Game 3 Preview & Chat: The Denver Nuggets

Darius Soriano —  May 4, 2012

“A series doesn’t start until the home team loses”, the old saying goes. Tonight, then, offers the Lakers the chance to not only start this series, but effectively end it. No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series so tonight’s contest is as close to an elimination game as possible without actually sending anyone fishing for the summer.

This will translate to Denver giving the Lakers their best effort. The Nuggets’ backs are against the wall and will fight as hard as possible to make sure they get this game. They’re one of the better home teams in the league with their thin air and ramped up style causing opponents fits. They play at a faster pace, play better defense, rebound better, and shoot better at home.

The Lakers will need to be ready to counter by playing their most disciplined game of the series. This is especially important considering the Lakers focus wained during the 2nd half of game 2 while the Nuggets started to find some things that worked for them on both sides of the floor.

And with that, here are a few keys for success to look for in tonight’s contest:

*The Lakers must take good shots with a balanced floor. The Nuggets have started to run out at every opportunity to try and get easy baskets in transition and early offense. As we’ve discussed at length, the Nuggets best option is to get their shots up before the Lakers defense is set and the easiest way to do that is to streak up the floor before the Lakers bigs can get back to clog up the lane. The best way to counter this is for the Lakers wings to sprint back, turn the ball handler, and give their bigs the chance to get into the play. And this is only accomplished through a balanced floor. When Kobe works in the post or Sessions drives the lane, the two wings must work back and not worry about offensive rebounding. Barnes and Ebanks are good on the O-glass but must abandon their weak side sneak attacks in favor of sound defensive principles.

In addition, the bigs must run back hard. In game two, part of what got Ty Lawson going was his the spy game he was playing with Andrew Bynum. On several possessions, Lawson advanced the ball at a medium pace looking directly at Bynum. On the possessions where Bynum didn’t run back hard, Lawson would turn on the jets and attack the guard/wing in front of him before Bynum could insert himself into the action. Bynum (and Gasol/Hill) must be aware of Lawson (and Miller) using them as gauges in transition D. If they loaf the Nuggets will attack. L.A.’s bigs must understand that their men aren’t the threats, but the advancing ball and wings running the lanes are. Slow them and the Nuggets are fighting an uphill battle. Let them get loose and a loss is that much more likely.

*Make the Nuggets a one man show. Game one showed what Danilo Gallinari is capable of. He was aggressive off the dribble, took his shots in rhythm, and mostly kept the the Nuggets’ offense afloat with his ability to create good shots for himself in the half court. Luckily, he was the only Nugget to find his stride and the result was an easy Laker win. Game two a similar story unfolded but this time it was Ty Lawson doing the damage. His ability to create off the dribble and finish in the lane against a D that was on its heels brought his  team back and had them close down the stretch. However, as he was the only Nugget to really do any damage, the Lakers won again.

This is a formula that the Lakers will win with. The Nuggets’ strength isn’t that they have one or two top flight players, but rather that they have 5 or 6 guys that can all get you 15-20 points. The Lakers mustn’t allow multiple guys to get on track and find their offense. If Gallo reverts to his game one form, that’s okay. If Lawson repeats his game two, that’s also fine (though because he’s also an assist threat, the Lakers would do well to try to limit his play making for his teammates). If Afflalo finds his stride for the first time this series, that’s also okay. But the Lakers can’t have all three of these guys scoring 15+ points. Add in Al Harrington knocking down 3 pointers or Corey Brewer running out or Kenneth Faried working the glass and getting shots out of the P&R and things can get out of hand quickly. This is the danger of this team and the Lakers must continue their efforts to make them a one man show. That’s not a winning formula for them.

*Play smarter when JaVale McGee is defending the paint. In the 4th quarter, JaVale McGee played all 12 minutes and blocked 5 Lakers shots. Plus, in that stretch, the Lakers only shot 44% (4-9) in the restricted area and 33% (2-6) on shots from 5-9 feet. Not all of these blocked shots and misses led directly to Denver points but many of them did via the run-outs described earlier. McGee’s presence also served to alter the Lakers attack as penetration started to lead to kick-outs for jumpers rather than shots at the rim.

There’s a way to attack McGee and it’s not off shots from dribble drives or quick hitting cuts. It’s through power post ups where you make him defend the ball and by driving at him and then dishing to his man for easy baskets. When both McGee and Andew Bynum share the court, Bynum is shooting 100% (7-7) from inside 5 feet. A lot of these makes stem from McGee having to help on other Lakers but that’s the point – McGee is an aggressive help defender that will put his team at risk for put backs and easy baskets via dump-offs as he hunts blocked shots. In game 2 the Lakers got away from looking to force McGee to help and then dishing to ‘Drew and instead attacked him by themselves and the results were poor. The Lakers must be smarter in how they attack McGee – they must draw him and dish; they must make him defend one on one in the post against Bynum. These types of shots will produce quality looks.

*When the double comes, make them pay with ball movement. George Karl is not shy about double teaming the Lakers’ threats. Bynum’s seen consistent double teams all series. Pau and Kobe have seen their share of them as well, but mostly when they get inside 15 feet on the low block. When the doubles have come, the Lakers have made the key passes – even when the role players stopped knocking down shots consistently as game two progressed.

Karl is likely to ramp up his help, especially on Kobe. As we discussed yesterday, the Lakers are working wrinkles into their sets to get Kobe free from Afflalo completely or at least get him the ball where Afflalo can’t really slow him down very easily. The result has been an in-rhytm Kobe who’s scored 79 points on 49% shooting over the first two games. If Kobe keeps that up, this series will be over soon. So, I fully expect Kobe to see more hard double teams after he catches the ball and a defensive scheme that shifts the 2nd defender towards him more often. Kobe mustn’t lose patience when the D helps, but rather must pick out his open teammates who must reward him by making the shots afforded to them or the extra pass to an even more open teammate. Ball movement will crack the code on any double team heavy scheme. But, to do so, the first pass must be made out of the initial trap. In past series against the Nuggets, Kobe’s had no issues making these passes. That will need to continue as this series progresses.

——————————

As has been the case in the first two games, discipline is the key to a victory tonight. Smart shot taking, adherence to the defensive game plan, and focus on the little things will matter. The energy will be off the charts to start the game and the Lakers must weather that, but as the game advances they can tear away the fury of the crowd with efficient, deliberate attacks. Last night the Heat and the Thunder both went into the enemies’ lair and took the heart of their foe. Tonight the Lakers get their chance to do the same.

*Statistical support provided by NBA.com

Darius Soriano

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209 responses to Game 3 Preview & Chat: The Denver Nuggets

  1. Parrothead Phil May 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    This ones for Warren!

  2. Lakers have not given up a 30 point quarter to Denver in 6 games.

    “The Lakers must take good shots with a balanced floor”

    So accurate. Bad shots in Denver led to 18 and 26 fastbreak points in Denver.

  3. The Dane,

    That article is just another attempt to drum up old controversy where it doesn’t exist. Look at the picture they choose to represent Bynum’s “current” mental state… except that is a Houston Rocket in the background. The quotes from Bynum are a) him saying he wanted to get a few more points and rebounds (a jab at Kobe???) and b) responding to a leading question at the All Star game.
    Yeah Bynum has been so exasperated these playoffs.

    It’s particularly cute how he is like “He’s playing at or above Dwight’s level! But he doesn’t get used much (read: in comparison to Dwight presumably)” when he cites Bynum’s usage rate as 24% this year – Howard’s career usage % is 23.5.

  4. “A series doesn’t start until the home team loses.” I’ve always found this to be one of the most useless and meaningless cliches in basketball. Still not sure what it even means.

    Gallo has been missing very makeable shots. if he makes the shots he normally does, Game 2 looks very different. I have a bad feeling he might light it up tonight.

    On the flip side, this game will tell us a lot about the ruthlessness of this Lakers team. If they come out particularly fierce and maintain tight transition D the entire game (instead of some lapses like in the last game), I’d take that as a sign of true championship-level focus.

    3 – We know Bynum wants the ball. For a couple seasons now Pau has called for more touches. It’s no secret. Just a very bored and increasingly desperate Henry Abbott trying to increase hits to his site.

    Also, just saw that last post by Phillip on Afflalo and Kobe, and I have to say that’s really phenomenal work.

  5. Even though we’re an experienced, veteran team and @ this time of the season, not much of it should be needed, but I hope that we can use OKC’s handling of Dallas as Motivation to put that nail n the coffin of the Nuggets tonight.

  6. It’s funny what a lack of talent does, bynum is an average talent at best. Good centers had the games he has in their sleep.

    He let mosgov and koufus push him out to the three point line, but he deserves more touches
    Lol

  7. Kobe Alert: KB’s 3 steals vaulted him past M Cheeks and Larry Byrd for 5th all time in the playoffs. He needs 14 FT’s to move by K Malone for 2nd place all time there. He needs 13 dimes to move past D Johnson for 8th on that list. His incredible block put him within 1 of L Nance for 34th on that list. He has played 8,242 minutes in the playoffs, which is about the same as Ramon Sessions has played in his entire career.

  8. Too me it seemed that the shots McGee blocked were of the kind where he had a little distance between himself and the offensive player and could really time his jump.

    When Bynum goes one-on-one directly at him, he must make sure to really go into McGee’s body, getting him off balance and negating his quick jumping ability. But when Bynum has the time and space to use two dribbles, he usually does a very good job off setting up the defender so he can’t recover to get to his lefty hook for example.

  9. @7 Marques

    It’s not so much they “pushed him” out to the three point line, that was a deliberate plan by the Denver coaching staff to ensure Bynum had to move away from the paint.

    And for an “average talent”, funny how he’s recorded more blocks in a playoff game then most centers have for decades…but you’re right, those other good centers had to have games like that in their sleep otherwise they’d be in the record books with him.

  10. >>>funny how he’s recorded more blocks in a playoff game then most centers have for decades

    not that amazing. he got 2 blocks in the game 2.

    avg blocks so far in the playoff:

    Andrew Bynum 2 6.0
    Roy Hibbert 3 4.7 (9 blocks in game 1)
    Elton Brand 2 3.5
    JaVale McGee 2 3.5
    Serge Ibaka 3 3.3

    durign the regular season, he averaged 1.9 block/gm, #7 after almost alll above.

  11. Links anyone? Please and thank you!

  12. When the playoffs started, the Lakers were a little bit of a long shot, + they needed some breaks to win it all. So far:

    1) MWP Suspended for first 6 of playoffs
    2) Hill distraction
    3) Rose out – clearing path for Heat/Celtics
    4) Miami sweeping and Knicks injured
    5) OKC sweeping/gaining confidence
    6) SA up 2-0 and dominating
    7) LAC + Memphis winner will be injured, battered, + bruised for a carnage by SA.
    9) Celtics have a very easy path.
    10) D Fish playing well for OKC getting primed for round 2.

    So – not to be too pessimistic, but as a Laker fan, other than our series, has anything gone our way?

    PS: I am thinking we split in Denver, for a commanding 3-1 lead, but if we lose tonight, the world will not end.

  13. Robert

    Agreed with your thoughts. Split in Denver. Tonight is the tougher one.

    Denver by 8 tonight.

  14. Lakers have to win the rebounds edge. Can’t let Faried give this crowd energy.

    More counter action off the set Phillip posted yesterday.

  15. We get stuck with C-Team, Schulman and Burke? Ugh.

    Nice Laker contingent in the arena. Mwa ha ha.

  16. 13

    I don’t see how many of those things are ‘bad breaks’ for the Lakers. Unless Duncan and Parker contract malaria, Kevin Durant retires, and LeBron gets abducted by aliens, the Lakers are always going to be long shots for the title regardless of what’s going on elsewhere.

  17. “So – not to be too pessimistic, but as a Laker fan, other than our series, has anything gone our way?

    I’m wondering if you can see the unintentional humor here :D I’m fine with our series going our way. That’s enough for me. Better than being down 0-2 and knowing that the Heat have a really tough path to the Finals.

  18. what happened to these offensive rebounds???

  19. GREAT poise and compusure so far for Lakers. Very much under control.

    Nuggets 5 off rebounds

  20. Get Sessions out he’s shook. Bad shots from Pau let kobe run PG

  21. Joel @17: LOL However – don’t tell me that – I am not the one who is saying this team is the second coming of the 2001 Lakers : )
    Snoop: As you may have seen some previous posts, I am a poker player. So my analogy is that we are playing great right now, but are we ever going to get dealt any cards? : )

  22. nothing but jumpers for the lakers. take it to the cup!

  23. Like I said they would run us off the court and Andrew will be a no show on mile high. Lose by 8.

    Team not prepared to play with clueless Brown.

  24. Hey steve blake is awesome on d huh? Real excited for MORE of him guarding ty lawson tonight…

  25. So – 2 wire to wire victories. Then lakers decide that they no longer want to play defense anymore – or grab any offensive rebounds.

    20-2 run.

    Wow.

  26. Knew I shouldn’t have stayed in tonight to watch this game.

  27. Good adjustments by Karl the Nuggets built a wall twice for the Kobe back cut play. barnes has made silly mistakes all game.

    Lakers have to respond with their run. That’s Denver’s first blow.

  28. It’s gonna be one of those nights. Unless Kobe/Bynum catch fire this will be a long long night. Refs are in home-cookin mode right now.

  29. Lawson is giving us a preview of what Sessions will look like against Westbrook and Parker : )
    How are we down 17-6 on the glass when we have Wilt Chamberlain at center and a HOF International player at PF? : )

  30. Where is that professional gambler, ha, who called sweep and Spurs 1st round out.

    Some people just don’t understand the game called basketball.

    6 game series with Coachy Mike.

  31. Let the crowd get into it and the young players get jacked up.

  32. Now you know why you need veteran guards during the playoffs. Young players get shook under pressure. Additionally, young players don’t get calls.

  33. Ok – now the game is about cutting into that lead, bit by bit.

    Oh – maybe have a bigger defender on Lawson as well – maybe an Ebanks – he has more speed than blake anyways.

  34. Slowly chip away. Lakers withstood denver’s first blow

  35. Have some faith guys. If Clippers can do it, we can do it.

  36. Let’s take Pau off the 3 point line now.

  37. Good to see the bench make a run at this thing!

  38. any links?

  39. Ugh what I would give to have a Ray Allen to spot up off of Bynum’s post. Craig Hodges would be nice :P

  40. 4 mins left in the half Brown doesn’t have his starting 5 out there.

    3 games into the series Brown hasn’t found a way to get Bynum the ball with space to operate.

  41. Whenever Bynum gets praised too much you can count on him to coast.

  42. Down 27-16 on glass, 7 TO vs their 4, and their bench up 16-8.

    Not a good formula

  43. Link, try ESPN3 on ESPN.com

  44. Down 27-16 on boards, 7 TO vs their 4, and their bench up 16-8.

    Not a good formula

  45. Why is Blake in the NBA?

    Why is Blake on the Lakers?

    Why is Blake getting playing time?

    Ha I knew no one could answer these questions.

    Very sad player.

  46. Btw – for all you Bynum lovers out there clamoring for him to get 30 shots/game – He is completely listless out there tonight.

    Would be nice if he woke up. Franchise players are supposed to be able to take over games when things start going south.

  47. Ko: Re Blake:

    Well the main reason is that we failed to use 2 TPE’s; and the second reason is that we traded Fish instead of Blake : )

  48. Barnes need to hit a shot that isn’t a lay-up. They’ve got enough time to get the lead to 10 or less before the half. Then halve the lead at the end of the 3rd, etc.

  49. Take the dead weight out the game: Blake and Bynum!

  50. That stiff McGee is dominating Drew! Pathetic!

  51. Bynum is worthles tonight

  52. Lucky were down only by 16. We should be down by 30 right now.

  53. Absolutely terrible job on the boards.

  54. Brown still can’t find a way to get Bynum the ball with space.

    Karl is daring Lakers to shoot perimeter shots and that’s what they’re doing. Need to find a way to get Pau off the 3 pt line and Bynum some shots.

  55. Andrew is a zero out there and Brown is not smart enough to get him out of there. Just standing around watching. Zero points! Zero effort? Zero heart? Zero!

  56. Bynum has been absolutely non-existent, especially on the defensive end.

  57. Robert,

    At least none of them have herniated discs.

  58. Just as everyone knew, Nuggets playing with more energy and effort. Definitely feeding off their Home Crowd .. Effectively taking AB out of the game with quick doubles & triples. Ty Lawson having his way. Hopefully we can get to within 10 heading into the 4th .. Pace/Tempo, Pace/Tempo, Pace/Tempo.

  59. Nuggets up 55-39 at halftime. JaVale McGee: 8 points. Andrew Bynum: 0. That is all.

  60. 1st half stats:

    Bynum – 0 pts, 5 reb, -15
    McGee – 8 pts, 9 reb , +25

    Franchise player?

  61. rr: Good point : ) He may not have that either had he wised up and come out west : )

  62. So I wonder what the Bynum excuse will be after this game?

    Its the playoffs.
    Lakers didn’t play last night.
    Bynum was just featured on ESPN today as the postseason MVP (roflmao).

    Bynum gets doubled off the ball. Gives up. Doesn’t attack the offensive glass. Doesn’t attack the defensive glass. Javale Mcgee (really?) having his way with him. Doesn’t bring all of his double team defenders out to the free throw line while he’s setting a pick.

    Sounds about standard.

  63. The Lakers aren’t matching the Nuggets energy. Bynum, Gasol, Blake, Barnes and Bryant have to settle the nerves of the younger players and get them prepared to play in a hostile environment. If the young players aren’t ready to play in Denver they sure won’t be ready to play in Oklahoma.

    If the team continues to be lethargic, Kobe will go in full onslaught hero-mode.

  64. Lakers are a couple made shots and stops from being in this game.

    Pound the paint wear those guys out and reclaim the lead.

  65. Are we tanking this game?

  66. Games like this show you why Kobe is great, he will give it all he has.

  67. There we go Drew! Get aggressive. Good start to the second half.

  68. I sure like that “gunner” number 24… Just recalling how someone (during game one and two) with so much knowledge of the game said Kobe shoots to much,

    WHATEVER!

    TAKE US HOME KOBE!

  69. Kobe is trying to get Bynum going no need for him to still be lazy on defense.

    Sessions has so much trouble staying in front of his man. He is playing hard.

  70. Great pass by Kobe and great finish by Drew! Starting to chip away and keep the pace slow.

  71. I miss MWP corner 3′s.

    Bynum don’t blame Ramon you are taught to keep your hands ready in peewee league. Get your head in the game.

  72. Another good post up by Drew and a great entry by Kobe. Then Drew does the rest!

  73. Either the mile high high is wearing off or someone did some heavy bar visiting last night.

    Either way they look like they woke up. To bad Lakers have no one(that Brown will play) to stop Lawson and man up to Magee.

    Ah well. Let’s just watch Andrew stand around some more.

  74. Lakers are pounding Nuggets bigs. Stops and Scores. Gutsy performance so far.

  75. Much better effort from Bynum so far this half.

  76. Wondering why Andrew would continue to argue on a play the Lakers scored on?

    Hummm I guess the word is selfish?

  77. Energy & Effort got us back in this game. Two things that Coaches Can Not Control.

  78. Funky Chicken May 4, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Bynum is really a selfish dude. Way to walk away from game action to protest your loss of 2 points.

  79. I bet many of you who openly scourn Kobe for his shots are secretly hoping he “shoots” us back in the game… Then we can go back to giving the ball to the Bigs where it belongs… LOL so hyprocritcal……it’s team ball–but we/well I know what side the bread is buttered on——–go lakers!

  80. McGee is a stiff.

  81. Barnes no-call on his layup attempt, then gets a stunningly late traveling call when he comes back down. Amazing how these calls start going bad for the Lakers when the game gets close.

  82. Its playoff basketball. Home-cooking you have to take the game from a home team. Like that Bynum, good block!

    Barnes is so inconsistent you just don’t know what you’ll get from him offensively.

  83. Leave the hate for now man. Have some faith that we will win. You keep arguing and complaining for Bynum’s action while he is trying hard in the 2nd half to get us back in the game.

    Have some faith one more time.

  84. we got this.

  85. Huge beginning of the 4th coming up. Pau has to take charge here.

  86. Kobe told Danny Crawford that wasn’t his call – true.

  87. Keep the pressure on.

  88. How did that ref overturn that out of bounds call on Barnes missed free- throw? Hilarious.

  89. Even with the shady ass officiating that’s going on right now, this game is there for the taking. Lets Get It.

  90. Danny Crawford pulling a Tim Donaghy.

  91. Now they need Kobe in hero mode

  92. Funky Chicken May 4, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    James Worthy said it at halftime, but Andrew is really terrible against the double team because he doesnt turn and face the basket–which would make him a passing threat.

  93. Some of these calls are fishy.

  94. Can Bynum please pass the ball out of a double and triple team? Please!

  95. This officiating is a real treat.

  96. What the hell is Bynum doing on that double team!? Why is he not only holding it too long, but low to the ground?

  97. Pau looks lost he hasn’t had a rhythm for the whole game.

  98. McGee is playing a really good game.

    Yikes, hope Pau isn’t having girl problems. I haven’t seen him look like this since…well, last year’s playoffs.

    Our guard inabilities are once again alive and well.

    I miss MWP!

  99. I am convinced Brown is plain stupid. He continues to play Blake/Sessions. That is plain stupid!

  100. These are the kinds of things people don’t realise when they say we should just pound it into Bynum every time down.

  101. I didn’t know home cooking was that good in Denver! Our guys just need to play defense because scoring is not our problem.

    Denver is making tons of shots in THE PAINT……

  102. McGee is out-playing Bynum. Here’s what kills me about Steve Blake. You are out there for one reason. Spread the floor. He won’t shoot? What good is this guy if he won’t shoot the 3.

  103. More bynum, less Kobe….yeah that’s what we want.

  104. Now they are over forcing it into Bynum. He can’t handle the hard double that far away from the basket. It’s too hard for him. If they are going to run that at the Lakers – it should be a 1/5 pick and roll with Bynum sprinting to the cup.

    Bynum’s should sit now. Played every minute so far in the 2nd half. Get our energy lineup in.

  105. Ramon looks perplexed he’d rather pass the ball to Kobe than to Bynum whom had his man sealed under the basket.

  106. Funky Chicken May 4, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Can’t wait for Darius to remind us why it is inappropriate to criticize Blake….

  107. I wonder what Ron is doing besides hurting his team by not being there.

  108. They are making McGee look like an all-star.

  109. Seriously, why the f*ck is Blake still in the game?! Put freakin Ebanks on Miller! Brown is a complete moron!

  110. Putting Gallinari on Kobe in the 4th quarter is a pretty damn smart move by Karl. Wait till Kobe is tired and then put a taller, longer guy on him with decently quick feet. Good move coach. We have to pound it inside and kick it out for 3′s. That’s the only way we get back into this.

  111. Pau has been awful. Like all he does is take long jumpers. He’s being defended by a 6’8 player and he’s taking 3′s. I just don’t understand it. He get beat on the defensive end every single plays. Blake is useless and the session/Blake combo doesn’t work

  112. Don’t fear Blake is still in!

  113. 8-on-5 over here.

  114. This is horrible officiating. This is the part i really hate…

  115. Sessions+Blake should never be on the court at the same time.

  116. That was an interesting foul call with .8 left on the shot clock against Kobe…

  117. Still winnable

  118. So many long shots…

  119. If kobe is 2/2 in his FTA. It will be a 6 point game. We can still win this despite horrible officiating.

  120. Thanks again Artest! Now we get to watch Blake work his magic in crunch time.

  121. These refs are horsesh*t. Kobe hasn’t really been forcing it, but he just can’t seem to shoot in this building.

  122. Trade Kobe!
    He is so selfish and not utilizing two bigs!!!
    Unbelievable!!!

  123. So I called this before game as a 8 point loss. Wonder what score would be with a real coach and no Blake?

  124. Wake up Gasol!

  125. Playing Blake the whole 4th quarter is horrible to see.

  126. Nuggets offensive rebounds each game

    16 – 19 – 19

  127. Please fire Mike Brown! Pllease

  128. Moving on to Game 4, I don’t want to read anymore all your complaining and arguing about this game.

  129. This game was a waste of my time to watch. I should have joined Ron Ron at a local Denver bar… No effort by ANYBODY.. Kobe wasn’t engaged, Bynum was lazy, Blake lost, Pau lost, bench lost, Mike Brown hmmmmmmmmmmm..

    ok lets see what happens next.

  130. Did ebanks even play in the 4th??! Stupid mike brown…

  131. Trailing by 24 in the 2nd, garbage calls, a ramped-up home crowd, the altitude, no MWP, and basically everyone playing like garbage tonight (aside from Sessions’ quiet 15/9/6), and they were within 6 with 3 minutes to go.

    This loss was predictable. I feel okay about Sunday.

  132. Lakers did a terrible job putting a body on a man and boxing out. McGee alone has 6 offensive rebounds…

  133. Bynum got dominated tonight.

    Kobe’s shot wouldn’t fall.

    And no other Lakers stepped up.

    Maybe its a blessing – assuming lakers can get game 4. Cuz its one less game in a 2nd rd w/o artest.

  134. Funky Chicken May 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    “He who stumbles across the same rock twice is a huge idiot.”– Stu Lantz

    He was talking about a team that shoots 25 three pointers when they only make 6, but he could just as easily be talking about a coach who insists on playing a Sessions/Blake backcourt that has sucked every minute they’ve been on the floor.

  135. Still can’t believe Brown played Blake over Ebanks the ENTIRE 4th. Clueless.

    We just didn’t give the effort this game. Kobe shot poorly, Drew was only engaged for a half, Pau was pretty non-existent, and Barnes and Blake gave us nothing. We shot way too many threes, but Barnes and Blake have to hit them when they’re wide open. Oh well, on to Game 4…

  136. I seriously question some of Mike Brown’s rotations as many of you do.

    Nobody played well tonight. Coach didn’t put people in position to be successful

    Only reason Nuggets have a chance is off. rebounds. They got 19 again tonight.

    Nuggets had 15 more shots tonight. FIFTEEN. WAY TOO MUCH

  137. please tell me perhaps I don’t have enough basketball knowledge to answer for myself.

    1. Why does Blake play more minutes than Ebanks? Isn’t Ebanks per better?

    2. Why have I not noticed any adjustments on offense when Bynum is tripled team? I mean doesn’t that mean there are two other guys free to cut strong to the basket?

    3.How can Bynum be called a franchise player when he “quits” so easily when things don’t go his way. He quits on his coach, on his team, and on the fans.

    4.Pau is such a great passer. Why aren’t there more plays where he directs traffic?

    5. Would a combo with Kobe at the 1, Ebanks at the 2, Pau at the 3, Hill at the 4, Bynum at the 5 work? I think so. We could flood the lane like that because that’s where we are losing.

  138. Called it two years ago when we picked him up. Steve Blake is a bum in the playoffs.

  139. The story of this game is pretty simple…Denver just outhustled the Lakers.

  140. Blame Mike Brown for playing Blake over Ebanks.
    Blame Blake for playing poor defense but he is giving all his best to defend.
    Blame Bynum for not playing in the 1st half and arguing the refs.
    Blame Gasol for not being in this game.
    Blame Kobe for an off-night and careless TO’s
    Blame Sessions for giving all in this game.
    Blame the bench for not contributing.
    Blame the front office for not giving players that can contribute to win.
    Blame Jim Buss for keeping his money.
    Blame the fans, the city, the Nuggets, the refs.

    Everyday you keeping blaming and blaming. Blame the entire Lakers team for losing the game. If we win still there is one to blame, if we lose still a BLAME.

    Lets just try and play a BLAME GAME…

    Blaming a player for a loss or the coach doesn’t change the fact that we LOSS. Lakers should just adjust for Game 4. If the players on the team don’t blame their team mates, why are we BLAMING them after all????….

  141. Second game in a row you could say Lakers bigs were outhustled.

    One poster on here called it. Game 1 was as good as it gets from Bynum.

    Jordan Hill 13 mins

  142. Ebanks +1. Blake -17.

  143. Gotta give props where they’re do, the Nuggets played with a sense of desperation tonight and because of that, they’re back in this series.

    Bottom line is we got outworked tonight. Nothing to do with the Sessions/Blake lineup. Kobe shot terrible, but he wasn’t the reason why we lost. And it certainly wasn’t the coaching (much to the chagrin of several posters tonight).

    Simply put: Effort & Energy. Once again, something Coaches have no control over because when it comes down to E&E, the Players have to be held accountable.

  144. Blake needs to play sparingly as a backup PG and should never be on at the same time as Sessions. It just doesn’t work.

  145. Pau was getting punked by the little fareef guy all game, very sad considering that the guy has limited skills and is a “effort” guy. Bynum could be dominating McGee but he just didnt want it more. Blake flat out SUCKS! horrible defense and turnovers… Bryant was crap tonight, he seemed a step TOO SLOW and faltered when the oppurtunity was there to seize the game. I knew when his shot wasnt falling they were doomed. the only one fighting was Sessions… Sad because losing to this weak team shows the Lakers are not top-caliber. I am not impressed with Denver at all! They are very average..

  146. STU LANZ ON RADIO SAID IT ALL. “WHEN YOU TRIP ON THE SAME ROCK TWICE THATS CALLED STUPID”.

    LAKERS WILL NEVER WIN THE WEST AS LONG AS MIKE BROWN IS THE COACH AND PLAYS BLAKE THE ENTIRE 4TH QUARTER AS HIS SHOOTING GUARD
    JUST KEEP TRIPPING OVER THAT SAME ROCK MIKEY.

  147. @133 – I was about to post a comment, but you pretty much said it all.

    Thanks

  148. Pau 4 FT’s in 3 games vs Faried.

  149. Hey vhanz here is a thought.
    don:t read. “Once one excepts lossing and poor effort in anything in life they often become a losser”.

    I think that was either donald trump or Mike Jordan i can’t remember.

  150. If the Lakers take the lessons learned from this game to heart, they should be able to pull it out in game 4.

  151. I don’t think anybody’s said it yet but Barnes was a liability on offense tonight too.

  152. Barnes, Blake, Bryant, …the killer B’s tonight…. BRICK MACHINES

  153. I think I have a sure fire solution to win tbe championship.

    Start Blake at center. Play him minutes. Bench Andrew and Pau. Just keep throwing the ball to Blake under the basket.

    After about the 10th block the other team and coach will be laughing so hard they will pass out and we will be champs!

    We can borrow from Ali and call it Blake-a-dope instead of rope-a-dope.

    Come on, it’s no worse then playing the guy the entire 4th quarter as a shooting guard!

  154. Karl outsmarted Brown by putting Afflalo on the bench and going with his two PGs in the same backcourt, knowing that Brown would do the same…resulting in Denver guarding four Lakers with five defenders (leaving Blake free), and then abusing Blake with Miller on the defensive end. Ebanks played 16 minutes and had a +1. Why? Because he does a stellar job on Gallinari. If MB had left him in the game when Karl went small ball, he could have stayed on Gallinari with Kobe guarding Miller, instead of having Miller score on Blake or passing to a cutter when a Laker big played help defense to prevent Miller from scoring.

    In 4:45 with Blake guarding Lawson, Lawson went 3-5 from the floor and 4-5 from the line for 10 points and 2 assists. In the 33:34 with Sessions guarding Lawson, Lawson went 6-14 from the floor and 2-2 from the line for 15 points and 5 assists. Quite simply, Lawson lit Blake up and Sessions did a respectable job on him.

    OTOH, Miller went 5-9 from the floor and 2-2 from the line for 13 points and 3 assists in 23:14 while being defended by Blake. What I’m hoping is that MB finally sees that the Blake/Sessions backcourt is a losing proposition, and it only costs us one game in the first round after we led the series 2-0. There’s only so long we can go four on five at the offensive end, and continue getting abused on the defensive end.

    In 15:40 of play, Ebanks held Gallinari to 2-6 FG and 1-2 FT for 5 points. In the other 17:42 of play with someone else defending him, Gallinari went 1-5 from the floor but 6-6 from the line for 8 points and 2 assists. Meanwhile, Ebanks himself went 2-5 from the floor for 4 points and had 2 blocks. Basically, that matchup has been a push all series.

  155. I agree with you, Dude. MB did the Nuggets a huge favor by matching lawson-miller with sessions-blake for every meaningful minute of the 4th. I just don’t understand what he sees with blake on the floor right now. Theoretically he’s supposed to bring ballhandling and 3 point shooting but he’s not taking care of the ball, taking open shots, or shooting effectively when he does shoot. In addition, he gets absolutely abused on the defensive end. Why not go with Barnes or Ebanks? Even though losing this game was frustrating, I’m not overly concerned – I expected the Nuggets to put their best foot forward in order to effectively save their season and 16-15 from JaVale McGee feels like a HUGE outlier. What does concern me going forward is MB willingness to go with a Sessions-Blake backcourt for extended, meaningful minutes.

  156. Reading through this thread makes me wonder if tonight was a special FB&G #postlikeken night.

  157. * Bynum gets doubled on every catch. That means he needs the ball a lot more to open things up forthe rest of the offense. We don’t need anymore Kobe 7 for 23′s.

    * Blake is not an NBA player. Why is everyone suprised and upset? I don’t get it. The entire year he was ranked dead last statistically at PG. that won’t change. We need to hope Mike Brown cuts his losses, stops doubling down on stupid and finds another back up PG to slide into the rotation. I won’t even get into him playing alongside Ramon so often :(

    * Matt Barnes is a classic regular season player. The convo I had with my brother before the playoffs went like this…

    Aaron: So… We probably should replace Barnes with Ebanks if Barnes plays like we think he will in the playoffs

    Aaron’s bro: Yea… He is a classic regular season player. All energy and hustle.

    Aaron: Yea… Unfortunately those energy guys in the playoffs do no good as everyone is playing hard.

    Aaron’s bro: Yea… He has no hands. And his energy won’t help in the playoffs. I hope I’m working but he is the only Laker on the roster I’m worried about playing worse in the postseason.

    *lastly… I was rooting for the Nuggets last night. So I’m probably not as unhappy as the rest of you. I want to win a championship not sweep this series. We need Artest. We need Artest obviously. The two way monster he has been the last month of the season. Denver is doubling off our SFs. That will change. We need Artest for the first two games in OKC. But I will settle for one game.

  158. @ 158 – Snoopy.

    Haha. I completely agree. I feel like Ko is really just Ken. (They write eerily similar, and the complaint is always about Mike Brown).

    Also – last nights game wasn’t Mike Brown’s fault. The Lakers were down 24 points in the middle of the 2nd quarter. Denver couldn’t miss, and when they did, they got every offensive rebound possible. The Lakers chipped away at the lead and got wide open shots to bring it within 2 a number of times, but the shots weren’t falling for any of the perimeter players.

    There was also this issue of having a big, loafing center through the first half who got completely dominated in every aspect of the game – that might have caused the loss as well. He played better the 2nd half, but again, McGee destroyed him (best game of McGee’s career?). Superstar players don’t score 0 points and get 3 rebounds through a half of a playoff game – and not bear the brunt of the blame when the team loses.

    Here’s to having some more shots fall, and a consistent effort from the guy in the center to impose his will on the game.

  159. All the usual nails have been placed in the Lakers’ coffin, and I won’t pile too much more on but there are a couple points to be made:

    1. Due to Harrington’s injury, the Lakers were gifted with a defense/offense sequence in which they were literally playing 5 on 4. They gave up a bucket and turned the ball over. It was a minor sequence, but a telling one. Denver out worked the Lakers all night, and they also had more poise.

    2. Bynum and Gasol were throroughly out-worked by Faried and McGee. That’s not on Mike Brown. Our bigs were repeatedly beaten, slow to react in help situations, slow to recover, and failed to box out. Anytime JaVale McGee looks like Hakeem in the post, there is a serious problem.

    3. paradoxically, this game had ammo for Bynum defenders and critics. There were stretches where the Lakers went away from him, even though Denver has NOTHING in the way of an answer for him in the paint. yet, there he was getting back to back touches in the fourth and committing two turnovers (one because he literally froze in the face of a triple team, then brought the ball down to ankle level so it could be ripped away). This is why he has miles to go before he gets compared to the Superstars in this league. Everybody has a bad night, but those guys bring it effort-wise every night. D12, for all his faults, brings it to the court every night. Kobe does too. Recent quotes have suggested that Bynum has a hunger for success, but too many times the next game (or games) after a monster performance are lacking in the effort area. Also, too many years of complaining when he WASN’T an All-Star has netted him no equity at all with the officials, so he’s not going to get star treatment there for a while.

    3. The Lakers just make the game too hard sometimes. As mentioned before, they went away from Bynum for too many stretches. Also, putting Pau Gasol in the corner is a waste. First off, he’s nowhere near a place where he can crash the offensive boards, and secondly, he’s literally at the furthest point he can be away from the basket the Lakers are guarding. This creates transition opportunities or Denver, as if they needed help creating transition opportunities. Just because Pau has ceded touches to Bynum like a good teammate, doesn’t mean he’s still not one of the best post players in the league on the block or in the paint. Pau may not eat second anymore, but he needs to eat.

    Uggh. Now OKC steps on Dallas’ throat while the Lakers are committed to this series at least until Tuesday. So the younger, more athletic team will also be the more rested one. Super.

  160. Offensive rebounds are killing the Lakers and this is a product of Denver crashing the boards.

    Off. rebounds LAL 43 – DEN 53 (+10 Denver). They have 14 more shot attempts this series as well.

    Total Rebounds LAL 131 – DEN 152 (+21 Denver)

    FT’s LAL 57 – DEN 72 (+15 Denver)

    Paint Points LAL 116 – DEN 164 (+48 Denver)

    Denver is shooting 39.8% fg this series. The only way they stay in games is offensive rebounds. That’s the only area Lakers are getting demoralized in.

  161. Barnes 1 – 12 – 8% 3pt

    I hate to pile on Brown but sometimes he forgets about Pau. He sticks him in a corner and runs plays for every other player. Pau has 4 FT attempts with Faried guarding him. He has the best match-up this series and is stuck at the 3 point line. Brown has to find a better way of utilizing his most consistent big man.

    Brown when asked a question about the game

    “I don’t know I have to go back and look at film”

    He is kind of saying he isn’t processing things from the bench and makes adjustments off tape not during the game.

  162. Aaron at 159: “Unfortunately those energy guys in the playoffs do no good as everyone is playing hard.”

    Mr. Faried would like a word with you.

    (I’m anxiously looking forward to the lecture on how Faried is skilled, not an energy player.)

  163. R.J.: Just seeing your post you make all solid points especially 2nd 3.

  164. George Karl is a very good coach! He has been around a long, long time for that reason. Playoff games are about moves and counter-moves. Thus, it is now Brown’s opportunity to make a strategic change.

    Denver is not a great team but any team can catch fire at home during the playoffs. The Lakers did not match Denver’s energy from the tip and found themselves down by as much as 24 points. Sure the Lakers made a comeback but after all we are talking about the NBA…that’s normal.

    Drew cannot pout about not getting the ball on offense and then just stand near the basket on shots without any attempt to get an offensive board. When the shot goes up, if he’s not going to go after the rebound he may as well just turn around and run down the floor. He hangs around the offensive end for someone else to get the rebound and pass it to him. (I’m not criticizing just making an observation.)

    On one play Ramon was on defense against Lawson on the left side of the court. Ramon played decent defense keeping Lawson in front of him but Lawson made a good cross-over dribble and went baseline. Ramon looked like he expected Andrew to be there to block the shot, but Andrew gave his patented whatever shoulder shrug.

    One must know what their team mates will do on defense far more than on offense.

    If it’s Kobe’s fault when the offense is not flowing. Then it’s Andrew’s fault when the defense is non existent like it was last night against the Nuggets.

  165. @vhanz, i think because there is definitely blame to be dished out…we lost BECAUSE OF…its more of a break down then blame game if you like to “move on” after a loss without discussing why we lost feel free but some of us are going to wonder why blake is chosen over ebanks

  166. Snoopy,
    Mr. Faried is really scaring the Lakers. His limited game has made it impossible for them to score in the halfcourt as he shrinks the floor completely with no jump shot. He has been outmanned the entire playoffs and the Nuggets have looked better with him on the bench and floor spacers like Harrington on the court at the 4 with McGee at the five. He has been Denvers sixth best player at best.

  167. MWP via Twitter: “OMG I saw Avengers in Denver…… Wow!!!!!!!!! The hulk knows how to contain it now….. Yessir!!!! It’s possible !!!!!!”

  168. Snoopy,
    I mean think about it logically. If a player like Barnes makes his leaving by out working people because he goes at 100 percent while they are going at 90 percent… Then all of the sudden you’re in the playoffs and everyone is now going at 100 percent you lost your ten percent advantage. It’s not rocket science. Matt Barnes isn’t skilled. He isn’t strong. He isn’t a great athlete (he is a solid one). His game is about movement and hustle. Those guys tend to do better in the regular season unless you’re a super athlete and can still out hustle people when everyone is going at 100 percent.

  169. Aaron,

    As usual – you only responded to the part of the question you wanted to + you ignored the other part. Snoopy’s point was that Faried is an effort guy, so applying the same logic, the 2nd coming of Wilt Chamberlain who wears #17 should have gotten 50 pts + 25 rebounds last night. He did not, so was it: A) Because Faried is more talented than him or B) Because Faried played harder?

  170. Such a different crowd at Staples today. Clippers feed off their crowd. Lakers have to make a outstanding play for them to get in the game.

  171. Odd feeling seeing a Clippers game on ESPN this time of year.

    Looking at Barnes’ post-season numbers, he was excellent with GS in 2007, dropped off a little bit with Orlando in 2010, and was pretty bad last year with the Lakers. He has been awful (3.2 PER) this year in three games.

  172. Funky Chicken May 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Aaron, that a simplistic view. Hustle guys have a long history of playoff success, just as there are many who don’t show up in the playoffs. The same could be said of virtually any player (see, e.g., Andrew Bynum’s first half last night, or Pau last year).

    Role players almost always play worse on the road than at home, and I think Barnes’ struggles early in this series (at home) likely had as much to do with his pre-playoff injury as anything else.

    Barnes was playing as well as any Laker before he hurt his ankle. Sitting out clearly affected his rhythm.

  173. I think Chearn said it best, Coach Karl who’s afflicted with cancer is much better tactician than our much ballyhooed Mike Brown. A few threads ago, MB was given great props with his wing strategies, well last night Lakers were wingless, anemic and lazy jump shooter. Why would you make a living in Pau Gasol going for set shots when he’s a 7 footer? Go for the hoop and one, Why would the Lakers consumed so much time in dribbling the ball as if they are on a triangle, afraid of being blocked by McGee or energizer Fariq? Where is courage from this freakin’ Lakers as well as the freakin’ Coach? I think by now Jimbo gets it in comparing Phil Jackson vs. Mike Brown on the road. Even Kobe who refused to lose was relegated to jump shooter. OK, Ebanks not making his shots but at least taller than Blake, sat on the bench; Barnes had a bad night at least he’s taller than Lawson, maybe just maybe he could at least block his passageway, sat on the bench and last the Laker energizer, Mr. McRob is no longer in the rotation as if he had contaminated a deadly disease. I’m not whining only when they lost the game but also when the won Game 2, why 8 man rotation when your two players are out sync, would you not try another experiment on other players who are just sitting on the bench? Just a month ago, McRob was playing, where did he go wrong?

    Lastly, NBA is a business. Maybe, Coach Brown is really a genius in following orders so he intentionally tanked the game so that F/O could raise additional revenues. The LO and Vujacic trade salary dumps were not enough to pay the future estate tax of the Old JB. No holds bar from this fan, end of rant….

  174. “Mr. Faried is really scaring the Lakers. His limited game has made it impossible for them to score in the halfcourt as he shrinks the floor completely with no jump shot…”

    Aaron. Haha. I’m surprised at your post as you’re a really smart Lakers fan. I don’t read everyone’s posts on here, but I make sure to read yours because I know you’re a smart guy. So I’m surprised at what you just said.

    Earlier you said energy guys “do no good” in the playoffs. I’m not saying Faried is the next Kareem offensively, I’m just saying 15 boards is “some good.” It’s not rocket science. Haha. You should know better. I’m surprised at you.

  175. A way to neutralize Faried is put Pau on the block. His aggressiveness is established early on. When Pau is banging bodies down low he plays with force. When he’s on the 3 point line you get the player you saw in game 3.

    Fish is a totally different player now than in the regular season. He looks 10x better than Blake.

  176. I forgot how good playoff Fisher can be.

  177. Barnes PERs speak for themselves

  178. someone please tell me that fisher is the worst PG in the NBA history, or at least he will be in the 2nd round.

  179. Fisher with the lay-in to put Thunder up 3.

  180. “I got there a little late,” Bynum said of his Pepsi Center arrival before the Lakers practiced at a gym connected to their team hotel on Saturday. “So, I probably didn’t have as much time as I needed.”

    “I took myself out (of it),” Bynum said. “I was just not, I guess I don’t know, maybe just not ready to play.”

    I do think it’s good that Bynum is self-aware and owns up to it when he half-asses a night. That’s the first step in progress. The second step is preventing these lapses from happening again. We already saw him making a similar statement against Washington earlier in the year. I expect him to be a beast for Game 4, but I hope these kind of energy lapses are minimized as we move forward.

  181. Oh wow. Harden with the clear path to the rim to end the game. Horrible flashbacks of Ray Allen in Game 4 of 2008.

  182. LOL, poetic justice for D. Fisher. Bet you think he’d be worth paying a few million on the bench of the Lakers. “Never under estimate the heart of a winner.”

    Fisher ‘winning’ intangibles in the 4th quarter of game three against the Nuggets, bet Lakers would have won that game.

  183. I stated that it was a mistake to trade Fish (rather than Blake) several times immediately after the deal was done. I think this is now apparent. Everyone on this board is complaining about Blake, + we could have kept Fish instead. And don’t tell me that Houston may not have wanted Blake, because we could have used the TPE to get a player of Hill’s caliber or better.

    PS: “We” could have used the TPE. Whether Mitch had the authority to use it is a different matter.

  184. Lakers need to take care of business and win the next two games. The Oklahoma City Thunder have swept the Dallas Mavericks and are waiting for their next opponent. Fisher is good for one playoff win every year.

  185. Can’t wait for Fisher aganist Blake. Could really make front office look like real fools.

    See: Walton, Kapono, Murphy, McRoberts, Farmer, Green, Shannon Brown non use of Sasha money and LO money.

    Really some questionable moves as OKC, Heat and Spurs will sweep their first rounds and have all made improvements in their roster.

  186. robert: I believe I was in that same boat. I still like our chances. ;)

    One thing Fisher has Blake doesn’t CONFIDENCE. That can make all the difference.

  187. Robert,

    Fisher looks good against Dallas because they are the only team in the NBA with guards as slow and as old as he is. That is one of the main reasons the Lakers were 4-0 against Dallas this year.

    Also, while I am not in the “blind trust of the FO” camp by any means, based on Fisher’s personality (the KBros have described him as “prideful” and you see how he is dealing with the NBPA fight) I don’t think the idea that he would have not have wanted to turn the keys over to Sessions is at all unreasonable.

    In addition, any time Sessions made a mistake in a postseason game, people would have been talking about Fisher.

    You have said many times not to overreact to short-term results. This is one of those times. The problem is that Blake sucks, not that the Lakers no longer have Fisher.

  188. rr: You are basically correct. So to clarify what I would have done in order of preference:
    1) Use TPE(s) to get more talent inclusive of a back up PG/SG and a back up SF.
    2) Keep Fish and Trade Blake.
    3) My last choice would have been what we did, which was to not use the TPE’s, trade Fish, and keep Blake, whose talent you have accurately stated : )

    PS: “Prideful” is a very good thing in the playoffs. #17 could use some of that : )

    PS2: Of course this order of preference is not inclusive of the complete re-model of the team that I really wanted. But let’s not go “BACK” to that : )

  189. Kevin: Yes – you were in that boat. With regard to our chances: We needed some breaks + we are not getting them. We can’t have all of our competitors carving up their opposition like a Hobart Deli slicer, while we exhaust ourselves against Denver. We can’t do that every round either, because SA will probably carnage the battered winner of LAC-Memphis, and if we do get by OKC it would be in 7. Lastly, we can’t have a crowd that is doing its nails and checking e-mail, while the opposition all wears the same shirts + goes nuts (I have also seen you comment on this as well).

    However we have Kobe so there is always hope.

  190. Parker is a murderer. I’m surprised his stats don’t reveal more dominance the way he’s controlled this game. Reminding me of Chris Paul, the way he’s making perfect decisions and timely baskets.

  191. People should also recognize that in OKC, Fisher gets to play with two or three of Harden/Westbrook/Durant at all times–elite shot creators. Also, he has a specific player, Westbrook, to mentor, who grew up watching him and rooting for him.

    His role here, as well as the dynamic, had he stayed, would have been far different.

  192. One thing I did notice is Heat, Thunder, Spurs down the stretch know what they want to do and how they want to use their weapons.

    Lakers sometimes look lost in that department. The last couple years the Kobe/Pau PnR has been the go to set. This year I can’t point out the money set late in games. Usually Iso.

  193. Kevin – I agree and disagree. With Parker and Ginobili, the Spurs definitely have 2 top-notch decision-makers and they ride them (along with Pop’s great plays to free up guys like Neal) in crunch time – so I definitely agree there.

    With the Thunder, I agree in that they have a great decision maker (Harden) but I wouldn’t say they always know what they want to do in crunch time. Sometimes Durant struggles to get free or just runs tough isos, or Westbrook forces up bad shots, and Harden is just relegated to being a spot-up shooter. I still sense some confusion from their end in crunch time.

    Just saw the new Kobe quotes on Bynum on TNT. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: I have a ton of respect for the way Kobe has handled Bynum. Especially compared with how Shaq handled Kobe. Kobe’s showed him support, empathy, and at the same time helped him along and held him to a high standard. He’s been a fantastic teammate and leader in this regard.

  194. I love the lakers but it’s not looking good for us. Feels much like last year. Can barely take out Denver – OKC looking VERY strong. IF the lakers get to the second round, OKC is going to kick our arse. If we had CP3 could be a different story – or even with beasley but with the current team – no way. OKC takes us out in 5 or 6. Won’t go to 7. They are just too young and athletic. and we have MB.

    Honestly, I’d rather see them move on because they could actually beat the Heat. Lakers had that ONE dominating game – that was it. OKC and Spurs have had many dominating games.

  195. Funky Chicken May 5, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    The Thunder look very strong, and will definitely be favored in the next round, but what’s with all this talk about the mistake in trading Fisher? Derek was awful for us, and the fact that he has a strong 4th quarter in a playoff game should come as no surprise to anyone. He is both the worst point guard in the league AND a clutch shooter in big games.

    If the Lakers put away Denver it is very likely that they will lose to OKC, but it definitely won’t be because of Derek Fisher. The Thunder have a top 5 point guard, the game’s leading scorer, a defensive player of the year candidate, and the best 6th man in the league. They are young, fast, and deep. Fisher is a minor part of that team’s success….

    Moreover, the idea that we could have simply traded Blake (also awful) instead of Fisher just smacks of fantasy league talk. Nobody, and I mean nobody, in the NBA would have taken on Steve Blake at $4 million a year for the rest of this season and TWO more years.

  196. And with Dallas’s loss, I will not be subjected with “OMGDirkisthegreatestballerofalltimez!” yin yang from the ESPNites for another year.

  197. snoopy2006: true thunder have their hiccups guess it looks better when those bad shots go in.

  198. kevin regarding the staples crowd…the clippers are young and exciting and the lakers are slow boring and frustrating…alley oops all over will always beat kobe shooting 6 for 30

  199. we arent getting past okc kobe will get abused and baited into going one on one like he always does…problem is he cant do it anymore…also mike brown is beyond awful and so is our bench…oh well at least dallas got swept

  200. Batman, the Lakers lead the league in alley-oops by a wide margin…

  201. So much negativity on this blog because of the OKC sweep.

    Fact: Dallas was terrible this year, they were dang close to not getting into the playoffs at all. And still they could have/should have been up 3-1 on OKC in that series. They blew 3 fourth quarter leads – the last of which was an embarrassment of defensive collapses. 2 or three more shots go in for Dallas and OKC looks like chumps who can’t get out of the first round.

    Denver is a far better team – coming in red hot before the playoffs – and their strength is often the Lakers weakness – energy and running. This series was never going to go 4 – nor should it.

    Ideally – I always want the Lakers to win – and get frustrated in the losses. But going up against OKC it would be silly to not go in full strength and have Artest back. He’s no major difference maker like he was 10 years ago, but he’s a big body that will be necessary to annoy Durant so that Kobe can pester Westbrook.

    Let’s not forget, Perkins injured his hip. Wilson chandler was out for the season with a hip strain. Every doctor I’ve ever known said you shouldn’t do any physically exerting activity – i.e. running – for 2 to 3 weeks if it is a true hip contusion, as the likelihood of rein jury is very high. And Perkins is a banger who makes a living off moving screens. Tell me if he’s playing thats not where you attack him – on every screen. A little elbow here, a little nudge there.

    Do you all remember a few years ago when Denver met us in the Conference finals? They were destroying teams in the first two rounds, beating them by 10+ each game. The Lakers put up that sorry performance against Houston, and you had announcers on-air like Mark Jackson saying the Lakers had absolutely no chance against Denver in any way. (On air he picked Denver in 5). I seem to remember it going in the Lakers favor. That same year the Lebron’s were killing people the first two rounds, and then ran into an Orlando team that got hot and destroyed them from 3.

    Or how about the 2010 Lakers, who struggled mightily against a young/athletic OKC team and needed to go to 6 games in the first round. Did it really hurt them that bad in the long run – or did it give the Lakers the playoff intensity to gear up for the following rounds?

    I’m glad people like #201 don’t actually play for the Lakers, or they would have given up before the season started. Denver is a good matchup for the Lakers because they and OKC have the same strengths. The Lakers will be used to playing that type of defense going into the series – provided they can finish off Denver.

    Maybe not think its the end of the world?

  202. Funky: Agreed – That Fisher is certainly nowhere near the largest of our issues when it comes to the Thunder. However, in my case, I would certainly rather have him than Blake, + I said that when we traded him. We need every advantage we can get just to have any chance. However, I think I have also made it nauseatingly clear that we should have used the TPE’s which would have given us more talent/youth/speed, which would have made us better contenders. The fact that we had to try to get what we could for either Fisher or Blake is a pathetic spot to be in, + not even Mitch could work miracles with that.

    So in summary: Would keeping Fish have made us favorites? No. Would we better with him than Blake – Yes. Either way – we are what we are: The “6th” best team in the league, + OKC is in the top 3. We needed to do more + we did not. I am not giving up, but I do not like the position we are in at this point.

  203. batman: The Laker’s crowd has been quiet for the entire time the team has been here. It has nothing to do with the team being boring. The team could leave purple/gold shirts on the seats every game, + they end up being thrown away or sold on Ebay (as “never worn”). The LAL crowd (especially the 100 section) is too cool to cheer unless entertained.

  204. cdog: I like your post + the fact that you are not giving up. I used the “world will not end” line before game 3, warning everyone of the probability that we would drop at least 1 of the next 2. In 2010 we had the third best overall record and the 1 seed. In 2009 we had the 2nd best overall record + the 1 seed. This year we have the “6th” best overall record and the 3 seed. There is a big difference. I am not “negative” as much as I have been consistent in not feeling we are true contenders, because of our “6th” best status.

  205. batman: okc will play everybody one on one. Kobe will give up the ball.

  206. i hope you guys are correct…every time kobe goes for 20% i feel this way so it could have been an emotional response…matthew i know we do but it mainly to bynum that does the same bring the knees up dunk…i mean POWER alley oops…blake griffin extended superman pose dunks thrown from tiny cp3…the gasol to bynum high lows to high iq ball fans are fantastic…but those highlight reel dunks are the difference in crowds at the same arena