Around the World (Wide Web): Lakers/Suns Reactions

Phillip Barnett —  March 23, 2011

From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Lamar Odom (Save the Absolutely Inexcusable Last-Second Foul on Channing Frye in OT… see below). From a more macro view, when the Lakers re-signed Lamar Odom a couple of summers back, it helped bring last year’s title and may very well have unknowingly aided in perhaps the greatest flurry of movement in high-end player talent the league has ever seen. In the micro, having Odom around came in awfully handy Tuesday night. With Andrew Bynum serving the second game of his two game ban, L.O. was a monster all over the floor. Odom was inside; he was outside. He ran the floor, he scored and distributed. And while was the jumper working — Odom had everything working, really — as his shot chart indicates, he was extremely effective getting himself to the bucket.

From Michael Schwartz, Valley of the Suns: There’s a reason they call this time of year March Madness. The Suns and Lakers played a game as wild as anything we saw in the NCAA Tournament this weekend, with the Lakers finally prevailing 139-137 in triple overtime of a contest neither team deserved to lose. In a game of twists and turns, this one turned definitively when Grant Hill fouled out with 2:18 remaining in the third overtime after committing his second foul of the possession in a span of 12 seconds defending Kobe Bryant with the Suns up two. After a very physical trio of overtimes in which the refs really let both sides play, I was shocked that they would foul Hill out on a play with a minuscule bit of body contact that happens on every play that was followed by a Kobe dive into the baseline for dramatic effect.

From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen and Roll: I needed that game.  I think we all did.  After the traveshamockery that was the first game of TNT’s special Tuesday night doubleheader, the NBA needed this, and I for one was glad that went on as long as it did.  I wanted overtime when the score was tied at the end of regulation and the Phoenix Suns had the final shot.  I wanted triple overtime when Pau Gasol was fouled with 2.5 seconds left and the Los Angeles Lakers down two.  But I also wanted double overtime when it was the Lakers who were up three and Phoenix needed three clutch free throws from Channing Frye on a semi-questionable shooting foul.  I’m happy the Lakers ended up victorious, but I spent much of the evening simply rooting for more.

From Rey-Rey, The No Look Pass: Yes, the 139-137 final may indicate that the defense was porous in this contest. But you know what? Isn’t this what basketball is all about? Awesome shooting from both sides. Great plays by both teams. And there are even some defensive gems that can be found in this triple-overtime thriller. Sure, there are bonehead plays from time to time but put this all in one nice little package and it was the best game that I have watched this season. Let me break it down into different topics. THE NUMBERS: Laker shooting? 53/120 (44.2 percent). 120 FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS. Phoenix shot 51/106 (48.1 percent). Both teams combined to shoot 68 3-pointers! Suns were 17/41 (41.5 percent) while the Lakers (who are not a good 3-point shooting team) shot 11/27 (40.7 percent). But Vince Carter (who missed two key three-pointers down the loooong stretch) went 2 for 13. Ouch.

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: The longest, wildest night of the NBA season began with Lamar Odom racing through the corridors of Staples Center just after 6 p.m., a shoelace untied, trying to beat the clock and not be counted by the Lakers’ coaches as being tardy. Odom being Odom, as he ran past my left shoulder toward the Lakers’ locker room, he reached around to tap me on the right shoulder in the age-old joke trying to get me to look the wrong way. Odom wasn’t running as he walked out of the arena at nearly 11:30 p.m. Tuesday – his personal season-high 29 points scored, a Lakers season-high 55 minutes logged and one colossal blunder in Overtime No. 1 having not cost the Lakers a game that went all the way to Overtime No. 3.

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Lamar Odom carried the Lakers pretty far, although not to the finish in just the fourth triple-overtime game in Los Angeles Lakers history. In the end Tuesday night, Kobe Bryant had the 107th game of his career with at least 40 points – although just the third this season – and Ron Artest rose up with four consecutive points late for the Lakers to secure their 13th victory in 14 games since the All-Star break. It was one of the thrilling games of the NBA season, the Lakers prevailed, 139-137, with clutch free throws on both sides propelling the game into a third extra session. The only other home triple-overtime game in Los Angeles Lakers history came in 1969.Bryant wound up with a season-high 42 points on 15-of-31 shooting despite his sprained left ankle. Artest had 18 points, Pau Gasol 24 and Odom his season-high 29 as the Lakers survived the second game of Andrew Bynum’s two-game NBA suspension.

From Mark Medina, LA Times: The crowd gasped in frustration, pleading for Lakers forward Ron Artest not to shoot the wide-open three-pointer. He did anyway. The shot dropped in the bucket, gave the Lakers a three-point lead in the first overtime Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns and the 18,997 at Staples Center reacted hysterically. In return, Artest blew kisses in the air, soaking in all the adulation. The image surely represents the never-ending anxieties and fickle relationship Laker fans have with Artest, swinging in frustration over his trigger-happy tendencies and distracted persona to admiration for his fearless mindset and goofball behavior. But the latter image was present all night long in the Lakers’ 139-137 triple overtime victory Monday over the Phoenix Suns, a performance that featured Artest scoring seven of his 18 points on seven of 14 shooting and one of his three steals in extra regulation with funny antics along the way.

From Broderick Turner, LA Times: Ron Artest blew kisses to the crowd in the first overtime after his three-pointer gave the Lakers a 119-116 lead. Artest kissed his biceps after his steal led to his dunk and a 135-132 Lakers lead in the third overtime. Get the picture? Artest was animated during the Lakers’ 139-137 triple-overtime victory over the Phoenix Suns Tuesday night at Staples Center. Why? “I kind of knew what the outcome was going to be, so I was relaxed” Artest maintained. “We talked about it.” It figures Artest would talk this way, because only he can sum up his play that way. Artest had seven points during the overtimes, three in the first OT and four in the third, all of them important.

UPDATE: From ESPN Stats & Information, TrueHoop: The Lakers last won a game of at least three overtimes on December 8, 1961, when they defeated the Philadelphia Warriors 151-147 in triple overtime. Tuesday marked the first time that Los Angeles ever won a triple-overtime game at home. The only time that the Lakers had even played such a home game was a 122-117 loss to the San Francisco Warriors in 1969.

UPDATE #2: From Trey Kirby, The Baskeball Jones (with video): According to GirlsAskGuys.com, this is why guys kiss their arm muscles: “It really is to show off. There is no reason to do it. They just like showing that they are big, and strong, and powerful. Etc.” So true. Trust me. But another good reason to do it is to celebrate the biggest of your four measly dunks of the season. It’s like Ron Artest had been waiting all this time and lifting all those weights, just so when the moment struck he’d be ready. Totally worth the wait.

Phillip Barnett

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25 responses to Around the World (Wide Web): Lakers/Suns Reactions

  1. Steve Nash apparently does not need to get his feet underneath of him in order to be an accurate three-point shooter.

    Impressive.

    Thank you for this game, Lakers and Suns.

  2. UPDATE #3: From Trey Kirby, The Basketball Jones – http://blogs.thescore.com/tbj/2011/03/23/lamar-odom-wants-some-flapjacks/

  3. Okay, after watching post-game videos on Land O’ Lakers after each game I have noticed a trend and I just have to ask: What is it with Ron doing the interviews without his shirt? Everyone else seems fully dressed, usually in something tasteful and stylish (at least Kobe and Pau seem to know how to dress), but Artest always sits there shirtless. Is he being interviewed before everyone else so he didn’t have time to get dressed, or does he just like being shirtless on TV? I’m confused.

  4. *Yawn* need sleep 5:30 a.m. alarm was way too early. I’m now not doing work and reading FB&G to stay awake. Uhh, thanks Lakers/Suns?

  5. Cayucos Surfer March 23, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Quote of the night, courtesy of one Kobe Bryant:

    “We had an opportunity to put them in a little bit of a hole in terms of getting into the playoffs and I can’t say I didn’t enjoy doing it.”

    Assassain!

  6. Kevin Ding – What a beat reporter should be. Love his stuff.

  7. Its Gasol (not Odom) replacing Bynum

    Of course a huge win for the Lakers… They all are now. It should be no surprise the Lakers have struggled the past two games and have had to grind out wins even at home. This game after all is about talent… And the Lakers have been playing without their best player since the all star break. What hasn’t been talked about is who is actually replacing big Drew. For those who praise Lamar they are correct, but he is replacing Gasol at PF not Bynum at Center. Against teams like the Suns with small finesse PFs Lamar does a great job filling in for Pau and forget about who has to fill in for Lamar off the bench. The major problem is how Gasol does filling in for Bynum. Of course it’s not fair to ask a finesse PF like Pau to fill in at Center and do the same things Andrew has been doing. For one Gasol isn’t as comfortable or effective in the low block with his back to the basket against Centers. The biggest difference of course is on the boards and on defense where Gasol even against the Suns Gortat is out muscled and and out weighed. The problem with implementing a defense around one player like Bynum is that it’s a big adjustment when he isn’t around, especially when you don’t have a back up Center on your team. I again want to praise Gasol for not complaining when the Lakers force him to play out of position at Center. Many superstar PFs (KG, Duncan, Malone) have cried loudly whenever their coach would even suggest putting them at Center for a portion of a game. The Spurs went through a plethora of borderline NBA Centers since David Robinson retired to keep Timmy at his most effective position of PF. Even now they announce Antonio McDyess or Blair as Centers in the starting line ups. And Pau is the soft one?

  8. I actually thought the Suns had the best strategy against the Lakers in the playoffs last year. On D they play a lot of zone, swarm Gasol and take him off his spots, and never help on Kobe. It makes sense because once you help on Kobe you open up a lot of interior passing lanes AND lanes for offensive rebounds. That’s why the Lakers never kill Phoenix on the boards the way you think they should. Sure, Kobe torches the Suns with that D, but for a pick you poison strategy I think it’s a good one.
    On offense teams aren’t going to beat the Lakers playing a traditional half court offense because the Lakers length makes every shot difficult so I do think it’s a good strategy to shoot a lot of 3’s and hopefully trade your 3’s for their 2’s. If Channing Frye would have played like that in the playoffs last year that series could have been different.

    The only problem with Phoenix is, like many teams they have nobody that matches up with Lamar Odom.

  9. @Mimsy

    Ron has been known to give interviews completely unclothed. He is not embarred in the least bit by it. If the only thing he is missing is a shirt I suspect the reporters will take that with no complaints.

  10. Ron clearly lives in a different world than the rest of us… but if that’s what he needs to do to play at his best, I’m perfectly okay with that. As long as the reporters take care to film only his upper body during interviews! :D

    I actually like the antics from him lately, throwing kisses to the crowd, the bicep-kissing… yes, it’s cheesy and over-the-top, but it’s also something he only does when he’s having fun and feeling confident out on the court. I want a confident Ron for when the playoffs come around.

  11. Speaking of a different world, Abbott’s back at it: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/26698/kobe-bryant-delivers-for-everybody

    Honestly. It’s embarrassing at this point. I mean, if he posted these stories after close losses there might be a there there, but after possibly the best game of the season?

    It’s not my site, but if it were I’d seriously consider leaving the Truehoop network. It’s disgraceful that ESPN has this guy as their flagship basketball blogger.

  12. I saw that article by Abbott. I thought he might actually be saying something new. I mean seriously, he couldn’t be repeating the same thing right????

    It is kind of like the scene in A Few Good Men where Demi Moore ‘Strenuously objects.’

    I mean, we get it. Kobe’s “crunch time” stats raise questions about how good he is in crunch time. Kobe goes one on three too often (yeah, it makes me crazy too). Kobe doesn’t pass enough, though there were several assists in the sequence Abbott lays out. OK – so where is the new angle, the new data?

    It is kind of pathetic at this point. The point has been made clearly and people have chosen their stance on it. Can we move on?

    ESPN has definitely jumped the shark.

  13. @11: completely agree. Incidentally, he was quiet as the biased a****** that he is after the Blazers win. A sad human being.

    Not a fan of the heart attack but it was an incredibly exciting game. The fans got their money’s worth.

    Here’s to more wins, 27 more to be exact!

  14. #13. No need to call names as I’m pretty sure you’ve never met the man.

    The only part that I disagree with here is his want to continue to beat this drum. I actually think he’s making his point and proving his thesis. Kobe isn’t the king of crunch time. The numbers say as much and that’s that.

    That said, as I’ve argued over the last few days on a variety of hoops topics, that’s much too black and white a conclusion to just leave it at that and say that your job is done. And I’m not even talking about who *is* the king of crunch time. Personally, I don’t think such a player exists. Every player is prone to missing in those instances, and doing so at a rate that’s beyond what they’d normally miss. Every study proves this. The guys that don’t miss that often are normally lower skill players that are set up by others in plays that are specifically designed for multiple options. Not many teams run those sets so we’re stuck with what we’re stuck with: lower efficiency shots taken by the league’s best wing players.

    And to me, that’s the point that makes it so I don’t care if Kobe’s not the king. He’s still clearly one of the league’s best wing players and he’s proven that he *can* come through. That doesn’t guarnatee a make or a win or any other positive outcome. But – and this is where stats have to go out the window – I trust him. I have faith in him. Those are intangible things that can’t be measured. But they’re also things that you’ll have a hard time convincing people they shouldn’t have in something.

    In the end, I respect Henry a great deal. But in the case of Kobe and the clutch, I’m okay with what the numbers say and I still want the ball in his hands. If for no other reason than he’s the guy on *my* team. Personally, I think we’re better off for it.

  15. If the Lakers are gonna 3-peat, it’s gonna be up to Bynum and Artest to provide some support

    http://sportstatistics.blogspot.com/2011/03/are-resurgent-lakers-for-real.html

    Right?

  16. When executed correctly, the perimeter shot is one of the “right” ways for the player to distribute the ball.

    When Kobe is running an isolation, and is double covered, as well as drawing weak-side help, then he SHOULD shoot the ball to capitalize on the opposing team’s over pursuit.

    A) He makes the shot. And, this happens a good deal more often than it should, especially factoring in the nature of the shots themselves.

    B) He misses, and an interior Laker gets the rebound and goes back up, often creating contact and drawing a foul.

    C) He misses, and the ball rebounds long and a defender scoops it up. Kobe and the other guard should still be in position to get back in transition defense.

    The only “bad” shots in the triangle are the PUJITs, or isolation shots with no teammates in the key.

    Everything else is essentially an arced pass, that might go in.

    Abbott at this point is not worth the time it takes to read him.

    *shrugs*

  17. @14
    The thing with continuing to beat his drum over and over is that Abbott is taking the easy way out. If he keeps this up he won’t even need to think or work anymore, he can simply copy and paste bits and pieces from his old articles, edit them to make it flow better, put a new headline on it, and be done working for the day in less than an hour.

    It’s lazy, or at least comes across that way.

    As for why Laker fans think Kobe is the best closer ever, is probably because, as you say, we trust him when he has the ball in the last seconds of the game. What Abbott misses (and the fact this hasn’t occurred to him severely undermines his credibility, by the way) is that our trust is not based on how many times we’ve seen him make that shot. It’s based on how many times we’ve seen him take it, without hesitation, without flinching, without for a moment considering that maybe he might miss. It’s the lack of fear and the utter belief in himself that makes him a good game closer. Not statistics.

  18. Darius, Abbott may not be an a**h*** like matthew said but he’s definitely biased and when it comes to kobe, he’s extremely petty. Such pettiness warranted mention from kurt a few years ago

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2009/09/18/henry-abbott-misses-the-point/

    In that video is ranting about how selfish kobe is because he didn’t pass the ball to Kwame in a dunk over nash in which Kwame wasn’t even open until Kobe was already going for the dunk.

    But regarding his opinion on Kobe’s clutch performances, the stats are compelling, but they aren’t gospel. He thought that he made some grim discovery that was going to change the worlds mind about Kobe. But he failed and he refuses to accept that he didn’t discover life on mars. He’s on a mission to force his opinion of Kobe on the world. That’s exactly why he keeps beating a dead horse. This is like the 4 article about kobe’s clutch performances in the last 2 months. People got his original point, some agreed, some didn’t. Abbott needs to let it go instead he uses those article to get attention.

  19. #19. I’m not here to defend Henry. And I’m quite familiar with Kurt’s post…I go back and read it every once and a while.

    In the end, I think that Henry (as evidenced by the name of his site) seeks truth in sports and it must irk him that there’s this conception out there of something that numbers (at least the nubmers that he cites) disprove. I think this leads him to trumpet his thoughts on this when there’s a chance for him to do so (and this game surely gave him that chance).

    Again, though, I’m not here to defend him. He has his take, it’s known and that’s it. In the end, like I said earlier, I really don’t care about it all just because I understand what Henry’s saying and don’t really disagree. Kobe may not be king. But he’s damned good. And honestly, I’ll take it.

  20. Darius Soriano,
    The problem with both Henry’s comments and your response @ #20 is that you both imply that there is a king and we should be able to identify him.

    There is no king, any more than there is a GOAT. Most GMs would give their eye teeth to have Kobe on their teams to take the last shot – and do so much more. That fact is good enough for me and I don’t need to crown anyone.

  21. Craig W,
    As I mentioned my other comment (#14) I don’t think such a player exists.

  22. I guess Abbott is “winning” b/c we are talking about the article and have clicked on his article but it really is a tired argument by now.

    I think what Henry doesn’t get is that people don’t care what the stats say on this topic. Polls of league GMs continue to show that Kobe is the league’s most feared closer and more importantly he is the unquestioned closer for 5 championship teams.

    It’s as if Henry thinks he is smarter than all the NBA analysts and GMs and he has to show how right he is whenever Kobe is less than perfect in crunch time. If advanced stats was all there was to building a championship team then the Mavs should win the title every year (or at least 1 time) b/c they employ so many advanced stat geeks.

  23. @Paul
    Good point. I think that’s why so many of us are so easily irritated at Abbott’s articles on this topic. It’s not the repetition, it’s not even the refusal to consider he might be wrong. It’s the seeming inability to realize that the game is more than just stats.

    It reminds me of what I saw in the comments of 20secondsorless.com’s long blog on the shortcomings of basketball statistics: “If it measures bad but plays good, it is good. If it measures good but plays bad, you measured the wrong things.”

    In other words, if what you see on the court doesn’t fit with your stats, throw out the numbers. I personally would rather have Steve Nash close a game for me than Lebron James, because Nash is a fearless, ruthless killer, and Lebron hasn’t proven to me yet that he has those qualities. If anything, he wilted in the spotlight in last year’s playoffs.

    Statistics are one of many ways to try and uncover the truth of basketball… Abbott frustrates me when he treats them as if they are the truth itself.

  24. Typed in the wrong URL. Make that 20secondtimeout.com…