NBA Finals: Game 7 Preview and Chat

Darius Soriano —  June 17, 2010

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There is no bigger game than tonight.  A game 7 to decide the league champion?  Hated rivals slugging it out for the trophy?  I can’t think of a better way for this years Finals to be decided.  As a fan, I’m thrilled.  I’m also anxious as all get out with jitters being a too frequent companion to my day.  My 20oz Peet’s coffee isn’t helping any, but that’s beside the point.  Because the crux of the matter is that toninght we’ll find out if the Lakers can successfully defend their championship.  We’ve waited over a 100 games for this moment and it’s finally upon us.  Tonight is the night.

And as it’s been for the length of this hard fought series, the same keys to win remain.  Both teams are looking to control the glass.  Both teams want to execute their sets at a high level while minimizing turnovers.  Both teams will look to get into the open court in order to not be bogged down by the oppositions excellent half court defense.  Whoever does these things better for longer will win the game.  It will take effort, energy, discipline, and poise.  It will take each team’s best performance.  Ahh, a game 7.

However, there are now some tweaks to it all.  Tweaks necessitated by injury.  As it was reported yesterday, the C’s will be without the services of their starting Center, Kendrick Perkins.  This means that either Rasheed or Big Baby will get the starting nod from coach Doc Rivers.  ‘Sheed has already said to reporters that it will be him that starts, while Rivers remains non-commital.  Either way, the plan changes some.  If ‘Sheed gets the start, the Lakers must be aware that some aspects of the Celtic’s offense changes.  The baseline screen actions for Ray Allen will still play a prominent role in their sets, but we’ll also see a heavier does of high P&R’s.  I’ll let Zephid explain:

The Sheed-Pierce or Sheed-Allen PNR are the plays to watch for. We can live with the KG-Pierce or KG-Allen PNR’s, because we generally force those shots to go to KG for open twos. But with Sheed, those open twos become open threes. Like I’ve said continuously, we can live with the open twos. It’s the open threes that we can’t give up, because our team just can’t make up the deficit. It’ll be on Gasol and Odom to hedge and recover quickly onto Sheed to cut off the three. How well the Lakers cover that play could be the deciding factor of this game.

Zephid is correct in that giving up open three balls to Wallace is a potentially dangerous thing this evening.  He went oh-fer in game 6, but he’s hit some big shots in his career and in this series.  In order to effectively cover this play, the Lakers need to rotate well and make Wallace make the extra pass or put the ball on the floor.  This can be done in two ways.  First is for the other big man that’s defending the paint to leave his man to rotate to Wallace.  This option is the one most teams use because he’s the man that is in the best position to slide up the lane to the top of the key to contest the shot.  This also keeps match ups in tact as it’s essentially a big man switch with the hedge man in our P&R defense recovering back to the paint to cover the vacated offensive player.  Option two is to have Kobe roam off of Rondo and pick up Rasheed until the hedge man can recover.  This is the option that the Lakers deployed in game 6 on every high P&R between Pierce and KG.  Kobe’s ability to both cover the popping big man and then recover to Rondo is what made the Lakers P&R defense hum.  I’m not sure which option will be employed, but both need to be executed cleanly and without hesitation in order to not give up open jumpers.

Perkins being out also affects the the Celtics defense against the Lakers offense.  Perk is Boston’s best low post defender (though ‘Sheed is close – although foul prone) and missing him means the Lakers have more of an advantage inside.  However, I actually don’t see this affecting the Lakers sets that much.  In game 6, what worked the best was Kobe and Pau working from the elbows and mid/low post to get good shots for themselves while also picking out cutters from the weak side Triangle actions.  I expect to see this same plan tonight until the C’s prove that they can limit the effectiveness of this set.  I also expect to see a bit more P&R (another set the Lakers ran well in game 6) – especially when Wallace is in the game.   ‘Sheed is still a very good post defender, but he’s lost some of his foot speed and may have trouble containing Kobe as he turns the corner.  If Kobe can make Wallace defend him for just that extra second, it will open up the roll man on his dive while also compromising the C’s help schemes on the weak side.

Another tweak we may see is the Celtics going small.  In his press conference yesterday, Doc Rivers mentioned that it’s a strong possibility the C’s will be forced to use line ups in this series that we’ve yet to see.  And considering we’ve already seen Shelden Williams (who, if I were Doc we wouldn’t see again) I think this statement points us in the direction of the C’s using a line up with KG (or ‘Sheed) at Center with either Tony Allen or Paul Pierce at PF.  This line up gives Boston a speed and quickness component while also keeping good defensive players on the floor.  This line up also gives Doc a chance to use Tony Allen more – the player that just so happens to be their best option for defending Kobe.  And while I see this as a unit that can potentially give the Lakers issues, I think this is also a line up that can be exploited on the back boards while also allowing the Lakers to further shrink the floor as Tony is a perimeter player that has struggled with his jumper.  I think the counter to any such unit is to continue to pound the ball into the post to Pau while having the rest of the Lakers players (including Kobe and LO) work off the ball by flashing into to space as Pau surveys the floor.

All that said, this game is about more than just the X’s and O’s, energy, and determination needed to get the win.  Sure, these thing matter in how the win is earned, but the game itself is transcends just a single contest.  This game is symbolic.  This game is about history.  It’s about legacies.  It’s about a rivalry renewed and the highest stakes possible.  The fans know this.  The players and coaches understand this too.  There is just so much on the line for all the parties involved.  Legacy is big word and involves careers and not just single contests.   But it’s in games like that help define players legacies.  And on that note, I give a word to one of my favorite FB&G’ers – Dex:

A Game Seven at home against the Celtics seems as good a way as any for Kobe Bean Bryant to seal the deal he made with Hermes some twenty-nine years ago, and finally take his place among the immortals. The fact that he already is immortal doesn’t change anything; he needs this win: the setting is too perfect, as if conceived of a divine dramatist just for him. But it isn’t only that he’ll avenge a bitter loss, and lead the fight against a hated foe, and claim his fifth ring (one shy of the master)–these things loom large, but it’s a story’s subtleties that round it out and deepen it and humanize it–that make or break the play. Kobe is Dostoevsky to Jordan’s Tolstoy, his fanaticism and genius are so personal that an observer is often as embarrassed as he is moved. His devotion to his art borders on the incredible, but his epics aren’t effortless. Of course no great epic is, but some poets hide it better than others. Kobe isn’t one of these. Poets of redemption wear their hearts on their sleeves, and the heart is a bloody organ. This year especially shines with the light of the redeemed. Ron Artest, for example–the madman; the f***-up; the bad joke of the league–redeemed. Gasol the soft; Fisher the fossil; the Odom who’s still on probation–redeemed. Look toward Kobe Bryant for their new illumination. And look toward him tonight, as he plays the game he was born to play, in the game he was born to win–Acta est fabula; plaudite!

And on that note, let’s get this win.  And remember too, there is no better time to be a fan than tonight.  Enjoy this moment.  Savor it.  We’ve talked about the journey to this point the entire season and we’re finally here as fans, rooting for the Lakers to claim the title.  I know it’s tense and that the stakes are so high it’s almost unbearable.  But, take that deep breath and then soak it all in.  These opportunities are rare.  We need to cherish them.  Win #16 of this post season and title #16 for the Lakers are 48 minutes of basketball away.  Let’s get it done.

Darius Soriano

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706 responses to NBA Finals: Game 7 Preview and Chat

  1. Sasha with ice in his veins – I love him!

  2. YESSSS!!!


  3. WE WIN!

  4. YEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  7. The Most incredible game ever! I LOVE it!

  8. worse game of your life Kobe and you stuck with it. Rebounding and making some clutch fts…

    Hats off!!!

  9. YES YES YES back-to-back Championships!

  10. OH MY GOD!

    The Lakers won!


  11. On to the next one.

    Why stop at two?

    Queensbridge baby!
    Ron you deserve this one.


  13. This is a great day=) I won’t even go back and point out all the comments that said that the Lakers had no chance and that Pau sucked;)

  14. Queensbridge! And to the great MDs out there!

  15. RON ARTEST!!!??? Trevor whoooo??


    BACK TO BACK!!!!!!!



  16. congrats from thunderland

  17. The Lakers have managed to redefine meaning of the phrase “winning ugly”. FG% below 35% is below ugly.

  18. Incredible. It hasn’t sunk in.

  19. Wooooooooooooooooooo hooooooooooo!!!!! Ronronronronron!!!!

  20. SAY QUEEEEEEEEEEEEENSBRIDGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE U ALL

  21. Ron Artest fulfill his promise to Kobe by helping the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics

  22. Chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamps!

    Last play perfectly defended ! So reflective of whqt won the game

    Haha somebody give that psychiatrist a medal

  23. Ron played HUGE tonight. Fisher really came through when we needed him and Kobe’s fourth quarter was outstanding.

    Ron’s post-game interview just made it all the more sweet. He was so high on pure happiness he wasn’t thinking straight, and that kind of genuine emotion only makes all the better.

    I’m now going to open the 15-year old Glenlivet that I bought specifically for tonight, and drink to a group of true warriors. To fight back from that kind of deficit, when your two biggest stars are shrinking from the moment, that’s what champions do.

    And we are the champions, my friends. We are the champions.

  24. This just made my year, all of my problems are magically gone.

  25. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. I love you pau!

  27. Paul wrote prior:

    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…

  28. Who’s Finals MVP?

  29. What a game! Back to back champions! Congrats to every player and all the coaches! They did it! Simply amazing!!! Whooooooooooooooooo!

  30. What did the FIVE rings say to the face?


    KOBE AND FISH with 5 each.

    Phil with 11.

    Artest with his first!


  32. Awesome game. Huge smile on ny face when Ron artest got interviewed

  33. I Love it Laker fans. We didn’t play a minute of basketball but somehow it feels like everyone on this site had a hand in winning this championship. Congrats to us! We did it!


  35. Just seeing the looks on the guys faces, I’m so happy for them.

    I’d like to thank everyone here at FB&G for a great season. The complaining got to be a bit much at times, myself included, but its been great.

    I’d like to thank my psychiatrist for helping me get through watching this up and down season.

  36. Bill Simmons will have nightmares after Sasha Vujacic hit 2 clutch Fts

  37. Welcome to your 2010 World Champion Los Angeles Lakers.

  38. LOL! Phil is just hiding in the back!


  40. Thanks Lakers, thanks FB&G. It’s been a phenomenal ride.

  41. Also, does Ron Ron’s shrink get a ring?

  42. I love every Lakers fan on this website, thank you to everyone on here for making it a special championship and incredible year.

    And thank you Darius for keeping the faith alive all season long, you did a hell of a job running this site.

    Congrats to everyone, be safe celebrating.

  43. Just love this. In Game 5 nobody came to help Kobe, and in Game 7 Kobe got more help than ever before.

  44. I am so happy for Ron-Ron! He’s really earned this! (And yes, his shrink should get something for this!)

    Does anyone know where the post-game press conferences are? What channel/network?

  45. Adam Morrison now has two more rings than Lebron.

  46. Aww Kobe giving Pau some love in his speech…warms a Spanish heart;)

  47. Congratulations to the lakers and the organization! Congrats to queensbridge el toro and el mamba. This was a crazy good game

    A toast to the celtics for making it a classic, for being the hated, bullying, clawing, whining, fighting rivals that makes it that much sweeter

  48. congrats lakers, their fans and officials, goal achieved.

  49. The Los Angeles Lakers are your NBA champions after a game that has left the players and the fans with nothing in the tank.

    I’m exhausted. I have tears in my eyes. The Lakers earned it. That was a team effort. What a great title.


  50. So. frakking. happy.

  51. 649 coolrunnings ammo has had more rings than lebron for a year now. So has sun yue

  52. Back to back!

    I was screaming at the TV all game long and overreacting to everything, but this was incredibly sweet.

    From Ron providing a spark, to Gasol and Kobe making up for poor shooting nights by crashing the glass, Sasha hitting free throws…ugly game, but simply electric.

    Brilliant effort by everyone up and down the roster. Artest and Magic completely derailing attempts to interview them was a fantastic aftershow too.

    The 2010 NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers!

  53. That heady play by Lamar was something Magic did to the Blazers, long ago. Wow, just pure joy is what I feel right now. Thanks, Lakers.

    Revenge is so, so sweet!

  54. I’m still waiting to hear Celtics Nation’s comment on the game?:D

  55. i wouldve loved if kobe took bynum and artest and thanked those guys specifically, because they jumped over their shadows to give us this moment.


  56. Artest = best post-championship game interview ever

  57. Thanks to the site staff for keeping the flame.
    Nice to have people to talk to when you are watching the games usually from 4:00 AM to 7:00 here in Europe.
    Best wishes for all of you.
    See you next season to get the 3rd straight¡¡¡¡

  58. #648 Mimsy,
    You can usually stream the press conferences live on Also, NBA TV typically has them as well as ESPN News. Soak it all in Lakers fans. This was an amazing ride. I still can’t believe they pulled it off. Down 13 in the third quarter but they fought back and finally got over the hump. The game was ugly, but the outcome was as beautiful as could be.

  59. i know it’s all quiet here but i can feel y’all guys. the philippines is one with the world in celebrating our 2010 champs, the Los Angeles Lakers!

    heart, talent, grit, resiliency….my oh my. and i could just watch it in GAMECAST (work-related issues)! man oh man, i wonder how they’re celebrating in staples? how’s the crowd? how are the paramedics?

    this site has and will be part of my staple web diet. absolutely fantastic work guys. such a blessing.

    time for me to surf for some laker jackets now that it’s gonna be rainy season here.


  60. Agree 100% Joel.

  61. An underrated part of the victory was the great game of Sheed. Noone can honestly claim that Perkins would have played better than that.

    Celts were at more than full strength;)

  62. Last year at this time, we were talking about faith; faith in our guys; faith that they could overcome the 39 point beating that they took at the hands of these same Celtics in 2008. This year, it is all about our guys defending the championship and overcoming adversity.

    Overcoming adversity – it’s doing the little things when the big things are going wrong.

    On a night when Kobe was genuinely horrible while shooting the ball, he did all the little things right. He came up with 15 huge rebounds, ripping them away from Celtics on multiple occasions. He was also at the helm of one of the greatest defensive performances I have ever seen, funneling Rondo into our bigs and playing amazing help defense.

    Overcoming adversity – it’s having the confidence to see yourself fail and still try again.

    Ron Artest, a guy who was lost on offense for so much of the season, whose defense was beginning to be questioned, with shots clanking off the rim throughout the playoffs, rose up and hit the biggest three of the season.

    Pau Gasol, the guy who stared these same Celtics in the eye in 2008 and blinked, lived through two seasons trying to overcome his defeat at their hands. He battled, all night, through the fouls and the contact. It looked like he was rattled in the beginning of the game, but he came through in the end, making huge clutch plays to help seal the game when Kobe just couldn’t get it done.

    Our guys faced the same Celtics core that beat them down two years ago. They fell behind by 13 points during the 3rd quarter. But our guys never gave up and continued to struggle, and gradually overcame that deficit. I could not be any happier right now.

  63. Thanks Darius!!! it is! 🙂

    On a different note, can we say that Ron Artest has officially earned his way into Laker-dom, and forever has a spot in the heart of FB&G?

  64. Thank you to the 2009-2010 Los Angeles Lakers NBA Champions

    The ride had some bumps but it was a great journey to the title.

  65. Congratz Lakers.. I’m definitely not a fan but you damn well earned it this last game.

  66. Haha its funny cause that 20 seconds highlight clip pretty much went through every single made Laker shot in the game.

  67. How sweet it is!!!!

  68. The time has now arrived. Make the FTs, take the lead, and bring it home.

  69. Deep in the shadows of the third quarter, I promised God I’d never smoke again if we pulled this out; and then, once we did, and I stood on the porch exulting in the fluid night, God came down from heaven and we smoked together in silence as stars wheeled above us and moon-dust whitened our feet. Congratulations Laker fans

    OH YEEEEAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  71. Lakers baby I told everybody I know to keep the faith BACK TO BACK from ruin to redemption!! Congrats to all the Laker fans on the f&b who live and die Lakers 3peat baby

  72. Thank you Lakers! Thank you Darius and everyone on FB&G!

    What a victory! Team effort. DEFENSE!!!


  73. Means the most because it was the hardest. Great lesson on finding other ways to help your team when your offense isn’t there. Defense and rebounding keep you in every game and give you a chance. Substance now goes with the style.

  74. God, this was the best year to be a Laker fan.

  75. I finally saw a game that they won! Thanks FB&G for the super site.

  76. Everybody did something tonight. LO w/ the tips. Pau in the post. Artest 3 w/ 50 sec to go that sealed it, defense, loose balls. Kobe rebounding. Fish hit that 3. Sasha FT.

    What a team effort.

    This has been amazing, FB&G’ers. enjoy.

    won w/ 32% shooting. wow.

  77. I’d also like to take the time to thank everyone on this website for their contributions. It hasn’t been the easiest year, what with the changeover from Kurt to Darius, and with the teams obvious regular season and playoff struggles. But through it all, we’ve always had one another to talk Lakers when we needed the fix. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and certainly the Lakers probably shortened a lot of our lifespans, but I don’t think anyone can say the near heart attacks weren’t an easy price to pay for the exhilaration. For those who just joined us this season, you’re now FB&G vets; you’ve experienced what it was like to ride through an entire season with an online community (and it is a learning experience). Now hopefully we can all take a few less lows and a few less highs during the regular season and take time to truly enjoy the ride. For now, this moment is the one we live for. Enjoy it to the fullest.

  78. Dear Bill Simmons, John Hollinger

    suck it

    Laker nation

  79. Just like the 1987-88 repeat won both game 6 and game 7 for the repeat. Also won a close game 7 for the title

  80. Much to love to Ron-Ron! Viva the Spaniard! Fisher clutch once again! Sasha even puts the icing on the cake–take that Simmons!

    A night we will never forget!!!

  81. Thanks to this website for a great ride this year. From Kurt, to Darius, Zephid, it was nice to get great analysis.

    Also thanks to Ken and Aaron, the two guys who I fought against the most all year, for great debate all season. I still think you were wrong!!!


    16 baby. I bought a Title hat last year that has the number 15 on it. I need a new hat.

  82. This feels so great!!!! I do not know how to describe this moment but as a fan this is all you can ask for. Lets do this again next year….. quest for number 17 starts…..

  83. Kobe: 5 championships and counting. Lebronze: 0 championships and still searching.

    True team effort tonight from everyone including my boy Artest. Glad Artest connected with Kobe in the shower in 2008! 🙂 Here’s to the three-peat to come!!!

  84. This team has driven me crazy all year long and this game was no different!

    All credit must be given to Ron Artest he played tenacious defense on EVERYONE with 5 steals!

    Ron will be so much better next year because he’ll know the triangle so much better!


  85. dear Celtics fans:

    -20 on the offensive boards lost you the game, not the refs.


    FB & G

  86. This is the year of redemption for the Lakers. Revenge for the 2006/2007 Suns and now with 2008 Celtics. Artest can now put Auburn in his past and move forward as a valuable contributor to a championship. It’s so hollywood. I love it. I love this team!

    I was wearing my 1987/1988 Lakers Repeat championship shirt on under my kobe jersey for the game hoping it’ll bring good juju. It worked! Now I got to get me a newer edition of the tshirt. I’m ordering it first thing tomorrow. Too bad I don’t have a 3peat shirt.


  87. A celebration thread is up. We’ll recap the game in the morning. Enjoy this one, everyone.

  88. Lamar = +13
    Farmar = +10
    Sasha = +9

    The much maligned Laker bench was a huge difference maker tonight.


  89. lakers fans………FEELING YOU!!!!

  90. From Bill Simmon’s live chat:

    sportsguy33: I no longer want to be here. Is this what hell is like?
    sportsguy33: At least purple and yellow confetti isn’t falling on my keyboard… oh wait, it is

  91. Hannah Storm: Kobe, Shaq said earlier today that you’re the greatest laker ever. What do you say to that?

    Kobe: I’m just glad I got one more than him now (lol) I’m just kidding…no I’m not

    Classic, just second to Ron for his first thank you going to his hood and then thanking his psychiatrist. I love this TEAM !!!

  92. Tremendous game. This post season was made infinitely more enjoyable by this very organized, smartly written thanks all. Awesome season.

  93. “An underrated part of the victory was the great game of Sheed. Noone can honestly claim that Perkins would have played better than that.”

    5-11 shooting, 11 points, eight boards, two assists. Seems far from a great game. Of course Perkins could have played a role in not giving up 23 offensive boards. It cheapens the moment to think like this. You go in with the guys you have. The team’s played an amazing game, nice finish. And the Lakers are the champs.

    Of course there were circumstances that will be brought up in time, but at the end on team comes out on the left side of the score. With everything on the line, that team was LA.

  94. Just wanted to pop my head back in…I’m sure this is lost in all the celebrations!!!!!!!!!

    We did it!

    W e d i d i t !

    Tears of joy.

    There is nothing left to be crossed off the mirror boys and girls…16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and now…..1!!!! It is beautiful, I am rambling…it is over!!!!!!!!

    Congrats FB&G! Congrats Lakers!


    Drink it up! Love it all. Love you all.

  95. what a dull and precitable game. after all, phil jackson coached teams are 47-0 in series once they win game 1. this outcome was obvious.

  96. Maybe I didn’t jinx us with the first post? Either way, this game was awesome and I love all of you guys.

  97. #702 to say this outcome was obvious does disservice to how much both teams gutted it tonight and this whole series. The Lakers made the plays they needed at the end and deserved to win.

  98. woooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I may not be able to sleep for a while, but when I do, I shall sleep in peace. And have dreams of marrying Sasha, just for those free throws.

    An unimportant but funny tidbit: my gameday music today was Motorhead, which has really worked in past Laker wins, especially when they play against Boston. Somehow I didn’t play them this Finals until today. It worked. Death metal rules!

    Revenge IS beautiful.

    There IS a God.

    I’m going to that parade!

    @701: You’re missing someone from that list. #18, to deny #18 to the Celtics. How fitting.

  99. I never thought they could do it, but they did it!

  100. Congrats Lakers from Sweden. (In tears writing this after too much champagne).
    Will remember this for the rest of my life 🙂

  101. @ 682

    Hollinger picked the Lakers in 7.

    Feels good, don’t it?