2 Mo’

Kurt —  June 7, 2009

LAKERS
The words written on the Lakers locker room white board:

2 Mo’

They are going about their business and saying all the right things. As a fan, I am smiling a little more now. Despite how close game two was, I feel more confident after that game than I did before it started, and not just because of the 2-0 series lead. Or because the Lakers won a game playing ugly. Or because a bunch of people in the media are writing tonight “hey, maybe that Pau Gasol guy isn’t soft.”

It’s because some fundamental things that make Orlando go have not worked for two games in a row, while other things are going our way:

• The Orlando pick and roll is not really working all that well for them. As was noted before the series, a lot of times Orlando runs that just to try and get the defense scrambling, leading to an open three. But the Lakers are keeping their shape, defending that well. Not scrambling. (The threes Orlando got was because the Lakers decided to double Howard more in the third, which didn’t work out.)

• In game two, Orlando had two fast break points. The Lakers have stifled their transition game. That will be much harder to do on the road, but they have done a good job so far.

• The Lakers made some poor shot choices and still won. To quote Darius: “I thought we were undisciplined in the way that we took too many long jumpers. Sure, those shots were open, but in game 1 those were shots that we passed on to look inside instead.”

• Fisher is playing pretty well again. Not great on defense, but there is no healthy Nelson to make him pay for that. Orlando guards were 6 of 26 on the night.

• Stan Van Gundy literally threw everything he could think of at the wall in game two — he went big, he went without a point guard for the last nine minutes of the game, he hired a Shaman to curse the Lakers (okay, maybe not that). And he is 0-2. There are adjustments that Orlando can continue to make, but you get the feeling that they don’t have a magic bullet here. They will not be swept as at least one game a few of those shots will fall and they will get some hometown calls.

But do you really think they can win four out of five from the Lakers?

Kurt

Posts

195 responses to 2 Mo’

  1. This team looks so focused. I expect game 3 to be tilted heavily in Orlando’s favor by the whistle-blowers, but we should come out strong. Orlando might take game 3 but their confidence has to be wavering greatly. We dodged a bullet, now let’s reload for the road.

  2. Good observations, Kurt. Orlando made adjustments as expected and those adjustments almost won them the game. However, there’s not much more that Orlando can do to surprise the Lakers, especially since the Lakers can now plan for the different looks. So unless Orlando’s shooters get hot, which I expect in game 3, the Lakers have the advantage.

  3. As Kurt has noted, this is a time to savor as fans.

    Even for a premier team like the Lakers, these kind of good times don’t come along all that often.

    Let’s hope the Lakers finish Orlando off quickly – it’s the only merciful thing to do.

  4. I was at the game tonight — while it was not the best home crowd I’ve witnessed, it really was a weird contest. As Kurt said in his previous post, the game was choppy and slow-paced between the whistle-happy refs, missed shots, and looooong timeouts. All those factors as well as everyone’s nervousness sucked the life out of the building for the majority of the game.

    Tonight’s game proved true the cliche that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than be good. Yes, the Lakers did some very good things — interior D on Dwight, limiting fast break points, Lamar’s amazing clean-up scores on offense — but we really were an easy Courtney Lee lay-up from going to Orlando tied 1-1. That was a magnificently drawn play by SVG, one about which I’m not sure I’d be quite so magnanimous if Lee had finished it.

    Most of all, it shows that winning and losing a championship really is a game of inches. Had the Lee shot gone in, it would have been devastating, and who knows if the Lakers would have had the fortitude to have recovered. Fortunately, it didn’t go in, so we can — at least for 48 hours — celebrate Lamar’s tenacity, Pau’s “toughness,” Kobe’s leadership and not have to talk about doomsday scenarios. Thank you, basketball gods!

  5. reporter aking Kobe, why you not smilin’ you up 2-0? he says “job not done , is it done” with a mean face.

  6. Damn my heart almost stop when Courney Lee went up there…. Good thing he is a rookie….

  7. I’ll take Game 2. At this point, we’re on the final stage. There’s no “we can’t count on [X botched play from other team] later” mentality; tough breaks are tough breaks at this juncture.

    That said, I thought that the excessive doubling on Howard and our love of long jumpers was our main problems throughout the night. We never established a good, long sequence of offensive rhythm because so many shots were long twos, with Kobe being especially egregious in this respect. Also, near the end of the fourth quarter, we reverted almost entirely to our 2006 Kobe-iso offense whenever Kobe touched the ball, which was painful to watch. It seems horribly cliche at this point, but Gasol really needs to touch the ball. Especially in Orlando, getting Howard (or any starting Orlando frontcourt player) is foul trouble is rather important.

  8. I thought visiting teams were relieved when Jaffe worked their game – and we won tonight anyway.

    This game was not in the same class as our last 2.5 games so the coaches will have plenty to say to the team.
    – Lamar reverted to his habit of leaving his man to help out and Lewis isn’t someone you can leave.
    – The refs were calling the game very close in the opening quarter and Andrew got caught in their net.
    – Trevor was criticized as having a bad game, because of his shooting, but I thought he was one of the really bright spots, because of his defense.

  9. Opps! sorry for the double post. I checked a couple of times and there was no acknowledgment as to my post, so I rewrote it – please delete this and the Anon above.

  10. I echo Kurt’s thoughts of feeling more confident. This game brought back memories of our hard fought road trips earlier in the season: we played tough in a close game and pulled out the win against a very worthy opponent.

    Also, as Kurt mentioned, SVG is pulling out all the stops with his adjustments, but he’s also using almost every motivational tactic possible with his rhetoric. Yes the Magic had a lot of turnovers. And yes the Magic didn’t execute on a couple of plays that could have gotten them the win. And yes none of the Magic’s role players stepped up in any meaningful way on offense. However, their big three played pretty damned well. Hedo/Lewis combined for 56pts, 17rebs, and 11assts while shooting 9-18 from three point territory. Howard got 17pts, 16rebs, and 4blks while also shooting 7-9 from the FT line. And then SVG says post game that he’s not sure how this game even got to overtime. That he wasn’t sure how they weren’t down big. Sorry Stan, but your best players just played excellent ball – which is exactly what you’d want in a Finals game. Attempting to spin this is fine, and I understand that he’s got to try to keep his team believing that they can win this series. But he better truly hope that his guys buy in, because if I was Lewis/Hedo/Dwight, I’d have a tough time believing that we had 4 wins against this team in the next 5 games.

  11. Poor Andrew Bynum, I feel for him riding the pine most of the game(s), but Lamar Odom came to play Playoff basketball tonight, again, he is making a habit of this…

    Hmmm, 2 out of 5 games to win, yeah, the Lakers can do it.

  12. The Magic will probably win game 3. However, the Lakers are playing good enough to get at least one game on the road. Though they will do that in game 4 or 5. I think after 2 poor shooting games from the Magic, they are due to just shoot the lights out. But boy, it be sweet if the Lakers could somehow get game 3 wouldnt it.

  13. The Dude Abides June 7, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    I’ve noticed that Lee is getting beaten up all over the internet for the missed catch and layup with 0.6 seconds left. He had to catch that shot at full speed and lay it on the backboard lightly, and do it over Pau. I would submit that if he had that same shot ten times, he would make it less than half. There was very little angle remaining on the backboard when he released the layup. Much more difficult than it looked.

  14. Andrew got some bad calls called on him. the refs dont like to give him the benefit of the doubt very much. once he establishes himself (probably not in these playoffs but later on next season etc) i think he will get some of those 50/50 calls

  15. I may be asking too much, but I think game 3 is pivotal. No reason to give them any hope, and we really have to finish them off before they find their shot.

    Since I’m being greedy, I want a 12~15 pt performance from Sasha, a nice alleyoop and a buzzer beating 3 from Farmar, a block with amazing lift from Shannon Brown, a between the legs pass from Walton and maybe even a bucket from morrison.

    Those things would make this finals complete for me.

  16. I’m curious: does anyone know if the Lakers and/or Magic flew out after the game? If so, that would put them in Orlando about 6:30 a.m., right? (estimating 11p takeoff, 4.5 hour flight, 3 hour time change).

    I believe the league insists teams have to be in the city > 24 hours before a game, so the alternative would be an early-ish departure tom’w morning (and presumably no practice).

  17. #14,

    I agree. The refs seems very willing to blow the whistle on Drew. What do you think, Kurt?

  18. 4., I attended game 2 as well, and I have to disagree with you thinking it wasn’t a good Lakers’ crowd. No doubt there was a lot of nervous tension as the game remained close throughout, and there isn’t an overall hatred for the Magic like there is with a greener team, but tonight’s crowd brought it when it mattered. Down the stretch in the 4th and definitely in OT, most all the crowd was on its feet, and stayed standing, reacting to every play. We almost all choked on our hearts at the buzzer of regulation, but instead got to join Gasol in the ferocious release on the and-1 in OT. It was DEFINITELY a great Laker crowd tonight, just living each play with the team as it happened.

  19. Peanut Butter Spread June 8, 2009 at 2:04 am

    Glad to hear that the crowd was into the game because from the TV, it seemed like they, like the team, were lethargic for most of the game. It was only until the remaining few minutes of the 4th quarter and in OT did they seem more alive to me.

    Championship teams get lucky. I think about the 2002 championship team. If Vladi hadn’t tipped the ball to Horry, would we have won the series? It’s the intangibles. Still, it’s too early to be categorizing the Lee miss-shot as “lucky” for the Lakers because they still got to win two more games.

    On the subject of refereeing, it was mostly shoddily called. The five fouls on Drew were ticky tack. That blatant goaltending from Howard (when his freaking hand went THROUGH the rim to “block” Pau’s shot) was blatantly overlooked by the refs. I felt like we were at an Orlando game.

    A win is a win, so I really shouldn’t be complaining about referees. Anyways, it’ll be an interesting Game 3.

    Orlando most likely probably will win it. But can the Lakers stay focused and steal Game 3? Or will they relax and allow Orlando to make it a blowout game ala Game 4 against the Nuggets? Or will it be a nail biter?

  20. With Lamar hitting quite well from mid- and long-range and Van Gundy going to his big line-up or playing Hedo at PG, I was thinking about this: couldn’t a really big line-up for us down the stretch be a useful surprise? With really big I mean Bynum-Gasol-Odom-Ariza-Kobe, foul trouble not factored in.

    Bynum to body up on Howard; Gasol to help crowd the inside; Odom, Ariza and Kobe staying up on the shooters and being able to switch between Hedo, Lewis, Lee, Redick and Pietrus, whoever is out there. Kobe and Lamar can handle the ball well enough to not need a Fisher, Farmar or Brown. Penetration by Orlando could be an issue, but Kobe has proven that he can check PGs solidly.

    Just like Van Gundy has experienced, it doesn’t make too much sense to throw out a line-up at this stage that is not familiar with playing together. But just as a thought exercise, I think this line-up would really work well – at least defensively – with how the match-ups are shaking out against Orlando.

    Also, via Truehoop, a link to a site that has a very interesting statistical look on all the playoff games. Plus I think it might be run by a Lakers fan.

    http://popcornmachine.net/

  21. Very lucky to escape with this one, but excellent points Kurt on the confidence building. To me the biggest one is Fisher coming to play – even though his individual decisions often bug me, his confidence and experience means that Kobe and Phil are prepared to work through it, and that’s all that matters. I called out Fish as hard as anyone earlier in the playoffs, but when we see the Magic situation it’s good to have him around.

    The refereeing was bad, but blown calls both directions from what I saw. Pietrus has more of a complaint than Drew in this game IMO. Drew gets fouls not because the refs don’t like him, but because he periodically does stupid things like reaching in throwing his body around, and generally not *looking* like he’s in control, which makes him easier to whistle. Howard is kind of the same, but he’s improved a lot this year.

    Definitely not looking good for the Magic right now – this was their chance.

  22. The NBA has left the city of Los Angeles for season 08/09.

    Yes, I said it.

    I believe the Orlando Magic will win their first ever NBA Finals game but it’ll be celebrated like Sam Perkins’ birthday in 1996… with the series already over. (Sorry Seattle fans… it’s not like you need any extra pain!)

    With the most mainstream statistic in the NBA hanging perilously over their heads, the Magic will be desperate not to go down 0-3 on Tuesday night. No team has ever recovered and of all the teams that we’ve seen in that hole, I don’t rate Orlando high enough to rebound back. One thing is for certain however…

    I now respect the Orlando Magic.

    Game 2 was a gutsy performance. After being embarrassed in Game 1, the Magic came out and made a real contest of it. Some would argue that the only reason Orlando were close was because of Rashard Lewis, and they may be right. But you can’t deny Dwight Howard’s passing was brilliant, Rafer played really well and Turkoglu hit some clutch shots.

    Personally, I would’ve gone to Turk to win it at the end of regulation. The play Orlando drew up was nice though. The screen Lewis layed on Kobe Bryant to get Lee open was beautiful to watch, even for a devout Kobe fan such as myself. And to think this game had two non-calls regarding basket interference. Weird.

    Surely Turkoglu or Lewis was the smartest option, especially on the road. I also think Orlando are missing Anthony Johnson’s toughness. Sounds crazy to suggest they need their 3rd string point guard I know, but 0-2 is the current situation here. Lose the next one and you might as well bring back Nick Anderson and Dennis Scott. Even Scott Skiles has been bored since April. I think back to Overtime when the Magic turned the ball over on a dish from JJ Redick! Rafer Alston was on the court at this time but I’m not sure a team wants Redick driving and dishing in OT… NBA Finals… Game 2! Put Johnson in the game in my humble opinion.

    Orlando had their chances, and came up short. Los Angeles also had their chances, and came up short… two less times than Orlando. The referee’s were VERY tough to read. It seemed Gasol was allowed to shove Howard as he jumped on quite a few rebound attempts and get away with it. It makes me wonder though, how hard would you need to shove that guy to move him? Is it possible D12 was “flopping” on rebounds??

    However I look at it, it was a gutsy performance. Two blowouts and it wouldn’t have been worth watching any more… except for the purple and gold fanatics!

    The way it stands though is simple. The best road team in the NBA this year is about to go to Orlando. A 3-0 lead is possible but not probable. A 3-1 lead and a chance to close it out in Orlando is the most obvious of scenarios. While the Lakers have played well to warrant that lead, the Magic will be flying back rueing missed opportunties.

    If the Orlando forget the smoke and mirrors on Tuesday night, this series is over.

    Orlando… Say goodbye to Hollywood…

  23. Kobe Bryant is very good, and his supporting cast is pretty good, but can you guys imagine what the Showtime Lakers would do to this team? You can negate strength differences because if those guys had played 20 years later they would have spent more time in the weight room. I’m thinking the series would go three games. I don’t think they’d bother playing the fourth one.

  24. Speaking of the Showtime Lakers, I’m reminded of Big Game James. James Worthy only had two moves because that’s all he needed. He had his spin move to the right that I swear happened so fast that his defender was often just turning his head as Worthy was past him and already on his first dribble, and if they overplayed that he spun left and shot a 13 footer that usually went in. And he ran the break well. Remember how he never threw it down, just sort of dropped it in on the dunk? I don’t think he played past about 33 because once his quickness left him, his game left him, but he was something to see in his prime.

  25. Good points on Fisher, Boris. I also called for his benching in the Houston series, just for that series, because he looked too slow defensively, but there’s just no substitute for a veteran point guard who knows how to win big games running your team. He’s smart enough, and confident enough, to know when to let Kobe or Lamar bring the ball up the court. Overtime last night just proved it. I want Derek Fisher on the floor when it’s winning time because he’s going to do something positive.

  26. As nice as it is to be up 2-0, let us all remember the immortal words of T-Mac, and take a deep breath.

    Focus.

    To this point, we have held serve. That is all.

    Two wins does not a Championship win. Four wins is what it takes.

    The Magic are very capable of winning 3 at home, and then we would all be very, very anxious for games 6 and 7.

    Let’s exhort the Lakers to continue to show focus and desire. Play hard, all 48 minutes! Or, 53 minutes as may sometimes be required.

    By the way: Loved Kobe’s quote…
    Q: “What were you thinking when Lee broke to the basket and went up?”
    Kobe: “S–t.”

    As to Bynum, I think that a few things factor in on the calls against him:
    1) He is still a young player, and not a star yet.
    2) He plays defense with his arms more than his legs, still.
    3) His body type, and his movements, can seem to be heavy, and a bit clumsy. Especially when he is defending with his arms.

    Given a bit more time, and hopefully a full season, I think he will continue to develop his footwork, and really become an elite defender. Once that happens, he will get more and more of those “50-50″ calls.

    Tuesday will be big. Let’s hope young Andrew bounces back for it.

    Go Lakers!

  27. The Dude,
    i agree – due to Pau’s defense, that would have been an exceptional shot had Lee made it.

  28. 24 – I have issues with Bynum’s defense and fouls when he goes down to the offensive end and exacerbates the problems. Bynum with the ball is like a black hole. He has a bad tendency to overcomplicate his moves or to attempt shots that are 3-4 feet away from where he should be. If he just focused on crashing the boards and getting easy points in the paint, he would’ve been more productive than what he demonstrated yesterday.

    Generally speaking about the game, I just didn’t like the Lakers’ disappearance of logic. Lamar, don’t help off Rashard Lewis. No matter what. Trevor, Turkoglu has one move – the stepback jumper. Don’t fall for his fake drives to the hole. Kobe, don’t go leaping past players when they have the ball on the perimeter…just get a hand up. This is simple stuff that’s hurt the Lakers all year, and when the margin for error is slim in Orlando, it can be the difference between winning and losing.

  29. Lil’ Pau, Lakers plane leaves at 9:30 Monday morning.

  30. The name of game 2 was veteran. For the Lakers, that meant Kobe, Lamar, Gasol, and, yes, Walton and Fish.

    Bynum had his foul problems, Ariza got flustered on offense, Farmar got out of control, Sasha remained confused.

    Fish reversed a breakaway by taking a charging foul from Pietris, hit his outside shots, and made some hard earned foul shots in the crunch. Kobe adapted when the Orlando defense shut his offense down. Gasol did what he had to do on defense, and made baskets/free throws when he had to on offense. Lamar was almost Kobesque at times, hitting outside jumpers and driving to the basket–and making foul shots.

    Of course, it was Turk and Lewis for Orlando.

    And you wonder why coaches prefer veterans?

  31. A note of caution…
    Only one day between games and we switch to Orlando.

    Our vets played a lot of minutes Sunday and will not get a lot of rest. Also, our bench probably will not play as well in Orlando – sans Lamar. That may mean a 6/7 man rotation (include Walton) with a very few minutes for Farmar, Shanwow, Sasha.

  32. Also, in a great wrapup post over at the LA Times, is a great photo of the goaltend by Howard on Gasol.

    http://lakersblog.latimes.com/lakersblog/2009/06/lakers-win-game-2-behind-lamar-odom-10196.html

  33. I would just like to clean up the defensive end. I think we’re playing very well in the first 10 seconds of most possessions, and we did a good job of neutralizing their PnR so they essentially had to restart a lot of offensive plays with :11 on the shot clock.

    From there though we either had mental lapses, didn’t close out, or sometimes closed out too hard. I remember one particular close-out in the bottom left where Luke got faked into a foul. We need to play smarter than that, and I think we will.

  34. You’d have to feel confident in that the Magic’s Big 3 got untracked in game 2, with a career game submitted by Lewis, yet they still couldn’t win. Of course, I guess you can argue that their backcourt will be playing much better at home, although I’m not so sure about Alston.

    I thought Ariza played outstanding D late in the 4th and in OT – harassing Turk 90 feet away from the basket and preventing him from running their sets easily. I’m not sure why SVG waited to long to get another PG in there when it became obvious that Turk was having some ballhandling difficulties against Ariza, but maybe we’ll see the re-emergence of Anthony Johnson. Or, we’ll be subjected to endless speculation about how he’s second-guessing his point guards in the Finals.

  35. Kurt – That non-call is the very reason why I don’t understand why many are up in arms about the suppossed non-call on Gasol for goaltending at the end of regulation. Even if that were the case, one blown call deserves another, right? Even though Fryer said it was a black & white no call, why is that getting all the blame? The Magic had other chances to win the game, but didn’t quite get there despite the much more expected performance than in game 1.

  36. well I got what I wanted, a game 2 played like it was a game 7.
    I felt it was that important, as we all discussed a few threads ago.
    now, we have to just get 1 game out of 3 on the road, and come back home up 3 to 2. (I predict we win the middle game, game 4)
    then we have two chances to get 1 Win at home for the ring.
    I predict we win it ALL in game 6.

    with regard to anyone complaining about Pau and his hitting the rim with his hand at the end of the game on Lee’s last second lay up…. if the Howard goal tend had been called, we would have been up 2 more points and the lay up would have been moot.
    cheers, it’s a good day to be a Laker fan!

  37. I have to give Phil major props here for being a calm leader with tremendous foresight. Despite Fisher struggling defensively and offensively in previous rounds, he never wavered from his public and private commitment to him as a key veteran contributor to our championship run. He may have played Farmar / WOW more, but always under the guise of limiting Fish’s minutes for the inevitable Finals run where he’d be out there for 35-40 minutes per game. Most importantly, however, his confidence in Fish’s game never wavered, and it’s being repaid now that he’s shooting the ball much better and making heady veteran plays.

    Contrast that to SVG’s treatment of his point guard platoon – by endlessly tinkering with his lineups and rotations (especially in the backcourt), one has to wonder whether he’s projecting a loss of confidence in his point guards that’s affecting their games. Alston has already sniped at him through the media, Nelson was a non-factor, and Anthony Johnson is nowhere to be found.

    Give me Phil as my coach any day of the week.

  38. Kurt- Great shot of the block er-goaltend by howard. The entire first quarter I kept saying to myself the Lakers should realy have more poits then they do. Like when they were up 10-6 at one point, I was like it’s realy 12-6 (I know a lot of you were doiing the same).
    It’s amazing to me that all I hear and read this morning about the game is this supposed goaltend by Pau on Lees layup. First off, it wasn’t even a freaking goaltend, it did nothing to change the trajectory of the shot, and the rule was explained by the NBA officials very clearly. Yet, guys like Sheridan on ESPN won’t let this go. It’s odd considering they are completely ignoring the non-call on Howard. Besides for that, is it just me or was that not even such an easy play to make. The pass went long and he had to catch it and reposition himself because he was almost behind the backboard. All this with .6 seconds left and Pau comming at you with extende arms. I don’t know, I just think a lot of guys would have missed in the same scenario, it just wasn’t this missed uncontested layup that everyone is making it out to be.

  39. I’m curious. Busy morning so I haven’t perused the Web much yet. Who is saying Gasol’s play was a goaltend.

  40. Kurt,
    When I was listening to Colin Cowherd this morning, Colin and (his guest) John Ireland were discussing how Doug Gottlieb was saying how the Lakers were lucky to be up as this series could easily be 1-1. Apparently Gottlieb was making a point about Lee’s missed floater AND a *missed* goaltend call on Lee’s missed game winner. Colin and Ireland went on to say that they would never make that call, and essentially dismissed it. I didn’t even realize this was an issue.

  41. Another big difference from gm1 that had an impact was that Bynum picked up a few (questionable) fouls early. This meant that we could not play Howard 1-on-1. He was doubled the entire game in one form or another in contrast to gm 1, where he was doubled in the 2nd half. Certainly, Pau has the ability to, but PJ probably didn’t want him to get into foul trouble since he is integral to our offense. Whenever you double Howard, there are going to be ball rotations to an open man, and someone’s going to be getting a good look at a three. Having to do that early in the game and throughout the game had a cascading effect on the confidence of Lewis and Turkoglu, who knew they were going to be getting open looks. Whereas in gm 1 we played Howard pretty well esp early, didn’t take quick shots to allow their transition game to take effect, and their shooters couldn’t get in rhythm throughout the game. Odom may have made a couple boneheaded plays, but it wasn’t all on him that Lewis got 12 3 pt shots.

    As I mentioned before gm2, there are only so many adjustments a coach can make. It came down to the personnel executing and making shots, as well as our counters to those adjustments. SVG’s hand was forced when Alston was simply awful and had to go with a 1-ballhandler lineup, which really stagnated their offense. In that sense, I agreed with him that it was almost surprising the game was so close toward the end.

    (Somewhat @ Darius)
    Speaking of crunchtime, my earlier comments about our team winning despite Kobe was more a compliment to the other Lakers stepping up rather than a knock on Kobe. I meant that he had some uncharacteristic poor decisions down the stretch that for a lesser player may have been very expected. He did good things. But what was unusual is he made a number of poor decisions including that 1 vs 3 at the end w/ Odom and Ariza both open, uncharacterisic TO’s, and slow rotations. He was defended well by Hedo down the stretch and he ended up forcing a couple shots w/ bailout foul calls which could have easily been non-calls, and I think the credit for drawing those fouls is not deserved. The fact that he didn’t play a near flawless crunchtime seemed unusual to me, since we are so used to seeing him be the catalyst on every play and not making any mistakes, which is a testament to his greatness. Even Kobe himself admitted he did not play up to his standards down the stretch, and the team and PJ felt that, especially on the last play w/ 9 seconds remaining.

  42. Chris Sheridan has a hole article about how it should have been a goaltend, and why the Magic aren’t making more of it.

  43. the only goaltend that happened in that game is when dwight put his hand through the rim to make an impossible block on gasol.

    am i the only one who thinks that the lakers show up in game 3 more focused than in game 1 and just suck the air out of the whole city? no way kobe thinks “ok we get one of 3 and we’re good”.

    i can almost smell it…

  44. #41. Don,
    Point taken. I agree 100% that the other players really stepped up. I also agree that Kobe wasn’t the all world/no mistake closer that we’ve all seen in the past. He was still pretty good though, and I think we agree on both of those points.

    One point I wanted to make about the final play of regulation: I thought Phil made a strange call to have the play start in the back court. Normally, I would like to have at least 12 seconds on the clock to initiate a play in the backcourt on a final play. I do see the other side of this as if the play did intiate in the front court that 9 seconds would have allowed a double team to come at Kobe and it’s likely that whatever play drawn up gets broken by that double team. But in the end, I don’t think Kobe had enough time, against an extended and set defense to get up a good shot in 9 seconds when the play started in the back court. Just my two cents.

  45. If the Magic really want to gripe about missed goaltending calls, then I’m sure we’re all game here.

  46. Speaking of Pau maybe not being soft… Wojnarowski has written another column that’s saying positive things about a player: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=A2KIPFNdPS1KKdYAfQC8vLYF?slug=aw-gasol060809&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

    lakerade and PBS:

    The crowd did seem a bit lethargic when watching them on TV, but an image can never capture the tension in the air. If they were lethargic though, I have to say I understand. The first half was incredibly boring to watch. Fourth quarter and over-time on the other hand… now that was great and exciting!

    Go Lakers! We need to more wins!

  47. Whops. I just misspelled my own name! :D That “Maimsy” person is me…

  48. Give credit where credit is due.

    The latest whipping boys have been playing smart basketball. Namely Walton and Farmar. In game 1 Walton took advantage of his height and definitely gave us a boost that we didn’t expect. In game 2 Farmar was playing loose and was able to hit open jumpers and take advantage of his speed. Farmar was able to do this because the Magic’s PGs are not making any of our PGs work too hard on defense. Combine this with no pressure on Farmar and you get the confident player we once knew.

    About that last second shot against Courtney Lee…Pau definitely put his hand inside the rim ever so slightly. Did he do it on purpose? If you remember back to the beginning of the game Dwight Howard did the same thing to him without the goal tending call. Gasol was screaming bloody murder on the play to no avail. Maybe him doing a slight variation of that play was his “comeuppings”.

    Gritty win, I’m just very impressed by Gasol, Odom, and Fisher. Let’s take it to Orlando.

  49. Um… I have tried twice to post a comment and it has vanished. Is this on my end, or are they just being deleted?

  50. Apparently, Kurt doesn’t like you today, Mimsy. I am sorry.

  51. 50. They were held by the system for moderation for a sec, but they are up now.

  52. Wait! He likes you after all!

  53. In looking for a way to deal with the number of comments getting held for moderation from long time commenters, I may make a switch to a system where the first time you comment it would have to be approved, but after that subsequent comments can get through. The problem is right now there are so many comments on posts that it would be hard to do, all I’d do all day long is approve comments. But I may look at that to start in the summer, when things slow down a little.

  54. j.d. Hastings June 8, 2009 at 9:59 am

    No what I love about the finals? There’s no more symbolism. No reading the tea leaves about what this game may predict about a future series or anything else. Its just get to 4 and have a happy summer. No matter how ugly it is.

    The Lakers got lucky, but I don’t care. We’re half way there. I put the odds of a win in game 3 pretty low with everything we know about this team, but a win pretty much puts this in the bag, and a loss will probably refocus them as it has all post-season.

  55. j.d. Hastings June 8, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Maybe people are talking about Gasol’s supposed goaltend because I’m seeing a lot of photos of Howards more egregious goaltend on Gasol.

    Had Lee’s shot been near anywhere that Pau’s hand could have interfered with it, it’d be worth calling. As it is, the commentors are just in the “Bargaining” stage of grieving.

  56. j.d. Hastings June 8, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Also, while I was critical of the crowd for 3 quarters last night, they did come alive for the 4th and OT.

  57. DJ Mbenga – dropping some cold hard truth:

    Howard called Lakers backup center D.J. Mbenga his “twin” on Saturday, noting how impressive the Congo native’s physique is.

    If anybody is qualified to judge whether Gasol is soft or not, it’s Mbenga after taking him on in practice every day for the last season and a half.

    “Pau will never be soft,” Mbenga said with wide eyes. “Who said that? People who say Pau is soft, they’re just wrong. They just see outside. They don’t see inside. Pau is not a soft guy. He’s a strong guy he just doesn’t always need to use it. Because when he uses it, you can see.”

    “I would say strong is here,” Mbenga said as he lifted his massive arm and pointed to his head with just one delicate finger. “When you use your brain, you’ll be stronger than anybody else.”

    http://www.nba.com/2009/news/features/dave_mcmenamin/06/08/lakers.sider.game2/index.html?rss=true

  58. If Phil would have treated Andrew more like a veteran and let him foul out of one or two games earlier in the season or playoffs he might be getting the benefit-of-the-doubt on borderline calls by officials during the later part of these playoffs.

    However, when you treat your third year player like a rookie, the referees will do the same. I hope next year that Phil (or whoever coaches the Lakers) doesn’t protect Andrew from fouling out during the regular season so that the refs develop some respect and tolerance for his defensive approach. Right now its clear that they still view him as a rookie.

  59. Kurt @39

    The suppossed goaltend at the end of regulation (with no mention of Howard’s on Gasol) was really lamented in the daily dime by Chris Sheridan (scroll down to 2):

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dime-090608

  60. Regarding the “goaltend”, if you look at the camera view from halfcourt (directly facing the backboard), you can see the angle of Lee’s shot is too “flat” and it had no chance of going in.

  61. Look people,
    There is a lot of Laker hate out there and we have commented about some of the ‘talking heads’ before on this blog. I don’t think what these people have to say is worth commenting on here – it is so predictable. No, the game wasn’t perfect, from either side or from the officials. That said, there was enough going on for both sides to just shut up and get on with game 3.

  62. We’ve seen plenty of off-setting techs… Well, now we have off-setting goal tending. That is, if you even want to call Pau’s play that way.

    Also, I think Pau recovered well on that play (last in regulation). It seemed to me that his quick close made Lee think about putting the shot higher off the glass…

  63. In regards to the no-call on the Lee layup, Chris Sheridan has some interesting points on that at ESPN’s Daily Dime today:

    “LOS ANGELES — If I am an Orlando Magic fan, I need two things: a new TV to replace the one I put my foot through after the Magic’s frustrating 101-96 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, and an explanation as to why goaltending wasn’t called when Pau Gasol touched the rim on Courtney Lee’s missed alley-oop layup at the end of regulation.

    We can’t help the folks in central Florida resolve that first problem, but we can give you the official answer on the second. NBA supervisor of officials Bernie Fryer told ESPN.com that if Gasol’s hand had shaken the basket, caused the stanchion to move or touched the rim while the ball was on the rim, the correct call would have been goaltending.

    But since none of those things happened, according to Fryer, “It was a cut-and-dried no-call.” “

  64. “If Phil would have treated Andrew more like a veteran and let him foul out of one or two games earlier in the season or playoffs he might be getting the benefit-of-the-doubt on borderline calls by officials during the later part of these playoffs.

    However, when you treat your third year player like a rookie…”

    + 1. I’m out of town for a week and the 1st thing I see is something I just said in a discussion this morning. It’s so close I have nothing else to add.

    Pie in the sky time – What are the chances of a sweep in this thing?

  65. Great coaching move by SVG to play Redick 27 minutes, including the entire OT.

    Sarcasm- I has it.

  66. As long as my comments weren’t eaten by the grues, that’s all I care about. Thanks for clearing that up Kurt! :)

    Side note: Normally when that happens I can see the comment and the words awaiting moderation at the bottom of it, but this time they weren’t visible that way either, that’s what confused me. Oh well. All is well.

    Side note No 2:

    khjohn, you may be on to something… but I think the negative effect of yanking Andrew as soon as he gets his second foul is that he never gets into a rhythm, and never has enough time to figure out how to play smoothly out there. Either way, it’s going to help him a lot when he can get longer minutes but that won’t happen right now. This is the NBA Finals. This is not the time for learning.

  67. j.d. Hastings June 8, 2009 at 11:21 am

    I think Sheridan addresses the issue properly. I don’t doubt Orlando fans, searching for somewhere to pin their bruised hopes, are upset that they weren’t gifted that call. But as Sheridan quotes, and I think Mike Breen quoted directly from the rulebook, it was a good no call.

    I haven’t seen too much ballyhoo from the usual suspects. No mention from Truehoop or Simmons yet, so I think most people keep it in perspective.

    A few other reasons to be confident going forward:

    -Even when the Magic have seemed dominant (like against Cleveland), they haven’t really been dominant, stealing some close games while giving others away. our 2-0 advantage means we can win the series while pulling out a lower % of those than them the rest of the way (and yes I realize last night is one of those that swung our way).

    -As well as I think Van Gundy has coached in xs and os, I don’t think he’s a great player manager. His guards’ confidence can’t have been helped by his rotation tinkering or his lamentation of their performance after the game. He also threw Howard under the bus last night saying he tried to be a hero late in the game. While I expect they will turn around some of their bad shooting, I’m hoping this ends up having an effect.

    -Yes the Magic can play a lot better than they did last night. But so can the Lakers.

  68. Coffee is For Closers June 8, 2009 at 11:31 am

    The complaint about the Gasol goaltend while disregarding the far more egregious goaltend by howard in the first quarter is typical laker hate myopia – see last year’s WCF v. spurs when the non-call on barry was assailed while failing to acknowledge they don’t even get that shot if they officials correctly re-start the shot clock on a laker rebound just before it.

    Anyway, I think Kobe really dodged being the goat last night for his end of regulation play. First, on the offensive end, I would have loved to see him pass it to Ariza or Fish who both had spotted up for wide open shots if he dishes. I had visions of jordon to paxon / kerr there, but no. And then getting caught on that back pick for the Lee shot, yikes. Obviously, he redeemed himself in OT with a great shot off turkaglu and a great assist to gasol.

    The last 2 minutes of the regulation, and the OT, everyone at my house was standing – it was just too suspenseful for us to watch that sitting. Very relieved they pulled it out.

  69. Obviously, the players cannot relax and become complacent with the 2-0 lead. The mantra should be — remember Dallas 2006, or San Antonio 2004.

    But, we are not players and what we think and say doesn’t affect them. So I’m comfortable saying that deep down I believe this series is over. I know it. We’ve fought the good fight and captured a little luck and I’m downright giddy.

  70. #70, Reed,

    If Kobe’s mindset has permeated the rest of the team, I don’t see that happening. “What’s there to be happy about? Job’s not done yet.” I like that attitude. Don’t take anything for granted. Fight every step of the way.

  71. Mimsy, I agree. I can’t remember the last time that I have seen Andrew play extended (uninterrupted) minutes in at a meaningful time during these games. Offense is all about getting into and maintaining a rhythm. I still believe that we will win this championship. But next year Bynum should be treated like a veteran from beginning of the season to the end.

  72. Coffee is For Closers June 8, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Usually younger players and bench players play better at home, so I’m expecting the lakers will have to contend with better performances from Lee, Pietrus, Alston, and Reddick in orlando which could make the magic that much more formidable.

    I’m not sure the lakers in game 3 will be able to match the desperation the magic will bring to that game, but like denver in game 6, that can work against you if things aren’t don’t go well early.

  73. Very happy with the win but do have one question though,Shot clock off, Turkoglu cleanly blocks Bryants shot (ball is clearly out of Bryants hand when the shot is blocked) the ball goes out of bounds. Doesn’t touch anyone else.
    Why isn’t it Lakers ball under the basket or maybe the side? It seems to me the call was missed there not goaltending on a missed layup. Just an observation.

  74. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I have been REALLY impressed by stan van gundy.

    Something that the announcers pointed out was the discipline of the magic players when they needed to foul intentionally. They didn’t foul Fisher right away, they waited for him to pass to Odom and then they fouled Odom. It cost them a second or two, but it put the Lakers worst free throw shooter at the line. Lamar ended up sinking the free throws but he’s a 59% shooter compared to Derek’s 85% rate. I was also impressed that he drew up the last second alley-oop play that went to Lee. His guy didn’t execute but SVG’s play worked to perfection. He placed a lot of trust in the passer and the finisher (who is a rookie) and was about two inches from looking like a complete genius. Since he can’t actually dunk the ball himself, he did everything in his power to put his players in a position to succeed. Lastly, I think the Magic made great adjustments between game 1 and game 2. Their defense was definitely more stingy and their help rotations in the paint helped close off the rim for Kobe and Pau, especially early on. He was also not afraid to try the big lineup with Hedo running the point which was highly successful. To me, those things indicate that SVG has been doing an excellent job and should be given a heap of praise. Of course, since we won, that is a lot easier to say.

  75. @Maes, I think the play you’re referring to actually ended up with the ball in Turkoglu’s possession and he called for a timeout with 0.6 remaining.

  76. I second the opinion of JD Hastings – I think SVG is a great Xs and Os coach but a bad player manager. Maybe Shaq’s “master of panic” quote is coloring my perception of him, but everytime I see him talking to his team in timeouts or in the locker room he’s pleading, whining, and whinging with no reaction and hardly any eye contact from his players. I can see how he might wear out his welcome with certain players and certain teams. Contrast that to Phil’s approach – every timeout the players are huddled around him as he spells out a few key issues in a calm voice. Everyone’s paying attention and appears fully engaged.

    That said, SVG’s teams are well-prepared. The out-of-bounds play was genius – to have the knowledge to run a first play, figure out that Kobe is paying attention to the shooters and to Dwight, then decide he would be susceptible to the backdoor…sheer genius. If you merged SVG and Phil, that’d be the perfect coach IMO.

  77. The Dude Abides June 8, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    74. If you’re referring to the block with one second left in regulation, Turk cleanly blocked the shot and controlled the ball, then immediately called timeout with the ball in his possession.

  78. I can’t wait to shut up all the Lakers haters and critics after the Lakers secure they 15th championship. All the criticism, all the haters, all the cynicism, won’t mean squat after we get this ring. I’ll see you true fans at the parade later on this month!!!

  79. by the way, how impressive has Courtney Lee been? Obviously he missed 2 opportunities to win the game, but how many rookies would ever start on a team playing in the NBA Finals? Much less someone drafted at #22 and went to Western Kentucky?

  80. Yeah, I rewatched it, you’re right, my memory was playing tricks on me I guess…

  81. OK, so now some SVG negatives.

    Starting Lee on Kobe. Kobe’s eyes lit up at the beginning of the 1st & 3rd qtrs. The offense immediately went to post ups for the SG. No Lee, no post ups for Kobe. It was downright silly.

    Hedo guarding Kobe. To Coffee’s point, that wasn’t a vintage Kobe game. There’s absolutely no way the Magic should be able to survive guarding KB24 late in games with Hedo and weak help. Kobe has to murder him. Hedo’s huge shot and subsequent block was huGE. Hedo bailed SVG out…kinda, since they still lost. And, I know Pietrus fouled out, but Kobe has to make them pay the price for that decision. If it happens again, I expect something more cutthroat.

    Jameer Nelson. What is he trying to accomplish with him? Speed kills. Fish has no answer for him. Alston & A. Johnson do nothing to put Fish in jeopardy. He played his game last night, because he was always in a comfort zone, except when Nelson was in there. If I was Ron Jeremy, I would not only start Nelson, I would play him until his unconditioned body collapsed.

  82. The Dude Abides June 8, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    If anyone saw the diagonal baseline angle of the replay of Lee’s last-second layup with 0.6 remaining, it was nearly an impossible shot. Both his head and body were past the backboard by the time he released the shot, and he had been going at full speed just to catch the pass. No way he could slow down enough and convert the shot from that angle with any kind of consistency.

  83. PeanutButterSpread June 8, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    The gripe against Pau’s alleged “goal tending” against Lee’s final shot in regulation is ridiculous.

    The biggest offense was Dwight’s blatant goal tending that was so BLATANT, his HAND was through the fricking hoop. But noooo the media doesn’t care about that.

    A picture speaks a thousand words:

    http://lakersblog.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c506253ef011570d4185b970b-800wi

  84. I’ll come to SVG’s defense here. Somewhat.

    He started Lee on Kobe because he doesn’t want to tweak his starters, and he has no other starters that are an option aside Hedo (and Kobe would just get him in foul trouble). He brings Petrius in earlier and earlier, but he starts with Lee. I, for one, thought the Hedo on Kobe move at the end was pretty smart. Hedo’s not quick enough, but he is long and strong and that will bother Kobe more than Lee. As for Nelson, I don’t have a good defense of how this has gone.

    But I think the bottom line is something I mentioned in the main post. SVG does not have a lot of good options, so he is trying everything. There is only one guy on his roster who is a moderately good matchup on Kobe, and fouls were an issue there. His team is not scoring and he is trying any lineup he can. He is gambling, taking big risks, but he has to. He has the inferior army, his only choice is to take the big risks — it worked for Lee for a long time in the Civil War, until the bigger stronger fighting force just wore his army down and overwhelmed it.

    Remember, why do you think Phil Jackson threw Chris Mihm out there in last year’s Finals, because he thought this was the perfect moment? No, he was desperate. SVG is getting there if not already fully there. The reality is dawning on him, but he is fighting the dying of the light.

  85. I’ll add though that while great at Xs and Os, I’m not sure he relates to and cultivates players the way Jackson does. Look at Ariza. But how many coaches really can do that?

  86. nomuskles – It’s not just you. I’ve been impressed with SVG since 2005. Every coach errs (see Phil Jackson in 2008) but SVG is elite, IMO.

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned yet – MAJOR props should be given to Brian Shaw. He’s the one who scouts the Magic and devised the greater part of the defensive gameplan. Throughout both games, one thing has stuck out to me: our players are extremely prepared. They know Dwight Howard’s tendencies, they understand the Magic offense, they understand how to exploit their system. Shaw has done a great job prepping this team and while the players have executed, he deserves a lot of credit for the gameplan.

  87. Coffee is For Closers June 8, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I’m wondering if anyone else is starting to get a little annoyed with Balki, i mean JVG, and mark jackson’s announcing? I’m usually the first one to say, “who cares what these guy say?”, but if i hear them question another call that doesn’t go orlando’s way, i may have to go to mute. Jebus.

  88. Adande says that the Lakers should hang this banner far away from their other ones because they are not a great team. What the hec?! Any team that wins a championship has to go through some adversity and deserves to have that accomplishment praised…even the lock-out Spurs & the Jordan played baseball so we won Rockets. You still have to go out there, play and win!

    Many of you have commented that reading stuff from the talking heads will make one crazy. Time for me to listen…

  89. 69 – Amen, amen and amen.

  90. I think you hit the nail on the head, Kurt. SVG has the inferior team (but not by much and with a healthy Jameer…) and the tougher matchup problems so he is playing to win (not just lose respecatbly) by tweaking his lineups. I also think that is why he went with Jameer in game 1. The other PGs could get them through the East, but against the Lakers, the one match up he really has to exploit is the Lakers PGs and only Jameer has the potential to do that.

    That said, I think Skip may have just played himself onto the bench with his shooting these past two games.

  91. 87 – Adande’s suffering from selective memory. The 2000 Lakers were just as frustrating as this year’s team, be it in nearly blowing Game 7 at home against the Blazers or getting blown out in Game 5 against Indiana when a win would have clinched the title.

    Yet that team stayed together, won two more titles and in history’s perspective is now seen as a great Lakers dynasty. I’ll tell you this – I was not thinking dynasty when the Lakers were down 15 or 16 to the Blazers that Sunday in Game 7 that season. I was thinking of kicking in my TV screen that day.

    Who’s to judge where the Kobe-Pau-Odom Lakers will compare to the past teams at this point? Let them win one banner first, and go from there before anyone starts to compare them to others.

    Someone earlier said this team would be manhandled by the Showtime Lakers. Perhaps, but here’s a news flash – so would most of the other recent NBA Champions. The Showtime Lakers were one of the best teams this league will ever see.

    If this current group closes out Orlando and wins again the next year, and maybe the year after that, then Adande will be pitching his next book deal on the great Lakers dynasty of 2009 on.

  92. Anyone else here surprised Kobe tried to shoot over Turkaglu instead of taking him to the rim? Shooting over Lee is one thing….

    If memory serves, Kobe didn’t shoot any FTs from the first couple minutes in the game to late in the 4th… and I can’t think of a single play where he arguably should have gotten to the line, but didn’t.

    Gotta attack in those situations!

  93. Call me crazy, but I don’t want to talk about next year. We are up 2-0, not 4-0, so as far as I’m concerned, the Championship has not been won yet.

    With regard to the “hater” comments, that will never change. I bet you $1million that if the Lakers take it, Simmons and others will say that it’s less deserving because Garnett was out for the Celtics.

  94. PeanutButterSpread June 8, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Jane –

    At this point, I could care less what Adande says or what any of the Lakers critics say anymore.

    I guess the Lakers barely scraping out a win over the Kings in 2002, means that they didn’t deserve to win the championship in 02? Really?! It’s simple, the best team always wins in the end. If the Lakers do win the championship, it’s because they were the best team. Not some asterisks and certainly not because they didn’t earn it.

    I think right now, the critics are having a hard time seeing the Lakers actually win a championship without Shaq. They can’t keep writing the same old tired stories like Kobe’s a ballhog, Kobe can’t do it without Shaq, Gasol’s soft, LO’s never going to be Kobe’s Pippin, Phil’s going senile, yadayadayada. I mean, they have been writing the same old tired storylines for five years now.

    I guess they’re writing skills just aren’t good enough to come up with a new storyline. Pathetic. They’re just not comfortable writing about an unconventional team like the Lakers winning the trophy.

    I mean when you think about it, this current construction of the Lakers, is a cerebral team. It’s not the brute force team of the 2000-2002 dynasty and it’s not the crazy defensive minded teams the Spurs represented.

    It’s construct is of players from Europe, cerebral, finesse, all about outsmarting their opponents with their passing, angles and cutting. It’s a very different makeup from the previous championship teams. I guess the critics just don’t like getting outsmarted.

    Imagine if Drew hadn’t gotten injured last year or this year – this Lakers team would be even MORE scarier. The thing is, we’re still not at our full potential. We saw a glimpse of it during that four game stretch when Drew beasted out.

  95. Coffee is For Closers June 8, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Chris, I think bill simmons and jerry west were talking about that on a recent podcast, how you couldn’t possibly build teams like the lakers – celtics 80’s teams as it would be virtually impossible with the salary cap. Even if you could amass that kind of talent in a season, you couldn’t keep it together. Also, because of expansion, the talent pool as been diluted, further spreading out the best players.

  96. I would agree with Kurt on both of his points on SVG. I think he’s very good at putting his players in positions to succeed via X’s and O’s, but I do think his style can grate on players. He’s a yeller/nit picking type of coach that even when giving compliments is consistently pointing out areas of improvement. And while getting the most out of a team is the coaches primary job, sometimes there are better ways to accomplish this. That he’s reached the Finals is a testament to his work with this group, but the great ones make it to this point in the season consistently and we’ll see if SVG is that type of coach or not.

    I’ll also add that it’s difficult to do the type of work with players that Phil or Pop or Riles did, but that’s why those guys are the best. You must ask for more and inspire players to deliver. You must draw up the plays but also instill the confidence in the players to execute. When I look at coaches like Larry Brown or Don Nelson (who are considered great in their own right(s)), it’s no coincidence to me that they haven’t been more successful than the high levels that they have reached. Those coaches can wear out their welcome with players as they are the types to always ask for more, talk down about guys to the press, while also not quite relating to the players in a manner that builds for long term success. This is something that I think we may be seeing with Byron Scott as well, btw.

  97. 85 – Dead on. What I’m not getting is why SVG seems to be panicking. You’re battle tested, just play your game. Does Lakers Nation believe we’re really that much better than Orlando? Does SVG? IMO, if Orlando has homecourt in this series, they’re probably on the offensive first and the complexion is totally different. See 2008 Finals. Anyway, I hope he continues to fluctuate so we can get this thing over early.

    About Adande, selective memory is right. This a good team, almost certainly champion level, that is learning on the fly. They’ve earned everything they got. To my surprise, we got no easy opponents. Who could have a problem with winning a championship like this?

  98. Coffee is For Closers June 8, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    By the way, loved how PJ pressed when orlando went SVG pulled his guards and had turkaglu bring the ball up. Orlando wasn’t even starting their offense until there was about 12 secs left on the clock. That my friends, makes it much easier to get those half court stops.

  99. I didn’t want to find this funny, but I did:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al5V9REf-Zg

  100. Adande’s article is absurd. He claims the Lakers aren’t playing their best basketball in the Finals after 2 games, one of which had them playing some of their best basketball en route to a 25 point blowout victory over the Magic.

    So they have an off game, pull off a gutsy win, and their championship (should they win it) is tarnished?

    This is a journalist looking for something to write about and hopefully generate some hits for the ESPN website as Laker fans go to protest.

  101. People have had their minds made up about how what they expect from the Lakers. It is quite similar to how people made their minds up about LO before he came into the league. Both this Laker team and LO are great in their own right, its just that the expectation levels for both were higher than they should have been and people then get all hot and bothered enough to criticize the team while it is 2 games from winning it all. Can’t satisfy everyone.

  102. #94, Simmons did it today in his “retro” look, where he calculated a pro-Magic screwed calls score card. He may have reached his anti-Lakers low with this column, but this is the sentence that caught my eye: “Could I be a more bitter Celtics fan who can’t stop thinking about how a healthy Celtics team should have gone back to back? No. I couldn’t.”
    Because if KG hadn’t been hurt, they would have EASILY beaten Orlando, then Cleveland, then L.A. Sure.

  103. News Flash: Bill Simmons with another Laker hating article. It’s time for this guy to let it go. Boston’s gone. Although he didn’t cry about the goaltending, he implied that the officails were biased last night and I totally disagree. This has been an evenly officiated finals so far to me.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/090608&sportCat=nba

  104. Haha Kurt – that was hilarious:D

    On the talk about this team not being all that:

    1. Of course you can’t assemble all-star teams like you used to when the league was like five teams and had no cap.

    2. That being said; I always find it silly when people try to compare talent from years ago with current one, regardless of the sport. In soccer for instance, if you put in Messi in a game in the 1950s he would run laps around those defenders, any day of the week. And the same is true for basketball in my opinion. People always overestimate the level of the talent from their youth. I’m a great believer in the fact that the game keeps evolving, and the players along with it.

  105. A lot of the nonsense we are bombarded with in the media, for example regarding the Lakers not being a “deserving” champion (uh, whatever that means) is a symptom of the 24/7 internet culture that demands a huge amount of “content”, whether or not it has merit, relevance, or even makes the least amount of sense.

    However, the flip side of that is the internet brings us good stuff like this superb blog.

  106. 103 – This is a good example of a topic that’s much more relevant than whether the Lakers are or will be worthy champs.

    Especially to our very own young ‘Drew!

  107. PeanutButterSpread June 8, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Andreas R –

    lol Drew’s also dating Vanessa Hudgens. That’s why Zac Efron keeps bringing her to the games. *wink wink*

    but in all seriousness, I doubt there’s any validity to who Drew’s dating and who he’s not. At this point, when the stakes are so high, if Rhianna is all he’s worried about then Kobe would probably ask DJ Mbenga to judo chop her.

    the rumors are on par with the ones saying Luke was dating Britney when she attended a Lakers game back in like 06 or 07.

  108. Championship teams make their own luck… Hedo was monster in crunch time. And Lewis was crazy good in the 2nd–mark not in crunch time. But between our three peat players and last years final men, we brought it when it mattered.

    Kobe gets slammed. But he’s injected Pau w/ that crazy NBA championship (i.e. Laker elite) tude… Pau came to us as a tall but lightweight (high center of gravity) specialty Euro scorer/rebounder. Now Pau battles as a mismatched low post center banging, rebounding, hooking, elbowing all through heart , already adding to his crazy scoring moves and shots …transpose Kobe’s eyes and Pau’s…You can feel the synergy…Dr. Kobe is creating a monster clone w/ Gasol…and the foundation of a new dynasty..

    It’s easy when we’re winning, but I want those mean spirited posters who commented on Pau and Lamaar when we were down to step up…tell us what you think now…

    This is a very far from perfect championship team (compare our lineups w/ the Magic teams, the 3 peat teams, or even the old school Wilt/Logo teams), but we’re bringing it…Hmmmm, I’m waiting for our folks to complain now–I know they will ;-)…

    Go Lakers!!!

  109. PeanutButterSpread June 8, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Oh yeah and even though the series is only 2-0 and the Lakers haven’t won the thing yet, saying they don’t deserve to win the whole thing if they do win, is like saying the celtics didn’t deserve to win last year just cuz they got stretched into a 7 game series with the Hawks.

    I mean, really?! Why the double standard?

  110. Jane, PBS, Chris, and everyone else frustrated at the “experts” saying that going into OT means we don’t deserve a championship: There is an obvious answer to such an inane statement and anyone who has ever actually competed seriously at anything, instinctively knows it. We may not all be able to articulate it, but we know, and fortunately, Derek Fisher has spelled it out and said it for all of us:

    Being the best is not supposed to be easy. These are the type of games that make it memorable.

  111. 112 Karlum, LOL. Gee that video makes me think of Phil a little differently. He was a little mushy in that video :)

  112. People,

    Why do we care what Bill Simmons thinks? So what, he can mold the minds of non-athletic 15 year olds and frat boys. So what? He’s funny to read sometimes, but he shouldn’t be taken seriously. He’s a front-running bitter Celtic bandwagon fanatic entertainer (Did you notice how he found his Boston Bruins fandom again once they locked up #1 seed in the Playoffs). Debating his thoughts gives him more credit then he’s worth.

  113. Love how Bill Simmons is ready to discuss problems with NBA officials 1 year after his Celtics benefited from one of the most disgustingly officiated games in NBA history (game 2).

    Really Simmons? Too bad you don’t have a healthy Garnett? Oh well, too bad last year we didn’t have a healthy Bynum or Ariza.

    Simmons will do absolutely everything he can to diminish Kobe. This includes hyping up other Lakers (Odom is MVP of the game) criticize Kobe (why didn’t he pass to Odom Fish or Ariza? Oh I don’t know Bill, maybe cause he just beat his man of the dribble and went for the 10 footer instead of passing to two mediocre 3 point shooters and a guy who has fallen off a cliff of late?) and dismissing the importance of the finals.

    As a basketball fan you should simply stop reading the guy’s 30 pages diatribes. That is, until someone registers firebillsimmons.com. (But please, if you’re going to do it, don’t screw it up.)

  114. Wise Wondahbap, I both agree and disagree. Fundamentally, we don’t care about Simmons. He could spew libelous nonsense against LA for eternity and it wouldn’t matter. His warped perception of the facts doesn’t change the way things really are. So, as you note, no need to take him seriously.

    But, as fans, we do nevertheless care what he says on another level. Fans live to argue with fans of opposing teams. From the time I was old enough to seriously follow basketball I have debated the merits of my team with Celtics, Suns, Blazers, Jazz, Sonics, Kings, etc. fans. I’ve said ridiculous things. I’ve boasted and torn down when clearly against reality. But that’s okay. It’s all illogical and silly and juvenile, but it enriches the experience.

    Simmons is a fan. His job is to tout his team and rip apart ours, even blindly. I’m comfortable with that. He’s good at what he does. And I’m comfortable with exposing his bias, even at the expense of revealing mine. It’s all part of the enjoyment of caring too much about sports — and following such a polarizing, powerful team/superstar.

  115. re: BS nattering not mattering

    but, we find it to be intolerable that he makes his (anti-Laker) points so efficaciously.

  116. I’ve said this about Simmons before: I don’t mind that he’s rabidly biased. I mind that he tries so hard to pretend that he’s not.

  117. Mimsy,

    He doesn’t really pretend to be without bias. In the article he even states that he is a “professional Laker hater.” I think that spells out his bias pretty clearly.

  118. PeanutButterSpread – Wise words, Thanks.

    Mimsy – BS (I love the fact that’s the acronym for his name…LOL) did actually make reference to himself as a Laker hater in today’s “retro-diary”, for which I am grateful. “You know Gasol is great when even a professional Laker hater like myself admits that, yes, Pau Gasol is great.”

  119. The issue is not Simmons – it is ESPN featuring Simmons. All basketball season there is a steady stream of anti -Laker and anti-Kobe from Simmons. On a fans site- great. That this is the premier sports network is a little wearying, at least for Lakers’ fans.

    Of course, Simmons and ESPN are delighted that Lakers fans are upset – they are just selling advertising…and we are helping.

  120. “I mind that he tries so hard to pretend that he’s not.”

    yeah, you do keep saying this.. and it makes me think you don’t really read him that closely. to wit:

    “Could I be a more bitter Celtics fan..”

    “even a professional Laker hater like myself admits..”

  121. Have we all forgotten that it’s metaphysically impossible for someone from Boston to think rationally? Trust me, it’s not just Boston sports fans, it’s all people from Boston. I like reading Bill Simmons because his writing style is funny, but getting upset at his bias/attempts to cover up his bias is like getting mad at an Alzheimer’s patient for forgetting your name; he can’t help but do it. And I think Adande is more of an entertainer than a journalist.

    Back to the game at hand, I really didn’t like our play at the end of the 4th quarter. Kobe was holding on the the ball way too long, letting time flow off the clock with his series of jab steps, pump fakes, and shoulder twists to try and get Hedo to bite (which he never did), only to leave himself 4 seconds on the shot clock and heave up a contested 2. Our play in overtime was much better, except for one ill-advised KobeIso on the first possession.

    To all those who wanted to trade Lamar Odom, those who wanted to bury Fisher on the bench, we lose this game without those two. As long as one of Bynum or Odom has a good game, we are very difficult to beat, and Odom has really been that third scorer beside Kobe and Pau.

    On Fisher, yes his shot has improved a lot, but what’s much, much more important is his help defense. Dwight Howard had 7 turnover’s in Game 2; at least 4 of them were due to Derek Fisher hedging down and swiping it as Howard dribbled.

    I’m thinking the rest of this series goes like a tennis match; Orlando holds serve in game 3, gets broken in game 4, holds in game 5, then LA serves out at home for the championship.

  122. The thing that irritates me about Simmons is that he always tries to appear objective by drawing analogies with the past but what he unfailingly does is draw analogies of a player’s best (Jordan or Lebron) against Kobe’s worst. Seriously you can compare the best game of Nate Robinson against Jordan’s worst game and of course Nate Robinson will come out on top.

    Like when he compared how Kobe didn’t pass and missed the last shot of regulation to a Jordan-Paxson moment. Seriously? I’ve seen plenty of successful kickouts from Kobe to Fisher and equally many moments in Jordan’s career where he forced a shot against 3 defenders and failed. How is looking at one failed play of a player against one successful play by another player an objective or statistically significant comparison?

    Like someone mentioned above. The thing that irritates many Lakers fans about the likes of Simmons and Abbott is not that they are biased. They are fans too, we understand that. But the fact that they try so hard to “appear objective” is what annoys many.

  123. Whoa there. I was referring to Simmons in general and more specifically when he writes “objective analysis”, not when he writes opinion pieces.

    The whole idea with an op-ed is bias, presented in as entertaining a way as possible, and Simmons as an op-ed writer is a great and entertaining thing to read, and that’s what he’s really good at. He was meant to be a blogger, not a journalist.

    Simmons as a serious analyst on the other hand just becomes weird because he’s not only unable to shed the bias in his writing when he needs to, but he is also unable to see or at least admit that he is unable to shed it. Which makes his “objective analysis” of anything basketball unreliable and not that objective.

    As for reading this particular Simmons piece? No, I haven’t. I am in a good mood today and bragging about my team to every basketball I know. Why would I want to ruin my day by reading professional Laker hatred from a bitter Celtics fan? ;)

  124. PeanutButterSpread June 8, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    My opinion when it comes to professional sports sites like ESPN and what not is that the writers have at least some obligatory duty to write articles that are based on fact and not just opinion. Sure they can have an opinion section where they spew out their personal fan biases, but writers like Adande that are writing an article (key word being article here) shouldn’t write stuff as subjective as “when the lakers win the championship, they won’t deserve to win the championship because of game 2 they let the game into OT.”

    I mean. Come on. What made him the qualifier of who deserves and doesn’t deserve a championship? The best team wins. Period.

    God forbid they have to come up with new material once the Lakers prove they aren’t soft and can win one without Shaq and that Kobe is actually a good leader.

    To write stuff like that trying to justify or invalidate this team’s accomplishments is just unnecessary.

    The Lakers did blow out the Nuggets and the Magic in back to back games. What else do they want?! Even the Celtics last year didn’t do that until Game 6.

    And if I read one more article on how everyone hates Kobe, I’m going to lose my faith in the humanity.

    Where’s the fresh material? The quirky stories? The great pieces of writing? I feel like all the writers these days are just going for gimmicky angles and they’re always at the expense of Laker players.

    If the Lakers can close this series out, I’ll take quiet satisfaction in knowing that the Lakers earned it.

    We had to go through another Drew scare. See players come and go (Chris, Vladi). Kobe lost another finger. He’s playing with two functioning fingers and a thumb in his shooting hand. LO’s back is hurting. Had players struggle (Fish, Jordie, Drew) and we still made it to the Finals.

    Also, if they’re going to have a writer like BS who blatantly hates on one team, they should have another writers that support the other team, it’s only fair. There needs to be a a balance, it should never be one-sided because they are a PROFESSIONAL sports reporting entity.

  125. RE: 127 Wow – PBS just made the most well-reasoned argument for why ESPN bothers us so much.

    I always thought I was being oversensitive, but PBS is right, practically EVERY STORY has an anti-Laker slant to it.

    By the way, this is what it feels like to be a Yankee Fan. Every baseball story has an anti-Yankee slant to it, too.

    So, to PBS’ point, if it’s supposed to be an objective, sports-reporting entity, why aren’t there any stories written with a pro-Yankee or pro-Laker slant?

    Why does every AP Article written after a Laker victory laughably dimish the victory?

    I was supprised the headline after last night wasn’t “Orlando plays horribly, but the Lakers still just barely win because they’re a bunch of soft losers, and by the way, Kobe sucks.”

  126. Coffee is For Closers June 8, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    I read simmons today, I swear I think he’s laker fan baiting TBH. He’s a blogger at heart, and he can’t help but trolling his arch nemisis. It all gave me a chuckle. Its killing him that the outcome is appearing inevitable.

    Just win baby, and all the haters will have to stew in their juices.

  127. Simmons really seems to have lost it, and each Laker-related post is more bitter than the last. Clear symptoms of derangement: Laker fans are distraught over Bynum’s contract; with Garnett the Celtics would have waltzed to the title this year; and of course, on the anniversary of the Celtics’ 38-10 free throw disparity, the refs handed the Lakers game 2. Seeing Simmons go insane over the Lakers’ rise makes me smile.

  128. PBS,

    That was beautifully said. Have a cookie. And by that I mean, “here’s a positive article on the Lakers and on that supposedly-soft Spanish guy”. :)

  129. PeanutButterSpread June 8, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Mimsy and Burgundy,

    Thanks. I’m holding that cookie out for Kobe. It can join his three other cookies. Albeit it will be a little stale, but it’s long overdue.

    I used to be on my school’s newspaper team and it bothers the heck out of me when an article isn’t objective when it proposes itself as being objective.

    I’ve learned that with every two negative Laker articles there is at least one positive Laker article. I try to ignore the negative ones, but sometimes, even positive Laker articles, like Burgundy said, will have a little dig at the expense of Kobe or some other Laker. Usually Kobe.

    For some reason, sportswriters just can’t hide their disdain for Kobe. Maybe they weren’t hugged enough. I don’t know. Because when you see the practice interviews and the post-game interviews, Kobe is nothing but cordial to them.

    A great highlight to me of Kobe’s character is when Wilbon, who was the biggest critic during the Kobe-Shaq drama and he blamed Kobe for the fallout, had a heart attack last year, and guess who sent flowers to him? That’s right. Kobe. Wilbon himself even admitted being surprised:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/31/AR2008013103759.html

    So what does this all mean? It just means the media enjoys playing out the whole Kobe is a villain angle because it worked for five years. Now, they’re sensing and realizing that that angle is about to end. They can’t handle it. So they’re milking it.

    As Laker fans, we just have to take it with a grain of salt. Or … somehow infiltrate ESPN and write our own articles.

  130. PBS,

    It would bother me less if I these people’s work would have gotten a passing grade in my journalism classes… but they editorialize too much in their articles for that. ;)

    Bah. Back to enjoying the win in Game 2. We need to more wins! Free up Kobe, stop doubling off the best 3-point shooters, and keep Andrew out of foul trouble.

    And give the ball to Pau.

  131. I kind of hate to jump on the anti-Simmons bandwagon here, but another thing that really bugged me about that article today: his citation of the 82games.com study without any kind of context, or even a link to the study (here it is: http://www.82games.com/gamewinningshots.htm).

    I understand that ESPN may prohibit him from linking to other sports sites, but to cherry-pick that assist stat and point to it as some kind of validation of Kobe’s inherent selfishness is just ridiculous. Take a look at the study and you’ll see that Kobe isn’t exactly an outlier in that respect. The only thing worse than failing to cite evidence for a bogus claim is citing bogus evidence, or conveniently ignoring the larger context of a single data point because it happens to lessen the impact of your point. The worst part is that whole 82games.com aside is completely beside the point in his “diary.” Ugh.

  132. I agree with the guy who said the lakers might and should be smelling blood on game 3, kobe smelling red wine most.

    they should end it there in orlando and finally silence all this doubt about their caliber. they can and if they play disciplined on both ends, why wait for the day orlando gets its shooting back or the day we play lethargic?

    championship teams only have the gold in their heads. no time to write a script. no time for drama. end it in 4 and i believe they can.

    that said, i think orlando will extend the series with one or two of “those nights”. but i’d rather enjoy every moment of victroy. i’m getting used to it. so let’s keep winning shall we. and at this point, things like pau being soft or kobe going kobenova are trivial. wins are wins and i don’t want to overanalyze that as some analysts do.

    to say the lakers won simply because they did not lose? is that poetry? the lakers won, bottomline. this team deserves to hang its banner once it goes for the next 2 games. again, no time to get zealous but be a real fan. GO LAKERS!

  133. “To all those who wanted to trade Lamar Odom, those who wanted to bury Fisher on the bench…”

    Of course, when they play big and it goes their way (& ours), these comments are a plenty. Yes, that’s me and I’ll rep those feelings later to Kurt’s limits of moderation. However, all arguments are on hold until deep into the offseason. Right now it’s all about getting 2 more wins and I’m on a plane to Orlando in the morning. If I’m tremendously lucky I’ll get to see a trophy presentation. Lets get this thing done Laker fans.

  134. Unfortunately for Bill, if the Lakers win the championship it will not come with an asterisk for KG’s injury, nor will the Subway Fresh Take Super-Dubious Foul Crunch-Time Scoreboard be taken into account. He’ll just have to suck it up and avoid sharp objects until late October. :P

  135. I agree with a lot of your analysis Kurt, to me the Lakers had an off nite and won. I think that we saw Orlando close to as good as they can play against the Lakers, unless they come out completely flat, which up 2-0 in the finals is not likely. Howard, is not an offensive juggernaut, and to be honest hasnt shown to be even the fourth best defender down low this series as Ariza, Lamar and Pau have outplayed him on that end.

    As far as Fish it was right on, the guy played better made some pretty good decisions, he just isnt quick enough on D, but at this point let him go out on top. Next year we can work on getting Farmar or Brown to start. Maybe Phil is just limiting Brown right now so we can extend his contract for cheap. I really think he will be the long term answer for the Lakers, reminds me of the career path of Chauncey Billups who I think he can be better then if he keeps working hard and stays positive.

    As far as the reason I am so confident is that Orlando, is continually searching for options, but they don’t exist, seen by playing Battie and Reddick. I mean if the team was so good at threes already why do they have to go to a guy that sat out last series. To be honest, Reddick the so called non athletic guy, made better moves to the basket then Hedo, Lewis or any other wing player. Jameer is going to have one amazing game, but lets hopes its after there down three zero. The Lakers have players that can play off the bench if needed, so as long as Phil keeps an open mind and gets Brown and Farmar in there if things dont go well it looks really good.

    I also dont know why people are surprised the three balls arent falling, this is nothing new they really got lucky on their playing a weak Phili team, and a weakened Celtic team, and the shots all went in for a series. It has long been recognized that playoff basketball can not be just running and gunning threes, if that werent the case the Joe Johnson, Steve Nash and Amare Suns would of won the championship. No one did it better than that squad.

    Both teams should play there best game of the series energy wise in game three because both know if the Lakers win its over. I cant wait see you guys tommorrow night.

  136. I fear some Laker fans may be rooting for Orlando in game four so the series makes it back. What will Tiger where to the game, a Laker cap?

  137. Got to admit it: I haven’t read the BS column.
    Got to admit it: Don’t really plan to.

    I think that covers all we need to know.

  138. 43 I know how lame is that, calling for that goal tend when there was one that was the worst non call in NBA playoff history. I mean I dont care if your a homer that is irresponsible journalism. In fact if Pau had climbed up on the backboard and sat on the rim, they should of not called it just to make up for it, but there wasnt even a graze of the rim, I imagine Orlando doesn’t get the best righters, I know that Miami has that idiot Levitard, homers make me sick, just like a lot of us cant stand Vic da Brick, homers suck.

  139. lol righters I guess I shouldnt talk.

  140. Peanut Butter Spread June 8, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Mimsy –

    So true.

    Lakers fans, savor this win.

    Forget the articles. Forget the critics. Forget the journalists. Forget the “haters.”

    Like Kurt said, two more games to go.

  141. Simers is the worst anyways, I dont know anyone under forty years old that has appreciated him, thank god for the internet information age, where we have blogs and choices in our content. He was the dude begging us to keep Karl Dorrell, and called the University that Jackie Robinson and Kareem attened racist for not wanting to keep a bad coach on. I canceled my subscription after that, as did about seventy five people I know, I buy the paper for the sports section and business section but now go with the local rag, because of that douchebag.

  142. I think it at this time where many are using a Jordan/Paxson argument to disparage Kobe we need to remember exactly how different the two plays were. Jordan did not drive and kick to Paxson as some seem to remember, Jordan did not even touch the ball in the frontcourt. The play was created by Pippen drawing the defenders, passing to Grant and Grant making the kickout to Paxson.

    There have also been references to the Jordan/Kerr shot, which is much more analogous situation. Check out the youtube clip of Steve Kerr talking about the shot and what preceded it. He refers to a similar play unfolding earlier in the series when Stockton had double teamed Jordan and stolen the ball, and the Bulls lost the game. Jordan remembered what had happened on that play and made the adjustment.

    It is only Game 2. Let’s not preclude Kobe from making the same adjustment.

  143. Coffee is For Closers June 8, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Tiger was interviewed on the TGC the other day, and was asked who he’d be pulling for. Rich Lerner, the interviewer, said, “you grew up cheering for magic and kareem, you’re pulling for the Lakers”. He just grinned, and didn’t disagree. Actually, I think Anthony Kim is an even bigger laker fan. He and tiger are buddies – I’d love to see Tiger bring him to the game, and have both those guys sporting the forum blue and gold.

  144. What about the Bynum injury, or the fact Houston could go seven without Yao. How bout the fact that the Lakers threepeat in the eighies ended due to Magic and Byron Scott being injured in Finals. Injuries happen, and it doesnt matter thats your team, you go with it. Every single year teams get hurt, and saying the Celtics would of waltzed to the championship is a joke. THE CELTICS took TWENTY SEVEN GAMES TO win it all, they very well could of lost in all four rounds last year, they definately would of made the Finals, but thats beacause the top teams were teams with glaring deficiencys…but I am sorry Denver, LA or Houston and possibly the Spurs would of been worthy advisarys the East is terrible, and their top dogs have inflated records. I think the Suns could win the East with Amare.

  145. sorry forgot to put a number in last post that was aimed at Simers.

  146. Coffee is For Closers June 8, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Speaking of Tiger, I really see a lot of similarity between Tiger and Kobe in the way each approaches his sport – single minded focus/perfectionist, attention to detail, and that drive like no one else to be the absolute best. Oh, and those eyes..

    I’ve heard Kobe has taken up golf. From watching Kobe all these years, I can really see him getting just hooked on the game as its a skill that just drives you crazy trying to master a skill impossible to completely master. It drives perfectionists crazy, but addictively so.

  147. So Lakers fans are supposed to be worried about the $42M or so owed to Bynum over the next 3 years (since the 4th is a team option), but Boston fans aren’t worried about the $56.4M owed to KG over the next 3 years.

    Why does this man make me crazy?

  148. The “switching teams” argument or “if this, this and this had (or had not) happened” line of reasoning that a lot of irrational haters or Simmons make has got to be one of the weakest arguments in sports. Real professional sports is not a video game. It involves complex interdynamics between teammates and opposing players, strategic decisions by the coaches, balances between offensive and defensive schemes, fatigue, injuries… and yes luck.

    You can’t just swap two players with the same 2k9 “overall” and think things are going to work out the same way, or assume that a certain player with a certain “overall” not being injured guarantees you a win or a championship. This isn’t a video game. If someone was smart enough to devise a
    program that accounts for all of the different player and team attributes, game conditional variables and run a simulation to predict the outcome of games and seasons that person would be making millions if not billions in Vegas. Simmons’ arrogant certainty apparently makes him think that he can
    just look at hyotheticals and work out the game dynamics in his head.

    If he wants to argue, he should argue from events that have actually occurred, facts that have already presented themselves in the past or attributes and achievements that players have
    shown.

    His KG argument is about as inane as the haters that casually toss around statements like “If Lebron was on the Lakers they would win 82 games and go undefeated in the playoffs”. It’s just surprising that these are the words coming from a professional journalist who should know better about basketball and sports in general.

  149. #4, Scot,

    Great post there. The game really came down to inches or cm’s (for those in Europe or Asia) and the whole dialogue and dynamic of this series changed with Lee’s miss.

  150. basketball players dont translate to well to golf usually. Definately has hand eye cordination, and focus … work ethic, but so did Jordan and he had goals of going pro in golf.

  151. #153, Julia,
    That IS a good read. Thanks for sharing.

    Now, just to show that I’m not anti-Simmons, I am anti-bias, I’m going to go look up what Vincent Thomas has written about Dwight Howard and Lebron James :)

  152. Pat Riley once said a series doesn’t start until the home team loses, or game 7. I expect Orlando to play a great game 3, expend all their emotional energy doing it, and go down in game 4 during their “refractionary period”.

    Can someone please explain the logic in the NBA rule allowing a team to advance the ball into the front court by calling timeout in the back court? I think back to game 2 of the 1984 Finals at Boston. McHale misses a free throw, Worthy rebounds and calls timeout. The Lakers have to inbound it in the back court and Henderson makes the steal. Last night, Hedo gathers the ball at the Lakers baseline, calls timeout, and the Magic get to inbound in the front court for the final play of regulation? What am I missing?

  153. T Bone: the NBA wants more exciting finishes. That’s logical.

  154. Agreed with the sentiments about enjoying the ride instead of being baited by the media. I’ve been wearing my “Pau is my homeboy” shirt to sleep like a 12 year old sleeping w/ a basketball the night before a big game.

  155. I have head that about the home team losing however, in this case the series will start and be over at the same time. TOMMORROW NITE.

  156. Anyone else here attend Pat Riley Camp in santa barbra in the eighties?

  157. Thats true about bench players at home, especially deeper rotation guys, however I am not worried about Pietrus because his shots are never in the flow of the offense pretty much all bad shots, basically I dont know what they expect from that guy, as far as the shots he can make Lewis and Turk and pretty much Jammeer all have the same shooting range. And his defensive fortitude is another media creation, there is noone on this team that plays spectacular defense.

  158. I think that in the list of transcendental players in different sports, Kobe is right up there with Tiger, Federer, Lance Armstrong, Kelly Slater, Michael Schumacher.

    I just noticed those are all individual sports, and Kobe’s taking it to another level on a team sport.

  159. The Dude Abides June 8, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    I don’t know what the exact rule was back in 1984, but as long as the team with possession does not advance the ball with a dribble or a pass prior to calling the timeout, then they can bring it to the front court after the timeout.

  160. Wow. Rubio, on average, makes around 100,000 Euros a season. The buyout his team is asking for is nearly 5 million Euros.

    Not that the system exists here, but proportionally, that’s like Jerry Buss asking for 1 billion dollars to let Kobe out of his contract. That’s pretty damn extreme.

  161. Why is the media so focused on what the magic did not do as opposed to what the Lakers did. They actually won the game The media seems like they cant stand the fact that the Lakers now have control of the series and will win It all

  162. By the way, that Jeanie Vision link is awesome. It really shows a side of Phil that we don’t get to see. The slightly awkward, giggly side of Phil that I’m sure he wishes we didn’t see.

  163. Uhm, I really don’t want to know how Phil behaves in front of his girlfriend (or behind her, for that matter).

    urgh, imagined it.

    Anyway, all bets are off until we win on their court. I’m guessing we drop game 3 because all of a sudden, Magic shots start to fall. The key will be making defensive adjustments then for game 4, but if shots fall, then we have to tinker with everything…

    In a way, I think the Magic are both the best we can wish for and the worst we can wish for in one giggly package. Our SSZ was implemented with the very idea of not giving up twos but living with 3s. If the Magic get hot, we get burned because our defense is really not designed for that (see Odom leaving Lewis; SVG noting that we’re only defending 3 players), but when they don’t shoot well, every bucket they get is either going to be a very difficult shot or from offensive boards.

    It’s funny how the team best equipped to expose our system has actually exposed themselves.

  164. have you all heard the new lil wayne song called “KOBE BRYANT”
    the end is awesome..

    worth the listen

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5iXjWb3egQ

  165. 123-

    Zephid

    For the longest time, I never understood why so many people are so down on Odom. Does people realize how much contribute to the team? Is it because he doesn’t compute a comparable stastical comparison to Scottie Pippen, who he was compared to when the Lakers traded for him. That’s folly. Pippen was one of the greatest basketball plaer ever, from an empirical and statistical standpoint. I always found that comparison unfair. Just because he’s big and has great passing ability means doesn’t translate to Lamar=Pippen. Is it the contract? Sure the Heat gave him a large contract that hovers to about 11-12 million a year, but I personally think he performed close to his contract, with his statistics and production for the Lakers. If Lamar had stayed with the Heat and be a primary option in their system, I think he would outperform his contract. With the Lakers in a system that didn’t fit him, I thought he adjusted pretty well, especially these last two years. Inconsistency? I’ll detail that later in this post.

    Do people know that even playing off the bench, Lamar’s Win Shares average is 2.5 wins in 643 minutes played so far? I think that is amazing coming from a non-starter. His PER so far in the playoffs is 18.5. That’s hot stuff coming from someone playing at the best 3rd fiddle on offense. Not many iso’s for Lamar these says, his offense comes from transition and putbacks mostly. Lakers offense is usually initiated by Kobe first, Pau/Bymum in the post, kickbacks to Ariza/ Fisher and then Lamar.

    Obviously the most effective lineup for the Lakers all season has been:

    Fisher-Bryant-Ariza-Odom-Gasol

    That lineup has seen the most minutes and is the most effective.

    It‘s not a one-year wonder. Lamar in his 5-year Lakers career on average has been above-average and productive Injuries obviously hurt him a bit early in his career but on whole he has been productive and mostly healthy so far. On whole, his last two years has been magnificent from a statistical standpoint.

    Even playing a reduced role in the starting season, he averages a 7.1% Win Share ratio for only 2316 minutes. I can not stress how impressive this is, considering his role on offense.

    In Roland Ratings, he has a sexy +9.2 in playing 60% of the team minutes over a year. This is no surprise, considering Lamar always done well in RR. Even if some people think that RR doesn’t tell the whole story, it does say that when Phil uses Lamar, the Lakers score more then their opponents. Most amazing from a bench person.

    People say that he is inconsistent. Does inconsistency correlates strongly to overall performance? In the advanced statistics world, especially in baseball, consistency means relatively nothing to overall success. If I could do a study, I bet I would find that the best players are not consistent. For most players, inconsistent is more valuable than consistent. There are probably a few exceptions from great players where a small variation around their outstanding average performance means that they always have the opponent at a severe disadvantage.

    For everyone else — where 1 standard deviation better than their personal average would rank high in the league, but 1 standard deviation below wouldn’t drop their rank much – I think that Lamar’s inconsistency gives a better chance of being productive and winning a game, at the expense of a few bad games where his production tanks. As Eric Seldman said in BP, this is not to say that consistency lacks importance, as the low volatility of steady performers brings with it the knowledge of what to expect, which helps general managers feel better about investments, and keeps managers and fans from pulling out chunks of their hair.

    In conclusion, Lamar=helps Lakers win. Too bad there isn’t a projected salary in basketball like there is in Fangraphs in baseball. I would say that Lamar should earn around 6-7 million the Lakers plan to use him off the bench, even though he plays a lot of minutes. There is no reason the Lakers can not sign Lamar. Mitch has been cutting salary for this. From what John Hollinger speculates the salary cap could go down significantly this summer. Lamar has stated he wants to stay at a reduced price unless a mind-blowing offer comes his way (Fisher/Golden Sate). I really think that other teams will save money for 2010 with a better free agent class and the hope of an improving economy then pay Lamar big money, which is what the Lakers should hope for. I hope that Jerry Buss could pay the luxury tax to maintain this core for a few more years. I’m confident the investment would be worth it.

    Now I feel like writing an article why people should expect good things from Sun Yue. (CBA fan). It’s Coffee time.

  166. Kurt, lol (around #100 or so), I think game 3 can be anybody’s game. The Magic played just as good or bad as us and we just happened to get the W, not them. The Lakers and Kobe know that the work is not over and will be up for the knockout punch tomorrow. I don’t know about you all, but I am enjoying this year like none other so far.

  167. I can’t help but think Orlando players must grow tired of Van Gundy’s yelling.

  168. No matter which team drew the short straw, I felt we would prevail over both the Cavs or the Magic. We played 3 very physical series against the Jazz, Rocks, and Nugs. Playing the Magic (or Cavs) is like playing in the clouds.

    Not a single technical, flagrant, or hard fould even.

    When do the gloves come off? Could it be in Orlando? Will they attack the basket more as they get closer to the pot of gold? They’re going to have to be aggressive, or it’ll be a steady stream of Orlando FTA.

    Let’s hope the Lakers play like the best road team in the league that they are.

  169. Give credit to the Lakers’ D, who would have thought that after two games, Dwight would only have had one dunk?

  170. dave in hillsboro June 9, 2009 at 4:36 am

    For those of you who liked the Jeanie Vison, you can watch more at

    https://my.lakers.com/lakers/login.jsp

    Just register, login and you can watch all seventeen of them.

    She made one for every home game from the Mavs game in March onward, including one for every home playoff game. The videos from the Houston series are particularly entertaining.

  171. someone here compared Kobe to Tiger Woods, in his approach to his sport. after last weekend’s run to another golf title, Jim Furyk said of Tiger, “I wish you’d all quit [ticking] him off”; this goes right to the issue of the Kobe ‘Haters’ as well.

    Scoop Jackson, writing as Hate personified, “All he ever wanted to do is be considered the best player to ever ball. He thought, if he pushed himself hard enough, the world would appreciate him. But it didn’t. And now he doesn’t give a damn. What you think about him is no longer one of his concerns. He’s driven almost to the point of obsession with getting this fourth ring, not in spite of me, but because of me. He wants you to keep hating him. He calls me Nietzsche.”

    http://tinyurl.com/lqwfty

  172. 176 – What I like about the Lakers right now is that the Magic (and journalists) are complaining about what the Lakers are doing on defense. They’re complaining about the pushing, slapping, and grabbing. Are the Lakers playing dirty? No, they’re being the aggressors.

    I don’t think the Magic have it in them to be the aggressors and take the gloves off. They were pushed around by Boston, but we’ve been pushed around for two years. We’re going to the limit in terms of what it takes to win, and the Magic haven’t learned the extent of that limit yet. That’s why, if we maintain this attitude, we’ll win tonight.

    The Lakers mentality reminds me of a comment I heard about the Heat’s game 6 win in 2006. On the final shot by Jason Terry, Gary Payton got away with grabbing his jersey. One of the commentators noted that the Heat wanted to win more than the Mavs, as evidenced by Payton basically doing whatever he can to stop the shot. The Lakers have demonstrated that mentality through the first two games – just look at the bumps on Turkoglu on the perimeter or the slaps on Howard in the paint – and will need to sustain that mindset to win two more.

  173. Fans and observers alike have pretty much conceded game 3 to ORL, but I really hope our Lakers take it. If the Lakers can withstand the initial onslaught and keep it close going in the 4th, I think Kobe, after a subpar game 2, is chomping at the bits and is ready to go Black Mamba one more time. As resilient as the Magic are, I think the pressure may finally get to them. They’re already standing near the ledge; we just have to inch them closer and make them turn around and look down.

  174. #173.

    Many of us have been big fans of LO since his days as a Clipper. I agree with your position that volatility maybe better than stability. I would submit that in LO’s case ever since the away game against the Celtics, the mean of his performance is higher. And while his volatility might be the same. His distribution has gone from normal to log-normal.

    I’m sceptical that he can be signed for the figures you mention. Even the most banal color analysts appreciate his “versatility”. Those disciples of money-ball doubtless have ample additional statistics beyond those you cite to validate his worth.

    The threats are those teams with cap space and smart GM’s such as the Thunder with 19.7M and Blazers with 8.1. Other threats are the Hawks and Grizzlies although these don’t fit the “smart GM” category.

    The most serious challenge might come from the Heat which is the only one to match the intangibles (the beach and scene) that LO seems to revel in. They only have 6.7M in capspace but have tons in 2010 (over 40M) and if they are motivated and can dump salary, they can make an offer for LO near the 10M range that the Lakers cannot match.

  175. And the hate poured forth, flowing freely like the waters of the Amazon, crashing again and again against the post season success of the Lakers.

    And the winnings of the Lakers fills my mouth like puss, my eyes are blinded by irrational anger, self righteous indignation pumps my heart.

    And Look at that Kobe, see how he walks, how he talks, how he hows, i can’t stand it. He is the fakest person on earth, how do i know? i don’t care how i know, i just know that i know.

    And my God what arrogance, how dare he think he is something? He is nothing, how dare he refuse to Bojangle for the press, what does he think he is, important?

    And my head hurts, I think I need a hug.

  176. I’d like to point out for one second how fortunate we as Laker fans are to be in a position where people are criticizing our about-to-be-champions for not being up to the standards of multiple past champions.

  177. 2 Mo. This series is o-va and like I predicted at the beginning of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers will be the 2008-09 champions.

    I also picked the Steelers in the Super Bowl and the Tarheels in the NCAA tournament.

    I’m not bragging. Honestly . . .

    http://balmer.typepad.com/darkclown/
    Insult Comedy & Gonzo Journalism

  178. I read a couple Bill Simmons articles in the past and saw how biased he is. Does anyone else notice that his articles do not allow comments, unlike other journalists/commentators on espn?

  179. 7 hours and change…. go Lakers!!!!

    Attack, attack, attack! I expect our odds of winning tonight will correlate quite accurately with Kobe’s FTA.

    Oh, did I forget to mention this: ATTACK!

  180. #184,
    He’s allowed to be arrogant for the same reason Jordan, Garnett, and Shaq are: They’ve earned the right. (Funny! btw :) )

  181. Dont know if this was pointed out yet or not…

    Kurt…just saw your quotes in the Daily Dime on ESPN.com…good stuff.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dime-090609

  182. Coffee is For Closers June 9, 2009 at 10:47 am

    A nice read on the Lakers PNR defense in basketball prospectus:

    http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=702

  183. I think what bothers us the most as Lakers fans, is that we want everyone else to share in our joy (hopefuly 2 more wins and a title). But the reality is that fans of other teams are just not going to feel like we do, especialy when we have basicaly dominated the league since its inception. However, when it comes to sports journalism, we expect objectivity and some love for a team on the brink of a championship.
    With that said, Simmons doesn’t bother me nearly as much as Adande. Simmons is very funny, and that’s why he gets space on ESPN. On his last podcast he admitts that if the Lakers win this year, there will be no arguing that Kobe will go down as one of the top 10 greatest of all time. He also said that he loves getting Lakers fans riled up since it’s so easy. It’s so obvious what he’s trying to do. I don’t think he honestly believes that call disparity crap that he was writing about. As someone mentioned earlier, this is comming from a Boston fan who whitnessed that rediculous disparity in calls in game 2 last year (which still makes want to throw up BTW).
    As for Adande, i think I speak for most when I say he irritates the hell out of me! His articles are all rhetoric and no substance. When he was writing for the LA Times, I had to stop reading him. He never told me anything I didn’t know, or anything interesting for that matter. He stretches his examples and reasonings for things far beyond the scope of reality. He blamed the melt down by the Jazz on death of the owner. Realy? The owner? He thinks he’s a guy who looks at things in the big picture, only the big picture he’s looking at rarely has anything to do with what’s going on on the court.
    Whew! Thanks for guys for getting into this discussion, I was finaly able to get that off my chest.

  184. maybe dex needs to fart in Simmons general direction one more time :)

  185. Is it really out of the question that the lakers can win tonight and Thurs In Orlando everybody nationally is predicting a lakers loss and its very irritating!!! What will all the haters say when the Lakers win tonight and wrap up the series either Thurs or Sunday? It’s like the media is homering for the Magic Its really pathetic and transparent the envy and jealousy the Lakers elicit