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Game 5 Live Blog

Kurt —  May 14, 2008

Another nomuskles live blog for your viewing pleasure.

Boston holds serve at the Garden (after a few shaky moments) and the Lakers attempt to stay perfect on the Staples Center hardwood floor during these 2008 Playoffs. We’ll obviously be watching Kobe’s back to see how he’s doing with his extra day off.

1st Quarter
TNT doesn’t want to show us the game. They’re making us watch the end of this Boston-Cavaliers torture test. Phew. Lebron doesn’t push it. Zoom to LA!
Lakers up 5-0 on two Kobe Bryant shots. Jazz are trying to change up their luck by using the powder blue uniforms that suck monkey balls from a design standpoint. You can’t read the names or numbers or anything because it’s dark blue on a fairly dark blue. Whoever decided these would work needs help.
9:30 – The Jazz first four points come on wide open dunks. First Brewer took the ball away from Fisher and had his own fast break and then the Lakers suffered a breakdown in the halfcourt.
9:08 – Okay, three dunks. Brewer gets another dunk.
8:53 – AK47 turns away the Gasol jump hook. Great play. Ronnie Brewer gets a layin on the other end.
8:25 – Lamar has it in the middle and tries to go up. All kinds of contact on his head and the refs just call the ball out of bounds. Adding insult to injury they give the ball to the Jazz. I’m not sure how u justify that call.
7:59 – Lakers finally play some good defense and get a 24 second violation. Sarcastic clap.
7:43 – Kobe raises up over Brewer and hits a very difficult fadeaway above the free throw lane.
7:07 – The Space Cadet nails a 20 foot jumper that was wide open because of a good down screen by Fisher on the weak side while D-Will got caught watching the ball. Timeout Jazz. 15 – 8 Lakers lead. I got to warn you. I was so angry last game. I’m not even in a good mood tonight. We’ll see if any humor makes its way into this one. Or maybe we’ll just see unabated sarcasm and mirth. Who says it can’t be both.
6:43 – Fisher mishandles the ball out of bounds. Whoopsee.
6:25 –Brewer shoots the 21 footer from the right wring and I’m okay with him shooting that. He misses it. Anything but those easy dunks please.
5:48 – Williams picks up his first foul on a Fisher drive to the bucket. Fisher is lucky that was a foul because there was no one to follow for the offensive rebound on the inevitable missed layup.
5:27 – Ronnie Brewer is fed for another layer on a flex cut. This is absurd. Kobe needs to quit this ridiculousness. Just because he is the MVP doesn’t mean the guy he’s guarding is garbage. This is the part of Kobe’s game that frustrates me the most. He falls asleep on defense and lets his man go back door way too often. It’s a symptom of his lack of respect for the man he’s guarding.
4:31 – With a Kirilenko bucket, the Jazz are now within 3. 19-16.
4:09 – The Space cadet hits a 3 to slow the Jazz mini run. The TNT guys make a joke that they think he’s heard Phil Jax’s baritone voice. ::chuckles by Harlan and Collins:: I wasn’t laughing because his uninspired play has been hurting us. Why doesn’t he always play with purpose and intensity? When is it a contract year for him?
3:35 – VladRad hits another one from the left corner in semi transition! Assist from LO!
2:52 – We go to timeout after a Kirilenko jumper with the Lakers up 25-18.
2:45 – The Lakers try to run an alley oop with Kobe and I cringe. With a bad back that’s a dangerous play as he gets met in the air by Milsap. Doug Collins makes the same point.
2:19 – Kobe picks up a stupid foul on Harpring underneath the basket.
2:10 – Milsap gets the rebound off the missed freethrow. The Lakers need to figure out how to keep him off the glass or I’m going to have to figure out how to dislodge my remote from my TV.
1:42 – Lakers make a great defense play to take the ball away from Boozer and then Kobe and Luke flub it in transition. Korver nails the three on the return. Excuse me while I type the rest of this without the pinky I just gnawed off.
1:13 – Farmar checks in. I predict he’ll have a great close to the quarter. It should be noted that if we are seeing Farmar this late, it means Fisher stayed out of foul trouble.
0:20 – Kobe is dribbling at half court against Harpring.
0:07 – Kobe loses the ball against Harpring. This is stupid. He makes an unnatural basketball motion but doesn’t draw contact so he won’t be suspended. Korver comes back the other way and feeds Boozer streaking down the middle. He draws a foul on Lamar. If you’re a Lakers fan you only see Boozer’s left arm pushing Lamar out of the way. If you’re a Jazz fan you see…well I dunno. I’m not a jazz fan. They can make their own excuses for the ref’s suckitude. So far, the refs have been mediocre for both sides. Boozer makes one of two and the Lakers are up 29-26 as the quarter comes to a close. That quarter was a C+ for the Lakers and a C for the Jazz.

2nd Quarter

11:20 – Lakers are really hustling coming out of the break. It’s the bench mob and Pau. Pau gets a rebound off a Jordan miss and dunks it!
10:40 – D-Will is back in quickly to see if he can settle things. The chaotic thing is working in the Lakers’ favor for whatever reason. Nope. Utah turns it over.
10:16 – Farmar drills a three. Absolutely drills it. Hands up together, down together. We’ll see if that’s the ex-lax or just a one off.
9:44 – Gasol hits a nice looking set shot. 36-29 Lakers.
9:27 – D-Will draws a foul on Farmar.
8:57 – D-Will makes a nice step back move against Farmar and hits a long two. 33-36
8:25 – Pau might be missing an ear. Millsap absolutely Van Gogh’d the guy three times before Pau could get a foul call. Great job by Pau to not be a weenie and keep on trying until he got a bucket or a foul. That’s Milsap’s third and I’m happy to see him sit down this early in the half. Kurt makes a great point in the comments. Both teams are giving the ball away at an incredible rate.
Coming back from the timeout, they’ve decided to give the foul to Ashton Kutcher instead of Milsap. So Milsap will stay in the game and harass the Spaniard some more. 38-33 Lakers after Pau hits both free throws.
8:15 – Sasha gets under Korver’s skin and Korver gets caught shoving Sasha on the offensive end. They won’t lose much as he takes as a seat because brewer comes back into the game.
7:36 – Lakers play great defense and it ends up in a steal! Kobe pummels his way into Harpring’s arm and draws the foul. Watch that back MVP. Also, this crowd blows. Freaking golf claps. I hate Staples Center.
7:19 – Okur is too open. He can’t make it.
7:12 – SARCASM ALERT: Oh, you mean if you trust your teammates they hit shots for you? I’m shocked. Kobe passes it back to a wide open Vujacic who nails a three. Where was that trust in overtime, you guppy?
6:56 – Pau doesn’t box Boozer out and boozer gets away with his elbow/forearm shove in the small of the back to get an offensive rebound and putback. I wouldn’t make that call if I were the ref either but it’s a very savvy move. Lakers fans, don’t be upset at boozer for doing that move, be upset at Pau for being weak sauce.
6:28 – fisher hits a shot to make it 45-35 Lakers.
6:13 – Doug Collins can’t shut up. He’s in my brain. He’s in my brain. Jazz throw it out of bounds.
5:53 – Lakers pass up a couple of outside shots to try and get an inside shot and get Pau two free throws. I like this. It’s not part of the triangle necessarily, but it’s much better than the watch Kobe/Lebron and stand around isolation offense. Lakers have cleaned up their turnovers a little bit here and have made a small surge while the jazz have not. Maybe Kurt should become a commentator. Same score as before.
Pau misses the first makes the second in a nod to his linemate Lamar.
5:41 – Kobe picks up his second foul on D-Will. Harlan can’t stop talking about Deron Williams as the “throttle” of Utah. Call me a cynic, but I don’t think it’s particularly clever or insightful.
5:25 – Lakers run pick and roll with Kobe and Gasol which we haven’t seen a whole lot of success with but this time we get a nice layup for Gasol. Doug says it’s called a “squeeze.” Jazz answers with a nice jumper. 48-39 Lakers.
4:36 – Vujacic tightropes the baseline tracking down a rebound and those hustle plays are going to win us the game tonight. This leads to another semi transition bucket where Lamar just takes it in himself and gets a layup. 51-39 Lakers up. Jazz turn the ball over in the paint and then Kobe returns the favor by missing Derek Fisher by about 5 feet and passing the ball to Jerry Sloan who is neither a Laker nor an eligible player. I feel like John Madden would be perfect for this situation. “well, the goal is not to turn the ball over so many times so that you can keep the ball in your possession more often. Boom. And that’s how they’re going to score.” Lakers turn the ball over and AK47 dunks it with no one in the same zip code.
3:55 – Mehmet insults Lamar’s mother with that shot. Right in his eye. Three pointer is good. 44-51.
3:21 – Two great passes by Fisher here. A post entry from beyond half court into Pau. I’m not sure how that one got through. And then a pass over the top into Lamar who had only a small bit of sunlight underneath the rim. Two points over the outstretched fingertips of Andrei.
3:00 – CJ Miles, with no regard for human life. That’s not right. Nasty.
2:47 – Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie are shown on TV at the game. 53-46.
2:36 – CJ Miles hits a nice jumper with high elevation over Vujacic.
2:23 – Pau throws too tough a pass and Lamar can’t get it. TO again.
1:51 – Let it not be said that Lamar can guard Deron Williams. He can’t. Deron Williams used him like a steering wheel. First this way then that way. Step back J. two points.
1:15 – Pau outsprints everyone in transition and Kobe finds him for a nice dunk.
1:00 – Utah within 3.
0:52 – Pau gets a nice turn around jumper in the paint. 52-57.
0:34 – LAKERS STEAL IT! Kobe gets an easy layin
0:21 – Deron Williams takes it hard to the bucket and gets “fouled” by Lamar. As much as someone holding their arms straight up and down can foul someone anyway.
0:16 – Kobe will play for the final shot. It’s 54-59. No look pass to Lamar who BLOWS it! Oh no. But SUPER PAU is there to save the day! Puts it back like how Lamar saved Kobe at the end of regulation the other night. 61-54 Lakers are up going into halftime. Lakers need to come out strong in the third quarter. I need to do some dishes. Be right back.

Avery Johnson at halftime. Nothing useful.
Kobe wasn’t imposing his will on the game in the first half. I’m okay with that plan unless the Jazz are deciding to go one on one or the offense starts to sputter. Then I think Kobe needs to take Brewer and Harpring and Kirilenko to school.

3rd Quarter
Stupid note: I just noticed that the Lakers and the Jazz are going the direction that they usually go in the first half. That is to say, when the Lakers play at Staples, they usually shoot at the left basket (on TV) first. Tonight, they are going to shoot at that basket during the second half.
11:49 – Brewer starts it off with a couple of free throws to close the gap to a five point lead.
11:20 – Jazz have powers of levitation. The ball hovers in mid air as Boozer picks it up and scores the layup.
10:58 – Fisher hits a nice looking two pointer from the left side. 63-58.
10:31 – Williams works extremely hard to bump Fisher off with no time left on the clock. And makes it.
9:50 – The Lakers decide they don’t want to win. Lamar throws it away. Two points for AK47.
9:23 – Everyone is focused on the turnovers. It’s all TNT wants to talk about.
8:59 – Cookies. Kirilenko picks Kobe’s pocket and the refs bail him out by calling a reaching foul.
8:50 – Great left runner by Lamar. 67-62.
8:31 – AK-47 drives from the right wing into the paint and Odom is the help defender. Boy, if that was a car crash, Kirilenko was the monster truck and Odom was the Honda Civic making the left turn. Lamar gets attention from Vitti for a cut. Kirilenko makes two free throws. Radman misses a wide-open 13 footer. Williams comes back and drives the line drawing a foul. He makes two. Utah down one.
8:05 – Lakers fans still aren’t loud. Even with a chance to re-extend the lead.
7:34 – Deron Williams ties the game with a three.
7:16 – A beautiful dish to Brewer on the fast break. Oh ruined by the traveling call. That was nice. Still 69-69.
6:35 – Now he’s there, now he’s not. Williams was mismatched on Kobe and Kobe told Lamar to get the hell out of the way because he was keeping Kirilenko in a help position. Lamar goes away and poor little Williams is left all alone in the post against Kobe. It’s just not fair. No double teams comes and before you can scream uncle, Kobe makes a delicious spin move and Deron Williams literally falls down on his face because he was trying to lean into Kobe. Kobe gets the easy layup with all the Jazz players around the free throw line to watch. If I’m Williams I say to my teammates, “umm guys, that would’ve been a great time to provide some help in the form of a double team since we were, you know, tied and all.” I’m sorry, that gets re-watched via DVR. It’s better the second time around.
It’s Kobe time lakes fans.
5:53 – beautiful feed by Kobe into Lamar who used his forearm to gain separation from a soft Okur.
5:25 – Kobe disrespects Brewer again and Brewer gets an offensive tip in. 71-73 Lakers. That’s enough of your ego Mr. Bryant. Leave that somewhere else. I don’t want it. Guard him. He’s proven he can score. You are not above boxing out and you are not above playing good defense. If you don’t, you are going to cost the team the game and we will all point our finger at you instead of the domestiques.
4:13 – Utah ties it 73+73.
3:55 – Kobe tries to dunk it against Okur but comes up a few inches short. A healthy back and he might’ve slammed it home. He draws the foul and he misses both free throws.
3:37 – Milsap is the aggressor and fouls Kobe’s arms on the rebound but no foul is called. The only damage on that one is a Luke foul as Brewer is unable to convert the open shot. Lamar takes his train into the middle and gets a foul on Millsap. He makes both free throws. 75-73 Lakers up.
2:41 – Missed opportunities. Deron Williams steps on the endline after a Lakers turnover. The jazz haven’t been able to leap frog the Lakers even the Lakers don’t seem to want to hang onto the lead. I’m not even nervous. Before this, Doug Collins tells us that it was strategy to have Kobe sit in the lap of Carlos boozer and let Brewer take all those shots. I call BS. It’s fine to let brewer shoot open jumpers, it is not okay to let brewer shoot wide open layups, dunks, and forget to block him out on the glass. That was not part of the plan. And that is what Kobe has done tonight.
2:31 – Kobe finds himself back at the line. Drains the first. Shortarms the second. 76-73 Lakers still up.
2:05 – brewer gets another dunk. Someone just punch me in the kidney and take me to the hospital already.
1:58 – Kobe makes Harpring’s stratagem look silly. He’ll take the free two points. 78-75. Harpring hits a shot on the other end. 78-76.
1:34 – Lawrence Tanter gets his Kobeeeeeeeeeeee Bryant on. Kobe doesn’t get touched because he somehow became a gymnast overnight but he gets the foul call anyway and makes the layup for good measure. Converts the three-point play. 77-81.
1:24 – Milsap fakes the three point shot from the top of the arc and Lamar doesn’t bite at all. You can see him thinking “no way man. You’re more scared of Sloan’s reaction to you taking that shot than I’m scared of you making that shot.” Harpring gets fouled and makes two free throws. 79-81.
0:50 – Milsap barrels into Lamar’s quickly shuffling feet and gets called for the offensive foul. That’s his fourth. I breathe a sigh of relief. Utah is going zone. Walton can’t make them pay. Left corner three is clankers.
0:08 – Price hits a running layup.
0:00 – Everyone’s favorite takes the last second shot and it goes…not in. so much for redemption.

4th Quarter
The crowd is barely above a golf clap with the scored tied at 81. ::shakes head:: Lakers going with a very melanin-deficient side. Pau, Farmar, Walton, Radmanovic, and Vujacic. Jazz the same with Williams, Kirilenko, Okur, Korver, and Harpring.
11:37 – The Space Cadet drains a three. 84-81 Lakers.
11:17 – Chants of defense and Lakers finally get a decent stop.
9:54 – Harpring fouls Walton fading away at the end of the shot clock in the post. Luke makes the second one. 85-84.
9:18 – the bench mob is still hustling. They are picking up some loose balls.
8:58 – GASOL =Michael Jordan?
Williams gets into the paint too easy. Layup. One point lead for the good guys.
8:39 – Farmar says, HAVE SOME. He’ll have a chance at a three point play after the timeout. 90-86 Lakers up.

Kirilenko gets a nice layup at the basket beating
7:54 – I’m not gonna finish that sentence. Oh my. With no regard for human life! Lamar slams it home over the Utah defense. Assist for Kobe. 92-88.
7:19 – great hustle by Kirilenko. He isn’t able to corral the ball but that’s a nice job trying to get the rebound.
6:53 – terrible call by the officials. They say Kirilenko shoved Vujacic who stupidly tried to take on AK-47 in the open court instead of pulling it back. Vujacic was bailed out. 88-94. That should’ve been Jazz ball out of bounds.
6:42 – There’s a terrible call on the other end. Boozer pummels Gasol in the post and somehow Gasol is responsible. I’m not sure what is going no. the refs are shutting their eyes.
6:19 – OH MY! GASOL to ODOM! Down the Lane. Lamar with the slam! And the foul. 97-91.
6:01 – Boozer is having a rough go of it. He traveled in the lane. By all accounts, he seems like a classy guy (except that deal with the contract in Cleveland). I feel bad for him. He’s a great player. I’m not gonna lie, though. I’m glad he hasn’t reached his potential during this series so far. He could have destroyed us with his skill set.
5:33 – I think we’ll win. Only ahead by four. But I like our chances.
Deron Williams must have the biggest testicles in the history of the world. He’s been hurt like three times in this series. That’s more than anyone I’ve ever seen while watching basketball. I’ve never been hurt in the gonads playing basketball. Take what you want from that statement.
4:18 – it’s a foul fest. I thought American gladiators was on NBC…
Fisher gets two free throws to fall 99-94.
Boozer doesn’t convert his layup. Williams curses him.
3:34 – Kobe gets a high rebound and oof. I thought he was going to tweak is back. He looks okay.
3:15 – the machine needs more oil. Missed the three.
A bunch of commenters are starting to note that the Lakers are falling in love with the three pointer even though the inside game is what has been going so well this game. Chalk that up to fatigue. Let’s hope Phil reminds them during the timeout to keep the inside attack going. That effect where they play the video on the outside of staples center is sweet. Whoever came up with that deserves a pat on the back.
3:07 – Set play for a Kirilenko distribution who finds Boozer in the paint for a strong layup. Nice conversion out of the timeout by them.
2:43 – Fisher gets fouled away from the ball and he’ll get to make free throws without being reminded that his daughter has retinoblastoma.
2:41 – Vujacic earns a technical foul. For talking to Korver. Whoops. Korver knocks down the free one. 101-97.
2:15 – Killer shot by the jazz. They fumble it around for a while. Kirilenko gets blocked. Deron Williams gets it and Robert Horry’s it home from the top of the key. Fisher came so close to fouling him but didn’t put up any defense to the shot. You’d rather have him take the shot than foul him and give him three free throws but man, that was a huge bucket. 3 points. Jazz down by only 1.
Lakers fans decide they’ll stand now. Punks. They should’ve been standing this whole damn quarter.
1:55 – Nope. Mid clock doesn’t work for Vujacic either. Lakers rebound and Kobe finds Lamar for the easy dunk. Kobe’s seventh assist.
1:18 – Lamar and fisher had to switch assignments which means Lamar had a tough time defending Deron and then on the rebound, fisher couldn’t keep Okur off the boards.
1:00 – Pau with a strong lefty layup around Okur. 105-102. I’m glad we didn’t have Kwame. For that one.
0:48 – Okur misses.
0:20 – Vujacic can’t make a basket to save his life (Kobe trusted him again) and somehow Pau pushes Okur out of the way to get to the offensive rebound. I don’t think there was a foul there (some embellishment for sure on Okur’s part) but maybe. I’d be willing to entertain the complaints of the Jazz fans. Anyway, no foul called. Pau collects the rebound in his lap and dunks it. Huge. That should pretty much end it. 107-102.
If we manage to lose this one at this point, I’m going to break windows. Double pane windows. I might have broken hands but there are about 36 windows in this house and I’ll get through all of them if we manage to lose at this point.
0:19 – Williams shoots it fast for three and misses. Fisher gets the rebound and is fouled. The game is pretty much sewn up but he can make it sewner. He misses the first one. Makes the second. 108-102.
With all these home court wins, why do we even play these games? Who will be the next team to win on the road? Will there be another team?
My quick thoughts: Lamar and Pau were the difference makers tonight and it was great to have a contributing Radman although he was kind of canceled out by a non-contributing Vujacic.
Final score is 111-104. Lakers are one win away from the Western Conference Finals.

Live Blog Game 2

Kurt —  May 7, 2008

Another Nomuskles live blog.

Kobe receives his MVP award in front of the Staples Center crowd. The TNT crew says that watching a person receive an MVP award fires up the opposing team. Let’s hope that doesn’t hold true tonight. Nomuskles-girl is currently taking an Organic Chemistry/Biochemistry exam so we’re gonna do the deed with an infamous Live Blog.

1st Quarter
Starting five for both teams is as expected. Kobe, Pau, Lamar, Radman and Fisher for the Lakers. Memo, AK47, Brewer, Boozer and D-Will for the Jazz.
11:52 – Fisher gets it started well with a quick two. Nothing but net.
11:26 – First defensive stand goes very well for the Lakers. They force a 24 second violation. And whoops. Lakers inbound to no one and it goes out of bounds. Utah reboots. Kirilinko nails a jumper from the left wing over the Space Cadet.
10:56 – The Space Cadet returns the favor from the top of the circle. Lakers up 4-2.
10:38 – Utah is being more deliberate than a contestant on Deal or No Deal. AK47 gets a nifty Arvydas Sabonis up and under to go. Tied at four.
9:46 – LO gets aggressive on a broken play. He makes a great spin move to take it around Boozer. 2 points.
8:52 – Lamar abuses Memo’s defense. A little shake and bake along the baseline earns LO a layup.
8:10 – Good defensive sequence here, which leads to a Kobe leakout. But Kobe can’t convert. Kirilinko’s length bothers the layup. AK47 gets the jumper at the other end. An efficient and quick start to this game offensively for both teams. This is the anti-Boston/Cavaliers game. Did anyone else see that? The YMCA all-stars could’ve beaten either of those teams in HORSE last night. Disjointed doesn’t even begin to describe that affair.
6:55 – Bad call. The ball was off Memo’s lazy leg but the refs give it back. Williams gets a wide open shot off the inbounds play but can’t convert.
6:40 – LO gets the ball inside and earns two free throws. This is a good point to pause and let everyone know that king sized duvet covers are grossly overpriced in my opinion. Macy’s is $300 richer today for what is essentially an oversized pillow case. Happy Mother’s Day! LO7 converts both of his free throws (GASP!). Lakers up 15 – 13.
6:11 – Great transition bucket for the Lakers. Could’ve been a dangerous outlet pass (for the Lakers) against other teams, but as we said, the Jazz transition D is lackluster. D-Will, Memo and AK47 trot back, rather than sprint back.
5:09 – Lakers use their Lucky Charms free prize to decode the zone defense. This earns LO a lefty layup over two Jazz defenders. Assist to P-Gas.
4:14 – Since it’s the 60th Anniversary, I wish the Lakers would honor more of their heritage and great history. The legends should be invited back to every playoff game.
3:38 – It’s Jack Black and Kyle Gass in purple and gold. The Lakers are playing Tenacious D out there! How about the power to kill a yak? From three hundred yards away…with MIND BULLETS? Kobe gets the steal from Mehmet and he’s fouled before he can get away. Jerry Sloan earns himself a fine by getting a technical.
2:52 – Lakers are up 25-15 as the Spaniard goes to the line for two shots. He misses both.
2:18 – Derek Fisher enjoys the passive non-pressure of the zone defense. He nails a left corner three.
2:05 – Son of Bill harasses Harpring into committing an offensive foul.
1:43 – Dfish is feelin it in his soul. He hits another left corner three. This time over a defender and about as high as he could get it without needing FAA clearance.
1:02 – Turiaf blocks the crap out of a D-Will lay-up attempt and when D-Will gets it back, he steps on the sideline. Turnover.
0:46 – Turiaf rewards Luke Walton’s unselfishness (or unathleticism) by nailing a jumper. Luke says “thanks for bailing me out of that one. I didn’t really want to go one on one with Harpring.”
0:00 – The quarter ends with the Lakers up 33-18. Eight to nothing run to finish the period. Well done good guys! Don’t rest on your laurels. Jerry Sloan will not tolerate laziness and he’ll get these Jazzers to make a comeback.

2nd Quarter
The Bill Engvall show looks about as funny as heartburn on the freeway. Jerry Sloan complains about the refs calling fouls when Utah puts their hands on the Lakers. Isn’t that the definition of a foul?
11:04 – Dan Crawford doesn’t care to watch the game. He decides to call a foul on Luke Walton for holding onto the ball at the same time as Mehmet.
10:50 – Wow. Luke just stuffs a Harpring post-up turnaround. Millsap picks up the ball and jams his way into the paint drawing the foul, and one. He makes the three point play.
10:30 – Korver isn’t paying enough attention. Price slipped trying to guard Farmar and Kover refused to rotate till it was too late. Farmar makes them pay.
9:55 – Lakers give up too easy a bucket off an inbounds play. 35-23 Lakers up.
9:36 – I’m not a big Korver fan, but leaving him wide open in the left corner in transition seems like an idea the US patent office wouldn’t recognize as having any use. Sasha drifted towards the middle to stop the ball and Farmar drifted towards the opposite side trailing behind DWill. Everyone else clogged the middle and left Korver to rule his own little fiefdom. We’ll call that area Korver’s Korner from now on. Speaking of Korver, am I wrong to read into it that Korver is just traded to the Jazz this year and he’s suddenly the most popular player on the team and he’s white? He freaking comes off the bench and plays crappy D and sometimes makes three pointers. D-Will and Boozer should be the fan favorites since they, you know, dominate. Am I supposed to believe that Korver just has this magnetic personality that everyone in Utah loves? Umm right.
7:55 – Price “took it like a man” as Jordan Farmar drove hard to the basket trying to draw the charge. Trade Farmar for Shaq and I wonder if Price makes the same decision. Farmar makes two free throws.
Millsap is a force tonight. He’s active on the offensive end. He shows a nice spin move inside and gets fouled as he makes the layup. Misses the freebie though.
6:37 – LO7 definitely bring more energy tonight. He’s showing activity on defense and offense. I’m not sure what happened in game one, but he’s back in regular form tonight. Errr…that is not to say he is like a transformer and previously he was in the shape of an 18-wheeler.
6:20 – Pau drops the sledgehammer. Hahaha. It was not exactly sledgehammer esque but it’ll do. Two points.
5:46 – Millsap gets another layup with a foul (I disagree with the call, but who am i?) The Lakers need to get him in foul trouble pronto fast. After the free throw, 45-35 Lakers up.
5:28 – Pau is doing a great job in the post tonight. Okur is putting up much less of a fight and Gasol is getting his.
5:06 – The Space Cadet tries to ride Mehmet like a Koala mother (face to face) as he falls for the pump fake. The big man makes two free throws.
4:34 – Mehmet makes a great first step attacking move around Gasol who had no idea Okur had that much speed in him. Layup. Someone brainwashed Okur into thinking he was freaking speed racer.
3:12 – Fisher fakes the pass around the perimeter and just fakes the defenders out of their shoes. He gets the 21 foot jumper to go. No one in the vicinity.
2:41 – D-Will gets a three to go with 2 seconds left on the 24-second clock. The Lakers played great defense but Korver made a great cross court pass to give him an open look. DWill’s first bucket comes at a great time for the Jazz. Coming back from timeout, TNT tells us Boozer and Williams are doing poorly on offense. D-WIll has 3 points, Boozer has 0.
2:16 – Korver does a great job sealing off the Machine and gets an easy dunk.
1:33 – A fast sequence of back and forth finished off by a Kirilenko layup over Odom in transition.
1:02 – Korver gets another over the top lob. Jazz coaches figured that Sasha’s haranguing defense could be neutralized by posting him up in the block. This is a great way to utilize Korver’s height advantage. We’ll see if he can continue to capitalize on these opportunities when that is not usually what he called upon to do.
0:22 – Pau gets a good dump off feed off a DFish drive. Gasol tries to go up with it and Collins, who’s in there because the NBA grants players 6 fouls before ineligibility, fouls him pretty hard. Gasol starts swimming through the air. I’m not sure what he was trying to do there.
0:00 – poor pass by D-Will to AK47. A better pass and AK47 gets a momentum building alley-oop dunk for the Jazz. Instead, it goes the other way and DFish gets off a decent shot at the buzzer. It’s no good. Dfish has that wily smile on his face during the interview going into halftime. He knows he’s got DWill’s number. 63-49 Lakers are sitting pretty for the second half.

Charles is disappointed in the Jazz for not looking like they can beat the Lakers. EJ says “they look slow.” That was pretty matter of fact. I had to laugh. Kenny says the Jazz are settling for good looks, but not trying to punish the Lakers getting great looks. As a sidenote, I am happy for the Magic. They came out hungry and made it a series.
What kind of party is it? A block party.
Who’s invited? Everybody.
That cracks me up every time. I don’t know if I could ever get tired of it. Especially when it’s being said about D12, D.Ho, Superman, Dwight Howard.
This Public Service Announcement brought to you by nomuskles: If you haven’t seen Iron Man, go see it. Now. Don’t wait till the weekend. Go see it now. Seriously it was that great. Robert Downey, Jr. is absolutely fantastic.

3rd Quarter
10:50 – The quarter starts off with a lot of clunky shots. The long halftime hurts the rhythm. Deron Williams gets tagged in the nether regions as AK47 tips in his miss. He limps around the court while he tries his ovaries out.
9:42 – Jazz playing much better to start the half. Making their open jumpers and finding the open man. Here though, Lamar gets to the hoop and gets the foul and bucket. He misses the free throw though. Lakers up 67-57.
9:13 – Kobe found LO7 cherry picking after the airball/tipped shot. Lamar leaked out after challenging the shot and boozer wasn’t able to catch up. Great look up the floor by the Kobester.
8:40 – Kevin Harlan asks Doug Collins how he would guard Kobe Bryant “I would get three hard fouls and sit down.” While he’s blathering on Deron Williams makes a great move to get into the paint. Layup.
7:53 – Brewer benefits from a great feed by D-Will in transition. Single digit lead by Lakers. Lamar makes the quick layup at the other end.
7:25 – D-Will finds his way into the lane again and makes the layup. This is the Williams we’ve been expecting to see. The scary one.
7:07 – Pau says he might not be en elite defender but he’s not dead either. He roofs Brewer’s attempt out of bounds.
6:51 – Kobe drives HARD to the hole and AK47 and Mehmet are forced to foul. Mehmet is charged with the violation while helping his overmatched teammate. I don’t know if I buy this whole “look like they believe they can beat them” thing. This is not a bunch of players with their tails between their legs. But maybe I’m misreading this. Lakers force another turnover on a 24 second clock violation.
6:10 – the space cadet steps out of bounds and then walks back which allows kirilenko to get an easy layup. Pft. Luke gets up off the bench. He’ll come in at the next dead ball.
5:21 – Lakers up 14. 66-80. Timeout.
4:39 – The Lakers go into the Cleveland Cavaliers offense with Kobe playing Lebron. Kobe takes the Jazz on and makes a great bank shot. Degree of difficulty = ten of ten.
3:30 – Luke tries to give AK47 his Upper Respiratory Infection, because that’s the only he’s going to be able to keep up with the speed of Kirilenko. Tag you’re it. Foul on Luke.
3:12 – Kobe is triple teamed and emerges like a salmon from the flowing stream. I’m not sure how he made that one against three Jazz defenders. It was like he had an amnesia inducing charm as they forgot that he was in a position to shoot the ball. He made the defenders look lead footed and they were definitely not. He was just lightning quick.
2:35 – A bunch of Mormons just stood up and shouted “Yes, Please.” Because Deron Williams just threw down a dunk in semi-transition that will undoubtedly make tonight’s highlights. He pulled a Lamar right in Lamar’s grill. Nasty.
2:15 – Boozer picks up his fourth foul. 76-86 Lakers up but they need to be careful here. TV Timeout. Coming back, there’s a great anecdote shared by David Aldridge that Brian Shaw shared with him. Apparently there was a stretch where Phil did not yell at Kobe when they were teammates and Phil’s explanation was that Kobe was always in attack mode and Phil could not take that away from him. Interesting thought process there.
0:56 – Tricky moments here. Lakers are not slamming the door shut on this Jazz team. Jazz pull within 8. However, they do get a good stop on Williams penetration and DFish draws a sucky foul on Mehmet. If I were a Jazz fan I’d be a little bit annoyed with that call. It was all Fisher’s fault. Fisher makes the free throws. Williams turns the ball over quickly in the backcourt but the Lakers give it right back. 90-80.
0:16 – Great rebound by Lamar! Way to fight for it like he was Arnold in the Last Action Hero. This earns Fisher a three in the right corner.
0:01 – D-Will nails a three over Farmar despite the great heads-up play of Fisher to give the foul and get the Lakers defense set. 93-83 Lakers hanging onto the lead.

4th Quarter
11:15 – Vujacic nails a long two after Deron got his shot blocked/fouled on the other end (no call).
10:55 – D-Will drives baseline and draws the foul on Ronny. He’s got the right idea if you’re a Jazz fan (probably not if you’re reading this). He’s taking it to the bucket and being aggressive, putting pressure on the Lakers.
10:31 – Millsap gets himself a good layup inside. 87-95. Staples is a little quiet.
10:11 – Luke hits a big shot. Making the three from the right wing. Our bench has been big for us all year. Let’s watch as that experience during the year pays off here.
8:45 – Ronny makes a terrific pass but it was one pass too many. He threaded the needle but Pau wasn’t expecting it and he rushed the layup. In hindsight, Ronny should’ve shot the 18 footer because he was wide open. We’ll live with the unselfishness.
7:49 – 98-89 Lakers are still up after a Millsap second chance put back. Luke doesn’t get off a good shot and the Lakers are guilty of taking longer than 24 seconds to contact the rim. Timeout. I expect we’ll see the MVP back on the floor when we return. Utah may not win this game, but they are going to be tough at home. They’ll get a boost from the home crowd and the familiar surroundings. Just look at the Magic.
7:42 – Lakers decide they want to make it a little more interesting and spot the Jazz another point with a defensive three second violation.
7:31 – Millsap gets an offensive rebound and Harpring makes the Lakers pay. 98-92.
6:15 – Lakers dodge a bullet. Lamar turns the ball over. Jazz run the break but somehow miss the layup and the refs don’t call a foul even though there was some contact. Mamba comes back the other way and earns two free throws. He makes both. 92-99.
6:00 – Lamar gets called for a foul and screams like his best friend just died. It was more like a wail. Luckily, it’s just a foul. Boozer will shoot some free throws after the television prescribed timeout. He makes both. 94-99 Lakers.
5:39 – the jazz focus so much energy on stopping the Kobester that he is able to find the Machine on the right side for an open jumper. 101-94.
5:11 – Lamar does a great job defending the Williams/Boozer pick and roll. He came off his man to stop Boozer’s roll the bucket. Lamar blocked both of Boozer’s attempts.
5:02 – This is no time for lazy passes Mr. MVP.
4:55 – Fisher is money in the bank, shorty what’s your drank? He nails the three from straight on. 104-94. This was created by LO’s penetration off a Gasol feed from the pinch post.
4:26 – The Lakers create a turnover and Gasol earns himself two free throws. Pau makes one. The other one is missed but wouldn’t have counted anyway due to a lane violation. 105-94.
4:05 – Boozer makes two free throws. 105-96.
3:51 – Kobe found himself with a relatively easy shot because Lamar has vision. 107-96.
3:28 – Mehmet gives a great fake to make LO go flying by into the Lakers Girls but can’t convert.
3:01 – Pau almost plays great D on Kirilenko who draws the foul. He’ll shoot one. 107-99.
2:40 – Something out of nothing. The MVP is more than a magic man. He resides in the pantheon of Olympus. Sasha passes up the three after Korver chases him off the line. He has no options because he’s picked up his dribble except you-know-who springs free. Mamba probes for a couple dribbles and gets the double team leaning just a little bit and in that moment when the outlook is grim, the trap is about to spring and the shot clock winds down he wills his body through a chink in the double-team with a spin move that can only come from heaven’s kingdom. Zephyr creates a space where none previously existed for He is the chosen one. This gives Kobe a path to the lane but no path to the basket as Utah has a couple defenders to guard the Holy Grail. Kobe goes up to shoot but at the last possible moment he spots Pau with just a minute halo of space in the depths of the enemy stronghold. The MVP casts his magic spell of genesis. He creates, in front of you, me and a global audience, something as startling as Adam’s first breath. With a flick of the wrist the ball heeds Bryant’s indomitable will. It flies around Okur, to Gasol, who receives it and dunks it in one swift motion in a way few others could manage. It is in this moment we have all witnessed a virtuoso performance by one of the game’s all time greats. It is in this moment that the Lakers will find hope and the Jazz will only find despair. No matter how well the Jazz play the rest of the game, their fate will have already been determined by the one they simply call Him. Indeed, we are all witness. 109-99.
0:00 – Final score is 120-110, your Los Angeles Lakers.

Live Blog Game 3

Kurt —  April 26, 2008

Nomuskles only writes game live blogs when his girlfriend isn’t with him. We’re lucky that she is hanging out with the USA national water polo team lately (purely platonic, I’m sure) freeing him up to write more. Here is the game 3 live blog, enjoy. Tomorrow we’ll break all of it down a little and talk game 4.

1st Quarter
10:19 – Kobe finds Fisher open on the left side behind the arc and Derek strokes it for three. 5-2 Lakers. Denver comes back quickly and Kobe picks up the early blocking foul.
8:54 – RadMan has been playing with a lot of energy here in the first. He’s gotten a hoop underneath, an offensive rebound, and he picked up a foul on the defensive end.
7:56 – Lamar Takes Kleiza to the rim in the post.
7:43 – Melo makes a great move around RadMan and then blows the reverse layup. Doesn’t even get the rim.
7:05 – Lakers catch a break the size of Yao’s stress fracture. Kobe loses the ball and AI is about to go the other way but the officials say Kobe traveled first. Denver is forced to take it out.
6:46 – Melo is frustrated again as he gets to the rack but can’t convert. He’s clearly got it in his mind to be aggressive on offense tonight.
5:30 – AI and Fisher is turning out to be an interesting battle here. AI drew a flopping offensive charge on Fisher earlier and now he blew by Fisher who was playing the part of Robinson Crusoe—out on that island by himself. Misses the layup though.
4:12 – Kleiza gets the jam inside against three purple guys 15 – 14 Lakers are up.
3:48 – Poor pass on an alley oop looking for Melo. Kobe plays Angelina to Camby and melo’s Brad and Jennifer—He breaks it up.
3:17 – That was impressive. Kleiza takes it baseline off the dribble and dunks over some Lakers. We have no answer for him. 17-16 Lakers up. This is not the cakewalk the Lakers were hoping it would be. The Lakers are getting good looks at the basket while running their offense patiently. Neither team is shooting very well. AI and Melo are struggling up to now. They are a combined 1/10 from the field. Kleiza has been a big part of what is working.
2:22 – Kobe has his put back attempt swatted away by Najera.
2:04 – Pau slips the high screen and roll and Kobe makes them pay by finding Pau.
1:37 – Lamar gives up on a broken sequence. Lakers give up the ball in the backcourt and AI and JR Smith run a two-man game against the couple Lakers who are still back. Lamar turns his back on AI thinking AI was just going to shoot. AI takes this opportunity to dribble around Lamar who has no idea what’s going on to get himself a layup.
1:09 – Kobe picks up his second foul and he’ll come out of the game. Vujacic in the game. 22-18 Lakers up. Sasha causes JR Smith to have an Over-And-back violation.
0:32 – Luke and JR Smith get tangled up in the box and JR draws the offensive foul. Yours truly doesn’t like the call.
0:24 – Najera gives a pickup game ball fake and Luke jumps about six feet out of position to guard against the pass to the corner. Najera runs his the layup drill, easy deuce.
0:00 – Last possession for Denver. AI dribbles through the all the Lakers trying to find an opening to the rim. He tries to finally pass it off and the retreating Lakers punch it out of bounds as time expires. 23 – 20 Lakers.

2nd Quarter
11:20 – Farmar isn’t sticking with AI at all. When AI drives to his right into the middle, Farmar follows him but doesn’t get in front. He gets caught in defensive no man’s land. It’s as if he’s expecting help but he’s not close enough to provide a double team and he’s not guarding anyone else. The Lakers need to work on this at halftime.
Soon after, Nene and Lamar get tangled up with Lamar getting the worst of it. Lamar’s arm got caught in nene’s after a basket. Nene felt Lamar’s arm and spun him around judo-style. Lamar was grimacing in pain but he should be fine. That was pretty uncalled for.
Najera elbowed Sasha in the face trying to get an offensive rebound. On the replay it looks pretty intentional. If you’ve ever seen a martial arts board breaking competition, replace Sasha’s face with the boards and that’s pretty much what happened there. I’d be surprised if he’s not suspended and/or fined for the next game. Sasha was awarded a flagrant foul. After rolling around on the floor like an injured fish for a while, the Machine seems to be in working order.
9:12 – Farmar beats Ai off the dribble baseline and jumps into Nene and converts the layup. Great move. 34-30 Lakers up.
8:40 – While Lamar is missing a couple of free throws off a time out, AI is shown on the bench looking old. He’s bundled up in some towels and he’s got bags under his eyes.
8:20 – Great sequence here for the good guys. Anthony Carter tries to lob it inside as Luke plays Angelina this time. He takes it up the floor himself and threads a backdoor pass to Farmar cutting baseline. Farmar finds Mbenga with a behind the back pass in the lane who converts the jump hook. A little razzle dazzle.
7:52 – carter tells Farmar, “young man, this is how we do it in Hawaii” as he calmly blocks Farmar’s turnaround.
7:40 – Najera draws a charge on Lamar. 36 – 33 Lakers.
7:25 – JR Smith comes off a screen and shoots a three. He makes it to tie the game. 36-36.
6:58 – Camby hustles after an offensive rebound but can’t quite come up with it. Lakers need to be the aggressors.
6:43 – Anthony Carter dives for the ball and Farmar doesn’t. The Nuggets get it going the other way. Regardless of the outcome of the possession, this does not bode well for the mental toughness of Farmar. He’s not playing with the tenacity required in the playoffs. The Lakers need to take advantage of every opportunity.
6:12 – Farmar tries to atone with a lighting fast cut to the rim and he’s found for a layup. 38-36 Lakers. JR Smith gets to the rim by himself and ties it up. Najera gets himself a layup on the next Nuggets possession. And on the other end, Pau gets contact underneath and just heaves it up off the glass throwing the ball in. A foul and the bucket. Timeout called.
Coming back from the break, a Nuggets fan is shown behind the text question of the day with a personalized jersey. The number? 23. The expected name is Camby right? Instead, this guy had “Vicki’s Husband” stitched on there. I wonder if it was a 23rd anniversary gift.
Pau misses the free throw. Joel says the Lakers are 6/11 on Free Throws.
5:11 – Apparently the reduced air pressure in Denver is throwing off the expected trajectory of the ball. That’s about the third Alley Oop pass gone awry for the Nuggets. This one sails over Kenyon Martin’s noggin. A smattering of boos are heard.
3:45 – There are some Lakers fans in attendance. When Kobe made a shot, the home fans went quiet and you could hear some clapping.
3:20 – Again that darned altitude. DFish throws it up for Pau and Pau isn’t able to get a shot without coming down first. He tries to dunk it and Hawaii 5-O makes sure there’re no easy buckets. Pau will shoot free throws.
2:35 – It’s Kyra Sedgewick time, let’s see how the Lakers close the quarter. They’ve got a 6 point lead.
2:00 – Kobe is guarding AI gets him to miss a jumper. Lamar grabs the one bounce rebound (is this handball?) and he’s trying not to step out of bounds by keeping his heel off the ground. Boy, his ankles look shaky.
1:36 – Melo is having a really difficult time of it today. He drove baseline against the space cadet but Lamar was waiting for him and he ended up missing the layup. Add that to his growing list of frustrations in the series.
1:08 – Kobe comes out so he won’t pick up his third foul. Kenyon misses both free throws and there’s a phantom foul call on Kleiza as Lamar mistimed his jump for the rebound. Lamar’s first one is Boykin’s. Second one is good. 51 – 42 Lakers.
0:58 – fisher plays great D on the Answer but he gets called for the blocking foul. Tough call. Fisher beat him to the spot, Iverson’s shoulder hit him square in the chest and rose up and shot. Iverson hits both free throws. Lamar comes out to avoid his third foul as well. 51-44 Lakers up.
0:35 – Vlade doesn’t have a prayer here. He’s guarding AI who draws a foul. Two shots. Quick, what number does vlad wear? The answer? 10.
0:17 – Lakers practice some patience and in the post Pau turns and faces and finds son of bill cutting to the basket all alone. Easy two.
0:00 – We’ve seen this before. Iverson dribbles hard to the rack and there’s nothing there. Pau blocks his shot/pass and Melo gets the ball with about a second and a half left. Melo pump fakes like a pump faking machine and time expires. Lakers up 53-46. I’d prefer the 51 – 42 lead. 7 is nothing.
Lakers are shooting poorly from behind the arc. 3/11. John Ireland says that the Nuggets are going to come out “like a house on fire” to start the third and the Lakers better be ready.
3rd Quarter
11:42 – Kobe starts it off right with a bucket on the first possession against Camby. Lakers up 9.
11:21 – Melo puts up a shot and finally makes it.
11:08 – Kobe hits a long deuce over K-Mart. 57-48.
10:38 – AI almost takes the ball away from Pau in the high post. Lakers dodge a bullet there. After the inbounds, Kobe puts up a ridiculous shot that misses. Pau can’t get the rebound.
9:52 – Silly foul by Kleiza. Lamar was shooting deep in the shot clock near the free throw line and he tapped Lamar from his non-shooting side. Lamar makes two. 59-50 Lakers up.
9:20 – Kobe drops a deuce! (Not that kind of deuce.) Converts it over K-Mart again with a couple feet on the line. That’s Kobe’s 14th point. 61-50.
9:05 – Derek Fisher is Demi Moore and strips Kenyon on his drive to the basket. Off Kenyon’s leg, Turnover.
8:51 – Kenyon sees Kobe gathering to rise up for a shot and he doesn’t want to be left behind so he hangs onto Kobe’s arm. I’d imagine that felt like being caught by a bear. He makes one, misses one. 62-51 Lakers.
8:03 – Joel’s MVP, Kobe (surprise) is trying to take over this quarter. Hits the three. Actually, his toe might have been on the line. But for now it stands as a three.
7:20 – Fisher hits another three and falls out of bounds. Lakers up 16! Denver is feeling defeated. There’s no bounce in their step and they are falling apart as a team. The refs need to be careful that this one doesn’t become an embarrassing series for the league.
What is this? Amateur night at the Apollo? The security/ushers at the arena are wearing dark suits with sky blue athletic headbands. Seriously? Who thought this was a good idea?
6:50 – Fisher takes the ball away from K-Mart again in the post as the secondary defender. K-Mart elbows Fisher in the face for his trouble. Regular foul called there. I’m not sure what the reasoning is there.
6:29 – Kobe is a little impressed with his superpowers. He shoots it from 30 feet at least with 4 seconds on the 24 second shot clock and air balls it. Nothing but net. We get a wry smile out of the garden snake on that one.
6:05 – JR Smith is doing his cheer leading routine on the opposite wing because his defender, Fisher, came over to double Melo in the post. Do you think Melo found the open man? Nope. He forced up a shot. It drew a foul on fish, but good teams don’t do that.
5:32 – Nuggets get some energy here. Kobe makes a great block on Melo’s layup but it goes right to K-Mart who slams it home. Slams is perhaps too nice a word. Nuggets are getting a little bit of momentum going their way and the crowd is back in it.
4:30 – Melo hits the jumper and that’s 8 straight for the Nuggs. 69-59 Lakers still up. Timeout good guys.
4:13 – Lakers get a good possession coming out of the timeout. Fisher gets the contested three. 72-59.
3:35 – Lamar can’t be guarded by JR in the post. Easy dunk as JR goes for the steal.
3:14 – I’m going to call JR Smith Moses from now on. He makes the Lakers defense part like the Red Sea. 74-61 Lakers.
2:33 – fisher gets a steal from Melo in the post (he’s made his living there today. He also probably got all arm this time, however.) Luke picks up the ball and outlets it to Kobe who is leaking out. Kobe gets the layup. Technical foul assessed to whiny baby Melo. Fisher takes the free throw and misses it. What is it today with the missed free throws? I woulda had mamba shoot that one since it was fisher’s first free throw of the day.
2:15 – Lamar does a ridiculously good job guarding AI one on one. AI eventually gets a shot off and drills it. Fisher comes back and hits a three of his own. 81-64.
1:40ish – Pau blocks Carmelo in the post. It’s been a rough series for him. But hey, at least he’s not Darko.
0:34 – Kleiza has this bad habit of trying to get rebounds by jumping over back of guys. I agree it’s a tough call on him, but if he’d work a little bit harder before the shot goes up establishing position, he’d be rewarded with a lot more offensive rebounds without catching fouls. Luke hits the free throws. 83-64.
0:02 – Farmar dances on the three point line against JR Smith and shoots a short jumper as the shot clock expires. That’s pretty much how the quarter will end as Najera doesn’t want to ruin his FG% numbers. He doesn’t get the shot off in time. 83-64 Lakers up 19. Expanding the lead by 12 in the third. Barring a Homerian-style epic collapse here, Lakers should be able to hold off any runs in the fourth.

4th Quarter
John Ireland says Kobe told every single teammate not to let the Nuggets off the floor and told The Machine specifically not to let Smith get going.
11:36 – Lakers get a steal from the Nuggets and Luke gets a fast break layup but gets undercut by Smith. Poor play by smith. Luke misses the free throw worrying about his shoulder I imagine. We haven’t seen Turiaf but he is on the bench ready to go if needed. George’s son is in street clothes tonight.
10:31 – JR’s dribble penetration leads to a Carter short corner three from the left side. Nice play. Cuts it to 17. 87 – 68.
9:33 – the sidelines advertisements are for McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” I imagine that they didn’t mean that in an ironic sense for Denver fans. But it works in that fashion.
8:58 – Phil puts DFish and Kobe back into the lineup. Pau is also back in.
8:42 – Sasha hits a wide open straight on three. 90-69.
8:18 – Kobe gets the Nuggets miss and outlets it to Sasha down court in front of all the Nuggets. Carter fouls him preventing the easy layup. Sasha misses the first and makes the second. Not surprised at the miss.
7:19 – Sasha is not so good at the whole floppage to draw a foul thing. He earns a blocking foul instead. Kleiza goes to the line.
7:03 – Not that they have to at this point, but there are no Lakers to rebound when Sasha put up the three. He misses and there isn’t a purple jersey below the free throw line to challenge for the rebound.
6:41 – The building is pretty antsy. They are waiting for something exciting to happen, either a highlight play or a fight.
This game is over so we’re gonna wrap this one up early. The starters should come out soon. 3-0 in the series. This bodes well but the Jazz or the rockets won’t lie down like the Nuggets have in this series. Both of those teams play together and rely on each other more than this team does. Have a great weekend Lakers fans. Stay cool in this heat wave.

Live Blog Game 2

Kurt —  April 23, 2008

Once again Nomuskles took the time, so here is his live game blog.

Everything has been said about this game that can possibly be said. Let’s get to it!
Oh wait. I almost forgot. I think the Lakers will lose this one, although I hope not.

1st Quarter
Denver remains in their powder blues. Lakers change to their yellows since it’s not Sunday anymore (unfortunately).

12:00 – Neither bench sits again. Kleiza sports #43 and starts the game. This means the matchups are pretty normal.
11:01 – Fisher makes a great strip of Kenyon in the post. He takes it the other way and the Lakers earn 2.
10:19 – The Space Cadet gets himself started off right with a three.
10:04 – Not a good omen, Nuggets find a wide open Melo under the basket for an easy lay-in.
9:35 – Camby is wearing yellow socks.
9:24 – Fisher misses a layup. Was anyone surprised right there? He left it shorter than Tom Cruise.
8:30 – Kobe hits the faceup bank shot.
8:16 – Marv gets really excited when Kleiza beats Odom off the dribble for the two-handed slam.
7:41 – Fast break Nuggets, easy dunk. 12-9.
7:19 – Gasol is mugged in the mid post in the act of shooting. Reggie Miller says the Nuggets need to go to the zone diet and clog the middle. Exactly what Kurt said they were probably going to do. We’ll see how that pans out.
7:04 – Whoa. Kenyon Martin does a little Tasmanian devil move that is good.
6:39 – Excellent hustle by your Los Angeles Lakers leads to a Pau jump hook. 12-14 Lakers are down.
5:51 – Let me take a breath. This game is ridiculous. 16-12 Nuggets up and it’s been mostly layups, dunks, and three pointers early in the clock. Very few half court sets going deep into the shot clock. That’s not what the Lakers wanted. I’m not sure that’s what the Nuggets wanted either, but it’s working for them so far. Timeout. At this point the Nuggets are shooting 67% and the Lakers are shooting 33%. That’s not going to get it done.
4:37 – Nuggets are clearly the more aggressive team tonight. Getting inside and getting to offensive rebounds. Welcome to the worst case scenario (that doesn’t involve an injury).
4:13 – Bennet Salvatore misses a call. On the inbounds, Denver misses, but Camby gets the offensive rebound (I’m throwing things at the TV now) and puts it back. Without Kobe, the Lakers would be out of it.
3:30 – Kleiza loses the handle and Kobe gets in the open floor. AI decides he’d rather not be the other person in the sport center highlight and gets out of the way. Kobe jams with one hand. Denver calls timeout. 20-22. Nuggets still up.
2:59 – Fisher makes two free throws to tie the game up. Some token pressure after the free throws. Life with Luke fouls Melo. Kobe actually fouls Kleiza on the three point attempt but no call. Luke misses the shot at the other end. Wide open. AI makes his jumper on the other end.
2:16 – Kobe gets the seal on melo and gets the feed on the baseline side in the post, gets fouled and makes the layup. Shouts of MVP rain down. Melo practices his folding chair aerotuck, i.e. he has a seat on the bench.
2:03 – AI is having none of it. Drills the step back. 26-25 Denver up.
1:45 – Welcome to the Kobe show. He better drink his Gatorade today. He’s sweating bullets because he is carrying this team like a Timbuk2 messenger bag. 2 more free throws 27 – 26. Lakers up. On the other end, Najera outworks Luke for the rebound and converts.
0:56 – Luke sees Pau trailing the play. They are the only Lakers in a position to do anything in the offensive end and he lobs it up to Pau. Pau misses the oop part of the alleyoop (a key component, some might say) but the officials decide he missed because e got pushed in the lower back side.
0:54 – Iverson gets intimidated by Farmar’s imposing size and travels in the backcourt. Kobe hits a fadeaway jumper. I think Kobe heard everyone complaining about his terrible shooting and he got a little tired of hearing that he can’t shoot.
0:26 – Kobe hits a 3 here in transition. 30-33 Lakers are up.
0:06 – Iverson hits two free throws. I think his free throw stroke is back on tonight. Farmar struggles in the back court, he dribbles the length of the court and it looks exactly like Tyus Edney’s famous hoop except instead of laying it in and everyone going bananas, Farmar’s shot was sent via air courier into the fourth row by Marcus Camby. Other than that though, it was a carbon copy of 1995.

2nd Quarter
11:37 – Life with Luke starts off right with a straight on three. JR Smith takes it to the hole and Magic Johnson says that it’s too easy.
11;10 – Pau sets a great screen to give Lamar space to hit a long two pointer.
11:00 – Nene sighting. I’ve never been his biggest fan but we’ll see if he can be a difference maker tonight. Anthony Carter is also in. JR Smith is determined to make a mark on this game.
10:21 – Gosh, Magic Johnson is still talking. Please stop.
10:09 – Sasha misses from outside but don’t worry, a foul was called before the shot so it won’t make our horrid FG% worse. Oh my. That was unsightly. Farmar’s shot from outside is a long wedge shot and Mbenga tracks it down. Note to Jordan: stop hanging out so much with Luke, start hanging out with Sasha and Vladrad. After something else happens (I missed it), Lakers get a loose ball foul and the ball will come back the other way the Lakers on top by 4, 40-36.
9:37 – AI misses a three. Sorry, not every entry can be exciting.
9:26 – Mr. Walton gets an offensive foul trying to establish position in the post. Not something that happens very often.
8:43 – Lakers get a turnover from AI who got caught in the air and it leads to a Sasha….. miss…make…miss…make. Make! It rattled home. Lakers up 43-36. Timeout. On-Star seems intimidating. That Ashton Kutcher/Cameron Diaz movie looks awful. I won’t even be bitTorrenting it.
8:15 – Najera is poking us full of non-mortal wounds with his offensive rebounding. But enough non-mortal wounds, and you know what they say.
7:47 – Kobe still feeling it apparently. Strokes it. 45-36.
7:20 – Great play by Kobe and Farmar! Kobe runs the break. Both defensive Nuggets stop at the free throw line and Kobe passes to Farmar over the top. Farmar leaps in and somehow slips through the collapsing defenders to get the reverse layup. Those kinds of plays give the fans a huge boost. Timeout Nuggets. Lakers up 11.
7:01 – Umm… How is Radman not able to stay with Nene off the dribble? He fouls him earning the blocking foul.
6:32 – Close call as the ref says Sasha stepped out across the end line before passing it across. And the replay says the refs are good today.
6:17 – Melo takes the technical foul free throw for illegal defense. general boos this time. For someone of his stature, Melo doesn’t get to the line very much.
5:57 – Kobe for three! 50-39 Lakers are up. Radman says, “Thanks for getting me an assist Mr. Kobe.”
5:40 – Fisher is very close to violating the league policy on not showing enough sock. That sentence could have easily gone wrong.
5:04 – Pau is back in the game. Kobe’s double teamed. Throws it to Pau if Pau were 13 feet tall. Lamar tracks it down and throws up the prayer to beat the clock and nothing. Nuggets can’t convert the free possession.
4:28 – Lamar is looking to help his sickly field goal percentage. He does a little market research and the early results say that if he drives from the top of the circle straight to the rim, he can dunk for 99% efficiency. The Nuggets take notes and nod their heads enthusiastically at demonstration.
3:47 – A JR Smith three pointer bounces on the rim a couple times and Fisher is able to box Camby out. That was pretty awesome. Shows how strong fisher’s lower body is. Fisher never jumped.
2:52 – 45 -52 as we go to timeout. JR Smith found his way to the rim with the Lakers refusing to help off their men. It’s hard to fault them when just a month ago, their biggest problem was leaving shooters to help with penetration. Mr. AC Green is in attendance. What a great thing for him to be able to make an appearance. No Jheri curl or short shorts, though.
1:53 – Denver has been playing zone and the Lakers haven’t been punishing them inside. Radman doesn’t see why they should and hits a three pointer. AI comes back with an easy layup after driving baseline on Fisher.
1:06 – Denver has 10 offensive rebounds. How many do you think the Lakers have? If you said 2, you’re the next contestant on The Price is Right.
0:49 – Kleiza takes an awkward spill under the hoop. Let’s hope he’s okay. Misses both of his free throws. Something is wrong with his arm I suspect.
0:13 – Lakers had gambled on defense but it somehow pays off. They get an easy layup by Luke.
0:00 – as time expires, AI gets a good look that misses and Kleiza gets a chance at a putback slam and he grabs his arm again. He’s going to need treatment at halftime and after the game.

I haven’t seen any stats but Kobe is doing his Kobe thing. AI is doing his AI thing and Lakers are up by 10, 59-49. I’m not sure any of the other Lakers are really going to have to do more than they are doing now. Just play consistent and hit a few jumpers here and there and if Kobe keeps it up, he’ll take care of the rest. Usually the Lakers don’t like that plan, but it’s working tonight so far. The biggest improvement the Lakers need to make is preventing offensive rebounds by all the Nuggets except AI.

3rd Quarter
Frank Hamblin says the team defense was good in the second quarter but the defensive rebounding needs improving. He also says the Lakers need to know the individual tendencies. JR Smith and Kleiza both want to dribble right, so look for the Lakers to make that adjustment.

11:37 – Fisher starts it off right by getting a steal on the first defensive possession.
11:27 – Lamar looks like he has an open dunk and Denver shows some spunk that was missing in the first game and Kleiza blocks the shot. Denver needs to keep doing that.
11:09 – Melo tries to stuff it home one handed and comes up short. Maybe he shouldn’t have had those last five cheeseburgers. Camby also misses the point blank layup.
10:21 – Camby makes a very difficult layup here and brings Denver within 10. 51-61.
10:09 – Kobe’s brain runs out of the necessary amounts of sodium and potassium. His brain locks up and he made a terrible pass into the middle that was straight to the Nuggets. This earns Kleiza two points.
9:40 – Kobe makes the three.
9:31 – Kenyon martin uses one hand to finish the alleyoop.
9:02 – Again, we’re playing too fast. Pau makes the first misses the second on his free throws here. 65-57.
8:47 – AI misses the three and I’m more than happy letting him shoot that. But do you remember the finals against the Sixers? He would’ve hit that. It seemed like he couldn’t miss.
Missed time – Kobe feeds Pau on the bounce pass and Pau drops in the beautiful finger roll.
7:54 – Laurence Tanter calls out Anthony’s name as he puts in a triple. Nuggets within five. Lakers get a second chance and Radman can’t convert.
7:11 – Lamar is trying to pick up a technical foul. The refs don’t oblige him. Melo grabbed a rebound (after some tango lessons with RadMan) and put up a jump hook. I’m not sure where the Lamar-induced contact was but it’s a foul nonetheless.
6:52 – After Kobe missed the three, Camby takes it strong to the rim in transition. Lots of velocity and draws the foul on Pau. Pau doesn’t like the call. Sorry Pau. It’s a foul. 66-67 Lakers up after the free throws. Lakers are super cold.
6:24 – Fisher draws a nice charge from Ai on a two on one break. That’s not execution by Denver. I’d be willing to bet my house that if that were Shaq, Fisher would not have made the same play. He’s brave, not stupid.
6:00 – Lakers need to call timeout as a Kleiza dunk in transition gives the Nuggets the lead. Ugh. 67-68.
5:40 – Life with Luke somehow gets the runner in the lane to go as he attacked the middle of the zone.
5:08 – Fisher gives the Lakers the lead again after Kmart got himself a dunk which gave the Nuggets the lead.
4:57 – Fisher hits Allen Iverson’s neoprene sleeve in the act of shooting. 71-71.
4:33 – Kobe uses his quickness to dribble left against Kmart. As the defense collapsed Kobe found Luke with some space. Luke had to use his body and some quickness to get the layup to fall as Camby was trying to block him from behind. Camby ends up picking up a foul. Luke converts the three point play. Atta boy Luke. 74-71 Lakers up.
4:08 – Kleiza outjumps Kobe for a rebound but because Mamba is a superstar, Kleiza gets a loose ball foul. If you think players don’t care about the game, watch Kleiza walk down the court after this play. He is more than a little bit annoyed with these so-called impartial officials.
Lakers have an inbounds on their own end Kobe at the top of the circle and jumps to shoot but the space cadet cut to the basket and Kobe finds him in one motion. The resulting play won’t win the dunk contest, but I’m smiling.
3:19 – A play that has most American saying, “that’s not fair.” Luke inbounds the ball over the top to Pau who’s camped out in the lane being guarded by Najera. Since Najera gives up so much height, it’s a huge mismatch. Pau takes his time and hits the jump hook. On the defensive end, this isn’t going to work for Denver. They’ve got to have Camby or Nene guarding Pau. Lakers up 71-78.
2:43 – Kobe’s penetration leads to collapsing Denver defense. Luke makes them pay with a three pointerrrr. I gotta hand it to Luke, he’s found the rejuvenation machine at the right time of the year. Timeout by Denver.
Honestly, Denver isn’t playing poorly tonight. Lakers are playing just well enough to stay in front, but not spectacular. Let’s see how they finish out the quarter. I’m sure Doug Collins would be talking about how good teams close out quarters if he were broadcasting the game. Instead, we’ve got Joel telling us not to forget to enter for a chance to win a trip to Malaysia.
2:23 – JR Smith’s arms look like tapestry pieces with the tattoo designs.
2:10 – Kobe misses the jumper. This better not be how he plays the rest of the way.
2:00 – Camby’s lower body refuses to cooperate and he runs right into Kobe. Charging foul.
1:37 – Najera picks up another offensive rebound but the Nuggets give it away. Sasha has it on the wing on the break and finds Pau running the middle and JR Smith commits the hard foul. Pau hits one of two. 82-74. Lakers up.
1:20 – Farmar is still having trouble guarding AI. His membership card is being laminated as we speak.
1:02 – Play of the game. I don’t care what happens the rest of the way. 6 seconds on the shot clock. Luke inbounds it to Pau on the wing inside the three point line, he does a half turn and Kobe run like a blur from the top of the circle on the weakside to finish a sick alleyoop with one hand over Najera. That was all Pau with a perfect feed.
0:42 – Lakers are still buzzing. Luke picks up a layup without much resistance. Has Denver given up?
0:23 – AI hasn’t. He hit’s a three. 86-79. Lakers will have the last shot…probably.
0:03 – Kobe drives with six seconds and kicks it out to Sasha in the right short corner. Splash. AI comes back and almost hits a three at the buzzer but no dice. 89-79 Lakers up. Solid finish to the end of the quarter by the good guys!

4th Quarter
10:57 – Phil Jackson folds up his portable fan and places it under his seat. At least I’m pretty sure that’s the only way to explain Marcus Camby airballing a 17 footer from the wing when no one was guarding him. Not a single Laker could have disrupted his shot if you gave them a samurai sword. That’s how open he was. I’m embarrassed for him.
10:42 – Sasha gets another three. This time from the left wing.
10:28 – JR Smith takes a really long three ball and swishes it home.
9:54 – The pace is getting too fast again. The teams are trading baskets and jumpes early in the clock.
9:27 – JR Smith this another three. 94-89 Lakers up.
9:08 – Kobe penetrates and finds Gasol for one of those dunks that were abundant in game one.
8:58 – Marcus Camby pulls a Luke Walton of last month and airballs it a foot long. To be fair, Pau Gasol rose his arm this time. Pau’s hairy armpits were probably unbelievably distracting.
8:49 – Rick Fox is being interviewed and using “we” and “us” to describe the Lakers. Sasha misses a three.
8:32 – AI gets in close and hits the layup. Stu keeps calling for one of the teams to play defense. (Both teams are a little bit lax right now)
8:08 – Pau gets the pass off the slip screen and keeps the ball high and flips it in. 98-91. Lakers still up.
7:48 – Luke was apparently paying attention in class because he realized that Kmart likes to go right. He drew the charge. No argument from Kmart.
7:14 – Melo backs himself down in the post to get a fairly easy two. 98-93. Nuggets within five now.
6:47 – Great Hustle by Sasha to track down a long miss by Pau Pau! Kobe herky jerks his way into the lane and gets the layup and a chance for a three point play. MVP MVP MVP! 101-93 Lakers up.
6:27 – I don’t think Kobe should be guarding JR smith. Kobe looks like Bambi on ice out there with JR just pulling the strings. Not many folks can do that to the Mamba. On the other end, Kobe throws up a long three that misses ugly over Melo. That might have been a heat check. Consider your heat checked Mr. Bryant.
5:47 – The cameras show my man Bobby Jones in street clothes tonight. He graduated the same year I did from Long Beach Poly, my alma mater and went to Washington alongside Brandon Roy. Jones has been with like 8 teams this season, including Denver at least twice. I hope he sticks this time. I’m sure he’ll have to improve over the summer.
5:47 – During a pair of Pau free throws, Kenyon Martin picks his ginormous nostrils with one of those yellow playoff towels. MMmmm. Tasty.
5:39 – Weird play. Fisher and Vujacic harass JR Smith as he tries to come through the lane without the ball. The play ends up being called a foul on Fisher and a technical on Smith for what? I’m not sure. Maybe for pushing Sasha a little bit. (Sasha acted like he had been hit with a telephone book, of course.) Kobe hits the technical. Still Denver ball and then Melo gets called for a clearout against Luke. So somehow the Lakers come out on top out of all that. 104-94 Lakers up 10. Luke’s had a good game. Allen Iverson picks up a technical foul. He’s got to somehow keep himself disciplined. 105-94.
5:20 – Lakers start to run the offense and this feels good. Eh, it leads to a Kobe three. Good result even though the ball never went inside. Kobe does his stupid popping, waving the front of the jersey thing. 38 points for man who is hated because he’s a champion. Timeout by I’m Coby’s Dad.
4:52 – AI is very much in FU mode. He just got his shot blocked by Kobe. He came back and stole the ball preventing the Lakers from converting the fast break. He didn’t think about passing. He looked for his shot in the lane and Kobe fouled him with his body in the air. Allen stares down the official. It’s pretty easy to see that Denver is not at it’s best when AI plays one on five like this. You can feel the Nuggets’ hot anger.
4:52 – Stu is nothing if not predictable. He complains that AI falls backwards on his free throws and that Iverson should go practice with a chair behind him.
Missed time – Kobe hits an awkward bank shot around Kleiza.
4:15 – AI takes a three as soon as his teammate passes to him. Way short.
4:10 – Joel just said, “Luke, with incredible doodie (duty)…” 95-111.
3:43 – Kobe blows by Kleiza and makes the reverse layup. 97-113.
3:25 – Melo does the same thing to Luke but misses the reverse. It was eerie how mirror image those two plays were back to back.
3:11 – Kobe misses a free throw and fisher and AI sprint for it. Iverson takes a hard fall and Fisher earns the foul. He gets up livid. And earns himself a technical. On the replay Fisher was mad because JR Smith held him (You can see JR look around like he got caught when the whistle blows). Iverson makes two of the three freethrows. 114-99.
2:47 – Is there anything Kobe can’t do? Kobe just shot it from about 28 feet over Kleiza and dropped it in. He had to, in order to beat the shot clock. 46 points, 10 dimes, 17/26 shooting. Much more impressive than last game wouldn’t you agree?
2:22 – Kobe takes it strong against JR, gets the foul and the basket. That was not a weak foul either. 49 points for the Kobester. The two of them contemplate sanitation engineering and talk a lot of trash. Kobe says, “you can’t guard me.” Smith says, “you can’t guard me either.” Kobe says, “yeah, but you don’t have almost 50 points.” Smith says, “good point.”
1:09 – George’s son gets into the game. Good for him. We’ll see if the crowd patronizes him by telling him to shoot like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix.
0:00 – That’ll do it. No points for George’s son. Great job by Kobe and Luke and Pau. Lamar was a non factor with too many fouls. 2-0 series lead for the purple and gold warriors.

Game Live Blog

Kurt —  April 20, 2008

Well, I guess it wasn’t technically live, unless you were at nomuskles house. He put together one of his popular live blogs of game one, so here it is in its entirety. Enjoy it and enjoy the win, even if it was not perfect or pretty. Playoff wins against quality opponents should not be taken lightly. We’ll start breaking this thing down in earnest tomorrow. For now, I’m going to have another adult malted beverage and savor the win.

Pregame thoughts
I have decided that the Lakers will lose in a bit of reverse psychology. Hopefully they will listen to my doubts and prove me wrong. However, by admitting that I am doing this, I might be undoing the reverse psychology, thus rendering it reverse reverse psychology. We’ll see what happens. I’m really excited for this game. I didn’t sleep well last night I was so excited! I think the Lakers will have a difficult time containing the Answer on penetration but their help defense will be solid. The question is, will JR Smith and Kleiza come off the bench to hit the open jumpers? Pau and Lamar have to remember to guard Camby’s 18-20 foot jumper, he can hit it. Today, it’s just me and the HDTV.

1st Quarter:
Got word from my friend in New York that the ABC affiliate there is showing the Pope instead of the game. What’s up with that? They can’t borrow a few hours of time from CSPAN?
Wilbon predicts 4-2 Lakers in the series with a Denver win today. He disagrees with Kurt and says the Nuggs don’t play defense.
I have no idea who that was doing the theme song for ABC, but that was lame. They should’ve gotten Foo Fighters. The Pretender would have been perfect. Today we’ve got Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mark Jackson. Denver will wear their primary road unis—the powder blue ones. Lakers will be in their Sunday whites.
We get an update that the bus carrying some of the Nuggs caught fire on the way to Staples Center. The players dodged cars on the freeway to run away from the exploding bus. Apparently Phil Jackson drove past the bus on his way to the arena. What kind of omen is this? Shades of food poisoning in Sacramento?
11:45 – The Nuggets also do the whole “The bench players don’t sit down until they get their first score” thing, as do the Lakers.
11:34 – Nuggets first possessions end up with some sloppy play and a missed shot.
11:31 – Kobe jacks up a quick three. Brick city. Lamar hustles for the rebound. Kobe gets it back, drives into the lane and in his indecisiveness, he just flicks it up off the backboard. Lame! The Space Cadet seals his man well and Pau gives him a pass post to post across the key where VladMan can lay it in.
10:49 – Melo gets the nuggs on the board with a jumper.
10:34 – Fisher gets an inside out pass and hits the three. Lakers up 5-2.
10:15 – Kobe drives baseline past Kenyon martin who has no help and Kobe gets an easy reverse layup. The Nuggs throw it out of bounds in quick transition. Lakers up 7-4
9:52 – The ABC guys are making a great point. Kenyon Martin is guarding Kobe, which means Allen Iverson is guarding Radmanovich. Both of those are bigtime mismatches but just as we’re mentioning that, Radman gets called for a foul trying to get position on the block. AI earns a golden globe for his flop there. The Space Cadet earns a seat on the bench with his second foul. With Vlad’s limited post ability, I don’t know if the mismatch there will hurt the Nuggs too much. (It will hurt them when Vlad becomes a slasher and gets the feed from Pau or Kobe).
9:29 – On the next possessions this happens exactly. Luke cuts to the bucket and gets a great look at a layup. Camby erases the effort though with a nice block. This play will work all day if Dad of Coby keeps AI on our SF.
8:58 – They go to Luke in the post again and he converts. Mismatch like whoa.
8:45 – Kobe blocked the Answer’s jumper and runs out the fast break but camby gets another block. Ball to the Lakers. Ugh. Offensive foul on Mamba. Lakers still up 9-6.
8:25 – Shoutout to Anthony Carter, the pride of Hawaii basketball.
8:05 – Lakers doing a great job cleaning up the glass on the defensive end.
8:00 – Lakers exploit the mismatches to perfection on this possession. Kobe lobs it into Luke. If Luke had more boosties, it’d be a dunk in this case, not so much. A couple Nuggets come to help. He kicks it out to Odom on the three point line who has a defender run him off the corner three. Lamar zips it to Pau who trailed the play into the middle of the lane and gets the easy dunk. In the confusion and scramble created by the mismatch, Camby got a little lost and guarded no one, allowing Pau to find some space in the lane.
7:45 – the triangle offense is apparently predicated on ball movement and player movement (according to Breen) or, when that doesn’t work, give it to kobe and get out of the way (according to JVG).
7:35 – AI hits two free throws. Nuggs down 7-11. His hair is nicely done for the start of the playoffs.
7:20 – Pau saves the ball from going out of bounds and lamar makes a great effort to take the ball away from melo, and before he fell out of bounds, he threw it off Melo. Lamar is pretty good at making that play. If I were melo, I might think about wearing a cup when Lamar is in the game though. That was pretty close to tagging his boys. Lakers forget about the 24 second clock and Kobe doesn’t get a shot off.
6:44 – AI hits the step back over Fisher. Kobe’s got a foul so he and fisher have switched assignments. That was perdy.
6:31 – Lamar had to change direction exactly zero times to dribble from the top of the key to the basket. This resulted, unsurprisingly in a left handed slam. If this were Car and Driver Magazine, Lamar just completed the 0-60-0 test…but was not subjected to the slalom course. Note to Nuggets: This brand of defense is why everyone thinks you soft. Way to not prove them wrong. 13 – 6 Lakers.
5:53 – whoops! Where’d it go. Nuggets pay too much attention to Kobe out top who finds Luke drifting towards the baseline. He bounce passes it to Pau who gives a little ball fake to Kleiza on his back. Kleiza stands more still than a statue. Pau hits the turnaround jump hook. Timeout Coloradoans.
George Karl and men, much much smaller than he are pushing into each other before the game in the locker room. Good to know that being old doesn’t preclude horsing around.
5:20 – Lamar waltzes to the basket and gets the layup over Camby. At least the Nuggets made him change directions once this time.
4:39 – the Lakers are not getting to the rebounds with the same tenacity as they did before.
4:16 – “Walton, nobody on him.” I’ll take the over on how many times Mike Breen says, “nobody on him” tonight. 21 – 11 Lakers.
3:22 – AI takes Fisher off the dribble. He gets a step and Lamar drifts off his man to provide support in the lane. AI has seen that before (every night) and finds Camby underneath the bucket for the easy dunk.
3:12 – Odom was by himself. Missed the shot. Luke hustles to get the long rebound. Pau ends up by himself earning a dunk. Kobe’s penetration caused that one.
2:46 – Lamar wishes his lengthy arms were about two inches longer as he mistimes his jump and bats an easy rebound out of bounds.
2:28 – Melo goes to the line. I think chants of D-U-I break out. Classy. JVG criticizes the fans for chanting that. I agree, but it’s not like Melo forgot to pick up after his dog that pooped on a neighbor’s lawn. He was driving totally hammered. That’s how you kill someone. Instead, they applaud his willingness to admit his mistake.
1:35 – “gasol is open.” He just misses the jumper. I’m going to go ahead and Ctrl+C that phrase right now.
0:53 – “Farmar left open.” Finally converts his first three ball. 26-16.
0:40 – Lakers don’t get back in transition. Kleiza gets the over the top pass down the court. Mamba pwnage! He blocks Kleiza from behind. AI picks up the miss and gets the putback to fall. Kleiza directs some displeasure at the official for not calling a foul. JR Smith is waiting to check into the game. 26-20 Lakers up.
0:03 – Lakers decide that the quarter ends when they stop playing, instead of them stopping to play when the quarter ends. Melo gets a fastbreak layup. Nuggs within four. Kobe just got beat down the court by Kleiza and he gets upset with Luke for not sticking with Melo. Uhh…. Pot, kettle, black?
2nd Quarter
Coby and George Karl are shown on the split screen. The cancer stories are trotted out for everyone.
11:40 – Nuggs are within 1. 25-26.
11:20 – The Space Cadet steps out of bounds on the baseline.
10:53 – JVG says the Lakers only have one baseline out of bounds play. Well that one play just netted Sasha a great shot which he drills. JR Smith fell asleep during the film session this week.
10:06 – Lakers offense is sputtering a little without Kobe and Pau.
9:51 – Kmart just takes it away from Turiaf.
9:43 – JR Smith misses a free throw. Somewhere, Stu Lantz is making the point that JR needs to not fall away on his free throws. Nuggs within 2 – 28-30. Kobe is 1 out of 8 on FG right now.
9:10 – Nuggs take their first lead with a Kleiza three. 31-30.
8:47 – Kleiza hits another. Lakers call timeout. 9-0 run for the power blues. 34-30 nuggets.
JR Smith shaves his legs. The camera is giving me an ankle eye view of the Nugget huddle and you can see his silky smooth skin.
8:18 – Kleiza puts his name in the hat for 6th man of the year.
7:55 – Sasha finally breaks the drought. Hits a three.
7:43 – Kleiza takes it to the bucket and finishes with the teardrop. 38-33 Nuggets.
7:16 – Lakers are lazy on defense (Kobe I’m looking at you.) he slaps JR Smith on the way to the basket after JR beat Luke off the dribble and lets him convert the runner. That is unhelpful defense.
7:01 – Smith applies for the unfilled position of Pau Gasol’s human backpack while and then does the “who me?” pose afterwards. Gasol hits two. 41-35 Nuggs lead.
6:40 – the Lakers are suffering malaise. Give up an offensive rebound.
6:02 – Fisher does the unselfish thing. He passes up the open three, surveys the land like Lewis and Clark, and then feeds Pau in the post being guarded by Melo. Mr. Lala is no match for the Spaniard. Two points. Nuggets come right back and in about four seconds Kmart gets himself two points. Lakers have decided that not playing defense is more fun than working hard to control their own end. It’s a good thing they practiced the past few days concentrating on coming out with intensity on defense. Whoops. 45-37 Nuggets.
5:30 – Luke hits the three after good ball movement. I’m not surprised they got a good luck. Melo was spying near the paint to prevent a Kobe drive to the bucket. That left the Lakers with a lot of space on the perimeter.
4:47 – Luke hits a short jumper. 43-47.
4:18 – Finally, Kobe hits the 18 footer from the side. Melo with a nice shot of his own.
3:50 – great look by Fisher to hit Odom cutting behind the defense. Dunkalicious. 47-49.
3:10 – Camby tries out his Allen Iverson impersonation. Drives to his right trying to get past Gasol. The Spaniard moves well enough to prevent the drive from going anywhere dangerous. Camby throws the ball up anyway and it doesn’t hit the rim. There is something surreal about watching two lanky men as one of them drives to the bucket and the other tries to move laterally to stop him. A blur they were not. A pair of baby giraffes is more like it.
3:07 – Lamar does his make one miss one thing at the line. I think he needs to drop his back foot more back. He doesn’t seem to have it behind him enough.
2:51 – AI draws contact from Kobe and that’s Kobe’s third. He’ll probably sit the rest of the half. Maybe he’ll “use this time to think about what he’s done,” as my second grade teacher might have said. In this case, he’s done very little on the defensive end. Scratch that. Kobe stays in. Iverson has had a little difficulty at the line tonight.
2:34 – Pretty pass from Gasol to Luke for the layup. 50-50.
2:02 – Gasol = Dr. J. You don’t believe me? Watch him glide through the lane with his 0.4 second hang time and alter his shot to get the layup around the defender. 54-50.
0:43 – Fisher to Kobe to Lamar to Pau. Dunk. Those three passes happened in about the span of 1 second. Let’s have more of that. Like I said before, Gasol does a great job of cutting with hands up so that he’s almost always ready for the quick passes.
0:22 – Lamar is hungry for rebounds! He gets the rebound off the Sasha miss. And earns himself a layup. Woot!
Last possession for the Nuggets – Sasha hounds AI at halfcourt while Iverson waits for the clock to run down. AI mishandles the ball and it goes into the back court. Was that a violation? Ref says play on. AI gets it back, gets some penetration with the clock winding down. He finds Najera and Sasha runs over and just mauls najera as he’s shooting a three. No foul called. That’s how the half will end. Nice job by the Lakers to get back in the game after that lapse.
Kobe is 2 for 10 but he’s been setting his teammates up splendidly.
Good feature on the Boston Three Party. Melo is mic’d. And we don’t learn anything about him.
Michelle Tafoya spoke with George Karl. Denver wants to attack the basket. He’s apparently in awe of the Lakers’ passing. JVG says Karl should think about taking Carter out of the game and putting in Kleiza or JR Smith to create more natural matchups. Father of Coby says, “uhh…why didn’t I think of that?”
11:45 – Gasol starts it off with two free throws. 56-60. Lakers.
11:33 – Kmart doesn’t get the alleyoop to go.
11:14 – Odom does a great job after forgetting to box out. Melo tries to bulldoze LO and gets called for the charge.
10:50 – Kobe misses the three and for some reason he doesn’t get back in transition. Lamar is all alone and Melo converts the lay in. charge that one to Kobe misreading what was happening and not using his NOS tank to get back.
10:38 – Gasol gets a great follow dunk. And a tough rebound on the other end. Lakers up 62-58.
10:04 – LO is tenacious. Misses a layup against Camby but he gets the rebound.
9:50 – Kobe intercepts a pass and streaks downcourt by himself. Carter grabs him to prevent the layup. Nothing vicious. But then something happens and Carter gives Kobe a little shove. Not sure what happened there. Kobe apparently tagged Carter in the eye on accident and he took out his frustration on Kobe by giving him a small nudge. Carter is telling bald Joey Carter that this is not the first time he’s been hit in the face.
9:14 – Camby’s Chinese tattoos always create a little bit of dissonance for me. Why do they have to be so big?
9:03 – Camby slaps the crap out of Pau’s arms. And then he complains that he’s called for a foul. JVG says the Nuggs are -14 when Iverson and Carter are on the floor together. Plus/Minus might be misleading, but I think that’s real talk.
8:25 – The Space Cadet finds Pau under the basket. Delayed pick and roll. Pau is, all together now, “all alone.”
7:56 – Kobe catch and shoot on the out of bounds play. 73-60 Lakers up. Can the Lakers hang on to this big lead? I say, let’s not bet your house on it just yet.
7:42 – Don’t draw too many conclusions from this, but I would not surprised if I heard that Kenyon Martin hangs out with Mike Tyson. He just seems that volatile to me. I think it’s his build and the tattoos.
7:19 – Kobe does his usual mental lapse. Fouls Melo shooting a jump shot. The replay is inconclusive as to whether he actually touched Melo’s elbow or not.
6:58 – Lakers get careless and Denver takes it away which leads to a Denver fast break. Kleiza slam.
6:45 – Kobe fouled and hits a tough fade away over Martin. And one. 76-64 Lakers. Let’s see if that sparks the Mamba’s offense.
6:26 – LO is victim to one of those automatic foul calls. He and Kleiza go up for the rebound but Kleiza gets a better hold of it and bring it down. LO’s arms get wrapped around Kleiza in a sweet embrace and Joe Crawford calls the foul. Denver isn’t able to convert on the inbounds.
5:34 – Lakers are doing a terrible job boxing out. Nuggets are doing a good job pushing the Lakers out of rebounding position and are being rewarded with no-calls and offensive rebounds. Kmart earns a trip to the line.
5:18 – Kobe drills it. He’s shaking his head “no.” If I’m Denver, I don’t mind this. Kobe by himself can’t beat Denver.
5:11 – AI is 6/12 from the charity stripe. Lakers still up 78-67.
4:55 – Stomach punch by the Lakers. Pau one on one with Camby in the post. His hook shot gets blocked away but it’s right to the Space Cadet. His shot is wet. 81-67.
4:26 – Kobe is talking a lot to Farmar during the free throw. They are apparently discussing how to defend AI. I think “say lots of prayers” was mentioned. AI promptly hits a jumper coming off a screen. JVG says Kobe is probably tell him to get the switch with Sasha so AI can be Sasha’s problem. Funny man that JVG. The Lakers offense is stagnant and we’re not seeing the cutters like we did before.
3:40 – This lineup for the Nuggs is doing well. Najera, Smith, Camby, AI, and Kleiza.
3:16 – Pau gets thirty points on a great feed into the lane. 85-73 Lakes.
2:47 – Pau trails the play and gets his no jump dunk on. He’s got so little lift, my 62 year old father starts laughing. I kid you not. Timeout Nuggets. Lakers up fourteen.
Kobe is still talking to Sasha and Farmar about the defense. I’m glad we’re making defense a little bit of a priority here. Let’s not forget there is a TON of time left here. The ABC guys have popcorn on their desk/table. I’m not sure how they eat without us hearing.
2:28 – Lakers tough defense leads to a Denver turnover. Lamar runs a slow break and no one stops him. So he does his swoop left hander and gets knocked to the floor. No foul though. In fairness, Camby did make him take bigger steps on his way to the hoop. The announcers can’t get enough of Lamar. They think he’s the best thing since Velcro.
1:09 – Linus Kleiza is playing a great game. But man, his free throw just there was super ugly. Frozen rope off the back iron.
0:56 – RadMan finds too many nuggets around him and drops it off to Pau for the slam. JVG with the comment of the day, “it’s like room service for Gasol, the ball is finding him.”
0:29 – The Space Cadet his a three ball from the corner. Mike Breen says they are blowing out the Nuggets now. I’m still not betting the house that the Lakers will remain strong. 94-75 Lakers.
0:00 – Farmar decides he doesn’t want a 10 trillion and makes the wide open three with time expiring. 97-78 Lakers with one more quarter to go.
4th Quarter
Phil does his little smirky thing with Michelle Tafoya saying Kleiza and Smith are having too much fun. On the other hand though, it’s my impression that the Lakers haven’t done a bad job limiting Melo and Camby.
11:24 – JR Smith tries to demolish Walton on a fast break layup and Smith gets owned by the floor. Flagrant 1 against Smith. Two foul shots and the ball out of bounds.
11:11 – Nuggets on the break and Walton almost gets a clean strip from Kleiza. I said almost. It was actually all wrist/arm. Apparently we can’t mention Kleiza without mentioning Lithuania fourteen times. At least we got a Sarunas Marciulionis mention out of it. I liked that guy back in the day. Remember the tie-dye jerseys?
10:05 – Smith is quick. He almost destroys Kobe’s ankles. The Lakers orthopedic surgeon breathes a sigh of relief when Kobe remains upright. Barely. Kobe was backpedaling and was all sorts of discombobulated.
9:58 – After two Melo free throws, the lead is only 13.
9:13 – I bow down at AI’s feet.
8:31 – 101-88.
8:17 – melo abuses Pau’s layup attempt. Smith takes it hard to the bucket at the other and gets the bucket and the foul. 101-91.
7:57 – Kobe hits a three ball. Back to 13.
7:33 – I’m letting AI operate on his own all day long. Even though he’s hitting a lot of shots, the Nuggets shouldn’t be able to win that way.
7:15 – Kobe slices through the defense. Layup. 106 – 93.
7:03 – Kobe picks up his fifth foul. Lamar will come in and take his place.
6:45 – Machine!! Vujacic hits a three.
6:20 – Lamar is hurting. Something is wrong with his right knee. He’ll probably keep playing but he’s a little gimpy. Timeout. He just bumped knees with Kleiza apparently.
5:57 – LO at the line. He makes the first one. Just kidding. Of course he missed it. He misses the second one too. 109-95
5:42 – Melo is active on offense. He misses the first layup against Pau. Gets his miss. Shoots again and is fouled by Pau. Crowd chants DUI again. 109-96. Kobe checks back in.
4:55 – Kmart has had enough of LO driving to the basket and blocks it out of bounds. Kobe dribbles against Kmart and throws up a huge brick that doesn’t draw iron.
4:30 – JR Smith is a perfect angel. He never fouls. At least that’s what he thinks. Kobe is standing at the line and he and Kmart are talkin a little junk. Refs give the double T. 98-112 after the free throws.
3:50 – the past two possessions, AI has just made it the basket super easy. AI is wondering how come he can’t play against the Lakers every night.
3:27 – AI draws contact and still makes it. Fouled. The Space Cadet didn’t play good D there. He’s either got to commit the foul or let him go. 114-105 After the free throw. Is there a reason we haven’t seen Nene? Is he injured still?
2:37 – Kobe was anxious the whole possession. Alley oop to Kobe. It wasn’t the usual backdoor. It was just a blatant mismatch against Carter who had no help behind him and ended up fronting Kobe. Pau got him with the lob over the top. AI decides he wants to check-out what’s on the post-game menu a little early and gets tossed from the game with two quick technicals. Or maybe he had a 3:00pm surfing lesson. Kobe gets to shoot four free throws in a row. Pad his stats time. Despite shooting a horridly, he still got 32 points. 122-107. This one is done and now everyone knows it.
0:41 – After a great Lamar Odom alleyoop from Walton, Najera lines up the straight on three. You could see him thinking, “If all these other guys are going to be knuckleheads, I’m going to get mine.” And he drills it.
0:00 – Jack Nicholson tells his son to grab his swag bag and they leave the court.
Kobe is being interviewed by Michelle Tafoya and he says that his shots in the first three quarter were “just a little off.” If you didn’t watch the game on television, let me tell you, his shot was a little off in the same way that dating someone you think is a woman but turns out to be a man is just a little problem.
LA Lakers 1, Enver Nuggets 0. (hat tip, basketbawful)