Lakers/Nuggets Game 5 Chat

Darius Soriano —  May 27, 2009


NBA: FEB 26 Suns at Lakers

First things first – Join us tonight as we host a Live Blog in tandem with Jeremy from RoundBall Mining Company.

 This is obviously a huge game for both teams.  The loser will be one game away from elimination and (if this was a TNT series) one loss closer to going fishing with Kenny, Charles, and EJ.  And no one likes to be photoshopped in with those guys.  The good news is that the Lakers are back home for this game.  And while we have had our share of stumbles at home, the comforts of Staples should provide a nice backdrop for a good performance.  History backs this up as well.  The Lakers are a very nice 19-0 when playing a Game 5 at home with the series knotted at two.  Let’s make that 20 after tonight.  And just as Kurt asked if Kobe and Pau could get some help, we can also hope (dream, fantasize, pray) for better play from our role players as they should feel better playing in our building.  Personally, I’m also hoping for a loud and raucous crowd tonight.  Let’s get everyone standing and shouting.  Let’s get Jack out of his seat.  After some hard fought games with only a days rest inbetween, the guys could use that extra boost

 The main key to this series has been controling the paint.  Denver has done it and the Lakers have not.  Will that change tonight?  One way for the Lakers to control the paint on defense is to limit Denver’s ability to get into the lane.  Phil called Denver’s offensive attack in Game 4 “crash ball” as they relentlessly attacked the paint off the dribble and then went just as hard after offensive rebounds off misses.  So, our guards must be better at staying in front of Billups, Melo, and JR and allow our bigs to not have to help as often – as it’s this help that is getting our bigs out of position for defensive rebounding and putting them in foul trouble when they contest shots at the rim.   Fisher, Sasha, Kobe, Ariza, Farmar – this one is on you.  Bill Bridges adds his own keys to how we can improve on defense tonight:

a. Do not leave the weakside corner 3 uncontested. This defender cannot continue to stray into no-man’s land, neither helping in the paint nor preventing the corner 3. Whether the shooter is Kleiza, Smith, or Melo. This tactic can and will kill you.

b. To help prevent the corner 3. Play the post straight-up. The Lakers should not double Nene as a matter of course. Nene killed us with his passes and this double and the ensuing scramble opens up rebounding lanes for Bird and Martin.

c. Force Melo left for a contested jumpshot. This is exactly the same defense as Battier’s on Kobe. Do not give up driving lanes to the right. Shade to the left. Face guard on jump shots.

And I’ll add that we must rebound.  I know I just mentioned that many of Denver’s offensive rebounds came off our guards’ inability to stay in front of ball handlers.  However, we must also rotate and put bodies on guys.  In the last game, WOW failed to rotate down and let Andersen slide right by him for an offensive put back.  I’ve seen Sasha and Farmar do the same thing.  When a big man rotates, a guard must sacrifice his body and box out the crashing big.  And our bigs need to seal their man and attack the ball as well.  If we rebound, we can get out and run.  If we don’t we’re going to let a very good offensive team get 2nd and 3rd chances.  I’d prefer the former.

On offense, it’s the same story we’ve been discussing for weeks.  The Lakers have an advantage with their size and length and need to go into the post for early offense.  In Game 4, Pau and Bynum combined to shoot 14-18 from the field and 7-10 from the line.  We should be initiating our offense from the post as often as possible.  But this goes for Kobe as well.  He lost some of his effinciency in Game 4, but we all saw some tired legs and forced shots in the 4th quarter when he was trying to cut into that Denver lead.  He can get some of that effinciency back by posting up and by driving to the basket hard.  If you want a couple of specifics on some plays that I think may work to establish the post, read here.  But a lot of this is going to initiate with Kobe.  He’s the guy with the ball in his hands and he’s the primary decision maker for this team.  I trust that he’ll make the right decisions and get the right players involved.  This brings me to…

Ultimately, Kobe is going to be the player with all eyes on him.  He needs to be agressive and bring everyone else along with him.  Pau is ready.  Ariza has played very well.  Bynum has shown flashes.  But who else is going to join the party?  This is the Western Conference Finals.  Two more wins and the Lakers can reach the Finals for the second straight year, avenge their loss, and raise that championship trophy.  They can silence all the doubters and naysayers that have called them physically and mentally soft.  Disparage the media who dared to say that they disrespect the game.  And they can do it all with their play on the court.  This is the time of year where the best players show up and legacies are cemented.  Think of those commercials that have been playing.  What Laker is going to join the ranks of these players and create new memories for all of us fans?  Tonight is the night that many players on this team can show their worth.  And after all the pushing, the tripping, the showboating, and the talking, I think our guys will be ready.  I think that they can’t wait.  It’s time to go get a win.

And on that note, one last point to the fans.  This game is a chance for us to reaffirm all the positives that we’ve felt about this team the entire year.  And while this is a very important game, it’s only one and we must enjoy this journey that we’re on in pursuit of the ultimate prize.  I think we come out and win tonight, but I’ll let Dex have the final word on this:

It’s sheer arrogance, as well as sulky and spoiled, to assume we should be plowing through any team, much less the Nuggets, who are indeed a worthy foe. Once you start craving a Tyson-like knockout in the first round, you not only suffer unnecessary agonies from not getting your fix but you rob yourself of the glories of seeing two heavyweights go the distance. As Kobe said in (the game 4) post-game interview: “It’s the Western Conference Finals; it should be close.” That isn’t entirely rhetoric; he means it.

Certainly we have guys playing below standard, but again quoting Kobe, performance at this level isn’t something you can turn on and off; psychology enters into it, and sometimes you get your ass kicked. Mine still aches from last night, but my foot should be ready by Wednesday.


Darius Soriano

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138 responses to Lakers/Nuggets Game 5 Chat

  1. Tonight is indeed a career-defining opportunity for any number of Lakers. If you can’t zero-in and lay-it-all-out tonight, you never will.

  2. “My foot should be ready by Wednesday.”


  3. I remember one comment in the previous thread talking about the result of Kobe constantly driving the lane and not getting any deserved calls. Finally, he reduces banging his head against a wall and takes up another tactic that is more likely to result in points.

    While we may want Kobe to constantly drive the lane, it may be how the game is officiated that determines this – more than Kobe’s desire to drive the lane.

  4. Let’s hope L.O. remembers what he did to this team last year for the next couple of games.

    I think the Lakers will come out locked in, hopefully we can get a big win and take some momentum back to Denver and close this thing out.

  5. When a big man rotates, a guard must sacrifice his body and box out the crashing big.

    Wholeheartedly agree! Stop them! Make them hesitate to run in there again. The problem is of course that up until this point in this series, the guards have been called for blocking fouls and there are only so many fouls a guy can pick up in the first half, not to mention that when Nene runs into you, it probably hurts quite a bit. Hopefully, we will see Nene and Andersen in foul trouble early tonight. If we get their starters into foul trouble early, we will really improve our chances.

  6. I think the entire world of basketball (media & fans in general) have called out the Lakers roles players. These guys MUST step up big time tonight. I for one do not want to see us get embarrassed and trash talked or taunted on again but the likes of JR Smith and Birdman. I believe our guys will step it up tonight, but I certainly hope Ariza’s & Odom’s injuries aren’t going to continue to hinder the team’s flow…I know they’re hurting but they need to play thru it and succeed at both ends of the floor – I think both will come up big again! GO LAKERS

  7. Coffee is For Closers May 27, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Good point for re: enjoying the ride. Reading some of the posts the last few days, I feel like the young Kevin Bacon in that scene from Animal House, “remain calm! All is well!”

    Yes, its possible the lakers could be defeated in this series, but the next 2-3 games promise to be hard fought, exciting basketball. Enjoy it, and pull for your team. I don’t remember what year it was in the 80’s, but the Lakers had to go the distance in 3 straight divisional series to reach the finals. My fingernails were toast by the finals, but it was a hell of a ride.

    We have home court advantage and the best player. Its there for the taking.


  8. Tonight’s game is the kind of Laker moment I live for: a top-level battle against another potent team, with lots on the line. This franchise was built on the success they’ve had in these situations. 19-0? Home court, home crowd, and oh yeah, Kobe. Go Lakers!

    BTW, Dex is a pimp of words.

  9. Man, I sure Phil heeds the warnings of what appears to be everyone outside his coaching staff.

    Hope Fish and Odom show up. Hope Jackson let’s Bynum play. I think he can have a bigger impact than the first two, even if he’s not playing well. I hate to say this, but we need someone under the basket to punk denver back.

    GO LAKERS! I’ll be watching intently.

  10. Any idea who the refereeing crew is tonight? Hopefully Javie or one of the Crawfords.

  11. I’m stoked for this game!!! I think we win by double digits, I think we shoot a lot of free throws and I think Fish makes some shots.

  12. I would love a double digit win and some mental/emotional breakdowns from a couple Nuggets.

  13. 7- I know that Tom Washington is one of them and he hates Kobe.

  14. Have not wanted or waiting for the Nuggets to “Crack”. I do not think it will happen. If it does that means the Game is getting rough and not suited for the Lakers, but the Nuggets.

    If it is called really tight advantage Lakers…. If they let them play a little Nuggets will be in it.

  15. This is the most important game of their career for two Lakers, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol.

    Both of them need big games.

  16. I am a die-hard laker fan living in Seattle. There are not many fans around here, and so I want to start by thanking fb&g for being my home during the season and playoffs. I love the posts and conversations.

    I am frustrated and optimistic about this team. I believe in their ability to win tonight, and I am worried they will be outplayed by a ferocious, emotional, Denver team. I see the xo’s of how the Lakers are being beat, but sometimes think they just need to “try harder” or “be tougher”. I fret when I see Kobe-nova, but late in the fourth in a close game, I beg for it.

    I think my own emotions are as inconsistent as this Laker team; I feel good tonight. I feel ready. I hope they do too.

  17. Tonight’s refs:

    M. McCutchen
    R. Garretson
    T. Washington

    Info provided by Gr8Scott in the previous thread.

  18. Continuation from the last thread –

    I guess it depends on your definition of run the offense through Pau. When I read “Pau”, I see it as Pau the #1 option. People don’t say play inside-out, they specifically say Pau. As in run the O through Shaq. From 00 – 04, it went from Shaq #1 to more of a shared thing where people still said Shaq was #1, but he really wasn’t. Kobe got too good, Shaq got older, etc. That’s were I see it now. I don’t see him “limiting” himself or deferring in any capacity at this point. And from all his comments back in 03, 04 time frame, I think he believes it would be deferring. That’s what I meant.

    My feelings are we need to go back to an inside-out game. We started playing outside-in a good while ago. While, I don’t see Pau as a player you can throw the ball to 30-40 times a game, I see 3 viable post options in Pau, Kobe, & Bynum. And we should go that way most of any game. The best thing about this series is Kobe went back to receiving the rock in the post sans last game.

  19. Henry with another senseless drudge up of a subjectively skewed perception of a great play.

  20. beyondblue, i am with you, i am a die hard fan from NJ, and have no lakers fans in sight!

    i think the key to this game will be determined in the first quarter – that includes the lakers energy, the crowd energy, and the refs. The refs will decide if this is going to be physical game or not by their calls -as well all know physical favors denver, if the foul calling is minimal i think it favors them. Also big keys:

    1) get Pau/Bynum involved from the start
    2) GET REBOUNDS – i will faint if i see denver getting so many offensive rebounds again and easy put backs
    3) do not settle for jumpers – be aggressive, drive to the basket, at least until we see what the refs are calling
    4) Do NOT leave JR Smith open for 3 pointers

    I think if we does the above reasonably well and play reasonable defense – i.e. not leaving people wide opne
    We should win the game…however, if the game gets really physical and is close down the stretch all the pressure is on us
    it is time for this lakers team to step up – i feel this game is a MUST win seeing how we’ve played on the road

  21. In the last thread commenter 3ThreeIII tried to post this, but when I (still without internet access at work) tried to approve it by phone I hit the wrong button on deleted it. I’m sorry about that. Here is the post again:

    If I were Phil Jackson:

    1) Monitor energy and effort: At the slightest sign of their lack, substitute immediately. Gasol with Powell. Bynum with Mbenja. Ariza with Odom. Fisher with Farmar. Have a chat with the starter, and get them back in after a few minutes of hyper burn from the sub. Let the sub know, in no uncertain terms, that the burn they are getting now will directly effect their playtime in the remainder of this season, as well as next year. Hustle. HUSTLE. Body up on Defense. Cut and Dive and Set Picks on Offense.

    2) Try a Big Man Rotation: Bynum, Gasol, Odom, Ariza, and Kobe. Put them on the floor for 4-5 minutes in the first quarter, and the third, and see what we get out of it. If you are not willing to fire all of your bullets, here and now, then we had no business being in the gunfight to begin with.

    3) Have an extremely short leash on Fisher and Sasha. Any PUJITS, or non set jumpers, or shots of any kind with no presence under the hoop would get them yanked, and give Farmar/Brown some burn.

    4) Use DJ Mbenga (and all of his glorious, hard fouls) to get under the skin of K-Mart and Melo. If he cannot foul out in 4 minutes of burn, then he is not the enforcer we are looking for. K-Mart and Melo are well known for their short tempers, and selfish play once they are angered. Make them angry. Rattle them.

    5) Inside out. Run back on Offense and get position in the paint. Draw fouls. Go up strong with 2 hands. Pass to open cutters and dives. Play crash ball.

    6) Allow Kobe to create if we have no high % shots with 8 seconds or less on the shot clock. Kobe thrives that way, and it is demoralizing to bang, hustle, screen and help for the first 2/3 of a possession, only to have Kobe make a move, spin and toss up a ridiculous shot between 2 defenders and have it go in.

    Anyway, that would be my game plan.

  22. Question for old school Laker fans:

    What’s up with Worthy’s mismatched uniform in these pics (’85 WCF vs. Nuggets)?

  23. One word that sums up the key for tonight: AGGRESSIVE

    I want to see the Lakers come out and push the tempo, rebound and play in-your-face defense.

    I have a funny feeling either Sasha or Fisher is going to have a breakout game — 4+ three-pointers; 18+ points. I think Denver is planning on attacking the middle on D and doubling Pau/Kobe, leaving the perimeter guys open.

    Watching the first 4 games, I can’t help but feel the Lakers are the superior team, and they are just treading water right now. It’s time to be “bad men” and take it to this Denver team.

  24. In regard to LO:

    Listening to ESPN Radio (710) this afternoon and a caller was complaining about LO not stepping up and playing. Mason and Ireland basically retorted that Odom is sporting a hemotoma on his back about the size of a large orange and hardly moving in the locker room.

    I’m not sure we’re going to see an explosion game out of Lamar tonight or at all in this series or even – potentially – in the next.

    I know Lamar keeps saying it’s a non-issue, but watching him play and reading/hearing reports like that make me think otherwise.

  25. Great post Darius. Really got me pumped for this game.

  26. >> I don’t remember what year it was in the 80’s, but the Lakers had to go the distance in 3 straight divisional series to reach the finals

    That was the repeat year of 87-88.


    Anyone else nervous about Odom talking about how he’s got the hook-up for the team’s fix for “candy”, given his past?

    I love Lamar. I hope he shows up tonight. Go lakers.

  28. On a lighter side, 5 things I can’t stand about the Nuggets:

    1. K-Mart’s tattoo. You know the one, those red lips on his neck. Yeah, Kenyon, those are going to be a hit when your 50 and have neck beef.

    2. The Birdman. You can’t shoot. You can’t dribble. You’re just a new age Dennis Rodman, only a 99% less talented. And oh, are you packing a dip at all times?

    3. George Karl. Memo to George: You can’t beat Phil. You couldn’t in Seattle, and you can’t now. And you kid couldn’t make our practice team. Nah, I love Karl, but you’re not gonna win.

    4. JR Smith. Let’s not beat around the bush: JR (real name Earl) is a thug from Jersey. He’s been in trouble with the law many times, and needs to get punched in the mouth. One thing he can do is light it up, but this guy cares more about himself than about winning.

    5. Their uniforms. Gotta love the light blue. Actually you don’t. I can;t stand looking at it, especially with the Lakers home Gold on the same floor. It looks like an intentionally bad dress rehearsal.

    GO LAKERS — beat these thugs!

  29. Nuggets win tonight in another blowout.
    Things to watch for:
    1. Melo matchin Kobes point total
    2. Kobe not goin Nova, but blackhole. I see him tryin to win this game by himself.
    3. JR goin mini-nova and gettin a technical for hittin himself
    4. Obvious retaliation hard foul by a Laker in the first quarter, this in turn will amp up the Nuggets, deflate Lakers

  30. Beyond the fact that this whole playoff run has made it hard to feel too good for too long (alas, last season was a feel good until we got choked by the celts, so maybe THIS script will end better), it does hearken back to Sacramento and Minnesota in years past; namely, teams that were the antithesis of the spirit and soul of the Lakers; where the disdain, the sense of being tired of being in the L’s shadow ran pretty deep and as such, each game was a revelation (plus, in case of those teams, there was also a cadre of ex-Lakers pumping up the venom).

    This series is marked by similar contrasts: Denver/Karl, emotional, helter-skelters who play on guile, flash and gut looking to slay the Lakers, who are cool to the point of obliviousness; cold-hearted assassins when they are on, lost little boys when the machine stops working.

    When the dust settles, will Kobe be holding the knife, Pau’s jersey be bespeckled with blood standing triumphant? Or will the KMart smirk, the bird flapper and the JR showboater get to enjoy their moment of mockery?

    My money’s on the Lakers if for no other reason than the fact that all season long, when confronted with a supreme challenge, they have risen to the challenge.

    Fingers crossed and prayers intoned just the same. We need a W in a big way.



  31. Denver Nation May 27, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Come on! A Laker crowd that loud and on its feet??? You know (or should know) Laker crowds better than that man!

  32. Coffee is For Closers May 27, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    25. Ah, thanks.

    Ya, I believe that was the year in the 7th game against the jazz, magic flicked the ball over his head to run out the last few tics off the clock. That was a great series.

  33. I think we get Pau and Bynum involved early. The key is keeping them involved throught the game. When they have it going offensively, that’s when they give more effort defensively (which shouldn’t be the case).

  34. Love Adam’s 5 Things I Can’t Stand about the Nuggets. We’ll be retweeting the best comments on Blue & Gold at BreakingLANews/Lakers

  35. Charley Rosen put Lebron James on blast in his latest article. Ouch! I thought it was a bit harsh.

    C’mon Laker role players. Show up!

  36. Did anybody else see the ESPN video on LO’s sweetooth and just think, “That might explain it”. I mean come on man. How the hell does a full grown man maintain his energy when living on all those empty calories?

  37. My right foot is @#$$’ing ready. Steel-toed boot and all. For his sake, I hope Smith remembers his cup tonight.

    I’m grateful for the Nuggets. A title isn’t worth winning unless it comes after pain, sweat, fear, and tears. There have been plenty this week and surely more to come. Denver is a worthy opponent — one that can sharpen quivering role players into steely Foxes and Fishes; or a Kobe into a Bird or Jordan.

    I am also grateful for Lebron. All of the media worship aside, he is a basketball god in the making and I am enjoying the journey, even with a few glimpses of surprising humanity along the way. Every Ali needs a Frazier to keep him pressing through the dogdays of the season.

    But, make no doubt about it, when it comes to playoff basketball on the highest of levels, Kobe is still Ali. It’s not your time Bron Bron. Not quite, not yet. Sit at the master’s feet a while longer and learn why you (and the world) naturally deferred to him when all seemed lost last summer against Spain.

    Tonight Kobe breaks their spirit.

    Tonight Pau graduates from efficient, pleasant, productive second banana to bearded ninja warrior.

    Tonight Sasha and Fisher and Walton … well, let’s show some restraint.

    Lakers by 8. Bet the farm.

  38. No. 16 Im a die hard Laker fan living in Seattle too. I cant wait until the city and the NBA brings my “stepchildren” Sonics back so i can watch Kobe beans and the beach boys beat up on them live twice a year.

  39. Lamar & his sweet tooth-

    This is no mere fondness for candy. Soo,,Other than asking for early onset diabetes I say bring it LO! Spike your insulin immediately before the game…hit it again at the half. Some caffiene would be good too,,,then go out and bang on some nugs.

  40. Coffee is For Closers May 27, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    I’m not sure if its the back or what, but lamar seems hesitent to work inside, either on the block or driving to the hoop, like we’ve seen him. He seems to lose his nerve if he gets blocked early. He’s taken way too many 3’s in this series. I’d like to see him at the elbow, where he can shoot a 15 footer or drive on his man.

    I love the denver trolls in here. Bold statements, zero meaninful analysis. They’re the dahntay jones of posters.

  41. #28, Adam,
    Hey now, people’s kids are off limits. It’s not Coby Karl’s fault who his dad is.

    Seriously, he’s a nice guy. Rip on his dad all you want, he’s our playoff opponent, but sons are as off-limits for insults as mothers are. No need to get personal here.

    GO LAKERS! 🙂

  42. Coffee is For Closers May 27, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    By the way, the line on tonight’s game is lakers -6.

    Just looking at the number, vegas is begging you to take the nuggets, which usually means jump on the favorite.


    On another note, Chad Ford has us drafting Florida’s Toney Douglas at #29. Not a bad choice; he’s definitely a great on-the-ball defender and his ballhandling responsibilities will be minimized in the triangle and because we have so many secondary ballhandlers. Be nice to have someone like that now, *sigh*

  44. I can’t believe Ford has Jrue Holliday going 4th overall. I’m a big Bruin fan, and I watched just about every game he played. Never once did I get even an inkling that he was a lottery pick. At least with Westbrook the year before, you could see flashes here and there. But not with Holliday. I know he was playing out of position, but still…

  45. This is in fact a huge game, but the winner will be the Lakers to continue the trend of every other game.

  46. Coffee is For Closers May 27, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    44. agree, unfortunately the one and done’s are being drafted on potential not where they are today. I thought DeRozan was a hell of a lot better at the end of the season, and has a more mature nba body at this point.

  47. Lakers defense needs to make a statement tonight. They’re allowing way too many dunks and layups.

  48. sad thing is this game would be a blowout with the right rotation, sasha, and fisher shouldnt see the floor tonite, and bynum should play thirty five minutes, wont happen… Phil will give this game away and lose the series in seven.

  49. I think it will be a close game. I just wonder how much more gas Kobe has left in his tank. He has probably played more basketball in the last two years than anyone else.

  50. Just arrived at Staples. These early start times really hurt because the place is only half-full at tip off. BTW, Pau was the last guy on the floor shooting (mid-range jumpers) before heading back to the locker room.

  51. I loved adam’s five things to hate about denver (minus the george karl son insult). JR is the biggest thug ever – reported in the news in January happy that he could still play basketball after he was not charged for killing his friend in a car accident going through a red light. And yeah he had at least 5 suspension prior to that. What a complete loser with no morality. If someone had to beat us I would rather see anyone but the nuggets. EW! Please LAKERS do not let these thugs beat you. They know how to push people around and get away with it.
    Also I wish LO had the same hunger for winning as he does for CANDY.

  52. Not Charlie Rosen May 27, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    I’m hoping this isn’t just wishful thinking…

    Why am I getting the feeling that either tonight or Friday, Fisher is going to have just an insane game…like 7-10, 3-4 on 3’s, no dumb mistakes, put up 20 points, and single-handedly turn the entire tide of the series (we win easily, going away).

    And then I’ll be back here with everyone else eating crow, talking about how wise Phil really is, that’s why he has 9 rings, he doesn’t listen to the fans who freak but sticks with his guys, etc. etc.

    I really hope I get a chance to eat crow tonight.

  53. This is gonna be a close one, no doubt about it. Whoever wins this game will probably win the series. Its hard for me to pick the Lakers though, nobody besides Pau and Kobe have been stepping up. On top of that, the Lakers arent playng good defense. But, Denver is not a all great team and has flaws. Im gonna take the Lakers by 3 tonight!

  54. anybody have a feed for the game? Im stuck at work

  55. Here is a good stream.
    password is

  56. Beat the Thuggettes!

    Seriously, how did this thoroughly unlikeable team become the darling of the media…?!

  57. Get chills watching the Laker intros!

  58. Hasn’t any NBA team seen the blinding potential of Mark Jackson as a head or assistant coach? Please.

  59. a few dunks already for denver – not good

    gasol with no touches

  60. also denver already with free throw/foul advantage

    why aren’t we giving it to gasol? we are sooo stagnant again to start the game

  61. Stagnant shmagnant. Knives are out

  62. Note to Bynum – that move is better than your jump hooks. Go for it more often. Nuggets bigs will probably bite on fakes at the rim all day.

  63. If those hadn’t gone in we’d be ripping fisher right now. Not good shots to take, but love that he made them.

  64. I just tuned in – can someone fill me in? Who was Kobe yelling at in the huddle? Who’s playing well so far?

  65. That’s a great block by Birdman!!!

  66. Trevor and Pau have had a nice two-man offense going on. Guys are playing with energy and attacking. Bynum getting some looks. Pau hasn’t had enough touches. Fisher took some bad shots but made them.

  67. A lot of blocked shots in that last frantic minute.

  68. #63 Fisher is probably playing the best on the Lakers so far. Kobe hasn’t done much, yet. Gasol and Ariza have ran consecutive successive two man post up-cut game. Bynum had a nice move under the basket, but got himself in foul trouble as always.

  69. With this lineup on the floor, Pau needs to be taking 75% of the shots, minimum!

  70. But somehow he is taking no shots at all…

  71. We’ve said this before, but Nuggets bigs always go for blocks at the first opportunity. If our guys make a move or a fake, they can get them off their feet, like Lamar just did.

    Refs letting them play physical and Nuggets so far the Lakers are doing most of the damage in that department.

  72. I got to give Gasol credit, Denver’s defense if basically treating him like Shaq with the ball denial and hard double. If only we had shooters to make Denver pay

  73. Denver’s hanging off his arms and ears. We’re playing sloppy but there’s fire

  74. Bynum is really making things happen out there, on both ends of the floor.

  75. The Dude Abides May 27, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Let’s hope Phil doesn’t take Drew out early in the 3rd after he makes one mistake, even though he’s playing well. Also, more Shannon guarding JR instead of Sasha when Kobe goes to the bench.

  76. please dont be fooled by the statline fisher is a mess, this dude is gonna cost the game.

  77. its gonna be almost impossible to win a championship with only one good guard

  78. OMG, Sasha made a shot.

  79. oh..thank god Sasha made that shot.

  80. Even though both teams played well and the game is tied, this is the first time this series I felt the Lakers were the better team. The shots were getting are alot easier then Denver’s shots. We need to continue to go inside out

  81. Sasha making that shot and the defense being forced to guard it is the difference between the Lakers being a good team or great team…

  82. Archon – excellent point. If that shot is consistent, it opens things up so much for the bigs. If it’s early in the clock & brick-like, it’s a shot that just kills the Lakers.

  83. Tie game, at home, drew and odom rolling, the refs aren’t conspiring against us, and kobe/pau preserved. I feel good about this. Denver will cool, Kobe will take over.


  84. Kurt: Thanks! And, no problem. I was wondering if I had gotten out of line somehow… (Mbenga for Hire) but then figured it must be a tech glitch.

    Thanks for the effort, and the extra effort!

    If Lamar plays as hard as you blog, we win by 12!

    It was very, very nice to see Sasha hit that corner 3 with time ticking down!

    Bynum is going well, interior passing is happening, and we have a Good Lamar sighting!

    I have a very positive feeling here. Time to go burn of some nervous energy and hit some jumpers in the driveway…

  85. Reed, your calm belief is very helpful in stressful games like this! I read your posts, and it seems very likely that all will be well in the end.

  86. There’s the obligatory Vujacic 3

  87. The lakers need to stop fouling if they wana win.

  88. I like the Lakers play now.

  89. Lamar Odom and Gasol have showed me something this game.

  90. The Lakers finally figured out an offense to get some spacing in.

  91. Kobe playing like a god. You punch him, you kick him, you bite him, you scratch him, you bruise him, you beat him, you tear him, you wound him, you mock him, you hate him, you rob him, you shame him, you pound him, you grind him, he stands up again.

  92. Thank you refs for not bailing anyone out and letting them play, finally!!!

  93. We are lucky to be up right now because Kobe is playing very poorly over the past few minutes. Very indecisive and for some reason, he’s not trusting his jumper. When you have a few inches on your defender, that’s an easy pull up J every time.

  94. OK, Kobe made up for it. Huge assist and FTs. Let’s close this one out.

  95. 93, don’t know how easy it is from personal experience, but re last few minutes Kobe has taken over. Congratulations Lakers fans.

  96. This win was because of Lamar Odom showing up to play Playoff basketball tonight.

  97. The Dude Abides May 27, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    95. Odom was the biggest of the other contributors, but I’d also mention Fish and Drew’s play in the first half, Trevor in both halves, and Shannon during that big 25-7 run in the third and fourth.

  98. Lamar finally showed up. And when he comes to play, the x-factor makes a difference.

    Also, since I’ve been saying bad things about the LA crowd all season: I loved them tonight. The Staples crowd brings it when it counts.

  99. Haha good Mark Jackson impression sT. Two keys to this one:
    1. Lamar showed up to play Playoff basketball tonight.
    2. Phil finally saw the ShanWOW light and put the man in the game. Also, he settled on a tighter rotation in the second half. In the fourth, I would have liked to see less Luke and more Trev (who did finally get in the game at the 5 minute mark), but late is better than never. Also, when Shannon is playing that well, there is no reason to take him out for a clearly depleted Fish at the end.

    Overall, though, a great win and, especially, a great fourth quarter where we moved the ball aggressively and fed our beasts inside. For the rest of the series, Shannon needs to get the pt he deserves and maybe actually see the court in the first half of the game.

    Oh and that dunk on JokerBird was nuts.

  100. Hi guys. I vow not to go to any DEN-LAL games this season.

    Game 3 , Denver lost.
    Game 5 , Denver lost.

    2 games I went to, they lost.
    I love it here in LA.

  101. Ok not a 3 point win by LA but close. I hope the Lakers have the killer instinct to close this out in 6.

  102. Great effort tonight, playing through the refs (garbage on both ends) and the “physicality” to get the job done. LO is a monster, and if we do indeed advance, he will be a big factor to us taking it all. Massive props to Kobe for getting everyone going, for trusting them and giving them the chance to shine.

    Lake show you know!

  103. George Karl complaining about the refs…I actually think this was the best refereed game this series, they let them play in the 4th

  104. Wow, I have never seen someone be so explicit about the referees as I am seeing George Karl do tonight.

  105. George Karl:

    I’m not going to talk about the Referees…. But they’ve got to give my bigs some slack. It’s killing my rotations.

  106. Wow, you’ve gotta love LO’s jacket the in the postgame press conference. Niiiicccceeee.

  107. Odom realizes effort leads to good play. That was the most active he’s played this series.

  108. It was great to finally see our PG’s play respectable ball. They weren’t great, but they played well and WOW was a real spark. Stats don’t really tell the story, but Denver’s PG’s were a -12 tonight and the Lakers’ PG’s were +9. And while that wasn’t the difference in the game, it sure did help.

  109. j. d. hastings May 27, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    I like to refer to a line like Lamar’s- 19-14 as an “Assassinating Arch-duke Ferdinand”

  110. A couple other points that were key in my eyes:

    1). In the 4th quarter, we had a stretch where we forced 4 straight turnovers. In game 4, we only forced 9 total. Tonight, we extended our defense, were much more aggressive in extending our SSZ and our backline defenders were more aware of cutters behind them trying to sneak into the gaps. This led to deflections, forced passes right to us, and then Denver holding the ball and forcing shots against the shot clock. Tremendous effort on D in that closing quarter.

    2). I love how Kobe was able to accept the double team and still pass out to create offense for others. Last year against Boston (and even earlier this season) we were very successful in Kobe extending the P&R and finding a flashing LO at the FT line which then allowed us to play 4 on 3 from the FT line down. Denver has done a great job of taking that action away, but tonight we adjusted. Kobe took on the double team but Gasol floated to the sideline and then instantly would reverse the ball to the opposite sideline. This got Denver in scramble mode and we ended up getting easy looks under the basket or establishing deep post position for Pau when we swung the ball back to the original strong side. This got Denver completely flummoxed and we were able to create a cushion. And by the time that Denver adjusted, Nene fouled out and we got Pau one on one against Martin or Kleiza or Melo. Beautiful execution in the 4th quarter tonight.

  111. The Dude Abides May 27, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    The one (or two) plays where I can see Karl making any sort of decent point were Nene’s 5th and 6th fouls. The 5th foul was on offensive foul where he clearly shoved Pau while trying to get position. The refs hadn’t really been calling that type of play all night. On his 6th foul, he clearly flopped. While Pau did drive into Nene, the contact wasn’t nearly hard enough to realistically knock Nene over. The ref was going to let it go without a foul on either guy, but Nene’s flop tripped up Pau and a call had to be made. The announcers in criticizing the call didn’t realize there was a slight disconnect between the contact and Nene falling to the ground. They were only looking at who initiated the contact, and not at whether or not said contact was hard enough to knock Nene over.

  112. Our supporting cast has a pulse! Amazing how much better this team is when more than 2 players show up.

    We always talk about defense (rightfully so) but I absolutely loved the offensive execution near the end.

    -Kobe is underrated as a passer. Great patience on the doubles and pinpoint passes out of the double teams got us easy scores.

    -When Nene went out with foul trouble, we did an amazing job of using the PnR to open up the floor for other players, doing a great job of swinging the ball across the floor and getting the Nuggets scrambling on D. (Also Pau/Lamar did a great job of getting deep post position on these plays). When Nene came back in, the effectiveness of the PnR dropped drastically (although he quickly left with 6 fouls). I loved Phil’s call (and Kobe’s) of abandoning the PnR when it wasn’t working as well, and running the ball through Pau in the post. Adaptability is a key.

    -Kobe forced drives a couple of times (getting stripped by Smith), but near the end he told Pau to get down in the post and ran the offense through him. Scoring seems so much easier when Pau’s at the helm. Not nearly enough touches tonight, still, but at least we got it to him in crunch time.

    -Bynum didn’t come back in after the foul trouble, but in the first half I loved his defense for the most part.

    They finally pocketed the whistles, like many people have been calling them to do, and let the game be decided by the players in the end.

  113. The Dude Abides: I definitely agree on your points about both fouls. The announcers here (Brazil) were saying it was an offensive foul (the 6th on Nene) but I saw it just like you: a flop followed by a trip.

  114. One thing I really liked was instead of playing thap Kobe trap off the pick into an open 3 which the Lakers have been missing, they’re playing that into a layup or dunk by Gasol or Odom

    The Lakers should forget the 3 point shot the rest of the series, even if it’s open.

  115. Oh, and what about George Karl’s comments about the refs after the game? I surely tought this was the best officiated game in a while in this playoffs.

  116. BIg time win Lakeshow, huge 4th quarter sparked by Shannon. The real question is who should start?
    Shannon or Fish? You be the judge…..

  117. From Truehoop:

    “At one point, Odom bent over and the camera angle caught the profile of his back, with its protruding hunch — a swollen bruise, wrapped in protective covering. It’s big. I can only imagine how painful that must be.”


  118. I think this aired before the game, but this video is hilarious, and why you have to love Lamar the person even when he’s not producing on the court. Behold the Candy Man:

    This man should retire with a purple and gold jersey on his back. And a bag of Starburst in his hand.

  119. Snoopy i was worried about Lamar in the post game conf. He looked uncomfortable, sweating and at one point he looked like he was going to pass out. That back must be doing a number on him. I’m glad he gutted it out. Not what you’d expect from a “soft” laker right?

  120. Just got back from the game. All I can say is thank you ShanWOW. The building was nervously quiet for 2 1/2 quarters. After the WOW dunk, Staples was electrifying and LOUD for the rest of the game. Defensive energy ramped up exponentially. One play indeed can truly change the course of a game (a season?). And of course, props to the “good” Lamar, and to Kobe for playing a smart and unselfish game.

  121. 119, lakergirl – Damn I didn’t see the postgame, can’t imagine what kind of pain he’s going through. I really hope we can finish this off in 6 and get Lamar some much needed rest. You gotta feel for Lamar, not just playing through that kind of pain, but refusing to talk about it or make an issue of it.

  122. According to some Blazers blogger at ESPN named Henry Abbott, Kobe is a bad leader because he hogs the ball in the 4th quarter, foolishly led team usa to gold and transformed the next generation of nba stars into dedicated professionals, is so frank at press conferences that he must be faking, and generally smiles, winks, and gasps in an irksome way. These things are true because some guy named Max said so, and Max is a loyal puppet – as opposed to a shameful Kobe puppet. Also per said guru – Lebron (both he and his puppet) has far surpassed Kobe as a leader, clutch player, and facial expressor.

    I’m grateful ESPN hires such keen, objective analysts who are so capable of seeing past the obvious. I mean, if not for such genius analysis, I might think something of the fact that LA is up 3-2, Lebron is down 3-1, Kobe has closed out 3 airtight games with clutch scoring and selfless distribution, Lebron often misses free throws and turns the ball over in clutch situations, and Lebron’s teammates exude doubt and fear when tested. Good thing I have that Truehoop blog as a source of cutting edge truth.

    (Somebody tap the angry bald man on the shoulder, take away his megaphone, give him a hug, and tell him Portland will get them next year.)


    Maybe it’s just me, but Michael Jordan was intimidating in a way no star wing player has ever been. Kobe is similar to him in in competitive spirit and his affinity for cursing and taunting, but when Jordan does it, it just seems a lot more intimidating. Jordan was so intense he seemed (to me, at least) borderline psychotic. Nothing to do with this series, but I thought it was a fun classic clip.

  124. Reed – I just saw that, and was about to comment on it when I decided to let it go. Henry is Henry. Good for a round-up of NBA links, but I prefer my high level analysis from other sources.

    I agree, that post entry was particularly laughable. Reminds of Simmons with his friend “Jacko.” What purpose was there in posting the opinion of his friend “Max”? Does ESPN not hold its employees to any kind of journalistic standard? If one of his friends went on a rant about Brandon Roy, would we see that posted for the entire world to see?

    I’ve excused him many times before, because he’s at least open about his homerism. But that post reeks of such outright bias that I can hardly believe it got published.

  125. Shannon’s posterization of Birdman was the turning point. It energized the crowd, got our execution rolling on both ends, and Denver fell apart. If we didn’t turn the ball over three or four times in a row at the end of the third quarter, we would have went into the fourth with a five to ten point lead. Needless to say, Shannon finished with a +/- of +13, second to only Odom’s +18.

  126. Reed,
    I too have grown weary of Henry’s never ending jabs at Kobe. I’d say more, but you said it all. Thanks for saving me the keystrokes.

  127. j. d. hastings May 27, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Generally speaking I have no problem with Karl complaining about the refs. PJ does it, the officiating has been bad everywhere this year and its part of the game.

    Having said that, his specific comments bug me. His first specific complaint was that Carmelo got beat up. Of course he was- that’s why he shot 13 FTs. There was still a lot of contact left uncalled, but the same happens to Kobe- spcifically, how the hell isKarl going to complan about Melo getting beaten up when that’s the entire gameplan against Kobe. Dahntay Jones has TWO flagrants against Kobe. Both dangerous plays. Its alright to ompain, but you gotta choose a better whine.

  128. Agree about the Abbott post. I left a reply on the Truehoop message board to let him know just how valuable and insightful his article was to me.

  129. j. d. hastings May 27, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Reed, youre right on. I haven’t been over there much lately because of this. You could keep track. He calls out every missed call in the game… except any that feature the Lakers Missed jump ball in game 2? nothing, though I think he claimed there was contact in the jump ball at the end of Cleveland-Orlando.

    Trevor Ariza is a thug because he didn’t wait for Fernandez to land before trying to block the ball. No comment after Dahntay Jones pushes Kobe with two hands in the back in the air until a say or two later, snuck into the body of an article. Same with the tripping play.

    Then he posts the article that Denver is reverting to a bunch of thugs and Kobe is totally selfish.

    Then he posts the video of Kobe beating Henry’s precious Blazers and he calls Kobe “sad.”

    Then he basically prints a long email from a friend who makes a point Henry wants to be able to make.

    I understand that sometimes national people will have a perspective different than me, but this seems like a concerted campaign

  130. I think the problem is that ESPN, and himself, try to pass off TrueHoop as a general NBA blog, when it really isn’t. Over the past two years of TH on ESPN, and before it became big, there was a definite slant against Kobe, the Lakers, and all that’s related. Henry isn’t as obvious as some other bloggers about his bias, but it’s there and very obvious after a bit.

    And while it’s a great blog, it just isn’t worth keeping up with it for general NBA news. I’d rather go to BDL instead.

  131. Karl’s comments were comical. Playing the “Gee, I don’t know how to lobby the officiating through the press” card, and then proceeding to do just that. He seemed personally shocked, and maybe even offended, that his guys didn’t get every bailout call like they did in Game 4. C’mon George. You’ve been around the block before – you know how these things go.

  132. lamar odom’s daily dose of wisdom: “who cares! you only live once! eat as much candy as you can eat!”

  133. j. d. hastings May 27, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    And I hadn’t even seen this from Truehoop:

    “Kobe Bryant said he made a conscious effort to be a decoy. I’d be very interested in how that idea came about. Did Bryant tell anyone about it? Did the coaching staff gameplan for it? Or was it a game-time thing? Now that it has worked, it puts Denver in a guessing game for Game 5. L.A. might do it again. But I wouldn’t bet on it. ”

    This is ridiculous.

  134. Great win by team. Everyone was involved at various points in the game and contributed in some way or at least more than they did in the past. Showing signs of life when we really need it.

    Re…Henry’s latest 2 post on Kobe is just another in a long series of BS and I don’t mean Bill Simmons, but it smells just as bad. It’s on the level or even below that of bad “US” tabloid digging for a story from every angle to support a preconceive effort to smear Kobe. What it lacks in professionalism, it makes up in hits from us fans, pro/con Kobe/Lakers. The sad effect of it all is that it retards the game and takes away from the pure joy of basketball.

    I’m so over it. I’m going to enjoy Kobe and his contribution to the game while he’s still playing. I missed out on Jordan’s game cause I couldn’t get over him sub-planting my favorite player in Magic Johnson or get past his early ball hog days. I wasted an opportunity to enjoy one of the greats play the game. I hope all the haters realize they’re missing out on good basketball before it’s too late and just enjoy the game.

  135. I can’t say enough about Pau Gasol’s defense today. He did an excellent job getting in front of cutters and contesting the shots without fouling. Granted, a few of those might have been called fouls in another game, but tonight they let the players play. Pau had 5 blocks and 2 steals, and made crucial stops in the 4th quarter when Melo was driving at him.

    Game ball goes to LO though. Playing with that amount of energy in pain is unbelievable. Also, on top of the energizing dunk and shot-clock beating jumper, ShanWOW played great D on Billups for the most part.

    I’m putting Trevor in with Kobe and Pau as the guys I have the most trust in. I loved the two-man game with Trevor and Pau.

  136. No matter how angry I get at the Lakers; I still love them.

    Go Lakers!!!

  137. Which team is Alston playing for?