Lakers/Magic Game 1 Finals Chat

Kurt —  June 4, 2009

NBA: MAY 25 Western Conference Finals - Lakers at Nuggets - Game 4
Talking, planning, Xs and Os are done — now is the time players make plays.

But fans, remember to stop and just enjoy being a fan tonight. We want a specific ending, a destination, but as fans we need to enjoy the journey or the destination will feel hollow. Enjoy the game tonight. (If you need to watch online, follow this link.)

Dex said it so well at his blog, I’ll let him have the last word:

“It will not be the same to read about Kobe Bryant ten years from now, and it will not be the same to watch ten years from now his top ten dunks or passes or jump shots for the win. So savor this moment, Lakers fans; Dostoevsky, the poet of sin and suffering and redemption, is at the top of his game. It does not get better than this; it cannot get better than this. Some things transcend the debatable, and it is a privilege, win or lose, to love them before they are gone.”


Kurt

Posts

433 responses to Lakers/Magic Game 1 Finals Chat

  1. I used to think it was best to sweep to the finals, do you guys think its an advantage to battle there. I mean the Celtics had the advantage last year after going seven seven seven, and the lakers look so much better after horribly tough series.

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  2. Bynum\coached by kareem

    howard coached by Ewing.

    Advantage Lakers.

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  3. Speaking of Ewing… he probably thought he saw a ghost tonight. LOL. He’s seen this before. Many times.

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  4. When I get really winded, I do the teeth thing because it kinda helps me take more air in. At least it helps me psychologically when I’m running. Not sure if Kobe does this for the same reason, or if he wants it to be like MJ’s tongue thing.

    If we can play with the same intensity and purpose, I feel better about my 4-1 prediction.

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  5. I love a Kobe-centric offense as much as anyone, but I would have liked to see the ball going into Pau in the post every single time down the floor (a la Denver Game 6). It could very well have been the gameplan to run P&Rs all day, but Kobe’s usage rate tonight isn’t something that I think can or should be sustained over the series IMO.

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  6. Game two is everything, if the lakers take game two, worst case seven at home, as the lakers arent losing four in a row, but its about time they held home court.

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  7. Ah. Thanks all. I don’t live in LA, and even if I did, my radio presets would probably be exactly like PJ’s.

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  8. dwight howard is too nice I want to hate someone on the Magic, but so far im not there. Hopefully next game will get chippy.

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  9. But even so, if Orlando wins on Sunday then they had a successful trip to Los Angeles.

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  10. Savoring this moment, 2 finals in 2 years, I cannot but just stop and think the huge turnaround to this franchise that the arrival of Pau instead of Kwame has induced.

    We can sometimes malign Gasol for his limitations, but it is obvious that even though not scoring a lot many games, he just adds some smarts and quality to the team that elevates it to just the level we’re at right now.

    It’s just like the Bulls’ Pippen, the perfect complement to Kobe in solidifying the team. I don’t remotely think we would be living these wonderful times without him. Hope we enjoy this for much longer.

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  11. that candy from japan probably is laced with LSD.

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  12. Wiseolgoat, Phil said in the post-game that he thought there was too much Kobe in the 3rd, so I think we’ll see more Pau next time.

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  13. Great win, well executed throughout. Now, I find it unlikely that the Magic are going to be shooting 29% from the field again, that number is just going to improve. I’m not concerned about the 3 point shooting, they missed some open looks, but when you take as many threes as the Magic do, you’re going to hit some where you’re covered and miss some where you’re open. The key is going to be continue to be tough in the paint. If Howard get position, play tough D or foul him and make him take a couple free throws. Don’t let Hedo get easy looks inside. Don’t let Skip or Nelson blow by you. If the Lakers can do that, than I think they might be able to make this series look easy. If they don’t, it’s going to be more of a grind.

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  14. evergreen, the great thing about pao and lamar for that matter is they improved. I think Pau this year was as good as anyone at PF, if you account for Duncan being slowed down, and Garnetts injury who was really better at PF. And he can still get better, but the guy has handles, a great shot and can go with either hand, his knocks were on defense but this playoffs, in the houston series he may have lacked some effort but if this team can pull this championship off I think Pau and Kobe could have an amazing run, especially if they can keep Ariza, Odom and Bynum. They just gotta get this first one. The guy who has been the most surprising to me the last couple weeks has been Walton he has been a huge difference maker in ball handling, hustle rebounding and scoring.

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  15. Vick the brick is a freakin STONER

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  16. Thanks guys, yeah I don’t live in LA so don’t know much about Vic the Brick.

    Don’t know if anyone’s shared this yet, but Lil Wayne’s got an entire track dedicated to the Mamba, awesome listen even if (like me) you hate Wayne:

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  17. All, Kobe’s teeth thing, he can’t help it, you see it on the faces of the only other comparable artists, dancers and opera singers (I know how silly that last sounds, but it’s true) when they’re at height of powers. Actually you see it on the faces of horsemen too (not jockeys) and swordsmen. Probably others too but whatever. Bestial-sublime, the body and spirit in absolute sync in aggressive performance of hard-won and innate powers. No acting, no rehearsal, the lips bare, the mouth bites at nothing, the eyes look at everything and nothing. Kobe rare bird tonight, rare rare bird

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  18. Early thoughts on the game(given at the start of the 3rd qtr):
    The first half was a tentative one. It had the feel of the opening round of a championship boxing match. Both teams were just sizing each other up, trying to get a feel for each other. It’s good to see Bynum playing well, he just has to figure out how to play without fouling too much (As I wrote this I just witnessed Bynum pick up his fourth on what looked a double foul to me).I feel like the reason for his foul troubles is the knee brace: it’s slowing him down. He insists it is. This is important because players who are beat by the offensive player have to hope to rip the ball, block it, or poke it out from behind in order to bail themselves out. These types of plays more often than not result in fouls. If it’s possible to take this brace off, and I emphasis IF because I would not want to jeopardize his career, they should give it a chance. Also, Jameer Nelson is obviously not 100%. If you couldn’t tell by his weak dribble with his injured arm, or his stature (he is obviously hunched over). Furthermore, he is a shoot first point guard. Yes he averaged a little over 5 assists for the season, but most point guards in the league would average more assists than Nelson on a team constructed as the magic are. You can just lob it in to Dwight or kick it out to very efficient 3 point shooters. Either way, you can tell that he is not 100% because he is not actually shooting first. He is looking to be a distributor. Yes he had one made jump shot, but it was a flat footed unpressured short range jumper. Any NBA player injured or not could make that shot. The Jameer Nelson of old is still fresh in the Lakers minds however, and not only that, it seems like the Lakers will not allow Nelson to have any Willis Reed type moments. They are overplaying him, and rushing him, trying to force him out of a shot and because of this he is able to kick it out and get assists. Once the Lakers realize he isn’t right, they will stop overplaying, and Jameer will have to find his shot if he wants to remain effective. Also I feel like we need to attack Howard more. For a guy who challenges every shot at the basket, he has only 1 defensive foul. Phil needs to call a few plays in the first few minutes of the game where the sole aim is to get a foul on Dwight. The lakers are lucky he picked up two offensive fouls. Also I think the Lakers need to force the ball to Hedo. His greatest weakness (and his greatest strength) is his confidence. In his heart you have to realize this guy thinks he’s as good as Paul Pierce or Kobe. This can be good, because he isn’t afraid to shoot the ball, and he is decent at creating his own shot. Other times he switches himself into Ron Artest mode, where he dribbles around and takes a very difficult shot. It’s painful to watch when you have players as skilled as Rashard and Jameer, or a bull down low in Dwight. That’s all I got for now haha.
    Additionally:
    This may be irrelevant considering Fisher’s more efficient play as of late, but I was always confused by everyone ridiculing Jackson for playing Fisher despite his low production earlier in the play offs. It’s obvious why he uses Fisher and it goes beyond just Phil merely trusting Fisher. The triangle offense is an offense that can only be effective when the spacing is correct. Yes, Fisher was shooting poorly, but the images of Fisher hitting clutch threes are still fresh in the minds of most players. Even if he is cold, his man is still going to stick with him just strictly because of reputation. Actually all defenders would rather stay stuck to Fisher on the three point line then a slightly warm Farmar or Brown.

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  19. I tried the teeth-bared look in the mirror. I just look like I have hemorrhoids.

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  20. I bared my hemorrhoids in the mirror and they looked like teeth

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  21. I agree with a previous comment. Game 2 is really critical. Unless the Magic sweep us 3 games on their homcourt (unlikely and hardly ever happens in an NBA finals, and yes I remember the Pistons) they will have to win game 6 and 7 in LA. That is not happening. Game 2 is not a must win, but its still a really big game for us.

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  22. That is imagery I could have gone the rest of my life without reading. Almost Shakespearean levels of vividness.

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  23. Why Is everyone assuming the magic will shoot better Sunday? I think the Lakers can keep them at bay the next game

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  24. Because the Magic just shot 29%. Two-nine. We’ve seen what they’ve done all year long against top defenses. They have nowhere to go but up from here.

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  25. Maybe I’ll rescind what I said in regards to a Kobe-centric offense. Ding implies that was the strategy all along, exploiting the assumption that Howard wouldn’t show hard on the P&R. If that’s the case, then bravo Phil.

    http://lakers.freedomblogging.com/2009/06/04/game-1-lakers-100-magic-75/18219/#more-18219

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  26. One thing we have to appreciate – this team has always been flat after this much rest. Tonight? Not even close. I loved the energy, activity, and hunger of every single guy out there. Everyone played with a purpose. Finals experience does matter.

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  27. I know Kobe took thirty shots but it didnt seem like it, after the initial three for nine they were all good shots, plus eight assists. When Kobe is in ball hog mode he usually gets a lot of turnovers tonite i dont think he turned it over, I hope they double him next game cuz my favorite part of his game now is his “yo mama bitch” jump passes to a diving ariza or Lamar.

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  28. 1. Is this game by Kobe about the usage rate LeBron usually has in Cleveland’s offense? More? Less?

    2. I’m wondering how this big reliance on Nelson will affect Alston. Can’t be too exciting for him, plus I think he might try to force things the next time around. I’m all for it.

    3. Great close-outs on the 3-point shooters, also good job on team rebounding. Tipping the ball if necessary, but keeping everybody alert until it’s secured.

    4. Second the wish for winning game 2 under all circumstances. I don’t think Orlando can win 3 in a row at home, which would mean at least a 3-2 lead and two home games, or maybe even finishing it on their floor.

    4. The big man rotation in my opinion is close to perfect right now personnel-wise. As far as the production goes, Bynum has the most room to improve, but Gasol-Bynum-Odom-Ariza is amazing and low-level insurance policies in Powell and Mbenga at the end of the bench are really solid. A lot of different possible looks depending on the opponent and a very versatile skill-set. Just get out of some contracts (Morrison, Sasha?), sort out the PG position, try to keep the rest of the team intact please Mr. Buss and Mr. Kupchak.

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  29. Snoopy exactly, the Lakers can talent there way back in most games, but when they play with energy on the defensive end and on the boards they are so tough to beat. I really hope Bynum can get more minutes next game because if Bynum gets his confidence again he can start turning back into the player we thought he was becomin prior to those injurys. I felt Bynum’s energy in the first period was the difference to jump starting the Lakers tonite.

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  30. Kaifa i think its totaly different with Lebron as he hurts his team as they run no offense he just dribbles the ball out, its great when they are in transition but when he has the ball at the top of the key and dribbles to a jump shot or a last second pass its easy to defend and noone else gets a rythm. Also, good luck to Cleveland brining in players in their prime to play with him, the reason his teamates were so bad is its impossible to get a rythm. West played great the last two games on offense with the ball in his hands, if Lebron would post up and allow Williams and West to control the ball more it would create way better situations for his team. Bottom line is Brown getting coach of the year was as big a joke as howard getting defensive player of the year.

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  31. Actually, Orlando started playing defense like Boston did last year. They were overplaying the passing lanes and also were not allowing the entry pass into the post. They never let our triangle offense to get set. Their clogging the passing lanes led to so many turnovers in the first quarter. They were allowing the Lakers to play 1-on-1 basketball. Which is why Phil went to the pick and roll from the second quarter onwards. And Kobe nailed it taking shots and making passes as available. Also, as noted by several people here, individually Orlando’s defenders are not great, so Kobe and even Gasol were able to take full advantage of it. I admire Phil for not being adamant and realizing that the triangle was not working. He did not make this adjustment in last year’s finals. However, this offense is not going to win us the series. The other players will need to get involved. I am wating to see what adjustments SVG (and Phil) makes next game. I think from a defensive standpoint they would want the Lakers to play the way they did tonight.

    On another note, what a great performance by Kobe and Gasol tonight. Not a lot of people, especially in the media are praising Gasol, but the defensive job he did on Dwight was phenomenal. I do not believe our closing out on 3-point shooters was as good as it seems. The Magic just missed several very-open 3-pointers which would have gone in on another day.

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  32. In the first Drew did a FANTASTIC job of staying disciplined and staying on his man. Yes, he ended up with 2 fouls and on the bench, but for the bulk of his minutes, he let the cutters go by so that Howard had no easy looks. CRITICAL. Great effort by Drew.

    LO had another great game.

    Gasol seems to not shoot as well against the Magic. They seem to be able to keep him out of his comfort zone other than that 14-18 foot jumper.

    The Lakers went to the High P&R a LOT tonight when Kobe went incendiary hot. I agreed with Phil, you can’t let the entire offense turn in to 4 guys watching Kobe. That won’t work for multiple games. Kobe won’t be that hot and the Magic won’t stay that cold. I’m happy with the win, but I’d be happier if more of the offensive production had come from running the offense than Kobe’s ability to hit ridiculous shots.

    I know, there’s no pleasing me.

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