Lakers/Thunder: Game 1 Chat

Darius Soriano —  April 18, 2010

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We’re finally here…

Game one of the Lakers’ title defense is upon us.  This is what we’ve all been waiting for since October and we finally get to see how this team will play in the games that truly do matter (not to say that the regular season doesn’t matter, but you get my point).  We’ve already gone over the major keys to this series when the Thunder are on offense and did the same for the Lakers, so at this point there’s little else to say about this match up.  It’s now time for the games to be played and for questions to be answered based off what these teams do on the court.

Speaking of being on the court, the Lakers have a couple of players that won’t be on it tomorrow.  We already know that Sasha is out indefinitely with his severely sprained ankle.  But, the Lakers will also be without the services of DJ Mbenga.  In Saturday’s practice, Mbenga got poked in the eye and had to have emergency laser surgery to repair the damage.   With the return of Bynum, DJ missing time has less of an impact on the team but this is still an issue that can affect the Lakers.  In the event that there are any issues with Pau and/or Bynum (foul trouble, fatigue, ineffectiveness), the Lakers will not have another Center to turn to and will need to play either Powell or Odom in the pivot.  That’s not exactly an ideal situation against a team that is very good on the offensive glass.  Hopefully it doesn’t come to that and both Pau and Bynum can trade off minutes at center and effectively make this a non issue.

But, again, that is something to look for when the game is played.  At this point, the contingencies are in place and all that is left to do is watch and see what happens.  Personally, I’m excited for what’s ahead; I love the playoffs – with the raised intensity and the extra meaning that is assigned each possession and game.  Saturday gave us some interesting contests that ultimately saw all four home teams win and wrap up a victory in that critical game one.  Hopefully, the Lakers can do the same today.

On a final note, I hope you all enjoy this as much as I will.  There are sure to be ups and downs, but every journey has them and while a championship destination is always the goal, the path to get there is what makes it special.  So, have fun and enjoy the ride.  The Lakers are defending their title, there couldn’t be a better time to be a fan.

Where you can watch: 12:00 noon start in the west on ABC.  Also on ESPN Radio 710am.

Darius Soriano

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215 responses to Lakers/Thunder: Game 1 Chat

  1. This one’s for Warren!
    Go Lakers…

  2. The boys from Queens will get down and dirty on defense tomorrow.

    Pau’s on a roll.

    Our starting center is back on the court.

    Fisher has been nothing but clutch in the off-season.

    Kobe Bryant.

    16 away from the parade down Fig!

  3. Oh man, the injuries…

    Did someone offend a gypsy, or step on every crack on the way home from school?

    Seriously, I feel like we need a live chicken, a bottle of YooHoo and a box of Ho-Hos to get rid of the curse.

    All right. Get and stay healthy the rest of the way.

    Go Lakers.

  4. after everything … im optimistic

    It’s showtime guys

  5. DJ’s injury could have been a lot worse.

    Here’s some info on retinal hole injuries.

    And the treatment:
    Cryotherapy is a procedure that uses nitrous oxide to freeze the retina, sealing any holes or tears. A freezing probe is placed on the outside of the eye next to the tear. This bonds the tissue together. Laser photocoagulation generates thermal energy that creates a series of scars around the retinal tear. This creates a barrier around the tear so that progression is halted. These treatments cause little or no discomfort and are usually performed in-office by a retinal surgeon. Again, the determination of which treatment is optimal will depend on the location, type, and severity of the lesion. If the retinal hole or tear is detected early enough, these treatments usually prevent progression to a retinal detachment.

  6. Finally, game day. I don’t know about you cats, but it seems as if our last game took place over a month ago. Well 2day, “The Journey To Sixteen” begins.

    If healthy, I expect this to be a relatively simple, if not easy, series. 3 basic principles.

    1. INTERIOR PLAY: We need to pound the ball inside on a consistent basis. There’s no way that Jeff Green (too short) or Nenad Krstic (too slow & non athletic) can match up with our bigs (if Drew is healthy). I like the energy that Ibaka brings to the table for them, but it’s not anything that a focused & aggressive L.O. can’t counter.

    2. KOBE: The Mamba needs to play within the offense & not let his ego/pride get the best of him and turn this into a personal duel against The Durantula. Taking into consideration that Thabo is a good defender, who doesn’t go for the pump fakes, Kobe will better benefit us this series with the QUALITY of shots that he takes, instead of the QUANTITY. Hopefully, he’s the primary facilitator of the offense & then picks his spots to strike.

    3. TURNOVERS: We have to play smart basketball. By this I mean running our sets and controlling the tempo of the game, which in turn, cuts down on the amount of turnovers we have. The Thunder are an inexperienced team that has trouble scoring on a disciplined defensive set. Mainly because they have no interior offense. They’re primarily a jump shooting team. Therefore, the easiest way for them to create offense is off of turnovers, in which they can use their athleticism & speed to their advantage (especially @ home). Keep our TO’s to a minimum & there’s no possible way that they can outscore us in a half court game.

    LAKERS IN 5.

  7. Tra copy and paste would’ve worked better

  8. As much as I hate the Celtics, I feel a bit for them last year. You just want a healthy team to defend your title. Injuries are part of the game, but you just feel a little ripped off – like you didn’t have a fair shot at defending your crown.

  9. since there is again talk of Kobe not playing within the offense and all, isn’t it safe to confirm PJ’s a while back in his book: the Mamba is ‘uncoachable’?
    please dont torch me. just a kid asking a question

  10. Chownoir (was J) April 18, 2010 at 8:25 am

    I wish it truly was a month since the last game and given everyone a chance to heal.

    @#8 Snoopy, I don’t feel at all for the C’s. They’ve had way too much luck in the past with funny ball bounces etc. It just seems like most Laker championship contending teams have had major injuries that affected them at bad times. Injuries beyond the usual banged up ones.

    I will forever believe Lakers would have won the 1st Chicago championship if Worthy’s ankle wasn’t sprained. It completely chained the complexion of that series allowing him to be single guarded.

  11. Anybody know a link to this game online? I’m all the way in Peru and won’t be able to watch!
    Any help with this will be greatly appreciated!!!!

  12. peruvian…when the game starts go to channelsurfing dot net. that should help you out


    check the links when the game comes on :]

  14. I would feel sorry for the Celtic if they were more professional instead of annoying pricks

  15. @ #7 Don: What’s your point?

  16. This should be a good series. I don’t dislike the Thunder the way I do the Trail Blazers or Nuggets. I respect their team and like the way they go about their business…but we gotta knock them out!

  17. LET’S GO L.A.!!!!

    Throwing away my razor, putting the flags on my car, letting the playoff mane flow free… it’s winning time!

  18. 17. I threw away my razor a couple weeks ago, but only because I’m lazy.

  19. I for one would like to see Kobe play within the offense but I’d he DOESN’T it’s because Pau is gettin man handled, Drew in foul trouble, Artest and Odom ineffective, Fish throwing up bricks, and the bench ABSENT. So of couse with Kobe’s will to win he’s gonna take shot after shot till we win. You guys don’t scream win he bails us out with those 40 shots and we win. Only when we lose and Kobe shoots over 20 shots there seems to be a problem. Yes Mamba can be a FACILITATOR only if the facilitatees SCORE. If not I beg Mamba to take over.

    Imagine a game where:

    Pau goes 10-25, 5-8, 10 rebounds 25pts

    Odum 5-12, 2-4, 15 rebounds 13 pts

    Bynum 9-20, 4-5, 7 boards 22 points

    Artest: 6-14, 2-3, 4 R’s, 5 assits, 15pts

    Fish: 4-12, 2-2, 4 assits, 10pts

    bench: 4-15, 2-4, 4 assits 10 pts

    Kobe: 9-15, 3-4, 10 assits 21 pts

    AND We LOSE 116-125!

    Mamba facilitator!

    Please we need Kobe to do WHATEVER it takes to win! I’d that means 40 shots so what! If that means take only 10 shots that’s great because obviously other guys are scoring. I don’t want to see a boring game feeding the post all day and we still be down big on the score board. We are not on the floor with the guys they know what they need to do before and during the game. And sometimes things change.

    I don’t want Kobe going cold trying to babyfy the post. Than we look for him to vailbus out dien the stretch. That’s not fair to him. So please let our leader LEAD! Kobe knows what to do.

    See u after the win!!!!

  20. #19. I think you need to take your blinders off and appreciate the nuance of the game more. Kobe is undeniably fantastic, but he’s not infallible. There will be games where others are not up to standard and Kobe’s extra efforts will be needed. However, in this series his advantage is not as great as what exists for others.

  21. I hope these guys come out playing like they’re trying to redeem themselves from an embarrassing 39pt blow out against your arch rivals, on the biggest stage of the world.

    Here’s to hungar!

  22. Thank you Darius. Also @ #19 Kobemoney: If we lose 125-116, trust me, it will have nothing to do with whether Kobe is the facilitator or the focal point of the offense. It would mean, as a team, we played no defense.

  23. I’m so excited, I’m excited to see my boi Drew tearing it up. The thunder are my 2nd favorite team and I totally said they would be title contenders last year, around the time they traded for Tyson Chandler (that didn’t fall through but still)

  24. Kobemoney. Ahhhh we need Kobe to do whatever it takes to win. If that means shot fine, if it means pass fine or defense fine. The flow of the game should tell him and Phil that, assuming he still listens to Phil .

    As for your chart above I would throw up if Fisher was 4 for 12. How about if he is 1 for 2 and takes 5 charges instead.

  25. From Beirut:

    I’m watching the game with several Americans, and Lebanon is definitely rooting for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers (though the other Americans aren’t). We’ve got two Mavs fans, a Cavs fan, and a suns fan. We’re all in the playoffs, but I’ve got my “24>23 YOU DO THE MATH” Free Darko T.

    Should be a fun series. Here’s to the Lakers pulling this out in dominant fashion.

  26. I couldn’t sleep last night…second season starts in 23min!

    This is Ron-Ron time. This is why we got him. The season was to teach him the triangle and get him acclimated. He is here for the slowed down playoff style basketball. There is a reason the Durantula is scoring is 4th lowest against the Lakers. Here’s to my belief that we are a better team than last year.

    The biggest impact of DJ’s injury will be felt if Drew has some lingering effects, whether pain or conditioning. The fact that we have him starting is a very good sign.

    I left the thread last night during the middle of the Denver game and didn’t post it…but did anyone see the Utah Fans of Carmelo Anthony commercial? What was that? Darius, any insight? I think at the bottom of the commercial it said paid for by Jordan, is that marketing on their part? It was odd…

    Very excite! ; )

  27. Kobemoney

    Maybe the reason he needed to bail us out is because he took 40 shots? I complain either way if kobe shoots 20+ shots more than anyone on the team.

    No one will be able to handle Pau and Bynum in the post in this series. Give it to them all day, even if they aren’t hitting right away, keep feeding them the ball. OKC won’t be able to stop them in the post. The line you put for Pau is the line he’s been giving us the past 3 weeks so that’s not going to be out of the question. Pau has been our best player the past few weeks, lets reward him.


  29. Slow it down and grind it out. These young boys will get impatient!

  30. they are playing the right way for now

  31. Artest is THE MAN on defense. As I say this he hits a reverse layup, good stuff indeed.

  32. Fisher please don’t start firing away.

  33. Itll be interesting to see how westbrook plays and how aggressive he is. Major mismatch with Fish guarding him, but he didn’t exactly storm to the finish.

  34. I like what I’m seeing.

  35. I would say that first move by Kobe looked better than anything he did the entire last 1/3 of the season. Fresh legs, lift. He had the flare and got to the rim. Very promising.

  36. Good start. only 1 bad shot so far, everything else down by the paint. I like it.

    Ron Artest looks energetic. Bynum looks ok running but worried about his cardio. We have so many post options in this series: Pau and Bynum v. Anyone; Artest v. Durant; Kobe v. Anyone. Don’t need any jump shots at all!

  37. You can’t really blame Fisher for taking those shots; he was wide open on both. It’s just unfortunate that he didn’t hit them.

    Otherwise, we’re playing good on defense and offense, but we all knew that was going to happen in the 1st quarter; it’s when the bench comes in that will be more important.

  38. Zephid, you are right. that second shot he was open. So i change my post. No bad shots so far.

  39. If the Lakers run their offense this way for the rest of the playoffs we might go 16-0.

    So far, so perfect.

    Even the two misses by Fisher were good looks, with teammates under the basket with chances to rebound.

    Nice move by Kobe there too.

    LOVE the way Bynum looks so far. Tell me again why we don’t need him?

  40. We need more high-low action. OKC is fronting the post and we need to take advantage of that.

  41. the other stephen April 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    hehe, apparently, “vailbus out dien” is latin for “bail us out in.”

  42. Layup count: Fisher 1, Westbrook 0.

    How long do u think that will last??


  43. Way to go Bynum send the ball back

  44. Bynum looks really good so far.

  45. “Block by Bynum”, I like the way that sounds.

  46. I said yesterday, jump for rebounds! If the Lakers stand flat footed these young boys are going to jump all over the Lakers back and get every rebound!

  47. Bynum’s forearm shiver. Please control yourself. I was thinking how stupid KG was for last night’s antics, because if he gets suspended and MIA steals one in Boston, it’ll be on him.

  48. #40. Zephid,
    When Odom comes into the game, I think we’ll see more of that high low action. LO is the best flasher of everyone and plays that pressure release role the best of all our bigs. When Krstic fronts Pau, it will be LO flashing to the FT line and they can play their two man game better than Pau/Bynum.

  49. Oh man! Bynum is going to be a true impact this post season. I like that shot to Green as long as there was no stupid call on it. Shows we mean business. Tighten down the D’, try to keep the game in the half court, and execute.

    Lookin’ good Lakeshow

  50. Where was this crisp offensive execution all season?

  51. Everyone ok with Fisher so far this game? I want to give him praise just in case something happens in the next 3 quarters.

  52. My God look at James Harden’s beard, it’s like it’s going to eat Kobe’s face

  53. Isn’t it amazing what happens when we make outside shots?!

  54. Lakers playing really solid defense, keeping every body in front of them. Good sign.

  55. “Who called that timeout, Lamar?” – PJ

    Shaw – “Ya”

    PJ – shakes his head and smiles…

  56. Zirk: The outside shooting was created by the inside game.

    When your perimeter defenders are forced to keep an eye on the post to be able to help with doubles, then your outside shots are going to have that little bit more separation.

    Very important.

  57. Maynor the rookie should get no calls!

  58. Blow these cowboys out!

  59. Farmar, bounce pass please. When help comes over, you bounce pass to the open man.

  60. Jordan Farmar has poor performances against teams with ex-Bruins. It seems as though he’s always trying to prove that he’s still the man!

  61. So quick thoughts. Good defense + Force feeding the post = success. Opens up everything.

    Defense on 3



    UCI representing in the NBA….

  63. Doesn’t seem to be any ability to get the ball in the post with the group on the floor right now.

  64. Farmar and Brown come in, and our offense falls apart. This is why Fisher is important.

  65. That wasn’t an offensive foul by Durant, into Artest’s chest? Come on, now!

  66. Even the shot Brown took that went in was out of rhythm, behind the backboard. Not running the offense well with this unit. The ball should be in LO’s hands more with this squad.

  67. I like the timeout by Phil

  68. Fisher comes back in, and immediately a big guy gets the ball in the post.

    And 1

  69. YEAH, Pau Gasol 1 (or 2) and then 1. Next Bynum with a powerful two handed DUNK. He is back strong it looks like.

  70. BYNUM Looks PUMPED!!

  71. Does this feel good? I’m yelling at my tv, this is Laker basketball!

  72. Throw it down big fella! Throw it down!

  73. BYNUM!!!!!

  74. Finally.

    I haven’t been able to get excited for this team all year, but Bynum and co. are getting me fired up now.

  75. Bynum with the slam dunk. his is looking good

  76. Fisher comes back in, magically our offense starts working again.

  77. Can I get an OH MY GOODNESS?


    Andrew is a BEAST.

    That dunk was fantastic!

  78. I hope everyone realizes how important Bynum is now, he has way too many haters.

  79. that dunk was shaq-like!

  80. WOW

    Great pass by Kobe with a fake to Pau… Perfect

  81. Kobe left Fisher out to dry there on the break. In fairness, when is the last time we saw a Fisher-Kobe break?

  82. Bynum dunk and 1, this is just great basketball today and I am having a ball with it.

  83. If the Lakers keep this up and win big, I can see all the bandwaggoners jumping onboard again. You know the same ones who said that we wouldn’t win this year because BLAH BLAH BLAH…

    Of course, one win (if we win) doesn’t cure all the problems nor gurantee a title, but great teams like the Lakers do have extra gear that they can turn on when it is needed. Is it a switch they can turn it on or off anytime they want to? I don’t know, but the Lakers can play this game more beautifully than any team in recent memory when they are healthy and motivated.

  84. Man-child, Bynum! I just wish that we had Chick Hearn, around! Congratulations, on the bronze statute Chick Hearn.

  85. How beautiful is this?

    I still claim that this is the most talented team in basketball. Cavs better watch out..

  86. I can’t stop staring at Nenad Krstic’s massive balding.

  87. The Lakers are getting sloppy with the passes! Oklahoma is not disconcerted they are within striking distance!

  88. I want Pau and Odom to spend an afternoon watching game tapes of Bynum’s finishes!

    Dunk it! Take it strong to the rim. Force the referees to give you the call!

  89. Pau can’t get an entry pass…

  90. Ron needs to make those

  91. Westbrook is just killing our D

  92. @92 – I knew he would, what I didn’t know was that Artest would be a borderline liability on the offensive end…

  93. At the end of the 2nd quarter, we went away from the post and started running too much pick and roll and dribble driving. Missed shots led to Russell Westbrook getting opportunities in semi-transition, and he will burn our defense every time it isn’t set.

    So far, we’ve kept Durant off the line and forced the Thunder into turnovers. Getting more of our shots closer to the rim will cause fewer long rebounds and fewer transition opportunities for the much more athletic Thunder.

  94. Zephid,

    Correct me if I am wrong, but it just seems to be an inability to make the entry pass even if Pau has it sealed… Pau touched the ball in the post only 2 times during that quarter. Need to refocus and just throw the ball inside.

  95. If pau and odom finished strong at the rim and artest and fisher made more open 3s, this’d easily be a 20 point lead. Well, as long as they play the same, it shouldn’t bite them in the ass today.

  96. Odom and Gasol are playing soft. Odom has been a complete non factor. Fisher is taking way too many shots 3-11. 11 shots in 1 half for the 5th option on offense. Artest isn’t knocking down open 3’s. And whenever the bench has stepped in the lead diminished. Overall giving them confidence and Westbrook is 5-7. This is all leading up to a disappointment. I hope I’m wrong. But this isn’t looking to good.

    But Bynum looks great. Everyone kept saying Bynum is coming back is important because Odom gets to go back to the bench. No Bynum coming back is important because he’s better and wayyyyyyy more consistent than lamar odom.

  97. Terrible ending to a good 1st half …. Should be up by more than 8 …. Fisher & Ron building a house with amount of bricks they’re putting up …. Excellent containment of Durant and Westbrook (@ least until the end of the 1st half, as far as Westbrook is concerned) …. Gotta shoot the ball much better in the 2nd half from the perimeter

  98. #97. I’m not sure you’re watching the same game as everyone else. I’d say more, but I don’t think it will matter if what you typed is actually what you saw when you watched the first half.

  99. Nice piece on lamar odom….Now can we see this lamar in the second half.

  100. 95, I think it’s both. First off, Farmar and Brown are just horrible at throwing entry passes, so even when Pau has been open he hasn’t gotten passes. But also Pau needs to get deeper position. He got a little frustrated early when the Thunder were fronting, but we worked in the high-low game and started getting entries. If Pau can create more space between himself and the entry passer, he can widen the passing space and make it easier for his guards.

    I’m enjoying this game. The Lakers are playing good defense and running the offense (most of the time). So long as we get back to what worked, we can hold off this Thunder team. Pau’s jumper still looks good, and Bynum is dominant on both ends.

  101. How is Pau playing soft??? Just cuz he doesn’t dunk all the time doesn’t make him soft.

  102. If Lamar and Gasol continue playing like non-factors the Lakers will lose! Pau played the last 15 or so games of the season like a man possessed. Then he comes out the first game of the playoffs with no passion! Similar but from the opposite spectrum; Lamar had been invisible the last 15 games of the season and then he starts the playoffs, flat!

    Lamar has to find his rhythm coming in off the the bench after starting for the past month. But it doesn’t bode well for him that even as a starter he had been invisible!

    So, the Lakers bench is still AWOL! But, really did we expect anything different! Changes needed to be made prior to the deadline, they were not. So, we’ll have to live with the ups and downs that they provide. Praying that there are more ups than downs!

  103. ReignOnParades April 18, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Phil please stop matching up Fish’s minutes with Westbrook’s

    Russ burns everyone. That’s OK.

    What’s not OK is Fish getting outmuscled. His strength is his… strength as SS&R pointed out and if he doesn’t have that he doesn’t have anything.

  104. Durant has 10 points on 4-12 shooting, and 1-2 from the line. With the addition of his 5 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists, Artest is doing just fine.

  105. I think our outside shooting gave us some false separation. If we go back to getting the ball low, good things happen. Also, we can’t let up – this team is young and athletic and can make 6-0 type runs quickly if we let them. A good, but not great, first half. And Bynum – wow – if he continues to play like this and can get his conditioning up to 30-35 minutes we can do some wondrous things in the real season. Go Lakers!!

  106. Artest has got to stop shooting 3s

  107. Artest has been missing shots, but he’s playing excellent D on Durant…and he’s only taken 5 shots, so he’s not hogging.

    Fish is getting torched by Westbrook, and he’s jacked up 11 shots (only making 3).

    Fish is actively taking things off the table. Seriously. There is no way he should have more shots than Pau, Bynum, and Kobe.

  108. the lakers are beating themselves

  109. And by the way, Lamar hasn’t scored, but he’s done positive things out there (defense, rebounding, passing).

    Don’t blame Lamar.

  110. Wow. Haven’t seen Kobe block a shot like that in a looooong time.

  111. I’m sorry, are the Lakers up in this game right now? Cuz the last few posts, seems like we are down 8…

    Sad that the only person who makes the entry pass into the post is Gasol into Bynum…

  112. If somebody thinks Gasol is a non-factor – he’d better think about Marc Gasol. Pau has so far 12 rebounds in 26 minutes. Plus two blocks and more assists than turnovers. He’s one of the main reasons Lakers are ahead.

  113. I’ve noticed through the season that Artest has a pretty money 20ft Jumper. Maybe he should give a pump fake like Fisher does at times to shake the defender closing out on him and then take a step inside the arch for a closer shot. I don’t care if they’re 2’s or 3’s as long as Artest starts to convert.

  114. Westbrook is killing the lakers…specifically Fisher

  115. Is it me or does Westbrook look like a ninja turtle? o.0

  116. This is one boring quarter

  117. I am in a good spot right now, I am not really worried about the Lakers losing game 1 of the Playoffs this series at all. They have some problems, but they will work it out, I am sure.

  118. Man. Pau is soft. He only has 13 points on 50% shooting and 12 rebounds and 3 assists.

  119. 110. Lamar hasn’t played an ounce of defense. I don’t know what game your were watching in the first half. He wasn’t contesting any shots in the paint when he was in the game. That’s why phil took odom out and put bynum back in so quickly in the second quarter. Bynum never checks in twice in the second quarter. Josh Powell has checked in the game so far. That should tell you how well Odom has played.

  120. And Darius, I meant Lamar and Gasol were playing soft defense when Bynum went out. They were not getting defensive rebounds and they were getting offensive rebounds but not finishing strong. And as I typed that Lamar didn’t contest that shot in the paint. Thats soft.

  121. That’s it Pau! I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize that you had 12 REBOUNDS, and now 15 points. My bad!

  122. Brown’s got a chance to show his worth if he can take out Westbrook.

  123. Great stat: Durant only 3 FT.

  124. Let’s see what our bench players can do today, Shannon has a good start. As I say this LO cuts and banks it in, good job.

  125. Has Lamar every blocked a shot? He’s 6’10” for Pete’s sake!

  126. My bad, shouldn’t have said anything about his free throws

  127. Yup, it’s all your fault.

  128. Pau is having a really quiet and good game. I’m glad his knocking down his jumpshot i just hope he doesn’t just settle for the the 17 foot shot with a 4 inch height advantage over Green.

  129. Wake up phil put kobe on westbrook

  130. Ladies and Gentleman, I’d like to introduce you to a Laker Bench… that actually increased a lead.

  131. Great, after a Farmar 3, we are back to a double-digit lead again, I can breath easier now.

  132. Farmar with a big 3 to extend the lead and the bench contributes just a little bit more

  133. This game is gonna stay close though, I dont think we are gonna blow them out now

  134. You have to give a lot of credit to Krstic, Collison, and Ibaka. They’re working hard as hell in the post to defend against Gasol and Bynum, fronting and poking balls away from the side.

  135. Third shot clock violation of the game. Solid team defense all around.

  136. SSZ! It’s the SSZ! Phil did it! He’s sprung the trap!

  137. Durant looks out of it. Nice double team by Phil and Artest.

  138. Nice airball KD, we need more of those (the Lakers that is) from you. As I write again, Artest with the jump ball on KD.

  139. when we have Luke taking 2 one hand shots back to back shots down the court, you know our offense is going bad

  140. Does lamar ever jump to contest shots?

  141. Come on Luke, settle down! Two bonehead plays on offense just costed us spreading out our double digit lead. Airballed an Ammo esque point blank floater. Come on man!

    Bynum with only his second foul. Great stat.

  142. 4 missed FTs by Kobe… Remembering the Portland game now.

  143. Thats how you contest shots. Thank you bynum

  144. how was that jeremy?

  145. Bynum defensively: No layups. What a great sign for this playoff.

  146. Ray, like 5,6 plays back Luke airballed a runner 10 feet out and then the next play he was in the paint pointblank, uncontested and flipped up an airball. Am I the only one that saw that?

  147. I am irritating everyone around me. Do not shoot fis or ron. Ever! Get pau in the game!

  148. jeremy, i saw it. I also saw a couple of good entry passes, and an assist to farmar. Luke being in for 5 minutes without losing a lead is a plus to me right now. So I dont want to nitpik on those small things.

    But yah, i saw that airballed floater.

  149. Bynum was out 10 seconds before Okc got a uncontested layup.

  150. Oh man, is anyone else kind of sweating out this game now with me? I am on the edge of my chair about now. Only a 6 point lead, but KD misses another shot, and then Gasol with an OR.

  151. Zephid,

    It looks like Pau isn’t pushing for position to get a good look on an entry pass. We need to re-establish the post offensively.

  152. Why go away from what works?

    Get the ball into the post!

  153. Time to bench Kobe. He has to stop shooting.

  154. 151. The only one that has played in the post is Bynum and he’s not in the game!

  155. 155, conditioning. Bynum even said he was crazy tired at the end of the 1st half, so that’s probably the case now.

    152, this is the case at the end of most games. Kobe starts calling Gasol out of the post and into the PNR. I wouldn’t mind it so much if we had better weak side movement for rebounding position, but at this point, Kobe isn’t going to change.

  156. Craig Hodges has his work cut out for him as shooting coach. This team simply has no consistent perimeter threat to make teams pay for clogging the lane.

  157. Bynum and Gasol: 13 for 23 FGs, 2-4 FTs, 28 combined points.

    Bryant, Fisher, Artest: 12 for 40 FGs, 6-10 FTs, 35 combined points.


    The Derek Fisher experience: No No No NO! YES! No no no… That was a bad shot Derek, but a nice make.

  158. Pau has a pretty good height mismatch inside against Collisson.


  159. Fisher drains a 3, oh no it was a 2, but I will take it anyway.

  160. I could seriously hear Ken on Fisher’s last shot:

    “NOOOO YES!!!”

  161. It sounds really cliché, but to me it looks like Fish has stepped up his game just in time for the play-offs.

    And yeah, they should go more inside.

    Edit: And by stepped up, I don’t mean that he’s turned into an all-star or anything, but still.

  162. Once again poor execution down the stretch

  163. joel relax. We won. And our defensive execution was top notch.

    OKC doesn’t have enough talent to match up with us, especially if Bynum is healthy.

  164. Very good game on the defensive end. Ron will knock down more than 1/8, but did play extremely well on KD. Fish played well. Kobe shot poorly and we had a 7pt cushion the whole game. Drew will work on his conditioning. This was one of our better games in the past two months; stop hating. A playoff win is a good win.

    15 left.

  165. Lakers win. One down 15 to go

  166. Way……to…….grind……it…….out…….

  167. Yes, congratulations Lakers on the Win, 3 more to go in this series, let’s get a sweep why don’t we?

  168. Good things to take out the game…Defense and Bynum. The lakers are simply a defensive team. They need to rely and feed off their defensive for the rest of these playoffs.And I didn’t know the lakers were 18th in fg% wow that’s terrible. It was also good to see Farmar and Brown play well.

  169. Good game by the Lakers with both positives and negatives to look at.

    What were the keys going into the series?

    1.) Hold Durant to the 1-1 point to shot attempt ratio.
    2.) Control Russell Westbrook
    3.) Force turnovers and keep the game close, let the Thunder kill themselves.

    As far as defending Durant goes, we can’t really expect too much better. Sure, he got to the line 11 times, but he also took 24 shots for 24 points, keeping him at exactly 1-1 points to shot attempts. Props to Artest and also the Lakers as a team for really forcing Durant into contested jumpers.

    Russell Westbrook exploded for 23 points on 10-16 shooting, most coming during a late 2nd quarter, early 3rd Thunder run. Part of this was Fish’s inability to stay in front, but a lot of it had to do with the Lakers missing shots which led to transition opportunities for the Thunder. Long jumpers led to long rebounds which led to Westbrook getting a full head of steam and blowing by the entire Laker team.

    And while we didn’t force a lot of turnovers, the game was close and the Thunder ended up making critical mistakes late in the game. Green’s travel and Collison’s foul on Gasol really gave the Lakers two possessions which turned the game. The Thunder showed some poise, coming back from their 1st quarter whomping, but they are still a young team and will make mistakes when pressured.

  170. What I just don’t understand is, that the Lakers have one outstanding shooter, Craig Hodges and one okay shooter Chuck Person “Rifleman” as coaches, yet the Lakers can not shoot!

    Could someone please explain.

  171. Got to love the defense, and love the way Bynum played, and how quietly awesome Gasol is.

    All that said, this team’s offensively stubborn tendencies must drive the coaching staff nuts.

    If the Lakers played boring, clock control, post game offense the majority of their possessions other teams would never have a chance.

  172. chearn:

    Those guys don’t play.

    I’m hoping for a film study that shows how often we threw it inside in the first quarter. WE scored really well in that first quarter and when we went away from it is when the lead went to 6. Lakers need to do it a lot better the next few games. But it’s good to have something to work on.

    Lakers got outscored in the paint in this game, and that really shouldn’t happen with our size advantage.

    Ron Artest playing great defense.

  173. MAKE SHOTS! MAKE SHOTS! MAKE SHOTS! It’s pretty simple! Cuz at the end of the day, that’s what this game comes down to. Putting the little round orange ball in the basket. So just do it! I don’t care if it’s a layup or a 20-footer. I don’t care if comes from good offense or bad offense. A WIDE OPEN shot is a WIDE OPEN shot! Period! I don’t expect anyone to make 100% of their shots, but I do feel that an NBA player should be able to make WIDE OPEN shots on a FAIRLY consistent basis. That’s not asking for too much.

    Today, we played hard and with effort. For the most part, we played smart. And we played solid D for most of the day, hence the 79 pts and 40% shooting for OKC. But we only scored 87 pts. on 41% shooting! 87! This game should have been a blowout. And it would have if we could just make shots! Shoot anywhere near 50% and we win this game going away. This has been a weakness all season long, as evidenced by being 18th in the league in FG%.

    Of course, the important thing is the W. But with as well as we played today in other areas of the game, we could have made things so much easier on ourselves if we could just shoot the damn ball! Hey, if someone told me that we’ll definitely win the title shooting this poorly, of course I would take it! But I’m concerned that our horrendous shooting may end up hurting us as we continue to advance and play better teams. I certainly hope not. Maybe we’ll get hot for the rest of the playoffs. We’ll see…

  174. Closer then it should have been but OK. As good as Ron was on defense his shot is really bad. Fisher and were 7 for 23 and its tough to win when 40% of your starters are shooting 30%.

    Also eed to put Kobe on Westbrook.

  175. Your right Ray I did say that. He was 4 for 12 but hit the really big shot. Lot of Lakers fans here who don’t much like me right now.

    I win is a win and durent really has to really be thinking about how bad he shot. 3 airballs.

    Going to be a 6 game series if Ron dosen’t know down those open shots.

  176. Ken, im ok with fisher on westbrook. I have no problem with westbrook scoring like crazy so long as he’s the only option, which is what happened today.

  177. Gotta love the Lakers fans that complain even when the win comes. This was a hard fought game where both teams played good defense (outside of the first quarter for the Thunder). The Lakers could have made more shots, but along the same lines missing shots (just like making them) builds on itself. There will be games where you don’t find your comfort level and the shots just don’t fall. And with Ron, not only do I think that was the case, but we’re also asking him to focus 100% on defense for every second that he’s in the game and do so against the league’s premier scoring threat. Sure, I’d like for some of those shots to go in, but it takes a special, special player to do it on both ends the way that many fans want Artest to. There’s a reason that Phil has often put Kobe on weaker offensive players (just like he did with MJ). It’s hard work chasing around elite scorers by fighting through screens. The amount of focus it takes to do that effectively can drain a player. And while I understand that Ron’s been cold of late and this performance fits right in with how he’s been shooting recently, today it didn’t matter. A win is a win and the Lakers wouldn’t have gotten credit for more than one ‘W’ if they’d won by 50 points. There are things to improve on (we’ll touch on them in the recap), but I’m happy right now.

  178. It amazing that Brooks went away from Westbrook the last quarter. At one point he has scored 17 or the last 19 points OKC scored. Bad coaching or better defense?

  179. They’re still out of synch, you can tell.

    One win doth not a playoff make.

    Game 2 is the most important in a 7 game series.

    Let’s see how they do Tuesday.

    Important win, it was vital they get that first one out of the way.

  180. Dick,

    you still sticking to your prediction yes?

  181. #180. Dick Barnett,
    I would argue that game one is the most important game in a series. Especially in a series in which Phil Jackson is the coach. In the 44 times Phil Jackson’s team has won the first game of the series he’s 44-0. He’s 7-8 when his team loses the first game. This is now series #45 where he’s done it. We’ll see if history holds true in this case, but that’s a lot of evidence speaking to how important this game was to OKC.

  182. Re putting Kobe on Westbrook: most of Westbrook’s damage came in transition, so it didn’t matter who was covering him. In the half court, Fish did just fine defending him. What I would like to see more of (as would everyone who watched) is continuous feeding of the post. OKC has no defense for Drew or Pau.

  183. Darius

    With Bynum back (and in good form) we weren’t supposed to have a hard fought game. We were supposed to dominate. If we are going to shoot like that (very low 40s) – we have no chance to repeat. None whatsoever.

    I could live with Bryant shooting 35% from the field – but not with Bryant shooting 35% from the field _and_ having 24 attempts. Maybe we are better off with Brown. He’s much worse player, but he’s using less possessions.

    Now I’m afraid. The defense was there, the effort was there – but the offense was offensive. I dontknow if we could improve it.

  184. Dick Barnett, Darius: ABC put a graphic up in the Cavs-Bulls game that 74% of Game 1 winners (in a 7 Game series) win the series since the 1980’s.

    That Jackson has managed 7-8 (A shade under 50%) when everyone else has managed just 26% is another indication of how good a coach he is, and how many good players he has had.

    Jackson has gotten to coach 3 of the 10 best players to ever lace them up. He knows how lucky he is.

  185. Dick,

    you still sticking to your prediction yes?

    If the Lakers win Game 2, my prediction is kaput. No way the Thunder come back from 0-2 down. Especially with all that youth.

    I knew if the Lakers could get Game 1 they would be in good shape. I didn’t think they would win Game 1 to be honest with you. They have just looked listless and out of sync all year, but they got the job done today.

    Darius, you have a good point. But, I am always afraid of statistics like that; there comes a time when the streak finally runs out. Let’s hope is isn’t this time.

    Overall, in a 7 game series, I still think Game 2 is more important than Game 1, and Game 4 is more important than Game 3.

  186. #184. Really TRad? This was supposed to be a blowout? Says who? You? Wilbon? Stu Scott? Someone from the LA times? I didn’t expect a blowout. I did think the Lakers would win and they did. Is that not enough?

    Like anything else in life, playing the expectations game with this Lakers team is dangerous. Wehn you expect too much, you will be let down. Every time. The Lakers are a very good team and today I think they showed some of the reasons why. But this is the playoffs and the other team happens to have some talent too. So, you can choose to see a bunch of negatives in this game, but I won’t. As I said, there are things to improve on but I’d much rather be the team up 1-0 and have a few things to improve on than be the team down in the series. That much, I do know.

  187. Trad

    why were we supposed to dominate? Bynum coming back from injury and Bryant coming back from injury I thought it was going to be a much closer game than it actually was.

    The offense was pretty much the same as we had all year, except for the first quarter. I hope the first quarter is how we play the rest of the playoffs

  188. #184. Really TRad? This was supposed to be a blowout? Says who? You? Wilbon? Stu Scott? Someone from the LA times? I didn’t expect a blowout.

    Couldn’t agree with you more Darius. This Thunder ballclub is very good, very hungry, and very young.

    If they can keep from getting overconfident, and keep improving, they will be dangerous for everybody next year.

  189. #186. Dick Barnett,
    I hear you on every streak ending at some point, but I’m not confident that this series would be the one. The Thunder’s typical advantage (Durant) isn’t as clear cut in this series and I really do think that OKC will need standout performances from KD and Russ along with a third player chipping in with a strong game to win a contest. And that will need to happen 4 times in the next 6 games (imo). Can it? Sure, I suppose. But it will be difficult. Against the Lakers, OKC does not have a lot of margin for error.

  190. I agree with your points, Darius. OKC does not have a lot of room for error.

    By the way, I really like your blog:

    It’s neat, attractive, and professional all the way. And your rules are fair and clear. I love talking basketball, and this is a great place to do it.

  191. And game 6 is more important than game 5…and game 7 is the most important ; )

    Sorry…couldn’t resist.

  192. I think we all need to realize that OKC won 50 games this year. This is not just some chopped liver playing out there. They have good players with good coaching.

    Are the players and coaches better than the Lakers? I don’t think so, but they are competitive.

    Stop complaining about the margin of victory. The ESPN guys on Sportscenter said it was an 8pt game that looked like a blowout. They never felt the Thunder ever really threatened the Lakers.

  193. And game 6 is more important than game 5…and game 7 is the most important ; )

    Sorry…couldn’t resist.

    No problem.

    But go ahead and look it up: Teams that win Games 2, 4, and 5 never lose a 7 game series, NEVER.

    Teams that win Games 1, 3, and 6 do on occasion.

  194. We are worried Darius because the Lakers wont even come close to to beating the Cavs or Magic if they dont step up their game. Yes, it was a good thing to win and I am proud of the tremendous effort that our team gave, but we still have to play better not only to beat the Cavs or Magic, but to at least make it to the finals. So bottom line is, we are happy we won, but we still arent satisfied.

  195. 195, as my Dad says whenever we play pool, “Why are you worrying about the next shot when you’re not going to make the first?” Let’s beat OKC first, then whoever we play in the 2nd round, then whoever we play in the conference finals. If we get through those three rounds, then let’s think about whoever we face in the Finals. Only the most spoiled fans in the world would be thinking about the Finals when we’re still in the first round.

  196. How can we expect a blowout against these Zombie Sonics? They’re young and athletic, have a point guard that gets into the paint easily, and feature the league’s scoring champ. The first two are characteristics of a team that will usually give us trouble, and the third certainly doesn’t hurt their cause. This is like a Blazers-Lite unit, except these guys have health too. This is a good warm-up series for us, and I fully expect at least 5 close games.

  197. #195. Joe,
    I’m with Zephid on this one. You’re worried about the Cavs or the Magic? That’s like worrying about your Final exams when you register for classes. The Finals are played in June. Today is April 18th. Let’s get some perspective.

  198. I think not being satisfied (as a fan) does our team and injustice today. We have been ridiculously spoiled to have followed this Laker team, not only this year and last, but as an entire franchise. We can always expect more, and we can always find fault in some facet of their game. This, though, prevents you from enjoying the win. Imagine we get swept the next four games…wouldn’t you hope, just a little bit, that you enjoyed a Game 1 win a little bit more? I’m starting to think that even in a Game 4 of the finals when we are up by 15 with 2:00 minutes left in the 4th, people will still be knocking our play.

    I keep seeing “this won’t be enough against the Cavs/Magic” etc…Well that is why we play the game. If we are fortunate enough to get to play one of those teams, it will mean we are in the finals and that we have beat three other VERY good Western Conference teams. There is no reason, again as a fan, to not appreciate Ws. The coaches will do their job of making adjustments and working on improving our play, but can we just say “nice win.” It was a well played game on the whole, and if we all take a second to step back and look at the bigger picture, this is one of the best performances we have had in the past two months. Remember the excitement we showed in the first half? When was the last time we saw that?

    Shouldn’t we be excited? Isn’t improved play what we are looking for as the playoffs start? Surely this was not the same lackluster play of the last two weeks. Take a second boys and girls…we won.

  199. @Trad

    Are you serious when you say maybe we should have Brown in the game instead of Kobe? You can’t possibly be serious!!! Without Kobe the Lakers are 8th seed in the west and out in first round. Get this point folks. WE NEED KOBE TO BE ON FIRE to win another RING! Don’t dare think we can beat Denver or the Spurs simply on the backs of Bynum and Gasol, perimeter shooting has to be effective so teams don’t clog the lanes huh?

    Oh well I liked the win and can’t wait till Tuesday.

  200. The Oklahoma City Thunder is a professional basketball team in the NBA, aren’t they? It will be a fun series for us to watch, nobody is going to give away the series, both teams will fight their best to win each and every game. The Lakers will prevail, bye the way, IMHO.

  201. I see what you guys are saying. We are very spoiled fans and expect so much more from this team. I mean, I stick to my main point, we need to play a little better, but I will try to just take one game at a time and just enjoy the journey more.

  202. Yes – that was a great first quarter by the Lakers – loved their play and i’m sure PJ isn’t showing his entire hand yet.

    I agree that we need to be happy and enjoy the wins. Orland was blowing out char and now they’re only up by 5. Every team is going to battle it out.

    Too bad that okur is out – seems like denver will have too much on them…but we can keep rooting for the jazz.

    i enjoyed the game but if we had one player that could hit an out side shot consistently – this team would be so hard to beat in 7. There are so many open looks that we miss.
    Watching the magic hit 3 after 3 – they’re scary.

  203. *Artest is a great defender
    *Kobe needs to guard Westbrook
    *Bynum is a difference maker


  204. Yes, with Lakers defense playing like that it _should_ be a blowout.

    As for Bryant – when was the last time he played a decent game? March 31, in Atlanta. Since then – he has iversonized. With him playing like that we haven;t the slightest chance to win with Nuggets or Spurs (and absolutely no chance to win with Magic or Cavs).

    Don’t tell me how good Bryant used to be – tell me how good is he playing in April. You know as well as I do that he was awfull. So yes, I’d rather take chance with more touches to Gasol, Bynum and Odom that with another 30+ possessions used by somebody shooting in low 30s.

    You want to believe that we’ve won the last season because of Kobe? Fine with me. But then if we lose this year – would you agree that we lose because of Kobe too?

  205. TRad,
    Again, why focus on teams that we’re not playing? And I don’t see anyone (besides KobeMoney – whose moniker should tell you where his allegiances lie) trying to say that Kobe was fantastic. But Kobe did do some things well today and didn’t settle nearly as much as Durant did. You’ll read more about that in the recap (coming soon – I promise), but #24 worked to get some good looks at the basket and didn’t play terribly even with his poor shooting percentage.

    There is merit to saying that the Lakers could be more post oriented, but to even say that this Lakers team would be better with Kobe sitting is taking things too far. As I mentioned in the series preview, one of the reasons that the Lakers are even as dangerous as they are is because of the threat that Kobe provides just by being on the court. Defenses scheme to slow him down and it opens up other players. You’ve got to try and see the bigger picture and not just throw out stats to make your point. Yes, the stats do tell us somethings, but they don’t tell us everything.

  206. @Trad It’s good to see another Laker fan who has an ounce of common sense. The excuse made for Kobe by Lakers fan is bordering on psychotic. Right now, Larry Huges is a better shooter. Is Kobe in the Top 10 of all time? Probably.

    The fact remains though is that he slowed considerably, can’t get to the rim and the Lakers played the best ball of the year without him. There should be a rule that he should not shoot over 18 times again. Lakers win this game by 20 if they pound it inside.

  207. @ Darius I don’t understand why everyone says that Kobe can’t change his mindset now? Really, isn’t that how great players adapt? The Lakers advantage over other teams is length with gasol, bynum and lamar and not perimeter play which the case could now be made that any team with LBJ, Wade, Melo are much better at due to the fact that they don’t shoot 32% every game like Kobe. Kobe being stubborn and uber-confident are his greatest strengths but also greatest weaknesses. It’s a shame he will never fully get “it” like Magic, Bird, Jordan and now LBJ.

  208. I don’t know about some of the negative comments here, but I, personally, liked what I saw: The OKC Thunder was just held to 79 points.
    For me, it doesn’t matter whether you play crap on the offensive end as long as you’ll commit to the defensive end. It’s like this: If you don’t score, then don’t let the other team score. The negative becomes positive then, and just like what happened, the Lakers although they played almost crap for the next 2 1/2 quarters, they still won the game. That’s what happens when defense is done.

  209. I have followed the Lakers since they drafted Jerry West, therefore, I certainly have seen all of Kobe Bryant’s career here.

    Has Kobe clearly been the best player in the last decade – decidedly. Is he the best player today – no!

    That said, he plays both sides of the ball very well and has adjusted his game a bit each year to remain one of the most dangerous players ever to lace up a pair of high tops (opps! sorry for appearing so old fashioned).

    This has been a very hard year for Kobe, but I doubt you could name any other player in history – save maybe Jerry West (with 9 broken noses) – who could continue to play effective ball with the shooting finger of his shooting hand broken. Not Michael Jordan and certainly not Magic Johnson (low pain threshold).

    Kobe is being forced to change his game to compensate and insure that the team has a better chance to win each game. Is he perfect at this? Certainly, not – and a great deal of ego is part of the reason. However, we have to remember, it is this same ego that drives him to learn to play with his broken shooting hand. We have to take him as he is.

    I, for one, am willing to take him at face value and I don’t want someone else in the game in his place. He brings too much to our offense and our defense AND the opponents strategy to just sit him down.

    Criticize if you must, but don’t be silly about this stuff. He ain’t an old man yet – even if I am.

  210. #209. What did Kobe do wrong today besides miss shots? That sounds like a funny statement, I know, but the shots that he took were good ones. They were shots that I want him taking. He had good looks at the basket and didn’t really force many shots that I can remember. Has Kobe been shooting poorly? Surely, those numbers don’t lie. But, when you look at the Lakers offense – and do so objectively – you’ll also know that in today’s game, Kobe played exactly the way that he was supposed to on offense except for his efficiency in putting the ball in the basket. If you’re saying that this Lakers team would be more successful if Kobe just passed every single time (or if you agree with TRad that the Lakers would be a better team if Shannon played and Kobe sat), then I’m sorry, I think that you’re so far off base that I really can’t take what you’re saying seriously. Kobe’s going to have to take shots – especially within the flow of the offense – for this team to have success on offense. The same holds true for Fisher or Artest. Some of those shots are the product of our sets (and some of the plays are ran specifically for Kobe to get a shot). So in a way, it’s tough to even accept the premise of what you’re saying.

    I mean, on the flip side of this is a guy like Sefolosha for OKC. On several possessions he passed up open shots and it hurt his team. He became such a non factor on offense that he had to be pulled from the game even though he’s their best perimeter defender. There’s definitely a balance to playing offense and today Kobe was walking that line fine, imo.

  211. I LOVE Lakers defensive effort (and the effect of the effort) in this game. It was GREAT. It carried the day. But 41% from the field makes me worry.

    I was sure we will win game #1 (after all we are #1 team in the west, OKC is the team #8). But I was interested in two things: how good will be Bynum (and he was GOOD) after the injury and how good will be Bryant. Those two factors will decide about Lakers immediate future.

    I think we could win the whole thing even with Bryant OffEff below 100, but not with Bryant below 100 OffEff _and_ using 25+ possessions. Possessions are precious, they shouldn’t be given to somebody who recently is playing very unefficient.

    As for Bryant making Gasol’s and Bynum’s life easier – Gasol was pretty efficient recently, with Bryant inactive.

  212. @213 – TRad…

    You have some valid points, but overall, you need to understand that basketball is not always about numbers.

    Kobe could have less that 100 Off Eff and use 25+ possession and the Lakers can win if we have defense like we did today. The reason for Kobe’s low offeff is due to the fact that the opposing team’s #1 goal is to neutralize Kobe. If Kobe struggles but our other weapons play well, we can still beat most teams. Cavs and Magic, we’ll have to worry when we get there.

    If the players take it one game at a time and one series at a time, I think the fans should do the same, and not look too far ahead.

    Do the Lakers have room to improve? Yes.

    Can they improve? YES!

    Do they have to get better to beat better team? Yes.

    Will they? No one knows.

    But if everything was so certain, why bother watching the game at all? I think the journey to the championship is that much more exciting because there are more obstacles and uncertainties ahead.

    Enjoy the victory and let’s analyze the shortcomings with some balanced perspectives.

  213. Craig W @ 211- Very well put!