Lakers/Nuggets Game 6 Preview

Kurt —  May 29, 2009

Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets Game 5 NBA Western Conference finals in Los Angeles
Once again there will be a live chat tonight here for game six with myself and Jeremy of Roundball Mining Company, and while that is a good omen for the Lakers (the Lakers have yet to lose a game when this site has hosted a live blog) this will be the toughest win for them this season.

At this point, there are no secrets in the series about what is going to happen strategically, it’s about execution.

First, the Lakers are going to need to withstand the initial onslaught we can expect from Denver. LA needs to find a way to keep this thing close going into the fourth. While some people still question the mental makeup of Denver, if they have issues it will be in the fourth quarter, not the first.

Denver is going to trap Kobe again, and if he can continue to make his passes out of that toward the basket creating a 4 on 3, the Lakers will be fine. If the guys make the shots. But expect Denver to be more aggressive in its fronting and efforts to keep the ball out of the paint. At some point, the Lakers will need to make them pay with the open threes they will get.

Look for a steady diet of Billups. He will try to take control, and if need be the Lakers need to go with Kobe or Ariza on him.

One thing to watch — the team that gets to the line the most in the fourth has son four of the five games in the series. That is, the team that is aggressive and getting to the rack when it matters.

Here are few ideas from Drreyeye on what the Lakers need to do:

Defensively, the mantra is to keep ‘Melo from feeling too mellow without allowing the energy guys to look like superstars-especially on the boards.

Birdman needs to be grounded. Maybe ShanWOW can posterize him again. Those Nuggets with Thugget tendencies need to be detained–even as their tactics are exposed. The Lakers need to give the refs every opportunity to do the right thing by overmatching Nugget intensity.

The plan that has been most successful has been to match the Nuggs through three–and pull away in the fourth. If the Lakers could get a little more separation every quarter, it could be much more decisive, even boring. I personally would go for boring–if you don’t mind.

Darius pitches in with a few details on how to pull away.

*Attack Nene. Denver has proven to be a different team when Nene is in foul trouble. He’s key to their P&R and interior defense(s) and is their best passing AND finishing big man. Once Andersen comes in, they are more prone to giving up offensive boards and become less reliable with their interior rotations (they may get more blocks, but they also give up more lanes to the basket). Attack Nene on the block and off the dribble with Gasol and Kobe should do the same when handling the ball.

*Space the floor. Game 5 was the game where our spacing was best – especially in the deciding quarter. Denver decided that they would double team Kobe a lot last game and he killed them with the pass. I don’t expect we’ll see that same tactic from Denver as they should expect the same result. That means we need to give Kobe room to operate by spacing the floor. If we’re properly spaced Kobe will have the room he needs to attack the defender that’s on him and it will also give him the space to deal with the double team (if it does come) and stretch out the Nuggs D, making passing lanes more open.

*Stay aggressive with our SSZ. Denver says they adjusted and are ready for our trapping. Make them prove it. Earlier in the series *if* we doubled, it was soft. In game 5 we trapped the ball handler and made him panic. Let’s have more of that and see if they can still function with Ariza and Odom trapping Melo on the wing. Or Kobe and Odom/Gasol trapping Billups on the wing.

*End every stop with a rebound. Denver only stayed in Game 5 in the first half because they were grabbing a bunch of their own misses and making us pay. Secure the ball, push it back at them and then establish the post to play inside-out. We can create cross matches in transition and we can get them in scramble mode if we get up court quickly and start to move the ball.


Now I will quickly get on my soapbox….

The one thing that’s really starting to bug me about the playoffs — the complaining about the officiating. This is not to defend the referees as being good or consistent, because they certainly haven’t been, or to say that something doesn’t need to be done about the officiating. But five games into the conference finals, the teams that have played better are up 3-2. In the Lakers series, the team that has been the aggressor with the game on the line has gotten the calls — game 5 that was the Lakers, game 4 that was the Nuggets. That should not be a shock, during the regular season the team that attacks the hole is the team that gets the calls. That hasn’t changed. As for the Kobe/LeBron conspiracy — they are two players that have the ball in their hands virtually every time down the floor, they shoot a lot and they drive the lane a lot. They get fouled a lot. That’s why they get the calls. The whining about the officiating (from coaches, media and fans) is just draining on me because the bottom line is the teams that play the best are still winning. And that’s the way it should be.


One thing I haven’t really gotten to during the Finals here is getting up links to other stuff. So, here are a few.

• Dex, one of the favorite commenters here on the site, has started his own Blog. There really are few fresh voices on the Internet anymore, the level of pablum being discussed varies in quality, but few things are original. Dex is.

• I loved this story in Slate, essentially saying that Kobe Bryant is the measuring stick for the current generation of NBA players.

• There’s a new interview with D-Fish up at his Web site.

• What if the NBA playoffs had been done BCS style?

• Remembering the Kobe Bryant of 1996.

97 responses to Lakers/Nuggets Game 6 Preview

  1. j.d. Hastings May 29, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    About the officiating- Several different issues are being conlated here (and by Brian Tung in the last post). I whined about the refs the night of game 2, then in game 3 noted that the tendency reversed itself. The larger cacophany is not about teams being cost games (other than perhaps game 3 of Dallas- Denver), or conspiracies. Even of the author of the “50k buys you a playoff game article” said the refs didn’t cost the nuggets the game.

    The issues are A- The games being called too close, B- inconsistency even within that (see hollinger’s column yesterday) and C- The bizarre state of the flagrant/technical foul revisions.

    And contrary to what Brian Tung has said, we have been specific in laying out remedies: TRAIN NEW, YOUNGER TALENT. This only thing controversial about this idea is that the league seems dead set against it. The officiating WAS better years ago because the SAME people were calling the games with better eyesight and fresher legs. (In his article Hollinger states unequivocally that it is worse now than 5 years ago)

    And since even Kurt concedes in this post that something must be done, we have to look at the history of this league and recognize that nothing will be done unless a cacophany is made about it. Until article after article pointing out these specific issues is thrown in their face they will tell us that we just don’t get the rules or something similarly useless. This isn’t whiningcare because I want the league to be credible. This is as big an issue as you can have, and to face this dimunition of talent with no recourse is infuriating. The league isn’t under a salary cap. Investing in improving this issue would only improve the product. This is a grass roots campaign.

    It just happens to be occurring on top of the usual partisan whining that happens every season.

  2. Lamar and Bynum, Bynum and Lamar. Which one will bring it? Will either bring it? Those are the real questions as we wend our way toward tipoff.

  3. I’d really like the see the Lakers make a concetrated effort to get the ball to Pau anytime he’s being guarded by Anderson. The Birdman is obviously a great help defender but is only so-so one-on-one. Forcing him to defend Pau takes away a lot of his value giving help and we’ve seen that he really has struggled to handle Pau in the post.

  4. Fast starts don’t seem to be as important in this series (or the CLE-ORL series for that matter)–4th quarter is EVERYTHING.

    In the first 5 games, the team that comes out ahead in the first quarter is more likely to lose than win (DEN: Game 1 (L), 3 (L), 4 (W); LAL: Game 2 (L)). In EVERY game, the team that wins the scoring battle in the 4th quarter has won the game.

    This fact supports many of the observations above:

    1) attack the basket & get Denver in foul trouble early to keep key players off the court and disrupt their offense at the end of the game;

    2) get Laker role players involved early to keep the Denver D honest when Kobe’s running the O in the final 5 minutes (see also CLE-Bron last night);

    3) get under Denver’s skin early (read: Birdman, Nene, JR, Kmart, & Melo’s) and sow the seeds for the Nugg’s requisite fourth quarter meltdown (as in Games 1, 3, and 5).

  5. j.d. Hastings May 29, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I could have proofread my earlier post, but felt that would have ruined its spontenaity and joie de vivre. Just so you know.

  6. Refs for tonight:

    J. Crawford
    M. Wunderlich
    M. Callahan

    That means it’s probably going to be an evenly officiated game.

    HOWEVER, based on all the pressure from the media, my guess is the refs are also going to call it tight (but again, they probably call it the same both ways).

    It’s up to the Lakers to:

    1) Be aggressive and take it to the rim.


  7. Burgundy,
    Give up your freethrow laments, in regards to Lamar – 1 for 2 has been his mantra over the last couple of years. We celebrate when he makes both. Of course, he frequently follows up with missing 2.

  8. “Fast starts don’t seem to be as important in this series (or the CLE-ORL series for that matter)–4th quarter is EVERYTHING.”

    Agreed in association with this series — though still I hearken back to the Rockets series and think of games that were seemingly over before they began when the Lakers came out flat as a pancake and paid for it.

    Hopefully the Lakers will realize the importance of the early portion of tonight’s game too. Playing well — meaning staying close, at minimum — early on is critical, as is setting the stage early for success in the fourth.

    The Lakers must set the tone early, going hard at Maybyner Hilario and others to try to set up foul problems, and conversely, L.A. needs to see Bynum avoid early fouls so he can stay on the floor in the first half as he did in Game 5.

    Best case scenario has the Lakers close at the start of the fourth. Given this team’s penchant for taking its foot off of the gas when ahead, I’m more comfortable when they’re not coming down the stretch with a double-digit lead. They seem to stay more focused when they’re not trying to hold on.

    Get the win tonight. I’d rather be wacthing baseball (or anything else) besides a Game 7 on Sunday.

  9. Nene is like Bynum or Odom for us. The X-factor 3rd option. Our offense opens up so much more when he’s not on the floor. Birdman is a liability to defend the post 1-1.

  10. 6., ha ha, the horrors of instant and irrevocable publication. Their the worst.

  11. I remember someone mentioning this on a previous thread (or was it an announcer?), but I thought it was a great point: the Lakers are so used to being longer and more athletic inside that they can usually get away with little tip-to-themselves defensive rebounds and then come away with it. Not so in this series. These Nuggets are nearly as long and athletic, and will take away a loose ball in the paint nearly every time.

    The Laker bigs need to realize that and go out and get a hold of that ball.

  12. Just curious, but did anyone see anything said by the league on the high hit Melo gave Kobe?

    That said and put behind us… Let me give Phil some advice about the gameplan.

    1) Go Bill Walsh Style! Script the first 10 plays on Offense (barring fast break opportunities)

    2) Use Fisher early, and only keep him in if his touch is there. Brown should be the first sub. Farmar should sub in the second corner and give the bench mob some energy.

    3) Focus on Bynum and Pau. Work on some cuts to create confusion. Interior passing. Cause foul trouble for the Denver bigs.

    4) Defensive effort. Get subs in when it flags.

    5) Play your best +/- line up for the last 9 minutes of the fourth.

    6) Put Sasha in, and have him double Kenyon Martin. Ask Sasha to chant “Mark Cuban. Mark Cuban. Mark Cuban.” in a high pitched voice while he does this. (Just dreaming there, but wouldn’t that work? *winks* )

    Enjoy the game all. We have a great team to cheer for, and that in and of itself is reason enough to do so!

  13. phineas,
    Lamar has made a total habit of one-handed rebound grabbing. I don’t remember the last time he grabbed a high rebound with both hands. He also uses Rodman’s trick of trying to tap it to himself. These habits mean he will lose a lot of rebounds in heavy traffic, but will get some he shouldn’t. We have to take the good with the bad.

  14. Kurt:

    Good looking out. “Remembering Kobe
    Bryant 1996” is a worthwhile read.


  15. Great piece by Austin Kent. I was always a “Shaq is what makes this team great” guy in the early part of this decade. But I always felt like he dissed Kobe, and that the haters were unfair. I think that’s why, like Austin, I feel like I’m “invested” in Kobe. I’ve rooted for him from the start. First, he was our hope for the future, then he became our standard bearer. Now he’s locked in a bitter fight for the legacy he’s always dreamed of. Ironic, then, that that legacy rests in the hands of Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, and the rest of the team.

    Basketball is a team game. Period.

  16. Fish/Sasha/Luke please note: The key to this game will be getting the ball to Pau and Bynum early and often – and not in taking contested shots from the perimeter. I know you guys are due a good game and you want to be the Robert Horry of this Laker team, but please just settle for passing and only take shots when you are wide open – but for the love of God, if you are wide open, please hit them. Regards, A Laker Fan.

  17. Also, I have to say that I’m more excited to see tonight’s game than I’ve been since 2001 (when I thought the Lakers might actually go 16-0 in the postseason).

    I’m not interested in predicting anything, assessing anything. I just want to watch the game. And hope.

  18. Coffee is For Closers May 29, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    I guess on the radio side tonight Stu Lance fills in for mychal thompson who’s attending his son’s graduation. I understand Beyonce approves (me too!).

    Can’t wait for gametime. Keep it close and watch the thuggets implode late (if Lakers can hold off that 1st half charge – yikes).

    Pau, do your work tonight, and don’t get discouraged if the whistles aren’t blowing, stay after it.

  19. 12 and 14:

    Two-handed rebounds have been getting poked too.

    Denver is crazy agressive after the initial touch off the boards. How many times this series have we seen Pau or Drew come up with the board high with two hands only to have it poked free as they bring it down to the chest or to pass? Smart, when you’re playing guys inches shorter than our bigs, but definitely obnoxious.

    In any event, we’re going to have to match Denver’s fierceness on the boards tonight.

  20. Let’s close it out on the road and get rested for the Finals. Tonight’s game should be close, but we have to rebound with authority, keep the TOs low, hit our FTs and take advantage of every opportunity to push the ball on them and not let them push it on us. Lakers win baby!!!

  21. The Post got me ready for today’s game and the links were great. I feel better about Fisher now, he is the calming force that we need. I just wish when he shoots that I would stop cringing like if it is Luke taking the shot. The Lakers do need to treat this game as a must win and be done with the Nuggets this year.

  22. the lakers can’t let denver off to a blowout start – denver is one team that really feeds off the crowd well – we don’t need to get birdpoop excited or jr smith

    i really hope the lakers play a hard fought focused game, if they even have a chance to win a championship they must prove that they can play equally as hard and win on the road, even if the got by denver in a game 7, they will not win against cleveland/magic by being a completely different team on the road

    also once again – we can’t win without hitting some 3’s and outside shots by the role players, pau and kobe can’t win it for us, if fisher, odom, ariza play well otherwise we don’t

  23. Stu Lance instead of Mykael Thompson? Hell yeah!

  24. does anyone know if kobe or lebron have been asked for their thoughts on the muppet commercials?

  25. I am cautiously optimistic about tonight. Yes we have demonstrated a patten of not putting out unless we REALLY had to. However, with the rediscovery of a post game and memories of the Houston series still fresh in the Laker’s collective conciousness I believe there is a good chance that Game 6 is the last with the Nuggets.

    Several have already pointed out the importance of Nene to Denver’s chances tonight and I agree. Similarly, how Bynum goes (effectiveness and managing his fouls) will be instrumental in how things end for us.

    And It would not surprise me if the final score is not close regardless of who the victor is.

    Lastly, one thing for certain is that tonight will be the last time this season that the Lakers and their fans will be subjected to that enormously annoying Nuggets announcer doing the pre-game introductions.


  26. Coffee is For Closers May 29, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Mychal Thompson is the Rex Hudler of basketball color commentary.

  27. Regarding the review and changing of flagrant foul calls after the game – in the German (and maybe even other European countries’) pro soccer league, this is also done. Officials will look at video evidence of unsportsmanlike acts like elbows to the head or deliberately trying to hurt someone and then hand out fines or ban players from playing in a fitting amount of games. Most of these acts, if missed during the game, are uncovered by TV reports about said games afterwards.

    I think the general idea to penalize unsportsmanlike conduct even if wasn’t fined as the game happened is generally a good idea. Otherwise it’s “if you don’t get caught, it’s OK”, which is not how sports should be played in my opinion. The question is whether there should be a defined set of standards regarding monetary fines and disqualifications or whether each instance should be ruled over seperately. But who gives the ruling then? Stern? A committee of league and Players Union officials?

    Regarding Sasha, ideally you get him the ball when he has just one option left, just like the shot to end the half in game 5. In the other instances, he could have either shot or attacked the basket (yeah right!) or passed the ball, where he doesn’t have the confidence to make the right decision right now. If you put him in a position to just execute the obvious play, I believe he could be more successful. Also, tell him to not help from the strong side whn he’s covering a good shooter like Smith setting up in the corner.

    Finally, I used the NBA 2K9 oracle on my PC to see how today’s game will go. 8 point halftime deficit, but plus 16 in the third behind a huge quarter by Lamar (9 points in the period) to take a solid lead, Kobe and Pau (4 blocks) help keep the Lakers ahead despite a strong game by Nene – 6 point win. All I can say is that the oracle has proven to be solid in some games, as I could have been heard cursing at Aaron Brooks a week and a half ago.

  28. There are times when he’s looked like Prince Hamlet or Greg Oden in these playoffs, but Drew seems to be responding to adversity in recent games much more positively, with regard to his body language.

    If the Lakers should lose tonight, I’d like to see some toughness anyway.

    And by toughness I mean not being discouraged and distracted by a big lead, refereeing, the crowd, and on-the-court-antics.

    And by toughness I mean standing up for a teammate if he gets roughed-up and confronting the instigator.

  29. 26 – you hit the nail on the head with the Denver announcer. He’s got to have permanent damage to his larynx.

  30. We don’t need anyone ‘coming to the aid of their teammate’. No one came to Kobe’s aid when he was low-bridged by Melo and we just stayed the course and beat them. If we react, we are just acting like the Nuggets. We have to be our own personality.

    Just because we fans don’t view the Laker attitudes/actions as macho, doesn’t mean what they do is not effective.

  31. If Lamar can muster it for just one more game, we’ll be fine.

  32. Wow, Kurt reads Nah Right. That’s awesome.

  33. I can’t think of a big game we’ve lost where LO has played great. If he is spirited, yelling, dunking, rebounding, I say the Lakers win handily.

    Let’s get off to a good start. I’m tired of the early 17-9, 12-5 type deficits.

  34. My wishlist for tonight, in no particular order:

    * Lamar in warrior-mode. Attack, roar, dunk, get in the paint and play aggressive.

    * Lots and lots and lots and lots of rebounds.

    * Kobe trust his team mates and facilitate. Create shots for them, give them the ball.

    * Perimeter shots that actually fall.

    * Consistent refs. Call it lose, call it tight, either way, just call it even.

    * Shannon Brown dunk over the Birdman. Twice.

    * Aggressive and confident play from Andrew Bynum. You dunked over Shaq and then got in his face when he swung an elbow at you… find that energy and spirit again. And then dunk over Birdman, and block shots from Carmelo Anthony.

    * Dinner! I’m stuck at work, I’m really hungry, and I can’t wait for the game!

  35. Jon Barry just said we haven’t won back to back games in a series since Utah. Didn’t we win Games 2 and 3 in the Houston series?

  36. Seriously, when did Darth Vader sign on with ESPN? I hope this wasn’t a multi-year deal.

  37. Coffee is For Closers May 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    34. I’m not sure I can live in a world where Jon Barry gets his facts wrong (smirk).

  38. Lebron really had a special game last night

  39. OK, I’ve got the FB&G T on for tonight’s game (good luck, right?), it has not been 100%, but we are still in the Playoff run.

  40. Here we go.

  41. Derek Fisher single-handedly killed the momentum we had to start the game. 5-0, got a stop and then a great steal by Ariza, we could have easily opened up a double digit lead while they were floundering. Bad decision driving (at this point I started shrieking) and then throwing it into the backcourt. Derek, there was no one in the backcourt. Then a nonsense PUJIT, ruining a great steal. Ah, well. Such is Life With Fish.

  42. j.d. (1): I meant specifics in what’s wrong with the officiating, actually, but I understand that I worded that pretty poorly. I do agree younger talent is needed.

    And Hollinger’s analysis of the officiating is SPOT ON. I know many folks here don’t like Hollinger, and I do think he places too much trust in his stats, but damn, that article was really good.

  43. Huge game from both teams.Hig level basketball.We are fully using the post again.
    Go Lakers go¡

  44. I can’t stand Fishers game on both ends right now. How is our most experienced player making such poor decisions?

  45. Snoopy, I hate to say it, but that was expected, right? No surprises tonight, we know what we are getting from Fisher, unfortunately.

  46. If Ariza plays like this the rest of the playoffs were NBA champs…

  47. Pau is the closest thing to a point guard I ve seen in the Lakers all year long.
    Keep up the good work¡

  48. Good 1st Q for the Lakers

  49. Has Sasha made two threes in a row the whole year?

  50. Very true sT. I try and try to not let it bother me, but I hate wasting possessions.

    Our offense is so beautiful when run through Pau. Viva La Triangle!

    This is why I’m partially afraid when Sasha makes a 3. He’ll think the Machine has returned and start chucking up awful shots. He needs to be smarter that that. Realize that the 2 big threes he made (this game and last) were set, patient shots in the corner. That’s his shot at this moment. Don’t force up ridiculous, contested, longer threes. Just play smart, damn it.

    It’ll be difficult to win with JR Smith on like this.

    They’re getting whatever they want in the paint. Seems like they score every time they go inside.

  51. Please, I need someone explaining me, why with a backcourt of Luke, Sasha and Farmar we stop playing through the post players…..

  52. Bynum could have thrown up his hands and had that rebound.

  53. We have a lot of guys on our teams whose game is a mess right now…Fisher, Luke, Sasha, Farmar, wow!!!

  54. Great a Fisher 3, it’s to early to count him out tonight, but I would like to see ShanWOW out there.

  55. It seems like Crawford is doing some cooking

  56. ARIZA!

  57. That’s the foul they need to get rid of in the NBA, Chauncey jumps right into Odom and it’s a foul….

  58. Great end of quarter.

  59. Check out the Laker percentages at halftime, 60% fg, 60% 3pt, 100% ft, just wonderful.

  60. @emh101
    PERFECT end of quarter, I would say.

  61. Felipe, can’t disagree with that. I hope the Lakers continue to play like that.

  62. Can you believe Luke is 4-4 so far and now he draws a charge, way to go Luke.

  63. Luke is playing solid and Pau is playing aggressively. I LOVE it. Keep it up Lakers.

  64. good end of quarter 3 too, i guess

  65. Great game. This game was almost perfect from the Lakers perspective.

  66. Los Angeles Lakers off to the Finals now.

  67. I’m so proud of the Lakers. They stepped up when it mattered.

    Trust me, HOU and DEN were tough foes that would have given CLE and ORL a lot of troubles. I don’t know if either team would have won against HOU (w/Yao) or DEN.

    I’m not saying that CLE or ORL would be easy opponents, but I’m saying that our team BATTLED HARD during this series. We need to give them props!

  68. Wow…the best game of the season for the Lakers….a PERFECT performance…well…almost perfect….WE ARE BACK IN THE FINALS!!!!!

  69. so proud of our guys. solid to great game from EVERYBODY. this is how you want to go to the finals!

    I’m going to relax and enjoy this one.

  70. I sense this is a good time to finish up the very last of my birthday scotch. Let’s celebrate!

    Also, a toast to the Nuggets for fighting hard, and fighting well, though occasionally dirty. You can’t have good games without a good opponent, and the conference finals are not supposed to be easy.

  71. Lakers found out how to get spacing against the Nuggets in the 4th quarter of game 5 and carryed it over to game 6.

  72. This, THIS, is the Lakers team that we all fell in love with.

    I cannot wait to see who we get for the Finals.

    Go Lakers!

  73. best performance ive seen from this team by a distance

  74. Well, that was a decent performance… 😛

  75. I love the attitude and emotion radiating during the trophy ceremony. Subdued, focused. Looking forward. This trophy clearly was not their goal. I like that.

  76. Congrats Lakers. Awesome win. Everyone is waking up at the perfect time. Can’t wait for the Finals.

  77. Great game, Lakers still have work to do.
    need 4 more just like tonight

  78. Just notice that the Lakers were perfect from the line. 24-24. Impressive improvement.

  79. This was perhaps as good a win as we possibly could have asked for. Superb effort, excellent execution.

    Finals #30, here we come.

  80. #78, magic,
    Impressive, yes, but look at who took them. Kobe. Pau. Sasha. Lamar made his four free throws as well. The first three are money at the free throw line in important games, and when Lamar steps up he takes a big step.

    But that’s okay, because we want Pau active in the paint, we want Kobe to handle the ball a lot, we want Sasha to get under people’s skin, and we want the Warrior Lamar, not the Sleepwalker Lamar.

    The free throw shooting improved for lots of reasons, I think, and I’m hopeful that the jinx on that part of our game might be gone now.

  81. not enough fellas…not enough. 4 more to go

  82. The Lakers can dominate just by having LO play well. It’s almost as if we don’t need Drew when LO gets going like that. Now, against ORL, I know that we’ll need Drew and his 6 PFs. I think Drew can give the Superman all he can handle if he decides to show up.

    I hope we get ORL and not CLE. If CLE comes back and beat ORL, they’ll have a lot of momentum on their side while our team will be very rusty having lost the sharpness they have gained in the last two games.

  83. This was definitely an almost perfect game for the purple and gold. So so happy right now.
    If we can play 4 more games like this one, I don’t think anyone can beat us.

  84. Yea, I rather have Orlando too. I want homecourt advantage. I dont like the 2-3-2 format for the road team.

  85. Wow, this is great:

    “(…) Bynum left the game at that point with his second foul, and the Lakers’ offense perked up with Lamar Odom out there … but the Lakers’ defense immediately fell off. The Nuggets finished the first quarter making 5 of 7 field-goal attempts and then started the second quarter making 4 of 6.

    That 9-for-13 shooting stretch (69.2 percent) gave Denver a 31-30 lead, and Phil Jackson called timeout and brought Bynum back to replace Gasol.

    Denver promptly missed 10 of its next 11 shots(…)”

  86. I would like HCA for the Finals, obviously, but it would be so sweet to beat the LeBrons for the whole enchilada! That would be so righteous, I’m getting antsy just thinking about it. At the same time, I don’t want to see Orlando choke away their series – that would just be kind of pathetic.

  87. I thought the lakers did a great job of controlling the pace of the game.. the slowed it down and had tremendous patience in their offensive execution.. every possession was probing and prodding.. look to make the right play at taking advantage of the nugget’s defensive strategy.. really takes me back to the 1st game of last year’s series against denver.. swing swing bang.. except instead of pau getting easy putbacks and hooks.. its open 3pters from ariza.. open shots at the rim by walton odom bynum..

    those baskets gave the role players tons of confidence while keeping the crowd out of the game.. that translated into little things.. extra passes.. made freethrows (25 for 25!).. and that is the laker’s greatest strength.. smart play.. ball and player movement.. even greater than our frontline.. or even kobe..

  88. jalen rose was the only guy on espn to pick us in 6, go figure.

  89. I rather take ORL even though they’re arguably a tougher matchup for us b/c 1) CLE will have ton of momentum and we’ll have to start on the road after a long layoff; 2) the fawning over Lebron bringing them back from 1-3 will be nauseating; 3) I think ORL deserves it and it’ll be a shame for them to blow it now.

    But if Lakers can keep playing last the last 2 games it won’t matter who they face.

  90. It’s been said before, but bears repeating:

    “LA Lakers, fast break makers, kings of the court, shake and bake all takers.”

    “Lakers are the team that I watch on the telly, ‘cuz they got more moves than a bowl full of jelly.”

    Go Forum Blue!

  91. 4 more wins to go Laker nation let’s enjoy this huge win and get ready for our coronation as 2008-2009 NBA champions!!!

  92. Anyone know where I can watch the full postgame conference videos?

  93. This game was the most beautiful game of basketball I have seen the Lakers play this season. The passing was so crisp, the cuts so clean, that it almost makes me cry that the game wasn’t in Staples. Seeing the crowd roaring with each majestic pass and each momentum-building score would’ve truly been a sight to behold.

    In the third quarter, when the Lakers slowly pulled away with an absolutely soul-crushing offensive flurry, the flow of the offense seemed so natural, so fluid that each basket seemed to come with such ease. Naturally, almost all of these scores came with Gasol being the focus of the offense, reading double teams then passing out, or scoring when single-covered.

    I was so impressed by our team’s resilience, able to respond to each of the inevitable Denver runs in the late 3rd and 4th quarters, each time responding with a timely score, block, or rebound. This was the type of win we were all looking for since Game 1 of the Houston series; where the Lakers were able to control the boards (38-27), control the paint (4 blocks, and a lot of altered shots by Bynum and Gasol), and make the Nuggets pay for over-playing Gasol and Bryant.

    The true joys of victory come only after suffering the pains of defeat.

  94. I want Cleveland, despite HCA.

    Orl killed us this year, largely b/c they are perfectly constructed to exploit our 3 defensive weaknesses:

    1. PG penetration
    2. athletic, physical center
    3. perim. shooting

    HCA is huge, but I think we match up so much better against Cleveland. Can you imagine what it will be like to watch Lewis have so many open looks when we blow the switch time and time again? And who’s going to play Howard once AB picks up 2 quick fouls? Mbenga?!