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Our Lakers are about to face off against the Detroit Smurfs. I mean, the Detroit Pistons. The Lakers are back home on the Staples Center court and one of the side stories tonight is that Mamba will be moving past Larry Legend and possibly The Glove on the all-time scoring list. In my humble opinion, that accomplishment doesn’t really mean a whole lot because evidence suggests that hanging a lot of points on your opponent individually doesn’t necessarily lead to championships. Kobe has proven he can score, but Lakers fans should be looking for him to fill up the rest of the stats and improve on Hollinger’s beloved PER. As the late Marvin Gaye might say, Let’s Get It On.

1st Quarter

As expected, Stone Hands Kwame will be in the starting lineup for the Smurfs. Newly acquired Allen Iverson will also be making his first appearance in LA as a Piston. Does it ever bother anyone else that the jargon used to describe player movement is similar to the word choice used to describe the buying and selling of consumer goods?

11:15 – Stone Hands gets booed as he gets the ball in the post and he ends up coughing it up. I feel really bad about calling him stone hands since he totally proved me right.

11:04 – Bynum shows that he has anti-stone hands as he catches turns and lays it in. It wasn’t the most graceful move but it involved a lot of concentration and control.

9:30 – The Smurfs are a lot faster to shoot with AI in the lineup. They have caught the Lakers flat footed and the score is 10-2. AI hasn’t missed.

8:43 – Tayshaun drills a pull up jumper in Radman’s eye from above the free throw line. That was an intense bucket.

8:29 – Kobe gets stuck in the high post doing his up and down routine and RIP won’t go for the fakes. Kobe decides to jump into Hamilton and create contact and somehow draws the whistle and the bucket. If the refs are going to call it that way all night, RIP is in for a long night.

8:10 – Tayshaun Prince is the Smurfs point forward—he’s handling most of the point guard duties (heh, I just said, duties). He decides to dribble out the shot clock (in part due to the Space Cadet’s excellent defense. no really. I’ll wait while you roll on the floor with uncontrollable laughter) and then takes a low elevation fadeaway from about 18 feet. It’s the Smurfs’ first miss of the night.

7:48 – great two-man game between Bynum and Pau at the mid post and high post. Pau got Bynum an assist when Stone Hands went for the Bynum up-fake. Rasheed had to come over to guard bynum and Pau spaced to the left wing for the open jumper. Splash.

7:07 – great hustle play by stone Hands to get his team a second chance opportunity. Smurfs don’t convert.

6:48 – Bynum misses two in a row. One of them a gimme from 5 feet over Kwame’s stellar I’m-Not-going-to-jump defense.

6:13 – Bynum gets his team a second chance. And then a third chance. And then Kobe finds Bynum dashing toward the basket. Bynum keeps the ball high and lays it in off the window. With a couple stops and some buckets, the Lakers only trail by three. Stone Hands is no match for the mobility and activity of the young kid. 12-9 Smurfs lead.

5:33 – Out of a timeout, the Pistons had no idea what to do and the Lakers caused a 24-second violation. That’s not good coaching.

5:18 – Kobe spins around Rip and there is no one within 10 feet. Kobe gets a two handed slam. 12-11 Smurfs up.

4:58 – Kwame gets deep position against Bynum (Bynum probably should’ve worked harder before the catch) but blows the turnaround.

4:35 – Bynum goes after another offensive board. Stone Hands has got to be feeling a little silly. Pau will convert that possession into two free throw attempts. He gets one of them.

4:13 – On a semi-fast break, The Spaniard throws up a terrible alley-oop to the Mamba from the three point line and somehow Kobe is able to get the elevator to go one level higher. He throws it in with one hand without breaking his arm on the backboard. Unbelievable. Mamba had to throw it throw it back against the momentum of the ball to prevent it from bouncing off the glass. Kobe should do the Sam Cassell big balls dance right now. Lakers take the lead and the Smurfs take a timeout.

3:57 – Pau gets whistled for a foul on the post entry into Rasheed. Kobe was about to come from the weakside to get the blindside steal. That’s what we’ve been talking about with the willingness of the Lakers to leave one man open on the opposite side of the floor in order to force more pressure on the ball handlers.

3:18 – Smurfs figure out the defense on this possession. Rasheed runner in the lane off a nice feed.

2:44 – Wallace this time from outside drains the three. Don’t let that guy go off. 17-14 Smurfs take the lead.

1:45 – Lamar hits the long two. Nice stroke on that one. Remember last year when he couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn?

0:55 – Lakers bungle that possession and violate the 24-second limit.

0:50 – Ariza is guarding Stuckey (who really does look like 50 cent). Iverson drills the fadeaway from the right baseline over Farmar.

0:31 – Odom appears to get away with a feet shuffle on the wing and takes it strong the basket. He draws a foul on Stone Hands. Misses the first badly. Fabio err… Walter Hermann enters the game. Odom misses the second off the back iron.

0:00 – Kobe has the ball as the clock winds down. Stuckey’s defense causes him to rethink his shot attempt. He passes it but Iverson intercepts it and he sprints the other direction. AI somehow gets this funky running lob slash floater shotput to go as the buzzer sounds. Sick. 23-16 Smurfs withstand the Lakers run. Will they open up the lead or will the Lakers make the necessary adjustments?

2nd Quarter

11:35 – The Lakers use all of the 24 second shot clock to get a terrible shot out of Ariza from 25 feet.

10:57 – Iverson auditions in front of the Hollywood producers as he flops his way to a foul in defensive transition. Farmar is the victim of his acting skills.

10:32 – Farmar gets two points back from the Rasheed three that just dropped.

10:10 – Farmar throws a nice lob to Ariza in transition.

9:31 – Perhaps gasol should consider guarding Rasheed on the three point line. I think that’s Rasheed’s third from deep. 33-20.

8:53 – Odom takes it away from Fabio.

8:41 – Out of a timeout, the play is… for an Ariza pull up jumper? He drains it.

8:18 – tayshaun drains his straightaway three. Lakers have to be losing that stat category. 36-24 Smurfs.

7:39 – Machine make baskets. 36-27.

7:23 – Ariza gets hit in the man bits. Warren Sapp makes Stu look silly. Stu asks him about his baseball career in high school and Sapp tells him to stop reading Wikipedia because he never played baseball. He played basketball

7:07 – Gasol converts!

6:45 – Gasol trails the play and looks like he wants to dunk it but at the very last second, he drops it off to Odom for the finish. Beautiful. Odom gets the next one inside as well. 43-34 Smurfs.

5:57 – Jason Maxiell Boston Celtics Lamar and Pau. That is to say, he exploits their stand and wait rebounding technique. He dunks the miss with some attitude. Timeout golden warriors. 45-34.

5:29 – Ariza picks Maxiell’s pocket with some ninja surprise. Kobe converts a turnaround jumper from the elbow at the other end.

4:41 – Stuckey Cent takes Ninja Surprise off the dribble. To create space he lowers his shoulder and sends Ariza into the first row of photographers. The refs decide this is a move disallowed by the rules of the NBA. Stuckey goes to the bench.

4:18 – Ninja Surprise uses all of his activity to generate a second possession for the Lakers which Pau misses. Ninja Surprise says, “I got this.” And dunks the ball off the Gasol miss. 47-38 Detroit showing LA who’s boss.

3:45 – Phil allows Bynum to come back into the game. I think good things are going to happen.

2:22 – Some sloppy possessions by both sides. Pau gets marshmallowy and loses control of the ball. Kobe demonstrates the proper way to draw a foul. He’ll shoot two after the tv timeout. I got distracted and missed what happened with the free throws.

1:45 – Lakers (i.e. Super Kobe) miss the jumper. Lakers trail 51-40.

0:50 – Hamilton barrels into Fisher on the drive and kick. Fisher accepts the out-of-control call and it will go the other way.

0:30 – Kobe dribbles it away. Tayshaun gets three layup attempts and converts the last one.

0:01 – Kobe gets to his spot on the right side about 10 feet out and banks it off the glass as time expires. 53-44 Lakers trail the Smurfs.

Halftime

Billy Mac and Norm Nixon look a lot more comfortable outside than they did last week when they were fighting off the blustery wind.  Did anyone see Quantum of Solace yet? Should I go see it? Bond films aren’t usually my thing, but the trailers look good, if unrevealing.

3rd 25%

My prescription for a comeback: More Ariza and Bynum. Ariza is having his normal positive effect on both sides of the floor and Bynum makes the Smurfs pay for their small lineup. Hamblin says the Lakers adjustments will be to try and contain the guard penetration. Really? That’s it? Your plan is to try and stay in front of AI? Isn’t everyone’s? Isn’t the whole point of his career that you can’t stay in front of him? This is my definition of a flawed plan executed to perfection.

11:16 – Bynum erases Rasheed’s layup.

10:46 – Stone Hands watch: Kwame makes the dunk off the feed from Hamilton.

10:24 – RIP makes the short jumper.

10:06 – Dfish makes his first jumper of the night. He and Radman are 1-12 tonight combined according to Stu.

9:34 – Kobe hits the PUJIT over Wallace. 57-50 Smurfs up.

9:07 – Lakers are running a lopsided polygon offense. Poor shot results.

8:45 – AI’s jumper falls from inside the three point line off the dribble. On the plus side, he didn’t penetrate. ::rolls eyes::

8:00 – Kobe takes it left off the dribble and dunks it left-handed. Beautiful.

7:38 – Stone Hands bricks his free throw after getting the bucket against the Bynum foul. 61-54 Smurfs.

6:45 – Bynum now believes that Tayshaun is a magician. Prince beat Radman left and squeezed past Bynum on the baseline for the two hand jam. I’m not sure why the space cadet was shading Prince to his strong hand but maybe he believed that was the smart strategy. Hindsight is 20/20. 65-56 Pistons.

5:00 – Bynum swats Hamilton’s layup about 35 feet into the second row on the sideline. Rasheed hits the buzzer beater three ball over the outstretched arm of Gasol. The bank is late tonight! 70-58. Lakers are in trouble.

3:22 – Trevor slashes to the bucket and finishes in traffic. Nice, but you can’t rely on that all the time. 70-60.

2:40 – The band is playing the defense chant, about four fans are cheering along.

2:00 – Stone Hands Brown blocks Gasol’s turnaround set shot in the paint. The Spaniard might need to trim that caveman beard to help him get more lift on that shot.

1:33 – Lakers get a fast break layup off a turnover. Lamar converts the tough finish.

0:49 – The Machine breaks defense. He let’s Rip run back door for the easy flex cut feed.

0:15 – Pistons open up their biggest lead of 15.

0:01 – The Machine misses from deep. And the quarter ends 77-62. Pistons are just frustrating everything the Lakers are trying to do.

4th Quarter

11:43 – Stone Hands receives the love from the crowd. They boo him vociferously and he rattles both of his free throws home. One of them was an accidental bank.

11:15 – Stuckey Cent draws a foul on the Machine.

10:38 – Farmar’s stepback goes from the top of the key. 79-64.

9:48 – Smurfs run their end of quarter offense. Four down and the lakers get a steal. Farmar with the fast break layup at the other end.

9:25 – The Machine needs a firmware revision. He fouls again. Rip will get two free throws. He makes both.

8:55 – The nomuskles sister has called this one for the Pistons. Thought you should know.

8:07 – Lamar takes Prince on the block and converts the lefty jump hook and the ensuing free throw.

8:03 – Machine gets a jump ball surprising StuckeyCent in the backcourt. They’ll toss it up in the Lakers offensive end but Rasheed gets the tip.

7:28 – “At least they’re getting it inside now.” –Joel. I smell the declaration of a moral victory. Bynum converts his two freebies. 83-71.

6:45 – The Lakers got a great look for Bynum from Kobe under the bucket but Bynum missed the contested shot and in the disorganized transition, Prince hibachi’s the three ball. Timeout Zen Master. I still say, less Machine, more Ninja Surprise and Bynum. Also, where is Mamba? Are his legs tired from Beijing? Actually, it’s just the constant double teams that are giving him fits. The secondary defenders are cheating off their men early and cramming the lane. The Smurfs watched the game tape from last season’s Finals and learned a trick or two.

5:01 – Finally Mamba hits something. He hit’s a three from the left wing. 91-74.

4:30 – Odom gets the intentional foul to stop the clock and send the Pistons to the line. Unfortunately, that’s not what he was trying to do. He was just trying to get around Wallace in the backcourt after the rebound. Mental fatigue. Lamar sits down. I’d expect to see Chris Mihm and Josh Powell soon.

4:18 – Kobe hits a three ball from the Nokia theater.

4:03 – Kobe is going to just shoot three’s the rest of the way here. He misses another.

3:44 – Moral victory: Kobe stuffs Rip’s jumper back into Hamilton’s face. Anti Victory: Lakers still losing by a the square of four.

3:34 – Mamba fixes a broken play, splitting the double time and gets fouled on his layup. He misses the free throw short. 93-79.

3:08 – DFish hits his second three point attempt on the possession. Rasheed gets an easy dunk as the pistons break the trap. And this one is done folks. We’re going to go ahead and invoke the mercy rule for the live blog.

On a more positive note, I would highly recommend the Flight Path Museum for anyone in Southern California. The museum is on the LAX campus (you enter off of Imperial Highway past the end of the 105 West and pays tribute to aviation history of the Los Angeles area and the airport itself. I visited the small museum today and had a great experience with a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guide. While not overwhelming, the museum is informative and contains many notable artifacts from commercial aviation history. Make sure you take a peek at the Spirit of Seventy-Six, a non-working DC-3. Admission is free but you can donate, if you wish. My visit happened to coincide with the departure of the USC football team and was fortunate enough to be invited onto their charter plane to check out the cockpit of a modern 757. More interesting to viewers of this site is that the tour guide said that the Lakers often leave from the same area of the airport. Check it out if you have a free hour or want to rent out the space for an organizational event.

2008-2009’s first nomuskles powered live blog is here!

Am I the only one surprised at how well Odom has tolerated his move to the bench?

1st Quarter

Annoying detail of no importance whatsover. The Lakers and Clippers have changed from Porter brand stanchions to Spalding brand stanchions. The Mavs have changed to Spalding this year as well. Is there a spalding conspiracy?

11:18 – Bynum shows what the Lakers were missing last year with his block on Jason Terry. Terry thought he had a clear lane to the basket and Bynum erased his attempt.

10:47 – J Kidd dusts of his jump shot over Bynum’s arm.

10:02 – Dirk is caught not guarding anyone in some zone defense and as a result, Pau gets the offensive rebound. Lakers convert the putback. Lack of concentration on Dirk’s part?

9:45 – Dirk gets called for a moving screen. More lack of concentration. I almost didn’t recognize the German without the Olympic rings shaved in his head.

9:28 – Pau shoots a high rainbow from the free throw line that somehow finds bottom.

9:02 – The Harlem Globetrotters are out there with all these turnovers and slipping on the court.

8:20 – the ref decides Kobe failed to establish his verticality as Dirk runs him over.

7:56 – Gerald Green takes a great three point set shot. Cupcake man seems to be working on his all-around game. Honestly it brings a tear to my eye.

6:41 – Bynum is really getting frustrated by the ugly defense of Dampier. Every time Bynum goes up for a shot under the bucket, Damp is pushing him down low and it’s really starting to get under Bynum’s (sizable amount of) skin.

6:01 – Cupcake man steam rolls fisher and somehow gets the foul call. Dubious.

5:35 – The Spaniard vs. the German. Pau looks a little rushed and throws up a premature jump hook. Brick city.

5:27 – Bynum picks up a phantom foul against Terry. The young buck is upset. He’ll go straight to the bench with his anger.

4:53 – Kobe finishes the break with the left hand and Kidd picks up a boneheaded foul. Three point play.

4:03 – Kobe is trying to teach Cupcake Man a lesson. The lesson would be, “you can’t guard me.” So far, it’s not really working out how Kobe hoped, but he’s going to get his tonight. Kurt’s right. 17-23 Dallas is leading after two Mamba free throws.

Ariza and Odom have checked in. Look for awesomeness to follow.

3:09 – Ariza’s tough defense leads to a bad Stackhouse three but Cupcake man comes up with the long rebound. That young man is trying to get paid. His epidermal integrity has apparently failed him though as his bleeding has caused the need for a stoppage in play.

2:56 – The Mavs are a little confused on offense. Three guys were hanging out by the weak-side elbow. Spacing was, shall we say, lacking. Ariza gets the baseline dribble.

1:59 – Kobe finishes a lob play with a quick layup. Great display of balance and strength by the Mamba.

1:24 – Kidd still drinking the fountain of splash. He gets a three to fall.

1:00 – terry finishes a fast break layup against the long arms of Odom. 31-23 Dallas.

0:46 – Terry gets a deep the corner two.

0:26 – Lakers give up a fast break layup. 35 – 23 Mavs. It might be time to re-examine that commitment to defense we’ve been hearing about.

0:09 – the Giraffe-like Spaniard gets a couple freebies and then Ariza picks Kidd’s pocket at halfcourt for the easy slam. The kid with the mop scampers out of his way with a quickness Chris Mihm would be hard-pressed to match. Ariza = good things happening. Brian Cook, it’s like we never knew ye. 35-26 Mavs up. That’s how the quarter will end.

 

2nd Quarter

Sasha’s sporting a leg sleeve on his southpaw leg.

10:27 – Great pick and roll for Lamar and Bynum results in an acrobatic layup.

10:13 – Bynum started putting down roots in the key and got caught. It gives us a chance to admire Phil Jackson’s flowing mane of silver hair.

10:10 – Stackhouse wants no part of Bynum’s shot blocking activity. He passes it to the German who throws up a contested 15 footer.

9:33 – The German gets bumped by Odom and somehow throws it in. Guys in the L will always amaze. No foul called.

9:01 – Ariza dusts off his “you can’t guard me” lesson for Gerald green. Must have been a pretty decent powerpoint presentation because the jump hook counts for two.

8:52 – Odom will have the chance to shoot two free throws after a great defensive sequence for Sasha who stole the ball and threw it to Farmar in one motion while falling out of bounds. HAHAHA. The coaches are showed on the bench with their knees in their chests. They look like they are sitting in chairs built for kindergarten kids. I’m not even sure what happened to those free throws.

8:15 – Lamar backs The German down in the post and gets the bucket.

7:46 – Lamar tries his lefty scoop and actually misses it. That’s usually money.

7:42 – Ariza draws a charge on Cupcake Man. Green does not like the call but he’ll have to not like the call on the bench for a bit.

7:01 – Diop roofs Farmar’s ill-advised interior shot but Vujacic picks up the rebound and drills the 17 footer.

6:11 – 44-39 Mavs still up. Just a score update. I keep meaning to update the score and falling behind. Timeout happens somewhere around here. This game is wild and entertaining. I’m not sure high level of skill is one of the adjectives I’d use, however.

5:43 – Kobe shoots the long jumper.

5:09 – Awesome. Kobe spots the secondary defender cheating and lasers a pass to Bynum underneath for the slam. Great great great vision.

4:29 – It might be an asset to be 7’0”. This thought occurs to me as Bynum doesn’t jump and still throws the ball downward into the hoop.

4;07 – Jason Terry is the recipient of a beautiful bounce pass backdoor from Kidd. 50-45 Mavs.

3:11 – How is that not a travel? The German practically packed his bags and cleared customs with that hop and skip! And then he holds his nose because the Spaniard decided his face needed a slight rearrangement during the middle of that ridiculous bucket. At the other end, the Big German returns the favor. Apparently the two big marshmallow men are unaware about the rich history of cooperation their two nations have dating back to the time of the Hapsburgs.

2:10 – Kidd busts out the 6-inch windmill layup with contact. He misses the free throw. 48-56 Mavs still up.

1:40 – I’m not sure if that was an alley-oop but it worked out that way. Lamar to Pau is a beautiful thing. 50-56 Mavs leading by a half dozen.

0:58 – Pau shows off some man sauce against Dampier and muscles his way into the middle of the paint for a three point play opportunity. At this point I should also note that the Space Cadet has not contributed much tonight in the way of anything. 56-53 Mavs after the free throw.

0:38 – Derek “point4” Fisher fouls terry on the sideline trap. Doh! With 5 seconds left on the shot clock and such little time left in the half, that’s not the play the coaching staff was looking for. On the plus side, this break in the action allows the writer to admire the circularity of JET’s dome.

0:30 – Kobe tries to go two for one taking some unknown Maverick off the dribble earning a shooting foul. He’ll get two free throws and blow one of them. 58-54 Mavs still up. Lakers should get one more shot.

0:10 – Dirk drills the two with Lamar’s paw in his grill. Kobe can’t convert at the other end. Lakers still trail by a half dozen. 60-54.

 

Halftime

I would donate a lot of blood to see James Worthy do the halftime show in his goggles.

 

3rd Quarter

11:50 – Kobe is guarding Kidd at the point and Kidd decides that Radman is the weak spot. He’s right. Cupcake Man gets up to blow out the candle and finish the alley-oop. Radman asks Pau if that was his man. Pau says, “obvi”

10:37 – The Space Cadet plays hot potato and throws it away. Kobe slumps over.

10:12 – The Lakers turned it over again and Dirk drills the three. 64-55 Mavs leading.

9:52 – The Mavs, not to be outdone, rifle a pass off the stanchion support. Dampier was the intended receiver. Intentional grounding was not called.

9:00 – After finding his athleticism matched by cupcake man, Kobe decides to find a much easier target. Kidd watches Kobe blow by him and has no choice but to grab his jersey.

8:22 – I wish I had voted for Ariza for President.

8:13 – Radman throws up a three pointer that goes about 14 inches too far. Air ball. Definitely a space cadet game.

Kobe is a little bit tired of this. He’s just going to take it to the rim and score. Then jack up a three but this one misses. Then Radman will try his luck and miss his three as well.

6:54 – Joel Myers is begging his producer to find him a thesaurus so he can find synonyms for “ugly.” At least I imagine him doing so. It’s so bad Luke is going to check in for the space cadet. Probably because it’s not second unit time and Phil doesn’t want to waste Ariza’s energy with this lax group.

6:17 – That decision immediately pays off when Luke Walton gets beat off the dribble and his man goes all the way to the bucket which misses but Dampier is left alone to get the putback slam. 61-70 Dallas leads. Tough spot for the son of bill to come in there; you know, against someone who can dribble and run at the same time. Phil has decided to not let the young team hang themselves yet. Time out called.

5:53 – Dallas whips out a tightly packed zone out of the timeout. Luke misses the three. I’m shocked.

4:45 – I [heart] Gasol. He gets a beastly putback slam. I’m just going to pretend the three-chance possession by the Mavs didn’t just happen before that.

4:37 – 63-72 Mavs up. score check.

3:35 – Cupcake man is not going to back down from the mamba. He takes Kobe to his left and hits the nice pull up bank shot. Well played cupcake man. Well played.

3:08 – 65-74 Mavs still holding that nine point lead.

2:55 – Cupcake man’s activity leads to a second chance and Diop is the beneficiary. He earns two free throws and converts one of them. 65-75.

2:19 – Ariza’s mishandle causes a turnover on offense but he hustles at the other end, causing a turnover by cupcake man. He then lays himself out to get the loose ball. Timeout called and Lakers retain possession.  Out of the timeout Sasha has a nice curl screen jumper. 67-75.

1:48 – Jason Kidd hits another shot. He’s definitely hooked up to the rejuvenation machine this year.

1:06 – Bynum grabs a rebound. The Lakers are battling. Lamar is putting up some effort to get the boards. This leads to a bucket. Then Farmar catches Kidd sleeping and gets a layup. Green answers at the other end.

0:03 – Farmar usually gets the green light at the end of the third. But as time winds down he penetrates and kicks to Lamar for a right corner three. Money! Lakers are only down 3. I was watching this and can’t tell you how they got that close.  They got a couple cheap ones and cut the lead down with some intensity. These are the garbage games they’ve got to win. It’s not pretty but if they can pull it out, it counts all the same. 76-79 Mavs.

 

4th Quarter

11:25 – Green puts those boosties to use. He posterizes Lamar on the break. That was sick. It’ll be on sports center. I promise.

10:42 – Sasha takes a quick three from the top of the key and drills it in transition. Stu calls it a bad shot. I’m okay with it.

10:14 – Lamar dribble drive to his right! Oh. But he finishes with his left. Diop’s gotta know that lamar has no right hand. Count the bucket. (sidenote, Stackhouse does not look spry.) Lamar misses. Ariza homes in on the rebound which squirts out to the corner. He Barry Sanders the German into next week and gets a two-handed slam. A huge fist pump while he’s about twelve feet off the ground. Timeout bad guys. 83-81 Lakers take the lead for now. I’m going to get a tattoo on my forehead dedicated to Ariza.

9:39 – The Mavs come out of the timeout with a rushed three pointer as the clock winds down. Cupcake man might want to stick with dunking.  Dirk crushes a photographer. In hockey, you’d say that guy was “rubbed out of the play.” I hope his skull was reinforced with adamantium.

8:46 – Kobe saw Ariza get it done and he can’t be outdone. He gets a one handed putback slam to go.  Cupcake Man was taking notes. That one will probably be on sportscenter as well.

7:57 – the Mavs need to fire the gimpy Stackhou…. I mean, Stackhouse nails a threeball. And then Stack gets a steal and converts the two point layup on the break against Lamar. I hate it when I eat my words.

6:56 – the game is finally starting to come together. Kobe nails a jumper. Lakers up by three. 89-86.

6:34 – redonkulous! Kobe is just a whirling dervish. Fake spin. Fake spin the other way. Rise up over Kidd (nailed to the floor). Cash money. Maybe two other guys in the league would try that shot. 91-86.

6:18 – Fisher hunts down the long rebound and it seems at this moment, the Lakers have the legs and energy to explode towards loose balls and rebounds. That’s going to be the difference; Who has the mental and physical energy to get to the loose balls and secure rebounds?

6:08 – Kobe just leaves Kidd at the three point line. Dirk’s help is late and Kobe gets the finger roll to fall while getting the favorable whistle. Personal foul: German. Highlight play: Mamba. Hypertension: Yours truly. 93-86 Lakers before the and free throw. Kobe converts.

5:53 – Pau plays some Jack Black and Kyle Gass (Tenacious D) which forces the German to throw it to the ref who is standing out of bounds.

5:00 – Jason Kidd doesn’t commit to the quarterback role just yet. He takes it all the way to the bucket without being stopped and draws the foul on LO7. He converts the three point play.

4:46 – Ariza spots a hole. And like Mashall Faulk in his heyday, Trevor knows what to do. Run through it. Two points and the foul. Converts the freebie. 97-89.

3:48 – Terry is fouled on the break. Trevor, who doesn’t quit, ran all the way back to block the shot as the secondary defender, even after the whistle had blown. He won’t get a blocked shot for that, but it’s just as good. He made sure that JET had to shoot two free throws. He makes both.

3:27 – Pau is determined to take it to the bucket. He gets hacked on his first attempt. No call. Gets it back. And in his wild way, he goes for another one. He draws the foul. And Dampier, for his trouble, rejects the Spaniard’s shot with quite a bit of menace. 99-94 after Pau’s free throws. lakers still up.

3:04 – No one touched the ball except Kobe on that possession. And Kobe didn’t go anywhere. Brick.

2:50 – This game is curiously reffed. Lots of phantom foul calls. Damp is the beneficiary this time around. He gets one of his free throws. Lakers up by 2. 99-97.

2:38 – Jump ball after the officials can’t tell what happened.

2:18 – Kobe is smashed on the arms and loses the ball. No call. Strange game folks. Refs are humans too.

1:41 – Is Kobe going to take too long here too? Nope. Ariza gets the pass on the wing. Can’t hit the three.

1:17 – The German pokes away the touchdown pass before it can get to gasol.

1:06 – this game is high on stress. Low on actual scoring in the past 10 minutes. On the bright side of things, the good people of Dallas will have no problem building houses with all the bricks these two teams have laid. Still 99-97 Lakers leading. Timeout Mavs.

0:45 – Ariza plays with fire and comes out a hero. He challenges Stackhouse’s corner three. As the shot clock winds down. Guess what? Ariza stuffs it out of bounds with one second left. On the inbounds, The German heaves it up left-handed. Not a positive sequence for the John Mccains.

0:23 – Pau gobbles up Fisher’s airball and throws it into the bucket as Dirk is called for a push in the back. The German fouls out with that one and the Spaniard and his glorious mane convert the three point play. 102-97 Lakers still positive.

0:15 – JET is too good. Floater in the lane over Gasol is silky smooth. 103-99.

0:12 – fisher sinks his two free throws on the intentional foul in the backcourt. Lakers would have to really stick their heads in the sand to lose this one as the John McCains just ran out of timeouts.

0:10 – How about Ariza? He stole the ball on the first inbounds try. And then his activity leads to a Lakers rebound on the Cupcake Man miss. Game over. I take it back about a team needing to get to the loose balls. The Lakers only needed Ariza to get to all the loose balls. Perhaps I’ve said loose balls one too many times in succession. I’ll stop now.

Final score is 106-99. Lawler’s Law holds up. More importantly, my ulcer will now have a full 21 hours to heal before the game tomorrow. What say you FB&G community? Was this a quality win?

If you haven’t checked out HP’s entertaining live blog during the Spain vs. Greece game, check it out. Spain won pretty handily but didn’t exactly light the arena on fire. Their guard play was pretty good and I agree with HP, Rudy was very impressive. But overall, they weren’t the dominant force you would’ve expected given the hype.

1st Quarter

The crowd is so loud. There are probably 2008 people in attendance.

Yao Ming drains a straight away three pointer. This could be a very awkward game if Yao turns into a sharpshooter from distance. Only because he’s going to be breaking out the Tiger Woods fist pump after all of his makes.

Kobe, who has been tasked with guarding Lakers signee Sun Yue, just shot a corner three off the side of the backboard. Well, I’m sold, Team USA is clearly going to win the gold.

Yao Ming is playing like a man possessed by Allen Iverson’s spirit. He’s diving all around and running full speed.

Mike Breen informs us that FIBA has decided to go with three officials on the floor, instead of the usual 2. They should go with 2008 of them.

Number 6 on the Chinese team drains a super tough three pointer. I was thinking this game was going to be a blowout and Team USA would just walk away with this one and I could make all kinds of jokes about Kobe carrying Dywane Wade home, accidently mistaking his bald head for the Larry O’Brien trophy. Apparently so did team USA.

China has been mad impressive so far. Yao just stuffed the Mamba.

Doug Collins has some keys to the game. And they display the keys in a graphic that looks like the inside of a volcano. I want to know what was going on at that design meaning.

Executive 1: Hey, China’s main color is red. let’s use that.

Executive 2: Okay. And let’s add some fire.

E1: No too cliche. How about Lava.

E2: Yeah. Lava is badass.

E1: Maybe we don’t want too much red in there. People’s eyes will bleed. How about, sky blue?

E2: Done and done. These people are going to love it. Do you think anyone will suspect we’re board members of the Volcano Tourism Committee?

E1: Heh Heh Heh. Why so serious?

Kobe just nailed a long three point shot from the left wing.

COOKIES! Wade is going with the double kneepad look tonight. He just picked Number 7’s pocket out high. Free two points. Wade’s resurgence has absolutely been the story of team USA so far this Olympic season.

China is not only surviving on the three pointer, China is only trailing by 2 at the 3:20 mark.

#4, Chen, does a little Ginobili European shuffle through the lane and Team USA celebrates with some matador defense. Bravo Bravo.

HAHAHAHA. Chris Paul just got sent flying by a mean pick by Yao Ming. It was totally awesome.

Sun Yue is suppsed to be the Chinese Magic Johnson, but Mike Breen just said #8 is the best ball handler. Not necessarily a good thing for the Lakers to find out that their new PG hope isn’t even the best ball handler on a sub par team.

Oh look, Coach K got off his chair to coach a little. But he won’t call time out? What a cocky poop face.

President George Bush, the elder, is in attendance. So is the current President.

That floor is kind of a mini travesty. Especially the half on the right side of the TV. People have been slipping too often. Most notably, the Greek point guard, Spanoulis can now send in an audition tape for that show on ABC; Wipeout (the one with the big red balls). He had a clear breakaway and his footing just gave way. He didn’t even try to change direction. Just running in a straight line. There was more spectacular spillage on that play than at a lingerie store in Beverly Hills.

#4, Chen JH tries a little HORSE shot and the refs disallow it. “off the shot clock, off the back of the backboard, nothing but net.” That was what he called. Execution lacked a little bit. The ball didn’t come close to going in. A for effort though buddy.

 

2nd Quarter

Yao Ming is looking svelt. But he’s still rocking baby cows for legs.

Dwight Howard shoots some good looking free throws.

I’m so glad that we’ve got real basketball announcers. You should’ve heard the announcers from earlier…hold on.

Lebron James just pwned China. He CAUGHT a China layup attempt two-handed and sent it down the length of the floor for an easy dunk by Wade! A block would’ve been spectacular. But this was unbelievable athletic. Kevin Love has nothing on that sequence, including his much fancied outlet pass.

As D12 is shooting free throws Wang ZZ throws his hands up like a reverse Cameron Crazy. Dwight misses. I love it.

Apparently in Olympic play you are allowed to two hand shove people in the waist as long as they don’t have the ball.

I’m happy to see Redd in the game. Hopefully he’ll get some real playing time.

Magic Johnson drills a three pointer. That’s 7 of 11 from behind the three point arc for China.

So back to the point about announcers. Sometimes on the basketball channel there are no announcers. And sometimes, like during the spain vs. Greece game, we get assaulted by Snapper Jones and some other guy calling the game from New York. Speaking of that game, How come no one told me Marc Gasol is a fatty? And the announcers even said he had slimmed down tremendously. That’s absurd. There is no way he is going to be a force in the NBA. Unless you are counting the mass * acceleration type of force. He’s got plenty of that.

Kobe sends a brief memo to his future teammate, Magic Johnson 2.0, that he’s not a nancy boy by dunking in his face. Magic Johnson, it should be noted, is wearing a magic arm sleeve. Maybe he forgot to put in the batteries.

Craig Sager is not wearing his trademark crazy suits. He’s just wearing a regular button up shirt with the top button undone. He’s interviewing Jerry Colangelo who says that it’s just about the US staying focused on their own play and not worrying about who they are playing. Isn’t that the same cockiness that got us in trouble before? Confidence is great, but seriously, we haven’t won a major competition in years! EXASPERATION!

Dwyane Wade leaves number 10 WIDE OPEN behind the three point line to double on Yao Ming away from the basket. Wade forgot to read the game plan, don’t leave the shooters.

Jason Kidd reaches into the time machine and throws a great over the top pass to Chris Bosh through all kinds of traffic. It’s the kind of pass you get in trouble for if you play organized ball at the youth level because it is such a low percentage pass. 2 points.

Dwyane Wade to Lebron James for a vicious one handed alleyoop. Team USA turns up the pressure. And gets a turnover. 16-3 run helps the good guys pull away a little. 45-32. With about 2 minutes to go.

Yao Ming disposed of Chris Bosh going after a rebound. Just took his left arm and pushed him to the ground. No foul called. Chris Bosh, it’s time to man up.

Wade might be earning his nickname back: Flash. Nice baseline semi fast break finish against Yao Ming. It was speedy and delicious.

Carlos Boozer checks into the game, but disappointingly for Kyle, he’s not in there with DWill and there’s only 27 seconds left anyway.

Liu Wei is apparently Yao Ming’s best friend. They make s’mores in their dorm rooms and share bedtime stories while drinking hot cider. At least I hope that’s what happens.

Coach K actually does call a timeout to draw up a last second play and it ends with Kobe picking up his pivot foot apparently. Up until that point it looked very good. Traveling is very different than in the NBA apparently. Team USA goes into the Olympic sized locker room leading by a dozen. They put up 29 points that quarter.

Team USA is 1/12 on three pointers. That’s not going to get it done in the tournament. But they are forcing China into shooting a low overall percentage.

Halftime

My friend who’s watching the game on the east coast right now said that the NBA on NBC theme song makes its way back into the fold, but so far I haven’t heard it. And you have no idea how disappointed I am. That song is permanently ingrained in my parietal lobe somewhere. John Tesh, you are my hero. Maybe it isn’t on because I’m watching the special basketball-only channel which doesn’t even show commercials. (It just shows replays or a wide angle shot of the inside of the arena. No, they don’t seem to do halftime promotions where little kids try on Yao Ming’s shoes and race up and down the court. If you were curious.) Anyway, NBC has decided to tape delay their “real” coverage of the game for the West Coast so I’ll check it out again at 10am. Finding out what time a game is actually going to be on is tough enough. Finding out what time it is going to broadcast, is even tougher. If you wanted to watch Russia vs. Iran yesterday, you would’ve set your tivo to start recording the basketball channel at 6pm. But the joke’s on you brother! For some reason, NBC showed the games all out of order. Well technically, you could’ve watched the first 8 minutes of the game without commentary (which is very eerie) but then NBC pulled the feed. I have no idea what was the point of that. NBC’s Olympic coverage is really frustrating if you are trying to find a specific matchup in a specific sport. That being said, I love that the Olympics are in HD goodness.

 

3rd Quarter

Kobe starts it off right with a drive and dunk. Snakes can strike at any time.

Hahahaha. Doug Collins is doggin Yi and all of a sudden Yi dunks the putback over Melo’s back. Damn son. There might be problems bigger than snitchin if you’re gonna let Yi do that to you.

Magic Johnson just stuffed Dwight Howard’s fast break layup attempt. Ridiculous. The batteries are workin now!

I like the USA basketball jerseys and I even thought about buying one until I found out the replica version costs $80 and the authentic version costs $150. I’m not a baller. I gotta say though, whose idea was it to make white names on a white jersey and blue names on the blue jersey? Someone had to have thought “you know, this might be IMPOSSIBLE TO READ.”

China’s hyperdunks aren’t quite so hyper anymore. It’s 60-45 with 3:20 left to go in the third.

Everyone shortens their breaths a little as Yao Ming twists his ankle on Kobe, who had fallen under the basket. Yao gets up gingerly but it doesn’t look too serious. Probably just sore for a few days.

Kobe gets a fast break opportunity and does the simple one handed jam. The crowd is a little disappointed. They were expecting a back flip due to the hyperdunks.

Dwyane wade picks another pocket. This time he tries a fancy reverse dunk. Lebron should win MVP of this game but Wade/Flash has definitely had a positive impact, especially on defense/transition.

Yao Ming is back in the game looking fine. He might be favoring his ankle just a little.

Couple of noteable Jazz notes here. Deron Williams just tried to posterize Yao. He came up a little short. Coming back the other way, Boozer did his classic Boozerness. He reached and fouled a guy going to the basket.

Yao Ming apparently didn’t appreciate the DWill dunk attempt and just roofed DWill’s layup. Aww, stupid refs called a foul. That wasn’t a foul. Just awesomeness. There is no charge for awesomeness. Or Attractiveness.

President Bush declares mission accomplished and he’s out of here. 81 – 50 is the score. Unlike a previous declaration of mission accomplished, this one will probably stick.

You gotta be proud of Yao. Even though China won’t win this game, he is still playing his heart out and the fans love him for it. He’s been fighting for rebounds. Refusing to concede baskets on defense. And he goes out to a rousing ovation. Goose bumps people. With perhaps 500 million Chinese people watching on television, there is a lot of pressure on this team. And they’ve done very admirably this morning.

Most Impressive US Players: Lebron James and Dwyane Wade.

Most Impressive Chinese Players: Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian. Honorable Mention Liu Wei for not turning over the ball in the face of that intense US ball pressure.

 

-nomuskles

I’ll be doing an actual live blog tonight. I’ll refresh the post as often as possible so that we can continue to have a good back and forth. We’ll consider this our little joint experiment. I’ll try and pay attention to comments as we go too.

Pregame – Sasha is interviewed by Sager and says he knows Manu from Europe and that gives him confidence. Someone mentioned this might be a possibility in the comments from game 1 or 2, so kudos to whoever posited that possibility. Lakers will obviously making adjustments tonight (I hope) and the Spurs will try and replicate the success they had in Game 3 with solid defense and efficient offense. I can’t wait.

Lakers starting lineup is the usual. Finley will continue starting tonight, which means we’ll see the Ginobili off the bench.

1st Quarter

11:41 – Lamar starts it off with a 20 foot jumper that was too far left (elbow out?) but Gasol does well to grab the rebound and finish the play.

11:17 – Radman gets a nice transition dunk off a SA turnover.

9:49 – Lamar wills himself to the long offensive rebound. Great play. The Space Cadet converts the extra possession into a nice jumper.

9:20 – Spurs are shooting too early in the clock.

9:11 – Kobe hits a nice looking jumper from the left wing. Nothing but drainage. Greg Popovich decides he needs a timeout. Lakers out to an early lead, 10-4. I guess Kobe won out, the TNT overtime cam is following Kobe and Tony Parker

8:49 – The Lakers defense is stifling right now. Great steal leading to a Kobe fast break layup. More of this please. thanks.

8:30 – Ginobili checks in a little early. Radman is tasked with sticking him on defense.

8:19 – Ticky tack foul called on LO7. He stood right in front of Duncan’s turnaround baby hook in the post and got called for a foul. Weak sauce. Duncan makes both. 12-6 Lakers still up. Lamar with a little point forward action.

8:04 – lamar is very active tonight going after loose balls. He retains possession by going after a loose rebound and draws a foul inside. Make one miss one? I could be wrong, but I think his feet used to be much further apart earlier in the year and he was having more success (think back to that analysis of Paul Pierce’s free throw form). Hmm… he makes the first one and the second!

7:43 – TimmyDtheReal MVP makes the long jumper.

7:06 – Duncan hangs his big head running back down the court after being called for a foul going after the offensive rebound.

6:50 – Pau has come with some great aggressiveness. He gets a great look inside and makes the tough layup. Popovich is quite upset. Lakers up 18-8. I got to say, having the audio from TNT overtime is confusing. The whistles on the internet come about 5 seconds before the TV feed.

6:27 – following a timeout, the spurs are forced into a 24 second clock violation. Tony parker didn’t know the clock. He’s needing to get into this game.

5:53 – Kobe is doing a great job feeling his way through the offense. Lakers run a dribble handoff in the post and Kobe gets a wide open baseline jumper that didn’t involve fading away. Money.

5:25 – Spurs look to be in a position to capitalize but Tim duncan runs into the long arms of pau and Horry fouls Pau on the rebound.

4:46 – Fisher still doesn’t seem to have the basket locked in. he misses a jumper from just above the circle. He needs to keep shooting, he’ll find the range.

4:18 – Luke walton checks into the game and gets called for a traveling violation. TNT shows the play from underneath the scoreboard and you can see how much Robert Horry doesn’t respect Luke’s three point shooting ability.

3:50 – Parker comes up with the steal and in transition converts the layup. 22-15 Lakers. Spurs making a mini run here without Lamar in the game.

3:25 – Fisher hits a prayer shot from the corner. Extra high arc on that one, even for him. He was asking the man upstairs for lots of help on that one. 25-15 Lakers.

3:19 – With Tony Parker at the free throw line, it’s a battle of the bald men as Fisher and Joey Crawford discuss the proper use of the forearm on defense. I wonder who’s going to win that discussion. Whatever luck we were drawing from Kurt’s stay at the office is running out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Spurs close the lead to under five by the end of the quarter, especially since Kobe will probably sit here soon.

Craig Sager’s suit is pretty loud. It’s a briht yellow color rivaling the Hornets’ alternate uniforms. Parker makes both free throws. 25-17 Lakers. farmar and Vujacic are in the game.

2:49 – PAU! PAU! PAU-WER! Pau gets the lakers another possession by doing an E Honda slap at the rebound back to a teammate and then he gets another rebound off of a Luke Walton miss from the right corner three. Pau makes both (kind of. he actually missed the second but Horry was called for a lane violation.)

2:29 – ginobili throws up a tear drop that drops about one foot from the rim. He’d like to RMA that one.

1:58 – Duncan to Pau: you can’t guard me. Duncan takes the ball strong into Pau’s grill and gets the nice layup. Shades of Amare on that one (but less fierce). walton turns it over on the other end.

1:37 – Lame touch foul called on Farmar against barry 38 feet from the bucket. Barry should make both. and does. 27-21Lakers.

1:13 – Pau is not Bynum/Dwight Howard. He can’t finish the difficult alley-oop off the pick and roll. That was a tough pass to handle and Pau doesn’t have boosties like his Airness.

0:49 – PHEW. barry missed the wide open three.

0:20 – Duncan travels his way to the basket and gets a dunc in transition. Doesn’t even matter, Lakers played no defense.

0:00 – Kobe gets away with his own travel but doesn’t convert. The quarter ends 28-23 Lakers. More LO please. And major props to gasol for his effort tonight. If he can continue at this high level, I like our chances.

On replay, the Duncan travel was very very very obvious. He took for steps by my count. Still can’t complain. even if he did dribble, the lakers weren’t even trying to stop him.

2nd Quarter

Phil blames the refs for the closing of the lead citing the ticky tack fouls.

11:38 – Ugh. Bruce Bowen does his Tony Parker impression. He’s forced off the three but shows off a little bank tear drop. 28-25 Lakers.

11:12 – Turiaf hits a nice jumper over Obert from the right elbow. We don’t need TNT overtime to see that one.

10:40 – Doug Collins says that Phil has taken Lamar away from working at the top of the circle and more along the baseline. I’m sure everyone will appreciate this change.

10:17 – ginobili is forced into a tough shot late in the clock. Great defense on the sequence by the good guys. Unlike Game 3, Ginobili misses it.

10:07 – Luke creates a great opportity for Ronny inside with a pretty spin move and dump off. ronny is fuoled and makes both free throws. Gotta be the shoes, Money. 32-25 Lakers.

9:41 – Great play by Lamar. He’s triple teamed (mismatched on parker in the post causing both Finley and Obert to help) and Luke cuts towards the basket weak-side. Lamar just throws it over the top and the Son of Bill finishes it off. timeout Spurs. 34-25. let’s hope the easy buckets keep coming.

If you watch the TNT overtime feed, you can see Eva Longoria looking on. Turiaf is the featured player this quarter! Go watch since he’s on the floor now.

8:45 – Spurs involve Horry and TP in the pick and pop but Odom just sags back to guard against penetration because he’s not worried about Horry shooting it. Luke gets a great rebound underneath the bucket on the other end and gets the nice putback.

8:07 – Lamar picks up his third foul going for a rebound against Horry and has to go to the bench. I’m not going to complain about the refs too much. Horry hits both for his first two points of the series. I don’t know how he’s getting minutes while contributing only two points over four games.

7:33 – radman takes his time to lineup the right, short corner three and nails it. 39-31. Important shot to quiet down the crowd.

7:00 – Jordan and Ronny go after the offensive rebound. farmar ends up with it and has the easy layup. 41-31 Lakers.

6:36 – Barry hits a long three pointer.

5:55 – Ho Ho Ho. Kobe denies Tony parker in the lane. Terrific play! Ugh. what a floptastic (veteran move). Farmar gets called for a foul going the other way because Bowen sold some sort of push. Ridiculous. farmar did grab Bowen first though. frustrating. 8 Turnovers so far. Automatic TV timeout. Lakers up 41-34.

5:30 – Duncan is a whiny baby. He creates all the contact against pau and misses the babyhook. Arms go flailing. No call.

5:13 – Pau does his best impression of a tree against the Tony Parker screen roll. He provides kleenex resistence and Tony parker ends up getting the offensive rebound on a Barry miss from three point land. And the foul on derek who lowbridged him accidently.

4:37 – the Space cadet is tuned into this game. He grabs the offensive reobund and gets the putback. Lakers are living off the offensive glass. 43-36 Lakers.

4:18 – timmyD gets the MVP chant at the free throw line. Aww, fisher needs a hug. he’s looking forlorn on the bench after picking up his third foul.

4:03 – Okay, that needs to be called, i’m sorry. Kobe was whacked as he went up for the shot. No call.

3:41 – What is this? Sasha going after a loose ball gets called for his 3rd foul. What a terrible call. barry just flopped over like a mackerel on the end of a line. Weak sauce. You cannot reward non-hustle by calling that foul. 43-40 Spurs are closing.

3:17 – parker makes a great move in transition against farmar but farmar gets called for another weak sauce foul. What is this???? these refs are really  not paying attention. Absolutely absurd. I hate to complain about the refs but this is just insane.

3:05 – Pau gets a weenie shot over Duncan to go. ends a littel drought. 45-43 lakers still up.

2:29 – Luke walton works extremely hard to get the ball in the paint from Gasol. What a great play by Luke to work his butt off against Ginobili. He draws a foul on Ginobili and he’s tiring Ginobili out so he’ll be less effective on the offesnive end. timeout before the free throws.

I am absolutely excited about seeing Hancock this summer (along with the Dark Knight and Wall-E).

Pop talks about improved defense by the spurs but they need to work on protecting their defensive glass. He says the smalls need to box out as well. Look for the Spurs to improve because that is why the Lakers are winning.

2:25 – Brent Barry has cat-like reactions. he just takes the pass out of the air.

2:00 – There it is! Pau goes to his post spin move quick and draws the foul on duncan. He didn’t wait to read the defense he just went. Soemwhere Stu Lants is saying atta boy.

1:37 – Another bullet dodged. Ginobili misses his right corner three that would’ve given them a three point lead. Kobe hits a nice jumper on the other end under control. Lakers up 2.

0:56 – Farmar comes quick the other way after a TP force (trying to draw the foul on Pau) and Tim Duncan tells him to hit the weight room. It’ll be the Lakers ball underneath the basket after the Lakers’s timeout. 47-45. Ginobili has absolutely houdini’d tonight. Lakers set up with four people on the baseline. walton pikcs up the loose rebound and gets the tear drop to go. What a great play even with someone hanging on his back.

0:33 – TP scoops it in after a little hitch. Froze the defense.

0:23 – SON OF BILL! in the post against ginobili, gino tries to flop and walton converts the continuation play. can he make the free throw? Nope. But Radman makes a terrific play to save it!!!! Sing his praises ladies and gents. It’s mamba time! 1 second left and hits the jumper from the free throw line. Ariza is in the game. Spurs don’t get off the shot. Great finish to the half. 53-47 lakers.

I’m going to grab some dinner. Play nice. Be back during the third.

Best +/- is Lamar at +14 and the Space cadet at +7. Those are good indicators of the game they are having. Spurs have a lot of guys in the minus right now. brent Barry is a monster at +12, though. Is this by design? letting Barry get his but stopping everyone else? I doubt it. The Lakers have just had some brain farts against him and he’s been hitting some three balls.

3rd Quarter

Public Service Announcement: Bowling on Saturday could leave your arm still sore on tuesday. Or maybe that’s just me. Yikes!

11:08 – Derek hits a nice looking 20 foot jumper over parker. impressive, but not convincing unless he can do it a few more times. That’s what she said.

10:32 – “bryant, with a strong move.” Lakers up 7, 57-50.

10:18 – Tim Duncan reminds of a trebuchet when he shoots free throws. He slings it up there almost. He misses the second one but Oberto gets the offensive board. Turnover! LO goes the other way in a hurry and Kobe hits a little floater.

9:45 – Bowen finds his range and hits a three from the left side. 59-54 Lakers up.

9:26 – Pau is wearing the hyperdunks tonight too. Along with Radman. LO is back to his normal footwear.

8:35 – Lamar gets a good-looking jumper to go from the left side. We don’t want to rely on that one, but it looked good here.

8:10 – Parker hits a good looking jumper of his own, fed by hip hop ginobili.

7:25 – That’s not his forte. Parker short arms a three.

7:05 – Standstill elevation from Kobe on the right elbow over Bowen. That was a feat of strength. bowen will live with that shot, but still, as a defender, that has to be deflating. Kobe’s rocket boosters just have more thrust than Bowen’s. On a sidenote, my sister says 27 Dresses is “kind of awful.” Word to the wise. Just thought you should know.

6:43 – RadMan is really involved in this game. He sags off Bowen on the opposite side and ends up getting a hand on the rebound funneling it to Fisher. Without him there helping Lamar, the ball would’ve gone to Oberto. That kind of play won’t make it into the final report, but the little things make a lot of difference.

6:15 – Maybe I take that back. Duncan had it in the post and VladRad sagged down with a hard double from the same side. the man he left, barry, you know, the only person who can shoot tonight, drains a three. After a duncan dunc, the spurs are only down 2. 65-63.

4:37 – After a suspect non-call on the Lakers end, Parker ties it up. 65-65.

4:22 – bowen picks up a foul for holding Kobe away from the ball. Great pass to pau streaking to the basket on the screeen/roll. And pau makes the finishing lay-in.

3:50 – tonight just isn’t Fisher’s night. He’s got to be a little fatigued. He fouled Tim Duncan shooting a 21 footer as the shot clock was running out. He hits Duncan on the arm. he’ll bounce back next game. fisher can take solace in the fact that he’s ripped.

3:29 – LAMAR ODOM makes a great play to get to the defense rebound and Kobe is cherry picking for the reverse dunk! 69-67 Lakers still leading. timeout for the bad guys. The fans shower him with a smattering of boos. They’re going to wake him up if they’re not careful. he’s played a quiet game so far, so I’m not sure they want to do that.

You know, I would hate to play against Oberto. he just looks like the kind of guy who doesn’t shower for three days at a time just so his body odor will discourage you from bodying him up.

2:18 – Offensive REbound pau! great feed to Lamar by PAU! two points. 71-67.

1:52 – duncan is going to have to pay property taxes because he’s pretty much living at the free throw line tonight. odom fouled him? I think it was actually pau’s foul but the refs prove that they aren’t watching the game. Lamar will sit with the lakers up 3 after the free throws.

1:32 – Vujacic is going to complain on this one. Don’t draw a T. ginobili in semi transition takes it into sasha’s chest and uses his forearm to create space. Sasha gets called for the foul for not being set. I can see that one going either way.

1:12 – Kobe beats Udoka and Duncan baseline for the easy jam.

0:49 – The machine got recalibrated. he finally hits a shot and the foul! A four point play coming up? Yes. 77-70.

0:20 – TimmyD takes his own “weenie” shot against Pau’s freakishly long arms.

0:02 – Luke walton with a contested three as time expires isn’t exactly high percentage. I foolishly hoped for better. It’s okay. Lakers up 7 as the quarter ends.

There’s a website called, Will It Blend? The theme  of this quarter should be, Will It Hold? Lakers need to buckle down and find the strength to pull this one out because the Spurs are going to throw everything onto the court in the last quarter. the Spurs have so much to lose if they drop this game.

4th Quarter

We start with farmar, son of bill, the machine, the space cadet, and pau. Spurs start with duncan donuts, the frenchman, barry, horry, and ginobili.

11:09 – Lakers start cold, missing their first tow shots. Tim Duncan makes a tuogh layup inside.

10:49 – On this possession duncan misses two layups. The spaniard really bothers his shots.

10:28 – vujacic gets tied up in the corner. Not a good play. He’s going to go up against Horry.  Spurs gain possession. turn over lakers.

10:02 – brent barry sold his soul to the devil tonight. Barry hits a three ball to pull his team within 2.

Since halftime, the Lakers +/- stats have become a little more pedestrian and the Spurs stats have mostly recovered. Finley’s the worst still but he’s been sitting most of the game, with Barry taking his minutes and making up the difference with a +18 so far.

9:44 – The MVP checks back in and immediately drains a jumper. If I had to bet, I’d bet on Kobe willing the lakers to victory tonight. He’s got that calmness to him that is quietly confident. But he’s going to need some help. Lakers are turning the ball over twice as often as the spurs. 14-7.

8:45 – Barry hits a leaner in the lane. As much as it’s not derek’s night, it IS barry’s night.

7:53 – Kobe explodes through a double team at an unconventional angle to get a jumper off. it misses but turiaf hustles for the rebound and draws a looseball foul. The extra possession isn’t converted as Turiaf misses the jumper.

7:23 – Lamar is really after those rebounds. Kudos to him for understanding the lakers need to keep Oberto off the glass. He’s the garbage man and he’ll make them pay.

7:01 – both teams struggling to get a bucket. 81-77 Lakers up after a kobe miss.

6:44 – Tim Duncan gets mugged by turiaf in the lane and no call is made. Duncan is furious. Well, as furious as a teddy bear can be anyway.

6:08 – ginobili hits a step back from the top of the circle. The fans are excited to see if this breaks the seal fo rhim. I say, no. Lakers up 2. 81-79.

5:35 – Farmar = too much dribbling. Lakers have gone away from the beautiful ball movement that was serving them like Alfred to Bruce Wayne, that is to say, impeccably. Instead farmar forces a ridiculously tough shot and Turiaf gets called for a foul going after the rebound. sasha and farmar are both showing their inexperience tonight. Fisher needs to stop sulking and help calm those guys down. Run the offense, play with energy under control and the Lakers should prevail.

4:52 – The Space cadet was out of touch for a moment. He doubles down on Duncan but he wanted to take Duncan tango dancing. His arm was all the way around tim’s waist. He gets called for the easy foul. I’m not sure what he was thinking, or not, on that play. Gasol gets a great feed to Lamar in for a dunk.

4:00 – Spurs are still in a drought as the Lakers are grinding.

3:51 – Lamar drops in a layup with his left hand on the wrong side and draws the foul. He makes the free throw to make himself 5/5 from the line. He’s focused tonight. Like a LAZER.

3:30 – Kobe is really good at dunking in transition. hahaha, okay, everyone in the NBA is good at dunking without anyone guarding them. he gets a steal and the lakers are up 88-79. Lakers need to not let up, but this is certainly encouraging. they survived the Spurs mini run and will hope to work on their carpentry (nails in the coffin) to close out the game.

The Muffin-Man says the big three are tired for the Spurs. i’m not sure i agree, but they aren’t punishing the lakers the way they did in the third game.

2:44 – Lakers get two possessions with a pau offensive rebound and more time drains off the clock.

2:26 – Fisher hits another jumper and the Lakers go up 8.

2:07 – Duncan Donuts gets too easy a layup against the non-defense of pau.

1:51 – Lamar draws the foul on ginobili going to the hole. Ginobili says, “hey man, i thought we had a little bond among left-handers here.” Lamar makes one, misses one.

1:46 – trying to do too much, barry throws the ball away in transition. great job by the lakers to harass him on the break, forcing him into a mistake.

1:26 – sasha is just a little bit off. He can’t hit the wide open jumper.

1:09 – Lakers should win here. time is winding down and the lakers have a five point lead.

0:56 – Lamar works his butt off to get inside position on the Kobe miss (forced it) and draws a foul. He’ll shoot two. Drains the first like he’s been doing it his whole life. and the second. lamar, can i have your babies? Lamar at +15 and Kobe at +9. Barry continues to drag the hearst uphill with a +20 but Finley and oberto’s -18 and -15 are too much to overcome.

0:28 – Kobe rushes it and throws up a bad look. manu hit a three. Tony parker takes the bad miss and goes length of the floor for the layup (lamar goal tended supposedly). Lakers up two.

0:07 – Spurs get just what they wanted. fisher shooting a difficult level = 10 from the left corner. The shot misses so badly that Robert horry gets caught off guard and the ball goes off his leg. It’ll be Lakers out of bounds with 0:05.6 left. If the lakers inbound successfully, the Spurs foul, and the Lakers make both free throws, the game is for sure over. If they only make one, it’s still a nailbiter. and if don’t make any it’s no good. Oh. I’m a fool for listening to Doug Collins. the shot clock never reset so kobe is forced to shoot a fadeaway from the left side. He misses badly and the Spurs will have 2.1 seconds to get a bucket. Let’s hope the Lakers packed in the powerade so they don’t suffer brain lock and give up a cheesy foul or an easy two. Oh my goodness, my heart can’t take this stress. I’m going to have to go on hypertension meds.

0:02 – barry draws all kinds of contact from fisher (brain lock) but the officials don’t bail barry out. If they call that foul barry would be at the line for three throws with his team down two. I’ll gladly admit that that was a foul and Barry should have been shooting three free throws. But everyone knows you can’t count on the refs to blow any kind of whistle at the end of the game. they act like WWE-type contact is permissable at the end of games. But let me be the first to point out that the refs missed calls all night and this wasn’t the only call they missed. They missed that Duncan travel most noticeably and a bunch of other stuff. It’s sad a the game has to end like that. fisher needs to not foul from 30 feet away from the bucket. He’s got to get his head in the game when for Game 5.

Lakers fans, take a breath. that was a lucky escape. Spurs fans, I feel for you, but I gotta go with Kurt’s advice, handle your business during the game and it wouldn’t be up to the refs at the end of the game to make a split second decision that could go either way.

I like our chances to go to the finals now. Crossing my fingers, toes, and anything else I can. Lakers win 93-91.

Game 5 Live Blog

Kurt —  May 14, 2008

Another nomuskles live blog for your viewing pleasure.

Pregame
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.

Halftime
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.