Remembering The Regular Season

Darius Soriano —  May 30, 2010

For nearly every Lakers fan, the first thoughts about the Finals match up with the Celtics are memories from 2008. Revenge is on the mind and we’re all a bit blood thirsty. But when we at FB&G start to roll out out series previews, we’ll be looking heavily at the two regular season games between these two teams. And when looking back at those two games, the thing that stands out is how close the games were. Both teams won a game but did so by a single point. Each team won their game on the road. Both games came down to last second shots (one that was made and one that we’d all like to forget). In one of the games Kobe didn’t play and both games occurred before Nate Robinson was playing for the Celtics. So without further ado, here some video highlights of the regular season games vs. the Celtics. You know, to reinvigorate the hate a bit more.

Darius Soriano

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to Remembering The Regular Season

  1. Can it be Thursday yet?

    I’m boycotting bill simmons til the series is over. though i’d like to see his rationalization for sasha’s flagrant over kg’s offensive foul


  2. My guess is that he will completely ignore it.


  3. God, this is going to be such an exciting series. I can’t wait.


  4. “ray wrote on May 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Can it be Thursday yet?

    I’m boycotting bill simmons til the series is over. though i’d like to see his rationalization for sasha’s flagrant over kg’s offensive foul”

    Here’s the video comparison I threw together.


  5. From a Boston point of view, I’d like to say a couple things about these two games, hopefully leading to reasons both sides can ignore the regular season games.

    As has probably been reported ad nauseam, the Celtics were mostly on cruise control after Christmas with the hopes of getting healthy before the playoffs. Not much of an excuse, yes, but that was their goal, and it has been obtained. Cleveland and Orlando didn’t expect them to be as good as they have been, and now both will watch our teams vie for what they coveted most.

    Kobe isn’t going to be missing any more games this season, nor would I expect anyone on either team to miss a game unless they physically couldn’t play or the league refuses them access to the arenas. We have our full rosters, as healthy as they’re going to be with 6-7 games left (anyone who honestly believes it’s going to be shorter than that either way needs to have their head examined). During the regular season, for both games, we didn’t.

    So now that all of the pretenders are out of the way, let’s get this grudge match started. And if Game 1 doesn’t turn out as expected, don’t be surprised.


  6. “And if Game 1 doesn’t turn out as expected, don’t be surprised.”

    If something doesn’t turn out as expected, by definition wouldn’t you have to be surprised?


  7. If you’re prepared for either team to win any given game of the series, then there’s no real reason to be surprised.


  8. So many things to talk about in the upcoming days.

    -Just like 2008, Kobe is on an offensive tear heading into the series against Boston. Can he maintain even close to that level of play? Boston’s defense is the toughest he’ll face, but let’s not forget Kobe’s biggest adjustment after 2008 – he further polished his jumpshot. He’s actually better offensively in that sense – being able to hit ridiculously contested J’s – since 2008, so I’m curious to see how that’ll hold up against Boston’s D.

    -How much has our frontline grown? Last year, I felt Pau and Odom played with bigger chips on their shoulders. Lamar went grill-to-grill with KG and Pau played through contact. Lamar’s struggled through much of these early playoffs, and Pau (after a perfect last couple months) has started struggling recently.

    -Can Pau score 1-on-1 vs KG? This is one of the few teams that can guard Pau in the post. Boston will give him attention without committing and leaving players open, so Pau will need to be able to spin away from soft doubles and score on Garnett. If he does that, it’ll make the doubles come stronger and open up our offense.

    -Kobe on Ray Allen is a recipe for disaster. I guarantee Kobe will try to help when Rondo penetrates, and even taking your eyes off Allen is a nightmare waiting to happen. It has to be Kobe on Rondo.

    -David Thorpe’s constantly advocated getting in Rondo’s grill when guarding him. The space gives him the ability to survey the defense and find angles in a pressure-free situation. I doubt Kobe will try it, but I’d like to see what happens when you pressure Rondo (for the first time in the playoffs, I might add) and push him out of his comfort zone. Will he blow by the defender a few times? Sure, but he’ll do that anyway. Pressuring him might make him more turnover-prone and hamper his decision-making.

    -Bynum’s health will be key in 2 areas: 1) the boards and 2) containing Rondo in the paint.


  9. This is the one series where I don’t think Kobe can carry us through.

    Kobe will probably have to play the role he played last year, doing his damage quietly (comparably) while other guys step up and repair their reputation.

    Too bad we can’t sic Sasha on Perkins, I think that would’ve been one way to utilize him. I still haven’t forgiven him for almost costing game 6, and really if he pulls one more play like that in the finals, I will pray that the Lakers trade him for Dragic (not possible, I know, just saying) 😉


  10. Correct me if I am wrong, but don’t we usually put Kobe on Rondo and let Fisher chase Ray Ray around?


  11. If the players want this one half as badly as the fans do, any loss won’t be for lack of effort. I just want to be able to email Bill Simmons to ask if he’s enjoying Kobe’s post-prime as much as he did his prime.


  12. i don’t read bill simmons, period.


  13. ditto Q.
    spoken like a true fan


  14. 10 – Yeah, that’s been the strategy since 2008, and I don’t expect it to change.

    Fisher’s also probably the best match we have for Allen. Kobe, if he wants, is better at getting around screens, but he has mental lapses because he tries to do too much on that end. Fisher punishes screens and flops as he goes around them. I’d expect to see some moving screens called on Perk and KG; Fish is the best at getting the refs to notice those things.


  15. Snoop

    We can not expect Kobe to carry us like he has so far. Boston will double and even triple him like they did 2 years ago.

    We have to expect him to score 20 but hope he has 10 assists a game.

    Now where does the help come from. I am very worried about Pau. Lopez and bad d-Amara alone with the zone made him very weak the last 3 games. What can we expect aganist Perkins, Davis and Wallace who make their living beating on guy in the middle.

    LO and Artest have got to be scores in this series or we could be in trouble. If you saw what the Boston defense did to Cleveland and then again to Orlando you know their entire plan is to stop Kobe and force him to force shots.

    This is a bad matchup for the Lakers and is even worse on offense then 2008 due the the muggery of adding Walace,

    I hope Phil has a plan because expecting Kobe to go 1 on 3 will not work aganist these thugs.


  16. Pau was totally thrashed playing such heavy minutes against Phoenix. Methinks Phil is going to have to play him fewer minutes against Boston or he is simply going to melt down – then where will we be? I guess Phil is going to have to trust Andrew a bit more.


  17. Simmons is hilarious. Just because he’s a Beantown homer doesn’t make his writing unworthy of reading. Take his material with a (BIG) grain of salt and you might just see him for what he is – a very good sports writer.

    This series is going to be exciting to watch.

    – We may have a lot of talent, but they have incredible chemistry. They are also peaking at the perfect time, whereas we tend to lose focus (especially the bench) for stretches.

    – We have a tall frontline, but our starting center is hobbled (and he played a big role in our regular-season games against the green shirts)

    – We have home court advantage, but we’re playing a team that played better on the road in the regular season than they did at home.

    – Our bench has cooled off, whereas the green shirts’ bench can erupt on any night (see: Robinson, Nate, game 6 of ECF)

    – Our big guys played tougher ball last year, but Pau and Odom are both out of their element right now and are nowhere near as physical as they should be heading into this series.

    – Are the Lakers truly still bitter from the ’08 embarrassment? I don’t see it.. but it will be exciting to find out.


  18. One thing Artest might bring to the table. In 2008, although Allen did a solid job, Pierce was the most effective initial defender on Kobe. Allen could easily guard Radmanovic with no problems. With Artest at the 3, the C’s should be forced to use Allen on Kobe. In theory, Artest is big enough to punish Ray in the post if they try to stick Pierce on Kobe. The problem is, Artest’s post game hasn’t been as refined as I expected, and with KG and Perk waiting to help, I’m not sure Artest would be able to make them pay.


  19. Every game is going to be tough. The rest of the teams in the league haven’t really respected the Lakers all year, or even last year for that matter, so I want our guys to approach it like they are underdogs. I don’t care who picks them, because I don’t really find the opinions or “picks” of talking heads all that important (there job is to sell the drama), I care that we out work the Celtics in every game that we. In the last two games the Lakers pretty much had their foot on the gas pedal on D against the Suns, and, aside from a bench lapse in game 5 (to be expected), and a truly terribly handled situation in Game 6, the Lakers seemed very in control, very focused. That is what I expect – utmost focus and will.


  20. I think people are giving Farmar a little too much credit for “stepping up” in these playoffs. Although Farmar is shooting 44% and 45% from three I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that he is spending more time with the starters rather than it having to do with a Derek Fisher “clutch” gene. While Farmar is statistically having a better playoffs than Fisher (Derek is shooting 38% from three and has a PER of 11.30 compared to the 13.30 of Farmar’s) I think it is fair to say that Fisher is having the better playoffs as we don’t know if jordan could make those big shots in the 4th quarter or get those offensive foul calls that Fish is so clever at drawing. So lets give it up to Derek… or as Joel Brigham of hoopsworld wrote…

    “Raise your hand if you thought Fisher was pretty much washed up. Okay, all those with your hands down, you’re either Lakers fans or your liars. However you want to play it, Fisher has come up big for L.A. at the perfect times this postseason, and he’ll need to be equally good to handle Rajon Rondo and the all-of-a-sudden threatening Nate Robinson.”

    So lets see if The Fish can pull one more rabbit out of his hat… just one last playoff series for just one last time. For all the time I have harped on him he is a special competitor. The guy competes every night even though he is overmatched seemingly every time he gets out on the court. These PG’s are the best athletes in the world and it seems just about every team in the league has an all star quality PG. In a glitz and glamor town, old Fisher just comes to work with a hard hat and lunch pale every day. So here is to the hardest working man in show business!!!!


  21. 2008 and 2010 are totally different seasons, but the rosters’ key guys are largely the same so the comparisons have some merit. To me, the key differences are as follows:

    A) Bynum’s presence. Yes, he’s less than 100 percent, but he’s big and strong and mobile enough (even now) to command attention. Two years ago Perkins could bang Pau around and let the Lunatic Punch-Artist from Minnesota chase Odom, which was a better fit for KG’s skills.

    This time, KG is going to have to guard one of the Lakers’ seven footers in the post.

    B) Artest can slow down the Wheelchair far better than Radmanovich or Luke were able to two seasons ago. 34 was the series MVP because no one on the Lakers could match up to his mix of low-post skills and outside shooting, especially with Ariza a shell of himself after missing so much time that season.

    Artest totally changes the game.

    C) Boston’s bench is very, very different, as is L.A.s. The Celtics don’t have the savvy, size-laden backup from 2008 anymore. Wallace is a spot-up shooter, so the likes of Leon Powe and P.J. Brown are missing. Robinson can score in the open floor, but he’s a black hole and if he’s scoring the others aren’t, which derails their flow once Nate cools off. There’s no outside bomber a la Eddie House anymore, either, and no savvy point man to back up Dild, er, Rondo, like Sam did way back when.

    As for L.A., Odom’s now a sixth-man, not a starter. Upgrade for L.A. Luke’s not expected to play big minutes. Upgrade for L.A. Shannon Brown and Farmar have Finals experience, and the size (Shannon) and speed (Farmar) to help out on Allen and Dild, er, Rondo. Sasha’s the wild card, but he played well in Phoenix prior to Dragic’s acting job, and honestly, the Lakers have been winning without Sasha all year anyway. Whatever Phil gets from him is gravy.

    Turiaf was too small to hold Boston in ’08; Powell’s a lesser version of Ronny, but with LO on the bench the minutes for Powell won’t matter much anyway.

    In ’08, L.A. came in as the hot team, the one which had blown through the sexy favorites and seemed like it had the stones to break through. Boston was the better team that year, they had home court (and no one can say their free throw disparity in Game 2 wasn’t home cooking), and they played with more poise, “surprising” all of the experts who had mistakenly made L.A. the unwarranted favorites.

    This year, all the talk is on Boston and how they beat LeBron, beat Orlando, Dild, er, Rondo’s so much better, yada yada yada.

    The Lakers are the better team this time. They should win it.


  22. I just hope we don’t come out like this for game 1 or any game for that matter lol


  23. This from the Celt blog. Now I am really mad. We must make this Boston Tea Party two.

    But for all of you Faker fans, I have no respect for you. Lots of people that live in LA root for the Lakers because it’s the “cool, trendy thing to do” You’re a fan because they are good right now. Will you still continue to watch and root for your team when Kobe retires and they become a sub .500 team for 10 years?


  24. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were not the most effective defenders on Kobe in 2008. James Posey did the most defensive damage. Also, it was easier for Pierce to play some time on Kobe when he had his way on the other end with Vlad/Luke guarding him. That changes with Artest in the picture. Paul will have to work harder for his shots. That alone will makes Kobe’s job scoring a little easier for those times when he finds Pierce guarding him.

    In 2008 there were a lot of X’s and O’s analysis. Most picked the Lakers. However, Boston’s hunger was something that was not quantifiable. This time around LA’s desire for some get-back can’t be measured in any analysis.

    The story about the Boston fans throwing rocks at the teams bus and ridiculing the Lakers with profanity for the better part of two hours blew me away. You don’t forget that stuff.

    The Celtics are an excellent team. They have looked good in these playoffs. But this time around I have to believe the mental edge goes to the Lakers.


  25. Ken,

    Tell those guys over at the Celtics blog we will root for the Lakers the way they chanted MVP for Kobe the year before the Big Three got together.

    Celtics fans were on the endangered species list for nearly two decades. All of a sudden everyone east of the Mississippi river bleeds green.


  26. I received an e-mail today about the Lakers WC Champs merchandise being available. No thanks, I will wait for the back-to-back stuff later on in June… So can the Lakers overcome the Celtics SSZ this time around, were the Suns enough practice with Zones for them?


  27. @21,22

    I don’t plan on hopping on to the Celtics blog, but that Celtics fan should realize that when a team (Lakers) makes it to NBA finals roughly 50% of the time, there really isn’t too much time to have a 10 year streak of sub .500 ball.

    And with a screen name like “Sedale”, maybe this Celtics fan should realize that there actually are legit fans who loved the post Magic, pre-Kobe/Shaq Lakers….where’s the respect

    I guess I’ll end on the fact that his blanket statement won’t make me say that all Celtic fans are idiots, just that he is an idiot who happens to be a Celtics fan.


  28. maybe we can somehow get a couple of technicals out of Perkins and/or Sheed? Perkins already has 6. one game suspension with 1 more tech.

    >>>First, make no mistake, this was all part of the Magic’s plan. … After watching a few possessions, it became evident to me that Gortat was on a mission to start something with Perkins and/or Sheed. Holding jerseys, trash talking while waiting for a free-throw, stomping on feet, Gortat was doing his best Bruce Bowen impression.


  29. Boston’s defensive rebounding has looked excellent. It should, because they’ve played 3 below average offensive rebounding teams. The Lakers are one of the best.

    Boston fouls a lot, but this hasn’t hurt them very much because they’ve played 3 below average free throw shooting teams. In fact, Orlando and Cleveland are the worst in the league in that category. The Lakers are better than average.

    Boston has created a lot of turnovers, but this has come against 2 teams that are below average in that category. Only Miami was able to take care of the ball well in the regular season, and, well, they’re not exactly an experienced playoff team. I figure that was a factor in failing to take care of the ball. The Lakers are one of the best teams in T/O %.

    Orlando and Cleveland don’t force a lot of turnovers. Like the Lakers, they don’t like to gamble. The Celtics turn the ball over a lot, anyway, and they’re near the top in this category in both the regular season and the playoffs.

    In the playoffs, the Celtics are now tied with phoenix in the 3pt shooting % category, in first place–thanks to the Lakers and their elite 3pt defense.

    I don’t think Boston has been that great. They’ve just had some very favorable match-ups so far that have disguised their weaknesses and highlighted their strengths.

    Things are not what they seem.


  30. guys,

    don’t fall for the comments from celts blog.
    we have kobe for 4 more years.
    then we still have bynum and gasol.

    look at them, when the big three retired (which is soon), who they have? rondo & perks?

    anyway, what matters is the Finals. Revenge time!

    Go Lakers!


  31. Question for people with a better grasp of the Celtics’ defensive schemes than I have: from how I remember it, the Celtics zoned up on Kobe quite a lot, already having additional defenders in place whenever he beat his initial one – making for long nigths of contested jumpers or akward floaters over well-positioned help defense.

    As far as guarding the post, from my recollection the C’s guarded it much more straight-up than either the Thunder or Suns (maybe because Garnett and Perkins take pride in that?). Meaning that while Pau will face much better individual defenders once he has the ball, getting the ball to him should not be as difficult. Or do I remember this totally wrong?

    If he can be involved more in the offense by more easy entry passes (even if Garnett/Perkins push him out a few more steps), I do trust Pau to make the proper plays. His jump shot in 1-on-1 situations has been solid, even in game 6 against the Suns (which was bad by his high standards) he had some great big-to-big passes to Odom or Bynum on the dive or seal on the other side of the lane. His repertoire is big enough to score on the Celtics’ bigs at a solid clip or make the right play once he gets more attention.

    So I guess I’m saying I feel more confident about the Lakers’ chances with Pau getting a lot of touches against really good individual defenders than being kept out of the offense completely for long stretches.


  32. Sedale: that made me smile. I have Chick’s “Stolen by The Thief!” line stuck in my mind now.

    Good memories.


  33. Chris J,
    Great write up on the series differences. Just fantastic. I encourage everyone to read it above. The only thing I think you missed is the absence of James Posey who was the main defender on Kobe and I don’t recall if you mentioned HCA. I would also throw in that Rondo is a better player (but he might be a little banged up and that Lamar is not as good of a player as he was then m(although he might play better in this series because of the matchups as compared to 08′). But then again Pierce, Allen, and KG aren’t as good either. Well done sir.


  34. Aaron,

    Posey did warrant a mention; and now that I do think of him, his absence this time around also swings things toward L.A.’s favor.

    Yahoo had a great write up on the Celts classy fans — same clowns who chanted MVP for Kobe the year earlier — tossing rocks at the team bus.

    And then there was this gem from the equally classy daughter of Red Auerbach:

    “How did my father feel about the Lakers? No comment. They’re a great franchise, clearly. I think the Celtics are more of a unique organization that attracted a certain player. We had so many players who started and finished their careers in Boston. We didn’t trade for the sake of exploiting a player in their last year. The times are different. The Celtics are a classy organization. My dad knew everyone’s kids, where they were [after retirement], where they were working. They mean a lot to him. They were a real sense of family.”

    Yeah, lady… Boston didn’t add anyone for the sake of exploiting them at the end of their careers. Garnett, Allen… they’ve been wearing green forever.

    And the ownership now has had the team under control for like, what, three or four years now? That’s so much better than those unclassy Buss folks, who’ve only run the team within a single family for more than three decades.

    She just jumped to the front of the line of Boston-loving morons.


  35. first of all, the constant disrespect by the media towards the Lakers is unbearable already. If I see one more stupid highlight about the 08 Celtics I will explode. THIS ISNT 08 ANYMORE, the celtics are NOT the champions, i repeat NOT the champions. I don’t know where most of you dumb celtic fans do for a living, but please go read a book or something and gain some knowledge.

    The most arrogant, narcissistic franchise ever. They refuse to give ANYONE credit but themselves. Even when they lose, they act like they won. I don’t understand how anyone can liek their franchise. All I want to do is own them and celebrate in front of them ON their home floor ( or ours). I’m disgusted by them.

    I don’t understand how the media can go from saying they will be eliminated, to crowning them the champs. Lets face it, they are a bunch of babies whose prime is over. They will not be the 10 champs, and I hope they never get close to a championship again!


  36. I thought the turnaround season when Gasol joined was pretty magical… but it really ended sourly.

    Our championship season was satisfying, but it wasn’t quite complete since we didn’t really get to avenge the previous season’s loss.

    Now, this season, we’ve vanquished an old foe, and given a chance to right the lone blemish in Pau’s first season as a Laker.

    Even our mostly professional and laid back crew must be quite pumped up and eager about this, and when we are focused, good things will come.


  37. i loved sedale threatt. the handoff from vlade to the left… almost always automatic.


  38. Great points, chibi.


  39. You guys, I don’t think my fragile (sports) psyche can handle losing to the C’s twice in three years. After 2008 I couldn’t handle any mention of that city for like a year.

    So I hope we win.


  40. thisisweaksauce May 31, 2010 at 4:28 am

    Snoopy2006 (#8),

    You bring up some very salient points.

    I only subconsciously realized that Kobe’s ability to hit ridiculously contested J’s has been something I’ve seen only recently, until you pointed it out (just seemed like something he could do for many years, but that’s not the case). That is a definite improvement from ’08. Also, I feel that he did not adjust very well during the series. However, given time, he was able to adjust: just look at the Christmas Day game, 2008. I remember him turning and fading away in the opposite direction from the double team. Also, I remember those crisp passes to other teammates when the double did come (especially to Pau in the 4th quarter); this came up again in the 2009 WCF against Denver, where he tore them apart in Game 6. I don’t think he trusted his teammates quite enough in the 2008 Finals, and he took many difficult shots. I believe we’ll see a much better Kobe this year, but not likely the Kobe we saw in the 2010 WCF (against that Suns’ defense).

    Also, Rondo is my biggest concern about the Celtics. I like the strategy Darius advocated for Nash: change up the defensive looks we gave him. For example, the Lakers, according to Darius, were to either switch, go under the screen, over the screen, etc… anything to keep Nash guessing. When we kept things stagnant is when Nash exploited our defense (in Game 5, we were consistently switching, so he burned our bigs for 29 points with that buttery jumpshot). So with Rondo, Kobe should give him space like before, to dare him to shoot, but not all the time, lest we want Rondo to be surveying all the time. So I think we should mix it up with some high-pressure man-to-man (as you and Thorpe have suggested), and see if he gets turnover prone.


  41. The two video clips highlight a concern I have for end-of-quarter or end-of-game situations.

    In the first game at Boston, take a look at the last play each team ran. Lakers: Clear out for Kobe who shoots a fade away contested jumper over Ray Allen. Celtics: Screen-the-screener action, TWICE. Wallace sets a pinch screen for Allen, who comes clean as a ball screener for Wheelchair Pierce. After setting that screen, Allen gets a flare screen from Garnett. This play gave two options (Pierce shooting off a naked ball screen, or Allen shooting off a flare screen) for their best two scorers. Well designed play.

    Then in the second game at LA, take a look at our last play. Granted, no Kobe, but still. One screen for Fisher who catches the ball going away from the basket and shoots a terrible, off balance shot.

    I’m concerned the Celtics may have the edge in these situations. The game 5 Queens Bridge Miracle was the result of an airball from Kobe, who caught the ball going AWAY from the basket and shot a turnaround fade away contested jumper.
    Same with Pau’s tip at OKC; it was the result of a missed Kobe contested jumper on a clear out.

    Yes, Kobe is a fantastic closer. However, I think a good shot from another player may be better than a bad shot from him. It’s up to the coaching staff to design plays that produce higher percentage shots in these situations.


  42. 2008, game 6

    We did lose that game. Perhaps we could talk about anger, if we hadn’t lost by 39 pts.

    39 points!

    That isn’t on Boston — it is on us.

    That isn’t a learning point, it is a heart point.

    I sure hope we are a different team, because that team simply gave up and laid down.


  43. I love how the Celtics fans think we’re fair weather.

    On a Lakers site of all places is not where “fair weather” fans are.

    Forgive LA if their brief moments of being insignificant were those 2-3 years after Magic retired and a few years in the mid 70s.

    And unlike your ungrateful (blanks), when we see a legend(Russell), we give proper respect even if he tore the hearts out of LA many times over. Celtic fans….respect isn’t in part of their vocabulary.

    It’s just beautiful how they see the first couple rows on TV and think that’s how all the fans are.

    Want to see the real fans, wait until the end of the Finals and watch the parade and the Coliseum in forum blue and gold.

    I’ll be glad to sit in the sun to see the best basketball team and franchise in the world celebrate another *world* championship.



  44. The actual game will be interesting….wondering how the matchups will actually go.

    Hoping Kobe can deal with the Celtics defense and make the proper pass and Pau doesn’t shrink.

    Odom and Pau, Kobe and Pau 2-man game is a definite key that hasn’t been utilized enough, in my opinion. I don’t think the Celtics have dealt with a team that can do that with bigs that are not stiffs.

    Artest will need to provide both defense first and offense second but will need a lot of both. I do not want to see Pierce go off again.

    Bynum needs to be a positive factor in this game and he needs to be played until he uses every bit of him (fouls and all).

    Sasha of all people can be a spark at times, but do not let him guard Allen one-on-one again, I have terrible memories where Allen blew by him in game 4 of 2008.

    Last bit, I told my wife (also an awesome Lakers fan), as we were watching game 6 on Saturday that you weren’t a fan back when the Lakers last beat the Celtics. Just remember, “A championship is a championship… but nothing is sweeter than winning the title over the Celtics.”

    Here’s to having her finally see that.



  45. Besides the presence of Ron Artest guarding Pierce instead of Vlad Rad and Luke guarding him, here is another statistic for everyone, and I believe the sample size is large enough:

    Counting the 2007-08 regular season plus playoffs through the 2009-10 regular season, the Lakers are 0-4 with Fish guarding Rondo and 5-2 with Kobe guarding him. One of the reasons we lost that 2008 Finals was because Phil didn’t put Kobe on him until Game 3. I believe that Kobe uses less energy guarding Rondo than he does trying to chase Ray Allen through multiple hard picks. I think people also forget that Rondo’s explosion in the January 2010 game (when Kobe was his primary defender) occurred in the 2nd quarter, when Kobe was on the bench.


  46. Smush Parker & Kwame Brown aren’t walking through the door. No more Posey No more Posey (who along with RuPaul Pierce, Ray, and Rondo had to guard “THE MAMBA”; yet he still averaged 26ppg). No more Powe. No more P.J. Brown. No more home court advantage. But we do have WHEELCHAIRS.

    Time for the PURPLE GOLDEN shower to REIGN all over the garden’s lawn.

    On to the NEXT ONE. SWEET 16.


  47. well, we got who most of y’all were clamoring for in the finals. talk about high risk / high reward!


  48. i am very confident that we will win this series. the most important thing is winning game one (we all know about phil´s little game-one streak), and after that it will just be about work and focus.

    the celtics are not the same team that we played in 08, and our guys are not the same team that showed up that year. we might be a little worse offensively, but on the other side of the court we are much improved.

    artest was waiting for this matchup, i hope he will have his agression under control. he is very good against pierce and now that he found his shooting touch on the offense it gives us a great advantage compared to 08.

    the celtics wont let pierce guard kobe unless its the last 3 minutes of the 4th quarter. they will put ray and tony on him and pray that he cools off. if pierce has to defend kobe and then score on artest, he will have worse fg% than vs the cavs.

    now to kg vs pau. if boston decides to guard gasol 1on1, we will have a big advantage. garnett is a very good individual defender, but nobody in the entire nba can guard gasol 1on1 consistently. if they switch perkins on pau, he will drive by him. against garnett expect to see a lot of mid-range shooting and beautiful post ups. garnett is still amazing on defense, but he gets quite a few frustration fouls now and then, and offensively… well, he basically uses 2 moves now: step-back jumper (hard, because of gasol´s lengh) and a tournaround fadeaway… nice!

    bynum is not 100%, but against perkins it will be enough. he might have troubles scoring on perk, but perkins is very raw offensively, so we wont give up more points than we get.

    and after everything i´ve seen from fisher, i am very confident that he and sasha will do a great job on ray allen. kobe vs rondo will be great to watch, i expect to see rondo struggle quite a bit.

    last but not least: lamar odom. he will have a great series. i can feel it already. rebounds, points, everything: boston cant guard him with pau on the floor at the same time. just a great matchup for him… i hope he comes out as agressive as possible, but im quite sure that even the candyman wont need too much motivation vs a punk like kg


  49. …and the Celtics have NEVER beaten the Lakers with Kobe, Pau, and Drew playing…


  50. The next time a Celtics fan wants to bring up the Artest incident. Remind them of this gem from the 1987 playoffs.
    Kevin Mchale going into the stands.


  51. What’s the over/under on Kurt Rambis/Kevin McHale clips during these finals?

    KG is softer than the baby powder on his hands. I would never let an opposing player pull me away from an argument I put myself into. Pau totally bailed him out. I also love that Lamar doesn’t flinch and that he smiles at the end…..he know’s what he’s doing.


  52. I agree this isn’t 08 anymore these are two different teams. This Celtics team offensively is driven by Rondo where as the 08 team relied on Pierce much more. Also KG is not the same player he was (though this is the best he has looked since the finals).

    The Lakers are much better defensively than they were in 08 and Kobe added more moves to his repertoire, much better post player and his mid range game is better. Artest matches up better against Pierce than Vlad and Luke and should do a much better job.

    I expect Odom to have a good series. He doesn’t seem to like the celtics. And KG or Perkins is bound to do something to get Odom fired up and a motivated, focused Odom is bad news for the Celts.

    best case scenario is that the Lakers beat the Celtics in game 3 in Boston after coming back from a big deficit to go up 3-0, then complete the sweep in a blow out in front of a stunned Boston crowd.

    More realistically, Lakers in 6.


  53. Like Dude said, if we can get them on the ropes by the time we enter Game 5, that’s when it ends. This Laker team is a master at closing on the road.

    Although not unlikely, this scenario still resonates as a possibility. Think about it; Lakers take both at home (this is the hard part), then split one of the first two in Boston.


  54. I’m finally glad The Lakers essentially traded Ariza for Artest. Ron was meant to guard PP this Finals.

    If this isn’t basketball destiny, not sure what qualifies.


  55. thisisweaksauce May 31, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Ryan (51),

    My dream scenario is similar to yours, but with one switch. Blow them out in game 3, Kobe buzzer-beater at the end of game 4 to clinch, to rip their hearts out. Haha. But that’s not realistic.


  56. I apologize for the delay in he previews. Some things have come up that require my attention and I won’t be able to get a post up until later in the afternoon. Uhg. Again, my apologies.


  57. Re: The Artest/Ariza Swap
    Houston apparently is regretting the Trevor Ariza contract after finding out he isnt’ a NBA starting type of player. Rockets writer Bill Ingram asnwered this question…

    “Jonathan in Houston:
    Hey Bill, thanks for doing these chats, good stuff. I’ve seen you mentioned Ariza a few times – is Houston looking to move him already? And would they rather ship him away than Battier? Thanks

    Bill Ingram:
    You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by. Yes they would, simply because Battier is the better locker room guy. Ariza is fine, but he was given a chance to do more this season and really didn’t step up. His ideal role is sixth man or energy guy, but the Rockets need offense. They will move Battier for the right pieces, as they almost did at the deadline, but it’s not their first choice. He’s the heart of the team.”

    I know Laker fans remember the magical Trevor Ariza run and look onto him like they do Derek Fisher (with rose colored glasses). But the reality of Ariza is much different.


  58. >>>Trevor Ariza

    get him back for, say, sasha?


  59. And did anyone think 2 years ago the Lakers would have a SF that one of the best basketball writers of all time thought would outplay Paul Pierce in the Finals? Read this Charley Rosen piece…

    The Lakers’ other lopsided matchup pairs Ron Artest against Paul Pierce. At age 33, the Celtics’ money man has lost his million-dollar first step. Moreoever, his game is frequently reduced to chump change when facing a defender who’s stronger, but still has quick feet and quick hands. Artest has all of these qualifications, along with a mean streak and an almost-maniacal desire to be the ultimate stopper. This means that Boston’s routine top-of-the-key clear outs for Pierce won’t yield the same dividends that they normally do.

    At the other end, Artest can bull through Pierce on his way to the hoop and the offensive glass. The Celtics will smartly challenge Ron-Ron to knock down open shots while they point their defense at Kobe. And if Artest can repeat his Game 6 accuracy, the Lakers could sweep.”


  60. Warren Wee Lim May 31, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Do you guys want me posting or do we continue on this trend? LOL

    Hi everyone… missed FB&G on purpose. Worked out very well thus far…


  61. Warren Wee Lim May 31, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I must say too, Darius, what have you done to this place?! 🙂


  62. Need to get pumped up for our date with Boston? Take a look at this old gem from 1987…


  63. I would gladly take Trevor back. The future of the NBA lies in athleticism. See: Trailblazers, Thunder, all the talented mobile 4’s and the physically-gifted point guards coming into the league from college. We’ll need some young athleticism of our own as our core ages.


  64. If there’s some way for us to get Ariza back without losing anything major—get it done. Would love to have him back on the squad.


  65. we dont really need ariza back. ron is playing very well, and it seems that he has found his role. not sure how having a guy breathing behind your back for some minutes would play out with a guy like artest. he is very loyal and until now did everything he could to show his desire to help this team… a move like that would not be great for chemistry, thats for sure. unless you let him play as a kobe backup, but i really hope that sasha could finally fill that role. his stroke looks good, his defense is fine, he just needs to get his head together… i still believe


  66. Funky Chicken May 31, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Short and sweet analysis: the 2010 Lakers are better where these two teams are different (Artest & Bynum for LA, no Posey, PJ Brown or Leon Powe for Boston) and the Lakers are better where the teams are the same (Pau is stronger, LO is a 6th man, Celtics big 3 are older and slower).

    Series are about matchups, and matchups are why the Celtics got through Cleveland and Orlando. This series presents the C’s with a much worse matchup.


  67. Remember how we’ve talked about Ariza being perfect for defending PGs? Ariza-Kobe-Artest would be fearsome defensively. But not nearly enough ball-handling or stability. Sorry, I’ll stop there. That’s for the offseason. We’ve got something a lot more interesting ahead.


  68. Thanks for the Rosen link, Aaron. (I hope you read on to the point about Fish, too. 🙂 , I’m just messing with you).

    Rosen’s thoughts reflect mine very well. Though, I am pretty sure there is going to be more Kobe on Rondo than Allen.

    I am baffled at how many people (particularly Celtics fans) seem to regard the Lakers as basically the same team as 2008. I just went back and looked at the box scores from those finals. Man, they brought a smile to my face.

    I truly believe the Lakers are better than 2008 (Artest, Bynum, better Pau, LO as sixth man, smarter Kobe and more experienced role players) and that the Celtics are a little bit weaker (age for the three sidekicks, bench missing players that came up huge in a few places during that series – the one place that is vaslty improved for them is Rondo – that guy can play). Plus HCA.


  69. true… we will witness how artest will pick pierce apart… i simply cant wait. and if ron gets tired we can always put this guy named kobe on pierce a little bit… just for fun.

    its like 08 just this time its not kobe having to deal with posey and pierce but the other way around. love it


  70. thisisweaksauce May 31, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Also, Vujacic for Ariza works out contract wise. And Vujacic is an expiring contract. I’ll stop there.

    OK, this is gonna get deleted.


  71. The Lakers have played the Celtics four times since the 2008 Finals. Bynum has played three of them. Here are the Celtics’ ORTG and ORB% for the four games:

    109.3, 28.6 w 110-109
    94.6, 20.0 w 92-83
    101.3, 26.1w 90-89
    97.2, 17.4 L 86-87

    Bynum missed the game in which the Celtics scored 109. Kobe missed the 87-86 game. The Lakers have had Bynum, Gasol and Bryant together only two times in three years against this team. They won 92-83 in LA and 90-89 in Boston. Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Perkins and Rondo played all four of these games.

    I have seen two names mentioned here which matter that are not being mentioned elsewhere:

    1. James Posey. In G4 in 2008, Posey was 4/8 on 3s and Kobe went 6/19 from the floor. Posey shot 38% on 3s that year. Posey is gone. So is Eddie House. Now the Celtics have Tony Allen as the bench wing D guy and Rasheed Wallace as the aging 3pt guy.
    2. Nate Robinson. He will be a problem in at least one game.

    Also, I have been a Laker fan for a long time. 1969 was before my time but 1985 and 1987 were not. I think this will be the most emotional series in the history of the franchise, certainly for the fans, and perhaps even for the players.


  72. nate robinson has been a black hole the entire season. if one game means that much then i dont know anything about basketball. he still cant defend and he still has a crappy shot selection. we better pray that they play him instead of rondo for longer than 5 minutes a game. also, big baby has been playing really well for them these playoffs, but i think that the long arms of our frontline will give him more problems than what rashard lewis and brandon bass had to offer. bench scoring will be a big problem for the celtics


  73. Funky Chicken May 31, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Worrisome stat line from regular season game 1:

    Gasol, 11 points, 11 boards.
    Bynum, 19 points, 11 boards.

    Doubtful that we’ll get this much out of Drew with his knee, so we’re going to need A LOT more out of Pau. Will he be up to it? I hope the last 2 fourth quarters of the WCF were not an indication of what is to come….


  74. Bynum will not be a factor in the finals,


    Every Celtics’ fan I have heard from or interacted with so far has made a point of saying this.

    I wonder how Darius will treat comments from cs fans with this kind of tone. My vote is for deletion; I can hear this kind of thing from my cfans friends (yes, I have a couple) or at Celtics Blog or Celtics Hub. No need to bring it here.


  75. …but then again, I suppose he didn’t really insult anyone.


  76. bynum will have to prove that he can be effective against these celtics, but i wouldnt count him out just yet. he is still a big body and he gives a lot of effort right now, so we will see who will be a factor and who wont.


  77. 72, sorry, if we allow Lakers fans to write nonsense, we have to allow C’s fans to write nonsense as well…


  78. I think the biggest difference between the ’08 and ’10 Lakers is that their playing styles. ’08 Lakers were an offensive juggernaut that played defense when it wanted to. ’10 Lakers are a defensive team with a capable offense. The Lakers can play both defensive struggle as well as offensive shootout with equal effectiveness. The Celtics can have struggles on offensive end though their defense is much more consistent than the Lakers.

    Still, the difference between the two teams is so small that any one or two minor factors can tilt the balance of the series.

    For Boston, the biggest thing will be, can Ray Allen continue his torrid shooting vs. the Laker PGs? If he can continue to average more than 20 pg/gm, the Celtics will have upper hand.

    For LA, the biggest thing will be how effective the bigs will be vs. the Celtics. The bigs won’t need to have huge offensive games, but they will need to rebound on both ends of the floor. If the Laker bigs can control the glass, we will be fine because our defense can limit the Celtics offense to about 90 points per game.

    I think the stars of the series, Kobe, Pau, PP, and Rondo will all get theirs. It will come down to LO/Artest/Bynum…KG/Allen/Perkins. Whoever get more production from their secondary offensive players will have upper hand.

    There are so many factors in this series because both are so well prepared for each other. In the end, I like our defensive matchup of Artest on Pierce more than Boston’s Allen brothers on Kobe a bit more.

    I like the Lakers in 6, but hoping for 5 like last year.

    Go Lakers!


  79. JMc (formerly VoR) May 31, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Well, for some reason VoR has fallen afoul of the spam filter so I am trying a new name.

    I love the fact that Celtic fans are discounting Bynum. (if only the Celtics would do the same). I love that the majority of Celtics fans feel that the 2010 Celtics are better than the 2008 Celtics and that the 2010 Lakers are basically the same as the 2008 Lakers.

    I went back and looked at the box scores from 2008. I almost became giddy. There are so many subtle but key changes since that series. I can’t wait to see how they play out on the court.


  80. 71, 72, 76. I think the offensive reference that was referred to was the term “Komeme,” not the statement that Bynum would not be a factor. Whatever. It will all be water under the bridge during the parade down Figueroa in mid-June 😀


  81. I check in for one minute (still swamped, btw) and I see trade speculation and a C’s fan posting a baiting comment. The commenting guidelines are pretty clear on this stuff. I understand the intensity around this series, but I’m going to tighten the screws around here if I have to.


  82. nate robinson has been a black hole the entire season. if one game means that much then i dont know anything about basketball


    Matchups. Quick PGs are, as we have, uh, discussed here a few times, an issue for the Lakers. Robinson might have an impact at a key moment.


  83. but I’m going to tighten the screws around here if I have to.


    Let us hope that Ron Artest follows your lead when he is matched up on Pierce. 😉

    I think having Artest, instead of Walton and Radmanovic, on Pierce is my biggest source of hope for a Laker victory.


  84. Just browsing the web for interesting stuff before the hard analysis starts, I thought I’d pass along some links:

    Kobe Highschool photos – how time flies by

    Recap of Bostons game 6 win against Orlando witha great opening paragraph:

    “The following is a list of people who, with two weeks left in the season, were right about the Boston Celtics: Doc Rivers, homers, morons, idiots, people who haven’t watched basketball since 2008, people who haven’t watched basketball since 1986, people who were cryogenically frozen in 1967 and woke up two weeks before the season ended, your ex-girlfriend from Revere who works at Kelly’s Roast Beef, mindreaders, Wyc Grousbeck, and people who were absolutely and completely, 100-percent right.”

    The funniest NBA captions around:

    And if you consider yourself a basketball fan in general, have time to kill and like to reminisc, here’s a collection of great photos (“next” button at the top)


  85. 83 – after westbrook, williams, and nash i feel pretty good about robinson. the less we see of rondo, the better


  86. Rosen’s piece confused me in places. He doesn’t even mention Tony Allen as part of the bench (unless he wrote Ray where he meant Tony – in which case, if he’s calling Tony Allen “smart” then he must have been very sleep-deprived when writing the article).

    His article seems strangely dismissive of the Celtics, except in the case of Rondo. I don’t know, I’m more comfortable when the talking heads are dismissing the Lakers. This reminds me a lot of the setup leading into 2008. People read a lot into individual matchups (which normally is a great tool), but that doesn’t take into account Boston’s tremendous team defense when they’re at their best. I still think we’re a much better team than 2008, but it just seems like looking at 1-on-1 matchups isn’t the best way to get the complete measure of the series.


  87. Rosen’s piece was very strange, and I agree that it was far too dismissive of the Celtics.


  88. @ T. Rogers,

    I am literally stunned that you would try to argue that Celtics fans are more bandwagon that Lakers fans. Both fans are legit. For all the stuff you can say about “endangered” Celtics fans, you guys booed your own team, along with the best player in the world, for an entire season. I was in Boston cheering Dino Raja and Rick Fox.

    You want to argue that Kobe is the best in the world? I’m with you.

    You want to argue that the Lakers are the favorites? Agreed.

    You want to argue that the Lakers, given all their championship appearances, are the best and most important franchise in NBA history? I will certainly listen.

    But if you want to argue that Celtics fans are suddenly bandwagon, save it. I’d rather listen to all the reasonable Lakers fans out there.


  89. This is THE best caption Doc Funk has come up with, bar none:

    If I could embed pics into FB&G I would. Must-click.


  90. Still no previews (they’re coming, I promise!) but there is a new post up with some information on where I’ll be a bit later today…


  91. P.s. for the record, Bynum WILL be a big factor. He’s 7 feet and helps cut off Rondo’s penetration to the hoop. Banged up or not, I don’t see how you can argue with that…


  92. Celtics fan here.

    Wondering what you guys are most worried about going into the finals? Is Bynum’s knee on that list? Is the physicality of the Celtics D on that list? Etc.

    From my end, worried about:

    -Kobe’s age-defying play lately. Guy looks, as usual, like he’s on a mission.
    -Odom actually bringing it for a whole series
    -That Artest will bother PP a LOT rather than just a moderate amount.


  93. 93 @ RBD –

    I’m most worried about

    1. Rondo’s penetration – I think if he isn’t attacking the Celtic offense is very stoppable.
    2. Tony/Nate’s potential impact – I think they need one more bench scorer other than the occassional Glen Davis / Wallace combo. If they don’t bring it I believe LA will have a good chance.


  94. Snoopy, was just trying to post that myself. That was priceless.

    Too many gems there, but that one was uber-funny.


  95. Many things are even in this series. Some are offense vs defense. Garnet/Gasol, Bynam/Perkins, bench’s, Kobe way better then Allen/ Rondo way better then Fish.

    It comes down to Artest vs Pierce. They know that also and I expect them to try to get Ron in foul trouble. The thought of Walton or Sasha or Brown or B.Shaw coming off the bench hurts my stomach.

    Ron must remain in tact and not foul and be on the court every minute Paul is on the court. I want Paul to have Ron Artest nightmares every night.

    If Ron does that we win. If Celts bait Ron, as they live to do, then we could lose.

    Sounds simplistic, because it is. I just hope Phil and Ron realize that because I promise its a major part of the Green Plan to own the world.


  96. Excellant job Darius. You nailed all the major point and I really liked your view that most people forget. Possy and House were nails in that series. I don;t see Tony Allen and Wallace having the same impact on offense.

    Good job. I had a radio show of my own 20 years ago which was unscripted so I commend you for your clarity of thoughts.


  97. @ken if you wrote a book of your life story I would read it


  98. RBD –

    My concerns heading into the series –

    1. Lakers making their open threes. They were abysmal at times in the season. Lakers need to stay sharp.

    2. Gasol getting worn down by the physical play and long minutes.

    3. Bynum’s effectiveness through injury

    4. Officiating


  99. Can’t wait ’till Thursday! This will be one heck of a series!

    The Lakers better be ready for the ‘mind games’ and gamesmanship that the Celtics will try to come up with. Remember Paul Pierce in game 1 of the ’08 finals, buckling to the ground with what looked like an ACL tear (with his reactions) and then coming back in the same quarter and playing like as if nothing happened and turning the momentum on their side when the Lakers seemed poised to take game 1.

    Whats important is the Lakers should not let the Celtics outhustle or outwork them and not get affected with these mind games, cheap shots, especially by Celtic bigs, and gamesmanships that will be thrown their way.

    I feel the series will hinge on how the Lakers defend their homecourt in the first two games. If they can go to Boston up 2-0, it will be Lakers in 5, 6 at the most. If they split the first two games, then it may go either way.


  100. @VoR

    I share your concerns about officiating (I think).

    I just don’t want them to make themselves the story.

    Let the teams play.


  101. Speaking of refs, I wonder if Phil is going to use the media prior to the game to get the refs’ attention to Perkins’ screen-setting. The guy himself admitted he tries to get away with as much as possible on those picks.


  102. @Andrew,

    Boston fans chanted “MVP” for a Lakers franchise player in the garden.

    Think about that for a moment. The heir to the throne of Magic Johnson got MVP treatment from the fans in Boston. There is no defending that. Period.

    Lakers fans have NEVER chanted MVP for ANY player of another team in the Forum or Staples. We just don’t do that. We will boo a bad effort, sure. But LA fans would NEVER chant MVP for another team’s best player. And a Celtic? LA fans would try running across the 405 freeway before chanting MVP for a Celtics player. But even you guys love Kobe.


  103. – Igor

    Perkins? How about Garnett, who’s never set a legal screen in his career?

    The refs could foul him out on no more than six possesions if they actually called the rules as they’re written. And aside from the moving pick, he’s great at punching guys in the arms too. First one is even foul free, apparently.


  104. Those ‘screens’ by Garnett and Perkins, or any Boston player for that matter, I don’t really get. I mean, how can it NOT be a moving pick when as soon as the defender starts to chase or fight through the screen, they extend their step or move their shoulders/upperbody/lean on the defender. Can someone help me on this?


  105. Better late than never? Part one of our Finals preview is up – When the Celtics have the ball.


  106. Hey guys why are you so mean? I’m only bitter because I could never play in the NBA and I can’t make it as a real writer on ESPN. I just wish i could pick one playoff series correctly…. I mean I did say “I know the Celtics are going to lose in Round 1” I’m sorry I’m such a dumbass…


  107. Where’s the write up on the Artest angle? Remember why Artest is here (Phil speaking):

    Last year after the devastating loss in game 6 to the Boston Celtics, Ron Artest came in our locker and walked in the shower with Kobe Bryant. Kobe’s there taking a shower — and this is a locker room the coaches have, it’s off limits — so, Ron said, ‘Coach, I can help your team, I can get that championship for the Lakers.’ I said, ‘Well, thanks Ron, that’s very nice, I appreciate your sympathies. We’ll see what happens as you go through this year.’ Then, he walked out of that coaches’ area, and in to the shower and told Kobe the same thing. Kobe’s been knowing Ron’s intentions for the last two years.”

    The fact that it is the same two teams and Ron is here to help…not even Hollywood could write a better story. And the story has but the one ending. So you all can worry about X’s and O’s and matchups. I’m sticking with the, this was meant to be, angle. So you truly get what I mean, following Lakers victory, the scene in the Lakers’ locker following that horrific game 6 loss will be the intro to series recapitulation. Ron Ron telling Phil and Kobe that he can get them that championship and now come the championship highlights, to include Ron Ron in the shower celebrating victory with Phil and Kobe, saying, did I tell ya, did I tell ya…

    So I’m going to be enjoying this immensely.

    Almost forgot, but the recapitulation will end with Ron Ron mocking Craig Sager, and so the last scene in the recap will have a victorious Ron Ron, champagne in hand, proudly declaring, Queensbridge, where we don’t play with no damn shot clock. And did I tell ya…


  108. Before all you Lakers fans start whining about the Lakers being given bad treatment, look back at the rest of the playffs. All comments about the Lakers had to do with what they were doing right while allc omments about the Celtics had to do with all the things their opponents were doing wrong.

    Also, don’t forget that the ESPN experts were in favor of the Lakers 6-4. Doesn’t sound like people are trashing them, does it?