Lakers/Suns: Game 5 Preview & Chat

Darius Soriano —  May 27, 2010

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For a while now, the mantra of FB&G is that the Lakers will go as far as their defense takes them.  When the Lakers are dialed in on defense, they’ll always have a chance to win and more often than not will pull out the victories they need.  Against the Suns, the defense has been lacking of late and we’ve all witnessed the results. 

So, as we go into game 5, the onus is on the Lakers D to get the necessary stops in order to prevail.  We’ve already discussed some of the defensive principles that the Lakers need to get back to, so I won’t expand on those now.  But I will say that much (if not all) of tonight’s result will depend on effort, desire, and how those charateristics mix with smart play and execution.

Much like we called for before game 4, the Lakers need to play smart and poised.  The need to play with desire, but they can’t let that desire overwhelm them into making rash decisions that don’t serve the greater purpose.  The Lakers need to trust in eachother to make the right play as a member of the team, and then follow through to prove that the trust given is warranted.

Really, this has little to do with X’s and O’s.  Sure, the Lakers will need to attack the Suns’ zone in different ways.  By making quicker decisions with the ball and forcing the Suns weakest defenders to match up in isolation on our better offensive players, the Lakers can better infiltrate the Suns defense.  By being more selective with the shots that are taken from the outside and making the Suns’ zone move in ways that it’s not accustomed to, the Lakers can score the points they’ll need to get the win. 

But, none of those adjustments on offense will mean much if the Lakers are still giving up 115+ points and letting the Suns offense get the shots that they want.  If the Suns are able to execute their P&R exactly how they’ve diagrammed it or beat their individual defenders off the dribble or grab nearly as many offensive rebounds as the Lakers grab defensive ones, this game will look much like the last two when final clock shows 0.0 seconds.  If the Lakers don’t close out on shooters or contest shots or mark the Suns’ shooters in transition, frustration will reign supreme again. 

So, while I do look for better execution on offense (as that will help the Lakers transition to the defensive side of the ball), I’m really looking for that extra effort and the will that’s needed to win.  And, really, I think we’ll all see it.  As I’ve mentioned before, the Lakers find themselves in a familiar position.  As was the case against OKC, Houston, and Denver in recent playoff series, the Lakers are facing a game 5 at home with the series knotted at two games a piece.  In all those games the Lakers won by playing the caliber of basketball that they’ve shown capable in their recent runs to the Finals.  They won by stepping up to the challenge that was in front of them.

All that said, relying on experience will not be enough.  The Lakers just can’t show up and expect that because they’ve done this exact thing before that it will just happen again for them tonight.  The Lakers will have to put in the required work if they expect to achieve what they’re setting out to do.  As Phil Jackson has said, if the Lakers can’t step up to this moment, why even advance to the Finals?  The test is in front of this team and it’s time to pass it with flying colors.  I’ve said this in the past, but if put in a position where a team has its backs against the wall and need to get a win to salvage its season, there’s no other group of guys I’d rather have than this team; the team led by Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, and Pau Gasol.  This is a group I trust in times like this.  Six o’clock tonight can’t come soon enough.  It’s time to get that win.


Darius Soriano

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285 responses to Lakers/Suns: Game 5 Preview & Chat

  1. Dear sweet god, can someone hurt Artest for me? Every time he shoots the 3 it takes a year off my life… and five when he misses, which is every single time lately!

    I really don’t care if we win by half a point as long as we win, I am just so tired of this emotional roller coaster.

    Oh ****. You leave Richardson open after the way he’s played this series, then you deserve to get kicked out. Honestly, there is no excuse for this.

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  2. Scratch that! Ron Artest! 🙂

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  3. Yeahhhhh!!!!!

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  4. HAHAHAHAHAHAH

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  5. Ron Ron! Woo hoo!

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  6. RON RONNNNNNNNNNNNNN

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  7. OMG…artest actually saved the game!

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  8. From Goat to Hero.

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  9. Insane game!

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  10. Artest with the redemption shot. LAKERS WIN

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  11. I take EVERYTHING back.That was a heroic and manly play by Ron-Ron.

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  12. Guess Ron made up for the crappy 3, huh?

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  13. Ron’s contract is good again.

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  14. ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNN

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  15. ok
    I think I figured this out:
    Ron Artest wanted to get a game winning shot as a Laker in the playoffs, he conspired for the lead to evaporate and necessitate a last second shot. He also paid Gasol to miss the dunk with 20 seconds to go.

    oh my lord what a finish.

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  16. What… what is Artest saying? o.0

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  17. I love Ron Artest’s interviews.
    Anyone care to translate?

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  18. Artest makes NO sense.

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  19. way to go artest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  20. queensbridge!

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  21. Anyone know the free throw disparity?

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  22. I called it here first, Game 6 will be a Laker double-digit win, someone provide me that stat, but boy the Lakers are good, damn good when closing out a series.

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  23. All i have to say is….. Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…. yea…. wow…..

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  24. Not sure what was worse, Ron taking the worst shot I have ever seen with 22 on the clock or the interview after when he said it was the right thing to do/

    Amazing!

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  25. Hats off to the Suns. no lead is safe with these guys. We have to bring everything we got to close it out in 6. Has to be.

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  26. Bill Simmons was right after all. He tweeted “RON ARTEST RON ARTEST RON ARTEST RON ARTEST RON ARTEST RON ARTEST RON ARTEST RON ARTEST” after ron artest shot those 2 terrible shots. but you know what?? it ended up being what he predicted. Thank you??

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  27. I can’t stop laughing at that ending…the Kobe/Artest celebration reminds me of that commercial where Kobe dunked over the pool of snakes…

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  28. LET’s END THIS….let’s go lakers! clap clap clap clap clap!

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  29. I wish Craig Sager would have shut the F up about the bad shot. Dude just won the game, let him enjoy it.

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  30. btw can we see a replay on that Gasol miss dunk, I cant believe he wasent fouled

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  31. of course Gasol got fouled on that dunk. No call was coming, just have to play through that. However Dudley got a touch foul at the other end. But that’s to be expected I suppose.

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  32. In case I didn’t make it clear earlier, I take back every bad thing I said about Ron in the 4th quarter. That was gutsy, brave, aggressive, beautiful, and it saved our lives in this game. Way to go Ron. You are the hero tonight.

    Enjoy. 🙂

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  33. Artest was punching Kobe in the ribs while they were celebrating, I hope Kobe can recover.

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  34. I… feel like… smoking a cigarette after that game.

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  35. I think i need more than a cig even though the Lakers won.

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  36. Yeah… I have scotch here. Bring your own glass, and wear a Laker shirt or hat, and I’ll pour you free drinks. 🙂

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  37. My heart’s still racing.

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  38. Wow. Ron Ron

    The the suns shot 29 fts to the lakers 23.
    the lakers can absolutely close this out in phoenix if the game is officiated relatively close. I know that ref was suspended for throwing the ball at that fan, but who was the bald black ref. I’ve never seen him before. This late into playoffs I don’t ever remember looking at a ref and saying who is that. And this so happened to be the most questionable officiating I’ve witnessed. It was clock work lakers get momentum, the officiating gets bad.

    But amazing win nonetheless. Perserverance Sums this up.

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  39. Overcoming adversity. That’s what Phil Jackson teaches our teams in the regular season, by not calling timeouts, by letting his teams “figure it out themselves.” It is not mental; it is more akin to spiritual. That willingness to give everything of yourself to win a game; to fail, and to learn from failure.

    Ron Artest, so maligned for his performance this series and before, just showed what it means to overcome adversity. He is a competitor; he wants to land to knockout blow. You can’t fault him for shooting those shots; he was wide open. But he failed. Big time. Reading up in the comments, you can see the derision directed at him for those shots. No doubt he himself felt just as bad if not worse about his own performance.

    However, he overcame the adversity. Everyone knows that Kobe is going to get that last shot; all five of the Suns definitely did. With all their concentration on Kobe, they forgot that the simplest of plays can make the greatest of difference: Artest came entirely across the lane, fought for the rebound, and put up an extremely difficult shot high off the glass. He could’ve easily just skulked on the weak side and waited for the game to go into overtime. But he learned, through failure, that success comes to those who overcome adversity.

    But let’s not forget the other stars of this game. First and foremost, credit the Suns for never giving up, for battling hard, and putting forth everything they had to win this game. That’s the one thing that cannot be taken away from the Suns; they battled.

    So many other Lakers shined. Kobe Bryant, the leader, came through throughout the game and in the clutch, keying our offense when we were going stagnant. With a game high 30 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists, as well as 4 blocks, he successfully outdueled Steve Nash and put our team on his back in the 4th. Derek Fisher, like Artest, so maligned during the regular season, has hit so many momentum altering shots that I can no longer keep track. 7-12 for 22 points with 4 assists to boot? On a day when Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar gave almost nothing, Fisher showed why he’s the starter, why he’s the veteran, and why he has Phil’s faith. Lamar Odom, so derided for his mental lapses and lack of effort, took the battle to the Suns, grabbing 5 offensive rebounds and making some aggressive moves with his hook shots to the tune of 17 points and 13 rebounds.

    In a game we needed to win, our main players showed up and took this hard fought game. Could we have played better? Certainly. But it’s when we don’t play at our best that the team shows its heart.

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  40. Found this quite amusing haha

    From the quick AP recap =
    Bryant missed a difficult shot from the corner, but Artest rolled into the lane, collected the rebound and threw up a hideous shot that somehow went in.

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  41. Artest gave us a range of emotions in the last minute of the game. Thank You Ron Artest, 1 game away from the NBA Finals.

    11 down 5 to go

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  42. I don’t smoke, but that was a cigarette game. We look like we ran outta gas in the 2nd half – but Kobe was smart and didn’t go hero mode to jack up 3’s. Very controlled 4th Q from Kobe.

    The refs were in our favor in the 1st Q, but once they saw the game widen, calls started going Phoenix’s way. Game 6 is gonna be TOUGH. We are gonna hafta fight every play.

    Good performance from Vujacic today. I gotta say I am surprised.

    5 more…

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  43. …anyone confused by Artest’s postgame interview?

    Artest: Just gotta keep playin basketball.

    Sager: but you know there’s a 24 second clock. This isn’t the playground!

    Artest: Just gotta keep playin basketball.

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  44. #208 chibi, haha Reggie Miller just repeated your “from goat to hero.” Take his job

    #243 lol. We had another such guy on the Lakers…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9VZ-JrMV5k

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  45. I also could not stop laughing after that ending. The joy as they all piled up jumping and hugging, they looked like they were 10 years old. It was really great to see.

    That might be the moment, when Kobe’s frustration and anger gets flipped into relief, and belief in his newest and most enigmatic teammate, that cements the chemistry of this team for the remainder of the playoffs.

    We’re gonna win in Phoenix!

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  46. @Zephid
    Well said. The entire team desreves credit for fighting this one out.

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  47. Lakers beat the FIX!

    It’s crazy, the Lakers played aggressively the whole game, the Suns still edged them in Free Throws 29 to 23.

    And the Lakers were at home.

    If I didn’t know any better, I’d think the NBA wants the Suns in the Finals…

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  48. Thank Mimsy. I’m allergic to alcohol so I don’t drink, but can damn use a toke to calm my nerves. I just rewatched Artest interview. He’s pretty entertaining. Funny how he mentioned the crowd shouting don’t shoot, don’t shoot. He’s definitely not deterred and it worked out for us after all. Wow…crazy crazy game.

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  49. I actually agree, Pau has been getting hacked the last few games, and he has been out of his element. Glad we pulled out a win, but the officiating was Turrible, even if the TNT wont comment on it. I can’t believe Kobe got a T for basically nothing, but Dragic managed to force a double T. I smell fish. Time to play hard and win game 6.

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  50. Kenny smith perspective of the game is quite humorous. He said the suns should be happy an ok with this loss. There aren’t any moral victories in the playoffs. He also said the lakers played over their heads? Other than fisher who played over their heads? Before the game winning shot bynum and artest were combined 1/13. We didn’t get anything from brown and farmar and the lakers on shot 42%. The suns were outworked plain and simple. They should be worried if the lakers bring this effort and start making shots in game 6. If that happens and the game is somewhat officated evenly the game won’t be close.

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  51. Artest finally got his Ariza moment. He really deserved it too. All season long he was trying to fit in and he was the one Laker to give a consistent effort every night.

    I’m really happy for him

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  52. I think Bynum ran harder to join the celebration than he did up and down the court tonight, hehehe

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  53. Great win, but we should not have put ourselves into the position where we need an Artest putback to avoid OT.

    For those of us pointing out the bad calls – that’s not getting any better Saturday in Phoenix; we have to play through it.

    As for tonight – We caught some breaks when Frye missed two late triples and we missed on several point-blank looks in the fourth, any one of which would’ve salted the game away. The defensive energy was a positive to take away from this, but we have to have to remember that, in this series, leaving shooters beyond the arc open only works when they’re *our* shooters.

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  54. Two thoughts:

    i) Have to agree with a lot of people; Artest really needed a playoff moment like this.

    ii) TNT loves those Suns.

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  55. Pau has been flustered and out of rhythm these last three games. What can we do to get him back into the flow of the offense?

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  56. Kobe would have had a triple double had Pau finished that dunk with 20 seconds left to put it up 5.

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  57. Anyone notice that the Fisher bashers have completely disappeared?

    The last backhand comment to belittle Derek came when the last of the unredeemed bashers “corrected” a comment from another poster, suggesting that Derek Fisher was not capable of making 20 points in a playoff game.

    Whoops.

    In the playoffs, Derek Fisher plays like–well–Derek Fisher. His contribution tonight was remarkable–and I’m not even surprized!

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  58. Totally agree. Fisher has more than earned his spot. Clutch

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  59. Kobe and Fish were great.
    LO was good.

    Bynam 2 points from your starting center.

    Ron Artest 4 points.

    He is shooting 25% in the playoffs in 3’s this year and showed he would rather take a really bad shoot to be a hero for the first time in his life then run the shot clock down.

    Yes he made the last shoot but you don’t need that shot if your starting forward isen’t 1 for 8 and took the worst shot I can remember in 40 years.

    Hard to call him a hero when he nearly cost the Lakers the home game with his play on offense. But if you all want to its ok. We won at home by 2.

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  60. 256 YES!

    in Phoenix’s second to last possession out of a timeout Phil had Artest on Stoudemire so when instead of Gasol switching onto Nash it was Artest. I thought that was a pretty good move because Nash was abusing Gasol every time.
    Think we’ll see more of that next game?

    On a side note:
    I’d like to think that food poisoning/whatever ailed Alvin Gentry was not the result of any deliberate misconduct by Laker fans.

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  61. The Dude Abides May 27, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Just got back from a friend’s house and I’ve not read the post or any of the comments. What a horribly one-sided officiated game. When you can’t even get to the FT line in the final 30 seconds on a deliberate hard foul to prevent a game-clinching dunk, you know you’re getting screwed.

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  62. The Dude Abides May 27, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    257. That was a deliberate hard foul by Stoudemire. Nearly a flagrant. We re-wound the Tivo and watched it multiple times. Unbelievable no-call.

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  63. Ken, in the playoffs a win is a win. It doesnt matter how it happens, all that matters is LA is up 3 to 2. No Laker fan is satisfied with how the game was closed out but the team is one win away from the NBA Finals. If they win this series all the negatives you discussed wont even matter and if they win the Finals they wont make the final cut of the Championship DVD.

    Phil needs to do something about switching on the pick and roll on Nash, that killed the Lakers in the 4th. Pau just needs to show on the pick and then recover quickly to his man, it’s not difficult.

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  64. can we still bash Phil Jackson?

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  65. Haha….I came on this site and saw there was a buzzer beater that won the Lakers the game (I missed the game cause of work), and I was almost certain it was Kobe, then when I watched the video I was SHOCKED it was ARTEST!! Wow, I am so mad I missed it, what a moment in Artest’s career!

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  66. Great post Zephid. Nobody will remember what Ron didn’t do. Awesome game. Damn I love the playoffs.

    Steve Nash showed why he’s MVP. I love watching Nash & Kobe duel. Such games of skill, rhythm, and flow.

    Please, nobody say stuff about how it’s only the suns blah blah

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  67. laker8884 I fully agree a win is a win but it does concern me when you get out scored by 7 at home in the 2nd half.

    I almost lost it when Ron took that shot but if you go back in his history this is what he does. Shot Houston out of the playoffs last year. After the game he said well i am a good 3 point shooter.

    Denial is not a pritty thing. He is a bad shooter but he will be called a hero and that’s ok with me.

    Maybe he finally learned a lesson. Play to win not to be Kobe because you never will. This game was amazing but way to close for a old guy like me.

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  68. The best part of this game? The entire stadium screaming “NOOOOOOOOO!!!!” when they saw Artest launch that awful 3 with two seconds off the shot clock.

    Scratch that, that was the 2nd best part. The best was seeing Kobe and Artest screaming and jumping up and down like little schoolgirls. Haven’t seen Kobe like that in a while.

    Fisher has been amazing. Our only real shooter that I look to when the defense is collapsing and we need a shot.

    The best thing about that Artest play was that the ball didn’t fall into his hands – he came from across the lane and took it. As much as he’s struggled (and let’s be honest, his offensive struggles have been painful) the one element he’s brought to this team all year is that he brings it on every damn possession. Always hustling, always scratching, always fighting to affect the game even when his shot is gone. That last rebound was pure desire.

    Points off offensive rebounds saved us this game. Tremendous job on the boards.

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  69. The Lakers got the W and that is all important. But they can’t play that way in Phoenix and think they will close it out in game six. Pau Gasol HAS to find a way to break out.

    I don’t know, I was kind of expecting this to be the “punch back” game for LA. Instead, they squeaked by at home. Sure there are no moral victories, but the Suns have to be feeling confident going back home.

    Screw all the ref talk, the Lakers need to look like worthy NBA Finalists in the next game. Another game like this will surely find them back at Staples against a team that is really gaining confidence.

    I’m not trying to rain on the parade, but this series is far from over. And the Lakers sure didn’t kill the Suns’ spirit with this effort.

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  70. A few thoughts:

    1. It is rare we see the good and bad side of a player in that intense of a microcosm. Artest got the putback because instead of standing there watching, he played through to the buzzer. Barkley and Miller explained it well on TNT. Artest is sort of an unconscious player; as Kobe said in the media conference, “He just goes.” Both plays showed that. As to the bricked triple, yes, he should have pulled the ball out, but as Bill Bridges said in his fake Tex Winter post, in the triangle, you take the first open look. I don’t think it was as stupid a play a play as some people are making it out to be. They needed to score; Artest was wide open.
    2. Last possession: I would like to see a better out of bounds play in a spot like that. There was not enough screening for Kobe and not enough was done to clear space for him. Since everybody knows where the ball is going, you need some action away from the ball to get Kobe some space to square up his body.
    3. It is hard for me to to picture the team winning G6 in Phoenix or losing G7 here. I think both will be close.
    4. It seems that the Donaghy accusations and some of the post-season series that people see as “fixed” have had their effect at the grassroots level of NBA fandom. I always check out other team blogs at playoff time and have been part of a discussion at another site that has fans of multiple teams participating. Everywhere one clicks, it is refs, refs, refs, fix, fix, fix. Less here than elsehwere, but we are getting some of it here as well. At Celtics Hub yesterday, there were people saying, literally, that a 21-point margin had nothing to do with the teams and Stern was fixing the series.

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  71. Hopefully they can look to this moment as the galvanizing force that propelled them to not only win Game 6 in Phoenix but to became Repeat Champions. Artest now has his Laker moment. If this can strengthen the team as being One, that Phil so often talks about; then this was a momentous victory.

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  72. Instead, they squeaked by at home.

    __

    I expected that, actually. Phoenix really wanted this game badly, and Phoenix has some specific personnel advantages over the Lakers.

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  73. Mike Penberthy May 27, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    How are you supposed to have a “punch back” game if you’re not allowed to punch?

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  74. I’m happy that most of the exciting games this playoffs were ours.

    although I’m sure my body doesn’t think so 😉

    Anyway, trying to enjoy Kobe-Prime-Revisited as much as I can.

    And Fisher too 😉

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  75. I agree with 271. I thought the game changed in the Suns favor though when Walton was entered. He missed a few shots that you just can’t miss and you could see Phoenix had momentum. There was one timeout where I was sitting at home, and when the game came back on, I saw Nash jumping and chanting and knew we were in for a run from them. This team fights us. And their 4th quarter zone is not the same as their first 3 quarters – they hit a lot more and don’t really ever get called for it.
    In both games in Phoenix the Lakers were either tied or within one in the fourth quarter. That has got to be our focus. We need 48 minutes of good, solid, smart, basketball, because this Suns team is like OKC, they are fighters. Its good for us to be in a battle, lets go!

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  76. Kobe just passed Larry Bird on the 30+ points 5+ reb, 5+ ast games in the playoffs. Kobe now has 33 such games. Up Next Jerry West at 35 such games and Jordan at 51 such games

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  77. Kobe’s last 10 games:

    32.5 PPG
    5.9 RPG
    7.4 APG
    52.6% FG

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  78. 29 to 23,what a home court advantage.

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  79. ronronfanclub May 27, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    great comment zephid. I was at the game and i was one of the 19,000 screaming “no” when ron took those shots in the last minute…and was going nuts at the buzzer. gotta love ronron. let’s close it out on saturday!

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  80. The Dude Abides May 27, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    My favorite part of the celebration was Ron-Ron going for the left thigh wraparound during Kobe’s hug 😀

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  81. I think the Suns will win game six by 5 to 10 points, though I dont think they are winning game 7 in Staples if it comes back. If the Lakers are to close it out in 6 games, they will have to play a lot better than they did tonight.

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