Lakers/Magic Game 4 Preview

Kurt —  June 11, 2009

NBA: MAY 25 Western Conference Finals - Lakers at Nuggets - Game 4
While I still have an almost unshakable confidence that the Lakers are going to win this series (and I know they are 6-0 after a playoff loss this year), at no point do I think this is going to be easy. Orlando is not here because nobody else wanted it, they earned it.

And unlike bouncing back some of the losses earlier this season and in the playoffs, the answer to getting a win tonight is not simply “they need to be more focused” because the Lakers actually played with good energy and effort.

But there are things they can execute better. The most obvious step is to keep exploiting Gasol on the offensive end, no matter who is covering him. He has shown he can score on Howard or whomever is guarding him. But as Kwame a. has been saying since before the series started, it should especially happen when Lewis is on him — make Rashard work at both ends. Make the jumpshooter use his legs a lot of defense.

And the Lakers need to establish points in the paint — the Magic have made a point of not allowing Kobe to score on drives after game one, and he is 4 of 13 in the paint the last two games. Gasol on the other hand is 17 of 26 in the paint this series.

Darius adds some other points.

*On defense, recognize where the Magic initiate the P&R. On several occasions Hedo started the P&R more than two feet outside the 3pt. line – this created better spacing around the perimeter and forced the Lakers defense into help situations further away from the hoop than they’d like. In those instances, Ariza must give space and go under the screen. This will disrupt what Orlando wants to get out of the play – Hedo getting that open space with room to drive and shoot and Howard getting a dive to the hole with Odom/Pau helping off Lewis – as now Ariza is there to meet Hedo coming around the pick, Bynum/Pau can just stick with Howard on the dive, and Pau/LO can stick closer to Lewis as he floats to the top for the return pass. Plus this will force the Magic to reset and run more clock.

*A more controlled offensive game from Trevor. As the defensive player that gets attacked most often, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to go back at the player that’s attacking him. In the last couple of games, Ariza has done just that and tried too often to make Hedo respect his offense. Trevor needs to move the ball and cut away from the action more often and play to his most valuable asset to the team – his defense. I understand that Trevor is going to have to shoot the ball. But do so judiciously. Get the ball to the post, swing the ball to the corner, reverse the ball to the wing player replacing to the top from our weakside screen action. I want some controlled aggression from Ariza. I don’t mind if he’s taking 8-10 shots, but I’d prefer 6-8 with one or two of those being dunks in the open court. (On a sidenote, I don’t want this point to be misconstrued as me throwing Trevor under the bus for his poor offensive showing in Game 3. However, just as we want Pau to make Lewis work on defense to disrupt ‘Shard’s offense, Hedo is making Ariza work and it’s disrupting Trevor’s flow on offense.)

*I want smarter defense on Orlando’s role players. We allowed Alston, Pietrus, Lee, and Battie get the shots that they want to take (save for a couple of forced looks that still went in) and really find their confidence. We must do a better job of limiting these looks. For example, we went under screens on Rafer when he was receiving screens at 18 feet and allowed him to take 16 footers with no pressure. We also let Rafer drive to his right hand and finish right at the basket. We let Pietrus take shots in rhythm, find his groove, and then he rode the wave to an outstanding performance. We let Battie take uncontested jumpers from the top of the key – which he made and ultimately opened up their high/low game with Howard. No more of any of this type of lax defense on these guys. I know part of our scheme is to allow certain players to shoot and most of the time we’ll want Orlando’s role players to be those guys. However, those looks don’t have to be the ones that they’re most comfortable taking. Force Alston to his left hand on drives. Force Pietrus to take multiple dribbles and pull up for the mid-range jumper. Make Battie put the ball on the floor before he shoots or passes. Make them uncomfortable and put even more pressure on Howard, Lewis, and Hedo to perform at their peak (especially late in the clock). Also, please stop fouling anyone but Howard. Even though Dwight has been pretty good at the line, I don’t want to see 80%+ FT shooters at the line – that’s like a guaranteed two points.

*More post sprints from our bigs. Make Dwight defend his own game. We’ve got two seven footers and Dwight is taking turns on both. Make him run on both ends and try to bury him under the basket the same way he does our guys. This will lead to easy buckets from our guys and fouls on Howard. We’ve been successful all season playing this way, why not keep it up?

—————————————————————————————————

Andrew Bynum has taken some heat for his playoff performance, even though he is basically doing it on one leg. There has been a lot of “how much is he making?” type comments. But I thought commenter Travis makes a good point:

But think about (the Lakers’) needs for a true center, and look around the league. You could argue that Bynum is a top 5 center in the league, even with his playoff performance thus far. Name a starting C in the playoffs you’d rather have besides Dwight, Nene, or Yao. Perkins? Maybe. Chandler? No. Noah? Dalembert? Atlanta doesn’t even have a C. Jermaine Oneal? No. (Thank god we didn’t make that trade.) Rasheed/McDyess? Played awful. Ilgauskus? No.

If you don’t pay Bynum, Your other options for a true center are: 1) trade for someone like Kaman, Shaq, Camby, or Dampier. Those guys are old and have equally terrible contracts. 2) Draft someone: Oden wasn’t available (and that’s a good thing). The next best thing to come through the draft was Marc Gasol who we gave away for Pau (another good thing). 3) We could try the free agent market, where the options there are Darko, or resigning Kwame Brown.

Giving Bynum his money was a no-brainer.

Kurt

Posts

52 responses to Lakers/Magic Game 4 Preview

  1. The Lakers are in a great sitiuation right now, after an OK game by us and an amazing game by them we still had a chance to get it. Check this out, Lakers in 5

    http://kaliphornya.wordpress.com/2009/06/11/o-town-and-the-magic/

  2. Good points – unlike previous games this is not about energy or focus for the Lakers. It is all about execution.

    Great points on Bynum by Travis – the kid is so young and so inexperienced – but who out there is better? Not many. Cut him some slack.

    I realize that I am invested in this series in a way I never have been before. I have come to understand that it is because of Kobe. I can not think of a single athlete of his caliber who has endured so much hostility from the press (other than for cheating, Rose, Bonds, etc.). I have no problem with people not liking Kobe – but the way his game has been maligned, the way every mistake as been accentuated, it seems so unfair. This is not about him catching Jordan, or being better than LeBron – that’s just bar stool BS. It is simply about getting people to lay off of him and apprecaite the player he is.

    I know some will never come around, but I also know that if the Lakers don’t pull through – the chorus of naysayers will get louder.

    Here’s hoping Kobe and the Lakers go out and get it done – as a team.

  3. I think we’ll get the W tonight, it was going to be tough to take 3 straight from an incredibly solid Orlando squad, and we within some missed free throws of possibly making it happen.

    They got a huge lift from their home arena (mainly in the shooting percentage category) and I expect them to come back to earth a bit. Hell, if they shoot in the 50’s and we play like we did last game we will most likely walk out with the win.

    Hoping for a steadier diet of Pau on the inside, and I can’t imagine Kobe is pleased with the way he ended last game, that could spell trouble for Orlando, as well.

  4. Three Words:

    Confetti.

    Go Lakers!

  5. I’ll just reiterate what I said in the previous thread: Andrew Bynum was a good catch. He will become great, and he will earn that big paycheck of his. Remember how he played before the injury? He’ll get that back once his knee heals fully, and then he will be a beast in the paint. I am very much looking forward to seeing him match up against Dwight Howard in the first Lakers-Magic game of next season. :-)

    And today’s wishlist for game 4 is:

    * Give. The Ball. To. Pau. Every single possession, give the ball to Pau. He is way bigger than the Magic forwards, he can pass, shoot, post up, pretty much everything that he needs to do and the Magic have no way of stopping him. Give the ball to Pau.

    * Lamar and Andrew: Blanket Howard. Hang on his shoulder, follow him everywhere he goes. If he’s chewing gum, we want to know what flavor it is.

    * Hold the Magic below 60% shooting.

    * Execute on defense. Actually, if you just do this, you’ll grant the wish just above this one.

    * Dunk over Howard! Twice.

    * Wide open corner threes from Fisher.

    * The bench to play like they did in Game 1, not like they did in game 3.

    * Farmar making shots

    * Sasha making shots (I’m still hoping!)

    * Luke, make them suffer on the defensive end, and then punish them for leaving you alone to double Kobe.

    * Win! Win! Win!

  6. people keep trying to pontificate bynum’s performance (or lack of) this playoff season. is it the knee, timing, he’s young, etc. well, imo, youth has something to do with it, but not on the court…..i think dude has a serious puppy love situation with a well honed, polished, experienced WOMAN and his head is spinning out of control. call me crazy, but this is what i’m claiming……………

  7. Great points here. If the Lakers can execute, they can definitely win this game. I do wonder about the suggestion for Ariza to go under screens set for Turk, though. Doesn’t that give Hedo space to shoot? He can step back and has a quick release. The quick switch to keep a hand in Turk’s face is risky as Howard dives very effectively when he wants to.

    The Lakers have shown they can adjust and win. The time is now. Go Lakers!

  8. I think maybe we might be a touch blinded by Laker love where it comes to Bynum.

    Do I want Bynum in the future? Absolutely. Do I wish I had any of the following players playing instead of Bynum in the finals for the Lakers RIGHT NOW: Perkins, Chandler and Noah?

    Definitely. Perkins absolutely controlled Howard for most of the Boston series.

    I wish I could feel as confident as everyone else does. I do think the Lakers are going to win, but I’m just not feeling the “it’s a no-brainer” level of confidence that others have.

    Ultimately, these are very evenly matched teams and a great deal depends on how the next game is officiated. In Game 2, Ariza was allowed to be very physical with Hedo (who, to be fair, was pushing off on pretty much every single play) but Kobe got at least SOME calls.

    In Game 3, Kobe was being mugged over and over again by Lee and other Magic defenders. The same sorts of plays that Bill Simmons wrote a long, sarcastic, homeresque article about being fouls on Ariza earned no similar column when Lee was deploying the same defense on Kobe. (Who I think should get more calls than Hedo.)

    Consistency has been what has been missing all playoffs from the officials. Decide at the beginning of the game how tight the game is going to be called and STICK TO THAT all game long. I don’t care whether the game is called loose or tight, but I want a foul in the 1st quarter to be a foul in the 4th and vice versa.

  9. Bynum severed a knee tendon and missed 3 months. He came back and is trying to help his team, despite not being fully recovered. Nuff said.

    As to Darius’ points, I have felt all year that the Lakers are not a smart defensive team as far as recognizing what the opponent is doing and adjusting to meet the play. Didn’t one of the assistant coaches say they had to play defense by rule because the players don’t react well? Contrast this with say Boston, where the players recognize the play, talk and adjust to cover the options (look at the replay of the Portland six men on the court play for a good example of this). This lack by the Lakers shows when 3 point shooters are constantly popping open. To compensate the Lakers need tremendous effort and hustle on the defensive end to get everything covered, when it is not there they get torched.

    The bigs running down court on offense is a good idea. What about some back screens on Howard to free Bynum for a lob?

    Just a thought.

  10. it’s bynum’s knee…his vertical leap went from 30″ to 10″. he has no lateral movement. he’s 21 and getting burned by everyone.

  11. i’d rather have jefferson than bynum. mistaken omission or am i alone here?

  12. is it me or does Bynum look a tad slower than a 40 yr Kareem running down the court?

  13. Guys n gals, sorry the site was down for a couple hours. I was moved to a new server at my host and that turned into a more problematic issue than was expected. As you can imagine, the bandwidth being used by this site right now is at an all time high.

  14. 13. Kurt, thats a good thing. A blessing in disguise. I must say i didnt realize how much i visited this site. I checked at least 10 times and kept seeing the bandwidth error.

  15. Coffee is For Closers June 11, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I agree with all the positive points on Andrew. The only problem I have is his tendency to mentally drift. I watch him often on defense get caught out of position, not from physcial limitations, but mental lapses. Sometimes I have the impression that not all his synapses are firing like they should. Just be alert out there is all I ask.

  16. I agree with most of you and also dont think magic will shot 62 % again but they dont need to.

    They barely had any offensive rebounds because they shot so well, they get few more offensive rebounds this game and keep their turnovers down then its going to even out. They made some bad turnovers last game in 4th quarter they could have put that game away but it is what it is.

    Seems to me like Orlando woke up and realized the Lakers interior defense is soft and they feel much more comfortable.

  17. Why is it that we have seen so little of Brown in this series?

  18. We can talk about offseason issues like contracts when the offseason comes, but perhaps we’re learning that Mitch is great at spotting talent in the draft and trades but prone to overpaying a bit in the free agent market. Now, I was the first one to advocate for paying Walton, Bynum, and Sasha what they received. But I think I was wrong in hindsight. There’s a pattern of Mitch paying free agents or his own players more than what they were subsequently worth — Kwame, Vlad, Walton, Sasha, Fisher, Cook, even Bynum. Some of these are more egregious than others but I don’t think you can say any of them earned or appear on pace to earn what their contract was worth. On the other hand, Mitch has done well grabbing valuable veteran’s minimum type filler (Powell, Mbenga, etc.).

    Bynum is in a different category as his extension hasn’t even kicked in yet and he was hurt this year. In January he certainly looked worthy of the near max money he got. But was there really a need to do the extension last summer, as opposed to waiting till this summer? I argued against this last year, but now see the wisdom of it. Although it’s not necessarily Drew’s fault, the truth is that he’s a bit of an injury (and motivation?) risk going forward and we almost certainly could have saved some money by negotiating the contract now. Any savings would be put to good use with Odom and Ariza needing new deals. Hindsight is 20/20, but given his year and the current market it’s likely Drew would have gone for closer to $10M per than what he got.

    Anyways, who cares. Back to the battle at hand.

  19. 16. The Lakers interior defense is soft? Have you watched this series? Orlando outscored the Lakers in the paint by 4 last game, they got their points hitting jumpers from distance. They don’t have a matchup advantage inside with Howard, he barely gets touches and is shooting 52% (11 of 21), well below his season average in the paint.

    17. Because Fisher and Farmar have played pretty well, basically.

  20. I didn’t realize how addicted to this site I was until I couldn’t get to it for a couple hours. And on a Finals game day to boot!

  21. Manny, Kurt, wouldn’t you rather see Shannon get Sasha’s playing time though? I know I would, for me, sasha’s done for this year, can’t even really count on him for D, seems to me like he’s getting burned a lot down there, can’t guard Petrius, or Lee for that matter. I think the only good match up for him is Reddick.
    I do like what Shannon brings though, hustle, athletic ability on both ends, and a real team attitude.

  22. Drew’s a big-time injury risk going forward, having played only 85 regular season games the past two seasons.

    But as Reed says, who cares – the battle at hand is what’s important.

    I can hardly believe that bush league confetti display at the end of game 3 – somebody must pay for that, and pay dearly!!

  23. I expect a big game Fish tonight. Something in the 18-21 point range with a steady diet of threes

  24. 3 hours to go– was hitting refresh like a madman– glad to be back (nearly typed ‘home’…)

  25. There is something I disagree with. Just because the Magic played awesome and the Lakers only lost by a few shouldnt make anyone feel the Lakers will easily take this in 5. The Lakers played really well in game 3 also. The Laiers still need to put together a great performance against a really good team yet again, and that isnt going to be easy to do. Yes, I am picking the Lakers tonight, but I will not be surprised to see Orlando win. Unless the Lakers find a way to rotate better to their shooters, the Magic will continue to shoot at a high percentage. Also about Gasol needing more shots, he may need to take more shots but lets remember why Gasol is efficient. Part of the reason he is efficient is because he very rarely takes bad shots. He should not force the issue if he doesnt have to. He needs the ball a little more of course, but as he always does, he should pick out the best times to shoot, and when to pass.

  26. Manny P13 @17

    In Phil’s mind, maybe Brown’s athleticism isn’t as necessary here as Farmar’s speed or Derek’s experience?

    Just guessing…Farmar played pretty well in game 3 (from what I recall) & Fish has been making veteren plays all series. That’s what came to my mind…

  27. I’ll be at work for the first half, so I’m hoping we will continue to hang tough or get out ahead some. 3-1 makes it very, very tough. 2-2 is a brand new series (with 2 of the 3 possible at home). Let’s run the O through Pau, create backpicks for Kobe and get the game 4 win.
    Go Lakers!

  28. Random, but I was revewing the box score from game 3 and saw that Mbenga played 17 seconds. 17 seconds?! I must have been in the bathroom. LOL…

  29. As all of said – if we don’t fee Pau from the start of the game – than PJ is an idiot! It is so obvious that’s what we need to do. I hope Pau calls out his teammates if they don’t give him the ball. We may still need Kobe to close out the game -but from the getgo we must give it to Pau. Everyone thinks we will win because Orlando won’t shoot 65% again. However, I disagree. They don’t need to shoot that percentage to win. Remember, we also shot very very well and may not repeat that good percentage ourselves. I am a firm believer our key to victory in this series and especially on the road is to get howard in foul trouble. We can’t let him get going. Plus he is making his FTs. There is no reason not for us to get Pau the ball and he must take it to the basket with contact on Howard. Otherwise we are letting Howard play easy defense and kill us on offense. It’s not just about Howard’s ability to dunk and get to line. Our whole defense changes with him on the floor because we must worry about the inside pass and then he kicks it out to open 3 point shooters. I also don’t want to see alston blowing by fisher for easy layups. If we defend and they make the jumpshots I can live with that. But this game will be hard to win without getting fouls on Orlando, getting Howard to the bench, and getting our players to the line to make free throws. This is the playoffs and unfortunately most of the games come down to free throws in the end.

  30. I think tht the lakers have to win tonite if they want the series. If they win tonite I can see the series ending 4-1

  31. WhiteLightnin June 11, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    First time poster, long time camper on this site.

    I would like to echo chris h and ask why we’re not seeing shannon give kobe some rest? Whatever he could contribute would be better than what sasha is contributing. Also, it would get kobe much needed rest (and maybe he could dunk on Howard).

    Go Lakers!

  32. 28, as i recall, it was approaching the very end of a quarter and Phil put DJ in for one defensive possession, but then there was a timeout or some other kind of stoppage and Phil took him out to put shooters in the lineup for the final 5 seconds or so.

  33. I think that Brown should be getting Kobe’s resting minutes, as opposed to Sasha.

    At this point, when Sasha plays you are practically guaranteed that: A) He will brick a long 2 pointer off a screen, and B) He will foul an opposing jump shooter, and C) That A and B will happen within 45 seconds of his entering the game.

    It has become a running joke, and honestly, might be a good drinking game (beer only, hard liquor might kill people) at the local bar where you watch the Lakers.

    As to Bynum, he is still young, playing in his first Finals, and coming back from a nasty injury. I see him being whipsawed by most fans. He has been playing very good defense these first three games. Running hard, setting picks, fighting for position, giving hard fouls and not allowing dunks while he is on the floor.

    His offense is suffering for that, but so what? Bynum, at best, should be option 2 inside, and option 5 overall.

    Would you rather Bynum get the ball down low, or Gasol?

    In fact, here is my list of offensive shots, (starting unit) in order of preference:

    1) Gasol on the low post.
    2) Kobe at the elbow.
    3) Fisher/Ariza/Kobe from the corner three.
    4) Kobe drive.
    5) Gasol at the elbow.
    6) Bynum on the low post.

    So, really, let’s just be happy with Bynum doing his work (and making Howard work) on the defensive end.
    Howard is averaging 17 ppg, on 7 fga and 14 fta. Give Dwight credit, he is hitting his free throws, but holding him to 7 field goal attempts per game is fine work.

  34. I probably wouldn’t have given Bynum an extension given that serious injury he had prior to this season. I would’ve let the market determine his value as a restricted free agent. The Lakers have the right to match anyway so Bynum didn’t have much leverage. I highly doubt a team would offer a huge contract to a legit 7 footer who came off a serious knee injury.

    I hope Kobe is efficient tonight for the endgame. Maybe Brown will get a chance to be Kobe’s back-up given how Farmar has played so well.

  35. Of course Brown should be playing over Sasha. Unfortunately, I don’t think Phil will make that switch until next season if at all (assuming Brown is still around). We’ll just have to hope Sasha will suddenly stop being a liability for the next week or so.

  36. Two very interesting reads today about basically the same topic, Kobe in the triangle offense or rather the balance of it. One by Lazenby and the other an interview with Brian Shaw. Sorry if posted already.

    http://blogs.hoopshype.com/blogs/lazenby/2009/06/10/protecting-kobe-from-himself/

    http://lakersblog.latimes.com/lakersblog/2009/06/brian-shaw.html

  37. When Kobe or Pau are fronted in the post, they need to seal their defenders. At that moment, the player making the post-entry pass can drive to basket for a higher percentage look unhindered by a would-be help defender.

  38. I reviewed game 3 yesterday with the purpose of answering a question in my mind since Tuesday’s loss: did the Magic shoot 62% because they were just incredibly hot or was poor Lakers defense the culprit. My conclusion was that while the Magic were certainly on fire, they were mainly making wide open baskets that resulted from repeated defensive breakdowns. I will list the three most egregious errors that I observed.

    Point Guard Defense: Fisher frequently failed to stay between Alston and the basket. Alston was to quick for him in the open court. In half court sets he chose to shade him to the left side and thus inviting him to drive to the right. When Alston drove right only bad things happened due to slow or no big man rotations.

    Pick and Role Defense: Pau and Andrew were the major problem here. First they were slow to stop the dribblers coming off the screens as they moved along the three point line. Then, since the stop took too long (and covered too much distance) they were consistently late when attempting to recover to the screener (Howard). This usually forced Odom (who actually played good team defense) to cover the sceener (Howard) and leave his man (Lewis) with wide open looks.

    Poor discipline on double teams: I noted several occasions when Lakers guards chose to double team the Magic’s big men other than Howard. I even saw Gourtat triple teamed away from the ball?

  39. Reed – Very true. It’s off-topic, but I’m eagerly awaiting what Kupchak will pull off in this year’s draft. Javaris may be a bust, but at the time we all loved the pick, he came in handy in netting us Pau without giving up Farmar, and the draft is a crapshoot anyway. Even the best GMs will have misses. Mitch has been one of the best at finding late picks that contribute, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he does this year.

    From TH: Foyle says the team now has a clear picture of what defensive rules the Lakers are using against Dwight Howard. Specifically, as Foyle sees it:
    * “If the guy who throws the ball in [to Howard] from the strong side cuts through, his defender starts the cut, then comes back and doubles.”
    * “If [Howard] goes to the middle, the point guard comes to double.” (David Thorpe points out that Derek Fisher will do this even from all the way across the court, which is exceedingly rare.)
    * “If [Howard] goes to the baseline and tries to spin back, there’s always somebody there to catch the spin.”

    They probably saw this after Game 2, but if the Magic have gotten better at reading the double, it might be a good idea to double less and stay with the shooters (as Zephid suggested last game) just to keep him off balance.

  40. Sir Helin,

    Are you still on twitter? For some reason @forumblueandgold does not exist on there.

    And we all know that if you don’t exist on twitter, you are a meaningless void.

    –CA

  41. Prediction: Sasha will come up big with a couple of timely three-pointers tonight, and we’ll all be crowing about PJ’s genius for sticking with him.

    Ok, that’s probably not going to happen, but PJ is sticking with him anyway.

  42. Never mind, you’re back.

  43. I’m stil there on twitter but it is @forumbluegold. No And or &. Twitter wouldn’t let me do it when it was getting set up.

  44. lmao Hollinger roasted a chatter:

    Jeremy (Des Moines): Come on, Boston beat LA how many times in the finals? Like 9 out of 11 or something? That right there should be BIG bonus points.

    John Hollinger: So it’s LA’s fault that when they had Shaq and Kobe they couldn’t play Boston in the Finals because the Celtics weren’t good enough to get there?

    Very true. So much gets made of the head-to-head Finals record, but the simple fact is that the Lakers franchise has been more consistently great than any other, with the fewest lottery years of any comparable franchise.

  45. Here’s one other thing from that chat that sobered me a bit. As Laker fans, we have so much to be grateful for:

    Quinn (Phoenix): So, do I get to see a Suns Championship in my lifetime? Already invested 30 years…

    John Hollinger: Unfortunately, in a 30-team league your chances of a championship in any given time frame are pretty low.

    Being in contention this many years, each of us getting to witness multiple titles in our lifetime…not something to be taken for granted. And it’s why, like Kurt always says, you’ve got to enjoy the ride there.

  46. wthell Mike trudell tweeted that rihanna and chris brown might be at the game tonight

    WTF RIHANNA DONT MESS UP WITH ANDREW’s PSYCHE EVEN MORE!!

    hahahha I hope andrew shows off and plays better;]

  47. Holy cow, I never realized that before (@forumbluegold not having “and”). It’s a brain thing.

    Also, I’m very dumb.

  48. New game thread post up.

  49. There will be lots of Superman capes at the game tonight (see below). If there is a game 6 in LA and since Kobe et al is the Kryptonite, let’s get some glowing green lights in the hands of our fans pronto!!!!!!
    “ If you’re watching the NBA finals tonight, you’ll get a chance to see the 13,000 red capes ePromos manufactured for Orlando Magic fans. The capes were produced for EA Sports to show support for their NBA Live 10 cover star Dwight “Superman” Howard. At ePromos, we were excited to work on such a high-profile promotion, which actually required a little magic on our part. We produced the capes from scratch overseas in just four days and flew them in for tonight’s game where ePromos guerilla marketing partner, The Street Factory Media, is making sure they get into the Magic fans’ hands outside the stadium.”

  50. Snoopy,
    For some reason I decided to read some comments after the Hollinger article. I know most of the people who write those comments are probably 11 years old, but the biggest argument besides for the head-to-head was that Boston won all those titles in an 8 team league. And that it was harder then then it is now, because each team had more talent. It couldn’t be anything further from the truth. As Hollinger was saying, it’s almost 4 times as hard now because we have 30 teams and not 8. The interesting thing is, they completely ignore the fact that the Celtics haven’t won as much, even though there are more teams. If it’s so much easier as they are stating, then surely they should have won more, and not have been absolutly irrelevant for 2 dacades.

  51. I’m sure tomorrow Henry Abbott will have a post up detailing the psychology behind the new ‘gum-chomping’ Kobe Bryant.

  52. to #11

    I omitted Al Jefferson b/c he is a PF, not a true center. He can’t do things that Drew is capable of…blocking shots, altering shots, dominating boards.

    that being said, of course you’d rather have one of the leagues premier scoring PFs on your team than a developing young center. but you can’t have everything.

    and besides, big Al has been on the couch for a few months now. you could argue that he may not see the same upside ever again after the ACL tear.