Lakers/Suns: Game 6 Preview & Chat

Darius Soriano —  May 29, 2010

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There are few things as difficult as winning a closeout game on the road against a strong home team.  And since this is the exact scenario that the Lakers face this evening, we can only expect this to be the most difficult game of the series.  The Suns are facing elimination and they have a dangerous team that plays its best basketball on its home court and are not going to go down easily.  In order to win this game, the Lakers are going to have to bring their best effort, their highest level of execution, and an attention to detail worthy of a champion.  If they do these things, they’ll be well on their way to a series win.  If they don’t, an “anything can happen” game 7 awaits on Memorial Day.

Just like when the Lakers got to game 6 of the OKC series and by the time it was game 4 of the Utah series, the X’s and O’s of this match up are now well established.  Yes there are wrinkles that each team can add to their game plans, but in the end it will come down to which team can force the other team into more mistakes while maximizing the strengths of their own group.

For the Suns it will come down to the effectiveness of their P&R and how well they can get the stops that fuel their transition offense. All series the Suns have been at their best when Nash is working his wizardry while running the P&R with Amar’e and Lopez and when they’re able force the Lakers into jump shots that fuel their transition attack where open threes and run outs are easily achieved.

So, from the Lakers perspective, they need to continue to find ways to score against the Suns’ zone defense (or their man to man sets) and make them take the ball out of the hoop so that they then face a set up, half court defense.  This means the Lakers must stick to what works against the Suns’ zone by flashing players in and out of the high post and keeping Kobe on the weak side where he can attack the soft spots of the defense with either his jumper or penetration when the ball swings to his side of the floor.  The Lakers can also use some of the ball screen actions that help to free up Kobe; the screens that help him create easier looks for himself while also generating the defensive help scenarios that get his teammates open shots.  Also, an aggressive and assertive Gasol will go a long way towards victory.  If he’s attacking the basket and looking to finish with desire, it will be just what’s needed to establish his presence in the paint (so no flip shots after barely leaving your feet, please).

On defense the Lakers must continue to stick to their defensive principles by marking the Suns shooters in transition and showing the Suns different looks in the half court.  I’ve touted Nash’s virtues a lot in this series, but one thing that’s gone unsaid is his ability to adjust to whatever scheme you throw at him.  Like the all world quarterback that’s seen a steady diet of cover 2 or the batting champion that’s seen too many inside fastballs followed by the backdoor slider, Nash catches up to what your plan of attack is and then beats it.  We saw this in game 5 with the switching on the P&R and in games 3 & 4 with how he responded to the Lakers disrupting his passing angles to the dive man.  If the Lakers want to slow down Nash, they must throw the kitchen sink at him and not give him the same look every possession.  So, I’d like to see a variety of switches, fighting over screens, going under them, and also some trapping (especially when Nash runs the P&R to the sideline).

Bench play will also be vital in this game.  The last time the Suns reserves were on this court they scored 54 points and steamrolled their Laker counter parts while also more than holding their own against the Lakers starters.  When this group enters the game, it’s imperative that the Lakers not let them get rolling.  So mark Dudley and Frye at the three point line, try to contain Barbosa and Dragic off the dribble, and box out Amundson.  We’ll see if Sasha gets another shot in this game but it would be nice if Farmar and Brown made a useful contribution for the first time since game 2.  My expectations for this group are now back to “just keep it close” and nothing more.  If they can hold a lead or not allow a deficit to balloon, I’ll be more than happy.

The other key to this game is rebounding.  In the Lakers three wins they’ve out-rebounded the Suns by 5 or more.  Limiting the Suns offensive rebounds, the extra possessions and points that come from them will need to be a focus on every defensive sequence.  In the last game, the only Laker starter with less than 5 rebounds was Fisher.  It will take a similar team effort on the glass tonight.  The guards need to close down the foul line and grab the long rebounds while the bigs and small forwards get into the paint and body up on the Suns.

We’re at the point in the season where nothing is easy.  The Suns have already said that they expect to win this game and go back to Los Angeles for game 7.  However, if there’s any team that can close a team out on the road it’s the Lakers.  In the past two seasons the Lakers have beaten OKC, Utah, Denver, and Orlando (for the title) on the road to win clinching games.  They know what it takes and have experience in this exact situation.  The opponent may be new, but that just gives them another foe to add to the list.  Both teams will come in with confidence, but only one team will leave with the win.  Here’s to it being the guys that we root for.

One last note for us fans – enough with the complaints about the officiating.  This is one aspect of the game that we nor the players nor the coaches can control.  And since that’s the case, there is little point in complaining about it (and that goes for us fans the coaches and the players).  I’ll be the first to admit that the refs are far from perfect but I think it’s also clear that the refs miss calls on both ends.  The Lakers have not lost games because of the referees just as they haven’t won them because of the men with the whistles.  The teams that have played better down the stretch have pulled out the games and won.  Again, I’m not advocating for the refs and I think further exploration into how the refereeing can improve is important for the continued progress of the league.  But it’s tiring to continue to have this be such a major talking point.  The positives stemming from the greatness of the players and caliber of basketball being played far outweighs the negatives from some questionable calls.  I truly think we need to get back to appreciating the excellent basketball that’s being played.  End of rant.  Now, let’s get that win and move on to the Finals.

Darius Soriano

Posts

375 responses to Lakers/Suns: Game 6 Preview & Chat

  1. Back to the doghouse for Vujacic.

  2. Kobe: “I’m going to kill him.”

    Craig: “What about now?”

    Kobe: “I’m still going to kill him.”

    Now the question is, if Kobe kills Sasha, that reduces our luxury tax next season, right?

    And why do people bother responding to Celtics Nation? He is the singular troll on this forum. Don’t feed the trolls and they lose their joy.

  3. The Dude Abides May 29, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Celtics Nation, I would imagine that Fish will chase Ray, and Kobe will guard Rondo. And this time, you won’t have Vlad Rad and Luke taking turns guarding Pierce. You will have a junkyard dog guarding him, though.

  4. Mike Penberthy May 29, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Lakers in 5 over celtics. This is similar to 87. By that time the Lakers were just a better team. They also aged better than the celtics. Same thing this year.
    As for Rondo, evrybody torches Fisher. Rondo won’t torch him any more than Nash, Williams or Westbrook did.

  5. What a game by Kobe Bryant.

    Only 1 assist, but I suspect that has something to do with the complete absence of Pau Gasol in this game.

    As for the Celtic Nation, don’t feed the trolls.

  6. haha. the man said “guaranSHEED”.

    the only guarantees with Sheed involve shrinking under pressure and getting T’d up so consistently you could set a clock to it.

    if i were you i’d choose a new slogan prior to thursday.

  7. thank god we have kobe and fisher

    they really bailed us out

  8. Forum Blue and Gold, let’s enjoy this victory, don’t take the bait from Celtic’s Nation. We have plenty of time in the next five days to spar with Celtic fans!

    We’ve got a lot of work to do! First we must analyze what has taken Pau out of the game so dramatically. He has had bad scoring games before, but this game he was not in it mentally. He usually gets rebounds, assists or blocks shots when his offense is off.

  9. Celtics Nation: your team really hasn’t won all that much in June considering the fact that only 5 of your 20 Finals series took place in June also In fact, it wasn’t until 1984 that your team won a game in that month of the year. The Finals took place in April for the majority of those banners your team hangs up in the rafters.

  10. First of all, congrats to the Suns for playing a great series.

    Second of all, there is unfinished business so I’m happy with the determined demeanor of the squad right now in the trophy presentation.

    Thirdly, Celtics fans are more than welcome to come and discuss the Finals. However, trolling and baiting comments will get deleted. Read the commenting guidelines and try to add something to the discussion by speaking on the game intelligently.

    Fourthly, the recap will be up in the morning. Feel good about this win, but as I said, unfinished business awaits. I will say though, three straight Finals berths feels fantastic.

  11. Look at Ron Artest in the back talking to Adam Morrison, a guy that has practiced all year long but is denied the opportunity to dress for a Western finals championship (and deservedly so). But that’s just the kind of guy that he is, he is really an unassuming guy when he is off the basketball court.

  12. Guaranteed game 7?! Not with Kobe around! Who’s the BEST PLAYER now?! I guess all the Phoenix, Orlando and Cleveland ‘die hards’ will now become Boston “faithfuls”. Hush all you haters… you just saw the Lakers starting to flex their muscles. Be afraid… be very afraid… GO LAKERS!!!

  13. I’m so grateful i lived in this generation… to witness Kobe rise above and close out in a very hostile environment, under extreme pressure. Just so beautiful to watch… Thank you Kobe for winning this game for us fans.

  14. No celebration by the Lakers, because nothing has been done yet. The Celtics are going to be tough, and not underestimated like the last time the Lakers played them, that gave them the edge in game 1 and the series.
    The next series will be a bloodbath. I want vengeance. Enjoy tonight, but know that we have a job to do. Completely different team than the Suns, so expect completely different types of ballgames.

    Go Lakers.

  15. One thing is for sure about the Finals, Pau must wake up and find some type of offensive groove and get on the glass. We dont need him to average 20 a game because every game in the series will be low scoring I suspect. We need him to pitch in with a moderate stat line because this series will be won by whoever controls the frontline.

    Rondo is a better player than 2008 but he still cannot shoot and the Celtics do not have Sam Cassel to come in and knock down jumpers, nor Eddie House to hit dagger 3’s. All that’s necessary is to lay off the guy and make him shoot. Ron can guard Paul, and Garnett isn’t the player he once was and he isnt even the offensive threat he was in 2008. Ray Allen’s 3 point shot will be the biggest offensive threat they have to stop.

  16. Steve Nash is great. The man is impressive, an amazing player and a real warrior. Almost any team with him leading them is going to be a great team.

    Kobe carried us to victory this game. Now, on to Boston. (I will resist future urges to feed trolls, I promise. Apologies.)

    Plan of attack:
    Transplant a spine into Pau, so he doesn’t become an invisible non-factor as soon as the Celtic front line start knocking him around.

    Re-apply the magic pixie dust that made the bench play good defense and shoot well. Also re-apply it to Ron to make his 3’s go in.

    Supply Lamar with whatever it is he needs that keeps him focused and aggressive all game long. (I’m thinking divine intervention might be required on this one.)

  17. Alvin Gentry-All class, and a tremendous coaching job….Suns coaches gave Laker coaches all they could handle, as did the Suns players.

    And now the Apocalypse Series is upon us…….

  18. I’m helping Kobe kill Sasha. Who’s joining me?

  19. I like Alvin Gentry. He’s a calm, happpy person. I don’t like the screamers for coaches.

  20. @kswagger
    Two over here! I’ll lend you a sword if you need one. ;)

  21. Gentry is a great guy. I’m not saying that just because he praised Bryant, but because he’s such a positive coach. Totally the opposite of Stan Van Gundy.

  22. Yea but no one is more calm than Phil haha

  23. I really like Alvin Gentry… Good coach… Seems like a great person.

  24. Ive been a Lakers fan since dad took me to see them in the mid 70s and it is still as exciting as ever watching them in the playoffs. It is amazing how management manages to get the best players in each generation. I am glad to be a fan of this team.

  25. Props to Alvin Gentry and Steve Nash and the rest of the Phoenix team. Class acts. Great series. Night and day from our last WCF against Denver with all those punks and trash talkers, with Kenyon Martin saying right after the series that they were the “better” team and they should have won the series. I have no hate for this Phoenix team. Just respect and admiration. Steve Nash, just join the Lakers coz you deserve a ring

  26. Alvin Gentry is all class. I want good things for him and Steve Nash…but not at the expense of the Lakers.

  27. I really like how Gentry handled the question about next year. He feels like this has been a fun year and hopes all the players can come back. Sure, they have holes on their roster, and Gentry may have made mistakes, but no point fretting and pointing fingers instead of enjoying the magnitude of success you’ve achieved. Contrast this with a lot of teams w/ championship or bust philosophies that lead to underappreciating your season.

  28. I do not think Sasha Vujacic could find a body guard in all of SO CAL that would take the job

  29. Alvin Gentry: “Kobe’s the best player in basketball and I don’t think it’s even close.”

    Ouch. What a string of shots for Kobe. Just amazing.

    Revenge. Redemption. Legacy. History. Lakers have a lot on the line in this Finals.

    Phil: “There’s nothing worse than losing in The Finals.”

    Hear, Hear Phil. Hear, hear.

    Let’s go Lakers!!!

  30. Pau has had a couple bad games, but I believe he will bounce back in the Finals. When Pau plays bad, everyone reverts to criticizing his “soft” play comparing it to how he played against the Celtics two years ago. He has played through almost two more years’ worth of playoffs since then and won a championship by holding his own against Dwight Howard. I have no doubt Pau will get his groove back.

  31. >>>I do not think Sasha Vujacic could find a body guard in all of SO CAL that would take the job

    it would be even harder should lakers lose tonight.

  32. Well, I predicted the Lakers wouldn’t get out of the first round – and they did.

    I didn’t believe in them then, and, you know what, I don’t believe in them now.

    This team, in my opinion, still lacks the heart, the fire, the defensive intensity necessary to win it all.

    Two players who will be key are Gasol and Bynum. Now, Bynum gave them a good 20 minutes tonight, but will that be enough against Garnett and Perkins? Gasol? Well, he’s still a finesse player, and will always be a finesse player. Nothing wrong with that, except it got him totally taken out of his game in the last finals these two played in. He just cannot withstand that kind of intense body banging defense Boston is going to put on him.

    So, that leaves us with Artest, he’s the wild card we didn’t have two years ago. If he is starting to get his game back, then I think the Lakers can take these guys, but if he can’t, the Lakers will not win this series.

    The Lakers are too inconsistent, too schizophrenic, and too lazy for my tastes. However, give credit where credit is due, they went further than I ever thought they would.

    My prediction for the series: If Artest and Bynum can make up for Gasol; Lakers in seven.
    But, if they can’t, then Celtics in six.

    But, dear God, don’t let that happen. I hate the Celtics with the fervent heat of a million gigawatts. I was a Laker fan through all those heartbreaking finals losses to Russell in the 60’s, and died a thousand deaths in the 1984 finals, and 2008 finals. So, come on Lakers, do like the Fish hike up those shorts put on your skowl, and make those punks eat leather every time they shoot!

    GO LAKERS!!!

  33. I am sooo happy at this moment, I can’t wait for the Darius post game wrapup, should put a bigger smile on my face than I already have.

  34. i like that some think us the minor underdogs taking to account that boston handed orlando and cleveland earlier exits. much as i don’t want to underestimate boston (rondo is a beast and i think their bench can just erupt a la 08 with nate and rasheed), but i like this situation we are in and the challenge we are putting on our shoulders. kobe’s eyes say enough. the job is not yet done.

    that said, pau has to go to some “playing in the clutch” class. hoping ron – ron remains a steady force, but the shutting down of pierce will already be of big help. my biggest concern is bynum’s play. he was more active today and he has been that variable ever questioned to take our team over the top. we need more scoring and solid denial in the paint from him at least.

    GO LAKERS!

    kudos to the suns…

  35. @ Dick Barnett 332

    I am so glad you put the last line there: “Go Lakers”…. because it sure does make up for the first 3 paragraphs of bashing and pessimism you wrote towards the Lakers.

  36. Coul somebody shoot Sasha? Right on the floor. In the knee. Make that – in both knees, just to be sure. For six points he could at least beat the **** out of Dragic. But to pay 6 points for _this_?

  37. against the celtics, we don’t need more offense, we need better defense.

    although i wonder, if lakers can switch their mindset again back to execute offense against man-to-man defense after executing really well against zone.
    the 4qtr of this game says that it could be an issue, although it will just open up more opportunity for kobe

    but in the end, i think we match up better for the celtics than we are for the suns.
    it’s seriously a battle of one-on-one.
    i mean how:
    bynum vs perkins
    gasol vs garnett
    artest vs pierce
    kobe vs allen
    fisher vs rondo
    (although on defense i know it could be kobe guarding rondo)
    odom vs sheed
    brown vs m. daniels
    farmar vs nate

    looking at this, i can say each player can play each other pretty well, so it will come to who execute defense better to win each match up.

    i say we have a very good chance to have our revenge.

  38. REVENGE!!!

    The smile on my face is huge

  39. The Dude Abides May 29, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Tonight was one of those nights where Drew should have played more. He was very effective while he was out there, and when he was on the bench the Suns got to the rim almost at will.

  40. Dick Barnett,

    It must be really miserable not to be able to enjoy anything for even a second.

  41. Good thing Dick Barnett the Lakers don’t know you. So you will only believe on them when they’ll win the trophy? My God, talk about a Laker fan.

    Anyways, I’ve called Lakers in 6.
    But this Celtics-Lakers series will be Lakers in 5.

    Note that. :)

  42. I wouldn’t worry as much about the starting 5 for the Lakers (minus Bynum’s knee) It’s going to come down to the benches and how they perform on each other’s floor.

  43. Dick…that’s just utterly ridiculous. Fire and heart is what got them a 4-2 victory against a younger, healthier, faster team in OKC.

    It’s what caused them to sweep an extremely well-coached Utah team.

    It’s what enabled them to play with composure even when an 18 point lead had dwindled to 3- on the road in a game 6 that was Must-Win for the home team.

    Furthermore, consider that the Lakers have closed out every single series in these playoffs on the road this time. That says something about their “fire and heart” that your comments don’t take into account.

    I said it before this series started and I’m saying it again—-I KNOW this Laker team can defeat the Celtics. I believe they will do it in 6 games.

  44. This Finals could shape up like the 2005 showdown between the Pistons and Spurs. I’m guessing it goes 7 games.

  45. Why haven’t anyone thought of using someone like DJ to get Perkins a T? Perkins has 6 Ts, 1 more he’ll be automatically suspended. Just get someone like DJ to piss him off so he gets a T. I wonder why no one does this…there is “hack a shaq” type of strategies, what about baiting people into a technical? We should try to use DJ to get rasheed and perkins each a T. then use powell or adom morrison to get them each another T.

  46. Talk about a quiet hero……

    Jordan Farmar : 8 points on 3-4 shooting in 16 minutes of play with 5 assists and NO TURNOVERS!!!!!!! He was outstanding tonight, to say the least.

    Ron Ron deserves the props he will get, and the Mamba was, well…..it’s starting to border on the preposterous how many tough shots he’s made with the pressure on…..

    Lakers also go 18-9 assist to turnover and shoot 82% from the line…..a statistical sign of the poise and focus they played with throughout the game, save the stretch I will heretofore refer to as “Sasha-nobyll”

    12 down, 4 to go.

    I am also snacking on my “Bynum is done” words….He is a very complicated player for me to diagnose, and I’m never really resolved towards how I feel about him, but he gutted out some EFFECTIVE minutes tonight, and I actually believe the Boston series might be a chance for him to contribute consistently, because yes those boys are physical, but Perkins and Davis are not going to be found out at the 3 point line with regularity, and the pace will be more Andrew-friendly…..Trying hard to enjoy this one (Think of all the fans in the Western Conference who would die to see their team in the finals three straight years!) and yet, as Darius as pointed out, hard not to focus on Un…..Finished……Business.

  47. The Dude Abides May 29, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    If the series is tied 2-2 for Game 5 in Boston, then Lakers in six. If Lakers have a 3-1 lead before Game 5, then Lakers in five.

  48. Everyone, Cheers.

  49. Ron Artest on Paul Pierce. I can’t stop thinking about it. If Ron can do his job and the Lakers can play some good team D to keep Rondo under control they have a great chance to hang another banner in Staples. Of course, that is easier said than done.

    I hope LeBron and the rest of the free agents are recording these games by Kobe. That man is showing (yet again) how to get it done when it counts.We are truly witnessing greatness.

  50. IF the Lakers can somehow win 4 of there next 7 games, my guess is that they will be NBA champions.

  51. Was at game in Valley of the Sun tonight and when Kobe made the baseline shot over Hill the looks on the people around me was priceless. I was like “this guy in not real”.

    Best game in Ron’s career. Fish was just outstanding on defense and nails on open shots.

    Sasha is a bonehead. He was in Europe and will always be. That’s is the reason Phil hasen’t played him and he should not although Boston dosen’t have and Serbians on their team.

    My only concern aganist Boston is Pau. He was weak aganist Lopez what will happen to him aganist Perkins, Wallace and Garnet. 3 mean dirty players.

    Got to get back home to the Newport Beach. Not only do the Suns fans get wacked but they have to live in a hot desert.

    Hahahahahaha.

  52. As I stated earlier ” …. by nights end, we’ll be THE ONLY Team taking that flight back to Cali.”

    But on Another Note, much Respect to General Nash. I Salute You. The man is so under appreciated. I understand that we have several Good (Paul, D. Williams, Billups, Parker …) , and up & coming (Rose, Rondo, Westbrook, Jennings …) Point Guards in the Association, but if I had to choose 1 to go to war with in a game 7, I would choose Nash over all of them. His Shooting Accuracy, Determination/Competitiveness & High Basketball IQ more than makes up for what he lacks on the defensive side of the ball. Simply put, in my Opinion, one of the Best that’s ever Done It @ the PG position.

    With that being said, I’m Happy as Hell that his Prediction of taking this series back to L.A. was off. Now we move on to the next one: Boston. But I’ll take my time & appreciate the fact that we’ll be representing the Western Conference for the 3rd year in a row. An accomplishment within itself. Looking 4ward to the Game Recap from Darius & Crew.

    Laker 4 Life ….. Go Hard Or Go Home

  53. Why all the Sasha hate?

    All he did was raise his arms after Dragic (?) advanced on him, evidently talking trash, and bumped into him. I saw Sasha’s move as reflexive and too bad Dragic’s face was in the way. Maybe he should keep his face out of places where it doesn’t belong.

  54. Kobe – WOW

    Fisher – Pretty good for the worst point guard/starter in the league eh Aaron?

    Pau – 3 bad games in a row and most everyone is on his case for being soft again. Geez.

    Bynum – for all of his knee issues the past few years, I am not going to question his heart and desire to play this game.

    Ron-Ron – You’re crazy, but man, I cannot wait to see you D up Pierce.

    —————————–

    btw, how is KG not suspended for those two punches at D. Howard’s arm? I know it wasn’t to the face, but i thought the rule was you can’t throw a closed fist punch at all?? DARIUS/Zephid a lil help?

  55. oh, also

    So Mike Penberthy, you’re thinking the Lakers are going to win now?

    Dick Barnett – seriously?? SERIOUSLY?

  56. noted: don’t whisper sweet nothings into the machine’s ears

  57. Kobe is Michael Jordan. Period. End of Story. If he maintains this pace for another 4 or 5 years & collects rings in the process; he may be better.

    Artest will guard Pierce intriguing match-up. Artest can deal with Pierce’s physical play much better than rail thin Ariza.

    Kobe will most likely match up with Rondo. If Kobe can effectively slow down Rondo – Game Set Match.

    Fisher will guard Ray Allen – Tough match-up. Ray Allen will run Fisher through 30 screens a set.

    Perkins on Bynum. Dude is playing on a bum wheel. And 1 more tech and Perkins is suspended for a game.

    KG & Pau. KG is not the same KG of 2 years ago. Still effective. But Pau has a damaged rep to heal against the Celtics. Lakers in 6

  58. Cut Sasha some slack, dude has been buried on the bench pretty much the entire season. Other than that russian sickle to Dragic’s chin, he gave the team some positive minutes the last two games. LA might just need his aggressive play, considering the Celtics will be doing all the grabbing, punching and holding the refs will allow. Let Sasha continue to be the irritant and get at least one hot headed Beaner thrown out the game.

  59. Re: Game 6

    There can’t be enough said for players that have “it.” That fire, that heart, that mental toughness. One of the main reasons I so wanted the Lakers to acquire Artest was because of that “it” factor. He plays with a passion and a constant motor that few players have. But more importantly he doesn’t back down from the moment. Artest shot a 3 pointer with 22 seconds left on the shot clock in a close and pivitol WCF game 5. Would Gasol or Odom have done that? You know who would have done that? Fisher, Kobe and Sasha. Not coincidentally those are the only other players on the Lakers that have the confidence and mental fortitude to not go small when the moments get big. Not coincidentally those are the Lakers that take the most bad shots. They aren’t afraid to take or miss that one shot. Ron has gotten spat on from most of the basketball word because his outside shooting hasn’t been as good as it was in the regular season and throughout the last few seasons. But he still wants to take that shot. That is why it was no surprise he was Kobe’s right hand man in this western conference clinching road game. And that is why it was also no surprise that the other guy who stepped up in the 4th when everyone backed down was Derek Fisher. Oh… and there was that Kobe guy. At a time when players get soft and shrink like Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom when facing adversity… guys like Ron Artest just plow through a Jason Richardson shoulder and lay the ball in.

    I have never enjoyed watching a Laker play defense as I have this year watching Artest game in and game out. He plays defense like great scorers play offense. Always in attack mode and never taking a play off. You can see when he locks onto that ball… and you can see that the opposing player can see it also. Enjoy watching Kobe play… he is in my opinion one of the top 3 players to ever play a basketball game. But please… enjoy watching Ron Artest work… he is after all one of the greatest perimeter defenders the NBA has and will ever see.

    Re: The Rematch
    Why this NBA Finals is far from a rematch…

    I wish the Lakers had the opportunity to exact revenge from the Boston Celtics. Unfortunately after the Lakers win this series it won’t have proven anything. We won’t know if Gasol can score constantly against Kendrick Perkins as he will mostly be matched up with KG. We won’t know if Luke Walton or Vlad Rad can all of the sudden stop Paul Pierce. We won’t know if Kobe can learn how to score against James Posey unless at halftime they play a little one on one with Posey coming out from the stands. But we do know that Kobe can guard Rondo, and Fisher can’t guard Ray Allen. We do know that Artest gives Paul Pierce fits and Gasol’s length flusters KG. So will we learn anything in this series? Maybe just how many rings Kobe can fit on one hand.

  60. adande picking celtics. i’m never gonna read another one of his articles

  61. Ray,
    Fisher is the worst starter in the NBA. When we looked through NBA rosters there were around 35 to 45 players that would fit better with the Lakers than Derek Fisher. There are just so many talented PG’s and hybrid PG’s in this league. That doesn’t mean he can’t have a good playoffs. And he hasn’t played great basketball…. just great basketball for him. What he has done is make big shots as I have always said he can do. And he has improved his outside shooting in the playoffs as to not be a liability from the 3 point line. Lets celebrate Fisher for stepping up. But lets still live in reality here. He is still a very bad PG. I celebrated Ariza last year for hitting his shots but I never pretended he was a good shooter. And as you saw this year he was back to shooting 30%. We should celebrate great performances without thinking this is who the player is.

  62. Who’s joining me to kill Aaron?

  63. Aaron,

    Again, like i said before, you and a few people declared him the worst by listing players that you feel are better than him. I don’t think I ever agreed with you. So you can take the Hinrich’s of the world, but I still go with Fish. Like a lot of us here who supported him even when he wasn’t playing well, we knew why he was still starting. This isn’t a one time performance, he’s been excelling in the playoffs. You can show me all your stats, and how you want jordan or shannon to start over him, but man. You are wrong on this one.

    Fisher is the best starter for this team. He is the best point guard for this team. All your stats and stuff, just sabermetrics. And since that hasn’t worked out for the A’s yet, it doesn’t prove your argument either.

  64. Ray,
    I love you… but mostly in a sexual way. I have supported Fisher and rooted for him all year. I want him to do well. I am a Lakers fan. Right now i want Fisher starting because Farmar and Brown haven’t been. I don’t wanna continue this Fisher stuff till the NBA Finals are over and the Lakers have embarrassed the Celtics. Than we can go over all the possible starting PG’s the Lakers will be looking at. because I think we can all agree they need a new starting PG. But Fish has surprised everyone with his play.

    Palani,
    I think we should be educated basketball fans on this site. When a player like Fisher scores 11 points and almost shoots 50% and misses all of his three point attempts but also makes a couple huge baskets in the 4th we should understand they were huge shots. We should understand they are huge shots but that doesn’t mean that is a good player. Too many of us overreact on this site from play to play or game to game or series to series. Fisher has played to the best of his abilities in these playoffs and should be commended. I love him for his “clutchness.” But we shouldn’t pretend he is a good player. Last year he had a bad regular season and a bad playoffs. This year a bad regular season but he has stepped up in the playoffs and thank god. The guy has taken his game to another level this last month. But the larger sample size tells the real story. Lets watch these games and enjoy another championship. But Artest is not a bad shooter because he has struggled the last couple months… and Fisher isn’t all of the sudden a slightly below average PG just because he is playing that way right now. Go Lakers!!!!!!!!!

  65. this is a repost but…i still dont get why ppl dont do this:
    “Why haven’t anyone thought of using someone like DJ to get Perkins a T? Perkins has 6 Ts, 1 more he’ll be automatically suspended. Just get someone like DJ to piss him off so he gets a T. I wonder why no one does this…there is “hack a shaq” type of strategies, what about baiting people into a technical? We should try to use DJ to get rasheed and perkins each a T. then use powell or adom morrison to get them each another T.”

  66. @Kenny,

    Because then they would send the end of their bench to get Gasol or Kobe kicked out, and then we would have bench wars.

  67. Legler, who is probably the most knowledgeable espn analyst, at least in my opinion, is picking the Celtics is 6. And honestly, I think the Celtics have an advantage. Fisher cant guard Rondo, andif you put Kobe on Rondo, Fisher cant guard Ray Allen. I think Gasol is going to have issues with KG. You can say KG is older, but he is still mean and very physical and I think will bully Gasol. So what advantages do the Lakers have? Well inside they really dont have that huge advantage like they have had against all 3 West foes. KG and Perkins are pretty big and strong and can both contain a hurt Bynum and Gasol, who looked really weak in the last few games against the Suns. There is Kobe but…the Celtics do an excellent job in guarding him. Ray Allen is a very underrated defender. I know he cant stop Kobe, but he can contain him. I dont know if Pierce will be playing on Kobe at all, but he is also a great individual defender that has given Kobe problems. If we are to have a chance against this great Boston team, we must run the triangle very well. There needs to be a lot of ball movement to say the least and we cannot rely on a whole bunch of Kobe’s iso’s. All in all, this Celtics team is not as good as that team 2 years ago and we are a much better, more mature tougher team than we were in that finals. Plus we got homecourt. I am taking the Lakers in 7.

  68. big props to Nash and Hill, two great players that are long overdue for championships. Shame they aren’t on the Lakers team who are on their way (hopefully) in winning a very tough and physical series vs the Celtics

  69. Game recap is up. Thanks for the patience and congrats to the Lakers! 4 more wins!

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2010/05/30/lakerssuns-game-6-kobe-closes-the-door-lakers-clinch/

  70. You want to know why this group is a championship team… They have made me forget all about Kobe’s finger, (knee, back etc.) the team’s lingering injuries (except Bynum’s), our offensive woes that shadowed us most of the season, and our complacent attitude that almost became synonymous with the thought of our team. It has all gone away with several gargantuan performances in this post season.

    There are no excuses with the Lakers. This is why I think our Championship attitude will carry us to where we deserve to be… Back2Back!

  71. If one looks at combinations of players rather than individual matchups, and the flow of the series, it all comes down to the first two games–as it always does. Boston almost certainly will come out with aggression on both the offensive and defensive sides of the game–determined to force transition baskets–unwilling to concede anything in the paint–fouling, and fouling hard to send a message.

    On offense, multiple picks will be used to free up Rondo, Allen, and Pierce to penetrate, forcing complex switching by the Lakers defense–expecting breakdowns and easy baskets.

    If the Lakers can weather the storm through the first period, and close the half in the lead, the Celtics may not have the energy to sustain their strategy throughout the entire game, retreating to a completely defensive posture by the fourth quarter.

    If the Celtics are successful on both ends from the opening tipoff, the Leps could race to a significant lead by halftime that could be insurmountable by the fourth quarter. We’ve seen the Celtics scary good with this strategy against Orlando.

    The challenge for the Lakers will be especially intense in the first two games, but if they can hold serve and win the first two, it will be almost impossible for the Celtics to win the series.

    On the other hand, if the Lakers lose two . . . .

    I’ll be very interested to see what happens in game one.

  72. remember back in 08 after the lakers had steamrolled through the west and Boston struggled to get out of the east, just about everybody on espn picked the Lakers to win once the final matchup was set, and well, look what happened. Can’t pay too much attention to what “experts” say.

  73. Great game,great ending by Kobe!Also a redemption game for ”not so respected” Artest.

    Lakers in 5 normally but with the refs like this it would be Lakers in 6.Kobe for 5th ring and 2nd Finals MVP in a row.

  74. LA/Boston rematch reminds me of Rocky IV, after Drago kills Apollo (Lakers loss in 2008 Finals), Rocky (the good guys…) is now ready to take Drago in the ring. And we all know how that ended up..

  75. Make sure you all go to the stores and buy a big pot of bbq sauce because Pau is going to make you all swallow your words.

    He’s done it before. He has a big challenge ahead and a monkey to get off his back again and he will, like he did last year.

    Lakers in 5, Pau Finals MVP (20pt/9rb/5as/2bl 52%FG 75%FT)

    Go Purple and Gold!