Four the Hard Way

Dave Murphy —  May 12, 2012

Where did it go wrong? Or, how did it go so wrong, so quickly? It seemed to happen within the course of a game – an extended, senseless slide, like a nightmare car accident, or a real accident – the ones that seem to last an eternity. It wasn’t any one game, of course. They say you can’t go home again. It has been interpreted in many ways, a space in time, a memory, or the idea that you cannot return home without being deemed a failure. The Lakers return home tonight for a game seven that never should have happened.

Or so we think. That’s the easiest narrative. That it never should have happened. But sometimes history repeats itself in ways that we would rather not admit, in ways that make us uncomfortable. In ways that rob us of our pleasure in the moment, or our goals in life. As Lakers fans, we’re not so used to that, at least not in recent history. There have been tough losses and bad years, but numbers and patterns don’t lie – we have enjoyed championships and finals and deep playoff runs. We don’t really know the pain of teams that have never climbed the mountain. We don’t know the pain of long suffering fans.

The signs for disaster were there from the end of last season, all the way to the beginning of this new, truncated one. Our longtime coach left once again, this time for good. The entire support structure was gutted, from assistant coaches to scouts to an equipment manager who had been with the organization since the Showtime era. All wiped off the board with an impatient, careless swipe.

Fortunately, we still had Kobe, and we had Andrew and Pau and Lamar and Metta and Derek Fisher, an old guard whose game had lessened, but who was still a captain, and still held his teammates’ respect. And one by one, they too dropped away. Lamar was traded at the beginning of the season and Derek was traded midway through. And there were bumps in the road under Coach Mike Brown as he learned it on the fly. Yet the team regrouped, it adopted its newcomers, it began to find its way, and it won the Pacific division title.

Metta was suspended for seven games, beginning with the final outing of the regular season. And still, the team won game one of the first round Denver series by 15 points. They were deemed a sure thing. They won game two by only four points. They lost game three by 15. Do you sense a downward trend here? They managed to rebound, winning game four by four points. And lost games five and six.

Thursday night was not an aberration for Pau in this series. He’s been fading since the start. He had a solid regular season, despite the threat of being traded, averaging 17 points and 10 boards per game. In game one against the Nuggets, he had 13 points, four off his season average. By the time he ghost-walked through game six, he’d hit rock bottom with three points and three rebounds. That is not a typo. He actually put up better numbers during last year’s Dallas sweep, generally regarded as the nadir of his career.

We’ve reached the classic game seven scenario, with implications that go far beyond. The Kobe narrative has long been about hero ball, about the need to share and to trust. This year’s model was the humblest Kobe Bryant that you will ever see. He supported his new coach and he talked about Andrew Bynum’s growth and hunger. And when Pau was besieged by daily trade rumors, Kobe addressed the media and the message sailed straight into management’s inner sanctum. “It’s important for him to know we support him. I support him especially. I just want him to go out there and play hard and do what he does best for us.”

For those who talk about the winds of change, know this – Kobe Bryant is still the franchise. He puts celebrity face time into pricey courtside seats. He drives ad revenue in the Los Angeles mega-market, and nationally, and around the world. And as Jim Buss recently noted, his shelf life goes well beyond his remaining years on the court. In other words, Kobe is a brand, and he is here to stay. And he wants to win.

Gasol and Bynum were our dominant front court presence this year. As one went, so did the other. And so it has been in the playoffs. They have regressed together, the sympathy pain of giants. This is where we found ourselves in Denver, just two nights ago. For all intent and purposes, down to one lone hope – Kobe Bryant, suffering from stomach flu. He took a couple IV bags before the game and a couple more at halftime. He looked ashen and miserable, and he led his team in scoring. But if he couldn’t rescue them in game five, he certainly wouldn’t be rescuing them in Denver without the last remaining vestiges of a championship roster – there, but not really there.

What ails the most feared front court in the NBA? They aren’t saying and if they did, it wouldn’t matter. They’ve played a pedestrian series at best, and Denver doesn’t fear them. George Karl’s Nuggets are coming back to Staples for all the marbles. They’re going to let it fly, one more time. The Lakers are essentially trying to draw to an inside straight. They have one card, and it’s a true wild card. Metta World Peace, the player once known as Tru Warier, coming off a seven game suspension for elbowing James Harden in the head. He may play well or not play well, but make no mistake, he will want this. And for the first time in this series, Kobe Bryant will have a partner.

– Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy

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194 responses to Four the Hard Way

  1. Lets go Lakers!

  2. Sentence fragments kill me.

  3. From Silver Screen and roll; this is what I mean by “skill overlap problem:”

    Put all those results together and the combination of Bynum and Gasol have played 816 minutes together in the post season and have played their oppositions to a virtual draw (1,622-1,624 for a minus-2). That is a very large sample size with little support that the duo of big men are a winning combination. The Lakers have been much better when the two weren’t on the court together (a plus-289).

  4. Team effort early if Kobe decides he is shooting his first couple need to be at the rim.

    I posted some Pau numbers yesterday. He can make the case for being the best player on the floor the last 2 Laker game 7s. We need that guy tonight.

    Here’s to boxing out, defensive rebounds, paint points and timely shots. Inside is will Lakers will win this.

  5. Again.

    If your playing doubles tennis and your partner dosen’t show up because he punched someone in the parking lot before the match. How can you say 7 matches latter, you have your partner back?

    As Forrest Hump said ” stupid is what stupid does” and I refuse to reward stupidy.

    Metta owes this team, the fans and the city of LA a massive apology. He had better play the game of his life and help lead them to a win.

    And saying the penalty was to stiff are hollow words and equal to the weak excuses Brown keeps making for Bynam.

    There are no excuses for stupidy or failure in my world as a fan or a business owner.

  6. MWP does not need to apologize.

    He laid the rules of the land for the semis. (especially for Harden and his master Perkins). You punk, we punk better.

    Ibaka also got the message.

  7. Dear Activator

    And if the Lakers lose tomorrow do you think harden and Ibake will be in fear if Ron’s Twitter messages from a local night club?

    They will be laughing their heads off.

    Last time I checked the rules of the quarter finals is winning which clearly trumps warnings or message elbows.

    Talk to me “if” the Lakers win tonight and “if” they beat OKC.

    If not who then is the real ” punk”?

  8. Effort .. Passion .. Determination .. Agressiveness ..

    Words such as these have not been associated in any way, shape or form with us over the last 2 games and is the main reason, IMO, why we came up short in game #5 and got embarassed in game #6.

    At this point of the series, X’s n O’s, while still definitely relative because one can never discount patience and execution in a winner take all finale, has to take a backseat to the aformentioned words. Bottom Line: In any game #7, the most important ingredient for victory is who wants it more.

    Can’t definitively recall who it was (tho’ I believe it was Jeff Van Gundy), but the individual made an excellent point by emphasizing how much of an impact the rookie Faaried and McGee is having on the series while not getting ANY plays called for them. Just ponder that for a minute .. Once again: Effort .. Passion .. Determination .. Agressiveness = HEART

    Who Has It?

  9. I just remembered how much I hate game 7s… My stomach is in knots and tonight’s gonna be a hell of a nervous ride, especially seeing the team’s previous two performances..

  10. 1st play of the game Must go to Pau – at the top of the key – so that he may take Faried off the dribble and drive into the lane.

    It will get Pau going – and since he’s our most important big, the Lakers have to get him going.

    Get #17 out of the paint (or the game?) so the defense can’t sag and Let Pau go to work.

  11. “Get #17 out of the paint (or the game?) so the defense can’t sag and Let Pau go to work.”

    Or there is another way to keep the defense from sagging. Taking and making outside shots.

  12. Well… I’ve been here in Yosemite for a couple days and will be here till Monday. I’ve long said this team is winning a championship. And I have less doubts after watching the first six games of the playoffs. I don’t think there is much of a chance this team loses to that Nuggets team tonight in Los Angeles. I’ll tell you one thing… The rest of the league (Miami) the Lakers lose tonight. We better hope they don’t. Let’s make these Nuggets our version of the Hawlks and Houston Rockets. A first round seven game catapult to a NBA championship. Good luck everyone and enjoy the game. Playoff game sevens are like meeting a love of your life… They don’t happen often do when you meet one you best don’t mess it up.

  13. the Denver N have deep bench. it is 15 players deep.

    MWP or Not, the Lakers should have bulldozer a bunch of running scrubs.

    Till last night, when i’ve read the comments from the 2 wannabe franchise 7 footers, i really believed that Lakers lost to get MWP back so they can play OKC at full force. The jury is still out and we will never know. The loses looked too scripted. And the post-interviews too. Something that PJ will mastermind with the media.

  14. Funky Chicken May 12, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Activator, that’s one of the lamest takes in a long time. What “rules of the land” were established? If you get in my way running down the court I will elbow you in the head, draw a flagrant 2, and get myself suspended long enough to severely hurt my team?

    I am fairly certain that at this point in the season, the Thunder are going to feel very confident regardless of who they match up with–which may or may not be the Lakers.

    There are a lot of reasons the Lakers are where they are right now, but MWP’s suspension is most definitely one of them. He needs to atone tonight as much as Pau and Andrew….

  15. Unfortunately i see this laker team giving up. Honestly, kobe is the only one who really plays the game because he loves it. the others get their damn paycheck and don’t give a darn.

    No way this team beats OKC so I’d actually rather see Denver move on. At least they would try to make it an exciting second round matchup.

    I just hope that i don’t see Bynum and Gasol on the Laker team next season.

  16. I am fairly certain that at this point in the season, the Thunder are going to feel very confident regardless of who they match up with–which may or may not be the Lakers

    Indeed. My guess is that they actually would prefer to play the Lakers.

    Good to see Aaron still says this is a championship roster.

  17. Isn’t it odd that Kobe & MWP have switched post-season personalities with the media this week?Kobe being candid/lengthy and Metta with nothing to say. Very twilight-zonish.

  18. Thank you Funky. I thought I was the only one who consider lighting my iPad on fire after reading the post.

    Metta was a fool and is the cause of this 7th game. Never the hero.

    Either way this should be his final games as a Laker.

  19. How many games was Karl Malone suspended when he ‘delivered’ this one?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BgSB2aFRP4

    Welcome back Metta….Go Lakers!

  20. Even if the Lakers win tonite, they are not getting past the Thunder.

    The Nuggets are like the Hornets last year. The Lakers had so much trouble putting them away, and they shouldn’t have.

    The Thunder just swept last years champion and await the winner of tonite’s game in the 2nd round.

  21. We will see who has passion and who doesn’t. A true champion rises up for these moments. We will see who those guys are.

  22. On dribble drives the Nuggets set their defender up for the spin move at least 80% of the time. If the defense is aware of this they can step into the path of the spin and get a charging foul or a turnover.

    Lakers watch the spin move. Rather do not watch the spin move defense be prepared for the spin move.

    The Lakers intensity with be ratcheted up with MWP back. Look for the team to follow his lead on defense. Let’s hope MWP is ready!

    Go Lakers!

  23. Wow- that is a fantastic article about Kobe!

  24. Are you guys, truly a Laker fan?, giving up already when the game haven’t even start yet.

    Come on Man, the last time we had a Game 7 was in Boston of 2010. The series in 2009 where the Rockets forced a Game 7 made those Lakers realize that nothing gonna be easy.

    If they won tonight, they will realize that nothing is easy in the playoffs.

    When there still life, there is still hope we just gotta believe. I watched this Laker franchise in the dark and glory days. As a fan, I’m just in this situation right now. Damn, it is more painful to watch when these Lakers didn’t even made the playoffs.

  25. You know the teams screwed when we are talking about Artest as our savior.

    And talking about the paint being clogged for our bigs, Fish is leading the playoffs in 3point shooting. He’s shooting 63% from downtown.

    Which Kobe will show up tonight? The Black Mamba, ’06 Kobe or, Kobe the facilitator. Whatever personality plays tonight, we will win the game because of him. Thank God his on our team.

  26. Giving up this game is just plain “not-smart”.

    even with the Lakers playing like crap past 2 games, Denver is still a winable team (very…) and losing this game would be terrible for us.

    I can’t help myself but believe that the Lakers will win this game. Period.

  27. So anxious for this game. Go Lakers

  28. GO LAKERS!!!!

  29. The sad part is the reason why Pau is doing badly is because Bynum require the ball at the post ;0….Before it was lamar diving or doing others crap so that Pau can just be in the middle acting as a facilitator, now Pau have to pass to Bynum and the ball kind of freeze in that side without much movement…..

  30. So… This is an awkward game seven
    It’s like the Rockets series… Well ….almost as  bad. This Denver team is much better than the low seeded Houston team playing without Yao and TMac. Expect MWP early and often on offense. Expect early two arms in the back calls against Nuggets guarding Bynum. Expect a Lakers blow out. Lakers are too good and too important to the league.

  31. Bill simmons with the predictable reverse jinx.
    “I’m not even watching this Lakers game – the only question is whether they win by 10, 20 or 30.”

  32. Ron Artes with transition defense that makes me smile. Then the entry pass to Gasol leading to a Bynum and 1!

  33. Can someone please shut down this little b*tch Lawson??!

  34. Hey brain work Brown Sessions can’t defend.

  35. It is making me sick to my stomach how badly Lawson is tearing up the Lakers.

  36. Sesssions still not getting low enough on Lawson.

    Nice work from Blake and Hill.

  37. Got to outrebound them, and it should be OK.

  38. Who is my favorite Lakers talent? Of course Bynum. Who has been my favorite Laker? Ron Artest for three years. I love the way he plays basketball. Everything he is about spiritually on the basketball court. The way he sees the game. His basketball IQ especially on the defensive end. He is the Magic of defense. He just knows what to do to make the offense uncomfortable. It could be something different every time… But he just knows. He was born with it. And the legs of a RB and the hands of a Boxer don’t hurt. Oh and that spirit of a lion.

  39. Good to see Bynum hustling up and down the floor some! Metta takes care of Miller nicely! He also reduces the time that Sessions/Blake share the floor.

  40. Lakers are tentative they’re feeling the pressure.

    Can’t believe they didn’t jump on them from the start.

  41. Hard to jump on a team that doesn’t miss much

  42. The fact that the lakers are not winning by a substantial amount at the end of 1st quarter tells me all I need to know. Lakers just aren’t very good. I doubt Kobe lets them lose but OKC could be a bloodbath

  43. Most home teams would be up at least 10 after the 1st qtr of a game 7 just on sheer adrenaline and the home crowd. Not us. Way to not jump on them from the start. Now the game may be close the whole way….

  44. inwit: true. hard to extend the lead when lakers miss open shots too. I counted 5.

  45. Great Aaron. Tbe guy who was a bonehead and out 7 games and the guy who has been a no-show 4 of 6 games.

    Tells me a great deal about stuff.

  46. Last year Lamar Odom is guarding Harrington

  47. Get bumbling barnes out.

  48. I hope Harrington won’t pull a Tim Thomas on us. That 3 still gives me nightmares.

  49. Dear Mike Brown

    This may be your last pro coaching job ever! Play your best players 45 minutes.

    Get Barnes out.

    Get Kobe in.

    Get Andrew in.

    Wake the heck up.

  50. Put the ball in Kobe’s hands.

    Kobe is picking them apart.

  51. Nice to have Pau Gasol back.

  52. Yeah. Kobe said what was needed after game 6. Now, everyone is, at the very least, hustling and competing. I don’t see any loafing. This team is much different offensively, and incredibly different defensively when Metta is playing. I shudder to think what OKC would have done to us without him.

  53. Artest just has a nose for the ball. He’s playing the Pippen doberman role to perfection. Being disruptive on defense.

  54. Take that shot Blake!! Geez!

  55. Andrew is just big and weak at the same time

  56. The second Session goes in it’s down the court and in. Amazing.

  57. lakers are done…can’t even extend a less. horrible

  58. Exactly Ko. Bynum has to start going up stronger and dunk the rock.

  59. Very questionable officiating. Lakers getting killed inside and not getting calls meanwhile every Denver drive draws a whistle. I would have thought if anything it would be other way around but apparently stern does have it out for Lakers

  60. No home cooking for us tonight. Zebras are calling it one sided.

  61. @49KenOak – second what you said.

  62. Get Sessions out. He can not handle pressure.

    Clearly.

  63. Saying Blake has played better than Sessions this series would be an understatement.

  64. Gasol tips it in at the second quarter buzzer.

  65. All the guys writing about basins fantastic game 7’s – well he’s at it again – black swan!!!!

  66. PAU GASOL ACTUALLY CARES!!!

  67. kehntangibles May 12, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    The lack of a flagrant on Mosgov to Sessions was absolute horsecrap. That said, even without the lame officiating we should be up by at least 8

  68. Finally getting that Effort and they’re playing with that sense of Urgency which should’ve been on display since game #5 ..

  69. Denver just end the lakers misery already. Lakers can’t put away this Denver team – wow – Lakers REALLY aren’t very good. No disrespect to Denver – they have limited talent and they keeping up with the Lakers on their home court. wow – I just never really realized how bad this Laker team is.

    Denver just keeps plugging away with what they have – and they don’t even have Chris anderson playing.

    Geez – what the heck is OKC going to do to the Lakers? It will be worse than last year’s second round embarrassment. Fisher will obviously get the last laugh.

  70. Now we find out if Downtown Brown can make the adjustments.

    Sessions is scared to death. Start Blake.

    Play Metta 22 minutes. Barnes is bad News.

    Keep Kobe in 24 minutes there is no tomorrow.

    Finally emulate Karl and call TO after 4 point runs not 19 like you have in the past.

    Just do it!

  71. Lakers 6 turnovers and the Nuggets have zero points off of those turnovers. Lakers with 14 points off of 9 Nuggets turnovers. Lakers have more fast break points 9 to 4 than the Nuggets.

  72. Ko: Blake has earned the starting spot.

  73. the laker bigs playing well and only up 6? lakers are going to lose.

  74. Way too much negativity

  75. Anony

    Please become even more Anonymous!

    I hear there is a Clipper site,

  76. What a difference Ron makes. Has as many makes from 3 today (3) as Barnes does for the series (3).

  77. Artest +/- (+20)

  78. This game is really hammering home how much MWP has been missed.

  79. Ok, that’s it. I’ve had enough of these refs. These clowns should never be allowed to ref another game! Kobe just lost both his arms on that play!

  80. Cmon Kobe, don’t start going one on five because you didn’t get a call

  81. Enough Kob. You can’t dribble through 5 young guys. That’s not Fisher your playing aganist. I think that’s his 5th TO. More then half.

    Stop!

  82. Can we institute some sort maximum # of posts that you can make per game thread or something?

  83. Funky Chicken May 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Need to have MWP punish Miller on the low block.

  84. Glad the lakers are playing so well with MWP doing his lockdown D. Sad to see Brown here for another year.

  85. These refs are absolute horsesh*t.

  86. getting nervous ko? like i said lakers will lose.

  87. Are we really surprised Lakers are about to blow a 16 point league in about a span of 5 minutes?? Nah!

  88. I like our chances!

  89. Sessions 4 wide open threes. 4 bad misses. Wide open for two passes to Hill for a fade away 2.

  90. Franking sessions Blake back court!!!!!!!

  91. Unbelievable. Blowing a 16 pt. lead in less than a qtr. We deserve to lose.

  92. Funky Chicken May 12, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Disastrous quarter.

  93. Lakers are a slow old team. Fact. And Andrew is a average center. Fact.

  94. Don’t worry Laker fans… Kobe has the fourth in his pockets! :}

    remember:

    NBA IS FANTASTIC~

  95. Steve Blake is amazing. He can’t make an entry pass to a primary option on offense to save his life. I’ve never seen anything like it. It kills an offense.

  96. Ko 93: I agree Lakers are old slow team. But Andrew is an average center? Can you really name the half of all NBA centers who are roughly better than him?

  97. enjoy the clipper game tomorrow ko, cuz that’s the last la team you’ll be seeing the rest of the playoffs.

  98. poor handling of our lead. we could have ended this with lead still 7+. :(

  99. They were up 16 when Kobe didn’t get that call.

  100. I really hope that’s the last time we see the Blake sessions backcourt

  101. If coach Brown subs in both Blake and Sessions one more time I think he should henceforth be known as ex-coach Brown.

  102. kehntangibles May 12, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Thing is we cannot afford to keep our bench in that long vs. Denver

  103. Lakers killer instinct is non exsistent.

    inwit: those two turnovers did start the run.

  104. Even if the Lakers win this game, they are absolutely going to get torched by Westbrook and Durant next series. If they can barely beat this Nuggets team, I can’t imagine what OKC will do to them.

  105. Sorry but Kobe is the worst guy on the court. 6 turnovers, 6 for 14, 1for 4 FT. One of the worst games I can remember.

    Why?

  106. Too many missed free throws. Killer instinct is something the Lakers always lack. Tho’ fatigued, Kobe will have to more than likely go the entire 2nd half. Gut Check Time. Who Wants It More.

  107. kehntangibles May 12, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Also, if we make our FT’s we’re doing fine.

  108. Where did it go wrong? Second half of the third quarter.

  109. Oh wow…..

  110. 6-13 fts in a decisive game 7.
    Unacceptable….

  111. What they need to show is Kobe going off on all his teammates and MB after they lose this game. They don’t even look like they care after giving up that 16 point lead.

  112. This is going to come down to Kobe.

    Does he have it still?

  113. And by the way Ko, Kobe has 3 turnovers, not 6. And 6 for 14 is 43%, better than the Lakers are shooting right now.

  114. I’m not worried……well I am just a bit, who am I kidding… But I know we have the Black Mamba! But wow, I expected Bynum to have much more energy & anger….he’s engaged but surely not married to winning!

  115. Funky Chicken May 12, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Kobe seems out of sorts. Same thing happened in game 7 against the Celtics.

  116. Kobe is making the right plays. Guys are making shots. Have to live with it.

  117. How´s that not a goaltending?

  118. kehntangibles May 12, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    HOW WAS THAT NOT A GOALTEND?!

  119. OMG, only a 1 point lead going into the 4th.

  120. “Denying bynum is a great defensive strategy” -Aaron’s brother

  121. Ugh… Freethrows man…

  122. I don’t care what the stats say, Pau is playing far smaller than 7′ and Blake isn’t making good decisions. Both are repeatedly hurting the offense – I don’t care how many points they are scoring.

  123. Laker fans have very short term memories. Kobe will save us….just relax. That’s why he gets paid the big bucks! But let me take the opportunity to belittle all the Kobe haters before we take this game by the hands of the Mamba! We’re up by one and we will win by 5 because of Kobe!

    again because of Kobe…so after this game stop the Kobe bashing!!

  124. Pau is soo soft

  125. PAU! PAU!

  126. Monster D from MWP.

    Blake coming in the clutch.

  127. Steve Blake has been the difference maker

  128. BLAKE 3

  129. Blake was fouled too. Of course, no call.

  130. I love the hustle from MWP

  131. My god Bynam is just so avarage. He is the 4th best center

    ON THE Court.

  132. Phil Jackson said they brought in Steve Blake because they thought he would be a big shot maker. Ummmmmm

  133. This referee crew has been terrible. I just don’t understand how they call the most ticky crud one way and then allow all sorts of contact the other way.

    Oh well…come on lakers! Close this out!

  134. Ps.. Spin moves don’t work on World Peace! He has played such a great defensive game.

    Gallo 1/9
    Miller 1/10
    Yeah. Peace brought it.

  135. I know Abbott is going to love this game from Kobe but he’s making all the right plays this quarter

  136. Daaang. MWP shuts down anyone he guards so far.

  137. Kobe has made the right play a lot tonight, but I still can’t believe he’s not asserting himself and taking over. Is he exhausted? Oh well, if he’s gonna continue to make the pass, our guys better continue to come thru with the shot.

  138. kehntangibles May 12, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    @132: agreed, the refereeing has been pretty horrid, but we’ve gotta rise above it. But yeah. Horrid no-calls against us all game

  139. Kobe doing an excellent job defending Lawson.

  140. To think that some people wanted Nugs instead of Mavs.

    Geeeez

  141. Bynum struggled a little bit on the offensive end, but he is doing an admirable job in cleaning the boards.

  142. All my brother’s fault. Up 16, my brother texts me, “Game.”

    My response, “You JINXING MOTHER#$()*%$)(”

    My lovely mellow evening has become a ball of stress.

  143. I like the way Kobe is playing decoy and point guard. Let’s go for 10 assist tonight Kb24.

  144. Ron Artest diving for the ball GIF

    http://cjzero.com/gifs/MettaDive.gif

  145. Big, incredible up to Kobe tonight. He’s so obviously exhausted on offense. He’s got no lift. And he’s taken over the facilitator role and is playing LOCK DOWN on his man in the 4th. Way to go Mr. Bean.

  146. FINISH HIM.

  147. KOBE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 3 Dagger.

  148. CLUTCH!

  149. Kobe with a dagger.

  150. Funky Chicken May 12, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Mad respect for Denver. If our guys played with their intensity we would be hanging another banner next month.

  151. OKC here we come!

  152. Hopefully, this will be a good lesson for the Lakers. If you play as hard as the Nuggets had this series, more likely than not, you can force a game 7.

  153. Ok ok I bow down.

    Metta made the difference.

  154. How about PAU

  155. Pau really stepped it up. My props to him.

  156. Happy Birthday George Karl!

  157. Yesssssss!

  158. That was our championship game. Enjoy it laker fans

  159. This series won’t be complete w/o a Mcgee blooper. (Freethrow follow up dunk) lol

  160. Podium game for Steve Blake.

  161. Seee you all later to do it all over again in the next series. As much as I’m apprehensive about the Lakers vs the Thunder, I’d so glad we beat George Karl and the Nuggets. That guy is so annoying. Oh and McGee too.

    Also, that dagger 3 from Kobe was sick. Guy gets doubled all night and plays facilitator and suddenly the fangs come out to strike.

  162. MWP makes us a different team. Blake coming up big. Pau aggressive.

    Lets go Lakers.

  163. Yes thats correct I called the Lakers by 10 this morning on this sight.

    Thank you!

  164. Mad props to pau, blake and mwp!!!! Now onto okc, hope they keep that same intensity

  165. haters did you see Kobe’s wife and kids? I love it! Go fishing in the Colorado river, lol!1 I told you guys!

  166. Metta World Peace.

    I’m so proud of Pau and Bynum tonight. Pau absolutely crushed it. That’s the guy we can win with. Drew? He didn’t have the best offensive night, but that guy didn’t pout. He just brought it everywhere else. Rebounds, running the floor, and blocking shots. Good job Drew!

    Steve Blake! He never hesitated tonight. He stepped up and took his shots in rhythm. A sight to see.

    Kobe was off, but he kept setting up his teammates and they delivered. He ended up with 8 assists, and contrary to what Ko believes, only 3 turnovers. ;)

    Good team effort. Now rest up a bit and get ready to strap it up again! This was good practice for a team that runs almost as well. We need Peace to keep it going with Durant.

  167. Now thats the Pau Gasol I know and love.

    The endless tips on the glass he got was shades of 2010 Gasol. Means he’s still got it in him somewhere.

    Kobe played a beautiful game and looked completely gassed. He forced nothing, and for some reason Denver kept doubling.

    Our best big – Pau – really came to play. And made it easy for that #17 guy to get tip ins and rebounds.

    Thats what #17 can do – so long as he’s not boxed out and attention is being played to Gasol.

    When he checked back in at the end of the 3rd and forth with Metta, the game changed back in the Lakers favor.

    On to the Thunder. What kind of fuel will the Lakers have.

  168. “Queensbridge baby, you already know.”

  169. Happy birthday, George Karl! Unfortunately, Whining George’s present was the return of World Peace! I think that Metta’s suspension was a vastly underrated cause of the Lakers’ struggles in this series. The Lakers were a much different crew tonight with him on the floor.

  170. Funky Chicken May 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    How we handle the first quarter Monday night may determine the entire series. The OKC crowd will be insane, the hatred for MWP at max level, and the well-rested, younger Thunder will be looking to explode out of the gates. That will be one hell of a storm for an old, tired, fresh off the airplane Laker squad.

  171. Blake deserves to start. Let Sessions work Fisher not Westbrook.

    Him and Metta hitting shots will be key vs OKC.

    Pau is the best. He plays his biggest in game 7.

    Anon: Lakers in 6.

  172. Nothing sweeter than a Game 7 victory

  173. Kobe preparing his Army for the real battles.

  174. If there is any game to steal, it’s game 1. More likely than not, the Thunder will be rusty at the start and the Lakers need to seize the opportunity.

  175. BIGS played like BIGS .. Ron-Ron making an Immediate Impact on both ends of the court .. Blake not only taking (surprise) but making shots .. Kobe locking up Lawson n the 4th and playing n control .. And FINALLY playing with Effort, Passion, Determination and Agressiveness.

    Much Respect to G. Karl and the Nuggets for an Impassioned Series.

    On To The Next One .. OKC

  176. Great team win, lots of contributions from multiple players. Hope this keeps up, although Lakers will need more from Sessions next round. But, no complaining tonight.

  177. Kobe: 45 minutes; 8 dimes + plays the “team” Kobe in game 7

  178. Activator/anon

    Be happy, Lakers beat a very good team and it will probably be 6 and out next series.

  179. OKC is going to play a completely different type of defense in the next series.

    They aren’t going to sag into the lane – I bet they try to play #17 one on one and stay on our guards.

    Will be interesting to see how the Lakers adjust after seeing basically a junk defense for 5 games.

  180. I liked what Brown said about Metta in the presser, that he was monstrous. Helluva team win. Just awesome.

  181. Game 7s can bring a team together. This could be a turning point of trust for the Lakers.

    But the same shots they’ve been missing they made. Make or Miss league.

  182. Denver picked a hell of a time to start doubling Kobe.

  183. Dear TNT- Pls let Kenny know that it is Ga-sol not Ga-sal and it’s Ebanks not Eubanks. Is he really unaware or is it an intentional dig? Either way it’s irritating.

    Bring on the Thunder.

  184. Well I guess the one advantage the Lakers may have is that OKC may underestimate them. The Nuggets went all out in this series, not sure the Thunder respect the Lakers enough at this point to do that in every game.

    Of course, for the Lakers to even have a chance, Pau and Drew have to show up at every game. They have no room for error now, certainly not a 3-1 one.

  185. Ko,

    Your comments are more wishy washy than Dwight Howard during the trade deadline. Get I hold of yourself man, I thought you were on our team.

  186. 179 Cdog-

    If Okc tries to play Bynum one on one, then I predict he will average 25 and 15. They better keep doubling him because that is the only way to frustrate him.

    Hey Aaron are you listening to what the TNT crew is saying about Bynum. And they all agree too….pretty telling on that one.

    I think we have a puncher’s chance against OKC. If Metta makes KD work for his points, then we can beat that team. I still claim that Westbrook will be good for at least one- maybe two losses when he shoots them out of the game.

  187. I amok course but also realistic. It would be a big upset if we beat OKC with home court. It is possible if we get much more out of AB and Pau plays like today.

    I will be yelling away but remember not only do we fly to OK in the morning while they had 10 days off but next weekend Lakers play back to back games aganist a deep young team.

    Have to hope though Jayz!

  188. Wow, the Clippers really got screwed – a 10 am (west coast time) start tomorrow.

  189. Great game by the team tonight!

    Pau was Pau, Kobe dominated by playing a wise floor game, seeing the floor, and applying patented Mamba lock-down D in the 4th.

    Ron Artest was huge by limiting Andre Miller and just having presence.

    And then there’s Steve Blake. Dude more than earned his sea legs. Players like him are priceless.

    What can one say? Folks, the Lakers are definitely underdogs from here on out, but they have the pieces.

    Blake and Barnes (streaky yes) give the Lakers someone to compete with Harden and the Spurs bench should the Lakers prevail.

    Expect a Laker victory in Game 1. Simply because no one expects it and the pressure is now on OKC to be an old, tired team.

    Go Lakers!

  190. Did anyone else think Kobe looked a bit gassed in the post game interview? I would say he is not yet over the stomach flu completely – still some weakness.

  191. KenOak,
    The only people I respect re basketball/talent evaluation are GMs and scouts. That’s it. Not coaches, not players, and def not ex players. If I listened to them I wouldn’t be able to make money betting on playoff basketball.