Lakers/Nuggets Game 3 Chat

Kurt —  May 23, 2009

Lakers Nuggets game 2 Western Conference Finals
The Lakers do not need to win today, they need to come back to Los Angeles 2-2. If they lose today but win the Monday Night RAW game, they will still be in a good spot to win the series. But if they are going to win either game, one thing needs to happen:

The Lakers need to control the paint. That is the line of scrimmage in football, the inside half of the plate in baseball — it is where games are won. Why Lakers fans are frustrated is that we had expectations of controlling the paint from the first day of camp. Bill Bridges explains.

In training camp we had visions of possibly the tallest front line in NBA history with Bynum, Gasol, and Odom.

I think Phil tried this in camp and possibly in one pre-season game. Then somehow he made the decision that he would not play the three together at all for the rest of the season! I submit that this was a huge mistake.

We are paying for this now. When Melo subbed himself in for Carter, the game changed. Ariza had to cover Kleiza and Kobe, Melo.

Had PJ had some trust (and experience) in the Bynum, Gasol, Odom front-line, the Lakers could have countered with this line plus Kobe and Ariza. The Lakers would be the ones posing mismatches instead of the other way.

Phil has been on the coaching back-foot this entire playoffs. He has been the one reacting to the other coach instead of letting the Lakers impose its will by exploiting obvious advantages.

The reality we all see (check out this breakdown from Don W.) is that Brown/Farmar are outplaying Fisher. That Bynum has some lapses but more good things than bad tend to happen when he is on the floor. Nobody is being consistent, but some of Jackson’s less trusted players are playing better. Craig W. said it well:

Phil’s philosophy is to ride things out, rather than to take situations out of the player’s hands. To do that he has to trust the player, therefore, before Phil will allow a player to get many minutes he must be able to trust that player to work things out in a reasonable amount of time.

The problem is that that ‘reasonable amount of time’ is compressed during the playoffs.

Phil is now at a decision point – according to us fans – where he has to put his imprint on the game and he has to do it with players who haven’t completely earned his trust. Can he do this? Can Phil change at this late point in his career? Should he?

There are other things we need to see. As Holinger pointed out — if Bynum is sitting (and often even when he is not) and Nene is on Gasol, running the high pick and roll with Kobe/Gasol is not as effective because Nene hedges so well on that play. A Kobe iso is more effective, spread the other guys along the baseline. That’s in the playbook, we used to do it all the time

But the Lakers need to get away from the pick and roll, away from the isolation and get shots through off the ball movement, through cutting, through good passing, Those are the ways the Lakers score efficiently on the Nuggets.

If we want someone other than Fisher to play, then someone has to hit the shots and make the plays. We call for Shannon Brown but he was 3 of 8 from the floor in game two. Jordan Farmar took one shot. Sasha is ice cold. Someone please grab control of that job and take it.

Also, the Lakers are going to have to play through the physical contact. In Denver, Lakers going to the rim are going to be pushed around and fouled, they cannot stop and look at the official hoping for a call. Finish. Control what you can control.

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Really, is there a better way to preview a game than Haiku? No. Not one. Bill Bridges started it, here are his and some others from the comments

Bill Bridges

Against these Nuggets
The key is controlling the lane
Play Andrew Bynum

The most puzzling phrase:
“Kenneth what’s the frequency”
Then “And the proble”

Lil’ Pau

Fish? Hooked. Machine? Broke.
Just Kobe, Pau, Trev., ShanWow
Where’s Lamar? Crickets.

••••••••••

Brick… brick… airball… brick…
Drive to rim, pray for bailout
Fish, swimming upstream

••••••••••••

Airball from Sasha
Furious, I smash TV
Two machines, both dead.

Wondahbap

Two words.
Selfish. Offense.
That is why we lost.


to Lakers/Nuggets Game 3 Chat

  1. I’m going to add something here:

    We as fans (to borrow a phrase from Clipperblog’s Kevin A.) tend to manage our expectations of the team through our coach. It happens in all sports. We blame/credit the coach for things that fall on the players. We blame/credit the coach for where the franchise is in relation to our expectations.

    This is not to absolve Jackson of all coaching mistakes. It is to say, and I may do this again in another post, that part of the frustration we are taking out on Jackson is because we are pissed at the players. I am sure Jackson and crew are not telling the guards to rush their post entry passes and be sure not to fake a pass to make a pass. The players are not executing the game plan either.

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  2. And here I was thinking we were done with those pesky Rockets.

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  3. 2. Thanks, fixed. I think that error was Freudian.

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  4. totally agree about the lamar, pau, andrew front line. I remember having a back and forth about it with darius or reed on these here message boards. fellas, correct me if I’m wrong, but your point was to make sure there’s adequate spacing in the post, and if those guys are in the game at the same time, there just isn’t. And I felt that I wanted to be able to provide a lineup with our best FIVE players in crunch time situations. Now, I think the point about lamar defending melo is more crucial than anything else. I think luke is smart enough to know how to keep melo off the offensive glass, but lamar has the best chance of really disrupting his overall game

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  5. From the LA Times:
    “Bynum never returned after being yanked from Game 2 of the Western Conference finals with 7:14 left in the third quarter Thursday night.

    It had nothing to do with foul trouble. He had only one. And he had no turnovers in the Lakers’ 106-103 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

    Jackson didn’t like that Bynum failed to hustle downcourt after not getting a pass in the post on a Lakers possession. Denver center Nene, left unguarded at the other end, made a layup and was fouled by Kobe Bryant for a potential three-point play (he missed the free throw).”

    So it looks like Jackson is using Drew’s PT as a club to teach him a lesson. He seems to do the same thing with Jordan Farmar. I understand why he does that with Farmar. Farmar isn’t that crucial to the team and we have two other people who can play that position. But on this Phil is pulling Drew and forcing Pau to pay 44 minutes, including the entire 2nd half. Those extended minutes without rest had to play a factor in his missed free throws.

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  6. Although intrigued with an Odom/Pau/Bynum frontline in pre-season I ultimately came down on the need for an outside shooter to spread the defense so that Pau/Bynum could operate more freely.

    However, given the fact that we don’t have any consistent outside shooting at the moment playing the 3 bigs together may very well be worth trying.

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  7. SBC you make a good point, it’s not like we’re lighting it up from outside. But I worry, in general, about such drastic shifts in strategy this late in the game.

    That said, it’s not as if we have concrete rotations which have solidified to this point — so maybe, why not? Of course Phil won’t try it anyway, is my guess.

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  8. Kurt, a few of SB’s misses came off late shot clock desperation drives/ jumpers. Fish too. SB was more like 3-5 and Fish 1-6.

    Loved the Haikus.

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  9. I think if I were Phil Jackson, I would:

    1) Ask Bryant and Gasol to skip the Olympics and rest after a long campaign last season;

    1b) Instead, have Bryant get some medical work done on his left pinky so his left ring finger doesn’t start falling off and effect his ball-handling at critical times;

    2) Ask Bynum to get hurt earlier in the year, so he has more time to work his way back into the team;

    3) Make sure that black market instant-aging potion goes to Bynum and Farmar as planned instead of Fisher.

    In other words, I think a lot of the things we would like PJ to do are beyond his control.

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  10. The key for this game will be the mental fortitude of our role players. You know Kobe will bring it. Pau will be effective. Lamar and Fisher won’t be too fazed. However, how will Ariza, Bynum, Farmar, Brown, and Sasha handle the maniacal crowd that is Denver. Our role players played terribly in HOU, and we can’t let that happen today even if Denver goes up by double digits early on. When the lead gets to 20, most likely our role players will get demoralized and possibly quit. We can’t let that happen. Denver will play better and hit their shots. The key is to execute better on offensive end, and keep Melo off the offensive board. We can’t let him get too many easy points from that and transition. If the bigs establish position in the box, we can win this game.

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  11. I just want to point out that Shannon Brown’s 3-8 for a very fixable reason: he got out of his element a few times and tried to scored one on one. That’s not his game. As a spot up shooter within the offense he has been our most reliable one.

    Fisher and Sasha, on the other hand, are just 20% shooters no matter what those shots are.

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  12. Btw, I do wonder why it’s always the other team’s players who drive hard then get bumped to get the foul call. We saw so many of them do it. No one on the Lakers other than Kobe and Ariza are doing that. When we drive we try to evade contact.

    Maybe I am mis-coached, but when I played in high school and college I was always taught to “seek contact,” not avoid it. Take it strong to their bodies, that’s what the coaches always told us.

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  13. Jesse,
    While I don’t quite recall our specific back and forth, I don’t doubt that I made that point. However, I will say that I waffled an awful lot on what to do with LO before the season started. I thought he could be a primary ball handler (ala Walton on the 2nd unit) from the SF position and that his chemistry with Gasol could make the weakside of our offense deadly to the opposition. However, I do see the issue with LO being a full-time SF as he would often be relegated to roaming around the perimeter and not utilizing his strengths as a guy that can go inside and penetrate from the wing (especially when matched up with PF’s).

    I do, however, see Bill Bridges point and I agree that it would be nice for us to have other options with our front line right now. Especially when you consider that we no longer have Rad and we essentially either have Ariza/Luke/Kobe but no other options if those guys don’t have favorable defensive matchups (like we’re seeing right now with Melo). At this point, though, I don’t know what the solution is other than for our Bigs to get more chances to be productive and for our *shooters* to start acting like they are actually shooters.

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  14. Phil Jackson, AKA P.J. May 23, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    All right, guys, you got me. The truth is that I’ve been secretly putting the team with its back against the wall so that they can be better prepared for the finals, unlike last year. You guys are seeing it yourselves. This team is not ready for clutch situations, other than Kobe. That’s why I let the team go to 7 games against Houston. Now, this may not be the best way for them to learn, but it’s better than cakewalking to the finals without growing more than we did last year. I mean, look at the Cavs, for god’s sake. If it weren’t for Lebron’s game winner they’d be toast right about now. Trust me, I know what I’m doing.

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  15. Great job on the haikus. lil pau’s cracked me up, I think those pretty accurately express the frustration of a Lakers fan with the supporting cast right now.

    If what someone reported was true (Bynum and Phil not speaking), that’s not a great omen for a team. Normally I’d be upset with Drew, but I think he’s been picking up his game (especially defensively, I loved his activity in the first half last night) and Phil’s been maddening with his rotation patterns. I can understand Bynum’s frustration, but I don’t the silent treatment won’t get him anywhere.

    Should be a fun game tonight, let’s see what happens.

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  16. Even when Shannon isn’t shooting well, he does other things, like tip the ball to allow for offensive rebounds or contest shots more aggressively. He still has trouble keeping Billups out of the lane, but so have all the other Lakers. That’s not going to change without a changes to the overall defensive strategy.

    I can understand Fisher being out there if he’s making shots and playing smart. But he hasn’t been making sound decisions lately. I’ve cringed the entire season every time he drive into the lane. It never seems like he’s actually trying to make the shot. Rather, it’s like he just flips it up there hoping to get bailed out by the refs.

    If he’s playing like that, I’d rather have Shannon out there because he makes hustle plays and is the only one other than Kobe who appears consistently capable of creating his own shot from the perimeter, which is increasingly important if they keep standing around on offense. Without ball and player movement they’re essentially running a more conventional offense without the benefit of better spacing and clear outs.

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  17. Obviously we are having difficulties with Fish right now. Fish had a pretty good run earlier in the season around Feb-March but I also remember his brain fart against SA when he slid beneath Mason’s arm-pit on a three and wound up giving them the win. Obviously Fish’s shot isn’t falling but those three possessions last Thursday, when he shot PUJITs in an attmept to stem a Denver run, had brain fart written all over them.

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  18. A crucial element we’re not seeing from the Triangle is for the ball to start in the post (Pau and Drew) and as a second option come back out to the guards. That means quicker decisions by our big men; quit over dribbling, quicker moves to the basket and also FACE the basket, both are fully capable esp. Pau on hitting the Js around the key. Our guards will benefit from front court production with open Js a la Kleza. It’s all about poise and patience.

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  19. No, Kurt. No to #1 for me. I personally am not transferring my disappoint on player mistakes to our coaching staff and PJ. We all know the players in the game didn’t do enough to win, but the issue is the wrong players are in the game at the wrong times. The coach controls rotations, that’s all on him.

    Gerrit said he thought Phil was “teaching lessons” to Drew with his PT. After his PG comments, this is obviously what’s going on. If you saw Drew’s PG game interview, his face said it all. He has no idea what Phil wants from him at this point. If he’s upset, I don’t blame him. I don’t understand why his mistakes are so much worse than the other 1000 mistakes our guys make every game. These crazy mind games just can’t be happening in the WCF.

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  20. PJ has never been known to make intra-game adjustments very well. However, he has reputation of a making good inter-game adjustments.

    In the championship series versus the Lakers, it was obvious that Jordan was ineffective guarding Magic. In game 2 Pippen switched over to Magic. And while Magic was still effective, this freed up Jordan on the other end resulting in 4 straight wins and the Bull’s first championship.

    The adjustments Jackson has to make is harder this series than merely swtiching Pippen and Jordan. The adjustments go to the heart of the defense the Lakers have run this entire season.

    The SSZ demands smart execution and a lazy offense to be effective. The first quarter of game 2 saw this. Later, the Nuggets attacked the zone, moved the ball, and especially found the open corner 3. Denver had 4 open corner threes attempts, making 3. Kleiza killed us here.

    I hope PJ considers switching up the defense depending on game conditions.

    You do not play a cover 2 on every down aganst Joe Montana and expect to win. Sometimes you have to blitz or cover man-to-man.

    I’d like to see some straight-up man defense. If Melo goes off, what about a box and one? Occasionally press Billups full court. Let’s give the Nuggets some other looks than the same look possession after possession.

    By the end of the 2nd quarter, the Nuggets became comfortable against the SSZ and especially Chauncey seemed to know how to get their shots each and every possession. The Lakers have to create discomfort on defense.

    As game 7 was a crucial bookmark to Kobe’s legacy. Game 3 is now critical to Jackson’s. Let’s hope we are wowed by the brilliance of his inter-game adjustments.

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  21. I can’t recall being this nervous for a laker game in a long time – this is a must win – I am very curious to see how we come out – we haven’t played a good road game yet – although our reg season stats are in our favor – this is a completely different playoff team – we must come out explosive in the 1Q – we will not come back from a big deficit against denver on the road
    i am most concerned about pau – all of his big games have been at home – we need him consistently getting 20+ points to win – i completely agree with the bynum, gasol, kobe, ariza, lamar, rotation – ariza has had some mistakes but overall he has been the most consistent other than kobe these playoffs he has been playing well- and drives the basket – but usually makes the layups unlike fisher – i do not think we can settle for lots of jumpers as everyone has said – we aren’t making the open outside shots – so unless our bench gets hot fro 3 pt land – our best bet is pound the ball inside – and create screens for kobe/ariza to drive the basket into the paint – that way we at least get a high percentage shot – and hopefully FTS – i think free throw opportunities are the key to victory on the road – we need to put some pressure on nene and martin by getting them in foul trouble – otherwise we are making it way too easy for them

    lets pray the officials turn tables and call everything in our favor tonight – this is either going to be a close game down to the final minutes – or a denver blowout – GO LAKERS! please prove the criticism wrong and win a clutch game

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  22. I posed this question in another thread and didn’t get much traction, and if no one bites again, I’ll let it go.
    I think Sasha needs to sit for a game or 2.
    not only is he not hitting shots, I don’t think he was very effective in game 2 either.
    whereas shannon was better both at hitting his shots and scrambling and creating opportunities on defense.
    what do you all think? is it time to sit sasha for a game or 2? this is not the time for him to try to shoot his confidence back into a rhythm.
    thoughts???

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  23. 22, i don’t necessarily disagree with with you – however i was perfectly comfortable with game 1 (i think it was game 1) where PJ put him in for a few minutes – he made one dumb mistake and he immediately yanked him – that is fine -but i only think he should come in if we have a lead – i do not think it could hurt to have him sit out

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  24. I agree with clutch. Transferring our player disappointments onto coaches definitely happens, but that’s not really the case here, it’s just that the wrong players are getting the majority of the PT.

    I’ve been harsh on Drew, but that was always because of a lackadaisical effort or lack of passion. I was really impressed with his activity defensively last game, and definitely agree he should have gotten more burn. He’s making mistakes, but like clutch said, so is nearly everyone else. But what Drew did on the court warranted more PT than he say.

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  25. Not only does the Pau-Lamar-Bynum trio lack a solid outside shooter, it also means that the PF/Center sub time goes to Powell and MBenga. And trying something new like that now, with the problems Bynum is having getting into synch, would not be a good decision.

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  26. Bynum doesn’t know what they want from him? You mean besides “rebounding and defense?”

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  27. chris h – I wouldn’t be sad if we didn’t see Sasha tonight, but I don’t think any of us know at this point what Phil’s going to do with that rotation.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see LO in the starting lineup, though, and maybe ShanWOW the first guy off the bench.

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  28. i agree, but it doesn’t have to be those three at the same time. i think the most important change would be to put odom on melo on the defensive end. can ariza guard kmart?

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  29. “…problems Bynum is having getting into synch..”

    Along with matchups, conditioning, fouls, etc. his round 1 & 2 problems were because his coach refused to put him in the best position to succeed by giving him consistent minutes. Also, he could do a better job managing his minutes when he’s in “foul trouble”. The 2nd half of game 1on fouls 4 & 5 was a good example of that. Those 2 fouls didn’t really necessitate him not playing the 2nd half in game 1, but PJ doesn’t seem to value his contribution.

    About the rebounding & defense, I thought he played well and impacted the game. He didn’t get rewarded for that with PT, instead he was actually punished. Folks say he only had 2 boards, but Pau was doing heavy lifting that game on the glass. Playing with Bynum early on helped him to do some of that (taking nothing away from Pau). I’m less concerned with stats and more concerned with the “presence” Drew gives us, specifically against Denver’s bigs.

    I thought we were finally past this at the start of game 2. Then, he gets me again 5 min into the 3rd. PJ just needs to play him. Ask Bill Bridges.

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  30. LO is not a defender that is capable of banging in the box like Melo likes to do. He’ll take Kobe, Trevor and LO into the paint and destroy them. In the past, you could convince Anthony into taking nothing but outside jumpers, but a light bulb went off in his head this season. He now realizes that he can be equally effective in the paint against “finesse” players.

    We have to make it uncomfortable for him to play inside so that he wants to shoot from outside. Then I like our chances on defense with our quickness and length out there. But in order to make this happen, Bynum and Gasol need to own the paint.

    Them playing together is such a formidable duo, you can’t cheat on them, and you can’t double team and leave the other open. And on defense, you get by one, and there’s another one waiting for you. Pau is also a much more effective player when he doesn’t have to carry the entire load, which he has done for the entire playoffs, minus 2 games when Andrew decided to show up.

    The key is help defense from our bigs. Melo will get his points, but we need to negate the easy ones where we also pick up cheap fouls trying to guard him when we are clearly outmatched at this position. If Drew and Pau can stay on the court together for a longer period of time, this will go a long way towards slowing down the red-hot Melo.

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  31. Should PJ keep Fisher on a short leash tonight if he get off to another bad start and continues to struggle from the field? Would PJ even consider not starting Fisher and bring him off the bench with the second unit?

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  32. 1. Pau hasn’t consistently established very good position. Nene isn’t just fronting him; he’s flattening him. Pau is being kneaded like dough when Nene bodies him up.

    He can’t expect many touches when he is flailing around out there trying to catch a pass with one hand. Can’t he roll to the basket when Nene fronts him? He and the Laker guards need to get on the same wavelength.

    2. On the other hand, our bigs have occasionally established good position 10 or 15 ft away from the hoop, only for a wing to eschew the post-entry pass and reverse it. Bananas.

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  33. I am disgusted by PJ and his use of bynum. Although I criticized bynum in previous games for showing no passion and being lazy on defense – he was effective on game 2 – and PJ is not helping him mentally by the so called “punishment” and no minutes – how on earth can he improve and become more aggressive without any consistent playing time? also how come he does bench gasol when he is playing terribly – gasol has been terrible at points – and inconsistent as well – i know gasol is supposed to be our #2 player – but PJ never seems to get angry at gasol and substitute him with bynum. Basically the lakers are not in any situation to win a championship this year – just the fact that there is confusion about whom to start/how long/ bynum’s minutes, etc. alone is a problem. Additionally, there are players mad/confused by PJ (i.e bynum) and a slew of players playing inconsistenly and with no cohesion. How can we win with kobe alone? This team is so fickle I have no idea what to expect (in terms of defense/offense/effort) night in night out!

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  34. I feel so sorry for Kobe, if these guys do not rise to the occasion the Lakers’ will be on vacation soon.

    Defense:

    Michael Jordan had Pippen, Grant, Rodman and Harper for help on defense.

    Magic Johnson had Cooper, Rambis, Green and Jabbar.

    Shaq had Kobe, Fox and Horry.

    Bird had McHale, Johnson and Ainge.

    Kobe has Kobe on defense! Ariza was supposed to help Kobe on defense, yet somehow or another the Lakers have come to rely on him defensively.

    The Machine (I maintain that you do not give a person a moniker, until they are consistently proven) must still have problems with his ankles because he is not giving the Lakers anything on offense nor on defense.

    We wonder why Kobe is fatigued, and is making mental mistakes? HE IS TIRED! He had a grueling year with the Lakers last year, then he went to the Olympics carried the team defensively and was the offense when LeBron and Melo were incapable. We would not have won a gold metal without Kobe’s legs that have a lot of miles on them.
    Yes, LeBron and Melo are fresh and strong at the ends of games! Neither of them were capable of winning a metal without Kobe and they obviously learned how to win games from Kobe’s work ethic. Lebron and Melo are younger with less mileage on their legs, they have not gone far into the playoffs, consistently.
    Injuries are no excuse! However, they do add to the mental fatigue and the physical fatigue that compiles over the course of a season. Kobe is fatigued! But one thing that I know about Kobe is that he will give his ALL and live with whatever comes.

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  35. Prediction
    I don’t think the Lakers win game 3, but I do think they will tie up the series by winning game 4.

    Regardless what the final results are for us this year, I think we need to make changes next season. Farmer, Sasha and Luke need to be traded. We need to get a quick point guard and a knock down shooter either in the draft or in free agency.

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  36. I’ve given ABC a lot of flak, so I’ll also give credit when its deserved. That game intro just now was actually really good, freezing Fisher’s shot in silent slow-motion like that. Maybe my standards for ABC are just low.

    For anyone who missed the Kobe/Lebron documentary and is interested, it’s been uploaded onto Youtube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYMZQd9WCJ8

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  37. Wow. I think I like this. Bynum is the first Laker to really call out the team this season, as far as I can remember. Phil and Kobe have kept everything in-house this year, always being cool/patient with the media. Bynum is the first to be honest and open, and I like a quiet kid like him calling the team (himself included) out:


    Bynum bristled Friday when asked about Denver’s frontcourt prowess in this series.
    “They’re getting their stuff because of our defensive scheme. They’re just driving to the basket and nobody’s bumping them.”

    “Not the scheme is the problem. We’re just not executing it,” Bynum said. “You’ve got to take away that middle pass. They’re throwing it into the middle and just getting too much penetration.”

    Does that mean Bynum’s not executing it?

    “Everybody,” he said. “Nobody’s doing what we need to do correctly.”

    Frustration can be good or bad. If it lights a fire under Drew, it could be great for us, because as everyone has said already, the paint is the one area we need to dominate.

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  38. Everybody in the NBA has such short memories, coming into the series the sexy pick was Denver. Then the Lakers won game one and the Lakers were the pick again. Now after Denver won game two it’s the Nuggets again, everybody on the ABC/ESPN panel took the Nuggets to win this game (including Magic) and Barry even said the Nuggets will win this AND game four!

    Stop me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t some guy named after a steak always seem to play pretty well in Colorado these last couple seasons?

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  39. Am I bad person if I clapped a little when ‘Melo got introduced?

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  40. Nick, Yes. You are a bad person.

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  41. fisher missing two free threes – yank him! bynum 2 fouls dear god

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  42. I understand Fish wanting to work himself out of his funk by going to the rack and popping open jumpers when he sees them, I just don’t understand him being free reign to keep doing it when it’s clearly not happening for him over the course of the game… Hopefully it won’t be an issue today, two missed free throw’s are not good, though…

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  43. Lots of fouls called thus far.

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  44. Is our new defensive strategy to foul on jump shots now? I’m not sure I agree that’s a smart way to go.

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  45. Would like to see Kobe get some more touches early. Not too much problem with ‘Drew trying to take it at Kenyon, though.

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  46. Pau certainly needs more face up opportunities like that.

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  47. I like what Bynum is doing. Grab the ball, attack the paint… they might not be going in, but that’s the right mindset. You’re the biggest guy out there. Play like it!

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  48. why can’t we try for offensive rebounds – when we have bynum + gasol? we are taking stupid jump shots – fisher – and then running back immediately

    we CAN’t let them get offensive rebounds (3 pt play)

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  49. Tough foul call on ‘Drew there, it look like Nene put his forearm into him, not sure how that’s a foul on Bynum…

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  50. Why was that a foul on Bynum? He didn’t do anything on that play.

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  51. Nick, it wasn’t. It’s that elusive home court advantage that finally has decided to make an appearance in this series.

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  52. He jumped into Nene a little.

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  53. Bynum can sometimes be a blackhole on offense.

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  54. @48. anonymous: I think we had something like 17 offensive boards in game one, and Pau has actually really been crashing the glass…

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  55. So far every Lakers foul has sent Denver to the FT line. Not a good use of the fouls

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  56. we will lose if we can’t make free throws

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  57. Is it sad I have the TV muted so I don’t have to hear the announcers?

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  58. last few defensive possession – terrible – wide open shots by denver

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  59. Why pass it to Ariza?

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  60. Three on one and we commit the foul… and we are now in the penalty. What happened to playing smart basketball?

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  61. @ 59. Mimsy – Smart ball goes out the window when it’s Fish and Trevor running the break.

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  62. K-Mart walking away before Anderson even went up with the shot was actually kind of gangsta (in a good way)…

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  63. do the lakers realize this is a must win? do they realize – they will easily lose this game giving up too many free throws? denver must be feel great – all they have to do is double team kobe – that leaves us with fisher, ariza, walton – HAHA! gasol is the only other one who might get over 15 pts – we can’t even make free throws!!!!!!!!

    we’ll see if we can try to keep this game close to give ourselves a measley chance

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  64. No defense by the lakers = loss

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  65. What is up with the free throws????

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  66. Make the freebies!

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  67. #61 Nick,
    Yes, it was mainly a rhetorical question.. 🙁

    This is an extremely frustrating game to watch. In addition to playing stupid, everyone except Kobe and Bynum is playing scared. And Bunym is on the bench… I don’t get what Phil is doing. If the players haven’t learned what to do by now, you need to jank them off the floor and publicly humiliate them before you send them home without dinner. And make them shoot some free throw drills while you’re at it.

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  68. Fortunate to be only down 5.

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  69. This is certainly not a must win.

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  70. Only down by 2 after a disjointed quarter.

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  71. 69, the point is the LAKERS need to play like it is a must win – because they haven’t been playing with the same effort as at home and can’t afford to get down big – they need to play with a sense of urgency

    i keep thinking that i can’t possibly be more frustrated – by 3 for 9 free throws tops it all

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  72. If we make our free throws (Pau and Fish missed something like four combined) we’re actually leading going into the second, and that’s after playing some atrocious D. We’re not in a terrible spot…

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  73. can they shoot FT’s in the locker room?

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  74. If the Lakers could make free throws they would be up In this game and would be up In the series 2-0!! The ft shooting Is pathetic

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  75. Denver is playing very well, and the Lakers are playing horribly. While I wish the Lakers were playing better, at least the game is still within immediate reach for the bench.

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  76. Nuggets are not even playing well right now…this is scary for Laker fans

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  77. 2nd quarter, here we go

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  78. I don’t know if Denver is playing all that well but Melo certainly is.

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  79. ouch, NENE has awoke

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  80. The second unit is hurting us.

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  81. We just can’t rely on our bench players, plain and simple.

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  82. Great, now birdman is going

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  83. We obviously can’t rely on any players but Kobe, and sometimes Pau…

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  84. Especially not when they are going up against a starting lineup…

    Somebody please rebound!

    0

  85. Nuggets are just out hustling us

    0

  86. One thing Odom does really, really well is rebound

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  87. Somehow the Lakers are still in the game

    0

  88. Only 7 point lead.

    0

  89. You have to give credit to denver’s defense…they’re outplaying us at both ends of the floor. J.R. Smith’s bad shot selection is actually keeping us in the game.

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  90. Amazingly. Denver’s lead is not that large. I wish our offense was more in sync.

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  91. Lakers are in the game because Smith is killing denver with bad shots.

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  92. Please, no more Sasha. All of his minutes need to go to Brown.

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  93. The good news for the Lakers is Denver doesn’t have too many guys they can rely on night to night either…

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  94. Fish and Jordan have both been a little slow to start the game, might be a good time to come with Shannon. I do like the move by Phil to bring back Kobe around that ten minute mark, one point four minutes into the quarter just isn’t going to cut it though. Neither will 5-12 from the line.

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  95. it’s depressing the watch this team. they seem in a permanent daze. wake up!!

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  96. If the Lakers dont start matching Denvers energy,
    this could get ugly fast

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  97. Destroying us with the dribble drive. We can’t give up that many FTs.

    Jeez, another clanked FT on our end.

    Bynum’s not responding at all after his beef with Phil. Same old story. He’s focusing too much on the offensive end. When his shot doesn’t fall, he doesn’t come with any activity on the defensive end.

    Our bench is just in shambles right now. We need Shann-…..forget it. What’s the use. It’s probably better to just hope Sasha doesn’t touch the ball again.

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  98. What the hack? Did someone on the team just ask Phil what he meant by execution?

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  99. We need energy. Brown, Jordan, Odom. they have to bring it and bring it now!

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  100. Lamar made both free throws! It’s sad how happy that made me…

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  101. They are really shredding our defense.

    0

  102. Lakers r in trouble, but somehow still in the game

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  103. Why didn’t the refs go for our flops when we were at Staples?

    0

  104. Good news is we aren’t playing with a lot energy but Denver is playing with nowhere near the energy Houston had at home…

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  105. The coaches might have to suit up if we foul much more.

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  106. are we over the limit already?

    0

  107. please kobe keep doing that – over and over

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  108. Our defense has settled and Kobe is getting to the hole. Good stuff.

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  109. Anon, we are indeed. It’s good for us that we’re tied after that start, but even with that being the case, if we keep playing like this it won’t matter, cause we won’t win. Need to hit our free throws and buckle down on D.

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  110. Ive been watching the Nuggets all through the playoffs
    They are wearing down the Lakers
    even though its tied.
    Denver at the Pepsi center then takes over late in the third periods and 4th periods….Lakers need to slow it down

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  111. I guess Kobe Is going to have to win this game for us since Its obvious nobody else has showed up, and the Nuggets can’t stick him either

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  112. can we hook kobe up to the rest of the team for a desire transfusion?

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  113. I actually like the defense the Lakers are playing. They are forcing them to shoot jumpers. Offensively we look like the 2006 Lakers, which means “here’s the pass Kobe, can you please score for us while I get some popcorn and watch”.

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  114. it looks like Kobe will try to do this by himself. He is looking for his shot. I like the fact the he is driving to the basket instead of shooting 20 ft jump shots

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  115. Kobe needs help

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  116. 111, 112, you are both dead right – denver we are lucky we are close now – but denver will not keep shooting under 40% in the second half – and billups we def start hitting big in the fourth

    i think hopefully kobe realizes he must light it up in order for us to win – it’s all on him unless some of the laker chumps (that is everyone else) decide to help out

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  117. how in the world are we in this one? Let’s keep attacking!

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  118. Kobe is killing in transition right now.

    Kobe attacking is beautiful. He knows his jumper isn’t on tonight. But it’s becoming painfully clear that Kobe’s lost a lot of trust in his teammates. He’s not passing unless he has to or unless someone’s wide open under the basket. Dominating the ball like even he rarely does.

    Notice the last pick and roll. Nene once again stopped Kobe in his tracks; Kobe had to reverse direction and go around 2 players to get to the rim. He was able to do it, but he had to work pretty damn hard to get it. Kobe in transition and isos are working better. The triangle? Not so much. I said it about a month ago and got jumped on, but this team just doesn’t execute the triangle well enough to not have huge dry spells like this against aggressive defensive teams.

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  119. The Nuggets are not a great defensive team the Lakers are making them look good with bonehead plays but if you really check them out there are as bad as the Lakers are sometimes

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  120. Kobe doing everything again. Is Smush in the building?

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  121. #114 glove32,
    As much as I hate seeing Kobe going into “I can do this by myself”-mode, in this particular game I’m not sure I can blame him. Who’s he going to trust with the ball, the way his team mates are playing?

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  122. wow, gasol can’t grab a rebound to save his life.

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  123. It looks like Kobe has stopped trusting his teammates, can’t say I blame him..

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  124. Someone gaurd Klieza before he gets hot

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  125. kudos to that boisterous row of laker fans near the laker bench

    0

  126. we seem content to let them take wide open shots- yes they have been missing a lot – but can’t we not even try to put a hand in his face -gasol just stood there and watched martin from 5 feet away!

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  127. how in the world are we not getting every rebound? Show some Heart! Come on now.

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  128. Actually anon, Pau has 6 rebounds so far, which is more than any Nugget. Lamar’s 5 is also more than any of the Nuggets.

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  129. We need someone physical In the game like DJ or Josh!! the offensive rebounds are killing us. And Pau must contest those baseline jumpers dammit!!!!

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  130. also i don’t see the lakers getting wide open shots like that – because denver would never leave them wide open like that – they even put hands up in front of our players who having been making squat

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  131. 121#go troll elsewhere.
    As far as I know he grabbed 17 last game.

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  132. Denver is primed for a big 2nd half, scarier thought is the Nuggets are the coldest ive seen them Denver, it wont last

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  133. My main problem is that the Lakers are not in any flow on either end of the court. Denver is dictating the pace and the feel of the game.

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  134. it’s easy to grab a rebound when no opponent is next to you. but, when you’re boxing out an opponent and can’t grab a rebound? That’s inexcusable.

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  135. But they are not getting any rebounds that count Mimsy!! They must get physical

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  136. Sorry,I mean 123#

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  137. #135, Lewis,
    I am trying very hard to block that out. It’s a coping mechanism.

    Have I mentioned that I’m getting frustrated watching this game?

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  138. That hesitation showed me that Fisher is done mentally…

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  139. Kobe is looking for someone to match his Intensity on the court. You can see it in his face. He is looking for someone to trust

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  140. Does Shannon Brown ever give anything less than 100% defensively? The guy just doesn’t give up.

    As I finish that sentence, Brown once again takes a seat on the bench. I’ll try to laugh, it’s better for my health.

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  141. Shannon Brown could help

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  142. have we made a single 3 pointer other than that one by arize?????? I would like to give up harping on fisher but i simply can’t – the whole world has been talking about it why can’t PHIL listen

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  143. I’d feel better about these weird substitutions if I was sure Phil knew what he was doing and had a clear idea of how he wanted to do it…

    Why on earth did he just bench Shannon Brown?

    0

  144. Lakers have to SLOW down this pace, its what the Nuggets want

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  145. a team that looks confused, an MVP with no one he can trust, 4/5 starters who can’t score, giving up offensive rebounds, making 1/3 of all free throw attempts….this is a recipe for DIASASTER……it is amazing we are even close …..but forget close we can stay close but not win unless something is fixed or we get lucky and denver gives us the game

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  146. 2nd half we need to stop fouling and someone has to box out Anderson. He’s killing us on the boards.

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  147. Whats the score / time left right now?

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  148. It’s amazing this team is only down 4. This is the exact same energy they played with in Houston.

    There is something not right with this Laker team. I really think part of it is nobody really knows how many minutes they will get and it’s disheartening. Regardless Kobe needs to read these guys the riot act and get them mad or something…

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  149. Denver isnt even shooting well for them, Lakers must get someone besides Kobe going
    Pau playing too soft and all the Lakers are underestimating the Denver bench

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  150. #147, danny,
    Denver 52-48 at the half

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  151. Stupid technical call. I kinda wish sometimes basketball teams would do what Connors did in that one tennis match where he just double faulted on purpose on the next point when he disagreed with a chair overrule that favored him. That’d be kinda cool to have Kobe go up there and just roll the ball to the official…

    Then I wake up and realize I must be tripping balls if I don’t think we need every 50-50 stupid call we can get. Nobody is playing with any intensity but Kobe, it’s like 5 on 1 right now.

    Not being down 20 right now, I’m ecstatic. I hope Phil gets his meds and the guys wake up.

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  152. We are very lucky that this game is close.

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  153. I have beef with that Kenyon “block” still, that ball was certainly on the way down. HUGE three by Trevor to end the half, though.

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  154. 4 may as well be 40 if the Lakers dont start boxing out

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  155. Fisher’s confidence is gone and he’s making bad decisions out there. Hoping to see more ShanWOW in the second half.

    Also, everyone is so disgustingly poor on offense that I wouldn’t be opposed to Kobe just trying to go nova and reverting back to ’06 mode.

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  156. Kobe scores 80 and the Lakers win….obviously no one else is stepping up

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  157. Bring back magic

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  158. I feel bad for Craig Ehlo. Look how crushed he is in that clip. And then on top of that, he’s had to hear about it for 20 years.

    We’re in a good position after having played that poorly, especially defensively.

    Note for the offseason: bring in shooters. Lots of them. It’s amazing how well we’re actually functioning with the lack of a true sniper. One true lethal shooter (last year’s Sasha, for example) could have blown these games open with the attention Kobe’s drawing.

    Kobe’s playing great, but it’s throwing our offense completely out of whack. When trying to force the ball into him, we at one point had all 5 players on one side of the court. Not what I’d call “spacing.”

    I said it before, Kobe needs to adjust and not post up Melo. Melo’s allowed to play physical in the post and his ball denial is top-notch.

    We’re very, very lucky to be down four. My fear is what happens when Kobe starts forcing or cools off a bit. Who will step up?

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  159. The problem with Kobe going into solo nova mode is that he can’t keep that up for three quarters. Three years ago he could, but he can’t now. More importantly, he can’t do it for a whole series and then have enough left in him for an NBA Finals. We can’t win this series that way, in ever sense of the word. We won’t be able to win it that way, and if we do, it will doom us for he next series.

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  160. The Lakers in 2006 had more offensive fluidity then this team does right now. I really, really hope Phil doesn’t look at the score and assumes everything is ok. He should start Brown or Fisher to start the second half.

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  161. archon you are right, this team has a serious chemistry problem
    i keep expecting everyting we are complaining about to be fixed – i keep thinking they will “wake up” but it keeps NOT happening….i don’t expect any longer they we win this game or the next – i just hope i am wrong

    ps. everyone criticized bynum – but what about gasol?? he is equally as bad right now – and has been extremely inconsistent and his defense is atrocious – if he is expected to be our #2 he needs to score big every night

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  162. I don’t know about nobody other than Kobe wanting it, I mean, Pau is 4-7 with six rips in the first half. Get dude some more touches and he will score more buckets. Meanwhile, Trevor has got 8 points in the first half including that big three. I agree that the Lake-show need to raise their collective games, but there are some other guys who are giving it some hustle tonight…

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  163. We’re not running the offense. We need to get Pau in better position. And Bynum needs to look to pass whe he gets the pass.

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  164. Horrible half by Lakers….missed free throws, outhustled, and simply outplayed. Lucky we are only down 4.

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  165. My hats off to the Nuggets, for never really being this far, they are still hungary and giving the Lakers all they got

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  166. I can’t help but conclude that Phil is being completely and utterly out-coached. Why?

    1. 2.5 games into the series, the Lakers seem to have no idea how to solve Denver on offense AND defense. Denver is still getting exactly the shots they want, and the Lakers have not found a way to attack Denver other than by going one-on-one, which only Kobe is doing effectively.

    2. Rotation – the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

    3. Intelligence – the Lakers make poor choices on defense, often doubling unnecessarily and taking bad fouls. On offense, the shot-selection is just terrible sometimes. I know it’s on the players as well, but the coaching staff has to take some blame for this.

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  167. To 163: good analysis

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  168. What can the Lakers do differantly to win this game

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  169. magic johnson need to video conf the lakers and give them a verbal beat down – maybe that would help – PJ obviously can’t motivate them –

    we all know what they need to do – play the way the played in the reg season – play to their potential – make free throws, get rebounds, play defense and take good shots

    i can take missing shots if they are good ones

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  170. rgdknight,
    It makes perfect sense they’ll still be hungry. Denver has nothing to lose. Nothing at all.

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  171. Yeah it’s true that Kobe going nova probably isn’t great in the larger scale. I’m just frustrated with the offensive ineptitude.

    Curious to see how the guys come out in the second half, especially Kobe and Gasol.

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  172. It’s amazing we’re so close given how horrible we played. Gasol and Bynum aren’t even trying to establish any semblance of post position.

    Oh, and Sasha needs to be restricted to garbage minutes from now on. He’s completely lost it.

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  173. I hate to say it but i dont think we want to win anymore games if Kobe is not going to win it for us. We dont have that collective team killer instinct. Melo blantatly said no one can guard him and they are helping prove him right. No one is taking it personal and trying to lock him down. We cant just win cos we are the lakers. We have to play to win.

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  174. On a couple of plays Bynum got into the way of one our guys dribbling the ball, because Drew did not know where he had to be or what he was supposed to do…not good

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  175. did you see that clip of the lakers locker room – they look passive and lazy – i hope that is post screaming..phil jackson “i am disappointed” how about do you want to be on this team next year, do you like making fools of yourself?

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  176. “magic johnson need to video conf the lakers and give them a verbal beat down – maybe that would help – PJ obviously can’t motivate them ”

    I love Magic Johnson, I do. But the last thing we want is Magic talking anymore while being recorded.

    If you’re gonna bring him in, no cameras. The guy is horrible horrible horrible on camera.

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  177. I didn’t like how the locker room looked at halftime. Is it possible, that they have tuned out PJ?

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  178. Archon,
    I was thinking the same thing. The body language in there was… apathetic. Kobe looked like he was sulking, and the rest of the guys looked like they were wishing this whole thing was over so they could go home and sleep.

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  179. selfish offense=defeat

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  180. 176, i did not mean video conf for tv viewing – i meant in private – if he can’t physically be there 🙂

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  181. Wow our defense is pathetic. No hustle, lay up after lay up. Our body language is even worse. A million things need to change or its done.

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  182. I think I’m going to start blaming Phil from here on. As head coach, it’s a part of his job to motivate the players. He’s clearly not doing a very good job on that.

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  183. here comes billups..

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  184. I’m worried about the fact that Kobe is limping. I’m sure it’s nothing serious, but it will slow him down for the rest of the night, and we need him to be 100% right now.

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  185. Does
    Ariza knows what the word “pass” means?

    0

  186. la_resistance28 May 23, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    I really don’t like the one-on-one-ness that’s going on right now with Kobe, we need to be running the offense more smoothly. What happened to the crisp interior passing we used to get between Gasol-Odom and Gasol-Bynum?

    0

  187. that should be a flargant foul. No reason to push Kobe in the back

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  188. Somebody please tell me Ariza is okay. Please.

    0

  189. i almost wish fisher would get punch someone and get suspended so he can’t play anymore! that would help us out a lot – he made one good play and then negated it with that!

    0

  190. How was that on Fisher!?!?!?

    0

  191. I’m going there, refs are screwing Lakers

    0

  192. Missed free throws are screwing the Lakers. Regardless of the refs, we’re not playing well.

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  193. Gasol to the free throw line, and finally a good offensive possession.

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  194. la_resistance28 May 23, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Memo to Bynum: We’ll start giving you more touches on offense if you can shoot free-throws better than Shaq

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  195. I didn’t say that’s the reason Lakers are losing. Saying refs are screwing them.

    0

  196. Wow Luke Walton, Wow way to compete on Anthony!!!!

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  197. Kobe Time!

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  198. la_resistance28 May 23, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Kobe with the -oop! Yea-yah! That better get the guys fired up!

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  199. Trev walking stiffly to locker, not good.

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  200. Crap what the heck happened to Ariza on that landing?????

    0

  201. drive at them -and hope they foul out – and hope we get and make free throws -dumb shot again. by fisher

    0

  202. And now I’m really worried about Ariza.

    0

  203. please keep drawing fouls this is the only way we can win

    0

  204. What is Sasha is doing in there? Brown plays better D, is shooting better and making less stupid decisions. The two PG lineup is also doing better for Lakers.

    0

  205. Wow. Lakers getting some calls now.

    0

  206. Free throws have been BRUTAL tonight!!!!!

    0

  207. FREE THROWS!

    0

  208. oh God, whats happened to ariza?

    0

  209. every time we get close we can’t pull ahead

    0

  210. Please, please, get Sasha out of there. I don’t care if Lakers are now getting calls, the refs are just brutal in this game. Inconsistent, missing calls on both ends, I argue fiercely against conspiracies but it’s this type of bad officiating that makes it hard to convince the kooks.

    More Shannon Brown and less Sasha, please!

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  211. There has been some pretty rough officiating tonight on both ends. I’m not sure what to make of it because it doesn’t even seem to indicate any kind of home court bias, it has just been all around bad.

    0

  212. #210, Nick,
    Not malice, just incompetence?

    0

  213. Ariza has some pain in his hip

    0

  214. regardless of the calls – the lakers need to seize the opportunity and win this game

    0

  215. I’m not gonna lie to you, like going back to that T on Kliza in the first half, I can count probably 10 calls, 5 for each team, that were just atrocious.

    His T balances out the horrible T on Fisher.
    I mean birdman should not pick up a foul on that entry pass to gasol. On the other end, JR’s airball should have given us possession.

    But that push on Jones was just trash play. Pushing someone in the air like that is just bush league. I kinda wish someone expendable like Mbenga had run across the floor and decked him right there. Need an enforcer for a chippy series like this.

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  216. Mimsy, agree on the incompetence. It doesn’t help when the league makes arbitary decisions after the fact. They really need to take a page out of the NFL and start having more open dialogue and explanations of calls after the game.

    One of the things I thought NFL did great was to invite selected fans in to review a ton of plays with head of officiating. The fans really had their eyes open as to why things were called.

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  217. 4 Nugs starters with 4 fouls, if I was a Nugget fan I’d be seriously worried.

    0

  218. Sasha, why not take the uncontested three instead of the moving two?

    0

  219. la_resistance28 May 23, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    JB, true on the fouls, but it doesn’t matter much if our starters can’t take advantage of the fouls

    0

  220. did you see gasol step forward and then decide not to run for that rebound , and then let anderson rebound and score – that makes me want to vomit

    0

  221. J, you meant like that one? 😉

    0

  222. la_resistance28 May 23, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Wow, Chauncey is cold-blooded

    0

  223. If Sasha can make some shots, oh never mind…

    0

  224. True, and as soon as I posted I realized that the refs will probably swallow their whistles on anything mildly questionable in the fourth.

    0

  225. boy are these the thuggets all right but they are still going to win even giving up free technicals

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  226. I don’t like this Denver team…

    0

  227. “We are all witnesses”

    0

  228. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh

    0

  229. la_resistance28 May 23, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    *sigh* gotta shrug off that buzzer-beater, that’s kinda demoralizing. im having a hard time shrugging it off… but then again, I’m not paid to play professional ball. come on guys, step it UP!

    0

  230. 226, I agree. I was just thinking “Damn, there are a lot of unlikeable guys on this team.”

    0

  231. Does Phil rest Kobe to start the quarter or not?

    0

  232. We just have to get some stops. The offensive rebounds that we have given up along with the missed free throws will cost us this very winnable game. I am just sick of watching this same sorry a** effort every other night. Please put Brown in, I know that he will give it his all.

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  233. Pau is going more and more apathic as the game goes on.
    He has to wake up.But I ask to myself how would I feel if I was playing 44 minutes for a team with plenty of “blinds”(Fish&Ariza&Drew) especially deniying me my touches every single night……

    0

  234. JR Smith is an idiot, but he was probably yelling some things at Sasha that I would too.

    There will be a lot of things to point to in this game (especially defensively), but for me it comes down to one simple thing – if we could hit just a few of these threes, this game would be completely different. Our lack of shooting is letting them sag in and make everything difficult. Shooting is killing us.

    My prediction: we’ll see Brown for a few minutes, he’ll play well, and just when the game starts to turn, Phil will bench him. Please let me be wrong.

    0

  235. We need Sasha to hit some shots

    0

  236. minor point but after that 3 to end the 3rd… how does denver have the ball?

    0

  237. vujacic makes one thought and thinks he is got – i HATE him – PJ needs to bench him immediately

    0

  238. Kobe sits…

    at least we know ariza can still go in and play

    0

  239. Snoopy, it’s not just our shooting. Our free throw shooting has been inexcusable, unacceptable, and flat out embarrassing.

    Trevor is back!

    0

  240. Mimsy, I don’t care, even making that one made it worse. Just get him out of there.

    0

  241. ariza really needs to take that open 3.. if he’s not shooting that with confidence he’s not helping to spread the floor and theres no space for kobe or pau to drive..

    0

  242. la_resistance28 May 23, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    WOW, where has that Lamar been all series? He really needs to take advantage of his length in the post!

    0

  243. We have the dumbest players in the NBA

    0

  244. Nobody on this team feels confident in their jumper…

    0

  245. Shaky, Den won the opening tip

    0

  246. put kOBE IN please before the game is completely out of reach

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  247. Wow! Get control of yourself. First Vujacic with the dumb foul and Farmar with throwing the ball.

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  248. Yeah ShanWOW is in finaly…

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  249. Finally Brown in, what? Jordan out and Sasha is still in? Sasha’s been in there ten ineffective minutes

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  250. Every single player we have is hesitant to shoot. Every single player. This is sickening.

    Shannon Brown? Nah, this is too good to be true. Phil probably wasn’t paying attention and Shannon got up and snuck quietly into the game.

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  251. Even when ShanWow messes up it goes right to Pau. You have to leave this guy in!

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  252. It’s almost as if Phil has come to the conclusion that they aren’t good enough to win an NBA championship unless Sasha gets his shot back, that’s the only explanation for him playing

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  253. The key down the stretch is playing defense without fouling and boxing out

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  254. 232. Phil heard you 🙂

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  255. J–

    I still don’t get it. The quarter ended with a denver made shot, and then the lakers shot a T… shouldn’t that be our ball?

    Pretty weird anyways. Hey Nene just got his 5th foul going over the back for a loose ball after he blew a baby hook. That’s nice.

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  256. This is the first time all game where I’ve really felt like we’re about to make a push, hopefully that turns out to be the case.

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  257. Archon, I’m laughing but it’s a painful gallows laugh.

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  258. Denver’s offense is falling apart, but we are not taking advantage.

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  259. PJ doesn’t care anymore. honestly what is he gaining with kobe on the bench?……put him in!!! gasol is a complete wimp – van gundy is right he should demand the ball – the other chumps can’t do anything! and bynum gone again –

    it almost seems as if fisher and vujacic get more playing time than bynum – why don’t we just give denver a few more token gifts

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  260. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I miss Rad Vlad this series.

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  261. la_resistance28 May 23, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    That’s 5 on Nene! 4 on Melo, 4 on Kenyon, 4 on Dahntay… Good ball-movement and crisp passing is going to create some opportunities for us in the paint. And the way Pau dunked it on the last possession, there’s some fire in him yet.

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  262. As we head into timeout, Brian Shaw explaining to Sasha on where he should stand so as to least hurt our team.

    I’m afraid Pau will be gassed again. Bynum could really help us at this point, Nene with 5 so they’ll have to go to a smaller lineup.

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  263. I don’t know about everyone else, but this is the first time in my 30 years of being a Laker fan where even winning is agonizing, and normal games are emotionally draining. I’m trying to remember what it’s like to just be excited as a Laker fan, when it was mostly basketball to be happy about. This… is painful at best.

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  264. I received a bottle of tequila last night, would it be wrong to kill it completely by end of the game?

    Sasha in there over 11 minutes. Thank god, he’s finally out.

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  265. Okay, I have to know. Is Chris Andersen really this good, or is it just us making him look good?

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  266. Us making him look good. All of his points have come on energy plays and defensive breakdowns.

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  267. Mimsy, this is completely Andersen’s game. It’s partially Lakers not putting a body on him and him also being active as usual.

    Lakers aren’t taking advantage of his weakness with ball movement, he goes for shot block all the time and leaves his man.

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  268. That s it.Ball inside.Come on¡¡¡
    It s not that hard

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  269. That is not a friggin’ foul!

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  270. How is that a foul when all three Lakers are standing there with their hands up and nothing doing anything else?

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  271. la_resistance28 May 23, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    ARIZA is alive! It’s so strange seeing the Lakers up on the scoreboard, the way that we’ve been playing I had to double-take and make sure that wasn’t a typo.

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  272. Who would have thought that Trevor Ariza, TREVOR ARIZA would be our most reliable 3 point shooter

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  273. Kobe time!

    I must stop having the laptop in my lap during games… I nearly threw it across the room.

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  274. Nice make but horrid shot selection by Kobe. Brown a +9 in under 7 minutes while Sasha – 5 in almost 12 minutes

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  275. the laker get ahead they give up easy dnk – J i wish i had that tequila

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  276. If somebody told me that Trevor Ariza, TREVOR ARIZA would be our most reliable 3 point shooter in the playoffs I would have said you were crazy.

    Basketball is a strange sport…

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  277. lakers really need to boxout.. its so fundamental.. open space don’t get putbacks/rebounds.. trailing players do..

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  278. Lakers have been horrid in boxing out all season. Pau/Bynum/LO rely way too much on their length and not enough on fundamentals.

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  279. J,
    The only bad thing about killing the bottle in one game is you will have nothing left to either celebrate or cry into after the game. Always have enough alcohol left for at least two post-game drinks.

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  280. ought me a bottle of tequilla today in anticipation, enjoying it now..
    my typing’s not so good.
    man sasha sucks!
    glad brown is in finally.
    come on team, pullt this one out
    it’s all about execrution down the strertttch
    …tequillaa

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  281. Why do you take Shannon out for Fish here? That’s a rough substitution…

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  282. Closing lineup, this is who Phil is sticking with the rest of the way. This is who is going to win or lose the game.

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  283. stop standing there gasol chas ethe rebound look what it leads to 4 pt play

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  284. and the oscar goes to……….

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  285. Mimsy, I also have a unopened bottle of the TJ brand and a half bottle of Cazadores. Also plenty of beer, wine and other distilled spirits. God, I sound like an alcoholic.

    How does Billups get a bump foul but Kobe not get a push?

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  286. Pau is playing great! I’m almost ready to forgive him for the horrible first half.

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  287. Those jumpshots finally falling for Pau.

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  288. @J You’re just well prepared. The mark of a great man.

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  289. Gasol is coming through and hitting key shots

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  290. 5 on Melo! Oh Kobe, make that FT!!

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  291. missed freebies has been big

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  292. FREE THROWS!!

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  293. This game is gonna be razor thin… It may come down to who has the ball last.

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  294. @J,
    What rhybread said. You’re just planning ahead. After all, game 4 is on Monday…

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  295. Did Derek Fisher decline a loan on some Gypsy or somethin, cuz he’s playing like he’s cursed…

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  296. Lakers looking calmer and executing better and not depending completely on Kobe this crunch time.

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  297. just execute. EXECUTE!!!

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  298. please please don’ let this game slip away great opportunity – free throws are killer – but we still can win if we execute for 3 min please! we have to force them to shoot contested jump shots

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  299. @292 Took the words out of my mouth. Kobe has been great this quarter, and the rest of the team is responding. Less mistakes, more focused play. Let’s hope they can maintain this level till the end of the game.

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  300. A bucket here would be really big, I don’t want to keep trading the lead down the stretch. Hopefully we draw up something nice…

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  301. it’s all execution kobe must take good shots and drive to the basket the nuggetts are in foul trouuble use it!

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  302. NOT THAT ONE

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  303. rhybread, no kids, no pets, love to cook and a very understanding wife. All my friends know I have an open door policy and can take refuge from their responsibilities. People can drop in anytime and know there’s food and drink available.

    I think Pau’s the x factor in this series or any series. When he plays well, Lakers O hum and LO fills in the gaps as needed.

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  304. EXECUTIOn god!

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  305. Bad shot by Kobe and bad foul by Ariza.

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  306. someone get fisher out

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  307. and then Fisher driving to the basket.

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  308. Has Fish finished in the paint at all this series?

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  309. Put Fish out.For God s sake¡¡¡

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  310. HORRIBLE foul by Fisher.

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  311. textbook fish

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  312. time for the Lakers to make their FT’s

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  313. they just blew it completely right there – kobe takes a bad shot -then we give 2 free points then a terrible decision by fisher fisher

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  314. we can only hope phils loyalty to fish pays off

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  315. Holy Moly, did LO actually box out?!

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  316. Free throws the last two games have killed us.

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  317. la_resistance28 May 23, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Lakers are 24-36 from the line today, they have no one to blame but themselves

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  318. This reminds me of the year we lost to Detroit in the finals. It was obvious all playoffs that Payton had lost more than a few steps, and he got put out to dry in the finals. Destroyed on defense, bad shots on offense, and the cascading effects of his play dragging the team down…

    also, KOBE TIME!

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  319. drive to the basket get fouled or a good shot

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  320. What a shot.

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  321. Have to get a score here, and then DEFEND!!!

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  322. Kobeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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  323. 65% from the free throw line. If that was for an individual player we’d foul him every chance we got. Which is what they’re doing. Ugh.

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  324. Agree with 320. Please drive and kick or drive and shoot or drive and do something positive.

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  325. Do we see the side p/r with Pau and LO flashing to the FT line? That’s been the bread and butter play all year long when points are needed.

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  326. they are in the penalty – if we can’t execute the final 60 seconds we are dumb – we still have a chance! please make free throwS!

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  327. ew can also drink tequilla in celabration!!

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  328. Playoff basketball is just great, I’m loving this game…

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  329. i might have a heart attack – after that free throw

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  330. F!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kobe missing two FT’s down stretch is not a good sign.

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  331. NO 3 Point Shots!!!!!!!!

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  332. damn it critical foul shot missed

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  333. im stunned, kobe never misses those

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  334. I will only love this game if we win.

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  335. Kobe must be tired. Either that, or the bruise on that hip is bothering him. I did not expect him to miss that second free throw.

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  336. how can we think that we can win a championship with free throw shooting like tonight?

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  337. la_resistance28 May 23, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    All those analysts are BLIND when they say Kobe’s not a team-player. Kobe missed that FT on purpose just to bond with everybody else! =)

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  338. Kurt always says Lakers go as far as their D. This possesion might determine the game.

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  339. good defense make Denver burn a time out

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  340. DO NOT LET Billups take a 3 – if they do i can’t forgive that

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  341. 339: Don.. see Oneal, Shaquille

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  342. PJ needs to get Fish out, JR Smith will take him all day. I’d even prefer Sasha’s D here.

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  343. Trev redux!!!!!

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  344. OMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFGOMFG

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  345. Trevor!!!!!!!!!!!! hit the free throws

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  346. ARRRRIIIIZZAAAA!!!

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  347. la_resistance28 May 23, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    ARIZA ARIZA ARIZAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

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  348. that has to be a clear path foul

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  349. That was clear path! That’s in the Lakers side of the court, not back court!

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  350. la_resistance28 May 23, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    And Melo fouled out too!

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  351. great job odom – you are soooooo dumb! !!!!!!!!

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  352. I was right. He is a f-ing assassin!!!! TREVOR!!!!

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  353. That was good D on Chauncey denied him good look at the three. The foul was iffy but I can see why refs called it.

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  354. PLEASEEEEE make these free throws so i can I win my 100$ bet.

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  355. 354, that was not a dumb foul, LO was coming over to make sure Chauncey didn’t get a good look at a three and Chauncey did the vet thing and took it right at LO.

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  356. kobe looks like he is going to faint

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  357. Kobe back to the line to put the game on ice

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  358. I can’t believe the Lakers won this game. WOW!!!!!

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  359. Wow. Great D down the stretch. Amazing things effort and execution can do for you.

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  360. Thanks Denver for this horrible last minute¡

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  361. YES!!!!!!!!!

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  362. Crap, we need to magically find a way to get Kobe some serious rest. This cannot continue.

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  363. Lakers gutted this one out. LOVE it!

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  364. Mimsy, archon, rhybread, everyone, come on over, drinks on me!!!!!

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  365. i feel so proud right now, i think we should all be a little ashamed we lost the faith so easily

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  366. This is a painful interview to watch, Kobe needs to sit down.

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  367. Let’s start to PANIC!!!!?NOOO!!!! Lakers only won by 6 points!!!

    /sacarsm

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  368. Kudos to KOBE,Pau and Trevor.
    Shame on Fish and Shasha.

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  369. Don’t they know we break streaks???

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  370. fisher tried to blow it for us down the stretch but KOBE won it for us – i think laker fans can exhale – we stole this game -even though played really bad besides kobe, 2 3’s by ariza, and two clutch 2’s by gasol…..i hope we can adjust and fix some problems and fight hard in game 4 to put pressure on them –

    also the key to this game was getting to the free throw line clearly – even though we missed a bunch – that was the key – it also put them in foul trouble – and carmelo fouled out – we need to keep trying to do that every game

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  371. Melo getting into foul trouble was key. We have to attack him on Monday. He is off and they can not stay fluid no matter how much the birdman/nene/martin chip in.

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  372. Man, basketball is a tension filled sport!!! Dr. Naismith was a sadist!!

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  373. I am so relieved we won. I am worried about Kobe, he’s obviously exhausted and in a great deal of pain. And I will absolutely not apologize for losing faith in a team that played as appallingly bad as the Lakers did for the first half. And as I said before, missing that many free throws is unforgivable.

    J, did you say you had wine? Merlot, please. 🙂

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  374. This was a gutty win. Shows who the best closer in the game is, as exhausted he was at the end of the game.

    Hopefully he gets some rest between now and Monday.

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  375. james, I was thinking the same thing – I was ready to declare them dead. And now I look like an idiot…. a really happy idiot tho.

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  376. That was stressful. It may seem at first glance that it was all force of will by Mr. Bryant, but Pau had some big points in the fourth as did Trevor. I like the Lakers snatching home court back with another gutsy performance.

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  377. thank you Lakers for making me eat my words. they roped-a-doped the nuggets, and me.

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  378. this was as hard fought a victory as I can remember. Everyone who wants to say the lakers lack the effort it takes to win a championship need to watch this game. Yes, they make mistakes rotating on defense or missing free throws, but for the love of god they WANT to win and they’re gonna FIGHT till its over. I’m so proud of this laker team. WHAT. A. GAME.

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  379. We executed well when it mattered, but Denver really fell apart down the stretch as well.

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  380. But I still don’t know how we won… it was the defense I think, and riding Kobe and Ariza on offense. I guess it came down to the fact that the Lakers made shots, the Nuggets didn’t make enough of them

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  381. That was a championship like win for the Lakers, we still got problems though, luckily one of them isn’t Kobe Byrant!!!

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  382. now it’s time for a celebratory tequilla!
    salude amigos!!
    man, you could see it on Carmelo’s face, they KNEW they were gonna win tonight! what a huge disapointmemt for them!
    the pressure went all the way over to them now.
    we just got home court back, all we needed to do was get a split on the road, and we are assured of AT LEAST THAT now!!!
    game 4 with no pressure, we can win it baby, we do have the weapons to pull it off. this is what makes champions, test of the heart, grind one out.
    all game I felt they had us, but deep down knew we were within striking distance, if we kept it close it was anybody’s ball game.
    ahhh, tequilla, OJ and a twist….
    never tasted better

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  383. 382, no doubt i am happy we won – but honestly the only one who really looked like he wanted to win was kobe, trevor made 2 big three-pointers, and gasol made 2 big two-pointers other than that – fisher almost blew it completely – he almost turned the ball over luckily got a timeout, then at one point drove to the basket and made dumb layup attempt, and then played bad defense on smith, odom had some really really dumb foul at the end, vujacic terrible, so we are really really lucky we won

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  384. I don’t think this will sink in for awhile. Still don’t know how we won that game.

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  385. I’m exhausted watching that game, Kobe must be just drained completely.

    Mimsy, I’ve got Chard, Pinot Noir and Shariz. Sorry out of Merlot.

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  386. for those who think lebron is “better” than kobe – apparently the ability to endure more through an entire basketball game despite playing on much less rest than a player 7 years his junior doesn’t factor into your decision…

    and for all those who wonder why people call the Nuggets thugs – maybe your team should focus more on inbounding the ball instead of taunting after plays or shoving driving players in the back after being beat off the dribble.

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  387. I’ll have Pinot Noir then, thanks 🙂

    No matter how happy and impressed I am that we won this game, I’m still concerned about the series as a whole. Execution was very bad, especially on defense, and it really worries me that we can’t make our free throws and that no one except Kobe (and maybe Ariza) has any confidence in their three-point shot. Pau played very well down the stretch, but we need to give him the ball and create opportunities for him.

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  388. We have to put the hammer down and try to get the game on Monday. Let’s get ahead of this thing NOW.

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  389. Have to give props to Gasol for hitting some big shots down the stretch.

    Also have to give it to Ariza for also hitting shots, playing good “D” and making a terrific steal

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  390. wiseolgoat, both players are fantastic, debating who is best is a pointless argument. They are 1 and 1a in whatever order you prefer. And I’ve defended Kobe to extreme lengths against all kinds of numbskull haters who denigrate him.

    386 – that wasn’t a dumb foul, go back and look at it. and are you going to give him credit for defending the inbounds pass well, both times? Trev didn’t create that steal all by himself.

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  391. Quick thoughts on the game:

    The Lakers missed a ton of free throws tonight. 31/45 is pretty awful (68.9%). If they hit 37/45 the ending of the game is a little less tense.

    Conversely, Denver shot a terrible 5/27 from three. That’s not going to happen every night.

    Denver has a ton of cheap-shotters on their team, and I would hope that the refs are a little more free with the Ts (or flagrants, like in the case of Jones’ push in the back on Kobe) in the first quarter over the next few games so we don’t see wrestling matches in the third quarter. There was a 5-minute span where they were just mugging any Laker with the ball, and while they were getting whistled for it, it’s an ugly game to watch.

    The complexion of the game changed quite a bit when Odom played a lot of minutes in the late third and early fourth. He really is a bad mismatch for Denver’s frontcourt on both ends of the floor, and while I know his minutes come at the expense of Andrew (who needs minutes to be productive), I’d love to see him out there a little more.

    Andersen really hurt them a lot in the first half, they seemed to figure out his counter in the second and he didn’t have nearly the impact.

    Last, while it’s fun to see Kobe scores tons of points, he really shouldn’t be. Gasol can get his whenever they want to get the ball inside to him, with the bonus of getting their bigs in foul trouble.

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  392. Man, George Karl looks like a beaten man in the postgame presser. For all those who question PJ’s coaching decisions, give me his even-keel demeanor any day of the week.

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  393. Yea, George Karl is whining about the refs, give me a break!!!!

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  394. Question: “Do you trust your team to come back and win game 4?”

    George Karl: *chuckles* “Um… well…”

    Okay, Phil definitely has an edge here. Back your team George, no matter what the situation is, you defend your team. You’re the coach, that’s a part of your job!

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  395. You know what….the REFS, really owed us this game after the rediculous calls in game 2!

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  396. Karl: back here for game 6 hopefully.

    Wow, way to show faith in your team there George. I hope that attitude infects the team. This is why Chauncey is the difference for the team. No Chauncey and this team has the same loser attitude they have last year.

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  397. Man…they will just not get over that James shot…I really hope the Magic win game 3, I am sick and tired of hearing about James lucky shot.

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  398. Good job getting Home court back. I have a couple of observations.

    1. I have a new respect for what Ariza brings to the Lakers. He has a great defensive mind, and is great at jumping the passing lanes. I didn’t see so much of it in the series with the Rockets or in other games that I watched. I would love to see him gain a little bit of strength to be able to gaurd some of the stronger players on the ball. He does have the mindset and ability to become an elite defender.

    2. Birdman’s defense is totally overrated. He doesn’t even attempt to put a body on anyone. All he does is hope that he can get a block. He is a good help defender, but is average at best on the block against a skilled big.

    This has been a great series so far, especially for someone who’s team is on vacation. I still think the Lakers win in 6 or 7.

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  399. A huge difference this game was that last game, the refs called a foul every time a Nugget went to the hoop and was touched. This game they swallowed the whistles. That’s why Karl was complaining I think, he expected the same kind of treatment.

    I have no doubt, though, that the next game the officiating won’t be as favorable. The NBA is better off if Denver ties the series.

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  400. great point 398, i was thinking the same thing – you should admit when you team makes mistakes – but the fact that he couldn’t answer that he trusts them to win is pretty bad…why is he so devastated anyway they lost a close game – but this series can still easily go 7 games and be very close- if the lakers win game 4 it’s a different story

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  401. Lebron’s shot was good, but certainly lucky. And the Cavs have to be concerned that it took a shot like that to tie it going into Orlando.

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  402. Question for you’all
    can the league go back and review the 2 handed shove in Kobe’s back when he was going in for the layup, and give an after the game “flagrant foul”?
    I would hope so, that was BUSH!!

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  403. Horrible D on the Bron shot. We were all screaming seeing that set up that he was going to get a clean look. If you’re going to play the lob, you have to have a guy play the reverse and prevent the three. Going to OT should have been the worst result. Orlando has all the mo anyway. Last thing you want is a game winning shot to drain your team and pump up Clev

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  404. One last comment on the refs, before I go find another beer to celebrate with.

    We shouldn’t need their help to win. We are a good enough team, despite how we played early in the game tonight, that we can win even when the refs are openly biased against us. All we need to do is execute consistently on defense and to get the ball to Pau in the paint a lot more often, and of course execute on that end as well. And Kobe needs to rest. A lot.

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  405. well, one thing more about that BUSH 2 handed shove in the back of Kobe… that will be watched more than a few times in the Lakers locker room and provide extra motivation for a certain #24..
    hahaha, thanks for that it’s always fun to watch a highly motivated #24!!!

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  406. Mimsy, I just want some more consistent officiating for both teams. But yes, if the team is executing as Phil says, then they should be able to handle anything.

    And on that note, I’m getting together with some friends and doing some drinking. There I go sounding like an alcoholic again.

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  407. Man, I didn’t think I could have Dahntay Jones more with his smug smile and annoying play but just an awful foul on Kobe.

    George should maybe tell himself to get a grip before telling his players to maintain their composure.

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  408. J, the first step is admitting it.

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  409. Ariza and Pau filled in for everyone else minus Kobe yet again, and they just did a better job of it tonight than Game 2.

    I don’t think there will be any way Kobe will get rest in fourth quarter, so it’s going to come down to other guys (ahem, Bynum!) to step up in the second and third quarter and maybe give him more bench time.

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  410. Btw, I don’t know if this applies to any of you, but whenever the Lakers win, my productivity at work the next day drops – because I want to sneakily read all of the expert analyses and reactions.

    When they lose, I avoid any sports pages so I don’t get depressed again. LOL.

    If the Lakers win the title, I’m gonna get fired.

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  411. One final final comment: No ripping on Luke Walton for the next 24 hours! He played great down the stretch. He stepped up when someone had to, and got the job done. Give the guy his due.

    And yes, consistent refs would be great. Unfortunately I think that’s beyond the NBA’s resources and capacity for the foreseeable future. It’s not that they aren’t trying. It’s just that the game moves too fast and the rules are too detailed for any consistency to be possible. At least from the point of view of the fan who has access to replays and multiple camera angles.

    NOW, off to beer. 🙂

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  412. I can’t ever remember being this unhappy after a win. I can’t remember not being happy after a win, period.

    I just feel sick. The fans who live and die on each possession know what I mean. It was just constant fear like I can’t describe every moment Fish was in the game tonight, the constant frustration we were fielding a 3rd-stringer.

    There was a play in the 4th when no one was within arms reach of him and he slipped and fell. No one around him. Barely called a time-out, otherwise another TO. Derek Fisher is doing things on a basketball court I didn’t imagine possible.

    If we get beat by a better team, kudos. I’ll live with it. But getting beat because our best lineup is sitting on the bench? That would haunt me for a long, long time.

    I just hope Fish breaks out of this soon. Even if he does – even if he hits a game winner in Game 7 of the Finals – it’ll be hard to undo the damage his play has done to this team.

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  413. DTC, I do the exact same thing. I avoid all media (TV, Print and Internet–except for this site) after a loss and devour all media after a win. After the Lakers loss in the Finals last year, I avoided sports shows for at least a month.

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  414. la_resistance28 May 23, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    DTC, I do EXACTLY the same thing. I avoid all sports articles the day after a loss. Someone should conduct research into how much money is cost in lost productivity in Los Angeles after Lakers games!

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  415. 416, you are exactly right, that is what i have been saying, we won because denver didn’t make shots -but we gave them their fair share of chances at the end and lucky for us a few good plays at the end got us the win – we still had much more bad then good

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  416. Farmar had a horrible, horrible game but Fisher actually, if you can believe it played worse then him. Can we win a championship getting absolutely nothing from the point guard position?

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  417. lol this cheered me up a lot. People may have seen it already. Via Ball Don’t Lie, Ron Artest in an interview was asked about his horrific shooting slump against the Lakers. Here’s what he said:

    ‘ “… I couldn’t shoot the ball anymore. He hit me right at the point of my collarbone, so, like my whole left side of my neck, and my left chest was so tight. I couldn’t even sleep on it, he hit me that hard and it had been downhill ever since then. It really threw my shot off, you know, I had been shooting the ball well. I shot it well in Game 6 in Portland, in games one, two, and three, I was shooting the ball really well, and then it caught up to me. I’m still in a little bit of discomfort right now …”

    (Host: “Did you get it checked out?”)

    “No, it’s getting better. It was a bruise.”

    Just to clarify: Ron Artest shot 17-61 (28%) from the floor in his last 157 minutes of play because of a bad bruise.’

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  418. haha archon you are so right…it’s really so ridiculous it’s laughable – also did fisher not do the exact same slip and turnover at the end of game 2 – or am i having deja vu – except this time he got a time out
    he must be thinking “gee i play like SH*T and PJ keep putting me in -awesome”

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  419. also, Lamar needs to step out and take a charge. in the 1st half he had birdman running towards the hoop in a straight line with no live dribble, and instead of taking the charge he backed away slowly and barely contested the layup. In the 4th he had melo out of control and in the air, but instead of taking the charge he tipped the ball out of bounds. Subsequent inbounds was the Billups 4 point play.

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  420. Just got home from that wild crazy finish.

    Kobe was sooo…. unearthly.
    I’m 3/3 in my predictions.

    Going for Denver in Game 4.

    All 5 games (3 in LA-Den, 2 in ORL-CLE) have been CLOOOSSSEEEE.

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  421. Hollinger just said this in his chat, and I heard it here before – let’s put this to rest:

    Yes, we could have “used” Radman tonight. But we need to stop thinking of that move as a salary dump, like we made some huge mistake. We effectively traded Vlade for Brown. No trade, no ShanWOW, who’s done amazing things.

    Especially amazing considering he’s getting about 8 minutes of PT this series. Phil Jackson clearly wants that 10th ring.

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  422. the other Stephen May 23, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    HAHAHA i enjoyed kobe’s flying tidbit at the end.

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  423. A win is a great thing. Pau stepped up and hit 2 huge hoops. Hard, tough moves that are the type of moves people have wanted to see him make. Ariza also hit 2 huge hoops, he really took a step in his career progress. Last, I have been calling for Luke to start, and tonight he really came up big. Defensively he cooled Melo in the 3rd quarter. I think Walton and Brown should get the PG minutes, I was really disapointed in the Farmar meltdown, he had been playing well of late.

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  424. 426.

    I really, really like Brown but should we pay him 3-4 million to be our third string point guard? If we do re-sign him we are definitely saying Farmar is not the guy

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  425. Guys, come on now! There was no STEALING this game! We were up 2 before Karl made a huge mistake by letting Kenyon inbound the ball! We didn’t play great tonight (outside of Kobe, Ariza, and Pau at times) but we pulled out a CLUTCH win. Champions win games like this, and before this series, I was really questioning if we had championship-caliber heart and intensity! Now the rest of the team needs to get on the same page as Kobe, but we’re headed somewhat in the right direction. NOW, that being said, I welcome the media talking all day tonight, tomorrow, and Monday about how we STOLE this game. That’ll just allow the team to (hopefully) band together under the oh-so-successful underdog banner!!

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  426. j. d. hastings May 23, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    How many points have decided all the conference finals games?

    Remember when HOME court got you an advantage with the officials? Someday we will take this out of the hands of old men and give it to robots to do correctly…

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  427. Snoopy, nice Artest link. That really is laugh out loud material – pretty much anything he says anymore has you scratching your head.

    Thrilling dagger by Kobe w/ a minute left. I was about to lose my mind if JR Smith made another shot over a helpless Derek Fisher. He can’t be out there at the end of the game. Against this Denver team, we can go big at the end w/ LO Bynum Pau Kobe and Ariza. Kobe brings the ball up, and I think TA and Odom can do enough to spread the floor. Plus, go inside out, now you have Kobe spotting up.

    The defense is where this would excel against Denver. I still think Phil is allergic to that front line, so I doubt it will happen. I think if nothing else, give me some Luke Walton, Shannon Brown, or even Sasha down the stretch (sorry Farmar). But no more Fish…next series might be different but it doesn’t work right now.

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  428. Shaq says he’ll play 3 more years:

    “Even though I’ve been playing 17 years on paper, if you subtract the games that I missed, I missed three years. Therefore tells you I have three years to play.”

    And if you count the games Shaq took to play himself into shape, he’ll be playing into his fifties.

    (*this zing! approved by Kobe Bryant*)

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  429. Snoopy2006, yeah, I feel like you do after this win, unhappy, we were battling from behind the whole time and just could not control the game. We were very lucky to get this W, and could not buy a FT tonight. The goal was to go home 2-2, so fine that is at least accomplished now; anything else is gravy from the Pepsi Center. I mean, we have HCA back again.

    It was a fun and exciting Playoff game though; my heart cannot take another one like this.

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  430. Archon – I don’t think ShamWow is going to ask for or expect 3-4 mil. If he wants to come back to the Lakers, I think he knows there won’t be room to be paying him that much…At least not next year, perhaps one day though.

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  431. Snoopy – How can you be upset about tonight’s win??? I know we want our team to win every game by 20 points, but these are fairly evenly matched teams. No, we weren’t perfect, but we played big when it counted.

    We simply showed the kind of “heart” and “determination” that so many of the media state so frequently that we don’t have. We didn’t let the Thuggets intimidate us and we went into the post with more frequency. There have been 3 extremely close games and we’ve come out on top in two of them. My wife told me in the mid-3rd quarter that we probably wouldn’t win, but I learned a long time ago (the Portland game in 2004 to be exact) that with Kobe on your team, you always have a chance. I hope that all of us are truly enjoying these games. Should we be nervous? Yes – but we should savor watching the surgeon-like precision with which Kobe operates. That 3 pointer was worthy of the crotch-tug that Kobe has done several times. How many tough post-season 3s does this guy make? I just marvel at him every game.

    Kudos to Pau for several clutch buckets down the stretch. And as for Trevor…he is becoming a mini-Horry with the game ending clutch plays. All that’s left is for him to hit a game winning 3 (all in good time). It was interesting that he openly mentioned in his post-game comments that this Laker team doesn’t play with the same effort in the early parts of the game that it does in the 4th quarter, but then again, how many teams do?

    Great game, TREMENDOUS effort and let’s make Memorial Day really memorable with a win to go up 3-1.

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  432. j. d. hastings May 23, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    BTW, Bill Simmons tweets, since we did get on him before (its almost like he’s an elected official we have to lobby to get fairer treatment…):

    FYI: Lamar Odom is having the greatest “pressuring the inbounds passer” playoff series that anyone’s ever had.

    ESPN’s Ric Bucher is reporting that George Karl plans on coming up with an effective inbounds play by Game 5. Story developing.

    Final thought: Next time LeBron hits a historic playoff game-winner & the media goes bonkers about him, bet on Kobe the next night.

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  433. you all gotta stop with the Fish bashing.
    did you hear Kobe’s post game interview?
    he said Fish pulled the guys into a huddle and told them this is what it’s all about, what we play 82 plus games for to be right in this place at this time and it’s time to gut it out…(I’m paraphrasing) but the point is that even Kobe gave credit to Fish …not for a basket, or a defensive stop…
    for —
    LEADERSHIP!!!
    stop bashing, you aren’t intimate with the team, we are all just TV watchers, we don’t know what goes on in the inside circle, but you can bet that Phil does! he calls the shots, he’s the coach, and leader of the team, we live and die by his decisions.
    Fish still brings calm, and leadership and that has to count for something, even if it’s only to some guys like PJ and Kobe…think that matters?

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  434. It took me awhile to come to this given all that he meant to the team last year and during his first stint with the Lakers, but, I agree Fisher should have his minutes cut. I am all in favor of the big LO/Bynum/Gasol front line with either Kobe/Trevor or Kobe/Shannon in the front court. Hell, I’d rather have Luke play PG at this point. Fisher played some good defense at times, cutting off the 3 on 1 when he stole Nene’s pass comes to mind specifically, but he is killing us on offense. The mindless forays to the basket and his lack of outside ‘touch’ have been driving me nuts. Plus he is getting killed by quicker players on defense…like JR Smith for example.

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  435. Chris- I understand Fish is a leader…but if he plays like he has the last two rounds, he should be leading from the bench, that’s just the most sensible thing to do.

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  436. Gr8 Scott – You misunderstood me. When did I say I wanted a 20 point win? Nothing like that at all. These are two evenly matched teams, and I expect each game to come down to the wire. I love it that way.

    What kills me is this: I want our best players out there. That’s all. Is that too much to ask? Fisher’s awful decisions physically hurt me on every play. Phil’s decision to keep going with him gave me ulcers. Every time Fish catches the ball, I close my eyes and offer up a prayer. He’s that bad right now. Every single thing he does is wrong. He fell down on a play with no one around him How is that possible?

    How can we be satisfied when our best PG doesn’t play? Shannon Brown – 8 minutes. The player who works hardest on the defensive end. The guy who 3 times has gotten annihilated by monster picks and gets up and sprints back to defend. That’s what kills me. Nothing about the closeness of the game.

    To put it in perspective: Fisher right now is playing exactly like slumping Farmar was. That Farmar was benched, rightfully so. Did he recover eventually? Yes, but if we wait for Fish to recover we might find ourselves gone fishing. At some point you stop playing for the future and just try to get each win with the players that are playing best.

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  437. Making the shots they made will be big for both Pau and Trevor’s psyche. Those were arguably the best two shots (the two 3’s for Trevor, the two post turnarounds for Pau) each of them have hit their entire careers.

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  438. Cosign JD x4, as well as Kwame & Snoop

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  439. We will see more Melo on Kobe in Game 4. Lakers will need to adjust.

    Fun win. Still see problems.

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  440. 414, DTC, totally with you on that one. I’m in school, so I usually don’t pay attention during classes the day after a Lakers win cuz I’m surfing the net.

    416, Snoop, felt the same way during and after the game. Was kind of just like, wtf? after we won instead of actually being happy. I felt pretty crappy the whole game. It seemed like they were getting all the loose balls and we were being lethargic. But we made shots down the stretch and they didn’t. I keep telling myself that o feel better. There’s hope.

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  441. Snoopy – I guess I read too much into your comments and my apologies. What I would say is to enjoy this win. It is great watching us win a game we trailed for most of the night – a true gut test game. And as for Fisher, I too, worry when he shoots, but remember that he did hit a HUGE 3 in game one that helped us win. I’m paraphrasing Toby Keith here, but Fish ain’t as good as he once was, but he’s as good once as he ever was.

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  442. I’ve said this to my friends and Ill say it again.

    NBA Playoffs is not about season records, although it may have a little bearing into it, it’s about matchups.

    You play the same team at least 4 games in the playoffs.
    It’s not the 82-game season where you face different kind of teams, players, coaches, and styles, this is the playoffs where you put your rest/practice day watching/analyzing the same team’s play over and over again.

    Therefore, you expect almost every game to be close. And this is what we are seeing in these playoffs.

    The key is not to adjust, rather the key is to play well as you have done all season long.
    Although that didn’t happen to my team since we just recently caught the stride late-January.

    That’s why the Lakers won the game tonight.
    They did what they do best, supply the best high-percentage shot you could have in a possession.

    But of course, everyone in LA not named Kobe, Pau and Trevor did their normal routine but didn’t deliver. They were shooting the way they did in the regular season but it just didn’t have that same outcome tonight.

    What surprises me is the ineffectiveness of Chauncey Billups. He has been awful this round against the Lakers and the only bright spot I can’t point to is his ability to create contact and go to the free throw line.
    He has been too tentative shooting the way he normally does.

    And he commits way too many turnovers for a veteran “Big Shot” player.
    The Nuggets committed way too many fouls and put the Lakers 45 times in the free-throw line, good thing they only made 31, thanks to a 5-of-12 FT start.

    I would want to mention JR Smith, but I figured it would just be a waste of time. The guy is struggling to get his rhythm and continues to take ill-advised shots.

    OT: Did anyone notice the veteran PGs (Billups and Fisher) and last year-wonders (Smith and Vujacic) are struggling in this series much?

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  443. chris – I’m sorry man, but your post made me laugh out loud, and I don’t mean that in a harsh way. Poor Kobe probably couldn’t think of anything nice to say about Fish’s play.

    We’re just TV watchers? So Fish flailing wildly into the lane, forcing up contested jumpers, bricking everything he throws up, falling down when no one’s around him, and just making awful decisions all-around…the fact that we’re watching on TV makes us incapable of judging that?

    Come on bro, how do you watch this game seriously and not realize how badly Fish hurt us every time he touched the ball? We need him to gather the troops in Game 3 of the WCF and say “This is what we’re playing for”?

    He’s a veteran, and yet decision making has regressed to Farmar’s level during his slump. He may have great “inspiration” leadership, but at the moment, his floor leadership is sorely lacking.

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  444. Snoopy, there was a wet spot on the floor. I wouldn’t read too much into that one play.

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  445. Gr8 Scott – yeah my plan is to go back and re-watch this and savor the awesomeness that is Kobe Bryant. Fish and Phil just left a very sour taste in my mouth. I need to enjoy a clutch performance from the Mamba.

    Seriously, what will we do when Kobe retires? Just got to enjoy every minute of this, I guess.

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  446. j. d. hastings May 23, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Something I was thinking about today: When is the last time so few champions were in the final 4? Last year the Spurs and detroit were beaten by less experienced teams who duked it out. This year, the Lakers and Cavs have previously been to the finals, but the only players with real championship credentials are Kobe, Fisher, Billups and Wallace (I haven’t fully studied the rosters, so may have missed someone). And Fisher and Wallace aren’t able to produce as they once were.

    But Kobe and Billups definitely show the value of that experience. So while there are still a lot of reasons to worry, having the best guy left with true championship credentials is a nice thing to have in your pocket.

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  447. Also, as far as the Fisher thing goes, we WILL need him in the finals (assuming we get there), and we still need him in this series. But I am really thinking it’s time to change the pace and let our young guns get a chance in the 4th quarter when they are showing more production all game. Whether that be Brown, Bynum, or Sasha – decide what works best and go with it. That’s what our coaching staff needs to do for us to play better down the stretch.

    But I don’t want this issue to cloud a great win, one that got a push by Anthony’s early departure. Pau was straight crafty smooth on those late fallaways.

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  448. I’ve said this to my friends and Ill say it again.

    NBA Playoffs is not about season records, although it may have a little bearing into it, it’s about matchups.

    You play the same team at least 4 games in the playoffs.
    It’s not the 82-game season where you face different kind of teams, players, coaches, and styles, this is the playoffs where you put your rest/practice day watching/analyzing the same team’s play over and over again.

    Therefore, you expect almost every game to be close. And this is what we are seeing in these playoffs.

    The key is not to adjust, rather the key is to play well as you have done all season long.
    Although that didn’t happen to my team since we just recently caught the stride late-January.

    That’s why the Lakers won the game tonight.
    They did what they do best, supply the best high-percentage shot you could have in a possession.

    But of course, everyone in LA not named Kobe, Pau and Trevor did their normal routine but didn’t deliver. They were shooting the way they did in the regular season but it just didn’t have that same outcome tonight.

    What surprises me is the ineffectiveness of Chauncey Billups. He has been awful this round against the Lakers and the only bright spot I can’t point to is his ability to create contact and go to the free throw line.
    He has been too tentative shooting the way he normally does.

    And he commits way too many turnovers for a veteran “Big Shot” player.
    The Nuggets committed way too many fouls and put the Lakers 45 times in the free-throw line, good thing they only made 31, thanks to a 5-of-12 FT start.

    I would want to mention JR Smith, but I figured it would just be a waste of time. The guy is struggling to get his rhythm and continues to take ill-advised shots.

    OT: Did anyone notice the veteran PGs (Billups and Fisher) and last year-wonders (Smith and Vujacic) are struggling in this series much?

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  449. My oh my, my post is still awaiting moderation.
    Hi guys.

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  450. Zephid – It was just a symbol of his ineptitude, bro. If you’ve watched the game, there are plenty of other instances where he hurt us a lot more.

    But if you watch that play carefully (going off straight memory), I think there was more than just slipping. All 5 Nuggets were back and the Lakers weren’t set up for a play. A 1-on-5, of sorts. Fisher put his Billups cape on and decided to “put pressure” on the Nuggets defenders. (That sentence is hard to say without giggling). He took a few hard dribbles – that got him nowhere and were completely unnecessary – that led to the fall, if I’m remembering correctly. So a small mental error (even if he had broken through, we’ve seen how his drives turn out) led to a seemingly innocuous fall and an almost turnover.

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  451. j.d. – that’s a really good point, I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll add that even without championship experience, the Magic are very mentally tough. Their close playoff battles this year have sharpened them mentally, I think. Executing in Cleveland down double digits takes some mental strength.

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  452. j.d. hastings (#437)

    I had the same thought when LeBron dropped that three. “Well, that settles it, Kobe’s going to answer on Saturday, and thus save the series.”

    Let these grey jackals
    Snap and snarl and swarm, let them
    Leap at the tiger.
    Let them leap at flames; he is
    Already gone; he
    Ate up their hearts and vanished.

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  453. Some day, I will tell my grandchildren that I saw Kobe Bryant play basketball. I’m still giving him a standing ovation.

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  454. That inexperience thing w/ the final four should prove to be a bigger advantage to LA than anyone. The team that many call “mentally weak” or “soft” may still have arguably the most experience going into the (again, assumed) finals. They will be confident against either team – especially due to how battle tested they will be if they get there…just hypothesizing

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  455. Reed: +1 Well said. That’s why I save the games. I don’t want to just see tell my grandchildren, I want them to see it. I already wish I had more complete games from the 3-peat days. Great for memories sake.

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  456. Enjoy the win folks. What a thrilling game and it was so satisfying to see Pau and Ariza come through.

    (Actually Ariza’s steal was nice, but looked like a miscommunication between Melo and the inbounder. Game 1 steal is still his best.)(Isn’t it great that we can argue about which of Ariza’s game-sealing steals was better?)

    As for Fisher, maybe it’s true that Shannon could play better, but it’s not cut and dried. I love the guy, but Shannon still is limited in the offense and doesn’t have much crunch time experience. So maybe Fish is playing poorly, but Shannon could as easily play as poorly on the road in a big game. SB certainly didn’t look vastly superior in Houston.

    The thing that stinks for coaches is that everyone can see their mistakes and say the other choice was the obvious one, because we’ll never know. In fact, a lot of the time, you don’t have a good choice and you have to make the one that hurts least.

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  457. ps is anyone else sick to their stomach about the replay of lebron’s 3 pter every 10 seconds on sportscenter, yes it was a great shot, but there have been many game winners in these playoffs, the hyperbole over lebron is killing me slowly, yes is/will be one of the greatest ever, is he worth comparing to kobe, it suffices to say they are by far the two best players in the league right now

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  458. j. d. hastings May 23, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    the post about betting on kobe after a lebron game winner was actually reprinting some of bill simmons’s tweets.

    The magic definitely are showing signs of maturing as they go along. Scary to say it reminds me of Boston last year. But maybe the Lakers are going through something similar?

    Funny how many of the issues we’ve bemoaned this post-season- giving up big leads when we get them, falling behind big early- have infected every other team.Is this a sign of parity, lack of big game experience, or just that these types of situations, while frustrating, are actually fairly common?

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  459. Tonight Kobe played with the impossible serpentine perfection of one of Tarantino’s romanticized assassins from the Kill Bill movies. I always believe that he will do the impossible, a la Beatrix Kiddo defeating the Crazy 88 single-handed, but once he starts dropping those shots I feel as wondrous as if witnessing it for the first time.

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  460. PeanutButterSpread May 23, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Since the dawn of time
    man has asked the question:

    “What makes Kobe Bryant
    AKA the Black Mamba
    So unstoppable?”

    “What makes his Dunk so unstoppable?”

    “What makes his 3-Pointer so unstoppable?”

    “What makes his overall unstoppableness unstoppable?”

    “Is it possible to stop something that is unstoppableness?”

    “Has he answered the question? Yet another question?
    We may never know.

    Yet never knowing the unknowable is unstoppable.”

    This was presented by Kobe Bryant AKA the Black Mamba for Lebron.

    Good luck.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SH16SWQNh8o

    Because kobe deserves this post after his great game tonight. Get lots of rest Kobe and mamba your bad self on!

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  461. j. d. hastings May 23, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    Courtesy of espn:

    With 41 points in Game 3 vs. the Nuggets, Kobe Bryant eclipsed his own Lakers’ record for points scored in the first three games of a conference final.
    Player Points Opponent
    ’09 Kobe Bryant 113 Nuggets
    ’01 Kobe Bryant 109 Spurs
    ’87 James Worthy 96 Sonics
    ’77 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 91 Blazers

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  462. Kobe was awesome tonight and I will remember his performance in this win for the Lakers for a long time. Everytime he touched the ball or was directing traffic, heck on the floor, I had a warm feeling inside of me of happyness and content.

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  463. What a win. A couple of notes:

    *Gasol still only had 12 shots, but I loved his aggressiveness in the closing minutes.

    *I mentioned when Karl was getting grilled for having Carter inbound in game 1 that I wasn’t sure who else could actually do it because Denver doesn’t have good passers who have size (like we have Luke and LO). At least not guys that they don’t want to actually catch the ball (Melo, Billups, Smith, Kleiza). Tonight, Karl went with a guy with size (Kenyon) and he threw a bad pass when he misread Melo’s cut coming off the screen. Considering that all these games are close, it will be interesting to me what Karl does if this situation comes up again and he needs a good inbound to set up a final play.

    *Tonight, WOW was not that good – at least on offense. He passed up shots and then either hesitated or rushed when he did shoot. I’m not saying he shouldn’t get burn, but he’s by no means a savior (which is part of the problem when trying to figure out who should play PG for us).

    *We must continue to get Nene in foul trouble. When Denver goes to Birdman, Gasol looks get so much easier. I know Pau hit those big shots when Nene was in the game, but when Birdman was guarding him he was so much more aggressive and found ways to get into the paint and get easier looks. And even though some of those shots didn’t fall, I like him shooting 5 footers and making Birdman work in one on one situations rather than letting him roam on the weakside.

    *Kobe. Bean. Bryant. Wow.

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  464. j. d. hastings May 23, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    I’m only slightly ashamed to admit singing this song to myself tonight as a result of the game:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xA4lPE4MI6A

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  465. Darius – I’d add to that, it’s equally as important to get Carmelo in foul trouble. My respect for his ball denial on Kobe is through the roof, but he’s at his best when he’s allowed to play physical and free. Getting him in foul trouble really allowed Kobe to take over tonight, unlike in Game 2.

    Zen face palm:
    http://d.yimg.com/a/p/ap/20090524/capt.9d4ce1a60ca74bcb90764d03af8dfef0.lakers_nuggets_baseketball_coea118.jpg

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  466. For those who prefer basketball to hype, I wonder why those talking heads couldn’t seem to ask Lebron that embarrasing question:

    “Lebron, considering all of your all world excellence on a juggernaut team, do you ever wonder why it took your near miraculous personal effort to avoid losing the opening two playoff games on your home court?”

    It took Wilt almost an entire career before he figured that one out. Kobe’s doing a lot better.

    This game was much more about defense than the box score might indicate. The Lakers played much better team defense than the box score numbers might indicate–thow the number of fouls might be a clue. The Nuggs sometimes made great steals, and sometimes benefitted as Thuggs. But crime has it’s penalties, and as Kobe cornered the free throw market, the penalties added up. Meanwhile, the box scores suggests Phil’s defensive trickery that shot Melo down in the second half, and JR Smith and Kenyon Martin for much of the game.

    Of course, you could believe in the scoring greatness of Birdman and Nene if you wish.

    Ragging on Derek Fisher in isolation can totally miss his contributions–did you notice Chauncy’s shooting percentage? Since he and Derek had the same percentage, should the Nuggs bench Billups? Did you see the play where Derek broke up a three on one when he was the “one”?

    The Lakers held their own against Thuggery all night and finally saw two of the Nuggets foul out in the 4th quarter while others backed off to stay in the game. Do you think that might have had something to do with the Lakers final spurt?

    The Lakers won because they deserved to win–and it was no accident.

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  467. 471: well said man.

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  468. 11:51 p.m. and the lakers are still the winners of game three! rejoice! rejoice!

    I’m now 0-3 for this series for my half-time predictions of which team is going to win. Believe it or not, I’m usually insanely accurate.

    Really, I am…

    I’m going to need a loooooong vacation after this season ends…. but have no objection to delaying it until late june.

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  469. j. d. hastings May 23, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    I bleed purple and gold but if you don’t get chills watching this, you don’t love sports.

    Reminds me of watching game 4 againsty Sacto in 2002 with my friend who is from Carmel (aka warriors fan and Lakers hater). The moment of Horry’s game winner was the greatest shot of raw endorphins I’ve ever received and I just remember leaping into the air and socking my friend 5 times in the shoulder before coming down. Even Fisher’s .4 didn’t do that (because of 20+ minutes of ads to set up the last 3 seconds of game time).

    Anyways, Monday is a huge game. Perfect time to swoop in and take advantage of a shell shocked team… but I don’t know if we can expect that from this team. Still, as I said above, our recurring sins suddenly aren’t limited to us and the finals look as wide open as they have in a while…

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  470. j. d. hastings May 23, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Oops, this is the link I meant to post: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvTsT_zPGm4

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  471. drrayeye,
    I hear you, but I still think this win goes with a mediocre coaching performance. Pau absolutely needed some rest midway in the 4th – perhaps after Kobe returned. Shannon was having decent luck defending – and his shooting was better than Fish’s – and deserved some burn later.

    I am of the opinion we just can’t continue to burn out Pau and Kobe every game without noticeably increasing chance of injury to one of these two. If that happens to Pau I just wonder what Phil will do the Bynum? If Kobe – well goodby anyway.

    I commented before this game I though Phil had to make some decisions. Well he did – he decided to do nothing different. Now he is a hero because we won? I think we are hanging farther out and if it doesn’t bite us in this series, it is likely to in the next.

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  472. When JR Smith made that 3 and started taunting at Sasha, it clearly shows what this Thuggets are all about. They are all individuals who are driven by personal motivation, not a common goal. JR Smith takes it personal when Sasha nails a 3 at him, so he gets over-excited when he makes one on Sasha. Sasha is like “huh? calm down it was just a 3.” yes this nuggets play for moments, and games at most, but these lakers are mature enough to not to get into that kind of mind games and have their eyes set a little further, where nuggets not only can get, probably dont even see it; the NBA Championship trophy, and the lakers dont see anything else in-between, they dont see nuggets, let alone JR Smith or Carmelo, on their way to getting to where they have an eye on.

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  473. Btw, have you seen the article Hollinger put up? According to him, the Lakers won because the best player in (this) game, Carmelo, went cold.

    I’m really getting sick of espn. The lakers never win; the opponent loses. Nevermind he doesn’t even acknowledge Kobe’s superhero effort even when he’s totally exhausted.

    I notice this crap again and again. Someoen needs to call them on it.

    Also, while I’m at it, I want to start a movement to get Bill Simmon OUT of LA.

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  474. did you guys watched the post-game kobe interview?? they are asking about the importance of losing game two, and this guy is about to laugh, and kinda with that smile that he has, that “oh oh” smile on his face answers “game is a game, road or home, who gives a damn.” and is barely holding his laugh back. probably thinking,, damn guys, why are u making such a big deal out of this, its just a game…..just 1 game.

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  475. I don’t think I had ever seen Kobe more freely show us his cold-blooded mentality than when asked after the game how it feels to make the big shot on the road. Anybody who can get the clip, I saw it on ESPN, and you could see a sense in his eye that you rarely catch off court.

    He can taste the finals, I think…Cause he looks like he’s figured out the Nugs

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  476. 476. Totally agree with you. A lot of people thought that game 2 was lost because playing time was not given to players who were playing better. But this game again, Phil pretty much did the same as last game with the rotations. It was fortunate we won this game, primarily because of an exceptional performance by Kobe.

    It’s time Phil started making some decisions. This win was fortunate and if Phil decides to stay with the same rotations, there is still a good chance that we lose the series.

    But we all know Phil is an arrogant guy. So, he would not accept defeat and make changes after a loss. But there is some chance he makes some changes after this win.

    Irrespective of their performances in this game, we need to see more Bynum, Farmar and Brown. Bynum needs to play 30+ minutes…

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  477. If i am Karl, i would put Martin on Kobe during crunch time, go three big, attack the pain, and get offensive. I guess he doesn’t noticed Lakers weakness on defensive rebound, but i might be wrong.

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  478. i don’t know if anyone’s mentioned this, but maybe the heavy minutes that fish got while farmar was out are finally starting to affect his shot. i mean, he even missed 2 free throws today. It just seems like his shot’s off and he’s not playing even marginal defense like he was earlier in the season. perhaps fish and not gasol or kobe was the one we should’ve been worried about playing too much.

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  479. Opposite of last series.

    Whoever leads in the 1st loses.

    We were talking about frontrunning teams earlier, I think 😉

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  480. Basketball fan May 24, 2009 at 2:26 am

    Well,as my nickname suggests i’m a big basketball fan but i’m not enjoying the game as much as i did before. Reason? NBA officiating. Being a follower of several more team sports, i’m sure that nba referees are the worst. In the first two games of this series, they allowed Denver to play as hard as they could while the Lakers were not given this permission. And coming to the third game, we saw a free throw fest from the Lakers. On the other hand, almost everyone around me(who is interested in basketball) agrees that Cleveland were favored by the referees in the first two games and i expect that tonight Orlando will get some help from them to get the lead.

    Last words for the referees: Basketball is a nice game, for me the most amazing sports and don’t try to take the joy of watching games. Try to be as objective as possible and for god’s sake,this is playoff basketball, allow some physicality as opposed to calling fouls frequently.

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  481. PeanutButterSpread May 24, 2009 at 2:41 am

    gs-

    trust me, you have to take a lot of articles written by the media with a huge chunk of salt. And I mean a huge shaker full of salt. Maybe even bring an ice pick to chip off a chunk of salt from a salt block.

    the way I see it, in the end, it’s all a bunch of bs generated to gain readership whether from incensed fans or from agreeing fans.

    I mean, you want to see lazy journalism, go check out Adrian W. at Yahoo Sports. He seems to have imagined this whole Kobe/Lebron “rivalry” with the two players trying to up one and another (with Kobe somehow being a step behind) …

    It’s just scratch-your-head lazy journalism because WTF. Kobe could care less about LBJ at this point, he’s just trying to get the Lakers past the Nuggets and he NEEDED to score all 41 points to get the Lakers by. He wasn’t scoring 41 in retaliation to LBJ.

    But whatever, I don’t weigh much of Simmons or Hollinger’s opinions seriously or much of the media’s.

    I usually hold the opinions of blog writers like AK and BK of the LA Times or Kurt and multiple bloggers here on FB&G much much higher.

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  482. 1. It begins and ends with Kobe of course. Simply an epic performance.

    2. How Pau can play the entire second half, in Denver no less, and still hit those huge jumpers over Nene I don’t know. But he was really good tonight.

    3. How on earth can that be called anything but a clearpath foul on Ariza? Have I missed something concerning this rule? I thought that was a textbook example?

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  483. PeanutButterSpread May 24, 2009 at 5:51 am

    Andreas G. –

    what clearpath foul on Ariza are you talking about?

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  484. I notice that there isn’t a lot of crisis discussion about Phil after the win. Can we accept that he is thoroughly outcoaching George Karl in these playoffs?

    I agree there have been some questionable coaching decisions, but other than Kobe we have questionable players. Whenever I think about this series I often see the Nuggets winning because they have two no-questions go-to guys in Carmelo and Billups. Yeah, neither played their best tonight but they are tested and you basically know what you’ll get.

    Neither Bynum nor Brown (to name two of the guys who should get more PT according to the masters of panic on the boards) have shown they can be the consistent second option. Both of them have that potential – I like Brown over Farmar as most likely future PG – but the WCF is not the time where a coach is supposed to “give guys minutes” to “improve their confidence”. Yes, Fisher is losing it and is often awful, but he knows what is going on in the game and more importantly Kobe trusts him. I’ll live and die by that in these playoffs and hope the kids come along next season.

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  485. Just watched the game this morning. I was holding my breath at the end every time the Lakers went to the line. Huge FTs by Ariza and Kobe (though he missed one). Huge 3s by Ariza in the 4th when no one could hit a shot. Huge jumpers by Pau over Nene.

    That was the most visibly tired I have seen Kobe. He was bent over holding his knees after the game in the interview.

    gs. Hollinger crediting the Lakers win to Melo going cold is kind of silly. Why not credit the Lakers D for him going cold. I though Luke did a really god job on him when Ariza left after he fell. ALso Pay and Bynum did a good job preventing easy shots at the basket in the 3rd in 4th (for the most part). You could just as easily credit how close the game was to 14 missed FTs by the Lakers. If the Lakers made half of those the game is not as close.

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  486. What a great game. The Lakers pulled out some good defense tonight and Kobe was good Kobe again.

    Ariza was huge again, good article here about it:

    http://therookiecontract.com/

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  487. PBS: I mean when Melo fouled him after the steal?

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  488. last minute when Ariza stole (well, more like grabbed) the inbound and had a clear path to the basket. he got grabbed from behind.

    and when I forgot who shoved kobe from behind WITH BOTH HANDS. that should’ve been flagrant. if kobe had contorted his body and acted like he got shotgunned in the back he would’ve gotten the call, but that’s not his style.

    then there was the goal tend. But hey, the refs let the Lakers get away with some defensive fouls in the paint that they hadn’t earlier so I guess it’s all even.

    ——

    I loved Pau getting aggressive and asking for the ball in the 4Q. How good would the Lakers be if they had more than 3 guys playing? Maybe it’s always like this in playoffs, and to be fair, Luke had some effective minutes and LO did force that bad inbound, but it just seems like Denver is getting more from more of their players.

    Sasha is just playing horrible right now. I can’t see what Phil is seeing out there. I love Fish for all he’s done but if Phil is leaving Fish in for his “leadership”, I think it’s hard to be a leader when you’re killing your team. Anyway, there’s some kind of middle ground between just benching Fish outright and giving Brown only 8 minutes. At this point, I’m almost hoping Fish gets into foul trouble to force Phil’s hand.

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  489. Rip by Ariza
    Kobe cuts out George Karl’s heart
    Bloody, eats it raw

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  490. I think it is only a clear path foul when the foul occurs in the backcourt. When Melo fouled Ariza, they were on the Lakers side of the court.

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  491. Melo sad for loss
    Lakers in the driver’s seat
    NBA relieved

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  492. snoopy, when you said this-

    chris – I’m sorry man, but your post made me laugh out loud, and I don’t mean that in a harsh way. Poor Kobe probably couldn’t think of anything nice to say about Fish’s play.

    I had to sign off, because I’ve learned over the years when you’re angry, if you can sleep on it, and reply in the morning, it’s probably wise.
    well, I woke up, still kind of ticked off at you.

    did you even see the Kobe interview?
    I don’t think so, because you probably wouldn’t have made such a comment.
    this morning in the LA Times, Plaschke said it better than I could-
    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-plaschke-lakers24-2009may24,0,3810393.column

    I suggest you read this article, in fact all of you out there bashing Mr. Fisher should read it.
    and, remember the Scola hit, another move that in my humble opinion, turned that series around for us.
    he brings value in more than just hitting 3 pointers.
    as for the TV watchers comment, maybe I’m wrong, but can you tell me how many games you’ve played in anything close to a professional arena?
    peace.

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  493. Sort of against FB&G etiquette, but I have to say: Plaschke’s writing is just so bad. I mean, wow.

    “He had swiveled on defense, bricked on offense, the aging point guard scuffling through a long night in this longest of springs.”

    And that’s just the first sentence. FireJoeMorgan is missed for a great many things, but none more so than taking down prose like Plaschke’s.

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  494. chris h,

    as has been discussed above, Fisher doesn’t need to be murdering the team on the court to pull everyone together and show leadership…Plaschke’s sensationalist narrative notwithstanding, everyone can see that Fisher doesn’t belong on the court for big minutes, much less the majority of minutes and starting each half…unless and until Phil wakes up to this stark reality, there will be no ring this year…

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  495. all right, keep on bashing Fish, just be sure to show up (here at FB&G), on the nights he does deliver down the stretch, you at least owe him that.
    and if he doesn’t … well, then I guess you were all right, and should be running the franchise.
    for me, I have more faith that Fish will shoot himself out of a slump than I do in Sasha shooting himself out of it.
    I admit, I have been very much against seeing Sasha get any PT lately, but I’m less concerned about Fish, as I’ve already said, he brings more than just hitting shots.
    he did deliver on D several times last night. (see Drrayeye above)

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