Lakers/Suns Game 6: Kobe Closes The Door, Lakers Clinch

Darius Soriano —  May 30, 2010

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The Lakers are going back to the Finals.

Exactly one year (to the day) after beating the Denver Nuggets and advancing to its second consecutive Finals looking to right the previous year’s wrong, the Lakers defeated the Phoenix Suns 111-103 in game 6 of the WCF and are now going to their third consecutive championship series and looking to exact revenge.  The series that everyone has been looking forward to is right around the corner.  But before we think about that next match up, we need to properly take in the events from Saturday and appreciate what the Lakers have done.

First and foremost, the Phoenix Suns deserve our congratulations and a load of credit.  The team that overachieved all season reached the Western Conference Finals and gave the Lakers everything they could handle over the course of the series.  After two blowout losses to start the WCF, the Suns fought as hard as possible in the last 4 games and just came up short.  And while they may not yet have a championship caliber team, they compete with the heart of a champion and they’ve earned the respect of basketball pundits and fans everywhere.  They’re just a great, great team.  And special recognition needs to be given to Steve Nash.  I think commenter Tra said it very well in the comments:

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.

But as great as Nash is, game 6 wasn’t about his brilliance, it was about the otherworldly play of Kobe Bryant.  Over the course of the season we’ve seen game winners, fantastic performances in the face of injury, and that incredible will to win.  But tonight encapsulated the specialness that is Kobe Bean Bryant.  In a closeout game on the road and a home crowd that was ready to explode on the next positive play that their team could produce, Kobe quieted them.  Repeatedly.  The man with the iron will and the ice water in his veins showed how tremendous skill and unshakable focus can combine to create a nearly unbeatable force on the basketball court.  Usually the cliche “he wouldn’t let his team lose” is oversold, but tonight it was dead on when describing Kobe.  37 points (on 25 shots), 10 of 11 at the foul line, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a +19 in 41 minutes of game time.  He was the dominant force in this game.

And oh what a game.

The contest started out as a shootout as both teams beat some pretty good (but not great) defense with plain better offense.  Both teams played to their strengths as the Suns pushed the ball up court, found open shooters, and knocked down threes.  Meanwhile the Lakers were getting the ball inside as 6 of their first 8 points came in the paint on two buckets by Bynum and a steal/dunk by Ron Artest.  And throughout the entire quarter, both teams just continued to make shots as neither defense could find a solution to the other teams offense.  Be it long jumpers, foul shots, post ups, or fast breaks, both teams just had it going.  By the time that the first 12 minutes elapsed, the Lakers had 37 points and the Suns had 34.  And while Phil Jackson may have called it ragged and surely thought the pace was too fast, for the fans watching in the arena or at home, it was simply a terrific show.

But as the game wore on, only one team would continue to put up the points.  As the pace slowed and both teams settled into more half court sets, it was the Lakers that found ways to but the ball in the basket consistently.  Sure, Kobe was doing his thing, but in support of #24 was Artest, Bynum, LO, and Jordan Farmar.  Over the middle portion of the game, it was these Lakers that continued to punish the Suns’ zone with penetration, jumpers that the Suns were willing to give up but finding results that were difficult to live with, and inside play that the Suns just didn’t seem to have an answer for.  As the Suns’ D shifted towards Kobe (who was still making shots) and Gasol (who wasn’t), Artest (and others) thrived by knocking down shot after shot that just continued to boost the Lakers lead.  So, by the time that the 3rd quarter ended the Lakers were ahead by 17 and looked to be in a pretty comfortable position.

But, like all very good NBA teams, the Suns made their push.  And they can thank Sasha Vujacic for giving them their inspiration.  Because after Goran Dragic made a nice step back jumper with Sasha trying to contest the shot, Dragic was able to bait Sasha into hitting him in the face with his arm.  After Dragic fell down like he was shot, the Phoenix crowd was suddenly back alive and the Suns had Dragic at the line for 2 FTs (flagrant 1 on Sasha) plus possession of the ball.  And after Dragic knocked down the freebies and then got two more points on a lay up after the inbounds, the Suns had shaved off 6 points from the Lakers lead and the run was on.  After a miss from Odom, Dragic got another layup and the Lakers lead was down to 9.  Farmar put a temporary stop to the bleeding with an 18 foot jumper on the next possession, but that would be short lived as after misses by both teams Frye hit a jumper and Amar’e got a dunk.  And suddenly what was a 17 point game was now a 7 point one with the Suns’ momentum building and their crowd roaring.

However, this is where having Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher pays off.  Both of these players have been in these battles and know what it takes to win on the road in these types of games.  And in the final 7 and a half minutes, it would be these two 13 year veterans that would carry the Lakers home.  First it was a Fisher jumper to push the lead back to 9.  That would be followed by a Kobe jumper and then another by Fisher that continued to match the Suns’ buckets at the other end.  And in the Final 2 minutes, Kobe would take over for good.  Making an array of jumpers that will live forever in his highlight reels, Kobe was simply…Kobe and closed the door on the Suns.  A leaning quick release flick from straight away?  A hanging, clutching jumper from 15 feet on the right baseline?  A 22 foot fade away as he spun away from a double team on the extended right wing?  Yes, yes, yes.  Again, simply amazing.

And while not everything was perfect and there will be improvements that are needed in the Finals, that is something to think about on another day.  Today is about celebration.  It’s not often that a team makes it to three straight NBA Finals.  And it’s even more rare to have one of the all time great players on the team that you root for.  So for now cherish these things; celebrate them as this is not the norm.  We have until next Thursday to talk about the Finals (and we’ll do plenty, believe me) so for now cherish this moment – I know that I will.

And since I can’t resist, check out the Lakers highlights from this win.

Darius Soriano

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67 responses to Lakers/Suns Game 6: Kobe Closes The Door, Lakers Clinch

  1. 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!

  2. thisisweaksauce May 30, 2010 at 2:14 am

    How about the slap on Gentry’s butt? Kobe, that was too funny.

  3. that kobe dude is sick !!!
    simply amazing…

    Great job with the site Darius.

  4. again guys, cheers.

  5. 2:48 – Simply ridiculous. Kobe has unlimited range, man. First Utah, then Phoenix and now Boston; These playoffs are all about revenge. Operation Redemption for Kobe and the Lakers!

  6. Kobe, that’s all.

    Check out this column on feeling bad for Nash: http://bit.ly/cWAzlS

  7. in the last 3 baskets Mr. Bean made, Doug Collins just “ohh”s. looking forward on the previews.

  8. Those Kobe buckets were amazing.

  9. #1, the slap sequence, reportedly, went like this:

    (Kobe makes shot)

    Gentry: Hill, good defense.

    (Kobe slaps Gentry in the butt)

    Kobe: Not good enough.

    Classic if true ;)

  10. DJ-F.L.A.S.H. May 30, 2010 at 3:51 am

    After watching the post game press conference, Alvin Gentry, what can you say about the guy, just simply a class act. I’m not gonna compare his sportsmanship after his team was eliminated with a certain free agent, but you get the point. This postseason was his coming out party, and he’s earned the respect of Laker fans around the world.

    P.S.: I still hate D’Antoni though…

  11. Hollinger picked the Lakers in 7.

    Damn it! Now I am worried…

  12. Re “General” Nash, there’s a reason he hasn’t won. When you figure out why, you’ll understand why might not be so great an idea to have the playoff war come.

    I’ll give you a hint, check on the pts per game versus opp pts per game for the regular season. Compare the Mavs/Suns years for Nash versus the Lakers’ final years going back through the Shaq-Kobe era. Do the same versus the Spurs Finals’ years in the 2000s as well (06-07, 04-05, 02-03). And if you want, you can add in the Pistons for 04-05 and 03-04, and also the Celtics in 07-08.

    Next, more specifically consider when the Mavs/Suns lost in the conf finals with Nash (09-10, 05-06, 04-05, 02-03). Look at the per game pt diff for those years compared to the other years. Their best years (though this year is closer to the other non-finals years, likely owing to the not so great 1st half). Now consider that in each of those years they ran into a team that had as good a point diff and did it with more halfcourt and defense. That’s a good thing for Mavs/Suns opponents, since the game gets slower (more defense) and the scoring comes down in the playoffs (more defense).

    Lastly, the other way of putting the matter is that the big men who can play the system and yet still play plus defense are few and far between. The Mavs/Sun never cornered that market and so when push came to playoff defense shove, both Nash and the other not so stellar defenders were more exposed and the other team put the usual playoff clamp down on their offense.

    Almost forgot, but owing to their system, they tend to get more out of their bench during the regular season than some others. However, what with a more shallow playoff rotation, some of that advantage is lost. Truly lastly, what would be interesting for comparison purposes would be for Nash to be on a more traditional style play team (as it were). In the meantime, when I read pieces like the one cited above, always helps to remember the stat inflation that comes with run and gun. Oh, and if Nash made Amare, can our author there explain why Amare avg’d a tad over 20 a game the year prior to Nash. Are we then supposed to say that Stephon Marbury made Amare that year?

    Oh, for one more almost forgot, I “loved” the “race” comment in the cited piece as well. Right. As in, if he wasn’t the Great White Hope he wouldn’t have the two MVPs, that much is certain.

  13. @ #7 Couldn’t agree with you more… Hollinger picking the Lakers is a bad omen indeed. But I’m glad Jalen – who I believe is one of the better ESPN analysts – has Lakers in 7 too. He brings fair and objective commentary without being blinded by PER, stats, etc. and let’s not forget, he actually played in the NBA.

    Finally, you gotta love our boy Ron Ron: http://nba.fanhouse.com/2010/05/30/kobe-chat-helped-change-artests-life/

    Here’s to hoping he gets his first of several championship rings.

  14. I put this up early in the last thread, but it still applies…

    We have a reasonably good team – not championship, but reasonably good. Then we also have Kobe. My goodness how he must frustrate opposing coaches when they see what he is doing this series. The ability to see where the leaks are in our dam and then go there and plug them himself. For 10 minutes we need scoring, then we need some assists, then we need a few boards, then we need to staunch a Phoenix run.

    We so take this stuff for granted and we just shouldn’t do that. This is a great, great, great player we are watching and I just marvel at his game each and every night. We are so lucky to be Laker fans.

    I just thought it deserved to be restated. The man is a marvel to watch, and I have been watching them all since Jerry West entered the league.

  15. What a game and what a win!

    I’ve been a Laker fan for 24 years now and I never, never take going to the Finals for granted. There will come a day when we aren’t the top dogs of the NBA or even the West, for that matter. There will come a time when we don’t have the difference maker better known as Kobe Bryant. There will come a time when we aren’t going to our third straight Finals and 12th meeting with our arch-nemesis, the Celtics.

    But until that time comes, let’s enjoy it. My eight year old son is being passed the torch and he told me, “We HAVE to beat the Celtics to make them pay for two years ago.” I have to admit – it was awesome to see last night’s game through his eyes. I was worried after Sasha opened the door, but my son reminded me, “Dad – we have Kobe, he won’t let us lose.”

    If he can help us get 4 more wins, we will truly celebrate. What a game, what a win and what a Finals. I hope the Staples Center is rocking and ready to help our team out. This one could go the distance, so we need all the energy possible. Go Lakers! Boston Sucks (please don’t delete)!

  16. Random comments about the game –

    I loved that Ron stepped up. I’m happy for him for all of the “Ariza was a better fit” comments he had to put up with from the media. (I hope he doesn’t go into hero mode every game, though, unless he is hitting like he did last night.)

    Farmar made a couple of key shots and wasn’t as bad as he can be. Lakers need a couple of bench players besides L.O. to step up. Farmar and Sasha did the last two games.

    Fisher!!! I guess we will have to put up with another season of Fisher bashing. I think Phil is going to start him next year again.

    Sasha made a dumb play, but doesn’t need to be crucified. I like the intensity and chippiness. Flagrant 1 was out of line. If he has found his shot, Lakers need him.

    I like that Bynum is battling and contributing. Lakers need him next series.

    I liked that Pau and Odom, who were both struggling, made a couple of plays down the stretch.

    Closing out on the road again – amazing! Glad the team gets some rest and prep time (and all in the comfort of home).

    I am grateful to the refs and the Suns for making this a series. The first two games were not good prep for the finals.

    I like the class of the Western Conference teams – not expecting much from the next opponents.

    As others have said, Gentry and Nash are good guys – Hill too. I think if the Suns ditch Amare and pick up someone else in his place, they are going to be nasty next year.

    I can’t believe the Lakers are back in the finals. Laker fans are fortunate and need to relish this.

    Finally, let’s bring on the Celtics talk. It’s all about The Big One and his three sidekicks now.

  17. Have been a basketball nut since Jerry West. Inspired me to try and play like The Logo. Saw Jordan, Magic and many others. But watching Kobe day after day with broken fingers, hurt knees, sprained ankles to perform like he has is amazing.

    The greatest offensive shooters that could get a shot from anywhere at any time is Jordan and Kobe.

    The best shooters under pressure of all time is Jordan and Kobe.

    The most focused players I have seen of all time is Jordan and Kobe.

    Its 1 and 1a and when its all over and we look back I think Kobe Bryant will be the 1.

  18. Loved the video, especially the brilliant montage at the beginning. Here’s the full song with lyrics, it might make a fitting theme song for the BOS series from our point of view:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0M5D5OA-d4

    Kobe pregame responding to the question to elaborate on the “I’m gonna kill him!” comment with Sager:

    “He’s still breathing.” (without even flinching)

    http://www.nba.com/video/channels/playoffs/2010/05/29/0040900316_lal_phx_recap.nba/?ls=iref:nbahpt2#

  19. I felt good about this series till I saw Hollinger’s kiss of death.

  20. Nice recap, thx for the love and respect for the Suns team.

    Kobe was unreal. After the tough season I really didn’t think he still had it in him to play so well for 6 games straight. Unreal and as a basketball and sports fan a pleasure to watch. Epic MJ-like performance and props to Ron for a great game too.

  21. Doug Collins was not the only one going “ohh” after those shots! Simply incredible; the last one he hit with Hill in his jersey, then tapping Gentry on the backside, I still am giddy over that shot. Mama there goes that man!

  22. Just a virtuoso performance by Kobe last night.

    Love this team. Love this game. Go Lakers!

  23. Thursday night baby! Let’s see who covers Rondo, Kobe is the only one who has a shot in hell to try and stop him but I doubt Phil’s gonna stick Kobe on Rondo…

  24. #12
    Paul.
    I could dissect the errors in your post, but the essence of what you say in it is just sad and small.
    Nash is no good because he is white and isn’t Kobe.
    It’s great that in the wake of a great series and playoff run, you feel the need to tear down the competition. Doesn’t that diminish the value of the victory? If he sucks, why was it such an effort to beat the Suns?
    Numbers can never tell the story of either Kobe or Nash. But Nash has the respect of his peers, including Kobe. Keep trying to diminish that – it makes you look so much smarter by comparison.

    What a sad way to look at basketball.

  25. People keep talking about Rondo and how the Lakers are not ready for him. Hold on. They just went through Westbrook, Williams, and Nash. Nash and Williams are probably THE two best PGs in the NBA.

    I am not saying the Lakers will shut Rondo down. But I think they have been prepped very well for dealing with him. And who was it on the last thread that implied that Ray Allen would be able to D up Kobe? Grant Hill played the best defense on Kobe I have seen since Artest and Battier tag teamed him last year in the Houston series. Still Kobe killed the Suns. He is obviously feeling better and the motivation factor will be off the charts.

    Just as I gave the Suns their respect at the start of the last series (believing it would go 6 even after the first two games) I give the C’s their respect. They are a group of wiley vets with a bullet like Rondo leading the show. They will play hard and compete until the end. But still I believe the Lakers will take this in six games. There is too much motivation on their side. Listening to Fish during the trophy presentation and feeling his intensity through the screen I know our guys will be ready. Heck, even the extra intellectual himself Phil Jackson showed some intensity.

    There is no way our guys come away empty handed this time.

  26. Has anyone found Sasha’s body yet? After 13 years of watching Kobe, I’m pretty sure that man wasn’t joking.

  27. Nash: Always a bridesmaid. And he can’t even blame Kobe, the Lakers weren’t a factor at the Suns peak years. At least he got those MVPs, but he’ll remain 2nd or 3rd tier all time. He is a bit overrated right now, not underrated. His numbers are inflated by the style he plays. He’s very talented, very very smart, and he maximizes. But he should have been the second best player on a Champ team. Maybe he and Dirk could have done it that year against Miami. Cuban must be kicking himself.

  28. And as for Kobe, I was lucky enough to live in Chicago in the 90’s, moved to LA in 2000, and some of those lines are really starting to blur.

    Kobe INVENTS shots, just like MJ. Unlike anyone else in my lifetime. To watch him is to watch Picasso or Kubrick or Michaelangelo. His canvas is the court, his body is the brush, and his opponents’ tears are the paint. Genius.

  29. PJ is 47-0 in series when his team win the 1st game… So, we have to beat them on Thrusday

  30. “Thursday night baby! Let’s see who covers Rondo, Kobe is the only one who has a shot in hell to try and stop him but I doubt Phil’s gonna stick Kobe on Rondo…”

    He’s guarded Rondo before, why change now? As long as it’s not Luke…

  31. Kobe will definitely be guarding Rondo because you can’t make the argument about saving Kobe for the offensive end since he would have to expend even more energy chasing Allen through screens.

  32. @28
    “…and his opponents’ tears are the paint.”
    Hahaha, love the analogy.

    @30
    I like Kobe on Rondo, and though Kobe guarded Rondo in one game during the regular season (Kobe was injured for the other regular season game) and Rondo still did pretty well, I have a suspicion that Kobe was “testing” defensive ideas against Rondo. I just can’t imagine Kobe getting overmatched defensively by another guard in the Finals.

    Also, I think Fish can do a passable job on Ray (at least better than he could on Rondo). Fish does a great job running through screens which Ray loves to do, and can really punish the screener. Having a 210 pound man built like a brick run into you multiple times a game must have a toll on you by the 4th quarter, not to mention that Perkins is an offensive foul machine, and Fish will definitely be drawing a few of those this series.

  33. don’t worry, hollinger picked the lakers in 6 in last years finals. we won in 5.

    means we’re winning in 6, baby!

  34. I hope Pau can build on this series and use it to understand how to deal with the pounding Boston will give him.

    I was a little surprised at how much problems he was having with the Phx pounding and double teaming. In the regular season last year and this year, during the Boston games, he was dealing with their length and pounding well. Seemed like he understood how to work with it and was able to execute. This was when Boston was at full health. Remember the first reg season game last season when Pau stepped up huge? Put up some solid numbers and came up with that big block on wheelchair boy to help ice the game.

    I’m hoping he can draw from the last two years and execute as efficiently as he did again.

  35. 19. For real… I scanned that ESPN page eagerly hoping they all went for the Celtics, but nope, more than half of those clowns are picking us. Terrible omen.

  36. Yeah, I am just going to let this WCF result soak in, and this has made my weekend a good one indeed.

  37. I do have somewhat of a critique of Phil from last night.

    In the last 4-5 minutes of the game Pau was absolutely gassed – I mean totally out of gas tired. He was being banged the entire game.

    This was a game where Phil needed to use Andrew to at least give Pau some rest in the late 3rd/early 4th. Since he didn’t do this he should have given him some blow about the 6 minute mark so Pau would be fresher at the end. Nope. Mister consistency hung with him to the end and he was getting bumped all over the place and really had a hard time on offense.

    I know Phil doesn’t trust Andrew, but he did good this game and deserved some run in the 4th, if only to get Pau a breather. We won, but Pau was pretty much a non-factor and he could have added more toward the end of the game.

  38. Totally agree, Craig. Drew certainly wasn’t a liability last night. Question: was Drew on the court when the Suns went to the hole at will in the 4th? Answer: nope. I thought that was Phil’s one tactical mistake last night, whether or not Pau was gassed (I think he was, too). Drew is still our best shot contester. Even Doc mentioned this about him, I think it was after the first game against Boston last season. He said that he wasn’t happy about all his team’s missed shots in that game until he went back and looked at the film and saw Bynum seemingly contesting every shot.

    The only guy who can consistently make jumpers over Drew is a little Canadian with a sick rainbow fadeaway.

  39. Did “Derek Fisher, Regular Season Version” even happen?

    I mean, there are transformations and then there are “TRANSFORMATIONS.”

    THANK GOD Phil is smarter than the rest of us and stuck with Fish this whole.

    Fish sure has rewarded him, and then some.

    It’s kind of amazing to think that when everything was crumbling at the end of the fourth quarter, only two guys stepped up:

    Kobe (who we expected)
    and
    Fisher (who we SHOULD HAVE expected)

    Huge props to Fish.

  40. 23. Kobe has guarded Rondo every game he’s played in after Game 2 of the 2008 Finals. The Lakers are 5-2 in those games in which Kobe played and guarded Rondo, and 0-1 in the game Kobe sat out three months ago. I’ll be really pissed at Phil if he changes tactics and has Fish guard Rondo. The two tactical mistakes Phil made in the 2008 Finals were putting Fish on Rondo in Games 1 and 2, and leaving Fish on the bench from the last three minutes of the third quarter of Game 4 (Lakers up 11) until two minutes remained in the fourth (Lakers down 5). Those two mistakes cost us that series, along with Vlad Rad’s existence.

  41. I’d give it up for Farmar, too, just because he takes so much crap from fans: 3/4, 8 points, 5 assists, 0 turnovers in 17 minutes. Big shot midway through the 4th before Fisher and then Kobe got it going.

  42. burgandy

    some of us did expect that. we are called the optimists.

    LETS GO LAKERS.

  43. @32
    Can’t argue with a word. Plus Fish should draw some moving screen fouls too. Always a bonus.

  44. Darius,

    I’m trying to do research on the punches that Kevin Garnett threw against D. Howard. I can’t find any rule saying that the punch has to be towards the head. The only thing I can find is the update in 1993:

    • Any player who throws a punch now immediately ejected from the game, suspended for at least one game, and fined an appropriate dollar amount. Any player throwing a punch that connects with another player will be ejected from the game, suspended for a minimum of one to five games, and fined an appropriate dollar amount. Teams will also be fined an amount equal to the total sum of their players’ fines. Any player leaving the bench area during a fight will be fined $2,500, up from $500, and that player’s team will be fined $5,000 for each of its players who leave the bench area.

    Can anyone justify why KG was not thrown out or suspended for the next game?

  45. I don’t see Kobe guarding Allen – there is no way he is going to burn his energy running all over the court chasing him around. Makes no sense at all.

  46. @44
    Interestingly enough, a simple google news search only results in ONE (maybe two now) article mentioning KG’s punch. There are no other articles mentioning it. Why have the media suddenly decided to go KG-friendly?

  47. I know it’s on youtube and stuff. I meant it’s not on any major news articles.

  48. Yahoo article on player emotions from 2008. Quote from Pau:

    “It was painful,” Lakers forward Pau Gasol said. “It is a feeling that I want to keep in my mind for every single minute that I’m out there playing them.”

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=mc-lakersceltics053010

  49. what boggles my mind, and did so yesterday during the game

    KG’s two intentional punches were a simple offensive foul.

    Sasha’s bicep punch was a flagrant 2.

    I’d like some consistency on that.

  50. #9, Kobe doesn’t say anything during that sequence. I am pretty sure you read that from Adande’s article, and that is absolutely why I despite Adande. He tries too hard to integrate pop culture into his journalism, and I’m fairly certain he makes things up often (like this one). Gentry clearly says, “Come on..” to Kobe, and Kobe doesn’t even open his mouth.

    #47, How crazy is Garnett? I seriously don’t know what is wrong with him.

  51. 44.

    Most likely was called a forearm thrust/slap or something ridiculous like that to avoid KG sitting out. The play was unreal and I fully expected a fine at the minimum for that. Looks like nothing will happen. The NBA is probably too busy basking in the glow from all the money from the Lakers/Celtics Finals to even care.

    Rondo will definitely get checked by Kobe from the outset of Game 1. Fish will cover Ray. Hopefully after Sasha is resurrected from his execution by Kobe, he will get some time on Ray.

    In the game that the Lakers lost sans Kobe, Sasha had played some great ball, but was injured with a shoulder sprain in the fourth. He was able to play solid defense on Ray Allen. Ray was able to shoot over both Fish and Shannon, but Sasha’s height and annoyance factor deterred him somewhat.

    Sasha does bring that annoyance factor that cannot be underestimated. He just needs to control his emotions better.

    Here’s a link to his statement about Dragon Goric (Craig Sager pronunciation):

    http://nba.fanhouse.com/2010/05/30/slovenian-squabble-sasha-vujacic-goran-dragic-tell-their-side/

  52. i remember watching the kg chop to howard live and wondering how in the world the refs didnt call the first one or how van gundy, jackson, or breen didnt mention it immediately.

    and when they let him go with an offensive foul after the second chop, i almost lost it. that has to be at least a technical. if it was artest or sheed who did that, they probably wouldve gotten a flagrant.

  53. @ray
    Maybe because most school girls can punch better than that? :D

    If he had made that motion with the hand open it’s just a swipe. It’s an aggressive one, yes, and something to pull him aside for and tell him “take it easy, big guy”, but it’s not really a real punch.

    Maybe I’m overly picky, but for something to be a punch in my mind, you need to have your wrist locked, and your fist connect, and you need to have your shoulder behind it and your body turning into the movement adding power to the whole motion.

    In short, if not for the closed fist, that might well have been a flailing swipe to “get your hands off me!” that, once again, I’ve see school girls do better.

    No, I don’t like Garnett’s transparent punk attitude and fake tough guy act. Never did. :)

  54. Amazing isn’t it? that we got this far with the “worst point guard” in the NBA ;)

  55. #9 and #51. It doesn’t matter whether the dialogue
    is true. It’s such a great story and is so much fun
    to repeat, that it will have an eternal life of it’s own.

  56. Just saw that KG slap. I don’t know how that’s not a flagrant foul. The force in which he attempted to hit Howard, the intention, the fact that there was no ball to make a play at. It’s hard not to draw parallels with Sasha’s play. Dwight wasn’t doing anything to irritate KG (besides putting his hand on KG’s side, which people do all the time) while Dragic was clearly talking to Sasha and even bumped Sasha.

  57. 39, you mean thank god that Phil is smarter than some of us, considering Darius and others have supported Derek Fisher starting and finishing games throughout the season, and were derided as such for not having their opinions validated by statistics. I think they deserve some credit for their insight.

  58. Mimsy you are so on point with KG and his antics. Ridiculous.

  59. Hope the Lakers sent video of Dragic’s flop and KG’s punch edited back to back over and over just to make a point.

  60. @Buttas
    I’m just echoing Charles Oakley. He’s where I first heard Garnett described as a “Fake tough guy”. I thought it was very accurate, so now I’m using that quote to describe him whenever he gives me a good excuse to do so. Which is nearly every game lately. :)

    I respect Rajon Rondo for his skills and heart, and for never giving up, and though I despise and hate their guts, I admit that both Pierce and Allen are old warriors, fighters who will face down anyone who challenges them, without fear or hesitation. But Garnett… he strikes me as a bully these days.

    @Zephid
    I don’t think I’ll ever question that Darius knows and understands more about basketball than I do ;)

  61. KG is fugazi (remember that word? lol!!)

  62. The Fugazi interview was a great moment in nba history… and fugazi is a rather apt description of KG these days.

  63. A new post is up. We take a quick look at the video highlights from the Lakers/Celtics match up from the regular season.

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2010/05/30/remembering-the-regular-season/

  64. 1984: Lakers win WCF in Phoenix, 4-2, then go on to lose to Boston 4-3 in the Finals. Lakers win game 1 in Boston convincingly, then have game 2 on ice (and probable sweep, as well) when Gerald Henderson forces OT by stealing James Worthy’s back court pass. Celtics prevail in OT and gain new life.

    1989: Lakers win WCF in Phoenix, 4-0, (after sweeping first two rounds v. Portland and Seattle) then go on to lose to Detroit, 4-0 in the Finals. Byron Scott misses the Finals with a torn hamstring suffered in Pat Riley’s pre-Finals boot camp. Magic tears his hamstring in game 2, leaving us with a back court of David Rivers and Tony Campbell to battle Isaiah Thomas and Joe Dumars.

    2010: Lakers wrap up WCF in Phoenix yet again, and this time, we put the Suns’ kiss of death to rest.

  65. J-M, some other article has Gentry recounting the tale himself. I think it’s actually valid, since they quoted Gentry.

    Great stuff, if not a bit arrogant ;)

  66. “Nash is no good because he is white and isn’t Kobe.”

    Didn’t say he wasn’t any good. But some have some ‘splainin’ to do when Shaq has 4 rings and Kobe has 4 rings and combined they tie Nash for MVP with 2 (2 for Nash and 1 each for Kobe and Shaq). Don’t otherwise know what Nash would be in a more traditional system, but all of his numbers are inflated owing to run and gun. And on the other end of the court, well, look at his rebound and steal numbers. Given the greater number of possessions for both teams with run and gun, the rebound and steal numbers are simply appalling. And I look at basketball a simple way. There’s offense and defense and rebounding the ball on both sides of the court. Nash is plus to elite with respect to one and a zero with respect to the other two. I don’t see how that wins NBA MVP 2x and Shaq and Kobe have 1 each. Wouldn’t have otherwise commented on the “race matter” save for the author of the one piece introducing it himself, as if a white man in America has anything to overcome with respect to his race. As a white American, I find that idea simply preposterous.