hand, can change his effect on the game with more active feet to go with the length he showed off in game 1. That could not only get him more involved on both ends, it can help him stay out of foul trouble.

    Granted, I’m still in the show-me mode with these Lakers, since the last series was so baffling in terms of overall effort. But I think Bynum by now has got to realize (and have been told repeatedly) that he can have his way if he can stay in the game.

    I like the “let Melo score ALL the points” idea, but I also didn’t think the Lakers D was too bad save the breakdowns on p&r, a few too many of those. I think the Nuggets just shot really well, except from the FT line of course. Billups will do better, but can Martin? Can Melo repeat his game 1 showing? How limiting is JR’s injury? 5 hours till we find out…

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  8. clutch824:
    That’s a good point about Denver wanting Melo to score a lot. You’re definitely causing me to rethink a bit, but I’m not all the way sold.

    We’ve seen the “Melo has turned the corner” thing before. There have been a couple of times where Melo has been absolutely killing folks for weeks at a time and then something (usually something off the court, but also disagreements with George Karl or teammates) has killed his momentum.

    Yeah, Melo has been super this year and has played how all real basketball fans hoped he’d eventually start playing, but this is an unfamiliar stage for him. He’s deep in the playoffs and facing the possibility of an 0-2 hole. I think that the inner “Alpha Dog” in him might just reassert itself and cause him to start trying to do too much.

    Even the best players are susceptible to this. Kobe still does it from time to time.

    In essence, Kobe and Melo are a bit alike in this regard. Both the Lakers and the Nuggets want their star to put up big numbers, but within the confines of the offense and not at the expense of the team game plan is preferred.

    Essentially, I think we want Melo to be trying to make all the decisions for Denver on the court down the stretch rather than playing off Billups’ decision making. What’s made Melo so amazing this year is that he’s let Billups lead, and he’s fit his game into what Chauncey wants to do on the court.

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  9. I agree with Clutch. We don’t want to give Carmelo the 1-on-1 look all night like LeBron.

    1) He can knockdown jumpers more consistently than LeBron
    2) They have offensive liabilities on the floor, whereas the Cavs have shooters. Compare Dahntay Jones, Carter, Birdman, KMart, to West, Ilgauskas, Mo, Gibson, Smith etc. We should rotate off them when they’re on the floor to make them pay.
    3) We don’t have someone like Dwight Howard who can challenge at the rim as effectively. So we must send help earlier.
    4) Carmelo’s already hot, why give the what’s working?

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  10. Snoopy,
    Having played sports in long hair, the sweat acts as a mousse or gel out there. It keeps it out of the face and eyes, and it’s actually very useful that way.

    I’m sure you really wanted to learn that 🙂

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  11. Agree with clutch. Melo doesn’t have the ballhandling/decision-making responsibilities of Kobe or LeBron (Billups takes care of that). His job is to score and score big, and he can do it without hurting Denver’s overall offensive scheme. Get the ball out of his hands and let Martin, Jones, and Carter fire away.

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  12. The clear difference between the last year’s Nuggets and this year’s is that they won’t give us the game. We have to take it from them. However, the similarity is that they still have George Karl and his disfunctional relationship with his players. JR Smith and K-Mart are still very volatile and can be very goaded into doing something stupid. Melo and Chauncey are pretty tough but I don’t think that they are at the same page with Karl ALL THE TIME.

    When things go well, there won’t be problems. But when they get down by double digits or fall behind 0-2, we’ll see how they handle this. Tonight, I think it’s all about adjustments. How well will the Nuggets limit the offensive rebounding of the Lakers? How well the Lakers will be able to establish the inside game of Gasol and Bynum?

    The X-factor once again will be Lamar. If he can continue to offensive rebound and make cuts to the hole as he did last year, we can win easily. If not, we’ll have to find scoring once again through 3pt shooting, which hasn’t been our strength lately until the last game.

    I think it will be a close game until the last 2-3 minutes of 4th quarter, when our half-court execution takes over. Hopefully.

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  13. Should be a really good game.

    I definitely think we’ll surpass the output of K-Mart tonight, that should help us. I hope KD is right and we see Bynum play with some confidence on both ends of the floor. I thought his time on the court was fairly productive last game, and the fouls he took were (for the most part) smart/hard.

    I also hope Fish’s big shots were just a sign of things to come, get him out of his slump and we will be that much tougher.

    Chauncey will probably shoot better, but I thought the Lakers did an excellent job of taking away most of his playmaking. I mean the guy is a stud, he’s going to get points, assists, etc. but if you play him tough it at least makes things difficult. Carmelo is officially entering man territory and while I don’t expect 40, I expect a great game. We need to win the battle of the bigs and we can really put some doubt in the minds of Denver.

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  14. One point to add to clutch’s is that Billups remains the primary set up man for Denver’s offense. He’s the guy that will create offense for the rest of Denver’s players (even Melo, just because he’s barking out the plays and reading the D for the best option), so I think if we entice Melo to shoot more, it may come back to haunt us if he’s having a big game because Billups will still get his chances (and set up chances for the other guys) based off his leadership within the offense.

    As for something I want to see tonight: I hope that we can control the screener better in P&R situations. Last game, the screener slipped a lot of screens and Billups was able to hit the man in stride to either get layups/dunks or draw fouls on our bigs. I think we can combat this in two ways – First, is for the man guarding the screener to cut off Billups’ passing angle by showing harder and more aggressively so Chauncey can’t just pick us apart with simple bounce passes. And second is for our other backline big to step up sooner so that if the screener does recieve the pass he has to make a play for someone else by getting rid of the ball (because the lane is now closed down). If that backside big could even show soon enough, he may discourage Billups from even making that pass and then we have a good hedge/recover and Denver has run clock only having to reset and try something else. One of the reasons that Denver had so many points in the paint was because of our inability to cover this play effectively. If we can do it tonight, they may have to rely more on jumpshots and hopefully our perimeter D is tight enough to make those looks tough due to strong contests.

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  15. 5, Check this out it may surprise you.

    http://www.82games.com/gamewinningshots.htm

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  16. In the KD article, I can see Bynum’s point about refs being biased against him because he’s still not playing well. I don’t know if that’s their intent, but certainly his fouls last game were very questionable.

    1. Merely touched Birdman with his hand from behind (wow, that sounds really dirty) on the offensive board, Andersen jumps forward. Bad angle, refs makes the call. Missed call.
    2. Fight for loose ball, got grabbed, grabbed back. Questionable.
    3. Jump up, contest on D. Offensive player initiated contact, Bynum’s hands straight up but hasn’t reached Dwight Howard status yet so you won’t get that call.

    I actually recall only one hard foul on Carmelo toward the end of the game when he got frustrated.

    I fully expect Bynum to be a factor this game, with the refs making a better assessment of his activity and adjustments to get him the ball. For two straight games now he’s been keeping away from stupid fouls better as well as not appearing to foul.

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  17. Hollinger’s the first to take Lebron to task (kind of) on all the strutting and posturing that he does, that somehow, makes him more endearing to most of the media:

    http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=26568

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  18. Darius is right. The high screen and roll was murder last game because guys like Nene were allowed to roll right to the hoop with a bounce pass feed. Lamar was often the guy was who late getting over on the back side. Let’s hope the coaches pointed this out in the film sessions.

    As for slowing Melo, I like the way the Lakers changed things up on him the other night. He had torched Ariza a good part of the game, but playing Walton and Kobe on him for stretches will at least make him think about what he’s doing, maybe have to change his approach depending upon who’s guarding him.

    If worse comes to worse, Kobe can revert to his “doberman” role a la the Olympics and work to lock down the best player at the end of the game.

    Hopefully he’ll have had some help with the offense prior to that point, because asking him to carry the weight on both ends of the floor is too much, even for Kobe.

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  19. Not sure about what everyone think, but to me, Bynum is like Kobe in a sense when Kobe was young. What i mean is that he want to be a star, and i am not saying he can’t but he try too hard to be one, instead of just following the flow of the game. Either that or he is trying to be intimidating by trying to block at every book that came through his way, and ignore boxing.

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  20. Really interested to see what adjustments are made by the Lakers in combating the Denver defense. It should be an advantage that we run a similar defense.

    Good points, Darius. Those four or five uncontested dunks the Nuggets had in the first quarter were unacceptable.

    I like that Lakers shook off the “lose the first quarter lose the game” stat, but I’d love to see them throw the first punch tonight. To continue with the boxing analogy, the rope-a-dope is too risky of a strategy because of the confidence it builds in the other team.

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  21. If Bynum was like Kobe, he would own the league. If he had a fraction of the mentality that Kobe had, we would be in the midst of another dynasty. Kobe wasn’t a pudgeball who decided to start working out 2 months before the NBA Draft.

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  22. I say that with affection, Drew.

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  23. Snoopy2006. Thanks for link. Donnie Walsh, interim coach. wow! Adrian Dantley playing for the lakers. Le logo coaching the lakers and going nuts..as usual.

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  24. I agree with pb, Lamar is the X-factor. His length could help us tremendously on defense if -and only if- he accepts the challenge to finally assert himself on this grand stage. Although we know he has the ability to score, he has not been assertive in this regard. He has not taken the responsibility to be the second or third scorer on this stage yet. Although he has the ability to play good defense, his defense has been nothing short of awful for most of last series and in game 1 of this series. I know that Lamar is hurt. The only reason that I’m raising this is because I believe that PJ needs to CHALLENGE him to be the one who steps-up.

    I would start the game with the same starters and match-ups that were used in game 1. However, the first substitution would be Lamar for Fisher. I would move Trevor over to guard Billups and put Odom on Melo (The CHALLENGE).

    Now before you tell me that Odum would get torched please hear me out.

    Most of you know that length bothers jump shooters. In past series it was actually Vlad Rad who did the best job on Melo. I would assign Lamar to crowd Melo and keep his hands up while on the perimeter (like Tashaun Prince plays Kobe). Lamars jobe would simple be to make all jumpers difficult.

    I would always double Melo on post-ups, He is to tough in there. This approach will leave our defense most vulnerable to dribble drives by Melo. As long as Lamar doesn’t quit once Melo drives past him he should be able to cover the pull ups and we must rely on our bigs to help if he gets near the rim.

    My final point is that so far our bigs have not been very effective at limiting penetration. I think this is happening because neither Pao or Andrew appear to be committed. When guards or forwards drive to the rim their are only 2 options: Go for the block or go to take the charge. My observation is that Andrew (due to fear of getting a foul) and Pao (not sure why) are always somewhere between these two options.

    If I were PJ I would free Andrew to go for the blocks and tell him not to let the fear of fouling out deter him. I he gets in early foul trouble DJ could sub in and play this role. I would tell Pao to be more decisive, either block or charge and don’t get caught between the two.

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  25. If Kobe has to cover Melo for an extended period of time tonight, that will not work in our favor. Despite his great defense when he puts his mind to it, Melo has a couple of inches and 30 pounds on Kobe and is more than comfortable wrestling around in the low block. Now that Ariza hopefully has a better handle on his tendencies and where he likes to receive the ball (particularly in delayed transition), I expect he’ll have a better game defensively tonight.

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  26. Are tacos in play during the playoffs, or is it just a regular season thing?

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  27. j.d. Hastings May 21, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I gotta say, I love the extra time and length that Kelly Dwyer is able to put into his recaps this deep into the playoffs. Each one is a little masterpiece of bball reflection

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  28. 27. Tacos were in effect for game 7 against the Rockets. Not sure about this round. I can’t imagine the NBA is good with that during the Finals.

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  29. 28. KD is amazing.

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  30. completely unrelated, but DAMN i’m so happy i don’t have to root for the clippers. what a sorry excuse for a human being.

    http://deadspin.com/5263277/the-sordid-life-of-clippers-owner-donald-sterling

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  31. http://my.lakers.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/fisher_denver_3.jpg

    Sasha’s an affectionate fellow, isn’t he? Doesn’t appear Fish is any more enthusiastic than Kobe usually is.

    I agree that Lamar may swing the game (especially defensively if he’s on Melo) but personally I feel, as I did before Game 1, that bench play will be crucial to our success. They truly saved the game for us with their (20-2?) run. Hopefully they can come up big and outplay the Nugs reserves again.

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  32. Trevor has always been a better help defender than a 1-on-1 defender. He has the tools to get better, but I don’t think we should expect any shut-down defense from him.

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  33. Craig W – You’re absolutely right. Sometimes we as Laker fans get over-excitable. Ariza’s a stud, no doubt, but he’s not the lockdown individual defender some of us have made him out to be. Great as a help defender, though, really plays the passing lanes well.

    Adande’s got a new piece up on ESPN. I’m not sure I buy most of the article, but I do agree that we’re not (or rather, the NBA is not) hyping up this Kobe/Melo match-up enough. This is some serious superstar power, and the 2 purest scorers in the game, who also went to battle defensively. Definitely a top match-up in the league.

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  34. I think this is the game Drew gets off to a big start. Hopefully he can stay out of foul trouble while still patroling the paint.

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  35. is the game at 5 or 6PM pacific? I’ve seen ads running with both times.

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  36. Chris, I know is it’s at 9PM Eastern, and 7PM Mountain time. That makes it 6PM Pacific though, right? (Still learning the time zones…)

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  37. 36 Chris, I think the pregame show starts an hour earlier, at least that’s what it says on my Tivo

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  38. the game is at 6 p.m. they say 5 p.m. for the playoff coverage.

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  39. Mimsy’s right, the actual game’s at 6 pm LA time. It’s ESPN so the pre-game show will start at least half an hour earlier (or an hour, as Don said).

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  40. There is a “Dream Season 23 vs 24” showing right now on ESPN showing the past year for Kobe & Bron. Mostly older interviews and footage but still pretty good. They’re not debating them, just showing each one’s “road to greatness” if you will.

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  41. thanks all! dang, I missed the first quarter of the last game. here I am, watching every game of the season, sometimes having to scramble because I’m out of town, (I can feel ya down under there in Oz mate, I had to find a game down there once, and it started at 6AM, in a 24 hour sports gaming joint) and here I am at home, lounging around waiting til the 7:30 tip off…I go to set my tivo, and BAM! it’s already in progress.
    but from what I heard, I think I’m glad I missed the first quarter of game 1…

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  42. Adam – dude, great heads-up. I can’t believe ESPN didn’t advertise this more.

    Does anyone know if this will be replayed?

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  43. Snoop, no problem. It also offers us the oh-so fortunate opportunity to listen to Justin Timberlake for an hour…

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  44. If Bynum (Benoit Benjamin) & L.O. do not show up then this will be a short series in favor of Denver. However, as Kareem stated regarding Benoit err.. Bynum there is growth and perhaps sooner than later Bynum will come out of his shell and start asserting himself on defensively & offensively. Hopefully, this will start tonight and continue throughout the playoffs.

    How would you like the Lakers to have Posey coming off the bench instead of Walton? They both make the same amount of money. Can anyone tell me why Walton is in the league besides his last name. Maybe Mitch was having flashbacks during his collegiate partying days at North Carolina and thought he was drafting Bill.

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  45. lmao is that Justin Timberlake narrating? Wow that makes so much sense. I was wondering why they went with an apparent pre-pubescent narrator instead of the usual Darth Vader approach.

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  46. Am I the only one thinking blowout?

    Think about this:
    Game 1 was a game where Denver threw its first punch, and we never really recovered but still somehow managed to win.

    Essentially, it’s our turn to ‘react,’ and take away what was successful for Denver.

    Denver, on the other hand, did just about everything right but the last 6 minutes or so (or the first few free throws, depending on your perspective). Which means that there’s really nothing they can game plan for this game, but see how we make our first move.

    Granted, I wouldn’t bank on anything when it comes to this Lakers, but I have great confidence in Karl not being able to counter effectively in-game, and I truly believe that blunders like those made by the Nuggets at the end of the game are the kind that you can’t suddenly veer away from just by showing a few clips and yelling at them. (we all knew Martin would do something silly, as well as Karl).

    So, if, and this is a big if, we come out with good focus and energy, I see us building a quick lead and don’t relinquish it. Considering that the onus is on us to defend home court while they can always say “it ain’t a series until somebody wins on the road,” a quick lead could lead them to capitulate.

    Yes, and I can just as clearly see us coughing up any lead we built, but hey, as a fan I reserve the right to be optimistic every now and then.

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  47. Ha, yeah you’re the second person w/ exact that reaction…Good ol’ JT keeping it real on ESPN

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  48. What’s up all….Good Morning from fogged in, cold, Melbourne.

    nba.com emailed me this morning telling me that they’re looking into the problem with the radio feeds. Bit late for Game 1. And can you believe my DVR stopped the game with 1:12 to go??? Hopefully today is better for me!

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  49. Wow these ESPN game intros suck. “He has inspired us before. He inspired us again.” Did the producer’s 4-year old kid write this?

    TNT, where art thou?

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  50. Walton keeps his cool and is not really fazed when playing with Kobe, and makes highlight passes every now and then 😉

    As for letting Melo score, you all must be out of your mind. The man scored 39 when we tried NOT to let him score, how much do you think he will get when you just concede? Do we want to see somebody else score 80+? That’s extreme, but I think Van Gundy said it best when he said he would do it to LeBron if it’s just 30. Yeah, if letting him score means 30, heck, that’s much better than trying to stop him 😉

    Still, let’s hope we solve their fronting our frontline and get THEM into foul trouble.

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  51. Thanks Snoop, I was gonna tape the Pre-Game…forget it now!

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  52. Ok, here’s my summary of things.

    The Nuggets didn’t do a hell of a lot wrong Tuesday night, where we did a lot wrong. I was reading an article on ESPN (or was it Lakers.com??) which said, “The Lakers are in the position to make plenty of adjustments, whereas the Nuggets only need to fine tune stuff”.

    That’s pretty much right. I expect us to come out and handle our business tonight. The bigs (and guards) will learn to live with the fronting on offense, Kobe will make a heap more shots on the block (he kept missing fade aways which were good looks).

    All good, no major concerns from my end about this game. I actually don’t think it will be as close as everyone is talking. The Nuggets gave it close to their best shot Tuesday in my opinion….

    Lakers by 12.

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  53. Benoit Benjamin? That’s out of line.

    (Of course, I dubbed Oden a bust halfway through this season so maybe I have no room to talk.)

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  54. Re: Guarding Melo, I am in the boat that Odom would probably be our best match up on Anthony. He has the length to give him some space yet still contest the jumpshot. Also our best to defend him on the block. In any case, we need to have the size to rebound, and the speed to get back on defense.

    We’ve talked a lot on here in the past about the deficiencies of an Odom/Gasol/Bynum front line, and they may not have the speed to keep up. Also, we need to be able to stretch the floor and this line-up isn’t ideal for that. But another that could work is Odom at the 4, with Walton at the 3 (Gasol or Bynum at center). Walton and Odom would switch defensive assignments w/ Odom on Anthony and Walton guarding Martin or Birdman. Some may laugh, but I think Luke can body up well enough to stay with either of those two, as they aren’t more than average in the post with the ball. Also, Luke tends to box out and rebound well.

    Regardless, we need a team effort on D, but I’m just trying to think ideal match ups. I don’t think we’ll see Kobe on Anthony but in clutch moments down the stretch or spot runs throughout the game. We can’t have Kobe expending too much energy or getting into foul trouble on defense – we need him on the other end.

    Other than that, I look for our front line to be very impressive tonight, and also for some big shots from Billups to keep the game close.

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  55. I just can’t get this ignant smirk off my face as this panel on the pre-game show devise ways to come up with……explanations for Lebron giving up the ball on the last possession of the game. lol.

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  56. Is everyone that engrossed in the pre-game show, there’s no chatter here? 🙁

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  57. i really dont like the espn guys so I avoid they’re pregame

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  58. Every commentator and analyst has their plusses and minuses. The only one I can’t stand is Mark Jackson.

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  59. im so happpy they show pregame intros!

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  60. 55

    Ditto. Stuart Scott alone is bad enough before you throw in Michael Wilbon, Jon Barry, and whoever else they have on there.

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  61. Oh, I’m gonna kick some NBA All Access a$$ in a minute. Looks like the radio feeds are still down….ARGGHHH

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  62. I look for a dominant performance out of our front line tonight…Also, i’m thinking Billups will be living up to his name and help to keep this close.

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  63. an this ia a huge game 2. we win and we can really take their hearts out. they win and they go home for 2 games in a very hostile environment, and could easily get both. that means a 3-1 got the Nuggets, we win tonight, we’re up 2-0, and all we have to do is get a split in D, we’re the ones up 3-1.
    better bring it fellas, cuz they are in A MUST win situation tonight.
    and SO ARE WE!!
    game 2, now, it’s on!
    intensity, focus, control the emotions, don’t complain on calls, hot your shots, rebound!!!

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  64. I think the ESPN/ABC studio guys are pretty lame (the idea that Stuart Scott is the best the country has to offer makes me sad), but I’m willing to make that trade-off not to have to listen to Doug Collins.

    Mark Jackson should be “accidentally” locked in a room under Staples Center for the duration, but it’s still an improvement. And whoever at the networks thinks three-man announcing teams are a good thing should be locked in with him.

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  65. Trevor, watching you dribble drive hurts almost as much as Fish’s PUJITs. Players need to be reminded to play within their games.

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  66. just following gamecast… are we seeing good defense or just sloppy offense?

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  67. Bynum’s doing a good job of getting position and being active on the offensive end. Seems like there were a couple times Ariza could have gotten the ball in to him and was tentative. Gotta reward the big fella.

    As I say that, beautiful post entry pass over the front.

    Wow they’re calling this game really tight.

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  68. WOW…4 fouls on Dahntay Jones in less than six minutes…can we get a precedent for this?

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  69. Tough call for Jones. Really hurts being a no-name in this league.

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  70. Someone tell Jones he’s not Kobe.
    Gosh. 4 fouls. 0-of-2. God.

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  71. Dahntay Jones has picked up 4 fouls in the first 5:48. Impressive.

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  72. Let’s go. Game 2.

    Here’s what I expect from my Nuggets:
    1) More ball pressure.
    Great pressure defense creates turnovers, and the Nuggets just have that ability. They have done it in the 1st quarter of Game 1, and what was the result? A double-digit lead. They are good at intercepting passes and deflecting the ball, which results on the opponent’s lack of ball movement.

    2) Revived Billups and JR Smith.
    I don’t have any doubts regarding this, expect them to be more aggressive and make the right plays (take away JR’s mental lapses during heated play/or when things are not going in his way). Whatever happens, I’m taking those 2 shooting all day since they are 2 legitimate shooters.

    3) Contain Kobe, er, Pau Gasol, I mean.
    No one can contain Kobe, except himself, so I’m taking it on Pau Gasol.
    Nene did a great job making Gasol a passer, clogging the passing lanes for Gasol and whenever he touches the ball, he gets two defenders on him.
    I expect Gasol, the wise player that he is, to be more aggressive, but I expect Nene to know that. So, this is going to be a tough test on him because he fouled out last game, therefore, he might be a little bid laidback on the first quarter.

    Game 2 is the most important game to win in every series (except for Game 7).

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  73. i kinda feel bad for jones

    4 fouls already

    dam that sucks

    0

  74. and pau gasol is being tentative again, ugh.

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  75. i think were gonna get more love from this officiating crew

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  76. My “keys for my team” isn’t getting any showing. “Awaiting moderation”

    0

  77. sloppy? 4 TOs already

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  78. Our offense has certainly been sloppy. And Kobe took a quick three that I really wasn’t fond of.

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  79. Maybe it’s foolish to think players will change overnight, but one thing I’d like to see in Bynum is a consistent demeanor: locked in. I don’t like seeing his head bowed over, or shoulders slumped over.

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  80. Need to get Bynum and Pau the ball in the post. They are doing a better job of moving from the strong side to the weak to try and get the ball but there been some bad passes. Some credit goes to Denver, you can tell their whole defense is going to be predicated on not letting Gasol any good looks, but a lot of it is bad execution.

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  81. Sorry for the delay in moderation. Still at work.

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  82. See good things happen when Pau gets the ball in the post and when you attack the basket.

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  83. The Lakers are getting to the FT line, good to see.

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  84. I have asked this last game, and I’ll ask it again.

    “Who the heck is Ariza?”

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  85. Wow Martin won’t ever miss if he keeps getting shots like that.

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  86. Unexplainable May 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Anyone where I could possibly watch this online? I just moved into a new apartment and I’m laid up in bed sick, so I can’t go out to watch…..any help would be immensely appreciated

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  87. Why is Odom rotating onto JR leaving Martin alone and then not rotating back.

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  88. Our defense is much better to start this game, but our offense is still hesitant and disjointed.

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  89. Our defense was good when Bynum was in. With Odom it’s back to usual.

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  90. Tom Cruise’s son looks like Stephen Curry.

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  91. Mamba is sharp early

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  92. sasha at the point

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  93. ozlaker,
    I won’t try to speak for anyone else, but I was having dinner during the pre-game show. When you get out of work an hour before tip-off, and have to make a couple on your way home, then unfortunately chattering on the blog during the pre-game show is secondary to having dinner.

    I like our energy! There is hustling, heart, playing like it matters… and that was CLEAN!

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  94. And the myths of Phil Jackson’s excellent free throw defense continue…

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  95. Oh, and Birdman, Ariza is our secret weapon. Our sleeper agent. Our cloak-and-dagger assassin!

    You get the idea. 🙂

    He’s been doing these things all season. He just doesn’t get a lot of media attention.

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  96. please make a shot today sasha

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  97. Well, Denver are in a similar to hole to the one we found ourselves in after the 1st quarter of Game 1. The question is, can we maintain the effort when Kobe rests this quarter?

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  98. Man, Sasha can’t hit anything – it’s a sad sight considering how great he was last year.

    Kobe and Pau looking sharp tonight.

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  99. Kobe not happy with Sasha after he missed that haha

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  100. Linas Kleiza for three

    For some reason I’m wary of him. Perhaps because the only Den – LAL game I had seen in recent memory (perhaps last year) had one of his best games against us.

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  101. Wow. Just Wow.
    That’s 7-of-11 from CB at the line.

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  102. 100. cos that was the second time kobe could have shot but chose to pass to sasha instead

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  103. Meant to post this earlier, if you need a link for tonight ESPN360 has it:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/espn360/index?id=290521013

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  104. a mcuh better start than Game 1, Lakers are active on defense and shooting the ball well

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  105. Let’s hope Kobe has some legs left for the 4th.

    Or better yet, let’s hope we don’t need him in the 4th.

    Lakers making me look smart so far.

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  106. Kenyon Martin is by far the most productive Nugget so far. That’s a good thing.

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  107. For anyone wanting an online feed: http://en.justin.tv/movieexpress#mychat

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  108. Earth to Lamar: you have a right hand

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  109. Kobe getting to the line is such a key. It keeps him above the “point per shot” mark that most opposing teams would like to hold him to, and it gets him rolling with his stroke.

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  110. cant we have farmar and brown instead of sasha?

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  111. Lamar ODom leaving Kleiza all alone in the corner again…

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  112. Sasha must be thanking his lucky stars he already got paid, because if he were a free agent this summer I don’t know if anyone would pick him up.

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  113. sasha takes some wild shots, none of which he makes

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  114. If we had last year’s Sasha, we would be soooo in control.

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  115. i just wish sasha would only shoot when he is wide open, with his feet set – not off screens

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  116. Lindsay Nicole May 21, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Wow, Sasha has been horrible.. it drives me crazy to watch him.

    Kobe and Pau are definitely on top of it tonight.

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  117. Good. Let’s pound it to build Bynum’s game and to put the Nuggets bench in foul trouble.

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  118. I like how Bynum is playing. Moves well, moves with confidence, no stupid fouls… I like this!

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  119. ladies and gentlemen.. pls welcome your 2013 lakers..

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  120. Man, I’ve been waiting a while to see a game like this…hope they can keep it up!

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  121. Lindsay Nicole May 21, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    We totally have this game. They’re making some great rebounds and assists tonight.

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  122. Farmar is playing great. He’s out to prove that he could be a starter on this team in the future.

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  123. welcome back, farmar. we missed you.

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  124. Farmar putting on a clinic!

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  125. I feel bad for Sasha. At least he is not making stupid mistakes. He’s taking good shots in rhythm which do not seem to be going in for him this year.

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  126. 9 boards for Pau…you tell me he’s got that in the first 14 minutes anytime, and I can tell you the Lakers are most certainly winning.

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  127. Furious George returns.

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  128. Farmar is showing he does not want to lose any playing time

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  129. Denver’s falling apart. Right now they look like the Denver from last year. Surprises me I didn’t think they would get so flustered. Maybe they will turn it around and make it a game (I hope not).

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  130. Unexplainable May 21, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    thanks to the people who provided linkage

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  131. Farmar is doing a good job tonight!

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  132. lol @ Darius…that was one red faced George, eh?

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  133. Melo has such a pretty Jumper for a guy his size. The only guys his size that shoot that well and get get their shot off so quick are Dirk and Durant.

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  134. Unexplainable: We know how you feel…. glad to hear the links worked! 🙂

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  135. Bynum is playing well. He is very active which is good to see.

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  136. Lindsay Nicole May 21, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Wow go Bynum!

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  137. great play by the Lakers Bynum with the dunk

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  138. These are the Nuggets we know and love.

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  139. Bynum’s decisiveness is what is really impressing me..whether he’s making them or not.

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  140. Let’s not get all giddy people, 11-15 points aren’t a lot in a game like this

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  141. @Adam T:
    Agreed. He is playing with confidence again. Whatever caused that, I really hope it lasts!

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  142. Aaaand Kobe just Passed Kareem on the play-off scoring list for the Lakers! Only person left to beat on that list: The Logo himself.

    Cue the scary music…

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  143. And here are the Lakers we know and love.

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  144. Lamar are you planning to cover Kleiza this game?

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  145. talk about a game of runs…our shrunken lead is discouraging, but we should not expect anything less from this Denver team. That is what we need to keep in mind – they’re a very good team.

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  146. why are we leaving good shooters open?

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  147. Lead diminishing rapidly…and foul trouble for Smith and Jones is giving Kleiza free reign.

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  148. Mimsy – it’s that bipolar disorder…really distorting 😉

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  149. kobe really not liking being guarded by melo

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  150. Lindsay Nicole May 21, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Seriously? Nuggets just racked up points and came back quick. Come onnn.

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  151. Is it against the law to give the ball to Pau in the post?

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  152. Confusingly similar half-time situation to Game 1. One team runs out to a lead, then manages to lose it all by the half.

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  153. I saw that play by Billups coming the second I saw Kobe turn his back

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  154. Brethren, we’ve got a ball game.

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  155. I dont want to see more Bynum in the next half. Les Lamar please…

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  156. By all means, block the layup, Gasol.

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  157. The starters cam back in and lost the energy the bench had brought at the beginning of the quarter.

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  158. Billups with the playground play there. The Lakers relaxed just a little and Denver hit some shots. Plus the Lakers stopped going inside for the last 3 minutes.

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  159. Phil should have called a timeout when the Nuggets were on the 12-0 run… Some of the blame is on Phil too.

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  160. emh – agreed, looked like we were trying to ride our lead into halftime instead of extending it.

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  161. Kobe fell in love with going one on one with Melo. We forgot to keep pounding it inside. Can’t let up!

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  162. is this tennis? is coaching not allowed? I jyst cannot buy that letting them work it out canard.

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  163. Phil wasn’t out there playing. He wasn’t the one giving up wide open shots.

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  164. Just execute. The starters were so flat when they came back. Come on now.

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  165. One stint that really hurt in retrospect was when Luke and Sasha were in the game together. They both missed multiple open shots after great D that would have really stretched the lead. We’re getting the inside play we need but if we can’t knock down open jumpers it’ll be trouble in the second half because Denver is going to start packing the lane.

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  166. Dang. Big lead given up again. Bad three minutes. Going to be a great second half.

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  167. I missed all but the last minute or so of the first half because I was still at work. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

    -Lakers were up 14 but now are up one, this is because the Nuggets locked ’em down a little on D over the second half of the 2nd quarter. Lakers D also got a little flat in the second.

    -Martin has been torching us on the block, ‘Melo started cold but has been heating up. Kobe, meanwhile, has been Kobe and the bigs have been scoring some.

    -That play where Billups passed it to himself off of Kobe’s back was gangsta.

    Anything else that I should know, something about the bench that the numbers aren’t telling me? Prognosis for the second half?

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  168. we really have not had an answer for Kenyon Martin coming from the baseline either – he continues to get a wide open lane to the basket off the pass. The team needs to find a way to shut that down

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  169. Identical Half time score.

    Let’s hope the final score is identical too.

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  170. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    I know Drew was probably out of gas there at the end of the half, but his presence would have helped down low on some of those offensive rebounds that we gave up.

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  171. Look, Martin’s not torching anyone on the block, Nuggets didn’t lock us down. Kobe went one-on-one a few times, missed contested shots, Odom blew a layup. On the other end, Fisher made a mistake doubling off Billups, Kleiza got open off a loose ball, and fouled on a loose ball. All preventable mistakes. Keep playing the way we were playing and control the things you can control and we’ll come out on top

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  172. In the latest, quite famous Bill Simmons chat, he said something along the lines of “I really hope the Celtics make a run at Ariza this summer. The Lakers can’t afford he and Odom”…that makes me enjoy watching Ariza in the yellows that much more. We all know he is a keeper.

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  173. I was really hoping that the Lakers end the half with about 13-15 point lead, but instead they almost gave the lead entirely.

    I think Luke, LO, and Ariza when they are guarding Kleiza need to stay home no matter what happens in the second half.

    I think if we played D with the same intensity, we’ll be alright. We also need LO and Bynum to finish the layups and dunks!

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  174. Ariza needs that midrange game.

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  175. So far we have one starter in double figures. I’m thinking that will need to change…

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  176. My mistake. Two. Still needs to change though.

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  177. E Roc – As long as he’s hitting that three, I’m not complaining. But this summer, more than anything, I’d like to see him improve on his handle.

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  178. We can’t give them extra possessions.

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  179. Damn, the energy is just not good. Need to get the momentum back.

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  180. Need to double Melo he is torching us. Good pass and shot there.

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  181. activity gone on defence

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  182. Bynum gave up too early on that play.

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  183. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    And, I hate Drew’s lack of energy this half. He isn’t doing anything right now. Phil noticed it, too.

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  184. it would help the staples wasen’t so quite

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  185. Ariza with the slaaaaammmmmm dunk

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  186. Lakers are a little flat right now. Need to pick up the energy. And they are being a little sloppy.

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  187. Ah, forget that midrange game, Ariza.

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  188. 4th foul on Nene can’t be a bad thing for us.

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  189. Trevor Ariza = Energy

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  190. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Ugh. That play looked dirtier than it actually was. Hope Trevor’s OK.

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  191. Ariza’s dunk.

    wow wow wow wow wow wow wow

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  192. Lakers were successful driving to the basket early in the game. Denver has made it harder to do but they should continue to try to penetrate.

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  193. The longer the game lasts, the better position we’ll be in. Dahntay with 5, Nene with 4, Smith with 3, and our guys are starting to wake up a bit.

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  194. we need somehow to get gasol more shots

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  195. This game is gonna go down to the wire.

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  196. emh101 – Exactly. We’re getting calls in there.

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  197. Am I bad luck?

    I got home late from work and the Lakers were up 14 and once I turned on the TV, they immediately started losing that lead until it got to 1 at half.

    Should I stop watching?

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  198. Denver’s “physical” defense of reaching and fouling is going to bite them in the 4th. Already showing signs – giving up a Dunk to Ariza by not wanting to foul. Great job by us not letting up on attacking the basket.

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  199. Ariza has really improved as the season has progressed. His confidence level is sky high. He knocks down a few 3s then he smart enough to pump fake and attack the basket when the defense adjusts.

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  200. That’s 4 for K-Mart!

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  201. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Kobe got away with a push off there. We rarely get away with those.

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  202. There we go, taking it inside is getting it done. Ariza certainly loves playing at Staples!

    0

  203. Wow, Kobe got away with one. That was obvious, though Jones probably flopped too much.

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  204. Has ariza missed a shot.

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  205. ariza has to take that himself

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  206. when will fish learn..

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  207. i like how kobe is responding to the frustration right now.. continuing to pound it inside to gasol.. thats maturity..

    and of course the baseline dunk was good as well..

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  208. Fisher scares me near the basket.

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  209. Apart from Fish, our starters are shooting lights out.

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  210. I’m wondering what is worse…Fisher Lapup in Transition or PUJIT

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  211. I’m so pissed at Fisher now, what is he thinking ? arggghghgh

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  212. Gasol and Odom are really crashing the boards, both offensively and defensively.

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  213. Is that a 5th on Nene?

    0

  214. Fisher in a funk that rivals Sasha’s.

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  215. Love how we are attacking the basket. When Gasol comes with the mind set that he is going to get every rebound, he is a really good rebounder particularly on the offensive end. One of the best offensive rebounders in the game.

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  216. Does Fisher ever make a driving layup?? I mean really….

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  217. Fish is attacking the basket????

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  218. I love that we’re attacking the basket, but NOT Fisher please !!!!!

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  219. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    I just wish D-Fish would magically realize his limitations. He absolutely cannot finish over Denver’s bigs on his drives, yet he keeps doing it. At least they occasionally create offensive rebounding situations for our bigs.

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  220. Fish had no intention of making that shot he just wanted a foul. Nene did a good job of not fouling.

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  221. Even fish needs to give opponents different looks if he is going to make threes.

    Still, it would help if he made one or two of those layups.

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  222. One thing about Fish driving to the basket and missing though, is it has opened up offensive rebounds for Pau.

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  223. We’re really not taking advantage of being in the bonus.

    0

  224. Maybe it’s time to Hack a Melo…seems like he’s missing more free throws than anything else.

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  225. A little more effort in rebounding from Drew and Lamar would be appreciated.

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  226. Hopefully Drew will come back in for Lamar and show the intensity he had in the 1st half.

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  227. We are having trouble matching up with their small line up. Maybe Phil needs to go small as well.

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  228. Great pass Luke!

    Billups is feeling it though. If Billups and Anthony get hot together, look out.

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  229. Hopefully the Lakers can close out the last 2 mins with a strong run.

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  230. A couple tick tack fould called on the Lakers these last few minutes.

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  231. Umm . . . ticky tack.

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  232. That was not a foul there.

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  233. Not really consolidating any lead…we make some good plays on one end, then give it back on the other…

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  234. Good D there by Denver forcing Bryant to pass the ball then closing out well to prevent the open shot.

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  235. I think I would prefer Bynum at the end of the 4th, instead of Lamar. I guess that’s not a surprise, coming from me.

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  236. Where is Bynum PHIL!!!!!??? the Lakers controlled the game when he was in there
    !!

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  237. What has me worried is that I can’t really say that the Lakers are playing all that bad, apart from the usual not getting Pau enough shots stuff (but I take that as a given these days).

    But I guess Denver is good.

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  238. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    After rewinding, neither Pau’s foul on Anthony, nor kobe’s were actual fouls. Not with the hands or body. 4 points for Melo, 5 point lead becomes 1.

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  239. Am I watching the same game? Bynum was in there and not giving us much when we gave up the lead in the second.

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  240. Wow, are guards not named Bryant are shooting just awfull tonight.

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  241. Hard to put Gasol and Bynum out there when Kleiza is playing the 4. Is Gasol or Bynum going to cover him out at the 3 pt line?

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  242. Did Kobe catch a technical foul tonight?

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  243. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Mr. Hyde was the bad one that you don’t want to be I think.

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  244. Kobe for the entire 4th again?

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  245. Yes, Dr Jekyll is the good guy, Mr Hyde is the bad one.

    I seriously need to remove Pau Misses Free Throw from my game-night drinking game. Also, the refs tonight are… not very good.

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  246. Bad Call!!!

    0

  247. Wow. That wasn’t a foul either.

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  248. How hard is it to understand….you don’t foul billups

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  249. 3 bad calls and 6 pts for the Nuggets in the last 4 minutes of the game.

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  250. Did anybody see a Kobe Technical tonight?

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  251. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    I anybody even pretending to have responsibility for guarding Kleiza?

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  252. Have to put a body on Melo and need to get Kobe back in there.

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  253. Why is Phil not putting Bynum in?

    0

  254. cant believe phil took kobe out

    0

  255. Lakers offense is sloppy again. And they are not attacking the boards as they once were.

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  256. Bynum is not in because Kleiza is playing at the 4. But I guess no one else is guarding him either.

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  257. kobe didn’t get no technical..

    if they’re going small we shd b going bigger.. just ask the 06 suns.

    0

  258. Luke Walton sucks, get that sorry foo out of LA

    0

  259. Lakers play with no heart, I’m so mad

    0

  260. I’ll say it again–our perimeter players will have to knock down some open shots. Denver is packing it in the paint.

    0

  261. I am now thinking of giving up on the drinking game and just drink.

    We need a lot of three-pointers and free throws right now.

    0

  262. This is starting to look like a struggle…

    0

  263. WAY too early to panic.

    0

  264. 4th 3pter of the game for us…

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  265. Have to keep attacking the basket and get to the FT line. Also need to force the ball out of Melo’s hand.

    And please go inside.

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  266. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    I fear that Kobe will have to go nova for us to win this game.

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  267. Definitly too early to panic, but I have some concerns about our defense. Not enough stops.

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  268. A lot of ticky tack fouls being called against the Lakers. That was a turnover by Billups.

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  269. Dude – afraid, perhaps…confident? probably as well

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  270. Fair enough, still too early to panic. That said, I still want our defense to step up.

    Also, I love Shannon Brown.

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  271. There we go, good things happen when you attack the basket and fight for offensive rebounds.

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  272. Kobe’s getting into that take over mode again…

    While I would prefer he would just lay off a bit, I don’t think he can do that now. His teammates are not really responding.

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  273. Brown with the 3!

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  274. and as i press enter, shannon brown drills a three

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  275. Outstanding work of Pau int offensive rebound.Good dirty work

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  276. what is karl doing taking melo out?

    0

  277. Why is LUke Walton in the game, all he needs to do is guard the three on Kleiza and he still moves off him

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  278. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    I love Shannon too, but he’s channeling his inner Derek Fisher too often in this game by driving to the hole when it’s one-on-three.

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  279. these lakers look soft!

    Gasol and Bynum are big Puss*es!!!!

    they wont win with these dorks

    0

  280. Put in Ariza now!!!!!!!!

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  281. Question,

    was shannon brown “the man” for MSU during his college days?

    0

  282. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Ugh…my post #263 is still awaiting moderation. This seems to happen at random, out of nowhere.

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  283. Lakers have awakened a bit.

    0

  284. George Karl’s rotations are not making sense. Why take Kleiza out when the smaller line up was killing the Lakers.

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  285. audaces fortuna iuvat

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  286. Get Luke Out! Put Ariza in!

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  287. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    hmm. I’d feel a bit more comfortable with Ariza in there than Walton.

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  288. Luke is one of the worst Lakers ever!

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  289. Mico – Brown was not “the man”, but he was definitely a leader and top player on a good MSU squad. He is more a playmaker overall than a true scorer

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  290. I have to agree put Ariza back in.

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  291. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    What??! Melo has his elbow in Luke’s throat and Luke gets the foul???

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  292. is trev injured?

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  293. Ariza was grimacing on the bench. Is he hurting from that fall?

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  294. I am SO glad I took Pau Misses Free Throw out of the drinking game…

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  295. can someone post the updated score?

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  296. Bad Call !!!

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  297. ESPN, please show us all where the foul was there.

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  298. The fouls were making up for a bad call on the other end there. Nene created all that contact.

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  299. I’m getting a headache watching all of these stupid foul calls, this is sickening, just let them play!!!

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  300. Kobe was fouled there. Should be shooting 2 fts.

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  301. I spoke too soon, Kobe was hacked with no call!

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  302. Have we just missed 4 of our last 5 FTs?

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  303. I have cussed out the refs more in this game than I normally do in a month… I wouldn’t be nearly as frustrated if it was consistent.

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  304. Affter a bunch of ticky tack fouls they are now letting all kinds of cantact go uncalled.

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  305. Koooooooobeeeeeee¡

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  306. Billups flopped and got the call.

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  307. Yeah Gasol bumped him but not enough to knock him down. Billups is too strong to get knocked down that easily.

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  308. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Clutch flop there by Chauncey. Dribble right into a big, fall down on purpose, get the call.

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  309. It seems the Lakers have committed 20 fouls this quarter….

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  310. Refs deciding the game again.
    But as Kurt said, i wouldn’t have happened had these two teams play the way they should be playing.

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  311. Here is where I am confused. This game was ours. We were winning it, in spades. What happened???

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  312. And thats why I take Kobe over anybody breathing right now..for one game, right now.

    thats my definition of the best player

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  313. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Let’s see if this repeat post gets through the spam filter, where it’s been sitting in limbo for half an hour:
    Bynum played very well in the first half, and was on the bench at the end of the 2nd quarter when DEN made their run. However, he came out at the start of the 3rd with absolutely no energy, and Phil made the right move in taking him out of the game. Phil has to be thinking, can I rely on this guy? Drew was not in foul trouble at the start of the 2nd half, so why did he have no energy?

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  314. If the lakers lose this game they can blame it on ft’s!!!

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  315. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    this is ridiculous. I don’t usually complain about the refs, but this has been atrocious. Billups dribbles near Gasol and leaps sideways into him and it’s a foul. Kobe gets hit in the arm by Martin directly in the eyeline of a ref and it’s no call. Pau gets thrown into the crowd by Martin- nothing. The refs have already ghiven Denver 6 points that I’ve seen with a chance for 2 more.

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  316. that ball could have gone anywhere

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  317. I hate broken plays like that. They certainly favor the offense.

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  318. Lucky break for the nuggets there. That pass should have been a turnover.

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  319. Last shot by Fish instead of passing inside to Pau should put him in the bench the rest of the game.It was atrocius¡

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  320. That play right there Is why we need Bynum In the game

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  321. Lakers need a good shot

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  322. Kobe LIVES for this type of situation at the end of a big game…here we go.

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  323. Simply amazing…

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  324. Another no call. The refs have blown a lot of calls at the end of the game here.

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  325. WHAT HAPPENED THERE???

    darn

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  326. do the refs know the jump ball rule???

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  327. Violation by J.R and a possible foul on Trevor.Disgusting

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  328. Lakers cheated out of game all. because King James and the cavs lost@!!!!!

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  329. Lakers shot themselves in the foot and then the the refs shot them in the other.

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  330. How is it possible for THREE refs to miss Ariza getting shoved to the floor????? Unbelievable.

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  331. How do the refs miss that jump ball violation? Absolute lack of competence and dignity on the refs part

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  332. I don’t feel very good about the outcome of this game.

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  333. Ok now a quick score and foul

    hopefully the trend continues and they miss freethrows

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  334. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Forget about the obvious violation by JR Smith on that jump ball. Ariza had possession, Melo tripped him, then pushed him down to the floor when he was falling over. Big missed call.

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  335. Mico,
    JR stepped up into the circle … before 2 players tipped the ball.
    Bad call by the refs.

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  336. Yeah the calls have definitely benefited the Nuggs tonight. But have to hand it to Denver for making the FTs. Can’t say the same thing for the lakers though.

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  337. Not just blown calls… they couldn’t be more obvious if they were trying to give this away. Not because of what they call, but rather because of the no-calls. This irritates me, because we shouldn’t need the refs’ help to win.

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  338. Why is Fish still in the game?I really don t get it…

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  339. Who gets the shot here? I don’t want to see a Kobe catch, hold it for a few seconds, them shoot one from thirty… Get it to Fish?

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  340. I wonder who’ll fire this one up…

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  341. Crap..

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  342. fish 1 for 9, says it all

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  343. Wow. A great look and Fish doesn’t even draw iron. Ouch. Nuggets win with a huge assist from the refs.

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  344. Well, that ruins my night.

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  345. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    So will Truehoop and those who go insane every time the lakers get a favorable call be up in arms over this game tomorrow? THis isn’t generic whining about free throw total, either. They’ve given the Nuggets at least 8 made free throws on specific blown calls while several calls that should have gone to the lakers were just ignored. Just an asinine job by supposedly some of the best refs in the league

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  346. Fisher was 1-8 before that shot; you’d think they would give the ball to Kobe.

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  347. What surprises me is that Odom, and not Kobe, was on the top.

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  348. Two toss-up games in LA and a split. Gotta’ feel good if you’re a Nuggets fan.

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  349. Denver Nation May 21, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Thanks fish. I CANNOT believe Fisher was in and not Shannon Brown who made a big 3 in the fourth quarter.

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  350. As I said earlier, I wanted Bynum in, in place of Lamar. I don’t want Lamar handling the ball in crunch time. It was Lamar who used so much of the clock up just deciding what to do with a minute to go.

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  351. Make FTs and you win the game. Choke.

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  352. we basically gave away a game – gasol missing critical free throws in the fourth – and fisher firing up bad 3 pointer down the stretch + turnovers and giving denver offensive rebounds and second chance points –

    i am very nervous for the outcome of this series – i hope they can win in denver
    also – way too passive after jumping out to a lead – and getting careless hope they wake up next time

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  353. That last draw up by Phil has me scratching my head. Was it even designed for Kobe? If so, terrible design. If not, what are you thinking?

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  354. What a lousy Friday tomorrow is going to be…

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  355. Ooops, they did it again…

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  356. It is not Fish’s fault the Lakers lost this game…or the refs. It was still within their reach and capability.

    They HAVE to shake this off and look to be agressive, start to finsih, on Sat in Denver. The Nugs will be feeling very confident & it is up to the Lakers to turn the tide & regain home court. They CAN get it done.

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  357. We’re tied guys, 1-1.

    Seems like my prediction is still alive.
    I was picking Denver in 7.
    Game 1 on Lakers, Game 2 on Denver, Game 3 on Lakers, Game 4 on Denver, Game 5 on Denver, Game 6 on Lakers, and Game 7 on Denver.

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  358. The refs were awful tonight…and I never complain about the refs.

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  359. Great game. Lakers need to keep the D up though, the last 2 minutes before the half was a bit inexcusable.

    Looking at the stats, you’d think the Lakers would have come out with the win. They gave Denver a bit of the momentum and that’s why the calls went their way at the end.

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  360. Yeah the referees were crap…but the Lakers also let an 11 point lead get cut to 1 at the end of the first half by being lazy and complacent, surprise surprise. Also, they’re not winning any champions until Pau Gasol starts playing like he belongs in the NBA rather than the WNBA

    No use crying over that. Most likely, they’ll split games in Denver and come back to LA 2-2.

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  361. The Dude Abides,
    Ariza was not pushed. I rewatched that play several times. Melo’s leg was in place and stationary. Trevor tried to push through it and fell. Of course the Lakers should have gotten the ball out-of-bounds because of Smith.

    However, the Lakers really didn’t deserve this one. From coaching substitutions to free throws to not running the offense.

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  362. fisher god dam r u serious how are u gonna shoot an air ball there…

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  363. Birdman-

    You’ve picked the visitors to win five of seven games. Please defend your choices.

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  364. i am so disappointed with how complacent the lakers get in tight games -i am not sure if they will win in denver + the nuggetts bascially should have won game 1 as well – they’ve go to be really really confident now

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  365. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Bad calls, sure. But I think we’re overlooking the fact that right now, there are fewer players on the Lakers who we can count on to play well than at any point during the season. D-Fish? Abysmal. Lamar? Average. Pau? Average. Sasha? Terrible. Shannon? Reverting to the mean. Luke? Too scared to shoot, so the Nuggs are only guarding four Lakers. Drew? Shaky mentally. What happened to Drew at halftime? He had a solid first half, then gave us absolutely nothing in the 3rd.

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  366. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    358- What exactly did the Lakers do to make it reasonable for the refs to ignore JR Smith running across the entire jump circle before anyone else moved?

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  367. Cy-

    Procedural calls, such as a jump ball or lane violation, shouldn’t “go” one way or another. The rules are clear and their enforcement rote. There shouldn’t really be any judgement involved on the part of the officials.

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  368. The Dude Abides May 21, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Wow. I’ve had three posts in the past hour that are still awaiting moderation. What is the secret in getting a post through? Am I posting too much?

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  369. I have said it time again and again in this forum how many times the Laker defense has failed them in close games, and it showed again tonight, they just couldnt get that big stop

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  370. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    359- Yeah Pau Gasol is a wnba player with 17 points on 5-8 shooting, 17 boards, and 2 blocked shots. He was totally the problem.

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  371. does anyone else feel Denver was the better team in both games and Lakers are lucky to even be tied right now?

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  372. Mason,

    Denver is a fantastic road team that we’ve seen in the playoffs. And we’ve seen that in Games 1 and 2.

    However, Lakers are the best road team in the league.

    And I know how pressure can make a passionate team out of anyone.
    Therefore, with Denver winning Game 2, Lakers will come out and play strong in Game 3, and Denver as well will be better in Game 4, and the story continues.

    Anyways, it’s really hard to believe what my prediction is, but then again, it’s MY prediction. 😉

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  373. Where was Bynum?

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  374. Yeah like I said the calls favored the Nuggs but It was the lakers missed FTs and the Nuggs made FTs in the 4th that made the difference.

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  375. Missed FTs and bad execution down the stretch cost the victory. No, the bad calls didn’t help, but Melo was a beast on offensive board. We didn’t play smart defense. Looks like it will go seven games. If we won this game, it could have been over in 5. DARN IT!

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  376. Birdman…All due respect for your guys & their win…but…there is no way, if the series was tied, that Denver will win a game 7 on the lakers home floor. Not when Konbe Bryant is wearing purple & gold. No chance.

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  377. Well now we have to really dig down deep. We must win game 3.

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  378. im seriously concerned that denver is just a better team then us and I really am not sure we can win in denver

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  379. I really hope the League comes out and says that the violation on Smith was a missed call, just like they did on the missed foul call against Dallas. Say whatever you want about the other calls but Denver and Lakers fans alike have to agree that that is a completely inexcusable blown call at a crucial point in the game.

    Where this game was lost, in my opinion, was the offensive glass. We should be outboarding them handily.

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  380. It’s not just this call, but a bunch of other very weak ones that sent Melo and Billups to the line time and again. I agree that the Lakers should have stepped on their throat in the first half, and the Nuggets made a lot of great plays at the end, but it’s hard to get over some of the calls.

    Those of you who are saying, oh Denver is so great at home, there’s no way the Lakers can beat them there. You have no idea what you’re talking about

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  381. Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way. It did last game, not this game. Game tied at 101, what happens – a freaky multiple deflection play that ends up in an easy one for the Nuggets (pure luck, could have gone either way). Kobe tries to do too much on the dribble (tough split with someone lke Nene), Ariza slips after winning the tap, turnover. That’s basically ballgame, those two plays. What are you gonna do.

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  382. After watching these two games go down the stretch, I feel like the discussion on mental toughness is almost moot. It’s just luck. A missed call, a foul here, loose balls, when both teams play with effort and execution, which is the case most of the time. It’s going to come down to luck.

    Silly decision by PJ going with Fisher, just like George Karl trusting the old vet to come up with the big play. We already know Denver is very athletic and defends picks so well. Why not just get Bryant the ball on the iso at the top? Fish also made a great deal of mistakes this game.

    It’s more about executing throughout the game. If you’re the home team, it’s on you to do that. If you don’t, we basically flip a coin to see who wins. We did some good things. Gasol played with good activity level, played tough. We pounded in the post early and attacked the rim. But we didn’t sustain it in the second half.

    I am worried. The Nuggets can play some rough defense, and with the tight officiating we should’ve pulled this one out. We won’t get that many calls again. Gotta feel good right now if you’re a Nugs fan. They have a legit chance of beating us.

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  383. Tough, tough loss. The Lakers needed this one.

    The Lakers lost this game (and potentially the series) in the final two minutes of the first half. You simply cannot *dominate* a half for 22 minutes and then give it all up in just 2. It *destroys* your momentum and any psychological advantages you had gained. When the Nuggets came out in the second half with as much confidence as they showed in the 1st quarter of game one I knew the Lakers had a very good chance of losing this game. (I actually told my son I thought the Lakers were going to lose).

    Denver rightfully feels that not only should/could they be up 2-0 but that they’re better than the Lakers. Giving a great team like Denver that kind of confidence is dangerous.

    The other big problem the Lakers have is Gasol. He was very active on the offensive boards (with a number of putbacks) but for the second straight game he struggled to generate good shots with the ball. You can ‘write off’ one bad performance but two in a row indicates to me a matchup and/or tactical problem.

    I hate to say what I’m about to say, not only because I don’t want to believe it, but also because I don’t want to sound like a chicken-little, but the Lakers are in serious trouble. (I never thought that against Houston, even when down 1-0) When you’re played to a standstill in two straight *home* games it doesn’t bode well for going on the road.

    Most importantly the Lakers won’t win unless Gasol starts getting good shots, and scoring. What makes the Lakers (or any team) an elite team is having two (or more) great players contributing night in and night out. Right now it’s only Kobe. That’s not enough.

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  384. Game 3 is not a must win. We just need to take one of these next ones, then it’s a 3-game series with two in LA. Altho, with the way these games have been called, it really isn’t much of a home court advantage

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  385. Bynum’s name does not appear once in the second half play by play here: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/gamecenter/playbyplay/NBA_20090521_DEN@LAL

    Very, very strange.

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  386. 1) We need Bynum playing more than 18 minutes.
    2) We need swing the ball from strong side to weak side much faster and run cross screens to get the ball into the post.
    3) Play Jordan and Brown more, Sasha and Fisher less.

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  387. luubi,

    I do think Denver is the better team, they have proven it. Lakers could be better, but there is not enough Bynum and the Laker defense is still inconsistent and no where near championship caliber.

    At least the Lakers played a decent game though. Its not like they didnt show up as was the case with the Rockets. You can say the Lakers blew a lead…well guess what guys, the Lakers have done that all year, that isnt anything new or sumthin to be unexpected. Hats off to Denver.

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  388. Mason – I agree. The officials missed that one call.

    Nevertheless, like Phil, I do believe in momentum and execution. When you lose it, the ball tends to bounce the other way–like that Melo put back and KMart’s put back. The Lakers were the one’s getting those in the 1st half.

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  389. Jane,

    I actually think that the Lakers will win Game 7, but of course, I’m a Denver fan, so I’ll take any chances available had the series gone to 7 games.

    Of course, you’ve got Kobe, and I hate it. 🙂

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  390. Fisher, to me, almost single handedly ruined our momentum in the 3rd, by foolishly taking it to the basket against 2 defenders on multiple possessions instead of pulling it out and starting the offense.

    No matter how much I like him, he has been an absolute disaster in this playoffs

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  391. Some of you Pau haters should really be ashamed of yourseleves, he wasn’t the reason we lost. I think our superb record with Gasol over the last year and a half speaks for what a difference he’s made to this team.
    What’s that ol’ saying???
    Don’t hate tha playa, hate tha game…
    This game ain’t on Pau, he held his ground well – let’s put this game behind us and move on to a strategy that can be effective in Denver.

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  392. Birdman-
    Not to put to sharp a point on it, but there’s a reason it’s called “Home Court _Advantage_”, excellent road records notwithstanding. Your series, if not your end result, seems a bit contrived. Mark my words: One of these teams will win at least twice on the road, but you will not see five road wins.

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  393. We have to win one in Denver or this series will be over for the Lakers, we are very lucky to be tied 1-1 at this point.

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  394. officiating sucked because they didn’t let the players play.. but FTs were even all around.. the difference came down to made/missed FTs.. possibly the lack of 3pters till late from the lakers..

    its gr8 seeing guys take it to the hoop.. but why pass up the open 3 on a kick out only to drive it in again? n even if u wanna take it to the hoop why we need to be getting more FTs.. denver’s front line finished the game foul-ridden but we didn’t manage to foul any of them out..

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  395. Wow- a lot of ref whining here in a game where the Lakers just didn’t execute and outplayed at the end.

    I mean Kobe’s TO at the top of the key. Fish’s atrocious shot selection on that long 3 ball. Missed free throws. Don’t blame the refs.

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  396. surely phil has got to think of benching fish, I know it seems drastic but he has been that bad and ive been impressed with jordan and shannon lately

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  397. Birdman, You are a great sport. =)

    What’s funny is that more than the loss, I dread all the banging on Kobe and talk of “softness” that will take place in the next few days that is totally unwarranted. I feel like Bron got minimal heat for the Cavs loss because his individual line was so good, but if Kobe had the same line tonight…selfish city.

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  398. Mason,

    No worries. 🙂 Let my “craziness” go on.
    Anyways, Laker fans, who gets the blame tonight?

    I do think it was Fisher for taking quick shots and ill-advised ones.

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  399. This game was lost in a three minute stretch. With 2:40 in the first half, the Lakers were up 13 points. From there our offensive possession went like this:

    Kobe missed jumper
    Kobe missed jumper
    Odom missed layup
    Brown missed jumper

    FIne, sometimes you get stopped four times in a row – but what did we do at the other end?

    Nene to Martin for a dunk, poor position on defense
    Kleiza 3, again fell asleep on defense
    Kleiza 3 after multiple offensive rebounds
    Billups free throws.

    In four possessions a game that’s under control becomes a nailbiter. You cannot have those sorts of lapses in the playoffs, especially at home. Would have loved to see a timeout – but Phil “let them play” themselves right back into a close game.

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  400. Dude Abides – You need the rug back. It really tied your comments together.

    As for the game, I’m actually going to disagree with you, Joe. Look at the last 5 minutes of the game, Denver possessions. Tough shot by Martin, bad foul call on Lamar to give Nene 2 free throws, a steal by Ariza, a miss by Billups, a miss by Carmelo, a missed layup by Billups that bounces right back to him for the putback, a bad foul call on Gasol to give Billups 2 free throws, a broken play where a bad pass bounces off of Fish’s arm straight to Nene, and then it was intentional fouls to stop the clock.

    There isn’t a truly bad defensive possession in there except maybe the drive by Billups where he got the putback.

    The Lakers’ final 8 offensive possessions (last 3 and a half minutes of the game) went as following: Fish pass stolen by Martin, absolutely awful missed shot by Ariza, ridiculous Kobe 3 that goes in, terrible missed 3 by Fish, a Kobe jumper from the “Phoenix Game 4” spot, the jumpball/violation/Ariza fumble, a drive-and-dish to Gasol for 2 free throws, and an air ball by Fish to end the game. In 8 possessions, that’s 2 TOs, 7 points entirely generated by Bryant one-on-one or PnR, and quite possibly one of the worst endgame performances I’ve ever seen by D-Fish.

    But yeah, it was their defense that lost this game by giving up one layup, a pair of broken plays, and a bunch of ticky-tack foul calls at the end of a Western Conference Finals game over the last 5 minutes.

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  401. Joe A-

    I’m only blaming the refs for having a poor handle on jump ball procedure. There’s no excuse for that. It’s like a player missing free throws. Calling fouls is harder, but sometimes it’s obviously wrong, like jacking up a contested jumper early in the shot clock.

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  402. Ariza was 6/7 with 20 points and had a plus minus of -11

    Fish 1/9 was +2

    Sasha 0/4 +2

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  403. wow why is everyone acting like the series is over….LA can win in denver, have a little faith in the team guys. we should have won this game but we didnt, it happens. we shake it off and go forward. The officiating has to get better though, how do the lakers not get favorable calls at home?

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  404. @Jane

    Kobe does get an unfair amount of criticism for selfishness, but IMO he gets a huge benefit of the doubt when it comes to closing games that makes up for it.

    Last game, it was all about Kobe’s “will to win”, etc… no one remembers the games like this where it doesn’t happen…

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  405. VoR – this is clearly a case-in-point where non-adjusted plus-minus REALLY doesn’t tell the story.

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  406. Give Denver credit, they battled and made their free throws.

    But the Lakers definitely got no help from the officials. How do you miss that violation on the jump ball in crunch time. I’m also not sure how every Denver player gets away with the slapping.

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  407. I really thought that having Bynum this year would make a BIG difference for our team, and get us over the hump (so to speak).

    That’s what I kept on trying to tell myself after we lost to the Celtics last year _ if only we had Bynum.

    But now that we have him … I think that he sorely lacks playoff experience and that’s probably the reason PJ has not been playing him too much.

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  408. Mason- I think even the jump ball complaining is pretty weak. They’re never gonna call that at the end of a game… it’s just reality.

    There’s a procedural violation on every other free throw technically- and players always jump early on jump balls. And in the end, Smith cutting through didn’t make a difference anyways. Ariza got the rebound, and then he coughed it up.

    Let’s move on, admit we didn’t execute- and get ready for Denver in Denver.

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  409. Joe A. – I’m not sure what more Bryant’s supposed to do, here. He was all of LA’s offense late; he had one poor possession, granted, but he generated almost everything positive that they COULD get. And it wasn’t like he was completely dominating the ball – Ariza, Gasol, and Fisher certainly had opportunities, and wasted them. Fisher in particular.

    I love Derek. But he was the -largest- reason the Lakers lost this game, I feel quite confident in saying. Not the only reason. But the biggest contributor.

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  410. If Smith isn’t already BEHIND Ariza, Trevor can slide back. Because of his positioning, Ariza has to attempt to go forward, and ends up falling over Melo’s leg (there was no foul there).

    That’s like saying it wasn’t ridiculous to not call a foul when Gasol got shoved into the crowd, because he wouldn’t have gotten the rebound anyway. True, but it’s not as if there isn’t a defensive possession to follow, with your center now closer to the concessions than the guy he’s supposed to guard.

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  411. Well, the Lakers proved me right the half-arsed way.

    Knew we were going to go on a lead and start strong, hoped we won’t let them crawl in, and definitely didn’t even want to put the words “and lose.”

    Oh well.

    We stole it from Denver last game, we got this one ripped off, so poetic justice in a way.

    Let’s get a split in Denver.

    Too bad that we missed the sight of a massive bandwagon switch by the pundits.

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  412. Everyone should just chill, Phil Jax will name drop his classic jabs at the referring and the NBA will panic and swing the calls toward the Lakers in game 3.

    Let’s not forget, Kobe LOVES Colorado and he owns the Pepsi Center!

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  413. Where was Bynum in the 2nd half? Looking back I’m wondering why this kid didn’t get minutes down the stretch. 50% fg, +7 differential… why was he sitting again? last i checked, we won the 1st half.

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  414. A few mistakes I saw from Phil, whom I am actually dangerously close to considering washed up…

    1) Bynum and Gasol were KILLING their frontcourt. Bynum had rhythm, was clearly enjoying his game, and Gasol was his usual self, in fact even better than usual on the low block today. That’s the biggest reason we dominated the boards in the first half and Bynum had some really pretty put-ins close to the basket, plus he played strong to get position. So what do we do in the second half? Not play Bynum at all, and completely stop passing into Gasol in the low-post in the fourth quarter.

    2) Why in God’s name, when you’re down by three, would you design a play for Fisher and not Kobe, especially when Kobe has hit two threes STRAIGHT IN MELO’S FACE earlier in the quarter and is clearly feeling it?

    Contrary to most people who think the two teams are about evenly matched up in almost all respects, I think the Lakers are clearly stronger in terms of talent because they’re much BIGGER. We saw Gasol and Bynum dominate today and there’s no reason our size shouldn’t decisively dominate the boards and the post scoring…if our coach decides to let our size play. Bynum is NO LONGER IN A RUT, in fact he’s been playing really well since about Houston game 6. If we keep feeding our bigs and letting them boss around Denver’s smaller frontcourt, we should win by all means. I still think this series is ours to lose.

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  415. Don’t anybody let this ruin their Friday; why on earth should they? This is basketball at its blood-spattered, howling best. Savor tonight’s lacerations, because lacerations turn into scars, and scarred men tell the best stories. But not scared men. This series will probably go to seven games, but I have no doubt of the outcome, and the ecstasy of winning that kind of fight is the nearest you come to heaven. So tonight we saw hell a little, big deal. It’s worth it for the contrast. We’re going to take these guys, and God help whoever comes out of the east.

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  416. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    souraying at hend ee nobody will be called for blatantly ignoring jump ball rules? Why shouldn’t everybody just pull a JR then?

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  417. @Underbruin.

    Your reaching. Face it. If the teams were reversed, I have a good feeling you’d be making the opposite arguments. I see the same stuff from fans of every team after every tough loss.

    And I’m not starting a Kobe-clutchness discussion here. That’s wasn’t my point.

    Go read the ESPN boards after the Orlando/Cav’s games yesterday to see the kind of things Laker fanboys were saying about that game. You’ll see what I mean.

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  418. Gasol’s incredibly talented and one of the best offensive minded forwards in the league…

    That being said, he shrinks in big games and the stats are empty when you’re missing free throws in the clutch and complaining instead of playing defense. A team’s second best player needs to be consistent and keep his composure. Kobe can’t win by himself

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  419. What did Kobe need to do to get to the line in the 4th quarter tonight? Let’s count the ways:

    1) evidently getting your head swiped on the perimeter doesn’t work.

    2) what if there was a jump ball and kobe had recovered the tip (despite an obvious violation, but let’s leave that aside), then tried to dribble out but was tripped and shoved over? Would that necessitate a foul call? Whoops, guess not.

    3) man, I’m really at a loss here – what if I look at what the nuggets did to get to the line? Wait, I see Chauncey Billups dribbling right, then dribbling left, then dribbling right, running into the stationary big man, then falling back off balance and getting a call!

    Lesson learned – always be out of control in your dribble and run into others.

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  420. Sure the Lakers lost, but I don’t understand the negativity and blame game stuff that’s going on here. If PJ is 41-0 (or whatever) in playoffs when winning game 1, then he’ll know what to do when it counts.

    I do agree that I would have felt much better had Shannon Brown taken the last 3-pointer – make or miss, but D Fish has shown in the past to come up with big plays at the end of games…

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  421. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    hahaha wireless keyboard fail

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  422. Underbruin, I agree with you fundamentally, but your cynicism makes me say that I don’t fault teams for losses, but I look at the winning team for their way of winning. The Lakers did not make the plays down the stretch that they needed. We executed poorly and Denver played like they want to play in the finals.

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  423. Why is not anybody hating aginst Odom. That guy cannot play defense without fouling. Time and again leaves his man to double and gets burned due to that. He is a liability offensively. No jumpshot. Poor finisher and gets called for offensive fouls half the time he drives to the basket. He has no post moves. The only thing he can do is rebound and that too not particularly well. We were getting so many offensive rebounds when Bynum and Pau were in the game. With Lamar in the game our net rebounding was negative. The 4th quarter we were outrebounded by a big margin.

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  424. Frankly, I do not understand why Phil is scared of putting Bynum in the 4th quarter. I cannot see any reason why Lamar should be playing more than him.

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  425. Things I could not explain:
    – Fisher 28 min., Shannon Brown 17 min., Farmar 6 min.
    – Pau Gasol 17pts, 17rbs, 5-8 FG, yes, 8 shots.
    – Bynum, +7 on the night, 18 min.

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  426. The Lakers bigs played better but I still didn’t feel they made their mark in this game. This has to change because otherwise it’s all on Kobe.

    I have to give credit to Carmelo and Nene, they both really improved their game. I never worried about them before but now they are forces to be reckoned with.

    All in all, this was a 50-50 game and you’re always taking your chances when it gets like that. I have confidence the Lakers can take at least 1 game in Denver but the Lakers need to raise their game to beat this worthy opponent.

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  427. Joe – Actually, no, I wouldn’t. I have no way of proving that to you, granted – these are all just words on a computer. But I’ve been on the ‘winning’ end of a number of calls that I’ve decried (I’m a UCLA fan – see the handle – and had to explain to dozens of my ‘brethren’ about how lucky, and BS, the end of that UCLA/Texas A&M game was in ’08).

    Ariza was put into a much tougher situation because there was an extra player in his area, one that shouldn’t have been there based on the rules governing jump balls. I don’t know what more to say, because it’s a pretty reasonable statement, I think. You can disagree, obviously, and do.

    As for the Kobe stuff, my point is, you’re saying “nobody remembers where it doesn’t happen,” and I’m saying that nobody remembers games like this where it DOES happen, but through other factors he still loses. Bryant was brilliant in the closing minutes of the game. He, and his team, lost through a combination of a talented opponent, a couple of bad bounces, and a couple of boneheaded plays by his teammates. LeBron is absolved, and people talk instead about how transcendent he was despite his team’s failings. Bryant’s work will be forgotten despite his own excellence (he was better tonight than he was in Game 1).

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  428. Joe A., I agree with you. Underbruin is just making stuff up.

    Lakersfan88, tonight was not the night for Gasol bashing. He played the way we’ve been wanting him to play all year – tough, high activity level, contest and rebound. If he would’ve made those free throws, then he would’ve played a perfect game. That’s just too much to ask.

    Billups missed free throws too and so did LeBron yesterday. Are you going to say they shrink in big games and 49-6-8 are ’empty’ stats?

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  429. I mean the Lakers shot 14 free throws in the 4th. The Nuggets shot 16- but 4 were to stop the clock. I think it’s hard to argue that the Lakers were being more aggressive with the ball.

    I’m not saying there was some bad calls, but it didn’t decide the game.

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  430. Don W –

    … Seriously? You say I’m making things up and then defend a guy who takes 8 shots as the 2nd best player on the team?

    Funny, I would have thought Gasol would have been up for shooting more often than Linas Kleiza. Guess I’m mistaken.

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  431. Oh, I’m not arguing the officiating was one-sided in general. I think the Lakers were the victim of a couple bad calls late, but that’s not really different than when they were the beneficiaries of some calls early.

    I do believe that the missed call on the jump ball had an effect, though. That’s a totally different claim – it’s one thing to say “they got help” or not, but it’s another altogether to acknowledge an incorrect call but claim it didn’t matter.

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  432. The Dude Abides in #368…

    …has it exactly right. The Lakers have too many of their players performing below expectations right now. Kobe (and to lesser extent Gasol) are the only two Lakers whom I expect to contribute up to their potential every night.

    And even with that the Lakers are still in this. That’s something at least.

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  433. SBCinAZ – You’re looking for Ariza to score 20 points on 8 shots every night?

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  434. Joe A-

    There’s stepping into the lane a hair early and then there’s what JRS did. It was the equivalent of the free defending man on a free throw crossing the lane just before the shot. You’re smoking something strong if you think that that, even in the last minute, wouldn’t (with competent officiating), draw a lane violation. To ignore things like that invites them, so you’ve got the call them. These guys just flat didn’t see it. I have a theory why, however. It was a slightly abnormal play in that the ball was missed at the top of its flight, and so it didn’t go into play until a little bit later. If they were anticipating the normal play – a tip at the top, they didn’t have a chance to see the violation, because they’d already taken their eyes and focus away from the ball and were operating under the assumption that the players were free to move. I guarantee that when they see their game tape, they’ll kick themselves for missing it. Like I said – it’s the refereeing equivalent of missing a free throw.

    Oh… And JR Smith went right to Ariza and put pressure on him, so don’t try to claim that he didn’t make a difference.

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  435. Our guards not named Bryant were 5-22, we need better from them in Denver.

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  436. It also surprises me that Phil still gave 28 minutes to Fisher. I thought Farmar played very well in the limited time he played. And Shannon Brown also played quite well in his 17 minutes. I buy it (though I am not 100% confident) that Phil wanted to get Fish for the last 5 minutes of the game for his veteran savvy. But why bring him back in the 2nd quarter when both Farmar and Brown were performing admirably. And in the 3rd. There is no reason Fisher should be playing more than 20 minutes at this point. He has not been shooting well the whole playoffs. Same goes for Sasha. It’s good that Phil did not bring Sashs back in after his debacle in the 2nd quarter.

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  437. That was a horribly, horribly officiated game. I’m not saying thats why they lost, but man were the refs terrible…

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  438. Underbruin, you need to get out more.

    (And I really don’t want to turn this into this debate….)

    Go read the ESPN boards from yesterday’s Cav’s game.

    It’s nothing but Laker’s fans saying: Kobe had the will to win, Lebron didn’t. That’s the difference between ’em.

    Kobe would never let his teammate shoot the last shot in a game that mattered. That’s why Kobe’s clutch and LBJ isn’t.

    It doesn’t matter that Lebron had an amazing line, the loss is 100% on him.

    Ad f’n nauseum.

    They’d be absolutely killing him if turned the ball over like Kobe did in the crunch time.
    ——————————

    The jump ball thing was very very minor. Anytime your making vague hypothetical arguments like player A could have backed up had player B not been in his vicinity… you’re stretching it.

    Anyways- I’m done. Let’s hope the next game we don’t have to discuss this kind of stuff.

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  439. Second straight 50-50 game, the ball didn’t bounce our way tonight. Looks like this thing will be a dog fight – i’d feel a whole lot better about the series if we took game 3. I’ll be avoiding sports media all day tomorrow.

    Laker fans everywhere will be piling on Dfish tonight… I just don’t understand what’s going on with him. I can see he just is not the same guy physically, but mentally, he is making bad decisions. One example tonight was the late 2-1 fastbreak he ran with Ariza. Instead of splitting the defender and forcing him to make a decision, he passed it way too early, and Ariza was fouled and went 1-2 at the line. That situation could easily have been a dunk or even an and-1.

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  440. Underbruin-
    I just hate it when refs in any sport miss calls that aren’t judgement related. Is the man/ball on the proper side of the line? It’s a simple question really. Oh, well. Another day.

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  441. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Ugh. Okay now that I’ve put my hand through a couple walls. Yes, the Lakers could have done themselves some favors by guarding Linas Kleinas at any point, and Sasha and Fisher’s shots both going MIA is a huge problem. AND I don’t understand why Farmar (who I thought played well in the 2nd quarter) or Bynum didn’t get more chances in the 2nd half.

    And if I missed early calls that favored the lakers, then I guess I have to accept the make ups, but I can’t accept calling Gasol for a foul when Billups leaps sideways into him as Gasol stands still, and I can’t accept 3 separate refs ignoring an egregious jump ball violation on the most important possession of the game. Without those two plays, the lakers still might have lost, but with them they didn’t really have a chance and had to start fouling, so barely had a chance.

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  442. Joe A. Dude you are comparing ESPN fan boards to this forum. Nobody on this board ever said that. And, IMO Kobe played incredibly well in the clutch tonight. Better than Lebron did yesterday, because Lebron did miss several free throws in the last seconds. But neither did the Lakers lose because of Kobe nor did the Cavs lose because of Lebron.

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  443. Joe A-

    Not to be a jerk about it, but who really cares what a bunch of yahoos who claim to be Lakers fans said on the ESPN boards about LeBron and the Cavs? Those boards have been pretty awful almost since their inception. Besides… The ECF is the ECF and the WCF is the WCF.

    How can you say a jump ball in the offensive half with 19 seconds left down two is “minor”?

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  444. As much as the drinks are hitting me, the lack of a finish at the end is killing me. I hope Hollinger has a 2,000 word column tomorrow about getting the ball into Kobe’s hands in that situation.

    Granted, it is not easy when Anthony is guarding him, but there are five seconds on an in bounds, and Walton freaked out and inbounded too early.

    When he passed in, we still had 2-3 seconds left on the in-bounds clock. If we had two seconds, Kobe still has time to cut from the weak side and get off a last shot. We all have seen Kobe finish off so many opponents. The final Laker possession couldn’t possibly frustrate me more. Phil is the coach I’d want on my team, but I’d like to see an assistant step up and give a play that would make a difference.

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  445. Joe A – I understand your desire not to get into the whole LeBron/Kobe thing. I agree. I’ll simply respond – I’m not interested in what the ESPN boards have to say. I’m more interested in the national media discourse, as they tend to actually drive commentary more than the average fan. And the most common theme I saw was “LeBron awesome, teammates shrink from moment, SUPAHMAN, etc”. I think we’re talking about 2 different groups of commentators on that one.

    As for the jump ball thing, I think this is an ‘agree to disagree’ item. I just rewatched the clip, and Melo doesn’t even really contest Trevor’s corralling of the ball, only Smith does, which is what gets him off-balance and moving the wrong way – he doesn’t have to jump forward to bring in the ball otherwise, and at such a crucial juncture that missed call could have made a big different. I don’t think we’re too far off here, in that there’s still a thousand-and-one ways the Lakers lose that game. But I do believe that Smith’s presence on that side of the court caused the TO, and was due to a procedural violation that was pretty blatant to boot.

    Anyway, I certainly am right with you in the hope about Game 3.

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  446. Well the discussion was about public perception, wasn’t it? Because I don’t see anyone on these forums saying the bad things about Kobe that people here are complaining about either…

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  447. I actually don’t remember Smush Parker playing as poorly as Derek Fisher right now, and I HATED Smush Parkers game.

    It’s not just the missed 3’s either, it’s the inability to fight thru picks, the inablity to make an interior pass, and the fact he’s a huge liability on fast breaks because he might be the worst NBA finisher in history.

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  448. I know that after any loss it’s natural to try and assign blame..Gasol? Fisher? Odom? Phil? The refs? Okay, I guess. Some or all of them could have done some different things that potentially change the result.

    However, from my perspective, we just didn’t do enough to win. Based off how the game was being called, we fouled too much. As a team, we went away from what worked in the first half (on offense and defense). I mean, where were the the cuts? Where was the ball movement? Where was the trapping? Where was position D? All of those things were sporadic or non existent in the second half, especially in the closing minutes. Like I said, we didn’t do enough. All credit to Denver for playing with poise and making the plays that they needed to in order to win.

    Also, look at the difference in bench production from last game to this game. In game one we outscored them 27-16. This past game that difference was only 22-21 in our favor. And then Kleiza made a huge impact for them and we didn’t have that one defining performance from a support player (besides Ariza, but he’s a starter) to help us get over the hump. You add to that Billups’ tremendous performance and ability to control the game in the final minutes with his ballhandling and FT making and we lost. Really, I’m over it.

    As for the next game and the remainder of the series, we must do a better job of getting our bigs easy buckets. Pau got 17 points on eight shots because he lived at the line. But I’d like to see him actually get some *buckets* rather than get fouled on putbacks or on rebound tries. Don’t get me wrong, those plays are very nice and I don’t want those to end, but I do want him to be able to get up more shots. He’s not shooting because we’re still not running the sets in a manner where he is the guy with the ball in a position to get up a good shot. And that’s the execution that went south in the second half. I also want sustained effort from Drew. Yes he had a nice first half. But where was that same urgency when the third quarter started? It wasn’t there – at least not all the way. And what I see is Phil treating Drew like he treated Farmar after acquiring Brown – if he doesn’t see what he wants from Drew, Phil will pull him and play the guy that contributed to our Finals run and was a major key to our regular season run when Bynum was injured. Phil can live with Odom’s ups and downs because they’re never based off effort. Drew needs to take some notes on that and earn back some of that trust from Phil. From my perspective, if Bynum just goes hard for every minute he’s in the game, he’ll get his number called late in the game. But if he doesn’t show Phil that he’s got that spark, he’ll sit because Phil has another option in LO (just like Phil found he had that other option in Brown). I just wish it wasn’t this time of year where there was so much uncertainty with a guy that (I think we can all agree) we really do need.

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  449. #431

    No Underbruin, I’m not expecting Ariza to perform as great offensively every night as he did tonight, but that’s the point really.

    Every team has certain things they expect their players to do *routinely* but not every night (sometimes they’re better, sometimes worse on a given night). Ariza was better tonight on offense, but too many of the role players (Sasha, Farmer, Odom, Fish, etc) aren’t playing up to expectations often enough right now. It’s one reason the Lakers as a team are so inconsistent.

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  450. Kurt – If you are moderating like you are, cant you bring the most recently moderated comments to the most recent comments of the blog? That way they don’t get stuck 7 comments behind as the chat progresses.

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  451. This is a weird series, with one game looking as if it were a mirror of the other game. But still one thing that struck out the most about this game is Linas Kleiza. If he is out of his season slump against Lakers, then we’re in deep S*^&.

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  452. Well Underbruin, find me the media story that gives Kobe the blame for not taking over a game at the end (when he always gets 100% of the credit when he does) and I’ll agree with you.

    You can’t complain about the foibles of other teams fan’s without looking at your own. That’s my one and only point.

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  453. Joe A – That’s a tad unfair (“I don’t see anyone on these forums saying the bad things about Kobe that people here are complaining about either…”). This is a Lakers blog. He was saying an LA blog wasn’t putting down LeBron. To really make your point, you should be able to say the same thing about a Cavaliers blog concerning tonight’s game, if you want to be equal in the ‘lack of criticism’ category.

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  454. time to cut the cord on fisher. he should not be playing more than 15 min a game.

    pau needs a heart transplant. kobe was a stud tonight.

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  455. Underbruin, I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

    This is what I was responding too initially:

    “What’s funny is that more than the loss, I dread all the banging on Kobe and talk of “softness” that will take place in the next few days that is totally unwarranted. I feel like Bron got minimal heat for the Cavs loss because his individual line was so good, but if Kobe had the same line tonight…selfish city.”

    All I was saying is that Kobe just gets his benefit of the doubt in other areas (although admittingly my argument did meander a bit)- the whole ‘cold-blooded assassin’ meme that never gets questioned in the Mass media.

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  456. Darius – The one thing that worries me, though, is that Pau seems to have lost that 15-footer. Not that he can’t make it at all. But he rarely seems to take it anymore, and it’s nowhere near as automatic as it seemed during stretches in the regular season. He’s hesitating on it, which allows opposing bigs to play off him more and protect against his drive.

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  457. A few questions to ask:

    Why does Kobe still have to carry the offense?

    Why is Fisher still our starting point guard? “Experience” does not negate taking bad shots and getting beat by every other point guard in the league.

    Why was Ariza put back into the game so late in the 4th quarter?

    Why is Carmelo allowed to tap Kobe on the forehead, multiple times?

    How could a referee affect the outcome of a game so much?

    What does Gasol have to do in order to avoid a foul if Billups runs into him and falls down?

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  458. Comments getting moderated… might show up eventually.

    Anyways, I’m not in the PST, so I’m off to bed.

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  459. Night Joe A. Here’s to dreams of a victory in Game 3.

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  460. Bruin – He hasn’t lost it, he has just gone away from it. That is a byproduct of the gritty Denver defense. They have a tendency to get teams to play to their pace.

    He still has that shot, he just needs to take it. He needs to know his offensive skills and tendencies. He is a very good shooter. He should stop showing hesitation with pump fakes and just shoot the ball. Make the shot. I think he knows it too, and I think he’ll make a sick showing in Denver.

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  461. Adam – From your fingertips to Pau’s ears, one can only hope. =P

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  462. Darius,

    Your points are spot on (I mean, when are they not!)

    Gasol’s effort on the offensive glass was fantastic (it’s one area where we can have a distinct advantage against Denver). However, the number of good shots during normal offensive exectution weren’t nearly often enough.

    When Gasol is scoring, and getting good looks, it causes the defense to break down, making it that much easier for others to get good looks. Gasol’s effort wasn’t the problem tonight, but he and the others (plus coaching staff) need to find ways to consistently get Gasol those good shot attempts.

    Gasol had, I believe, 8 shots tonight, and a number of those were on offensive putbacks. He needs more shots.

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  463. Bruin – He’ll find that “grace”. Just wait for it..but dont wait for an “i told you so”

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  464. Bruin,
    Pau hasn’t been playing his normal offensive game all playoffs. It’s not that he hasn’t been effective, but he just hasn’t been doing all the things he did during the season that made him effective. When the year started and he was playing with Drew, his jumper was very sharp. However when Drew went down he went to more of a post up game and shot a ton of jump hooks and then shot the jumper on step outs off turn and face moves from the mid post. But now that Drew’s back but his minutes are so inconsistent, Pau’s playing some inbetween game that I really don’t recognize right now. He’s not really shooting his jumphook and relying on a turnaround jumper that is a decent shot but not his money shot. And while he’s found some of his spin moves against Birdman, he’s still not using his full arsenal. Also (and maybe I buried the lead some on this), Pau doesn’t have that explosive first step that he had during the regular season. I noticed this against Utah, but thought that Boozer was just doing a good job on him. But it’s been three straight series now and I’m seeing the same things. With a diminished first step, players are now able to play a bit closer to him and challenge his jumper more. And not only that, he’s not making guys pay by driving by him. Anyways, I just wish he’d go more to his jumphook just because he’s got plenty of counter moves off that shot and it makes him so much more difficult to guard with that full arsenal.

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  465. Darius – You think he’s finally wearing down? (Trying to bring that lede out for ya!)

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  466. 432. Underbruin, I’m not even going to argue with you about the jump ball play, because you’re apparently not going to stop talking about it. Let’s just say I disagree with you that that play was on JR, or that it made such a huge difference.

    As for the Gasol argument, I was defending him for the missed free throws in the context of costing us the game. Could he have played a better game? Sure. So could’ve a lot of other people. He wasn’t the reason we lost.

    I do agree with your comments in 451 about his jump shot failing him. He’s hesitating in the post as well, which is probably why he couldn’t get very many shots off.

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  467. Everyone relax this wasn’t one of those horrible losses like the ones we experienced to the Rockets. This was just 3 points, and quite frankly it could’ve swung either way. If any team is capable of winning on the road, it’s the Lakers. I think they will at least split in Denver.

    However, the funny part about these past 2 games have been the irony.

    Did anyone notice, how LA stole the game from Denver in game 1, and in game 2, Denver stole the game from LA? Guess it makes a fun story line for the NBE (National Basketball Entertainment).

    The score at halftime almost worked the same way; LA had a big lead and gave it up to 1; in game 1, Denver had a big lead and gave it up to LA to lead by 1.

    The huge Trevor Ariza steal changed the momentum of the game. Tonight, even though he played good, he turned the ball over in the last seconds.

    I dont even know what to say about the refs anymore. I think it’s pathetic what the NBA is trying to do. Quite frankly, I’ve talked to a lot of people who believe that the NBA does this on purpose to make the series longer. This was very much LA’s game and if it wasn’t for that STUPID 2nd quarter brain fart we could’ve won easily.

    Before everyone starts complaining just relax. If Denver can win in LA for the first time in 12 tries, we can win in Pepsi Center.

    We basically did everything that we did right in the 1st half, wrong in the second half.

    Gasol, Fisher, an Odom really need to step up, it has become unbearable to watch.

    And Phil jackson has to play bynum more, it’s common sense. I dont care what you have against the guy, you are trying to win a championship, not to become friends.

    BTW, Ron artest was at the game, that guy is BAD LUCK haha

    We got game 3!

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  468. Darius, is this that first step you’re talking about?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nHAuZdEH9Q

    ¡espectacular!

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  469. The reason why Gasol hasn’t been getting his jumper going is because he hasn’t tried to. He has not been agressive. He has focused on defense and rebounding more, diverting to Kobe on offense. This is leaving him hesitant when he gets the ball on a well operated pick and pop. That hesitation hurts LA. Next time he gets the ball with space, I expect him to shoot it and make it.

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  470. Bruin,
    While that’s not my argument, it’s not something I’m dismissing. Despite the fact that Pau is an amazing athlete in terms of endurance, he’s played more high level basketball over the past two year period than in any other time of his pro career. Last NBA season, he played 87 games including the playoffs. Then over the summer he barely rested before joining his national team for the Olympics. This season he played in 81 regular season games (the majority of those at Center) and has now played in another 14 playoff games (for a total of 95 games!). That’s a lot of ball. Like I said, I’m not conceding that he’s worn down, but I’m not dismissing it either. It’s just one more reason that I’m with Kurt on Bynum (and not Odom or our PG play) being the X factor in this series. Drew is the guy that can take some pressure off Pau in the paint on offense and defense and on the glass. And it’s that presence that can decide a series, especially one with good, but foul prone players in the opposing front court.

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  471. Don – I’m on record earlier as believing that Fisher was the biggest contributor to the loss. They were all involved, even Bryant (that fumble to the jump ball ended up being super-costly, obvs – he tried to split the double-team one too many times).

    I just feel like Gasol isn’t taking advantage of some of the looks he -is- getting. There was a possession late in the game (I think it was after Brown chased down a long rebound) that Gasol ended up with the ball WIDE open 8 feet from the hoop, but he passed it to Odom who got a bit of a bailout foul. I may be remembering the full sequence wrong, but I do remember Gasol having an absolutely fantastic look and passing it up. If you’re the #2 on a championship team, you have to get up a shot there.

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  472. Stat of the night: Lakers not named Bryant were 6 of 24 outside the paint, 1 of 5 in the fourth quarter.

    And Phil clearly still trusts Fisher more than Brown or Farmar. Which makes me both sad and nervous.

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  473. Bynum had 1 foul and he only got 18 minutes?
    “Lakers outscore Nuggets 36-18 in the first half keyed by Bynum, are outscored 20-16 in the second with ‘Drew on the bench.”

    And when will Phil finally listen to me and put Lamar on Melo

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  474. Bruin, Darius,

    It’s possible that Pau is worn down some, but his effort and energy on both defense and the glass was solid. It seems to me if he were seriously worn down those areas of effort would decrease before his effort at getting shots would.

    I wonder, sometimes, if even great players like Pau can just become hesitant offensively because they’re so concerned with taking bad shots and hurting their team in the playoffs (especially if they haven’t been deep into the playoffs alot). It can be easy to say to yourself not to ‘force’ the issue, and wait for a ‘better’ shot which doesn’t come. This could even be more true when on a team with a SuperStar like Kobe, where you don’t want to take shots away from him by ‘wasting’ a possession with a ‘bad’ shot.

    I”m just spit-balling, really! Pau just needs to take more good shots. He has the talent.

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  475. That was the worst game I’ve ever seen Fisher have, the problem is that’s the third time I’ve said that this playoffs. I think he’s gassed physically, that can be the only explanation for his game completely falling apart like this.

    Phil Jackson has to decide if the Lakers can win an NBA championship with Derek fisher as your starting point guard

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  476. Darius – Also, he’s been the minutes-played leader on the team for the season, to boot! That’s my biggest worry with regards to his sluggishness (and I do think you’re right, he has slowed a half-step). That he’s just wearing down a bit. Kobe has made “making an impact while taking half the game off” almost into an art form. Gasol doesn’t have that luxury in multiple ways (less experience, defensive assignment in the paint, more time with the bench mob), so I could easily see him just getting tired – the short rest after the Houston series probably didn’t help.

    I definitely think Bynum’s important. But PG play has basically been the determining factor for the Lakers this playoffs, it seems. When the Lakers, a) get good minutes from theirs, or b) hold down the production of their opponents’, they seem to win:

    UTA 1 – DWill goes 4-14.
    UTA 2 – Williams goes off, but ShanWOW has a stellar 15 minutes
    UTA 3 – Fish and Brown a combined 4-12 (no Farmar) – though admittedly Williams didn’t dominate this game
    UTA 4 – Fish and Brown score combined 22 points on 13 shots, while DW goes 6-14.
    UTA 5 – Williams goes 4-12 for 14/6/2 with 4 TOs (easily his weakest game of the series)

    HOU 1 – Brooks rolls (7-14 for 19), while Fish goes 3-10 and Brown and Farmar vanish.
    HOU 2 – Brooks and Lowry combine for 5-22 and 13 points, while Fish/Brown score 19 on 12 shots.
    HOU 3 – Farmar and Brown play stellar (20 points on 9 FGA, Jordan with a 12/7/5 with 1 TO). Brooks has just 7.
    HOU 4 – Everything went wrong. But Brooks was by far Houston’s best player (12-20 for 34/4/3). Fisher was awful (1-4 for 2/0/2), Farmar was meh, Brown was good in mostly garbage time long after the game was over.
    HOU 5 – Brooks and Lowry combine for 5/18, 6 asst, 3 rebs. Though Fish struggles, Farmar and Brown both play well, Jordan in particular (4 of 7 for 12/6/2 with 1 TO).
    HOU 6 – Fish sucks again (1 of 7, 2 pts, 1 asst). Brown struggles (0/3, 1 reb, 1 asst). Farmar actually played well (5/10 for 13 pts), but again largely in garbage time. Brooks goes off for 26/4/3 on only 13(!) shots.
    HOU 7 – Only game this series where PG play didn’t correlate with the winners. Brooks was bad, Lowry was good, Lakers got nothing.

    DEN 1 – Billups was okay, but 5/13 for 18 points is far from his best game. Fish had one of his best games in the playoffs, with 13 points (on 13 shots, mind), but also with 6 AST and a couple boards.
    DEN 2 – Fish was Bee Are You Tee Ay Ell – BRUTAL. Billups was great (27 points on 15 shots and money late). Brown was okay, but not stellar (8 points on 3/8, 2 reb, 1 asst, so/so defense). Farmar was an afterthought (6 mins).

    I’d say out of the 14 games, 13 correlate almost entirely with the fluctuations of point guard play.

    Also, Fisher has been horrific this entire playoffs. I didn’t realize just how bad until I looked at the box scores:

    31/84 (36.9%) FG – 9/37 (24.3%) 3Pt – 2.33 AST/G – 1.75 Reb/G, in just under 27 minutes a game.

    Getting good minutes from Bynum is important, true. But Fish is a sub-replacement level PG right now, by a wide margin. Brown and Farmar have both been far better.

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  477. Laker fans complaining about the last jump ball, don’t forget the refs blew the initial call. It should have been nene and gasol, not billups, and if it is nene the nuggets win the tip anyway.

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  478. Hey Andy, hypotheticals are for bored people. Allow the truth to seep in as is appropriate. Just know the Lakers aren’t slowing down a bit

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  479. Well, I’m certainly glad the refs are in a conspiracy for the Lakers, otherwise not one but two Nuggets might be putting up Dwayne Wade-like free throw numbers… oh wait, they are? Nevermind then.

    More seriously, the Lakers are kind of depressing right now. This is not the same team with Fisher, Farmar and Vujacic all non factors. We need those guys to hit shots, or we’re extremely hard pressed to win this series.

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  480. I can’t get passed the media insisting LA can’t win in Denver. Gentlemen, give me a break. We swept them last year, and don’t tell me that doesn’t matter a bit. I know we aren’t facing the same team, and our team knows that. The truth is, if we can’t win in Denver, we aren’t a championship team. It’s our turn to prove our worth. We’re about to define the word amazing

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  481. actually, ignore my last sentence of rambling

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  482. Underbruin, those were some very interesting PG stats, I believe we may go down because of PJ’s insistency of keeping Fisher at the helm this year, but so be it, he is the coach not the fans, right?, and I certainly do not have 9 rings to my name. I sincerely hope I am wrong with what I just said about the Lakers this year.

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  483. We are winning in Denver. Who doubts it? A minimum of one game and possibly both of them.

    I don’t think a lot of people realize that the Lakers are not only a good team on an objective level, they are a team that knows how to get good when it counts.

    I think a lot of people are underestimating players like Kobe or Gasol. Kobe is the best player on the planet and he’s obsessed with winning a ring this year. Gasol is one of the most skilled and experienced international players ever and has a World Championship gold medal, an Olympic silver medal and European Championship silver medal hanging from a picture’s frame corner on his living room.

    If anything, we have entirely too much talent in one team. People are not getting enough minutes to explode and get confidence. That is one of the reasons we’ve lost some games along the stretch. If people like Sasha or Farmar can manage to climb out of the slumps they’re in, and Bynum gets back in shape, the are no basketball team on this planet that can beat the Lakers.

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  484. From the post-game press conferences with Phil and Kobe: The last play of the game was designed to go to Fisher because Jackson thought Denver would foul Kobe as soon as he caught the ball and they needed a three.

    It came very close to working, except for a great play by Nene to get a piece of the ball. And say what you want about Fisher, but he hit two critical short-corner threes in game 1.

    FWIW, someone asked Kobe point blank whether he wanted the ball on that last play, and I thought he answered the question well in saying that, while of course he always wants the ball, he thought it was the right play and he’d do it again.

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  485. In game 1 the Lakers executed better down the stretch, got some lucky bounces and made their FTs. In Game two Denver executed better, got the beneifit of some calls and lucky bounces and made their FTs. In games this close its all about execution and the team that executed better has won both games. No reason the Lakers can’t win in Denver, but someone will have to make some outside shots. I think Brown and Farmar should probably get some more minutes. I just think Fisher’s body is worn out and its affecting his shot and decision making.

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  486. 488

    1. It came nowhere near close to working. With 4.3 sec on the clock, Fish receives the pass and immediately turns and goes into a shooting motion like he thought there was 0.4 sec on the clock. Nene only put him (& us) out of his (& our) misery. The final terrible decision that capped a game full of him making terrible decisions in pretty much all aspects of the game. I’m outright shocked at Fish.

    2. Kobe did kinda say that, but I don’t remember him saying “it was the right play”. I also thought it was odd that he referred to him as “Fisher”. It’s always “Derek” or “Fish” with Kobe. I may be reaching there. In any event, that last play call was a terrible coaching decision that capped a game full of terrible coaching decisions. I’m beyond shocked at PJ.

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  487. What is up with Pau and pressure freethrows? This has been going on since last year. Missing freethrows in the 4th qtr. was huge last night. When the Lakers missed I could just feel Denver telling themselves, they don’t want this game so lets take it from them. I know Pau was not the only one missing and I’m not blaming him for the loss, but you can just see him breaking down mentally as he shrugs his shoulders and blows into his hands. I’m saying to myself here comes a miss lol.

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  488. @ 437,

    JR Smith actually over ran the play and went right between Melo & Ariza. It was a violation but it had no effect on the play. Melo’ put pressure (or tripped) Ariza.

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  489. I’m very discouraged as a Laker fan. Of the four teams remaining, the Lakers are playing the worst basketball. Yet they’re the ones with arguably the highest expectations, which only compounds their problem. DEN and ORL have already progressed beyond last year — they’re essentially playing with house money — and CLE is looking to go further and has every reason to believe they will. The Lakers are only hoping to get back to where they were, and looking very uncertain doing it. The psychology is very bad for them.

    Their inconsistency which fans have been trying to rationalize away is real and not going away. There’s a reason they took 7 games against a seriously undermanned Houston team. Their role players are not going to miraculously step up. The best you can hope is one player other than Kobe and Gasol plays well. That is, if Phil doesn’t bench them.

    Even the two guys carrying them are not the same players last year. Kobe has lost a step, I believe, and Gasol is looking uncertain. He’s not taking/making the 15’er that used to be automatic and missing FTs. I think he’s also run down from the huge minutes he’s played all season long. Why did he get only 8 shots? It’s been a problem all year and I don’t see them suddenly working it out.

    They have more talent than heart and grit. Where did the team of that amazing road trip vanish to? They deserve the soft label. Laying a guy out doesn’t change that; it just looks like overcompensation. It’s not just about being physical; it’s about collectively sucking it up and getting it done.

    and I’m sick of Phil being beyond reproach b/c he has 9 rings. A little thought experiment: where would they be now if, say, Popovitch had been their coach all year?

    Nothing would make me happier if the lakers made me eat my words. But at this point I think we’re looking at Denver in 6.

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  490. Bruin,
    I think PG play is important as well. And just like during the Houston series, I’m not going to defend Fish – he’s playing poorly. However, we know that PG is not a strong position on our team. Even if Farmar/Brown (or Fish) are playing well, we would never say that we’ve got an advantage over Deron or Billups (and maybe even Brooks with the way that he’s improved and also considering his specific strengths as a player and how those are the things that we struggle to defend). But we would never say that we were at a disadvantage with Bynum at Center. I think we would all agree that we’ve looked at Bynum all year as a player that is a difference maker and a key to us winning a title. Not as *the* main guy, but as a guy that is capable of doing things on offense and defense that lessen the load for Kobe/Gasol. And while we get that some nights, other nights we don’t. I think Phil could play him more, but I can rationalize why he doesn’t – if I was a coach, I might sit him too. So like I said, I agree that our PG play has been below standard and that we need steady production from that spot (but that’s the same with any position). However, Bynum is a guy that we *need* in order to advance. So to me he’s the X factor.

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  491. After sleeping last night, my referee hate has toned down to referee regret – regret at the state of the league for fostering such inconsistent and often incompetent refereeing despite continual fan protests. Sometimes I wonder if I would still care about the NBA if Kobe wasn’t around (because it seems like it sure doesn’t care about me). But that’s a separate discussion.

    What I wanted to address is that sometimes the ball just bounces the other way and you lose. I’m thinking of 2 instances in particular – one play in the 1st half where kobe and ariza had knocked the ball loose and were heading downcourt, but Luke (i think it was him) was unable to recover it and outlet, so instead of being a 2 on 0 fast break it ended up being a Kleiza wide-open corner 3. 5 point swing. And, of course, Chauncey penetrating late, not finding anyone, throwing it up for grabs, the ball somehow ending up in Nene’s hands who hits Kmart wide-open for the layin. When we’re not recovering those loose balls, I guess we don’t really deserve to win.

    Also, In game 3, I really hope we initiate our offense with a sense of purpose and much much earlier, preferably with a pass to Gasol. With Chauncey at the helm, the Nuggets rarely had awful offensive possessions, where they pounded the ball on the perimeter until 5 secs on the shot clock, then jacked up some wild contested shot. We did, especially in the 4th, and that was a huge blow.

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  492. I was interested in getting some statistical evidence to back confirm/deny a claim i see kicked around sometimes.

    Does Gasol shrink in the playoffs?
    Obviously his free throw % drops, but what about everything else. So I calculated his per minute production numbers based on what he’s given the Lakers (I didn’t include anything pre-Lakers. )

    Here you go:

    Reg Play Change
    FG 0.20 0.17 -14.6%
    FGA 0.35 0.32 -9.4%
    Pts 0.52 0.44 -15.3%
    Reb 0.25 0.26 1.6%
    blocks 0.03 0.05 49.9%
    ast. 0.10 0.08 -13.6%
    FT 0.12 0.10 -17.9%
    FTA 0.15 0.14 -7.1%
    FG% 57.3% 54.0% -5.8%
    FT% 77.4% 68.4% -11.7%

    I will add that I think it’s not uncommon for player’s stats to slightly dip somewhat Reg season to playoffs. Kobe’s do to for example- and no one is going to claim he shrinks in the playoffs.

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  493. KD is amazing. Everyone should be reading his recaps. He even convinced me that PJ’s play for Fish on the last play was nothing short of a very good call.

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  494. Sorry- it’s hard to format these things in the comment box:

    Reg / Play / Change
    FG: 0.20 / 0.17 / -14.6%
    FGA: 0.35 / 0.32 / -9.4%
    Pts: 0.52 / 0.44 / -15.3%
    Reb: 0.25 / 0.26 / 1.6%
    blocks: 0.03 / 0.05 / 49.9%
    ast.: 0.10 / 0.08 / -13.6%
    FT: 0.12 / 0.10 / -17.9%
    FTA: 0.15 / 0.14 / -7.1%

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  495. Do you guys think the heavy minutes that Pau had played during the reg season after Andrew was injured is affecting his play right now? Granted, JVG mentioned that he’s one of the best big men in the NBA that can sustain high-minutes of action, but he looked out of gas towards the end of the 4th quarter.

    Also, I never thought I’d say this, but Kobe looked tired last night as well. Yes, he split the double-team beautifully for that game-tying jumper, but on the next possession, Nene was able to swipe in at the ball when Kobe tried to split the double-team once again. And the two tough 3’s Kobe made in that 4th quarter was a reminder of his talents, but also showed that he was tired and did not want to attack the basket.

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  496. The Fish point appears to have been covered, but I’d also like to throw this out there: I think teams are baiting him to go to the rim. I can only think of three consistent below the rim finishers in the league (Parker, CP3, Monta Ellis) off the top of my head, but regardless of how many there are, D Fish is not one of them, yet I have consistently seen him drive into the lane only to get smothered. He is definitely tired. The mind is the first thing to go and I feel like we might be able to absorb his struggling shot but not his uncharacteristically bad decision making.

    That pass he tried to make when he was open for three to Pau underneath wasn’t necessarily a bad decision, but he made it off balance and it never had a chance of getting to Pau.

    Bottom line: Sasha (does he even hit his shots at 10 AM anymore?) Bynum and Fisher are struggling mightily. If one of those three returns on any given night, I think we can win in 6 or 7. If two or more come back to form, Denver’s won its last game of the season. If none come back, we are in BIG TROUBLE.

    Finally: The JR Smith violation on the jump doesn’t bother me nearly as much as Carmelo SHOVING ARIZA to the ground after he retrieved the ball. One second Ariza is upright with two hands on the ball, the next he is on his face and Denver is racing up court.

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  497. Turning point: Up by 7, about to go up 9 D-Fish goes on an unauthorized drive to the hoop. Denver comes down and scores (67-62), D-Fish proceeds to make 2 more unauthorized drives to the hoop and Denver is right back in the game. I know the team made lots of mistakes and the refs sucked, but we had a chance to put them away in the 3rd quarter, and good Phil Jackson teams put people away in the 3rd quarter.

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  498. It’s almost as if Derek Fisher read somewhere how he’s a terrible finisher and is determined to prove them wrong. That’s the only explanation for his forays to the rim. To me it’s the equivilent of somebody telling Pau Gasol he’s a bad three point shooter so he proceeds to jack up ill-advised 3’s to show his game is “well rounded”.

    I’ve haven’t like Fishers shot selection the whole year, but now since he can’t hit anything it’s a disaster.

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  499. I think Fisher thinks his reputation among the referees is such that any ill-advised, unauthorized drives to the hoop will automatically draw fouls. Which is ridiculous, because no ref is going to bail out (or should bail out) drives as out of control and hopeless as Fish’s.

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  500. Excellent information Joe. A. This does not surprise me at all. I think that most thin framed low post players(Gasol/Odom) will struggle offensively in the playoffs against physical defenders because they have trouble obtaining and keeping good low post position against muscular defender. I think both of these players will struggle offensively from this point on(as they did in the Houston series), not because they don’t have enough heart, or skill but because they dont have enough muscle/weight.

    To me this again illustrates our single biggest tactical error in this playoff run so far. That is the notion that Bynum (in the fouth quarter of games) is not essential to our success. The fourth quarter is when you need him the most. He is our only low post player with enough weight and musle to hold low post postion. This put tremendous pressure on the undersized Denver defenders.

    I know he blew a couple of defensive assignments to start the third quarter. I believe that PJ was right to pull him initially. But PJ definitely made a tactical error in not going back to him after his point was made.

    There is no point in treating Bynum as if we can do without him this year. We will not servive this series without his size and strength in the fourth quarters of the next few games. In addition, we have no chance without him (in fourth quarters) if we are lucky enough to advance and find Dwight Howard waiting for us.

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  501. Referees know that Fisher is a bad finisher so they are not able to bail him out when he’s driving recklessly to the cup, and I don’t blame them either

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  502. Archon/Wisegloat: I think both of you guys are right. My problem is, Fish is displaying insane behavior: doing the same thing over and over and hoping for different results. At this point, it is close to the time where he has to be the bigger man (ala Luke) and tell Phil he shouldn’t be starting (or finishing games).

    There is no more time to hope he snaps out of it, and the same is applies to Sasha. These two guys were so key last year, they opened up the whole floor. Now they are killing the Lakers on offense, not only with their misses, but with their shot “selection”.

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  503. And I know Fish hit a couple big shots in Game 1, still, that doesn’t change my feelings about his PT and his contribution. I love Fish, and has served the Lakers proudly, but he is hurting the team right now.

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  504. “Unauthorized”… I like that one. Unfortunately, everything Fish did last night was fully sanctioned. The last 5 min confirmed that.

    This is Fish’s 13th year, he’s a champion. Why is he trying to make plays he’s not capable of in the WCF? He’s the worst finishing PG in the L. That’s not even a knock, it’s a fact. Play within yourself. I can’t fathom what he thought he was doing last night. My Fisher jersey is in my closet right now, but hurting the team is hurting the team.

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  505. I suggested this lineup after Game 1, so it is not in reaction to the loss, rather the matchups. Why don’t we try to use a backcourt of Ariza and Kobe and let Luke play the 3. This way Walton can play Melo, Kobe can guard Billups and Ariza can roam off of Jones or guard JR. I think Walton has been our best defender on Melo and I think Kobe has been our best defender on Billups. I also think Walton can help get the ball in the post on O and post up players smaller than him.

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  506. I don’t know why Phil will not play Bynum more. When he was in the game, the Lakers lead most of the time. Bynum is a plus for the Lakers. Let the Nuggets adjust to our roster instead of playing to what they have. I have questioning Phil’s coaching decisions. He should play Shannon Brown instead of Fisher. FIsher is a veteran and the Lakers can use the veteran leadership on the bench. The team that should be on the floor for the Lakers should be Shannon Brown, Kobe, Lamar, Bynum, and Gasol. That is still an athletic team, where every person can be a threat on offense and can also be very effective on defense. This is a championship lineup.

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  507. I agree that Bynum should get more minutes and Pau should get more shots. But both of those guys complaining in the press concerns me a bit. Hopefully that gets cleared up, and quickly.

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  508. how about Bynum calling out the SSZ?

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  509. I think one of the Laker’s problems is that they don’t have a go to vet in support.

    When I say go to what I mean is a guy you know is very unlikely to make mistakes when it counts. Not going to take over the game- but will make a big play here or there without the equalizing mistake here and there.

    Think Robert Horry.

    Think PJ Brown/Posey on the celts last year. Bowen on the Spurs.

    The lakers supporting cast are all capable one way or another of making a big play- but how many of them can you trust to not make a bonehead mistake in return?

    I think having a player along these lines would be a big help for the Lakers. Imagine for example if you could swap Powell for Joe Smith, etc…

    Maybe those types of players are actually few and far between?

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  510. I don’t know what Phil is thinking right now? He is losing his Zen. I can’t believe he is starting to praise other coaches. There is no killer instinct in Phil anymore which is affecting the team. Someone should ignite a fuse under Phil to get him to coach the right way.

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  511. Kwame a. I like that starting line up. Melo needs a stronger defender on him. He is a great scorer so we can only hope that luke could slow him down. Trevor and Kobe are both good help defenders.

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  512. Lamar Odom should be guarding Carmelo. Odom has the length that will bother Carmelo and the strength to pound Carmelo. Odom is quicker than you think.

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  513. Joe. A. The Lakers have everything they need on this roster to win a championship this year. But to do this we must trust the Farmers/Browns/and Bynums. If we trust them now they will make mistakes, but in the end I think they will deliver.

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  514. I hesitate to critique Phil Jackson since he’s one of the most successful coaches in professional sports, I will say that he’s giving some players a longer leash then one would expect. For example,

    Sasha: If I were the coach I couldn’t in good faith play Sasha anymore, it’s almost 100 games into the season I think we have enough of a sample to say Sasha isn’t coming out of his shooting slump this year, and needs to spend the summer evaluating his game and working on his jumper. I think his shot selection last night was a slap in the face to his teammates too, I suspect last night was the straw with Phil, we will see…

    Fisher: He has many playoff scars and has been a valuable contributor on championship teams but you cannot win an NBA championship with your starting point guard playing the way Fish is playing, you just can’t.

    Walton: I understand why he’s playing, he is the only guy other than Kobe that can consistently make a pass into the post, but teams aren’t even guarding him, does his superior passing make up for his lack of shooting touch, I wonder….

    Lakers are getting nothing from 3 of their top 8 players, and we don’t know game to game what we will get from everyone else besides Gasol and Kobe. It might be time to shorten the rotation and force Bynum to play through his issues…

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  515. I’m not saying they are incapable of winning with the current team. I am just speaking of a theoretical that I think would make them better. Trying to identify a weak-point as an intellectual exercise.

    Speaking on how talent is not as one-dimensional as the best plays a player can make.

    Anyways, It would be much more reassuring to rely on someone who has consistently delivered in the past then someone who we are hoping will in the future.

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  516. I am convinced that if we continue to rely so heavily on our underachieving veterans we will come up short.

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  517. Instead of talent in that last post you could also substitute skill:

    Speaking on how ‘skill’ is not as one-dimensional as the best plays a player can make.

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  518. Finally a new post up.

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  519. Don’t get me wrong khjohn. I’m not trying to find an excuse for playing Fish. He definitely not the kind of mistake free vet I’m talking about.

    In some seasons past maybe, but not now. A big part of it is knowing to not do more than you’re capable of.

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  520. Lebron saves the Cavs season!!! But I want to see If the media will criticize them like they do the Lakers for blowing leads.

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